People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, December, 2019
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
Why We Depend on China for Most of Our Medicines
The price of drugs has been a concern of everyone. But, the source of our medicines is not mentioned very much. Unfortunately, we depend on China for most of our supply. The following article is from the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.
Drug addiction is devastating. Drug dependence may be unavoidable, as with insulin-dependent diabetics. Modern medicine depends on the availability of life-saving drugs. And the U.S. now depends on China for most drugs. The U.S. even lacks the capacity to produce penicillin, as Rosemary Gibson reveals in her book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Drugs.
In 1988, Oak Ridge National Laboratory published Expedient Antibiotic Production: A Final Report. This includes a how-to guide to build/rebuild antibiotic production facilities if they were damaged or destroyed. It has a map of the location of such production facilities in relation to a possible nuclear attack on industrial or military facilities.
Today, most of this capacity is gone, as manufacturing has been outsourced to the cheapest supplier. In 2004, the last U.S. penicillin production facility, in Syracuse, N.Y., closed. It was also making the starting material for cephalosporins. Launched in 1943, the facility had made 70% of the world’s penicillin until the mid-2000s.
In the 1980s, the Chinese government began to invest in the production of penicillin ingredients, and by 2001 had built vast industrial capacity. China had the great advantage of rules that tolerate massive air and water pollution, and antibiotic production is dirty industrial work. From 2004-2006, Chinese companies dumped penicillin ingredients on the global market at very low prices. After competitors were driven out of business, prices increased spectacularly in 2007.
Something similar happened to U.S. steel production, but the steel industry advocated for protection. No one advocated for protecting the antibiotic production base. “Antibiotic stewardship” is now urged to reduce usage in order to minimize development of resistance; why not stewardship of production capacity, Gibson asks.
After the 2001 anthrax attacks, the U.S. government bought 20 million doses of doxycycline. The European company that supplied the U.S. military obtained the starting material from a plant in China. The other antibiotic useful in anthrax, ciprofloxacin, requires a chemical for which China is the largest exporter. The active ingredient for vancomycin, needed for C. difficile and resistant staphylococcal infections, is also made in China.
The U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000 removed tariffs on goods from China. Within 4 years, the last penicillin fermentation plant closed; the vitamin C cartel formed in China and drove U.S. prices up 600%; the last U.S. aspirin manufacturer closed when cheap Chinese product flooded the market; lethal heparin imports began.
After 80 patient deaths were tied to tainted heparin in 2008, Chinese authorities promised to crack down on suppliers, but illegal ingredients are still an open secret.
It is far more expensive to inspect a facility located abroad. The average cost is $52,000 compared with $23,000 in the U.S. China may refuse access to inspectors, and producers in China may submit false documents and refuse audits.
Instead of using soybean oil to make the initial building block for cephalosporins, some producers used “gutter oil” from restaurant frying pans, grease traps, and sewage drains. A criminal racket sold 100 tons of it to unnamed pharmaceutical companies.
Censorship of unfavorable news is routine in China. In 2015, a massive explosion at a Tianjin chemical warehouse created fireballs so huge they were detected by satellite, raining down a toxic chemical brew. The FDA warned companies purchasing drug products from the area to check for contamination, but declined to reveal the contaminants to check for or the names of potentially contaminated drugs. An online search revealed that Tianjin Tianyao Pharmaceuticals makes prednisone and other anti-inflammatory products used to treat asthma, allergies, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Four months after the explosion, shipments of drugs contaminated with hydrogen cyanide were stopped.
Dangers of contamination and counterfeits notwithstanding, drugmakers cannot at present do without active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from China.
“If China stopped exporting [APIs] to the U.S., within three months all the pharmacies would be empty,” stated Guy Villax, CEO of Hovione.
In some cases, known defective medications have been left on the market because of a lack of alternatives to life-saving drugs.
Even if the drugs are safe, a highly centralized global supply chain may result in shortages. A diversified manufacturing base and a shortened supply chain are imperative as a matter of national security, Gibson writes.
Gibson recommends the online pharmacy Valisure, which tests all the products it sells for certain impurities and for correct dosage.
