Crime Inc.: What 'Greening of America' Means





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It's a safe bet that most Americans' first exposure to the concept of carbon trading or cap-and-trade legislation came during the most recent presidential campaign when both candidates advocated the need to make protecting the environment a government mandate instead of the moral obligation it's always been. In the past few months President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that a comprehensive energy/environmental law, including cap-and-trade, is an absolute priority of his administration.

Cap-and-Trade

Simply put, the idea behind the cap-and-trade plan is this: The federal government would set limits or cap the amount of pollutant a business could create. If the business chose to emit levels exceeding the cap they would have to find a business not using its full allotment and purchase the surplus from them. Needless-to-say, for the concept to work there would need to be a highly centralized infrastructure to facilitate the transactions, matching buyers to sellers.

The CCX: A Dream Come True?

For people like Richard Sandor and former Vice-President Al Gore the focus on "green politics" represented the culmination of years of planning and a giant step towards a massive payday.

With a big helping hand from then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, Sandor's brainchild, The Chicago Climate Exchange, opened for business in 2003 billing itself as "North America's only cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases..." In other words, the facilitator for a scheme not quite hatched. Sandor, a long-time economist turned environmentalist shared his vision during a 1990 interview with the Wall Street Journal, saying, "Air and water are no longer the free goods that economics once assumed. They must be redefined as property rights so that they can be efficiently allocated." The statement didn't get a lot of attention back then but today seems prophetic. Sandor claims his idea of efficient allocation, also known as carbon trading, will develop into a $10 trillion industry.

Assembling the Team

During 2000 and 2001, the Joyce Foundation, a progressive trust with assets near $1 billion, known for funding groups like Center for American Progress and Tides Foundation, provided grants to CCX totaling $1.1 million. State Senator Obama served on the foundation's board of directors during that time and was instrumental in awarding the grants.

Shortly after the first grant was approved, the president of The Joyce Foundation, Paula DiPerna, left to join the executive team of CCX. Other notables with familiar names soon followed.

Former Vice-President Al Gore became part-owner of CCX when his company, Generation Investment Management, made a sizeable investment. Gore brought with him his senior partner at GIM, David Blood, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, along with a company chalk full of former Goldman Sachs' executives

Goldman Sachs itself soon joined the team buying a ten percent interest in CCX

Maurice Strong, once linked to Tongsun Park, the central figure in the United Nation's oil-for-food scandal in 2005 and one of the architects of the Kyoto Protocol, joined the CCX board of directors

Carlton Bartels was one of the first, and perhaps most important, additions to the CCX roster. As CEO of a company called CO2e, Bartels developed and delivered the actual guts of the exchange — a system for facilitating and managing the actual carbon trades

Strange Bedfellows

Just three weeks after filing for a patent for his carbon trade system, Bartels was killed during the attacks of 9/11. Bartels' death opened the door for a new partner to join CCX, easily the oddest fit of them all: Fannie Mae. In a move still unexplained, the quasi-governmental mortgage agency, led by CEO Franklin Raines, purchased the rights to the system from Bartel's widow. A patent on the invention was granted to Raines and Fannie Mae on November 7, 2006, ironically, the day after the Democrats regained control of Congress. According to Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner, the patent covers both the "cap" and "trade" parts of Obama's top domestic energy initiative and gives Fannie Mae proprietary control over the automated trading system used by Sandor's CCX.

When asked about the patent recently Fannie Mae communications director Amy Bonitatibus told the Washington Examiner, "Fannie Mae earns no money on this patent. We can't conjecture as to the cap-and-trade legislation." A source close to Fannie Mae, however, says a plan is in place to funnel future earnings from the patent to a non-profit housing organization called Enterprise Community Partners. Ironically, Raines, who left Fannie Mae in 2004 amidst allegations that he inflated earnings reports in order to collect higher bonuses ($52 million in bonuses over 5-years; $90 million in total compensation), serves on the board of trustees at Enterprise. In a continuation of theme, Goldman Sachs also has a representative on the board in the person of Alicia Glen.

Off to See the Wizard

In December 2009 The Joyce Foundation awarded Raines and Enterprise a $200,000 grant to launch Emerald Cities Collaborative. According to its website, "The Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) is a start-up, national coalition of diverse groups that includes unions, labor groups, community organizations, social justice advocates, development intermediaries, research and technical assistance providers, socially responsible businesses, and elected officials."

Emerald Cities' goal is "the greening of our nation's central cities and the creation of a "new vital economic sector." The collaborative is headed up by Joel Rogers, widely recognized as the "man behind the curtain" of today's progressive political movement. Rogers founded the powerful Apollo Alliance, the group recognized as having shaped much of the Obama administration's stimulus bill. Former White House green jobs "czar," Van Jones, described Rogers influence this way: "The best thinking that he represents… is now represented in the White House."

Also represented on the Emerald Cities board of directors, Gerald Hudson, executive director of SEIU (also on the Apollo Alliance advisory board); Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All (created by Van Jones), and Doris Koo, CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, along with a collection of other union and community activist regulars.

The Bottom Line

The "environmental movement," once the bastion of peace loving hippies and Earth mothers, is potentially the booming business of the 21st century. Billions of dollars currently change hands each year in the name of the environment and, by all accounts, the surface is only scratched.

To date the missing piece of the puzzle has been a government mandate, something cap-and-trade legislation will remedy. Those already in the game stand to reap a fortune on the backs of average Americans who will see their energy bills "necessarily skyrocket," as President Obama explained, as businesses pass along the new cost of doing what they do in a "green America."

It's interesting to note that without the specter of a government mandate, the Chicago Climate Exchange would hold no value. Likewise Fannie Mae's patented trading system and Emerald Cities' prospects for "a new vital economic sector" would be nothing more than fool's gold.

Equally troubling is the blatant acknowledgement by those involved in this high stakes green rush that power and profit are the only real benefits to be had. The words of Joel Rogers: "I hope you all realized that you could eliminate every power plant in America today and you can stop every car in America. Take out the entire power generation sector and you still would not be anywhere near 80 percent below 1990 levels. You would be closer to around 60 percent... it would be around 68 percent and this is with bringing the economy to a complete halt… basically."

Crime Inc. – what do they know and when did they know it… and how much will it cost the American people?

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In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

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Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.