By Evelyn Pyburn

It’s been my observation that there is no tax that doesn’t eventually filter down to the individual citizen, and if they are a consumer, they are a taxpayer.

This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it just is. Businesses do not pay any kind of tax. While they may seem to pay them, in the end they have to pass them on in the price of their product to the consumer. If they don’t, they vanish as a business – they go broke, quit business, and cease to be a part of the picture. 

Taxes are not really paid on “tax day,” they are paid when the consumer purchases a product.

Taxes are consequential for businesses, only when they are looking for best locations in which to do business. But even then they are most consequential to the consumers and workers in the community, who benefit from the products, services, innovations and jobs that businesses bring.

There is no magic tax that saves the consumer.  There is only one way to lower taxes and that is for the government to spend less. Even if rich people pay higher rates, those tax inputs eventually reach the lowest rung of consumers in the prices they pay. 

It is especially vile when politicians attempt to dupe voters into believing that businesses are their enemy – that the individual’s taxes are high because businesses don’t pay their “fair share.” That is a favorite political mantra by political entities who do not want people to fully understand that the ONLY way to lower taxes is to lower government spending – bearing in mind that government has NOTHING that it doesn’t have to first take away from the citizens.

There are undoubtedly shifts in markets depending on what kinds of taxes are imposed. High property taxes reduce the number of homeowners. Rents increase.  High gasoline taxes reduce the amount citizens travel, but they pay them when they purchase groceries or products freighted into their community. High income taxes may encourage people to leave a community to work in a different state, which is also a price paid by the community. There may be some variance in every day transactions, but in the end, citizens are always the losers when taxes are high.

“Balanced” does not mean “lower,” which is how some people interpret the call for balanced taxes, and what the advocates want people to believe, and perhaps even believe themselves. But, not all that many people are fooled it seems, given a recent poll in which a majority of Montanans oppose adopting a statewide sales tax.

A sales tax has long been unpopular in Montana, where the basic taxes are income and property taxes. One has to believe it is because most people fully realize that it is really a call for more taxation, not property tax reduction, as is commonly claimed.

If Montana citizens ever had any misconceptions, they were given a clear lesson in the early-90s, when the last push for a sales tax was being made by many politicians. We needed a “three legged stool” for balance, we were being told. A sales tax would reduce property taxes, they said. And, while they were willing to put a cap on how high a sales tax might be – they were seen scrambling into the woodwork when it was recommended that a cap also be placed on property taxes and income taxes.

Montanans had routinely seen in neighboring states, how quickly and easily sales taxes were raised, and they were highly suspicious that the same was in store for Montana. When caps – especially on property taxes – were totally rejected in the state legislature, it made the truth of the situation clear. And, it is that which most Montanans see as the underlying reason for a sales tax.

If balance is what is being sought, then bring forth the legislation that would place real caps on all three taxes.

Caps on all taxation is actually the policy under which government – at all levels — should always function, if one looks at the realities of growth, which is usually the excuse given for more taxes. When a community grows it increases demand for goods, prices increase, and the number of pay checks increase. There are increases in every economic regard which should generate increased tax revenues at exactly the pace —  the set cap — that government should grow to keep pace with community growth.

That would keep government growth in check – which would also keep in check the power that government is able to exert over innocent citizens.

If one is really desirous of growing business and encouraging entrepreneurship, the Tax Foundation suggests that taxes on business to business transactions be exempt. The Tax Foundation warns that taxing business inputs results in “tax pyramiding” – taxing tax payments.

Business growth and a strong economy is a win- win for every one – even government, if indeed it is growing at a justifiable pace. Why should government grow if business isn’t growing or if citizens can’t make a living?

Adhering to policies that restrain growth in government with that of the economy would have saved the country from having any general sales taxes at all. It was during the Great Depression when citizens were starving, forced to abandon their property, leave their homes, and suffered a horrible plunge in the standard of living, that state governments decided that they shouldn’t have to endure the same suffering, and 44 of them enacted a general sales tax which burdened their citizens even more.

Montanans apparently decided not to do that. And, the case can truly be made the state has benefited from that decision ever since. There have been many studies and analysis of economic performance that have shown that states lacking one of the “three legs of the stool,” do better economically than they would with a “balanced” tax system. Those studies, in fact, demonstrate many times over that it is lower taxes that generate strong economies and better standards of living.

So let’s not scratch our heads in pretense that Montanans don’t know what is good for them. Most Montanans know EXACTLY what is good for them.