HIGH PRICES, ESSENTIAL DRUG SHORTAGES
The prices of essential medications, such as insulin and even of generics that have been on the market for decades, have been sky-high. Patients can pay more than $400/month for insulin that costs $18 to manufacture, three times as much as in 2002! Hospitals have also been experiencing shortages of critical drugs and supplies such as anesthetics and intravenous solutions.
“Doctors and hospitals are rationing drugs, and patients are being forced to use substitutes that are less effective or more expensive, or both,” write Robert A. Campbell, M.D., and Philip L. Zweig, M.B.A., of Physicians Against Drug Shortages. “Lately, this crisis has reached a new level of absurdity: the U.S. is now importing sterile saline solution (a.k.a salt water) from Germany, Norway, Spain, Brazil and Mexico, and sodium bicarbonate solution from Australia! Drug shortages and astronomical prices are nothing less than a public health emergency” (https://tinyurl.com/y32tqasj).
Reasons for this include coverage of pharmaceuticals by third parties, especially Medicaid and Medicare Part D, bringing in middlemen such as Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). In return for getting a drug placed on the formulary, PBMs receive a “rebate” (kickback) that is shielded from anti-kickback laws by “safe-harbor” rules. PBMs could add $100 billion per year to spending for prescription drugs. The higher the list price, the bigger the “rebate.” Single-source contracts negotiated by PBMs also help to drive potential competitors out of the marketplace (https://tinyurl.com/y6a962vl).
Three PBMs account for more than 80% of the market, according to the Council of Economic Advisors (https://tinyurl.com/ya62ukd6). More than 20% of spending on prescription drugs was taken in as profit by the pharmaceutical distribution system. The size of manufacturer rebates and the percentage of the rebate passed on to health plans and patients are kept secret. Insulins and drugs to treat hepatitis C have “rebates” of 66% and 62%, respectively (JAMA 4/23-30/19).
Another factor in high prices, CEA recognizes, is government regulations that prevent, rather than foster, healthy price competition. Additionally, the fixed cost of bringing a new, patented drug to market has increased rapidly, to about $2.6 billion. ☼
Climate science has died. The effects will be big.
By Larry Kummer
Science is a structured process of debate. No debate means no science, as we use the term. Since 2015, the debate about a public policy response to climate change has stopped in any meaningful form, because the activists who control it have abandoned science. Now the headlines describe reports by activists describing every form of extreme weather as resulting from rising CO2 (e.g., recent flooding in Venice) – and making increasingly dire predictions of future weather. The former are largely bogus, for reasons described below. The latter are either based on the unlikely-or-impossible RCP8.5 scenario (see here and here) – or fantasies of ever more extreme scenarios. There is little or no effort to base these in hard science. They are presented to the public as certainties. The models making these predictions are presented as a modern form of haruspicy (oracles from the gods elicited by animal sacrifice). Contrary opinions are seldom given, except in a pre-debunked form. The goal is to arouse fear, even panic – not to inform. (Read more) ☼
No, Hurricanes Are Not Bigger, Stronger and More Dangerous
by Roger Pielke
A recent paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) claimed that “the frequency of the very most damaging hurricanes has increased at a rate of 330% per century.”
If true, the paper would overturn decades of research and observations that have indicated over the past century or more, there are no upwards trends in U.S. hurricane landfalls and no upwards trends in the strongest storms at landfall. These conclusions have been reinforced by the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), U.S. National Climate Assessment, and most recently of the World Meteorological Organization.
In fact, however, the new PNAS paper is fatally flawed. The first big problem is that the paper purports to say something about climatological trends in hurricanes, but it uses no actual climate data on hurricanes. That’s right, it instead uses data on economic losses from hurricanes to arrive at conclusions about climate trends. (Read more) The article below gives the facts on hurricanes.
Just The Facts On Hurricanes
by Roger Pielke
Link to full paper with graphics
There has been no increase in land falling hurricanes or major hurricanes (those of Category 3 strength or greater) in the United States. The past 14 years have seen the fewest landfalls of major hurricanes of any such period since 1900.
