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by John Stossel

        "How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood!" insisted teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations. "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction!"
        Many people say that we're destroying the Earth.
        It all sounds so scary.
        But I've been a consumer reporter for years, and I've covered so many scares: plague, famine, overpopulation, SARS, West Nile virus, bird flu, radiation from cellphones, flesh-eating bacteria, killer bees, etc. The list of terrible things that were going to get us is very long.
        Yet we live longer than ever.
        Now I'm told global warming is different.
        The Earth's average temperature is rising. It's risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. The U.N. predicts it will rise another 2 to 5 degrees this century. If that happens, that will create problems.
        But does that justify what's being said?
        "We have 12 years to act!" says Joe Biden.
        "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change!" adds Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
        Twelve years? That's the new slogan.
        The Heartland Institute invited some climate alarmists to explain the "12 years" and other frightening statements they keep making.
        The alarmists didn't even show up. They never do. They make speeches and preach to gullible reporters, but they won't debate anyone who is skeptical.
        Over the years, I repeatedly invited Al Gore to come on my TV shows. His staff always said he was "too busy."
        At a Heartland Institute event I moderated, climatologist Pat Michaels put the 12-year claim in perspective by saying, "It's warmed up around 1 degree Celsius since 1900, and life expectancy doubled in the industrialized democracies! Yet that temperature ticks up another half a degree and the entire system crashes? That's the most absurd belief!"
        Astrophysicist Willie Soon added, "It's all about hand-waving, emotion, sending out kids in protest. It has nothing to do with the science."
        Is that true? I wish the alarmists would show up and debate.
        Alarmists say, "Miami will soon be underwater!"
        Few serious people deny that the Earth has warmed and that sea levels are rising. But Michaels points out that even if the warming increases, humans can adjust.
        For example, much of Holland is below sea level. "They said," Michaels recounts, "we're going to adapt to the fact that we're a low-lying country; we're going to build these dikes. Are you telling me that people in Miami are so dumb that they're just going to sit there and drown?"
        Climatology professor David Legates added a point the climate alarmists never make: "The water has been rising for approximately 20,000 years and probably will continue."
        But aren't sudden climate changes happening now? Aren't hurricanes suddenly far more violent?
        "No they aren't!" responded Michaels. "You can take a look at all the hurricanes around the planet. We can see them since 1970, because we've got global satellite coverage. We can measure their power... There is no significant increase whatsoever -- no relationship between hurricane activity and the surface temperature of the planet!"
        He's right. That's what government data shows.
        Nevertheless, activists and politicians demand the United States move toward zero carbon emissions. That would "put you back in the Stone Age," says Michaels.
        Another myth is that carbon dioxide, the prime creator of greenhouse gases, threatens the food supply.
        But carbon dioxide helps plants grow. "There are places on Earth where it is greening up like crazy," says Michaels.
        But if the crisis isn't real, why do governments race to respond to it with regulations and big spending projects? Why is the U.N.'s Panel on Climate (IPCC) so alarmed?
        Well, IPCC does stand for Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change.
        Legates says, "Governments want to keep control... Carbon dioxide becomes that molecule by which (they) can take control of your lives."
        Government is the real crisis.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

       The absolute worst case of professional incompetence and dishonesty is in the area of climate science. Tony Heller has exposed some of the egregious dishonesty of mainstream environmentalists in a video he's titled "My Gift To Climate Alarmists." Environmentalists and their political allies attribute the recent increase in deadly forest fires to global warming. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, forest fires reached their peak in the 1930s and have declined by 80% since then. Environmentalists hide the earlier data and make their case for the effects of global warming by showing the public and policymakers data from 1980 that shows an increase in forest fires.
        Climate scientists claim that rising sea levels are caused by man-made global warming. Historical data from the tide gauge in Lower Manhattan shows that sea levels have been rising from about the time when Abraham Lincoln was president to now. Heller says that sea levels have been rising for about 20,000 years. He points out that anthropologists believe that when the sea level was very low people were able to walk from Siberia to North America.
        Hot weather is often claimed to be a result of man-made climate change. Heller presents data showing the number of days in Waverly, Ohio, above 90 degrees. In 1895, there were 73 days above 90 degrees. In 1936, there were 82 days above 90 degrees. Since the 1930s, there has been a downward trend in the number of days above 90 degrees. If climatologists hide data from earlier years and started at 1955, they show an increase in the number of above 90-degree days from eight or nine to 30 or 40. Thus, to deceive us into thinking the climate is getting hotter, environmentalists have selected a starting date that fits their agenda.
        You might ask: "Who is Tony Heller? Does he work for big oil?" It turns out that he is a scientist and claims to be a lifelong environmentalist. From what I can tell, he has no vested interests. In that respect, he is different from those who lead the environmental movement, who often either work for or are funded by governments.
        Once in a while environmentalists reveal their true agenda. Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC's fourth summary report released in 2007, speaking in 2010 advised: "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world's wealth." U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the true aim of the U.N.'s 2014 Paris climate conference was "to change the (capitalist) economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution." Christine Stewart, Canada's former Minister of the Environment said: "No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits. ... Climate change (provides) the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." Tim Wirth, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and the person most responsible for setting up the Kyoto Pr!
 otocol said: "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."