By Evelyn Pyburn

With all the wrangling we encounter about words—what’s appropriate, what’s not, what a word means, and even if we dare speak words – if you think that is just an accidental manifestation in our society – think again.

To attack our language, to make communication difficult if not impossible. To create confusion and to intimidate, is a front line tactic of collectivists —socialists, communists, etc. To undermine society and the strength of the individual, really can be just a matter of words.

“The confusion and vagueness of terms always found in collectivist theories is not accidental; it is a reversion to the mental and verbal limitations of the primitive society it advocates, the inability to think in abstract terms,” writes Isabell Paterson, in God of the Machine, a 1968 book that explains why the Constitution works.

While most people use words to communicate, collectivists use words to create confusion. They want human beings to be cogs in a machine where no language is necessary, says Paterson.

Crippling our ability to communicate clearly or to articulate ideas is but one part of changing the words we use and the terms of their use, it is also used to subtly convey a concept — to infiltrate society with unchallenged perceptions.  A good example is the change of the word employee to “team member.” It is almost anathema to be called an employee any more  – you are a “team member.” The change underscores the collective as being more important than an individual. It diminishes individual achievement, automatically forcing the sharing of it with less productive members of a group. It also diminishes the role of the employer and what they must achieve in order to be an employer.

Paterson also underscores how the suspension of the real meaning of words allows people to speak utter nonsense without challenge, and advance concepts that make no sense. The example she gives is the claim that “All property is theft.” The definition of property is something that is owned. If it is not owned it is just something in nature. Theft presupposes rightful ownership – the forcible taking of something that is the property – ie. owned – by someone else.

Those who make such nonsensical utterances pay no attention to the meaning of words… they assign their own meanings. They would probably attempt to claim that the collective owns it – that it belongs to everyone — again, paying no heed to the insanity of such a concept, to the fact that words mean something. In practicality when everyone owns it, no one owns it. When no one owns it the government has total control. Aha, might that not be what they really advocate?

And we all have become aware of how words can suddenly change in their meaning and in unexpected ways. For example “woke” was self-adopted by those who wanted to claim they identify with a group but didn’t want to exactly say they were “politically correct,” which held its own negative connotations. But while “woke” was meant to be a positive change for obedient followers, it kind of boomeranged into a negative. Its meaning was far too well understood by many people, and now those who coined the term are begging that it no longer be used.

Of course, there is the most glaring way in which words are changed, to suddenly mean negative things about race so those caught unaware can be accused of racism. It is done as a political tactic even when those being “protected” object – such as the political agenda that forced the changing of the name of the Washington Redskins to Commanders because Washington Redskins was perceived as being a racist slur – apparently by those who were not Native American, because there is now an effort by Native Americans – by the “Redskins” — to try to undo the name change.

Of course language is always changing most often as a consequence of things that change our lives – other than collectivists. Your great grandparents would undoubtedly have no idea what you mean to hear you say you are going to “google” someone.

The term “I figure” or “I calculate” emerged in the early days of American life, as more everyday people entered business and used math as their means of earning a living – they really were “figuring” and “calculating” in this Capitalistic society.

So if in this new age world you don’t know what to say to some people, just grunt.

— “they only block the sun.”

by Evelyn Pyburn

Just because it’s not likely to get nearly the public recognition that opposition views routinely get, this editorial is to emphasize two news reports about how much we should be concerned about global warming.

Not so much, it seems. Certainly, not so much that we should give up heat, food and life as we know it. And, most certainly, not enough to give up our freedom to choose how we want to live.

The Epoch Times reports focus on the fact that global warming is not the “settled science” that we are frequently told. There are in fact a lot of very smart people who have other points of view… they just don’t get much of a platform to say so.

We have all witnessed it– the media and politicians call them “climate deniers” and ridicule them to a degree that most people with doubts or questions learn to say nothing, which is exactly the purpose.

Following the end of the recent court case of children suing the state for denying them a clean environment, there were articles in which advocates gloated that so successful has the terrorization been, that the state’s attorneys never once even suggested that there might be doubt about the veracity of global warming claims.

One of those “deniers” is a 2022 Nobel Prize Laureate, John Clauser, who has pointed out that the hysteria about supposed climate warming is at the very least hugely overstated, if not outright deceitful. Clauser is not only a Nobel Prize recipient for his contributions to quantum mechanics, he holds degrees from Caltech and Columbia University, and served in roles at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, he was honored with a portion of the Wolf Prize in Physics.

