Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership (Andrew C. McCarthy)

Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership – Andrew C. McCarthy

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TPA is “Trade Promotion Authority” legislation currently being considered by Congress. TPP is the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the pact the Obama administration is currently negotiating with several Asia Pacific nations. As the editors point out today, the two are not one and the same and they should not be conflated.

The rationale that, because President Obama abuses executive authority, he should be denied any tool that enhances executive authority is a worthy rule of thumb. But its premise is that executive authority is actually being enhanced in a manner that Congress cannot check. That, as our editorial explains, is simply not true when it comes to TPA.

The contention that TPA is unconstitutional is meritless. In our system, as Jefferson put it, “the transaction of business with foreign nations is executive altogether,” and “exceptions are to be strictly construed.” In the case of trade agreements, those exceptions include the Senate’s power over the approval of treaties and the powers of Congress over both foreign commerce and any legislation necessary to implement a trade agreement. TPA is not only fully compliant with, but reinforcing of, this constitutional arrangement.

Foreign countries should not be made to negotiate with both the president and Congress in striking a deal. It is enough for them to know (as Senator Tom Cotton outlined in connection with President Obama’s Iran deal) that any agreement the president makes is subject to congressional approval if it is to have the force of law. Since the point of a trade agreement is to structure a legal framework for international commerce, we must thus infer that the countries negotiating such a deal want a workable legal structure. Our constitutional division of authorities between the president and Congress gives foreign nations an incentive not to press for terms the president will not be able to sell at home – thus strengthening the president’s negotiating position.

Meanwhile, whether the international agreement in question is deemed a treaty or an agreement requiring implementing legislation, Congress gets the final say on whether the agreement is approved.

To claim that this deprives Congress of its ability to shape the deal is as specious as claiming that the president’s limited power to sign or veto legislation deprives him of the ability to shape congressional statutes. In our system, the president gets to negotiate deals with other nations; if Congress does not like the deal – if it concludes that the bad outweighs the good – lawmakers can and should vote “no,” sending the president back to the drawing board. That is how it is supposed to work.

To my mind, there is no more promiscuous practice in the formulation of multilateral agreements than the Senate’s addition of caveats and reservations to rationalize approving objectionable treaties. The way the international law game gets played, these caveats and reservations get marginalized and the “law” becomes the unadorned text of the treaty accepted by the signatory nations. That is, the treaty in effect becomes the agreement as signed by the president, not the ratified agreement the Senate thought it had successfully amended. We would be much better off if, instead of deluding itself with caveats and reservations, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, forcing the president to either abandon the agreement or go back to the negotiating table and fight for acceptance of the Senate’s demands.

It is the same thing with multilateral agreements that are not regarded as treaties. There should be a clear international agreement that Congress can either approve or reject. To contort the agreement with legislative caveats injects ambiguity into the duties and benefits the negotiating nations believed they were agreeing to. Moreover, it probably won’t work: Within a short time, the international law professors will tell us that the text of the original agreement – not the agreement as Congress amended it – has transmogrified into binding international law… and the State Department will say we really have no choice but to accept the consensus of “the international community.”

Better to let the president make the agreements and let Congress say “yes” or “no” – and be ready to say “no,” not con itself into thinking it can materially improve a bad deal.

Finally, as the editorial elucidates, agreeing to TPA is not agreeing to TPP.

I confess to being troubled by reports about the secrecy in which TPP negotiations and drafts have been shrouded, although these reports may be overwrought – something I’ll address in a subsequent post. If there is, in fact, a lack of sufficient transparency on TPP, it makes perfect sense for lawmakers to condition support for TPA on better transparency. That kind of leveraging is a routine part of the legislative process. It is also especially appropriate when dealing with a president who has a long record of mendacity, lawlessness, and the exploitation of complex legal arrangements to reward cronies.

Nevertheless, if we assume for argument’s sake that TPP is a bad deal, that would be a good reason to vote down TPP. It would not be a good reason to oppose TPA.