Once past damage is adjusted for the presence of more people, more property and more wealth, monetary damage has not increased.
U.S. landfalling hurricanes are just a small subset of all North Atlantic hurricanes. Have North Atlantic hurricanes increased in frequency or intensity?
There is a strong consensus within the scientific community that available evidence does not support claims of increasing North Atlantic hurricane activity. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) concluded, “No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.” More recently, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA concluded, “the historical Atlantic hurricane frequency record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase.”
If, after reading all of the above, you conclude that the evidence base is pretty weak for the detection of changes in hurricanes or tropical cyclones or the attribution of those changes to human-caused climate change – you’d be absolutely correct. ☼
Is Rising Atmospheric CO2 Causing Dangerous Global Warming?
See the answer from http://www.co2science.org/
Many people are concerned about the potential impacts of rising levels of atmospheric CO2. For years they have been bombarded with claims that unless its concentration is slowed or even reduced, dangerous global warming will ensue, producing all sorts of undesirable consequences with little to no positive effects. Watch this video to lean why this scenario is unlikely to occur and why CO2 is not the all-important driver of temperature that climate alarmists make it out to be….
Read a transcript of the video.
Main point: Consider that, if CO2 was indeed the all-important temperature control knob climate alarmists claim it to be, then changes in atmospheric CO2 should always precede changes in temperature. And, because CO2 is a so-called greenhouse gas, those changes should always be such that a rise in CO2 should induce a corresponding rise in temperature, whereas a decline in CO2 should induce a corresponding drop in temperature. Consistent observations to the contrary would prove that atmospheric CO2 is nothing more than a bit player among the many factors that drive climate change. So, what do the records show?
It may be surprising for some of you to learn that the historic temperature and atmospheric CO2 records do indeed violate the afore-mentioned principles, and they do so more often than they maintain them. Multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies, for example, have demonstrated that, following the termination of each of the past several global ice ages, air temperatures have always risen well in advance of the increase in atmospheric CO2. In fact, during these glacial terminations, which represent the most dramatic warming events experienced on Earth over the past million years, the air’s CO2 content does not even begin to rise until some 400 to 2,800 years after planetary warming starts. ☼
Destructive Amazon Fires Do Not Threaten Earth’s Oxygen, Expert Says
There is enough oxygen in the air to last for millions of years
By Scott Denning, Scientific American (link)
The oft-repeated claim that the Amazon rainforest produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen is based on a misunderstanding. In fact nearly all of Earth’s breathable oxygen originated in the oceans, and there is enough of it to last for millions of years. There are many reasons to be appalled by this year’s Amazon fires, but depleting Earth’s oxygen supply is not one of them.
Nearly all free oxygen in the air is produced by plants through photosynthesis. About one-third of land photosynthesis occurs in tropical forests, the largest of which is located in the Amazon Basin.
But virtually all of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis each year is consumed by living organisms and fires. Trees constantly shed dead leaves, twigs, roots and other litter, which feeds a rich ecosystem of organisms, mostly insects and microbes. The microbes consume oxygen in that process.
Forest plants produce lots of oxygen, and forest microbes consume a lot of oxygen. As a result, net production of oxygen by forests—and indeed, all land plants—is very close to zero. ☼
OXYGEN PRODUCTION IN THE OCEANS
The Real Lungs of the Earth
By Jonathan Gropp, Davidson Institute of Science (link)
Phytoplankton are microscopic sea creatures that stand at the bottom of the marine food chain produce oxygen, are a food source and may also be involved in rainfall.
The name of planet Earth is indeed given thanks to its dry portion of land, but if we look at the globe we know it is actually covered mainly in water. Oceans and seas cover 72 percent of the planet attributing to fertile and varied ecosystems, with only a small proportion being investigated. The basis for all life in the sea is phytoplankton and micro-algae, a diverse group of single-celled organisms capable of performing photosynthesis. Phytoplankton are responsible for a significant portion of the oxygen we breathe, but its main role is for the existence of life at sea.