But more than that, he has read climate change research, which brought him to conclude that those living in fear of becoming crispy critters are “misguided” because researchers  have ignored a key variable, an oversight he calls “sloppy science.”

There is no “climate emergency,” says Clauser, as do another 1600 educated professionals who signed the World Climate Declaration organized by Climate Intelligence, which says “climate change science is not conclusive, and that the earth’s history over thousands of years shows a consistently changing climate.”

After studying the research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society, Clauser says the scientists “miss the mark on the critical role of clouds in the climate system.” He says, “cloud cover has a profound effect on the earth’s heat input… clouds are reflecting a massive amount of light back out into space.”

Clouds! What could be more obvious about weather? It’s hard to believe they could be overlooked.

Clauser stated, “As a physicist, I’d worked at some excellent institutions— Caltech, Columbia, Cal Berkeley—where very careful science needed to be done. And reading these reports, I was appalled at how sloppy the work was. And in particular, it was very obvious, even in the earliest reports, and all carried on through to the present, that clouds were not at all understood. … It’s just simply bad science.” 

Clauser referenced a book by Obama’s science advisor, Steve Koonin, in which Koonin noted the inconsistency of the IPCC’s 40 computer models, emphasizing their inability to explain the past century’s climate and suggesting that these models lack a crucial piece of physics.

Clauser said that Al Gore in his film, “The Inconvenient Truth”— “insists on talking about a cloud-free earth. . . That’s a totally artificial Earth.” Clauser said that satellite images show that clouds can cover “five to 95 percent of the Earth’s surface.. . The cloud cover fraction fluctuates quite dramatically on daily -weekly timescales.”

Clouds regulate the Earth’s temperature, serving as a “cloud-sunlight-reflectivity thermostat” that “controls the climate, controls the temperature of the earth, and stabilizes it very powerfully and very dramatically,” asserts Clauser. With two-thirds of the Earth being oceanic, the ocean becomes instrumental in cloud formation.

The article reports: Minimal clouds result in heightened sunlight exposure to the ocean, triggering increased evaporation and subsequent cloud formation, resulting in more clouds. .. abundant clouds reduce this sunlight, thus curbing evaporation rates and cloud formation, resulting in fewer clouds …This balance acts like a natural thermostat for the earth’s temperature…and has a vastly greater influence on Earth’s temperature than the effect of CO2 or methane… “this cloud-reflectivity mechanism might overshadow CO2’s influence by more than 100 or even 200 times.”

Koonin’s book reads that just a 5 percent rise in cloud cover can largely counterbalance the temperature effect of doubling atmospheric CO2. 

Clauser stated that this oversight, “is a rather egregious breach of honesty by the U.S. government by NOAA, . . . This worry about CO2, the worry about methane, the worry about global warming, is all a total fabrication by shocked journalists and or dishonest politicians.”

Clauser is not alone in his views.

The Global Climate Intelligence Group’s “World Climate Declaration” has been signed by 1,609 scientists and informed professionals, who say far more blatantly that “the ‘climate emergency’ is a farce.” When asked why they signed the statement “they all stated a variation of ‘because it’s true,’” reported Epoch Times.

The declaration’s signatories include Nobel laureates, theoretical physicists, meteorologists, professors, and environmental scientists worldwide.

“I signed the declaration because I believe the climate is no longer studied scientifically. Rather, it has become an item of faith,” Haym Benaroya, a distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers University.

Ralph Alexander, a retired physicist and author  of “Science Under Attack”, said, “The earth has warmed about 2 degrees F since the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850, but that hardly constitutes an emergency—or even a crisis—since the planet has been warmer yet over the last few millennia.”

Edwin Berry, a theoretical physicist and certified consulting meteorologist, said “public perception of carbon dioxide is that it goes into the atmosphere and stays there. They think it just accumulates. But it doesn’t.” He said carbon dioxide molecules stay in the atmosphere for about 3 1/2 years. And, while we are led to believe that human activity contributes about one-third of the total, it is only 5 to 7 percent. In explanation, IPCC claims that the CO2 humans emit is different from that which nature emits and the human CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

But, a human carbon dioxide molecule is exactly identical to a natural carbon dioxide molecule.

“The belief that human CO2 drives the CO2 increase may be the biggest public delusion and most costly fraud in history,” Berry said. He said the deception is all about money and control.

