Thursday, May 29, 2014
By Alan Caruba
Even though President Obama continues to lie about “climate change” and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying.
Obama is on record saying that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and is “affecting Americans right now.” Climate change as studied by climatologists is measured in terms of centuries whereas the weather is what is happening today. It has been happening before and since the rise of civilization. Obama’s claim that “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience” and “have become more frequent and/or intense” is a lie from start to finish.
The White House recently released its latest “National Climate Assessment.” It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those “scientists” employed to further the hoax.
The UN’s IPCC was created in 1983 and has issued a series of reports whose sole intention has been to frighten people around the world with claims of global warming that are scientifically baseless.
The Heartland Institute, a non-profit market-based think tank, responded by creating the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and by sponsoring a series of international conferences. The 9th conference will be July 7-9 in Las Vegas. That effort began in 2003 in cooperation with the Science & Environmental Project led by Dr. S. Fred Singer and was joined by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.
I am an advisor to the Institute, having written about environmental and energy issues for several decades at this point.
Calling on thousands of scientists around the world, in 2013 the NIPCC published the first of a three-volume response to the IPCC’s fifth assessment. This year, it has published a volume of Climate Change Reconsidered devoted to biological impacts, a 1,062 page opus. The NIPCC is an international panel of scientists and scholars with no government affiliation or sponsorship, and it receives no corporate funding.
Writing in the Financial Post in October 2013, Lawrence Solomon, the executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group, noted that “solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” The Earth’s climate is primarily a reflection of solar radiation or the lack of it. From 1300 to 1850, the Earth was subject to a mini-ice age. While the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s, Solomon noted that, in the 1960s and 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the Earth “was entering a period of global cooling. The media in those years was filled with stories about a pending new ice age.
It was only the intervention of the UN’s IPCC that changed the “consensus” to one of global warming. A cooling cycle that began around fourteen years ago could lead to another mini-ice age or the planet could be on the cusp of a full-fledged one. On average, the interglacial periods of the Earth have lasted about 11,500 years and we are at the end of such a period.
Climate Change Reconsidered II devoted to biological impact features scientific studies that conclude:
# “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.” Considering that all vegetation on Earth depends on it, it is not surprising that another conclusion was that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.
# As a result, “there is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels and that terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases, evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”
# In addition, “rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life and that a modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperate-related events.”
The irony of the latest NIPCC report, of course, is that it responds to the claims of global warming and carbon dioxide’s role at a time when the Earth is cooling. It makes one wish that all the talk about “greenhouse gases” is true enough to help us escape from the present cooling.
One thing we do know for sure is that the Greens talk of climate change has lost its grip on the public imagination and attention. As the cooling cycle continues, people around the world will be far more focused on increased evidence of massive ice sheets at both poles, on frozen lakes and rivers, on shortened growing seasons, and on the desperate need for more fossil fuels to warm our homes and workplaces.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
By Alan Caruba
Before President Obama took office in 2009, the amount of electricity being produced by coal-fired utilities was approximately fifty percent of the total. Today it is approximately forty percent and, when the Environmental Protection Agency regulations take effect as of June 2, more such utilities are likely to close their doors. The basis for the regulations is utterly devoid of any scientific facts.
Environmentalism, as expressed by many of the organizations that advocate it is, in fact, an attack on America, its economic system of capitalism, and its need for energy to maintain and grow its business and industrial base. Electricity, of course, is also the energy we all use daily for a multitude of tasks ranging from heating or cooling our homes to the use of our computers and every other appliance.
The EPA regulations are said to be necessary to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) which the Greens deem to be a “pollutant” in our atmosphere. It is not a pollutant, despite a Supreme Court decision that identifies it as such, but rather a gas vital to all life on Earth, used by all vegetation for its growth. CO2 is to vegetation what oxygen is to all animal life. Humans, all seven billion of us, exhale CO2!
Viv Forbes, the Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, notes that the Earth’s atmosphere “is not a greenhouse” and “does not have a glass roof. It uses convection to redistribute heat very quickly.” The claim for several decades has been that CO2 has an effect on the Earth’s surface temperature, but Forbes points out that “water vapor is a far more effective agent for insulating the Earth and preserving its warmth than carbon dioxide,” adding that “there is no evidence that man-made carbon dioxide is a significant cause of global warming.”
Indeed, even though the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has increased, Forbes points out that “Close examination of past records shows that temperature tends to rise before carbon dioxide content rises, sometimes centuries earlier.” Significantly, at the same time Greens have been crying out against emissions of CO2 from coal-fired utilities and other sources, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle now verging on eighteen years!
The EPA is lying to Americans regarding carbon dioxide and, worse, its proposed regulations will reduce the number of coal-fired utilities and drive up the cost of electricity for Americans.
