Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Supreme Court Helps the EPA Shut Off Electricity in America

 
By Alan Caruba

April seems to be the month in which the Supreme Court devotes itself to decisions that have no basis in real science and can do maximum damage to the economy. Invariably, the cases are brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and are decided in its favor.

In April 2007, the Court decided that carbon dioxide, the second most essential gas for all life on the planet was “a pollutant”, the definition the EPA had applied to it in order to regulate it. Now comes word that the Court had concluded that the EPA may regulate power-plant emissions that blow across state lines as per a 2011 regulation, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Not content having put nearly 150 or more coal-fired power plants out of commission, the Court’s rule now gives them the authority to do the same thing to about a thousand power plants in the eastern and western regions of the U.S. that will have to adopt new pollution controls or reduce operations.

In effect, the Court has just agreed to a regulation that represents a major increase in the cost of electricity in 28 states deemed to be polluting the air in those around them. The EPA’s claims that this will save lives they attribute to the alleged pollution is as bogus as all the rest of their claims, the purpose of which is to undermine the nation’s economy in every way it can.
 
James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy said of Tuesday’s decision that “It is a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court continues to empower EPA to issue nonsensical interpretations of statutes with the primary goal of amassing more money and power.”

Every day the press is filled with reports of environmental groups suing to ensure that no new providers of electricity can be built. The Environmental Protection Agency has instituted all manner of regulations intended to shut down coal-fired plants and they are based on the total lie that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are causing the Earth to warm. The science cited is entirely without merit and the Earth is cooling, not warming, and has been for the past seventeen years.

As winters grow colder, it is putting a tremendous demand on the nation’s electrical grid. In a recent commentary, Steve Gorham, the author of “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania”, quoted Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”

“EPA policies,” said Gorham, “such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.”

Before Obama was elected, coal-fired plants provided fifty percent (50%) of the nation’s electricity.

What is the Obama administration’s response to this? It is pouring billions into the wind and solar energy sector that provides barely one percent of all the electricity used in the nation and can never begin to replace traditional plants.

In an April 25 letter from the American Energy Alliance, joined by thirty other organizations, to the House Ways and Means Committee, opposition to the Wind Production Tax Credit was expressed: "The PTC has been a failure for taxpayers and ratepayers. In exchange for tens of billions of dollars in handouts to wind producers, the states with the highest wind production have seen their electricity rates increase nearly five times faster than the national average. In fact, states with at least 7 percent wind power have seen their electricity rates increase at an average of 17.4 percent over the last 5 years compared to an increase of only 3.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole" Why, indeed, are taxpayers being required to sustain providers of wind power that would not be able to stay in business otherwise?
In addition to the fact that you cannot manufacture anything without the use of electricity, a deliberate effort is being made to ensure that vast sections of the nation will not be able to receive electricity to warm homes and businesses in the winter and cool them in the summer. Simply put, people will die for lack of the warmth and coolness needed, not from the phony pollution the EPA cites.

This is the heart of an environmental agenda that views the human population as “a cancer” that needs to be vastly reduced. This agenda is directed from the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that falsely claims that humans have a vast impact on the climate. They do not. Human activity barely, if at all, affects the climate. What does? The Sun! Add in factors that include the Earth’s oceans and volcanic activity, and it should be obvious that everyone is being targeted for extinction.

In an article, “The EPA’s Science Problem”, Arnold Ahlert, noted in early April that “In a stunning admission, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy revealed to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce, all the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans via the Clean Air Act. In short, science has been trumped by the radical environmental agenda.”

The Obama administration has done everything in its power to restrict and slow down access and use of America’s huge energy reserves, enough to ensure all the electrical power we will need for hundreds of years to come. The same policy applies to transportation’s petroleum needs. Oil and gas production on federal lands is down 40% compared to ten years ago.

According to the Institute for Energy Research notes that “North America has enough oil to fuel every passenger car in the U.S. for 430 years, enough natural gas to provide the U.S. with electricity for 575 years, and enough coal to provide electricity for about 500 years.” And that’s based on known reserves. They are, however, of little use if the Obama administration continues its efforts to restrict access to them.

In an August 2013 Washington Times commentary, Ben Wolfgang warned that the EPA, the Energy Department, and other agencies’ “working group” quietly raised “their estimated social coast of carbon from $21 per ton of emissions to $35 per ton”, noting that “The dramatic increase greatly alters cost-benefit analyses offered by the EPA when floating rules, allowing the agency to claim that billions of dollars will be saved over a period of decades as a result of proposed limits on power plant emissions, tougher fuel economy standards and other steps.”