“All climate model predictions have been wrong,” claims Benaroya. He said that the “push” to declare a climate emergency is about “”power and money, but also larger political forces.”

As for the United Nations’ push for net-zero CO2 by 2050, Alexander said: “It’s a complete waste of time and resources and may well impoverish many Western economies. China and India are not playing along in any case, which makes the whole effort meaningless.”

Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of meteorology and the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated that the issue was never one of science but of politics. He says, “The only purpose of the policies is to make the society poorer. And if you’re poorer, you’re less resilient. So if you believe CO2 is an existential threat and your policies are doing nothing to prevent it but are making you less resilient, one would have to ask, are you a pathological sadist?”

The article quotes dozens of noted scientists, all of whom express doubts about global warming predictions – and be assured you have probably never seen any of their names in any media, especially not to the degree of Al Gore, who is no scientist at all.

Said one scientist, “the claim that 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing global warming isn’t truthful.”

When asked what concerns him most about the current narrative, Larry Bell, an architect known for designing and crafting inhabitable buildings for space, and an endowed professor at the University of Houston, said “I care about how climate hysteria, and how misinformation, drives policy. And these policies are driving our foundational bedrock policies that determine our economic well-being. They determine our national defense mastery—we won’t run a Navy on ethanol. We’re not going to run an Air Force on extension cords. It’s just absolutely insane. People think of climate as science. No, it’s not. It’s the big lever of government. It’s big globalism. And it ain’t favoring the U.S.”

Even if there is a “climate emergency” we as individual citizens need our freedom to deal with it – unless you trust your life to our political leadership, because that is where we are headed.

By Evelyn Pyburn

I just read a reference to “the power of the boycott” – suggesting that people are just discovering it.

It’s kind of amusing that this should be a surprise to anyone. The power of a boycott is nothing more than consumers making choices. It is the very foundation of a free market system that we should all know and understand. Any one in business who doesn’t know that the ultimate decision-maker is the consumer is not long to remain in business.

A boycott is just a lot of consumers rejecting a political product or idea being foisted upon us in some way by a business in cahoots with the government.

It’s for sure that most politicians know who the ultimate decision maker is. It’s why we see ourselves and our freedoms being attacked from so many different directions. Many – a great many – politicians are trying to eliminate our freedom to choose in the realm of politics, knowing we might not choose them as leaders.

Boycotts are being taken up in something of an unprecedented way to make a point, because many other avenues for citizens (consumers) to make a choice are being blocked. Boycotts remain one of few alternatives for people to make themselves heard due to a public /private “unholy” alliance between government and big companies.

Of course the choices of consumers are being constrained in other ways under the Biden administration as they try to coerce what consumer products we are able to buy, as government attempts to gain increasing power over each one of us. But while they may be able to make it difficult if not impossible to purchase some products, it becomes difficult to force us to buy others – as the weak market for electric cars demonstrates.

That is the power of the market. No matter what they do, eventually the market will prevail. No matter to what extremes the government may be willing to go, in the end it will fail because really, there is nothing more powerful than markets – than each person choosing what they will support and what they will not.

So while some people may be surprised by the effectiveness of boycotts, they shouldn’t be – they are at play every day and always will be.

By Evelyn Pyburn

Save us from those who want to protect us.

The 12-year-old girl from Red Lodge who is passing a petition to allow people to become lawyers in Montana without going to law school or without sanctions of the Supreme Court, is so spot-on in so many ways. Why shouldn’t the legal profession be as accountable to the consuming public as a retail store or a hot dog stand???

The only problem with this young person’s petition is that it involves only lawyers. Why shouldn’t every profession be accountable to the people they serve more so than all-knowing overlords – who, as we have come to see, are not as all-knowing?

In fact, if never before, surely the past few years has demonstrated for all of us, how the overlords are not necessarily the benevolent caretakers and unbiased evaluators, as they would like to pretend. Almost every regulatory body has demonstrated that they can most easily be corrupted to gain political power and unearned wealth – whether they be attorneys, doctors, researchers, real estate agents, educators, engineers, or financiers.

In the end, we as consumers must always use our own good judgement about who we depend upon for expertise. Just because there is a piece of paper that gives someone sanction from some august body is no guarantee as to their expertise, honesty and true professionalism. Education can be a factor to consider but it should be the citizen’s right to do the considering. The transaction between a citizen and an attorney should be no different than in deciding what lawn mower to buy or what grocery store to patronize. In the end it should be a combination of attributes that commends the professional – not least of which is reputation, just as it would in any other FREE MARKET TRANSACTION.