One of the many Green organizations, Earthjustice, claims that “Climate change threatens the world as we know it—and the chief culprit is fossil fuel burning. To avert ecological disaster, Earthjustice is pushing for a shift from dirty to clean energy to stabilize our climate and build a thriving sustainable world.”
There is literally nothing that mankind can do to “stabilize” the Earth’s climate. While the Earth has been going through climate change for 4.5 billion years, there is no evidence that anything mankind does has any effect on it. The change the Earth has encountered, as mentioned, is a cooling, a far different scenario than the “global warming” claims of the past three decades or more.
Tom Richard, the editor of ClimageChangeDispatch.com, notes that “Arctic sea ice has rebounded to higher and higher levels each year. Antarctica is actually gaining in size and there has been no increase in droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, ‘extreme weather’, flooding, et cetera.”
Reducing CO2 would have zero benefits while, at the same time, the EPA regulations would have a dangerous and totally unnecessary effect on CO2 emissions from plants producing electricity. Other nations around the world are actually abandoning “clean energy”. i.e., wind and solar power, in favor of building many more coal-fired plants to meet their need to provide energy for their populations and their economic growth. China and India are just two examples.
To support its claims of the forthcoming EPA regulations, EarthJustice is claiming that climate change “hits people of color the hardest” and that power plants “disproportionately impact Latino communities.” It noted “the moral obligation of faith community to act on climate change and support carbon pollution limits.” This has nothing to do with the actual facts of climate change and CO2 as noted here and is a blatant political campaign to secure support from these groups.
The reality, as noted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a policy research organization founded by former Senate leaders from both parties, was quoted in the May 26 edition of The Wall Street Journal saying “A 25% reduction (of CO2) with a 2015 baseline might make it impossible for some companies to operate”, noting that the cap-and-trade policies of emissions allowances that the EPA is putting in place “amounts to a hidden tax” on a whole range of electrical generation and industrial plants that produce CO2 emissions. The EPA will likely use the term “budget program” to avoid “cap-and-trade”, a proposal that was rejected by Congress.
Writing in Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin, said that the new regulations on carbon emissions “will have a potentially devastating impact on America’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants” noting that “the move was made possible by Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had the right to regulate (CO2) emissions, giving the President virtual carte blanche to remake this sector of our economy without requiring congressional consent.”
In July, the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, will hold its ninth international conference on climate change. Previous conferences have brought together some of the world’s leading authorities on meteorology and climatology to debunk the decades of lies Greens have told about climate change and global warming.
The President has put “climate change” high on his list of priorities and it is an attack on the nation’s ability to affordably and extensively provide the energy needed to meet current needs for electricity and reducing our capacity to meet future needs.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on record saying that the President’s bogus “climate change” policy could cost the U.S. economy $50 billion a year and force more than a third of coal-fired plants to close by 2030. The Heritage Foundation says “The plan will drive up energy prices for American families and businesses without making a dent in global temperatures.”
This is a form of regulatory death for the nation and comes straight out of the Oval Office of the White House.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Alan Caruba
I keep wondering why, here in the United States where three thousand died in a 2001 attack on the Twin Towers by terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda, we continue to be told that we must exercise sensitivity and tolerance for a “religion”, Islam, that worldwide is perpetrating not just violence, but a concerted attack on morality in general and Western civilization in particular.
There are more than a billion Muslims worldwide and surely many of them are personally opposed to what is being done in their name. Unfortunately, Islam has a long history of the violence being perpetrated and the general silence of Muslims must be interpreted as consent or the fear of speaking out. By contrast, anywhere anything is said, written or done that offends Muslims brings cries of outrage and demands for apologies.
Throughout the Middle East, in Africa, in Europe, Russia, India and China, just in recent times the evidence of the Islamic war on the right of non-Muslims to practice their faith is everywhere.
One of the leading authorities on Islam and the author of several books is Ali Sina. In “Understanding Muhammad and Muslims”, Sina bluntly says “The Islamic world is sick. It would be shortsighted to deny that the cause of this sickness is Islam. Almost every crime, every abuse and inhumanity perpetrated by Muslims is inspired by examples set by Muhammad and justified through his words and deeds. This is the inconvenient truth that sadly, so many would rather not talk about.”
In the West we ask how Boko Haram, an Islamist group now famed for kidnapping more than 250 Christian girls attending a school in Nigeria and forcibly converting them to Islam, can do such a crime, but in September it had shot 40 students in their sleep at a Nigerian college and within a week of the kidnapping had set off car bombs that killed at least 118 people in the Nigerian city of Jos. Unable to protect its own people, Nigeria needs an international task force to hunt down Boko Haram and destroy it.