        Not all scientists are dishonest and not all news reporters are leftists with an agenda. But one wonders at the deafening silence where there's clear, unambiguous evidence. For example, if ocean levels have been rising for some 20,000 years, why do scientists allow environmentalists to get away with the claim that it's a result of man-made global warming? Why aren't there any reporters to highlight leftist statements such as those by Edenhofer, Stewart and others who want to ride global warming as a means to defeat capitalism and usher in socialism and communism? I would prefer to think that the silence of so many scientists represent their fears as opposed to their going along with the environmental extremist agenda.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        Governments create problems. Then they complain about them.
        "A public health crisis exists," says Kentucky's government, citing a report that found "a shortage of ambulance providers."
        Local TV stations report on "people waiting hours for medical transportation."
        "Six-year-old Kyler Truesdell fell off his motorcycle," reported Channel 12 news. "The local hospital told (his mother) he should be transported to Cincinnati Children's to check for internal injuries." But there was no ambulance available. Kyler had to wait two hours.
        Yet Kyler's cousin, Hannah Howe, runs an ambulance service in Ohio, just a few minutes away. "We would've (taken him) for free," she says in my new video. "But it would've been illegal."
        It would be illegal because of something called certificate of need (CON) laws.
        Kentucky and three other states require businesses to get a CON certificate before they are allowed to run an ambulance service. Certificates go only to businesses that bureaucrats deem "necessary."
        CON laws are supposed to prevent "oversupply" of essential services like, well, ambulances. If there are "too many" ambulance companies, some might cut corners or go out of business. Then patients would suffer, say the bureaucrats.
        Of course, Kentucky patients already suffer, waiting.
        It raises the question: If there's demand, then who are politicians to say that a business is unnecessary?
        Phillip Truesdell, Hannah's father, often takes patients to hospitals in Kentucky, "I drop them off (but) I can't go back and get them!" he told me. "Who gives the big man the right to say, 'You can't work here'?!"
        Government.
        Phillip and Hannah applied for a CON certificate and waited 11 months for a response. Then they learned that their application was being protested by existing ambulance providers.
        Of course it was. Businesses don't like competition.
        "We go to court, these three ambulance services showed up," recounts Howe.
        "They hammered her, treated her like she was a criminal," says Truesdell. "Do you know what you're going to do to this company?! ... To this town?!"
        "It wasn't anything to do with us being physically able to do it. (They) just came through like the big dog not trying to let anybody else on the porch," says Howe.
        Three other ambulance companies also applied for permission to operate in Kentucky. They were rejected, too.
        Truesdell and Howe were lucky to find the Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm that fights for Americans' right to earn a living.
        Pacific Legal lawyer Anastasia Boden explains: "Traditionally we allow consumers to decide what's necessary. Existing operators are never going to say more businesses are necessary."
        One Kentucky ambulance provider who opposed the new applications sent me a statement that says "saturating a community with more EMS agencies than it can ... support (leads) all agencies to become watered down."
        Boden replies: "That's just absurd. We now recognize that competition leads to efficient outcomes."
        It's not just ambulance companies and people waiting for ambulances who are hurt by CON laws. Thirty-five states demand that businesses such as medical imaging companies, hospitals and even moving companies get CON certificates before they are allowed to open.
        Boden warns: "Once you get these laws on the books, it's very hard to get them off. Monopolies like their monopoly. This started back in the '70s with the federal government."
        But the feds, amazingly, wised up and repealed the mandate in 1987, saying things like, "CON laws raise considerable competitive concerns (and) consumers benefit from lower prices when provider markets are more competitive."
        Unfortunately, politicians in Kentucky and many other states haven't wised up.
        When Virginia tried to abolish its CON law, local hospitals spent $200,000 on ads claiming competition will force hospitals to close. Somehow, hospitals operate just fine in states without CON laws. But the Virginia scare campaign worked. The state still has a CON law.
        In health care, and all fields, it's better to see what competition can do rather than letting the government and its cronies decide what to allow.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

        A recent survey conducted by the Victims of Communism and polled by YouGov, a research and data firm, found that 70% of millennials are likely to vote socialist and that one in three millennials saw communism as "favorable."
        Let examine this tragic vision in light of the Fraser Institute's recently released annual study "Economic Freedom of the World," prepared by Professors James Gwartney, Florida State University; Robert A. Lawson and Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University; and Joshua Hall, West Virginia University, in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network.
        Hong Kong and Singapore maintained their lead as the world's most economically free countries -- although China's heavy hand threatens Hong Kong's top ranking. Rounding out the top 10 are New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Mauritius. By the way, after having fallen to 16th in 2016, the U.S. has staged a comeback to being in the top five economically free countries in the world.
        What statistics go into the Fraser Institute's calculation of economic freedom? The report measures the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions by analyzing the policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories. These include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, sound legal system, private property rights and government spending and taxation.