Why shouldn’t a prospective client make the judgement call as to who they want to represent them legally? After all a citizen retains the right to represent themselves if they so choose; why shouldn’t they be FREE to choose who they want to advise them? The truth is this is as much as a protection racket as any other scheme.

And the fact of the matter is, in establishing a regulatory body to make such decisions, even should they start out as a fair and ethical group, just the existence of such a position becomes a shrieking invitation to corruption, which means it is just a matter of time before they are the corrupted, unjust and destructive bodies, as most have become.

We have surely come to recognize that even in the medical profession and with the overlords sanctioning medical treatments and medicines, our lives can be at risk if we are to make decisions based exclusively on official approvals coming from government. Big Brother is not necessarily our friend, and every citizen is responsible for their own decisions, every bit as much as if there were no licensing and permitting regimes. So why establish the pretense that there is some all-knowing, all-caring, honest and knowledgeable decision-makers who can relieve us of the responsibility of having to make such decisions ourselves? All that the existence of such “expertise” does is dupe a lot of trusting citizens, who have otherwise been brainwashed into trusting to “officials.” Not having such governmental advisors would make more clear to all citizens that they are still the final decision makers.

And more than that — over and over again in the history of our country we have seen that brilliance can emerge from anywhere – it does not always come from the hallowed halls of academia – and in fact sometimes it emerges because it was not blunted by the staid philosophies of “experts”. In those cases, quite frequently a brilliant new idea has been forestalled by regulating boards, either because their members weren’t as brilliant, or they were protecting their friends and political alliances. In all cases – lives hung in the balance. It is in allowing people to protect their lives that they must have the freedom to choose in the market place – most especially when it comes to choosing what “professionals” they want to rely upon.

By Evelyn Pyburn

As jobs go begging in Montana people are often asking why. Where are the workers?

While it’s true that more workers are working now than ever before in Montana, it’s also true that there are businesses going out of business because they can’t get the workers they need. The Federal Reserve Bank recently asked the question, “Who’s not working?” If one takes measure of the people around them, their answer isn’t so surprising. Fully, 30 percent of working age Americans (25-54) who are not working are not in the formal labor force because they are caregivers. (I very much hesitate to say they are not working because being a caregiver – especially if doing so for both children and aging parents is very hard work indeed.)

For people in this age group, full-time caregiving is more common than not working due to school, poor health, unemployment, or military service.

In the big picture this should be a beautiful thing – to have parents actually raising their children, and families engaged in caring for their elderly or disabled rather than being institutionalized, is one of the greatest strengths our society could have.

About a third of caregivers are focused on children under age 6. The balance are either taking care of elderly relatives and some are caring for both the elderly and children. They are called the “Sandwich Generation” with most in the 40 year- age group and thieir numbers are growing.

The Seniorly Research Center (see front page article in this issue) reports a record 53 million Americans provide an estimated $600 billion annually in unpaid family caregiving. The number is up from 43.5 million in 2015. And, they add, “it is taking an enormous toll on their financial, physical, and mental health,” of the caregivers.

As I think about the people I know and what they are doing, these findings are not surprising and I suspect that is true for most of us. Over the past ten years, or so, I have known lots of people who have dedicated themselves, caring for elderly relatives—and as someone who has also done so in the past, I know it is one of the hardest things anyone can do. Watching friends who continue to do so, I am convinced that as a society we do not give caregivers the respect and gratitude they deserve.

Part of the reason I know they are not given the consideration they should have is because of all the laws and regulations  that are thrown in their way to make the jobs of government regulators easy while imposing incredibly ridiculous burdens on caregivers, who they really should be trying to help.

Just one little example: when my mother needed to go into assisted living and I tried to change her address at the post office, I was told I needed to bring my mother to the post office to do so. Taking my mother anywhere at that point in time was a half-day, major undertaking. While there are undoubtedly bad actors who must be guarded against — sorting that out should be the responsibility of people hired to do that. Their course of action should not be to push it onto the shoulders of someone who is already burdened with the phenomenal challenge of caregiving – most often without compensation.