Although phytoplankton is not defined as a “plant”, it is still able to perform photosynthesis. This remarkable process harnesses the sun’s energy to use carbon dioxide (CO2) and water to form sugars – the basis for most food chains on Earth. The byproduct of photosynthesis is oxygen. ☼
Respiration in plants: The process of respiration in plants involves using the sugars produced during photosynthesis plus oxygen to produce energy for plant growth.
C6H12O6 (glucose) + 6O2 (oxygen) –> 6CO2 (carbon dioxide) + 6H2O (water) + 32 ATP (energy)
Photosynthesis in plants: produces carbohydrate for food
6CO2 + 6H2O + Light energy → C6H12O6 (sugar) + 6O2
STATE OF THE UNION
Attorney General William Barr on the State of the Union
Recently, Attorney General Barr delivered two speeches that are worth reading. The speeches are described and summarized by Janice Shaw Crouse in an American Thinker article: “Attorney General Barr Stands athwart History” From that article:
On October 11, 2019, Barr spoke to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame on the topic of religious liberty. He warned the nation about the “consequences of moral chaos,” lamented the undermining of religious rights and the limiting of the freedom of speech and rights of believers of religious faith, and drew a direct connection between religious freedom and the constitutional liberty historically enjoyed by Americans. (Read full text of the speech).
Barr also delivered a speech to the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on November 15, 2019, on what he called the “Constitution’s approach to executive power.” He declared unequivocally that “both the Legislative and Judicial Branches have been responsible for encroaching on the presidency’s constitutional authority.” Further, he described how the “scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘Resistance’ against this administration” has resulted in “shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.” (Read full text of the speech).
In Crouse’s opinion: The speeches were one-two punches against the Democrat’s (1) attacks on religious freedom that have resulted in cultural disintegration and (2) attacks on the Constitution that have resulted in political chaos. ☼
SOME CLIMATE CRAZINESS
Prof Mickey Mouse declares climate emergency
More than 11,000 scientist declare a “climate emergency”
BioScience, an academic, peer-reviewed journal from Oxford University Press, found 11,224 scientists, from 153 countries, who signed off on the latest climate change drivel. All they had to do was click on a website petition to add their names. The list of names was available. It was checked by researcher Casey Plunkett (and others, link, see also here and here ). Plunkett found that only 240 individuals with professions that can be construed as bona fide meteorologists, climatologists, or atmospheric scientists. “Conversely, this list contains plenty of ‘experts’ who have zero credibility on the topic of climate change, coming from fields such as infectious diseases, paleontology, ecology, zoology, epidemiology and nutrition, insect ecology, anthropology, computer science, OB-GYN, and linguistics.”
Among the signatories were these names:
“Mouse, Micky” from the “Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind, Nambia.”
Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts
Araminta Aardvark from the fictional University of Neasden. ☼
Latest Climate Culprits: Asthmatics
By Jim Treacher
By now you should know that you hate the planet if you eat beef, instead of mashed-up bugs or heavily salted soy protein or algae or whatever. And of course, you hate the planet if your car uses gasoline instead of electricity, which is generated by, apparently, magic. But did you know that now you hate the planet if you have asthma but you insist on breathing anyway?