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The Secrecy Complaints About TPP Are Also Meritless – Andrew C. McCarthy

In yesterday’s post, I argued – in agreement with NR’s editorial – that it is a mistake to conflate (a) the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that the Obama administration is still negotiating with (b) Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would grant the president the ability to seek an up-or-down vote from Congress on trade deals (including TPP) on a reasonably swift time frame. TPA is a good idea, is fully constitutional, and would not prevent Congress from rejecting a bad trade deal – which is exactly what Congress should do in the case of TPP if it turns out to be a bad deal. In a column on the homepage today, I examine another objection TPP opponents raise: the purported secrecy in which the agreement is shrouded. As readers will see, this objection is a red herring which confuses the draft agreement (the work in progress that the administration has made available to Congress under restrictive terms while it conducts the sensitive negotiations) with the final agreement (which will be available to both the public and Congress long before Congress is asked to vote on TPP legislation).

As today’s column relates:

There is no requirement for the executive branch to show Congress anything that is preliminary. The only agreement that is going to be voted on is the final agreement – at least if Obama wants that agreement to have the force of American law.

Significantly, with respect to that final agreement – which, to repeat, does not exist yet – the transparency protocols are apparently extensive. According to AEI’s Claude Barfield, the legislation will provide that the actual text of the final TPP agreement must be available not just to Congress but to the public for 60 days before the president is permitted to sign it. After that, if he wants the agreement to have the force of American law, the president must formally submit the final agreement to Congress, which would then have 90 days to review and vote on it.

That is, the supposedly “secret” TPP may not be approved until the public and our representatives in Congress have five months to scrutinize it.

If Dr. Barfield is correct, and I have found nothing to suggest otherwise, then the complaints about a secret deal being rammed through Congress and foisted on an unsuspecting public – à la Obamacare – are risible.

The full column is here.

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DHS Agent Stripped Of Gun, Nearly Lost Daughter After Blowing Whistle On Corrupt Visa Program

DHS Agent Says She Was Stripped Of Gun, Nearly Lost Daughter After Blowing Whistle On Immigration Visa Program – Daily Caller

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A Department of Homeland Security agent testified Thursday that she nearly lost custody of her 1-year-old adopted daughter and was told that she could not own a personal firearm after she voiced concerns about a little known federal program that grants green cards to foreign investors.

Taylor Johnson, a senior special agent with a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), testified at a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing alongside several other whistleblowers who claim they’ve faced retaliation for reporting wrongdoing in their agencies.

Johnson, an 11-year veteran of ICE, said she began investigating a U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) program called EB-5. The program grants green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. companies.

Johnson testified that during her investigation she uncovered and disclosed gross mismanagement and public corruption that posed “national security risks” and threatened public safety.

“Some of the violations investigated surrounding the project included bank and wire fraud, and I discovered ties to organized crime and high-ranking politicians and they received promotions that appeared to facilitate the program,” Johnson testified.

She said that during her investigation she “discovered that EB-5 applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia had been approved in as little as 16 days” and that case files “lacked the basic and necessary law enforcement queries.”

“I found over 800 operational EB-5 regional centers throughout the U.S.,” Johnson said, stating that she found this “disturbing” given that the U.S. allows only 10,000 EB-5 applications per year.

“I could not identify how USCIS was holding each regional center accountable or how they were tracked once they were inside the U.S.,” she added.

Johnson’s testimony comes as the EB-5 program is under intense scrutiny from a damning report released in March by DHS’ inspector general, John Roth. Roth’s report concluded that former USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas, now the second-in-command at DHS, intervened in an “unprecedented” manner to help expedite EB-5 applications.

Some of those who Mayorkas was in contact with include Nevada U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Mayorkas met with Reid to discuss an EB-5 application for the Sands Casino, a Las Vegas casino which employed Reid’s son’s law firm.

Mayorkas was in routine contact with McAuliffe who aggressively pushed for EB-5 approval for his company, GreenTech Automotive. Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, was also involved in that deal.