I know one lady who told me her frustrations in trying to help an elderly, close family friend get medical care and assistance through various programs. For months she had had to deal with every kind of roadblock imaginable, usually by well-meaning people, sitting casually at desks, sipping their morning coffee, quoting by rote the rules – rules that imposed more work on everyone, and often creating serious delays. Delays that take a toll on the patient, as well as the caregiver. My friend explained how she eliminated most of her problems. She had a very professional-looking badge made, with her name on it and the title “Caregiver” embossed under it. It worked like magic. So what does that tell you?

Of course many of the most important caregivers in our society are the people who staff the medical facilities and other agencies that serve aging America, and they should be every bit as recognized and appreciated. In fact, quite often it was through them that I resolved problems that their superiors seemed quite indifferent about. Often on the QT, they would whisper what I should do to resolve a problem. Apparently, for the staff to be truly helpful was not allowed.

But the point is, those who think they are doing a good job in regulating this industry, aren’t.

And, unless and until you have been there and done that, most people do not realize the grave disservice, we as a society and community are imposing on people who deserve so much better. If, as these studies indicate, there is going to be more and more people in need of a better system, then let’s make it happen for the benefit of us all.

And by the way – the next time you see a caregiver, give  them a hug and say thank you.

By Evelyn Pyburn

The news recently held a report that fossil fuels are not good for human life.

One has to wonder, how simple-minded one must be, not to realize the absurdity of that statement. Look around you – wherever you are at – point to something that isn’t dependent upon fossil fuels, in one way or another, to be in existence. 

One might be concerned about the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate but it is beyond absurd not to know that other than water and oxygen – nothing has benefited human life more than the discovery and broad use of fossil fuels.

The reason so many people have a skewed negative perception about fossil fuels is that in discussions about them there is ZERO consideration given to any positive data. There is no balancing of the pros and cons about the use of fossil fuels. All we hear is the possible negatives – that aren’t really even substantiated. Almost all are theoretical. There is no interjection of positive benefits as a counter point — positives that are provable, without doubt, and which so exceed any nebulous negatives that it is astounding.

Nothing has been such a miracle to the human race as fossil fuels. Without them, chances are great that you and I would not be here, and for those humans who may have survived the whims of the planet, their lives would be grueling beyond belief, and stupefyingly boring!

To think that fossil fuels are not good for human life is almost as absurd as believing that “nature is our friend.” You can love nature. Enjoy it as much and in as many ways as you like. Manipulate it to your benefit. Marvel at its grandeur and beauty. But the moment you forget how treacherous it can be, is the moment it will snuff you out.

The abundant and cheap fuel that comes of oil, gas and coal is without doubt the reason that human life exists in the numbers it does today – or even exists at all. More than once in the history of human beings the species came near to extinction – in large part because of the climate – because it was too cold – too cold to keep from freezing, too cold to get adequate food, too cold to advance the well-being of the species.

Here’s a graph that in terms of life expectancy for human beings throughout the world, shows the mind-boggling increase in life expectancy that happened almost from the very instant we started using fossil fuels. Average life expectancy barely exceeded 30 years for most of human existence.  It was less than 200 years ago, that fossil fuels came into use by human beings, and during that time it’s been an almost perpendicular climb to an average life expectancy of over 70 years old. How can one look at that and declare that fossil fuels have been bad news for human beings?

The graph comes from Alex Epstein’s book, “Fossil Future”, in which Epstein explains the reason we have benefitted so mightily from fossil fuels. The benefit of fossil fuels “are the ultra-cost-effective machine labor, enormous amounts of freed-up mental labor, and materials that radically increase humanity’s productive ability and therefore make our naturally deficient, dangerous, low-opportunity, stagnant planet into an unnaturally nourishing, safe, opportunity-filled, progressing world.”

Oh yes – people point to solar and wind energy as alternatives but they are not alternatives. Those energy sources depend on fossil fuels to be even remotely viable. Those industries have been propped up because of subsidies that are generated by taxpayers using fossil fuels to earn the money from which the taxes are paid. There is also little mention of the fact that most of the materials used in building wind mills and solar units is mined, manufactured and transported almost completely through the use of fossil fuels.  And, what was the source of power that got the equipment and material transported to generating sites? 

The fact is neither “alternative” could even be discussed as possibly viable without fossil fuels – and for all the subsidies and market “favors” they have received, the alternatives still fall egregiously short of meeting even ten percent of anyone’s energy needs. Perhaps some day they, or something else, will, but not today.