The “social cost” is a complete invention, a fiction without any basis in fact. It is a device to further restrict access and use of all fuel sources.

Americans had better wake up to the fact that their government—the Obama administration—is doing everything in its power to cut off the provision of electrical power and access to transportation fuel that it can. And the Democrats in Congress, particularly Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader, is doing everything to advance this agenda by blocking any legislation generated in the House to counter this agenda.

In November, the midterm elections offer an opportunity to elect enough Republicans to secure control of the Senate and increase its strength in the House.

Let me end with the good news. Despite what the enemies of energy are doing, the energy sector—coal, oil, and natural gas—in the decade ahead is going to grow, going to generate many new jobs, and is going to help dig us out of the huge government debt that too much borrowing and spending has generated.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Much Ado about the Ukraine

Hundreds of Ukrainians took part in an April 28 march in Llov to mark the anniversary of the formation of the Ukrainian SS division which fought for the Nazis against the Soviet Union in WWII

By Alan Caruba

Events in the Ukraine are now big headlines and the topic of a torrent of commentaries by experts on Russia, the European Union, NATO and related subjects. The whole thing began after protests forced its president to flee to Russia, followed by the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea as disputes between Eastern and Western Ukraine broke out.

At the time and still now I thought it was a predictable action and one that did not involve “invading” the Crimea since Russia has for many years had several thousand troops already stationed there to service and protect its military and naval facilities. Rather than wait around for the Ukrainians to resolve their conflict, the Russians took the reasonable, rational action of annexation. Crimea had been a part of Russia for hundreds of years and the Ukraine was as well. The national language there is Russian.

The problems the Ukraine has encountered began with public rejection of its president, Victor Yanukovych, a fellow who preferred alignment with Russia than the West. Many Ukrainians thought this was a bad idea, but it seems now that many others had no objections. The main objections appear to have been the dismal governance of the nation, replete with major corruption.

The problem Vladimir Putin poses today is the problem that Russia has always posed for any nation on its borders. From the czars to the commissars, it has a long history of imposing control on its neighbors. They were regarded as a buffer zone. Russia had been unsuccessfully invaded by Napoleon and, after being betrayed by the Nazis with whom they signed a deal to split Poland, they wanted territory between them and Europe. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, those satellite nations declared their sovereignty once again, happy to be free and to embrace Western Europe.

NATO, a European mutual defense organization, was created to respond to what was seen as the potential for Russian aggression. As a member, the U.S. is committed to join in their defense. World War Two was followed by over forty years of “containment” by the West. When in 1992 the U.S. Senate ratified NATO expansion to include nations that bordered the former Soviet Union, it set up the present tense situation. Ukraine, however, is not a member of NATO.

Interviewed in 1998, George Kennan, the U.S. diplomat who was ambassador to Moscow in 1952 and who authored the “containment” policy adopted by the U.S., said the expansion of NATO was a very bad decision.

Presciently, he said, “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies,” adding “It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia and then (the NATO expanders) will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are—but this is just wrong.”

On April 28, the Associated Press reported that President Obama said of increased sanctions on Russia, “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.” 

Nothing else in the Obama foreign policy regarding Russia has worked since the famed “reset” in his first term so he’s probably right. On a personal level, not just Putin, but most leaders of foreign nations have concluded Obama is too weak and too incompetent to be treated with anything other than the courtesy his office requires.

Thomas Graham, a former senior director for Russia on the U.S. National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007, recently expressed his view of the current situation in the April 28 edition of the Financial Times. He dismissed a new version of “containment” saying “It will not work. Nor will it advance U.S. interests. Economically, Russian is impossible to isolate.”
 

That’s true, but its economy is primarily dependent on oil and natural gas sales. If the prices of either were to fall, its economy would go with it. As it is, money is fleeing Russia, investment has halted, and its present threatening posture toward Ukraine may make Putin a hometown hero, but in the rest of the world, he is trouble with a capital T. As for Ukraine, its economy it’s even worse. But Russian pipelines runs through it to Europe. That is reason enough for Russia to show some concern for events there.

Whatever Russia does, the West can be counted upon to wimp out, doing little or nothing. In this case, staying out of the internal dispute in Ukraine may be the wisest course of action.

At home we have watched the influence of the United States decline from the day Obama took office. He has made matters worse by engaging in the reduction of our military capabilities. Until Obama leaves office, there is little that can be done to reverse this lamentable trend.