It is unclear if Johnson investigated Mayorkas or any applications involving Reid or McAuliffe.

After receiving complaints from “high-ranking officials” at outside agencies, Johnson’s managers shut down her investigation, she testified. From there, she says she was “subjected to a significant amount of harassment and retaliation.”

Blowback started when she was escorted from her work desk and prohibited from accessing her case files or other personal records.

She also said that her service firearm and credentials were confiscated. But the gun grab went further.

“I was told I couldn’t even carry or own a personal weapon which is a constitutional rights violation,” Johnson said.

Johnson grew emotional during one part of her testimony when she discussed how the retaliation she faced hit home, literally.

“When an adoption social worker tried to contact and verify employment, she was told that I had been terminated for a criminal offense,” Johnson said, her voice shaky.

“I almost lost my 1-year-old child.”

Watch:

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*AUDIO* Ted Cruz Discusses The TPA And TPP Agreements On The Jeff Kuhner Radio Program (06/12/15)


PART 1

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PART 2

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*VIDEO* Bill Whittle Presents: Setting The Record Straight – History Lessons You Never Learned In School


THE RAPE OF POCAHONTAS: DID WE EVISCERATE THE NATIVE AMERICANS?

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*AUDIO* Mark Steyn: American Universities And Fluffy-Bunny Totalitarianism


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McKinney, Texas Pool Mob – What The MSM Isn’t Telling You

The Full Story Of The McKinney, Texas Pool Mob – Conservative Treehouse

The Origin – The woman who organized the event in McKinney, Texas is named Tatiana Rhodes (or Tatyana Rhodes). She is approximately 19-years-old; however, she retains a fake id and has began scrubbing most of her social media accounts, so her exact age is undetermined. Update: confirmed profile DOB 04/02/1995, so Tatiana Rhodes is 20.

Tatiana had been promoting a party via twitter under the hashtag name “Dime Piece Cookout” for approximately a month. She planned the event at a sub-division called “Craig Ranch” in McKinney Texas.

Tatiana (pictured below left) lives in the sub-division with her mother Lashana Burkes (pictured right). Both appear to be natives of Chicago.

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The Craig Ranch subdivision has a neighborhood park and a gated pool and clubhouse for residents. The pool and clubhouse is gated and a scan card is needed to gain access. (You can explore via google earth here)

The subdivision has a Homeowners Association (HOA) which regulates and controls the activities in/around the HOA swimming pool and clubhouse and has strict rules for use thereof.

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In addition to HOA rules the local community has a resident magazine which provides information to Craig Ranch residents on events and reminders of activities. One of the recent articles covered the use of the recreational facilities to include the pool and clubhouse:

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Neither Tatiana Rhodes nor her mother sought permission to use the pool or clubhouse area as part of the event. However, Tatiana hired a DJ and promoted the event to include a pool party:

There are numerous social media links reflecting that Tatiana organizes these “parties”, and charges for attendance, as a profit generating business. Her enterprise name is promoted under the auspices of “Twinzzpromotions” and uses the email address twinnzzpromotions@gmail.com:

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However, the specific event last Friday was advertised as “free attendance” where Tatiana was passing out flyers and selling tickets for another event she was setting up for June 19.

Tatiana appears to reference herself as a “promoter” for the various parties she organizes as part of twinzzpromotions:

Her business profile says:

“want to throw a party but don’t know where to start – we do it all. Email us for models, promoters, party planners and more”.

The party on Friday was to promote “Make It Clap 2″, an event scheduled for June 19th (8pm to 1am) $5 advance Tix, $8 at event.

Tickets for MakeItClappPt.2 were being sold at the Craig Ranch party. Here’s the flyer for the June 19th event that was being promoted and handed out on Friday – link here:

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The DJ (Andrew Cosby) also tweeted out before and during the Craig Ranch event that it was a pool party. DJReign aka Andrew Cosby is also now scrubbing media and hiding his profiles.

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Pictured above, Tatiana and her mother Lashana Burkes setting up for the party, while tweeting out #dpcookout so far so good.