We also must ask why it took so long for our State Department to list Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, adding them to the long list that already exists. As Daniel Henninger noted in a May 22 Wall Street Journal commentary, despite the fact that both the Justice Department and the CIA wanted the group added to the list, “State decided not to designate Boko Haram arguing other tactics were available” to deal with them. Henniger warned that “In matters of national security, the U.S. government “has become hopelessly bureaucratized and the public debate about it (radical Islam) hopelessly intellectualized.”
The U.S. government has been led by a President who made it clear that he was opposed to any criticism of Islam. Among his early promises was to close down Guantanamo and the term, “war on terror”, disappeared as one of the government’s goals. It was replaced by surgical attacks such as the one that killed Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. It has not, however, slowed the expansion of al Qaeda or other Islamist groups.
On May 21, Raymond Ibrahim, an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and author of “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians”, took note of the fact that Sudan had sentenced an eight-month pregnant wife and mother to death by hanging for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. It also ordered that she be flogged. “Tragic as this story is, it is also immensely commonplace in Islamic countries. Why/ Because Islamic law does in fact punish the apostate from Islam—including with death—in accordance with the commands of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.”
Ibrahim cited cases in which Christians were threatened with death or killed for being Christian in Afghanistan, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Iran, Krygyz, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Tanzania, adding that “The fact is, Muslim converts to Christianity are even under attack in Europe.”
Because of the schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, the killings continue as they have from the beginning of this split shortly after the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D. There have been periods of peace in which the two sects lived together peacefully, but the violence began again in earnest in Iraq, also largely Shiite after years of Sunni control under Saddam Hussein. Though Shiites are a minority in Islam, Iran is Shiite and a leading supporter of terrorist organizations, particularly those led Palestinians, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Sunni Saudi Arabia, watching the U.S. negotiations with Iran, has begun to move away from viewing Iran as a threat to be resisted, fearful no doubt that the U.S. under Barack Obama will do nothing to protect the Middle East and the world from an Iran seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. In recent weeks the Saudis have opened relations with Iran.
On May 25, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the regimes’s Fars News Agency, said that one of that nation’s goals remains the destruction of America. He told a meeting of members of Iran’s parliament that “Battle and jihad are endless…”, a classic Islamic point of view. As for the negotiations with the P5+1 world leaders, permanent members of the U.S. Security Council, plus Germany, they were entered into by Iran to secure a reduction in economic sanctions.
The U.S. resisted the threat of Soviet Communism from 1945 to 1991 until the Soviet Union collapsed, but it has signaled the world that it will not lead resistance to militant Islam.
The threat of Islam has been noted from its earliest years throughout history. It has no restrictions on slavery. It relegates women to a subservient class. It shares no moral resistance to murder, kidnapping and other crimes so long as they are committed in the name of “jihad”—holy war.
Today there is no greater threat to mankind than Islam. As far as Islam is concerned, you are the enemy, to be converted, enslaved, or killed.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
By Alan Caruba
John Kerry, our Secretary of State, continues to provide reasons to believe he is either too stupid to hold such a high position or too willing to tell lies to keep pace with President Obama.
Their views on “climate change” are so lacking in scientific fact that they are telling people we’re all doomed if we don’t abandon vast traditional U.S. energy resources and continue to throw more billions at “renewable energy” that provides a very costly three percent of the nation’s huge energy needs. Meanwhile, nations in Europe, China, India and elsewhere are abandoning solar and wind, and building coal-fired plants.
At a Boston College commencement speech on May 19, Kerry outdid himself talking about climate change. “If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge—and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong—supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen?” The worst is more wasted billions spent on something mankind can do nothing about and the administration’s continued efforts to control every inch of land in the U.S. and all of its waters.
In the May 27 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Bast, the president of the free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute, and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama, teamed out to write about “The Myth of the Climate Change 97%.” While demolishing this Big Lie, they noted that “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”
Obama’s and Kerry’s problem, along with all the other climate change charlatans, is that is the Earth is now into its 17th year of a natural cooling cycle based on lower radiation from the Sun, itself in a natural cycle. It is the Sun, not mankind that determines the climate of the Earth.
The Petition Project in which 31,073 U.S. scientists, over 9,000 of whom have a Ph.D. in a scientific field, participated says “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
“The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”
In his State of the Union speech, Obama said “climate change is a fact.” Well, yes, if you keep in mind that climate change is measured in centuries, not decades or years. Claiming that every hurricane or tornado is evidence of climate change ignores this. His claim that climate change is “settled science” is just one more lie.
The Obama administration recently released a Climate Assessment report that was nothing more than a repeat of the lies the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been telling since 1983. They have all been based on computer models rigged to produce a global warming outcome. This process continues in several U.S. government agencies.
Following the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850, the Earth quite naturally warmed, most of which occurred prior to 1945. Meanwhile, the ice sheets of both the Arctic and Antarctica have been growing, particularly at the South Pole. The rise of oceans is measured in mere centimeters, posing no threat to polar bears or the island of Manhattan.