If we are to eradicate fossil fuels and if you want to continue the existence of human beings then someone must come up with a rational plan of how to replace fossil fuels – or most of us will die. A plan! That’s all I am waiting for.

But perhaps that is the plan. There have been global warming alarmists who have very clearly and forthrightly stated that to eliminate the number of human beings is exactly what they hope to achieve. I have a couple ideas on how they can get a jump on that without threatening my life; but, one must at least give these people credit for being honest, because the death of millions of people is exactly what the results will be of eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

In fact, the current strategy of governments around the world in reducing the use of fossil fuels, of increasing the costs of using them and prohibiting the acquisition of more, has already resulted in untold deaths.  People freezing to death because of rolling black outs, or because they can’t afford the escalating cost of producing foods or medicines. When they can’t obtain necessities to sustain their lives – that is what most threatens human life.

Fossil fuels are very much so– very good for human life!

Evelyn Pyburn

We are over the top, ridiculous, when freedom is so far lost that people are turned out into the cold to freeze in order to defend bureaucrats’ regulatory turf. That’s what happened in Montana when in the depth of winter, churches wanting to provide a warm place for homeless families were thwarted by fat and happy, taxpayer-kept code enforcers, because the churches did not meet fire codes.

It’s a case in which some people believe that their rules and their power are more important than human life. This incident, which required an act of the state legislature in order to instill some common sense, is actually a clear and stark example of what really stands in the way of things like affordable housing, as well as many other aspects of a free society.

Life is about risks and making choices in dealing with risk. It’s apparent that some people are pursuing the impossible – to remove all risk – not understanding that to remove risk is to remove life.  Such it is,  to insist that people endure sub-zero cold on a winter’s night just in case a church might burn down. It is to make pursuit of perfection a higher priority than human life. It is to conclude that the “ideal” square footage of a house is more important than actually sheltering human life.

To go on …. it is to eschew cheap and abundant energy in a quest to eliminate potential risk for future life, even if it means the death of current life. It is to conclude that the hypothetical rescue of a planet is more important than the people who live on it. Pursuit of such a value is not to know that a planet or any inanimate object does not hold values… life is required for values to exist. Sustaining life is the sole purpose of values. So how is one to explain the purpose of pursuing a “value” that destroys life?

Of course there is a benefit in reducing the likelihood of fire in a church or to make sure that a house is built as soundly as possible – -but not when the church stands empty because the people it was intended to serve froze to death, or that a house is not built because no one can afford to build it. It is profoundly true, as is being claimed, that there is a shortage of affordable housing because of regulations. There is no doubt that a free market would generate housing in unbelievable abundance if the market were only allowed to do so – if regulations didn’t stop people from building homes.

One of the beauties of a free – UNREGULATED – market is that it quickly and accurately balances risks and benefits – on multiple levels all at the same time – which then advances the ability of human beings to improve upon a situation, whether it’s coming in from the cold or creating more wealth (ie. wellbeing). Or to strive for those things with greater benefits and less risk in a manner of their choosing. Living and serving life is a fluid process not rigid mandates. Choosing what risks one wants to assume is a personal decision – one that requires the freedom to do so.

This is not a new idea.

By Evelyn Pyburn

In reporting about the media misrepresentations, regarding Representative Kerri Seekins-Crowe’s experience in discussing the transgender issue of SB-99 during the state legislature, she said that after asking one reporter about why he wasn’t interested in her side of the story, he told her that while he didn’t want to lie, since the issue was “politics” he could basically “portray any truth he wants to.”

Although the statement is stunning, because he was so forthright it brought some enlightenment.

One of the most troublesome things in dealing with politics is the uncertainty one always faces in trying to decide the truth. No matter what side of the isle a politician comes from they are often masters at obfuscating the truth in self-serving ways. It’s almost a game to figure out what they aren’t saying or to untangle the words they do say.

Because of this, has media concluded that there are no rules when it comes to reporting political issues – that anything goes? A particularly troubling conclusion, since these issues are usually incredibly important.

The outspoken reporter helped to understand that maybe many in media have concluded that when dealing with politics there is no truth and its ok to report whatever feels good. Maybe this is how media has come to be so unreliable and so political itself. Rather than a source of enlightenment media has taken on the hue of politics, and one has to be wary about what to accept as solid facts—  or the greater likelihood to realize that many consequential facts are left out of the information put forth.

While life brings the lesson that for the most part everyone has their own “truth”, given that contradictions cannot exist, we must also know that not all of them are right. While I can have empathy with the wistful bromide that in life some things that aren’t true should be true, saying so doesn’t make it so.