Take a deep breath, if you’re able, and read this from Jeffrey Kluger at Time: According to a new study published in BMJ Open, the familiar lightweight, pocket-sized aerosolized inhalers that make breathing easier for so many of the 235 million people worldwide who suffer from asthma may be choking the planet on a powerful greenhouse gas they release in the process…methane. (Read more) ☼
Yankees Hire Climate Activist To Excite Fans About Global Warming
by Penny Starr
Allen Hershkowitz hopes to make climate change a regular feature on the sports pages of American media whether fans like it or not. And the new environmental science adviser for the New York Yankees hopes to convince people to embrace global warming just like the team they love. (Read more) Doesn’t traveling to attend a game raise your carbon footprint? ☼
Gov. Cuomo Claims Tornados Didn’t Exist Before Climate Change
In an interview on MSNBC, gov. Cuomo said:
“Anyone who questions extreme weather and climate change is just delusional at this point. We have seen in the state of New York what everyone has seen, we have seen these weather patterns we never had before. We didn’t have hurricanes, we didn’t have super storms, we didn’t have tornadoes.” (Source) ☼
Massachusetts Town Votes for Freezing in the Dark
by David Middleton
Brookline passes bylaw banning future use of oil, gas in new buildings. The bylaw, which passed the Brookline town meeting with 210 votes in favor and just three opposing, would be the first such prohibition in the state of Massachusetts. This bit of enviro-nitwittery “would require homeowners and developers to use electricity to power all future heat, hot water and other appliances.” Exceptions would be made for “backup generators, restaurant kitchens and medical offices, among other uses”… Expect a run on backup generators at the local Home Depot. 80% of Massachusetts homes rely on fossil fuels for heating… only 15% rely on electricity. (Source) ☼
New Report Says Fracking Saved Americans $1.1 Trillion Over Past Decade
by Tim Benson
A new report prepared by Kleinhenz & Associates for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program shows increased oil and natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has saved American consumers $1.1 trillion in the decade from 2008 to 2018. This breaks down to more than $900 in annual savings to each American family, or $9,000 in cumulative savings. These savings come from the lower cost of natural gas due to increased production. (Read more) ☼
House Committee Releases Tax Bill to Extend Electric Vehicle, Wind, and Solar Handouts
by Ben Lieberman, Competitive Enterprise Institute
In what amounts to the tax component of the Green New Deal, the House Ways and Means Committee released a draft of its “Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act” (summary available here). This draft contains tax credits for a long list of alternative energy-related technologies unable to compete otherwise. This includes extensions of the tax credits for wind and solar, though many members voting for the previous extension of such tax credits in 2015 had promised that it would be the last one. Beyond wind and solar, the bill also includes tax credits to many other technologies like fuel cells, combined heat and power, geothermal, and energy storage. (Read more) ☼
No Plan B for Planet A
by Paul Driessen, Townhall
Environmentalists and Green New Deal proponents love to say we need to take care of the Earth, because “There is no Planet B.” Above all, they insist, we must eliminate fossil fuels, which they say are causing climate change worse than the all-natural ice ages, Medieval Warm Period or anything else in history.
Their Plan A is simple: Keep fossil fuels in the ground. More than a few Democrat presidential aspirants have assured us they would begin implementing that diktat their very first day in the White House.
Their Plan B is more complex: Replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, biofuel and battery power – their supposedly renewable, sustainable alternatives to oil, gas and coal – apparently by waving a magic wand.
We don’t have a Planet B. And they don’t really have a Plan B. They just assume and expect that this truly monumental transformation will simply happen. Wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies represent the natural evolution toward previously unimaginable energy sources – and they will become more efficient over time, they say. They and their colleagues are smart, and they know this to be true.
Ask them for details, and their responses range from evasive to delusional, disingenuous – and outrage that you would dare ask. The truth is, they don’t have a clue. They’ve never really thought about it. It’s never occurred to them that these technologies require raw materials that have to be dug out of the ground, which means mining, which they vigorously oppose (except by dictators in faraway countries). Abundant, reliable, affordable, mostly fossil fuel energy is the lifeblood of our modern, prosperous, functioning, safe, healthy, fully employed America. Upend that, and you upend people’s lives, destroy their jobs, pummel their living standards. (Read full article) ☼
See my post: Six Issues the Promoters of the Green New Deal Have Overlooked to see the enormous amount of land required to replace fossil fuel generation of electricity by wind and solar.
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” —Joseph Story (1833)
“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)
“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” —Thomas Paine (1776)
“Climatology is becoming an increasingly dubious science, serving a political project… the policy cart is leading the scientific horse.” – Dr. Judith Curry, City Journal, Winter 2019.
“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)
FOR ARIZONA RESIDENTS:
The Arizona State Legislature will reconvene in January. Please write to your legislators and request that they repeal the state mandate for renewable energy. The reasons for the repeal and a possible method are discussed here:
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
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