Sunday, November 22, 2015

"If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live."

Greenies love that quote because it gives a veneer of profundity to their totally ignorant scares about fluctuating bee populations.  They even attribute the quote to Einsten, even though it in fact comes from the writings of Maurice Maeterlinck, who was a Belgian poet.  And Maeterlinck was wrong if honey bees were what he was talking about, which he probably was and which Greenies clearly are. Honey Bees Are Not Native to North America so how did the Indians get on before the white man introduced them?  Did they starve?  Hardly. Background article on that below.  More on the 20,000 species of bees here.  Something I didn't know but which seems obvious when you know it, is that bees are descended from wasps

Honey bees are among the most recognizable and beneficial of the insects that live in North America. But these insects are not even native to the Americas. Like most of the livestock associated with American farms, honey bees were imported by European settlers.

Prior to the arrival of the Old World settlers, honey bees were unknown to Native Americans. In fact, several early American writers, including Thomas Jefferson, reported that honey bees were called “white man's flies.” The name was recognition that the appearance of honey bees in America was associated with the arrival of the Europeans.

There was a close association between the westward migration of Europeans and the establishment of wild colonies of honey bees. Native Americans were said to have noticed that shortly after colonies of honey bees were discovered, white settlers would not be far behind.

So when did the first colonies of honey bees arrive in the New World? These bees probably came from England and arrived in Virginia in 1622. By 1639 colonies of honey bees were found throughout the woods in Massachusetts. Some of the colonists who arrived at Plymouth likely brought bees, as well as sheep, cows and chickens on the trip across the Atlantic.

Once the bees were introduced, they, like other insects, were able to increase their range by moving into new territory. Honey bees increase colony numbers by swarming. Swarms are able to fly several miles to establish a new colony.

Such migrating swarms brought honey bees to Connecticut and Pennsylvania by the mid 1650s. Honey bees had swarmed their way into Michigan by 1776 and Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois by 1800. In the next 20 years or so, bees had made their way to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Wisconsin.

Further westward migration of the honey bee was slow. In 1843 it was reported that there were no honey bees beyond Kansas. However, Mormons arrived in Utah, and the first bees were taken there on the back of a wagon in 1848. So successful was this introduction, it was reported that a considerable amount of honey was being made in the southern counties of Utah. By 1852 the swarms had reached Nevada.

Bees were finally introduced into the Pacific Coast states by using a sea route along the East Coast and crossing Panama, before using the Pacific Ocean for the final part of the journey. It was in 1853 that botanist C. A. Shelton used this route to introduce the first honey bees into California. Only enough bees from 12 colonies survived to establish one colony, but it was enough to allow history to credit him with starting the honey bee industry in the golden state.

Transporting colonies of bees either by sea or land in the 1700s and 1800s was not easy. The sea voyage from England lasted six to eight weeks, and it was not easy to keep bees alive for that length of time while confined. Many of the attempts to transport bees were unsuccessful as many stories relate.

For once in our history, the introduction of a foreign insect has a happy ending. After all, honey bees are a very important part of agriculture in this country, and we really can't do without them. Even if they do sting us once in a while!


Congressman now threatens to subpoena commerce secretary over cover-up of global warming report

NOAAgate now has whistleblowers!  Just the coverup tells you all you need to know.  The fact that the paper was published in a Warmist journal is no reassurance at all

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) opened another front in his war with federal climate researchers on Wednesday, saying a groundbreaking global warming study was “rushed to publication” over the objections of numerous scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In a second letter in less than a week to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Smith urged her to pressure NOAA to comply with his subpoena for internal communications. Smith says whistleblowers have come forward with new information on the climate study’s path to publication in June. The study refuted claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the past decade, undercutting a popular argument used by those who refute the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind global warming.

The research, considered a bombshell in the climate change debate, set off alarms among skeptics. Smith, a prominent congressional skeptic, claimed that scientists manipulated data to advance President Obama’s agenda and timed the study’s release to coincide with the administration’s new limits on emissions from coal plants.

He is seeking NOAA’s internal communications and e-mails among its researchers, and in October subpoenaed Administrator Kathryn Sullivan for the documents. But she has refused to turn them over, saying that deliberative communications between scientists should be protected.

Smith told Pritzker that the whistleblowers’ allegations make it more crucial that he be provided with the scientists’ internal e-mails and communications. If NOAA does not produce the e-mails he is seeking by Friday, the chairman said, “I will be forced to consider use of compulsory process,” a threat to subpoena the commerce secretary herself.