To Kerry’s question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” a recent Wall Street Journal opinion said that answer is “we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can’t do anything to stop: that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world’s poor; and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.”
Mr. Kerry isn't right and that makes him and President Obama a national and a global problem.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
By Alan Caruba
Multiple murders by a crazed killer will always generate headlines as they should. The latest occurred on May 23 when a mentally ill young man, Elliot Rodger, killed six and injured thirteen others. Of the six, he stabbed three and used a gun to kill or wound the others. He wasn’t the first to do this and he won’t be the last. These killers of multiple numbers of people all have insanity in common. It’s not about the weapon, it’s about the killer.
In the 1940s when I was growing up, I went to a lot of movies in which killing was part of the stories being told. As television became part of every home in the 1950s, this theme could be seen in many of the shows and movies. Whether it was the good guys, cowboys wearing white hats or police pursuing criminals, both often had to strike down killers.
One can understand why many believe that we live in a society that is a jungle in which we are at great risk of being killed by those we know or by complete strangers, particularly in our large cities. The facts, however, tell another story entirely.
Among the leading causes of death in America, heart disease, according to statistics from 2010, was the primary cause, taking 597,689 lives. It was followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and accidents. In 2013, there were more than 316 million Americans, but you were more likely to die from old age than diseases and other causes.
Of the list of 16 leading causes of death, homicide was listed as the 15th.
Despite the daily reports of killings and assaults, the reality is that, since the 1990s, crime of all kinds has declined in the United States and current crime rates are approximately the same as in the 1990s.
Based on records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of crime statistics, defined as four criminal offenses, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, the potential of being a victim has been reduced. The U.S. homicide rate, which has declined since 1992 from a rate per 100,000 persons of 9.8 to 4.8 in 2010 is still, however, among the highest in the industrialized world.
The reasons given for the decline in America include the increase of police officers in the 1990s. On September 16, 1994, President Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act into law. Under the act, more than $30 billion in federal aid was spent over a six year period to improve state and local law enforcement, prisons, and crime prevention programs. Significantly, the prison population has expanded since the mid-1970s, though not all are incarcerated for violent crimes.
In fact, cities like New York and Philadelphia have been leading the way to a reduction of violent crime with the entire nation on track to have its lowest murder rate in four decades. Chicago, often cited for its murder rate, was a safer city in 2013 though it still leads in the number of murders.
All this is good news, but it is obscured by the daily reports of killings that are a staple of what the media regards as news no matter where you live. Coverage of murder trials, along with the endless shows devoted to fictional presentations about murder leads people to believe that life in our cities and elsewhere is a succession of murders, but the statistics tell us a very different, real story.
In states where concealed carrying of weapons is legal, the murder rate is lower than those that do not permit this. Efforts by the Obama administration to put limits on our Second Amendment right to bear weapons only put us at greater risk. The purchase of billions of ammunition by the administration is a backdoor attempt to reduce our access to ammunition. Demands for increased registration of gun ownership, already a standard law in all our states, represent a liberal effort to convince Americans that guns are a major threat. They are a major deterrent.
Our perception of crime and of murder is the result of the news and entertainment media’s constant depiction of this element of life in America, but it does not reflect reality. This is not likely to change, but one can take comfort in the reality the statistics provide.
There is one significant exception that does not appear on the list of the causes of death in America. If you were a fetus in 2012, you were among an estimated 1.04 million killed. Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, more than 50,000,000 babies have been killed.
There’s a word for this. It’s genocide.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
By Alan Caruba
Listening to President Obama respond on May 21 to the latest scandal regarding something about which he knew and did nothing—the mess at the Veterans Administration—was such a familiar event that I have reached a point of exhaustion trying to keep up with everything that has been so wrong about his six years in office. As he always does, he said was really angry about it.
Writing in the May 20 Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin said, “Forget ideology for a moment. Whether you are liberal or conservative, the Obama presidency’s parade of miscues is jaw-dropping.”
Stacked against the list of Obama scandals and failures, Rubin could only cite the Bush administration’s 2005 handling of Hurricane Katrina, the seventh most intense ever, and, as anyone familiar with that event will tell you, the failure of FEMA’s response was matched by the failures of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and the New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Bush had declared a national emergency two days before it hit the Gulf coast.
Rubin concluded that the Obama administration scandals “reflect the most widespread failure of executive leadership since the Harding administration”, adding “The presidency is an executive job. We hire neophytes at our peril. When there is an atmosphere in which accountability is not stressed you get more scandals and fiascos.”
Obama spent his entire first term blaming all such things on his predecessor, George W. Bush, until it became a joke.
One has to wonder about the effect of the endless succession of scandals and fiascos have had on Americans as individuals and the nation as a whole.