        Fraser Institute scholar Fred McMahon says, "Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives." The evidence for his assessment is: Countries in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of $36,770 in 2017 compared with $6,140 for bottom quartile countries. Poverty rates are lower. In the top quartile, 1.8% of the population experienced extreme poverty ($1.90 a day) compared with 27.2% in the lowest quartile. Life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile of economically free countries compared with 64.4 years in the bottom quartile.
        The Fraser Institute's rankings of other major countries include Japan (17th), Germany (20th), Italy (46th), France (50th), Mexico (76th), India (79th), Russia (85th), China (113th) and Brazil (120th). The least free countries are Venezuela, Argentina, Ukraine and nearly every African country with the most notable exception of Mauritius. By the way, Argentina and Venezuela used to be rich until they bought into socialism.
        During the Cold War, leftists made a moral equivalency between communist totalitarianism and democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman ... a quiet, unobtrusive man." George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao Zedong and the Chinese economic system. Gunther Stein of the Christian Science Monitor also admired Mao and declared ecstatically that "the men and women pioneers of Yenan are truly new humans in spirit, thought and action." Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter's China expert, complained that "America (is) doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.
        Leftists exempted communist leaders from the harsh criticism directed toward Adolf Hitler, even though communist crimes against humanity made Hitler's slaughter of 11 million noncombatants appear almost amateurish. According to Professor R.J. Rummel's research in "Death by Government," from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens. From 1949 to 1976, Mao's Communist regime was responsible for the death of as many as 76 million Chinese citizens.
        Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from that of past tyrants. They should keep in mind that the origins of the unspeakable horrors of Nazism, Stalinism and Maoism did not begin in the '20s, '30s and '40s. Those horrors were simply the result of a long evolution of ideas leading to a consolidation of power in the central government in the quest for "social justice."
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        House members summoned Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to Washington, D.C., and grilled him -- harshly -- about his plan to create a new currency, Libra.
        "Why should we trust you?!" asked Congressman Mike Doyle.
        I liked it when Zuckerberg said, "I actually don't know if Libra's going to work, but I believe that it's important to try new things."
        He was right. That's very important.
        The Libra would make it easier to transfer money anywhere in the world. It also promises stability. Its value would be based on a basket of currencies from different countries, which would protect Libra owners from inflation in any one country.
        It's an idea that deserves a try.
        But it may never be tried because the clueless politicians' threats of punitive regulation scared off many of its supporters.
        Politicians want to crack down on Libra "because they're threatened by it," says tech reporter Naomi Brockwell in my new video. "This is going to be competition for the U.S. dollar. Government doesn't like competition."
        Governments also like to control any money that we might use.
        "Want to send money to Russia to a family member; it's going to be censored. You want to send money to a relief effort in Venezuela; it's going to be censored," says Brockwell. But if you use a cryptocurrency like Libra or Bitcoin, "your money will get through. That's an incredibly powerful tool that gives people the freedom to spend their money where they want to spend it."
        Bitcoin is harder to stop than a currency like Libra would be because Bitcoin doesn't emanate from one company or government mint. There's no one owner of Bitcoin or most other cryptocurrencies.
        "It is the first currency that is decentralized," Brockwell points out. "That's why it's still around, because they haven't been able to have these hearings, haven't been able to call the CEO of Bitcoin and say, 'cease and desist!' There is no server to unplug, no company to shut down, no CEO to throw in jail, so it persists! That's really exciting."
        Digital currencies "live" on thousands of individuals' computers, so no government can stop them by pressuring any one company.
        That's a reason they're valuable.
        When Bitcoin started, it was worth virtually nothing. But two years ago, the price of one bitcoin reached $19,891. Then it crashed to $3,192. As I write, the price is $9,390.
        That volatility deters many people from using Bitcoin as money, but to those of us who don't trust governments, Brockwell points out: "It is the only suitable money for free people."
        Of course, many disagree.
        "I think it's a gigantic classic pump and dump scheme," says investor Peter Schiff. "There's nothing to give Bitcoin value."
        It's "a bubble," vulnerable to attacks from governments. "They can get banks and financial institutions to make it very difficult for Americans to use it."
        Schiff doesn't claim we should count on dollar bills because he doesn't trust politicians either. He suggests people buy gold to hedge against politicians' irresponsibility.
        "Gold has worked for thousands of years," says Schiff. Unlike Bitcoin, "gold has actual value. A huge industry needs gold: jewelry ... consumer electronics, aerospace and medicine."
        I've hedged against the dollar by buying both gold and Bitcoin. My Bitcoin investment did better. But Schiff says I'm a fool if I don't sell it now.
        I don't know which way prices will move. But I know that it's good to have alternatives to government-created currencies. The dollar's value is only backed by politicians' promises. I sure won't trust those.
        Even when currency is stable, government can use its power over currency to censor people.
        "The government decided that they didn't want WikiLeaks to receive donations, so they froze transactions," observes Brockwell. But they couldn't stop Bitcoin.
        She says government has had "a monopoly on the money supply for a very long time, and now consumers finally have a choice. You can send bitcoin peer-to-peer to someone on the other side of the world almost instantly at very low cost, and it can't be censored. That's incredibly powerful."
        It is.
        Alternatives to government monopolies are very good things.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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