Whistleblowers have told the committee, according to Smith’s letter, that Thomas Karl — the director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which led the study — “rushed” to publish the climate study “before all appropriate reviews of the underlying science and new methodologies” used in the climate data sets were conducted.

“NOAA employees raised concerns about the timing and integrity of the process but were ignored,” he wrote.

NOAA Communications Director Ciaran Clayton, one of the officials whose communications the committee has subpoenaed, said in an e-mail:

“The notion that this paper was rushed to publication is false. In December 2014, the co-authors of the study submitted their findings to Science — a leading scientific journal.  Following a rigorous peer review process, which included two rounds of revisions to ensure the credibility of the data and methodologies used, Science informed the authors that the paper would be published in June.

“The notion that NOAA is ‘hiding something’ is also false. We have been transparent and cooperative with the House Science Committee to help them better understand the research and underlying methodologies. … We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner.”

An aide to the Science Committee told The Post that the committee “has been in continual contact with whistleblowers for some time and received new information as recently as yesterday.”


Sen. Inhofe: Americans Won’t Agree to Pay $3B to UN’s Climate Change Fund

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said Wednesday that Americans  would not agree to pay the $3 billion President Obama has promised to contribute to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund.

The Green Climate Fund is the collective pool of money pledged by U.N. members to help underdeveloped countries launch projects to reduce their carbon emissions.

“When it comes to the financing, I know that a lot of people over there, the 192 countries, are going to assume that Americans are going to line up and joyfully pay $3 billion into this fund,” Inhofe said during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which he chairs. “But that's not going to happen either.”

The committee met Wednesday to discuss COP 21, the upcoming international climate change talks sponsored by the U.N. that will begin Dec. 7 in Paris.

“[President Obama] did send information in that he's going to be reaching between a 26 and 28 percent reduction in emissions, but failed to say how he's going to do this,” Inhofe pointed out.

Inhofe said he believes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials declined to attend the committee hearing because the agency is unable to detail how President Obama plans to meet his goal of reducing carbon emissions up to 28 percent by 2025.

“We... asked the EPA to attend, and they refused to attend,” Inhofe continued. “Now, this is the first time in my experience in the years that I've been here, eight years in the House and 20 years in the Senate, that the committee of jurisdiction making a request that someone appear and they don't appear.

“So I think there's a reason. Because they don't know how the calculation of 26 to 28 percent was working,” Inhofe said.

“President Obama cannot meet his goal of 26 to 28 percent reduction in CO2 emissions without the full implementation of this regulation [Clean Power Plan] , and we believe that it stands on shaky legal and political ground,” Capito said, noting widespread opposition to the stringent emissions rules at both the federal and state level.

“The Senate has now fully rejected these rules, and we expect the House to do the same, and then the President will have a chance to make his opinion known,” said Capito. “But over half our states, 27 to be precise, have now sued the EPA to block these rules.”

If the climate change agreement reached in Paris is legally binding on the United States, it must be submitted to the Senate as required by the Constitution, she stated.

But Inhofe said he expects the outcome of COP 21 will be similar to the outcomes of the 20 previous international climate change meetings. “Several of us on this panel up here have had different ideas about what is to be accomplished there. My idea is nothing,” he said.

The senator said he agreed with Secretary of State John Kerry’s statements to the Financial Times that no agreement reached between the countries attending COP 21 in the upcoming weeks will be legally binding.

Kerry’s remarks drew ire from French president Francois Hollande, who said: "If the agreement is not legally binding, there won’t be an agreement, because that would mean it would be impossible to verify or control the undertakings that are made."

Others, such as the prime minister of Australia, are also calling for a legally binding agreement.

“If major participants in the upcoming COP 21 negotiations cannot agree on the legal status of any forthcoming agreement, no wonder those of us here today have questions," Capito concluded.


State Department Predicted Cancelling XL Pipeline Would INCREASE  Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Barack Obama formally rejected the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline earlier this month, citing its contribution to climate change, but a State Department report shows greenhouse gas emissions from the alternative method of rail delivery would actually increase.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

According to the State Department’s January 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, greenhouse gas emissions will actually increase without the Keystone pipeline if the crude oil from Canada is alternatively transported by rail across the U.S.

“During operation of all No Action rail scenarios, the increased number of unit trains along the scenario routes would result in GHG emissions from both diesel fuel combustion and electricity generation to support rail terminal operations (as well as for pump station operations for the Rail/Pipeline Scenario),” the statement stated. “The total annual GHG emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the No Action scenarios range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed Project.”