In addition to friends of Tatiana Rhodes, more than 100 additional people, mostly teens, showed up as a result of the advertising promoted by Tatiana on social media. They were dropped off by the car-load as the afternoon party began.

Apparently Tatiana and her mother Lashana were unable to control the growing crowd – who came to their event at the park looking for and expecting a “pool party”.

That’s when things got out of control as the 100+ teens (and young adults) turned into a mob of partygoers and began jumping the fence to the gated pool area. Residents within the neighborhood found themselves confronting a mob of teens growing ever increasingly hostile and agitated.

A local resident shares this version of events:

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This version is also supported by other residents who called the police for help and were on the scene trying to get the teen mob under control.

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The sub-division is culturally very diverse with multi-racial residents. All of the local community – within the rather large sub division – support the version of events as outlined above.

One of the adult residents of the sub-division sought to get control of the situation and told the teen mob they needed to leave the pool area.

A teen friend of the event organizer (friends wth Tatiana’s brother) is named, ironically, “Grace”, Grace Stone – approximately 14-years-old.

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Young Grace Stone became angry because the mob was being told to leave the pool and clubhouse area; Grace was then backed up by her friend Tatiana (party organizer) in a confrontation with an adult resident at the pool. Tatiana then attacked the adult female resident as shown in this video:

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Which led to numerous phone calls to the police as the teen mob became ever more confrontational with a security officer and local residents. The mob refused to leave the area. The police arrived.

With hundreds of teens ransacking the area, the first officer on scene immediately called for back-up. Nine additional officers arrived to try and restore order.

The video below is what has driven the media frenzy, however it is approximately 23 minutes after the initial fight with Tatiana and the adult resident took place.

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HERE is Grace Stone’s version of events:

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AND Here is the media presentation today:

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CBSDFW
@CBSDFW

Rev Wright saying #mckinneypoolparty case “racially motivated.” Online http://cbsloc.al/1sLl3a5

1:26 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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CBSDFW
@CBSDFW

@NextGenAction representative Dominique Alexander speaking now about #mckinneypoolparty http://cbsloc.al/1sLl3a5

1:29 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Brian New
@BrianNewCBS

Minister Alexander with @NextGenAction: “We asked that Officer Casebolt first be fired. … secondly – be criminally charged.” #McKinneyPD

1:30 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Annette
@Nettles18

Reporter asked if it’s true a DJ put out a tweet inviting teens to come. Speakers don’t know.

1:34 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Zahid Arab
@ZahidArabFox4

The pool party was advertised on social media. Homeowners say none of the nearly 70 people were allowed to be there

12:21 PM – 7 Jun 2015
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Mireya CBS11
@cbsmireya

Pastor Derrick Golden says even if the officer wanted to apologize, he can’t anymore. Media hype too big.

1:35 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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CBSDFW
@CBSDFW

Girl in video will not speak, seeking legal representation. Other family members speaking now. http://cbsloc.al/1sLl3a5

1:38 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Mireya CBS11
@cbsmireya

Mother and 2 daughters communicated with HOA about #mckinneypoolparty through online system – HOA disagrees. @CBSDFW

1:38 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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CBSDFW
@CBSDFW

Mr. Bakari, father of other #mckinneypoolparty attendees upset wth actions of McKinney PD.

1:41 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Mireya CBS11
@cbsmireya

Jahi Bakari father of one of the girls says the officer did one thing right – Didn’t shoot. “Thank goodness…”

1:41 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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STEVE PICKETT
@STEVEPICK11

#McKinneyPDInvestigation Pool is closed. Neighbors tell us what really happened behind these gates. @CBSDFW 4pm

2:34 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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Tatiana Rhodes (aka @KeefCakezadds via twitter also @KeefCakez and @KeefGoddess ) gives an interview:

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~ʝᾰε
@Jxyzz4Life

No sense

9:33 PM – 5 Jun 2015
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The Local Black Grievance Community then holds a press conference:

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McKinney Police & Residents Targeted With Death Threats & Bounties After Pool Party Riot – Gateway Pundit

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Bipartisan Report
@Bipartisanism

We will pay $200 for the confirmable name of this man. Help us out Twitter. #McKinney

11:46 PM – 7 Jun 2015
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The Twitter account Bipartisan Report@Bipartisanism posted a bounty Sunday night seeking the identity of a man seen in the McKinney, Texas pool party incident last Friday.