While it is easier to lay all the blame on Obama, the fact is that much of the blame is the result of a federal government that is so big no President could possibly know about the countless programs being undertaken within its departments and agencies, and all the Presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive initiatives have played a role in growing the government.
It is, however, the President who selects the cabinet members responsible to manage the departments as well as those appointed to manage the various agencies. Kathleen Sebelius, the recently resigned former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for the implementation of Obamacare, comes to mind. She had solicited donations—against the law—from the companies HHS regulates to help her sign up uninsured Americans for Obamacare and signed off on the millions spent on HealthCare.gov and other expenses leading up to its start.
There are lists of the Obama scandals you can Google. One that continues to fester is the attack on September 11, 2012—the anniversary of 9/11—that killed an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi, Libya. It has been and continues to be investigated, mostly because of the lies told by Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “What difference at this point does it make?” fame. Clinton was asked what she had accomplished in her four years as Secretary and was unable to name anything.
Eric Holder, our Attorney General, continues in office despite having been held in contempt of Congress, professing that he knew nothing about “Fast and Furious”, the earliest scandal involving a gun-running scheme to Mexican drug cartels by the ATF presumably to track them, but they lost track and many were used in crimes including the killing of a Border Patrol agent.
Holder also told Congress that he was not associated with the “potential prosecution” of a journalist even though he had signed the affidavit that named Fox News reporter, James Rosen. as a potential criminal. Holder was also in charge when the Justice Department culled the phone records of Associated Press reporters to find out who they deemed was leaking information.
Keeping track of the solar power and other “renewable” and “Green” energy companies like Solyndra that received millions in grants and then rather swiftly went bankrupt became a fulltime effort and, of course, there was the “stimulus” that wasted billions without generating any “shovel ready jobs” qualifies as a fiasco.
In the midst of the recession that was triggered by the 2008 financial crisis various elements of the Obama administration continued to spend money in ways that suggested their indifference. In 2010 the General Services Administration held a $823,000 training conference in Las Vegas, complete with a clown and mind readers.
An Agriculture Department program to compensate black farmers who allegedly had been discriminated against by the agency turned into a gravy train that delivered several billion dollars to thousands of recipients, some of whom probably had not encountered discrimination.
The Veterans Affairs agency made news when it spent more than $6 million on two conferences in Orlando, Florida, and is back in the news for revelations about alleged falsified records concerning the waiting times veterans faced amidst assertions that many died while waiting for treatment surfaced. This was a problem of which the then-Senator Obama was already aware, but six years into his presidency it still existed despite his early promises to fix it.
Obama has been the biggest of Big Government Presidents since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, and Obamacare put the federal government in control of one sixth of the nation’s economy while putting the government in charge of the care Americans expect to receive. Obamacare will dwarf the problems associated with the Veterans agency.
Meanwhile, we have been living with a President who is so indifferent to working with Congress that he has gained fame for his use of executive orders such as the decision to not deport illegal immigrants. His aides have promised more executive orders.
All this over the course of the last six years has left Americans exhausted by the incompetence and wastefulness of an administration that now presides over the highest national debt in the history of the nation and the first ever downgrade of our credit rating.
It has also left them angry if they were conservatives and disillusioned if they were Obama supporters. The Veterans Administration scandal is likely a tipping point for the independent voters and even for longtime Democrats who will want a change.
It is increasingly likely that the November midterm elections give the Republican Party control over the Senate as well as the House and then to hope that it will begin to rein in the spending and save the nation from a financial collapse that will rival the one in 2008.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Yes, it’s another reminder that Warning Signs needs, welcomes, and appreciates any donation of any size that you make. That’s because, while a labor of love, it still has bills to pay and no big corporation or other funding. Warning Signs is enjoying close to 60,000 visits every month and it would be a very BIG help if those enjoying our blog would pitch in a few dollars to maintain it. THANK YOU!
By Alan Caruba
The news that some forty veterans died whlle waiting to receive care from a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital—care that was denied because of bureaucratic chicanery—will seem small in comparison to the numbers of Americans who will die from the implications of Obamacare.
At this point, some nineteen VA hospitals are under suspicion of engaging in similar practices, but as large as the VA bureaucracy is, it will be small in comparison to what Obamacare requires. The original legislation that combined the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act represented nearly 2,700 pages.
The regulations that are being created to implement it will run to several volumes. By late 2013, the Obama administration had published 11,588,500 words of final Obamacare regulations. If looks can kill, that many words will surely kill. Too many people will be unble to get the care they need because there will be a regulation to prevent it.
What is making headlines now has long been known in other nations with national healthcare systems. It is about rationing, not dispensing care; if for no other reason that is why healthcare should remain in the private sector.
Unless a future Congress repeals Obamacare, the death toll will mount. There have been some forty or more pieces of legislation to repeal it passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. No Republican voted for Obamacare when it was introduced.