Time for Congress to defund "sue and settle"

In July, Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) took on the little known radical environmentalist scam known as “sue and settle” where a green group acting in cahoots with the EPA or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sues the Agency demanding that they apply the law in a new, expanded way that increases the agency’s jurisdiction.

The agency, rather than defending the law, enters into a consent decree with the party who filed the original lawsuit. A judge signs the consent decree without review, since the two “disputing” parties are in agreement. Suddenly, the agency has new, expansive powers to wield against job creators. And then for the kicker, taxpayers have to foot the legal bills of the attorneys who filed the suit.

The Westmoreland defund amendment to the Interior Department appropriation bill would have rolled back this abuse of taxpayer funds by denying the payment of attorney fees in ‘sue and settle’ cases. This action is needed to stop this Obama Administration orchestrated expansion of executive power.

The amendment read: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay legal fees pursuant to a settlement in any case, in which the Federal Government is a party, that arises under — (1) the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.); (2) the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.); or (3) the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).”

As Westmoreland noted in his July 7 floor speech, “Between 2009 and 2012, the EPA chose not to defend itself in over 60 of these lawsuits from special interest advocacy groups. Those 60 lawsuits resulted in settlement agreements and in the EPA’s publishing more than 100 new regulations.”

Westmoreland added, “Also included in these legally binding settlements are requirements that U.S. taxpayers must pay for the attorneys of the organization that initiated the action. According to a 2011 GAO report, between 1995 and 2010, three large environmental activist groups, like the Sierra Club, received almost $6 million in attorneys’ fees alone.”

A 2013 letter from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy highlights such an example of sue and settle on a start-up, shutdown, and malfunction rule: “In November 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club negotiated a settlement whereby EPA unilaterally agreed to respond to a petition filed by Sierra Club seeking the elimination of a longstanding Clean Air Act exemption for excess emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. The EPA went out of its way further to deny the participation of the States, and other affected parties.

Oddly, it appears that, instead of defending EPA’s own regulations and the SSM provisions in the EPA-approved air programs of 39 states, EPA simply agreed to include an obligation to respond to the petition in the settlement of an entirely separate lawsuit. In other words, EPA went out of its way to resolve the startup, shutdown, and malfunction petition in a coordinated settlement with the Sierra Club.”

As a result, Vitter and Sessions wrote, “Notwithstanding 40 years of precedent to the contrary, EPA has now decided that the state implementation plans of 36 states are legally inadequate because of their startup, shutdown, and malfunction provisions.”

In a February 2015 statement preceding his introduction of legislation to combat this abusive practice, Senator Charles Grassley further emphasized the problems with sue and settle: “Sue and settle litigation allows federal agencies to short-circuit the controls that Congress has set in place to ensure transparency in the rulemaking process.  These tactics result in new federal regulations imposed on American businesses and ultimately, on American families, all without an adequate opportunity for the public to weigh in. Sue and settle litigation makes a mockery of the public accountability and transparency protections required by the Administrative Procedures Act.  It also limits the ability of the executive branch to engage in principled decision making.”

The abuse of the sue and settle provisions by the Obama Administration are just one of many examples of this Administration establishing law using backdoor channels without the consent of Congress or even the use of the normal Administrative Procedures Act that governs the regulatory process.

Ironically, the Westmoreland amendment never came up for a vote after the appropriations process ground to a halt as House Democrats created a phony Confederate flag dispute stopping this and other amendments from passing that would have road blocked Obama’s flouting of the law.

The upcoming Omnibus spending bill will set and prioritize spending for ten of the last thirteen months of the Obama Administration. It will either prevent Obama from cementing his legacy by using tactics like sue and settle to go around Congress to expand the size and scope of government or it won’t.  Congress has one chance to get it right, and they need to rein in Obama’s abuse of the sue and settle system or else the next Administration will spend much of its time trying to fight environmental lawsuits opposing changes to the Obama-made law.

It is time to shut the door on Obama’s sue and settle loophole.


Virginia Farmer Turned Property Rights Activist Presses Court Fight With Green Group, Realtors

Virginia environmentalists and big landowners have made a concerted effort to interfere with the business activities of an organic farmer, claims a new lawsuit describing harassment that comes close to stalking.

Martha Boneta, who owns and operates the 64-acre Liberty Farm at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Paris, Va., seeks damages in Fauquier County Circuit Court from Piedmont Environmental Council, a nonprofit land trust headquartered in Warrenton, Va.