Much of our success as individual human beings depends upon how accurately we identify truth – how well we understand reality. If it’s a reality we want to change, that’s fine, but one is not going to be successful in changing anything that is not clearly understood. 

Since there are so many different conclusions that people reach about truth, the ideal role of media is to bring as much information and ideas to the fore as possible, so each person can come to their own conclusions. To attempt to dictate truth, whether by media or anyone else, is the height of hubris – unless of course you are an individual who is never wrong.

When I am asked how to find objective information, my answer is that objective information is the responsibility of the inquiring individual. Get information from a broad range of sources. To sort through all kinds of conflicting data and distill it to what is real is the purpose of having a brain—of having the ability to reason. It is the defining characteristic of human beings. If one is counting on others to do this, good luck! That approach makes you vulnerable to serving the purpose of others—such as this reporter.

Gathering as much information as possible is our means of survival, which is why freedom of speech and access to information is so important. It is why censorship is such a despicable thing. Anyone who censors, twists or lies the information they present, is your enemy  . . they are attacking your very ability to survive.

By Evelyn Pyburn

The concept of non-partisan is nonsense.

It’s to say that a person doesn’t have an opinion. It’s to say they aren’t thinking. An employer I once worked for told me that they wouldn’t want someone working for them who didn’t have opinions because it meant they didn’t think.

While I am certain there are people in this world who don’t think, that’s not what “non-partisan” elections mean – it means the voter is to be denied knowledge about WHAT the candidate thinks.

The only thing a party affiliation might convey to a voter is where the candidates generally stand on issues. It’s a short-hand of sorts – which at its best is limited in the information it conveys to the voter but it could convey some information – certainly more than in not knowing. And, if a candidate doesn’t want to identify with either party they can say so. They can declare themselves an independent – and that also conveys information to the voters. Or better yet, they can be very specific with voters about what they do think.

What a voter wants to know is “How do you stand on issues? What can I expect from you in how you administrate?”

The answer to those questions may or may not reflect a specific political party, but there are lots of issues, some likely to be unanticipated, and knowing if a candidate likes one party or another could indicate a general philosophical position for voters —  that’s why parties have platforms. The issue isn’t about parties, it’s about ideas.

Why would anyone want to deny voters of as much information as possible? What’s the point in voting if you don’t know what you are voting for? There is an answer to this of course. Within the realm of political gamesmanship there are many times that a candidate doesn’t want the voters to know the truth of their positions, it doesn’t mean they don’t have them.  All the more reason a voter should know the ideas and policies a candidate holds.

Those who insist there are benefits to “non-partisanship” are quite obviously partisans.

What is baffling though is why do candidates go along with the program? I have encountered candidates who when campaigning in a “non-partisan election” say they avoid revealing their ideas in case it reflects a specific party. I found that incomprehensible. Just because someone declares it non-partisan doesn’t mean you have to play the game.

There is a sliver of understanding why people may want to see judges identified as non-partisan from the standpoint that that term for many people is interpreted to mean the candidate will be objective in their decisions. Again, utter nonsense.

They – maybe more than most – have ideas and opinions about issues— guaranteed. Declaring that judges should be non-partisan is to misunderstand the point of it all. The question we as voters should want answered is “Can you set your political views and biases aside and interpret the law even if it is contrary to your personal views?” That is real non-partisanship.

If they can interpret the law as written and not advocate for their political views then they can make a good judge – but as we have come to see over the past few decades, this is an increasingly rare ability. Calling for non-partisanship does nothing to identify judges who are smart enough or honest enough to interpret the law.

There are undoubtedly laws that are not good, but if they need to be changed that is the role of legislature – not the judicial branch. Unfortunately, that seems to be an understanding about our system that most judges have forgotten or failed to ever know.

The fact is if a bad law is accurately interpreted by a judge, such a decision could prompt a legislature to correct it – assuming of course that the legislature also sees it as a bad law – ahh, but there’s the rub – most judges who write law rather than interpret the law, do so in order to circumvent a legislature whose majority may very well not agree. Of course, such a judge has absolutely no business being a judge and is in fact unscrupulous in character.

So when you, as a voter, are asked to participate in a non-partisan election, know that partisan games are being played and that you are not being respected as a voter. Understand that the deck is being stacked against you, and dedicate yourself to not accepting such rules.