What we know is that, while serving on the oversight committee, then-Senator Obama was aware of the VA problems before he ran for President. In 2009, as President, he promised veterans to fix the problems. How concerned is he in 2014? There has been a noticeable lack of public comment from a President famed for having something to say about everything that makes headlines.
Add the VA scandal to the long list of Obama administration scandals from the IRS to Benghazi, but it is Obamacare that has already been a monumental failure and, as we begin to receive news of those who will die as because a local hospital closed or because they lost the care of a personal physician familiar with their problem, it will emerge as the greatest scandal of his presidency.
On March 23, 2010 Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. By October, the Obama administration abandoned the long-term-care insurance program that was in the law. It was later formally repealed by Congress, but the changes that President has initiated since then ignore the fact that only Congress, as the legislative branch, has the power to make such changes.
December 2012 was the deadline for states to decide on running their own insurance exchanges; 36 states left all or part of the job to the federal government. In the lead up to the October 2013 launch of HealthCare.gov more delays were announced by the White House and the website turned out to be a complete disaster. That same month insurers notified thousands of policy holders that their health plans were not compliant with Obamacare and would be cancelled.
In effect, Obamacare caused hundreds of thousands of people with healthcare plans they liked to lose them, thus artificially increasing the number of “uninsured”. In April the White House announced that seven million had signed up for Obamacare. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, gave notice she was resigning. The figure cited by the White House is likely dubious.
In May, an article in The Fiscal Times reported that “A handful of state-run exchange websites—which cost nearly a half a billion dollars to build—still don’t work, nearly seven months after they first went live.” The Fiscal Times estimated that Obamacare websites had cost $5 billion and so many were not functional that the original plan to transition signups to them from HealthCare.gov was likely to be abandoned.
To mark the anniversary of Obamacare’s enactment, in March 2014 the American Action Forum released a report that the law’s regulatory burdens are twice as great as its alleged benefits. “From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities.”
It’s rarely mentioned or reported, but the implementation of Obamacare will also require an increase in the number of people either full-time or under contract with the federal government. The highest estimate for new Internal Revenue Service hires is around 16,000 as the IRS has been put in charge of enforcing Obamacare. It already employs about 100,000 people nationwide which means there is one IRS employee for every 3,000 Americans.
In an April 4 Forbes magazine article, “Obamacare Shows America Suffers from a President Dangerously Disconnected From Reality”, Peter Ferrera, a Heartland Institute Senior Fellow specializing in entitlement and budget policy, concluded that the numbers of those insured by Obamacare were largely a fabrication or invalidated in some cases by data that the Health and Human Services Department released.
“Obamacare,” wrote Ferrera, “has been a major drag on the economy, preventing full recovery from the recession. Employers trying to avoid the costs of the employer mandate have reduced many full time jobs to part time jobs. Or that have frozen hiring, and the associated costs due to Obamacare. This is contributing to income stagnation and decline for the middle class, the working class, and the poor.”
L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center asked “How do we know Obamacare is failing? They’re burying the story. They aren’t in denial. They know the truth. They’re just choosing to ignore it.”
A Center analysis of the three network evening news broadcasts from January through March found only twelve full stories about Obamacare. “None of the networks dared to report the ongoing opposition of the American people to Obamacare” over that period of time, even when they were the ones doing the polling!
The real story of Obamacare, however, isn’t about who signed up or not. The real story of Obamacare that is not being reported is about those who have died and will die as the result of this horrendous experiment in socialized medicine.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
By Alan Caruba
I like to think of myself as a tolerant person. I have, however, one prejudice that is based on biology and history.
Michael Sam, the first openly gay professional football prospect, made history when he was filmed by an ESPN crew giving his lover, Vito Cammisano, a long, lugubrious kiss to celebrate being selected in the National Football League draft on May 10th. The sight of two men kissing passionately was not something I and a lot of other folks wanted to see.
A spokesman for GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination, called the kiss “a significant milestone”, describing it as “touching.” No it wasn’t. It was nauseating to any heterosexual having to witness it or explain it to their children.
We need to understand that being gay is not normal. Biologically, species exist because the male and female genders exist for the purpose of procreation and propagation. Historically, gays have been held in disdain in every era of civilization. Today in the Islamic Middle East you can be killed for being gay, but you can also be killed for being Christian. In the West both actions are an abomination.
One gets a variety of estimates regarding how many gays there are in America. To the question, how many gay people are there in the United States, “The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a sexual orientation law and public policy think tank, estimates that 9 million (about 3.8%) of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (2011). The institute also found that bisexuals make up 1.8% of the population, while 1.7% are gay or lesbian. Transgender adults make up 0.3% of the population.”
Being as generous as one can with such estimates, it still means that 96% of Americans are heterosexual.