Police and residents in McKinney, Texas are the subjects of death threats, bounties and doxxing over the handling by police of a pool party last Friday that has provoked nationwide controversy since a YouTube video of the incident went viral. The video showed a white police officer using force on a fifteen year-old Black girl who was resisting being detained. The officer was also seen pulling a gun on two young Black men who were menacing the officer as he tried to detain the girl.

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An unidentified white female resident of the Craig Ranch community where the pool party was held told CNN on Monday that residents who support the police were receiving death threats, according to reporter Nick Valencia:

“One resident I spoke to said that she was a witness from start to finish, even before that cell phone camera started rolling. She says she wants the truth out there, but she also says that she’s concerned about her safety. She wasn’t willing to go on camera because she says residents here, who are siding with police, have received death threats.

“UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want everyone to know that that police officer, along with everyone else, they were completely in the right and protecting everyone. He was not out of line. I completely support him drawing his weapon or a Taser or whatever it was that he did pull because he was being attacked from behind. I believe that if your life is threatened, that you have every right to pull a gun. He probably didn’t intend on using it.

“[14:20:03] I’m – I feel horrible for McKinney P.D. and the backlash that they’re getting for this. They are here to protect and serve and they were doing their jobs. I think he deserves a medal for what he did. I really do. I don’t believe he was out of line one bit. Those kids were taunting them and cursing them out, have no respect for authority. And as soon as their parents got here, they didn’t even care one bit about how they were treating the officers and why they got into that situation.”

McKinney police have beefed up security in response to death threats, reported WFAA-TV:

“Marked and unmarked police cars patrolled outside the suburban police station after officers received death threats and became increasingly concerned about backlash from a viral video.”

There have been unsubstantiated claims of retaliatory vandalism in Craig’s Ranch since Friday, however KDFW-TV reported McKinney police have receive no complaints:

“There have been comments on Facebook from the Craig Ranch community about acts of vandalism the day after the pool party incident. However, police say they have no documentation of any reports of vandalism, so either it didn’t happen or it wasn’t reported to police.”

Anonymous has gotten into the act seeking to dox people in McKinney. They picked up the $200 bounty for information on a white man seen in the Brandon Brooks video standing near the police officer as he tries to detain the fifteen year-old girl, trying to keep other teens away. A man who was photographed holding a pro-police sign in McKinney was doxxed as allegedly charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon back in 1999.

Anonymous also noted the officer involved in the incident, Cpl. Eric Casebolt, has deleted his social media accounts.

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Anonymous
@OpMcKinney

Casebolt is a big man when confronting 14 year olds, but deletes accounts and hides from the face of public opinion #McKinney #Bully #Coward

7:55 PM – 8 Jun 2015
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The website Heavy reported Casebolt was sued in 2009 over an arrest. The case was dismissed and never refiled even after the underlying criminal charges were dropped.

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Related video:

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Bee-pocalypse Now? Nope. (Shawn Regan)

Bee-pocalypse Now? Nope. – Shawn Regan

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You’ve probably heard by now that bees are mysteriously dying. In 2006, commercial beekeepers began to witness unusually high rates of honeybee die-offs over the winter – increasing from an average of 15 percent to more than 30 percent. Everything from genetically modified crops to pesticides (even cell phones) has been blamed. The phenomenon was soon given a name: colony collapse disorder.

Ever since, the media has warned us of a “beemaggedon” or “beepocalypse” posing a “threat to our food supply.” By 2013, NPR declared that bee declines may cause “a crisis point for crops,” and the cover of Time magazine foretold of a “world without bees.” This spring, there was more bad news. Beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies over the last year, prompting more worrisome headlines.