As the White House and the rest of us watch from the sidelines, we will hear a lot of empty rhetoric. Putin will be called a war monger, but he just wanted to protect Crimea. If he can covertly subvert Ukraine enough to gain more influence over its eastern half, he will try. 

I cannot weep much for a nation with historic ties to the Nazis and one in which anti-Semitism is still virulent. This is hardly a nation to which the U.S. should be lending millions with loan guarantees for billions.

What happens to the Ukraine is a matter for the Ukrainians to address, not us.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Holocaust Memorial Day and the Pathetic Palestinians


By Alan Caruba

“The demands, conditions, stipulations, and decisions pouring out of Mahmoud Abbas’s office in the last month or so have persuaded everyone concerned that the Palestinian’s mind is in a total muddle,” opined an April 24 Israeli-based newswire Debka File. It reported that Israel’s Prime Minister, Binjamin Netanyahu, had broken off peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), also known as Fatah, after Abbas, its leader, had announced Fatah would unite with Hamas, another Palestinian group with which it had been at odds since 2007.

Confusing? You’re not alone. As Debka File put it, “No one in Jerusalem or Washington can figure out what he wants. And even his closest aides believe that he doesn’t know his own mind and are afraid of what he may dream up next.”

As Israel commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day which began at sundown on Sunday, Abbas grabbed international headlines by declaring that the Holocaust was the “most heinous” modern crime, but seemed to equate what happened to Europe’s Jews during World War Two with Palestinians today who, he said, “suffer from injustice, oppression, and are denied freedom and peace…” The fact that they and the Arab League have refused for over six decades to accept Israel’s right to exist went unmentioned. Now that’s chutzpah!

“In Gaza City, meanwhile,” reported Debka File, “his Fatah and the rival Hamas celebrated their umpteenth unity pack in nine years, although not a single clause of any of the foregoing documents was ever implemented.”

If the Palestinians as a whole and the two organizations that self-identify as representing them seem unable to function in a rational fashion, that is a fair conclusion.

This is what the Israelis have been dealing with before and ever since Yasser Arafat created the Palestinian Authority in 1959 directing it until his death in 2004. Its original purpose was the destruction of Israel, but Arafat modified that on occasion to give the impression of legitimacy and to seek ways to return Israel to its original borders in 1948 and later 1964. In 1987 he launched a prolonged Palestinian uprising known as the Intifada, killing many Israelis. And you wonder why Israel has built high walls and fences in some areas?

Hamas is closer to Arafat’s original goal, having been openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel since its formation in 1987 during the Intifada. It is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and has controlled Gaza since June 2007, having forcibly driven out Fatah representatives. It has been deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. since 1997, as does the European Union, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, but not by Iran, Turkey, and China. In 2005 Israel turned over the Gaza strip to the Palestinians as a gesture of peace which has been rewarded by constant rocketing launched from there ever since.

Sarah Stern, the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) said on April 25 that “Since September 13, 1993, the Palestinian Authority has been playing a double, duplicitous and highly dangerous game of ‘good cop/bad cop.’ While the Palestinian Authority ended their diplomatic isolation in the community of nations by signings Oslo, Wye, the Roadmap for Middle East Peace, and all subsequent agreements, they have used their enhanced diplomatic status to wage a nonphysical war against Israel through systematic campaigns of distortion and dehumanization of Israel and the Jew in the international court of public opinion.”

EMET condemned the Palestinian Authority for supporting terrorism against Israel “regularly applauding suicide bombers and calling on children to become martyrs…it is time to stop giving American’s taxpayer dollars, to the tune of more than $600 million a year, to the PA.”

One has to ask why Secretary of State John Kerry has wasted months trying to secure peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel when the former has never demonstrated any real effort to engage in peace beyond the formalities of treaties it has routinely ignored. The announcement that it would join with Hamas is testimony to its dedication to destroying Israel in its quest to declare control of the disputed area. Since 1948, Israel has been a sovereign state. All previous efforts by the U.S. have ended in failure.

Lately, the PA, designated a United Nations “observer”, has been applying for membership to 15 UN bodies. The UN has demonstrated its support for the PA for years, even annually celebrating a day devoted to the Palestinian “refugees”, the oldest such “refugee” group in history, due in large part by the refusal of Arab nations to extend citizenship to them. The UN has maintained UNRWA, its Relief and Works Agency, since 1948 when Israel was attacked and defeated its neighbors. In subsequent wars it expanded its borders to include the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

If the Fatah-Hamas unity effort is successful, it will further isolate the Palestinians who have few, if any, friends left in the Middle East and it renders the United Nations, presumably devoted to peace, as pathetic as the Palestinians.