In terms of the news generated by gays and their depiction in films and especially these days on television, one might be inclined to think that they were a far greater part of the population, but they are a minority within other minorities. My own guess is that there a large number of gays in the news profession and most certainly in the world of entertainment. And now we are being informed of gays in the world of sports.
I don’t want to hear much about gays for any reason. The kiss was not something I would want young people to see on television or anywhere else. The bigger problem is that our younger generation, progressing through our schools, is being systematically taught to accept homosexuality as just another version of normality.
A group called MassResistance was created in response to an assault on the Massachusetts school curriculums and GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is hard at work in all fifty states! As MassResistance points out, Its agenda is to ensure that “a wide range of psychologically penetrating homosexual and transgender programs (and) activities into the schools,” while “organizing and training teachers to integrate their techniques throughout the curriculum.”
In early April, GLSEN held an all-day conference in Boston with speeches and workshops. It was attended by approximately 325 people, approximately two-third of whom were students. “The GLSEN Conference is run by adults and is meant to train adults. But they go to great lengths to bring in as many students as possible, no matter how young. They come from schools across the state and usual seem part of a ‘gay club’ or affiliated with a homosexual activities on the school’s staff, such as a teacher or guidance counselor.”
The opening session included two keynote speeches, both which were directed at the students. “A general message we got from both speeches,” reported MassResistance, “was there is no sense of truth, or reality, or of right and wrong. Any way you want to express yourself in life is fine.” The problem for gays and lesbians is that they do not have a choice about their sexual orientation, any more than they have a choice over being right or left-handed.
Being a youngster of any age is stressful enough, but being young and gay just adds to the stress and someone should tell them they will live with that for the rest of their lives.
Most certainly parents do not send their children to our public schools to learn about homosexuality, bisexuality, or being transgendered.
What a very large portion of the heterosexual population objects to is the appalling and aggressive effort of the homosexual minority to redefine marriage. Anyone with a handful of functioning brain cells knows that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is an assault on the traditional, historical and global understanding of marriage, the keystone of any society.
It is not something the courts can or should determine. The “equal protection of the law” in the 14th Amendment does not refer to, nor infer the right to marry someone of the same sex. Interpreting it to mean that is a distortion that must intentionally ignore the intent of the Constitution as regards the specific rights it enumerates.
That’s not what’s being taught the current generation in our schools. It’s not mentioned in the countless news stories about “gay marriage” and the many depictions of gays on television sitcoms and other shows.
I don’t want to see another kiss like Sam and his lover shared on television. I don’t care what they do in their private lives, but I want it to remain private.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
By Alan Caruba
According to a 2012 report by the Federal Research Service, “The federal government owns roughly 635-640 million acres, 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States.
Four agencies administer 609 million acres of this land: the Forest Service (USFS) in the Department of Agriculture, and the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), all in the Department of the Interior (DOI). Most of these lands are in the West and Alaska. In addition, the Department of Defense administers 19 million acres in military bases, training ranges, and more. Numerous other agencies administer the remaining federal acreage.”
I suspect it may come as a surprise to many people that the federal government owns just over a quarter of the nation’s landmass and, other than land set aside for military bases and naval ports that may seem excessive. It is.
The drama that ensured when the Bureau of Land Management lay siege to the Nevada Bundy ranch over unpaid grazing fees called into attention the fact that the BLM oversees, according to a recent article in the National Review, “the largest piece of leasable real estate in the American West—245 million acres, an area bigger than the mid-Atlantic states and New England combined. The BLM is its landlord.”
In theory one can apply for a license or lease “to make productive use of this land” noted Travis Kavulla in his article, “Public-Land Colonialism.” In practice “The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires an excruciatingly complex process before even mundane land-use decisions can be made.” It is a regulatory nightmare for anyone who might want to create a mine to access coal or valuable minerals or extract oil or natural gas.
The process is subject to government policies, spoken or unspoken, to restrict access. A current case involves actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the creation of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska even before a permit is requested. A May 12 Wall Street Journal editorial noted that “The EPA’s inspector general’s office last week announced it will investigate the agency’s February decision to commence a preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine project, a job-rich proposal to develop America’s largest U.S. copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska.”
The Obama administration has been devoted to stopping all kinds of projects that might generate jobs and revenue from projects like the Pebble Mine. Its opposition to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline is the best known example, but the EPA’s “war on coal” has closed many mines in addition to coal-fired plants needed to provide electricity.
The EPA is requesting jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the nation and this has been called “the largest land grab in the history of the world.” So it is not just public lands that are affected, but private lands as well.
In an article on World Net Daily, Alana Cook pointed out that “The proposed rule tinkers with the definition of ‘navigable’ waters which was the central point of litigation in a battle between the Supreme Court and the EPA regarding the Clean Water Act.” The proposal would “allow the EPA in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Energy and the Army (Corps of Engineers) to dictate on a never-before-seen scale everything from grazing rights, food production, animal health and the use of energy on private lands.”