Boneta also seeks damages from the husband-wife real estate team of Phillip and Patricia Thomas, who are members of Piedmont Environmental Council. Phillip Thomas owns Thomas & Talbot Real Estate, based in Middleburg, Va. Patricia Thomas is a lawyer admitted to the bar in Virginia.

“We are in shock at the magnitude of terrorizing harassment,” Boneta told The Daily Signal, adding:

The investigation uncovered volumes of letters, emails, meetings, and phone calls from realtors Patricia and Phillip Thomas making false allegations to government agencies and meddling in our private lives to damage and force us off our farm. No American should ever suffer years of being terrorized. The stress and hardship have been unbearable.

The real estate firm’s website identifies at least four other Thomas & Talbot realtors associated with the environmental council. Phillip and Patricia Thomas entered into a joint agreement with the land trust related to litigation involving Boneta’s Liberty Farm.

On Thursday at 5 p.m., The Heritage Foundation will host a screening of  the documentary “Farming in Fear,” which provides an overview of the Boneta case, followed by a panel discussion on the latest developments.

Boneta filed the new lawsuit in October on behalf of her company, Piedmont Agriculture Academy, after gathering what she calls more evidence against the Thomases and the environmental council through Freedom of Information Act requests and from citizen whistleblowers.

The latest complaint furnishes copies of written letters and email from the Thomases to bankers and government officials that Boneta claims show the couple worked to undermine her farming operations based on “false allegations.” Patricia Thomas frequently used her law firm letterhead in this correspondence.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, Boneta has produced evidence suggesting the environmental council and the Thomas couple lobbied a Fauquier County zoning administrator and members of the elected Fauquier County Board of Supervisors to issue zoning citations against Liberty Farm. The alleged collusion between environmentalists and government officials was at the heart of an earlier suit that remains active.

The updated complaint details how much real estate figures into the ongoing dispute, which has attracted nationwide attention to the privacy and property rights questions it raises. Phillip Thomas claims that because Liberty Farm is located close to his property in Paris, he has had difficulty selling it.

The Daily Signal has continued to email and call Thomas & Talbot Real Estate asking for comment from Phillip and Patricia Thomas but has not received a response. Reached briefly by phone Tuesday, Philip Thomas said he prefers not to comment.

Piedmont Environmental Council released public statements on its website about the history of related property easement issues and the legal disputes with Boneta.

The environmental council, like other environmental groups across the country, has become so well connected with government at all levels, and so well funded, that it marginalizes average citizens at the expense of property rights, the farmer has warned.

Boneta became instrumental in the movement to pass two property rights bills through the Virginia General Assembly. They were signed into law.

Phillip Thomas, a fifth-generation landowner, previously owned Liberty Farm, across the street from the 20-acre farm Liberty Hall. Thomas transferred ownership of Liberty Farm to Piedmont Environmental Council in December 2000. He maintained ownership of Liberty Hall.

Boneta purchased Liberty Farm, also known as Paris Farm, from the environmental council for $425,000 in June 2006, and a conservation easement was put in place simultaneously.

The idea behind conservation easements is for property owners to receive tax breaks in exchange for agreeing to restrict future development on a portion of their property. Boneta’s easement lists Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation as co-holders.

In her current and previous litigation, Boneta claims that the environmental council overstepped its authority under the Virginia Conservation Act in monitoring and inspecting her property. She also says she never received any tax breaks through the easement.

In the past year, several major revelations came to light that raised serious questions about the validity and legal standing of the easement. In November 2014, the Virginia Outdoors Federation adopted a resolution that said it would be willing to assume full control of the easement from Piedmont Environmental Council.

However, as The Daily Signal previously reported, the foundation said it uncovered “a number of serious flaws” that require a “corrective amendment” to the easement.

Oddly, two versions of the easement exist. One was signed by Boneta and the environmental council’s representative. The second is an altered, unsigned document filed with the county by the environmental council without the knowledge or consent of Boneta and the Virginia Outdoors Federation.

In both the signed and filed versions, the environmental council claimed that Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, the storied Confederate general, camped on the Boneta property. In fact, historical records indicate that Jackson was elsewhere in and around Paris, Va.

Since Boneta became the owner of Liberty Farm, the environmental council has conducted periodic inspectors to ensure compliance with the easement. The inspections went well beyond what the law permitted, Boneta has argued.

Now that the easement appears to have been riddled with flaws from the beginning, Boneta says, it’s fair to ask whether the environmental council should have been permitted on her property at all.