Based on such reports, you might believe that honeybees are nearly gone by now. And because honeybees are such an important pollinator – they reportedly add $15 billion in value to crops and are responsible for pollinating a third of what we eat – the economic consequences must be significant.

Last year, riding the buzz over dying bees, the Obama administration announced the creation of a pollinator-health task force to develop a “federal strategy” to promote honeybees and other pollinators. Last month the task force unveiled its long-awaited plan, the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The plan aims to reduce honeybee-colony losses to “sustainable” levels and create 7 million acres of pollinator-friendly habitat. It also calls for more than $82 million in federal funding to address pollinator health.

But here’s something you probably haven’t heard: There are more honeybee colonies in the United States today than there were when colony collapse disorder began in 2006. In fact, according to data released in March by the Department of Agriculture, U.S. honeybee-colony numbers are now at a 20-year high. And those colonies are producing plenty of honey. U.S. honey production is also at a 10-year high.

Almost no one has reported this, but it’s true. You can browse the USDA reports yourself. Since colony collapse disorder began in 2006, there has been virtually no detectable effect on the total number of honeybee colonies in the United States. Nor has there been any significant impact on food prices or production.

How can this be? In short, commercial beekeepers have adapted to higher winter honeybee losses by actively rebuilding their colonies. This is often done by splitting healthy colonies into multiple hives and purchasing new queen bees to rebuild the lost hives. Beekeepers purchase queen bees through the mail from commercial breeders for as little as $15 to $25 and can produce new broods rather quickly. Other approaches include buying packaged bees (about $55 for 12,000 worker bees and a fertilized queen) or replacing the queen to improve the health of the hive. By doing so, beekeepers are maintaining healthy and productive colonies – all part of a robust and extensive market for pollination services.

Economists Randal Rucker and Walter Thurman have carefully documented how these pollination markets work and how they respond to problems like bee disease. As it turns out, they work pretty well. A 2012 analysis by Rucker and Thurman found almost no economic impact from colony collapse disorder. (If anything, you might be paying 2.8 cents more for a can of Smokehouse Almonds.) They conclude that beekeepers are “savvy entrepreneurs” who have proven able to “adapt quickly to changing market conditions” with almost no impact on consumers.

Rebuilding lost colonies takes extra work, but so far most beekeepers seem adept at doing so. Rucker and Thurman find that the prices for new queen bees have remained stable, even with increased demand due to higher winter losses. Pollination fees, the fees beekeepers charge farmers to provide pollination services, have increased for some crops such as almonds. But these higher pollination fees have helped beekeepers offset the additional costs of rebuilding their hives.

The White House downplays these extensive markets for pollination services. The task force makes no mention of the remarkable resilience of beekeepers. Instead, we’re told the government will address the crisis with an “all hands on deck” approach, by planting pollinator-friendly landscaping, expanding public education and outreach, and supporting more research on bee disease and potential environmental stressors. (To the disappointment of many environmental groups, the plan stops short of banning neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide some believe are contributing to bee deaths.)

This is not to deny that beekeeping faces challenges. Today, most experts believe there is no one single culprit for honeybee losses, but rather a multitude of factors. Modern agricultural practices can create stress for honeybees. Commercial beekeepers transport their colonies across the country each year to pollinate a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This can weaken honeybees and increase their susceptibility to diseases and parasites.

But this is not the first time beekeepers have dealt with bee disease, and they do not stand idly by in the face of such challenges. The Varroa mite, a blood-sucking bee parasite introduced in 1987, has been especially troublesome. Yet beekeepers have proven resilient. Somehow, without a national strategy to help them, beekeepers have maintained their colonies and continued to provide the pollination services our modern agricultural system demands.

“What are we doing on bees?” the president reportedly asked his advisers in 2013. “Are we doing enough?” With U.S. honeybee colonies now at a 20-year high, you have to wonder: Is our national pollination strategy a solution in search of a crisis?

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