This is, simply stated, Communism in which the government owns all the land.
As Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) points out, “There is no engine on Earth as powerful at creating prosperity and improving the condition of both man and nature than free markets. There can be no free market without the right to property.” He warns that “Property rights are under siege.”
One of the BLM’s reasons cited for its actions against the Bundy ranch involved “endangered animals” and Rucker said, “Take away a person’s right to choose how to use their land and in effect you’ve seized that land.” The attack on private land ownership is led by the United Nations Agenda 21.
The government’s control over public lands and its grasp for control of the use of all private lands reflects the Marxist agenda of the Obama administration. It is so manifest that, in mid-April, officials from nine states got together in Salt Lake City to discuss ways to retake control of poorly managed federal lands.
There are federal laws that have been on the books a very long time that are intended to protect private property from the actions we have seen by the BLM and the EPA. One is the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, so this issue has been around awhile, but what is generally unknown is how vast federal control is.
In his National Review article, Kavulla noted that “In Montana, one county that is a traditional center of natural gas production has a whopping 53 percent of its subsurface minerals controlled by the BLM. Proposed resource management plans (RPM) in Montana “more than quadruple the land off-limits to ‘surface occupancy’ which makes oil and gas drilling virtually impossible. Only about one million acres of a ten million acre federal estate would be open to drilling activities under standard leasing conditions.”
America is under attack from within by federal government agencies that are striving to deny access to the greatest energy reserves in the world and to control the lives of ranchers and farmers whose work feed the rest of us.
It is time for the states to take back their land from the federal government and to oversee its use for the development of the economy, the security of the nation, and the protection of private property, the keystone of capitalism.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
By Alan Caruba
In the 1980s I devoted a lot of effort to debunking a torrent of Green lies about pesticides and herbicides. This was before the Greens latched onto “global warming” which has since become “climate change” and the subject of a recent White House report filled with dire predictions of planetary doom and disaster.
Nobody died from using pesticides or herbicides in the 1980s or since unless they drank it straight from the bottle. When I talked with farmers they would frequently say “Do you think I would put this stuff on the crops my family eats if I thought it would harm them?” The Greens have always attacked anything that would increase crop growth by limiting the real harm of weeds or the predation of insect species. These days genetically modified seeds are a target for environmentalists though studies have amply demonstrated their crops are safe to eat.
Less food means less people and that has always been a major goal of the people leading the nation’s and the world’s major environmental organizations. The same formula applies to denying energy to people worldwide.
As for pesticides, we all use them to keep our homes and workplaces free of insects that are the key vectors for all manner of diseases. In a world before their invention, millions died from mosquito-borne diseases such as Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile virus and Malaria. Millions still die from malaria and these diseases because one of the most effective pesticides ever invented was DDT and it was banned because of the lies Rachel Carson told in her iconic, environmental book, “Silent Spring.”
The world is a very complex place and it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of how it works. One of the best new books on this subject is Robert Bryce’s “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper” ($27.99, Public Affairs). What Bryce doesn’t know about energy is probably not worth knowing and, happily, he has authored several books on the subject. His latest provides wonderful and useful insights to the world we share today with seven billion other human beings.
Bryce quotes Edward Abbey, “one of the patron saints of American environmentalism” who, in 1971, said, “We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies.”
This is the kind of thinking that is the hidden justification for genocides. Not surprisingly the leaders of the Nazi regime were all dedicated environmentalists. At the heart of much that passes for environmentalism is an attack on the energy sources that enhance or lives and agricultural practices that feed us.
It’s not by accident that environmental groups all trumpet the same doomsday lies at the same time. Their leaders get together to coordinate their efforts and the current one is aimed at what they call “de-growth”, the reduction of economic growth by any means.
With President Obama blathering about “climate change” threats, it should not surprise anyone to conclude that the horrible economic conditions he has imposed on our nation was not an accident, nor that he focuses on thwarting the provision of energy, the most vital component of economic growth.
“The prescriptions put forward by the degrowth crowd,” says Bryce, “are familiar. Nuclear energy is bad. Genetically modified foods are bad. Coal isn’t just bad, it’s awful. Oil is bad. Natural gas—and the process often used to produce it, hydraulic fracturing is bad.” And it is no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency—the most anti-growth governmental agency—has just announced steps to require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been in use for more than a half century and one that has unlocked access to vast reserves of natural gas and oil.
It is essential to understand who the enemy is and it is groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Worldwatch Institute, to name just a few.
The next time some environmental spokesman is busy spreading fear, Bryce says it is necessary to keep in mind that “Their outlook rejects innovation and modern forms of energy. It rejects business and capitalism. We must move past the climate of fear to one of optimism. We must move past fear of technology to an understanding that technology isn’t the problem; it’s the solution.”
© Alan Caruba, 2014