Boneta’s suit contends that Phillip and Patricia Thomas sent letters to Southern National Bank (Sonabank), which holds the deed on Liberty Farm, in an effort to financially injure her Piedmont Agricultural Academy.

In correspondence with government officials, according to the suit, the Thomases made “false allegations of animal mistreatment and neglect,” which later were dismissed after a veterinarian inspected the animals.

Boneta’s suit says the Thomases submitted “false reports” about Piedmont Agriculture Academy with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office regarding student volunteers working at the farm and contacted the Fauquier Commonwealth Attorney’s Office about bringing charges against her. It says the commonwealth attorney concluded that “no criminal prosecution is warranted.”

The suit also says the real estate agents made “false allegations” to the Virginia Department of Transportation, resulting in periodic closing of the farm’s entrance in 2009 and 2010.

“We have lived a nightmare caused by a creepy realtor and attorney couple partnering with PEC and a corrupt supervisor formerly on the board of directors of the same environmental group,” Boneta said in an interview with The Daily Signal. She added:

"The evidence demonstrates an obsessed web of harassment that is terrifying. My heart breaks knowing malicious individuals like this exist in the world that would use their positions to intentionally hurt and want to destroy hardworking people that just want to be left alone to farm in peace."

Why such a fixation with Boneta, her Piedmont Agriculture Academy, and Liberty Farm? What is the motivation?  Here, the updated lawsuit goes into previously undisclosed detail about the real estate intrigue:

Liberty Hall has been placed on the real estate market for sale and subsequently withdrawn from the real estate market on at least three occasions between 2009 and 2015.

The suit says the property remains advertised on the Thomas and Talbot Real Estate website but never has sold. Liberty Hall initially was advertised for sale for $1,950,000. The price later was dropped to $1,800,000. The suit adds:

Not only had Liberty Hall’s price dropped by $150,000, the Thomases had, by the third time Liberty Hall was listed for sale, added a $10,000 bonus to any agent representing a buyer or buyers who purchased Liberty Hall. …

Mr. Thomas believes and has stated that Liberty Hall’s proximity to Paris Farm [Liberty Farm] is the reason, or a significant reason, that none of the three of these instances upon which Liberty Hall was placed on the real estate market between 2009 and 2013 resulted in the sale of property. …

Mr. Thomas is experiencing seller’s remorse in that he wishes he or the Trust [Piedmont Environmental Council] still owned Paris Farm [Liberty Farm] and that he had not taken any action ultimately leading to PAA [Piedmont Agriculture Academy] owning Paris Farm.

Boneta’s lawsuit concludes that Phillip and Patricia Thomas made a deliberate effort to shut down the operations of her Piedmont Agriculture Academy:

"The Thomases’ willful and intentional conduct not only disregarded PAA’s right to conduct its business activities free of the Thomases’ unlawful interference, but was actually malicious, including because of the Thomases’ self-interested motivation that causing [the] business to fail would enable the Thomases to cause Liberty Hall to be sold at or near the price at which the Thomases wish to cause Liberty Hall to be sold."

The suit also calls out the environmental council for

"… abusing the conservation easement and repeatedly entering upon [Liberty Farm] property upon unreasonable and unfounded bases, and in an inappropriate and unlawful manner, caused Ms. Boneta to spend significant time dealing with [Piedmont Environmental Council] representatives that Ms. Boneta would have devoted to … business activities but was, necessarily, unable to devote to … business activities."

More legal drama is set to unfold in the case. Boneta has told The Daily Signal that her Piedmont Agriculture Academy will file more lawsuits in federal court based on new evidence. The suits, she said, will include new charges filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), with fraud among them.

Meanwhile, Virginia Outdoors Foundation is negotiating with Piedmont Environmental Council to let the foundation assume full control of the easement even as Boneta remains in active litigation against the Thomases, the environmental council, and the county government.

“The persecution of Martha Boneta is a reflection of the growing power of extragovernmental regulatory entities, of which land trusts are the most prominent,” Bonner Cohen, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Signal. Cohen added:

"Nearly 6 million acres of private land in the U.S. are under conservation easements, administered by over 1,200 land trusts, most of which are accountable to no one.  The temptation to collude with local governments and powerful real estate interests to the detriment of the landowner is almost irresistible, because they figure they can get away with it. This has become the modus operandi of elites once they determine to dispose of someone standing in their way. Martha Boneta fought back and exposed the cronyism for what it is, but until land trusts nationwide are subjected to oversight, the potential for abuse will persist."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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