The restraint that the Israelis have demonstrated over the past 66 years has been quite extraordinary. They are not, however, going to accept several generations of Palestinians to “return” into their nation where many have never lived since 1948.

The Palestinians have not given Israel any reason to have any confidence in what they say publicly for world consumption and the latest “unity” announcement at least confirms their bad intentions. In addition to Hamas, the Iranian pawn, Hizbollah, composed largely of Palestinians, gives Israel even less reason to regard them as anything than enemies.

And while this goes on, the Israelis must make plans to respond to the failure of the U.S. effort to get Iran to stop enriching uranium to make their own nuclear weapons. When it is declared dead, they will have no other option than to attack Iranian facilities.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Are Lying and Politics the Same Thing?


By Alan Caruba

In a letter of advice to Peter Carr, dated August 19, 1785, Thomas Jefferson said “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions”

Considering that all but the most dense know that President Obama is now famous for lying repeatedly to secure public support for the Affordable Care Act –“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”—we are all at a point of history in which this contemptible behavior by the President is being replicated by Democratic Party politicians seeking to be elected or reelected.

It is so bad that Karl Rove devoted a column to it in a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal. “The lesson many Democrats seem to have taken away is that the benefits of misleading voters outweigh the downsides. At least that view seems to be guiding Democrats in the battle for the Senate, especially the work of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.” Rove cited a number of campaign ads, saying “Campaigns often make shaky claims, but these Democrat ads are flat-out falsehoods.”

Naturally, Republican candidates are fighting back, but they are not the only Americans fighting the lies that seem to flow ceaselessly from the government these days. In the recent confrontation with Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put forth the absurd lie that it was about protecting some species of tortoise. The real issue was Bundy’s longtime refusal to pay grazing fees for lands his family had used for well over a hundred years.

As for the tortoise, the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that “The federal government has killed more tortoises than Mr. Bundy’s cattle ever could. For from threatened, the tortoise is so abundant that, as of a few years ago, more than 10,000 had been collected from the Las Vegas Valley, and tens of thousands of tortoises live as pets in Southern Nevada.”

If the BLM could make any claim to being good stewards of the land that belongs to the federal government one might be more sympathetic, but the BLM is small potatoes compared to the avalanche of lies that pours forth from an Environmental Protection Agency that feels free to reinterpret the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts any way they want. The EPA has recently requested jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the U.S. that are “intermittent, season and rain-dependent”; in short, every drop of water on every inch of land. Goodbye private property—the very essence of capitalism.

With Obama demonstrating how easy it is to alter elements of the Affordable Care Act to suit political purposes, particularly when it would affect the outcome of his own and the forthcoming midterm elections, is it any wonder that others throughout his administration feel the same way?
 
The Obama first and current terms are monuments of lies. The most blatant, prior to the 2012 elections, was to claim that the Sept. 11 attack that killed our ambassador to Libya and three security personnel was a “spontaneous demonstration” based on a video regarding Mohammed. As we know, that was a blatant lie, but in her testimony before a congressional committee then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously asked “What difference does it make?”

It is the constant cascade of lies that distinguishes the Obama administration and another example is that of Lois Lerner, on leave from the Internal Revenue Service and likely subject to a contempt of Congress citation after it has become obvious that she was a key player in the deliberate effort to deny tax exempt status to “patriot”, “tea party”, or other conservative organizations that need it to raise funds.

It says a lot about the administration that its Attorney General has already been slapped with a contempt of Congress citation after refusing to give up documents regarding the “Fast and Furious” program that put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The reason we keep reading and hearing about the lies pouring forth from the administration and the Democratic Party these days all lead back to its leader, Barack Obama.

It is not even a matter of speculation that he is lying, but pay attention to the way members of the nation’s press almost never use the words “lie” or “lying.” Instead we hear and read synonyms like “falsehood” and “untruths.”  No, they are LIES.

And the price we ALL pay? The nation we love no longer receives the respect it did in the past. Neither our allies, nor our enemies trust the Obama administration and with good reason. That affects our economy, our security, and our future.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Common Core and Communism


By Alan Caruba

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” said Vladimir Lenin who led the revolution that imposed Communism on Russia.

When he wrote, ‘Mein Kampf’, Adolf Hitler said “whoever has the youth has the future.” In his vision for the Nazi Party, education would be the key that ensured that he had ‘the youth’ of Germany fully indoctrinated.

All dictators and authoritarian regimes know that what is taught in their schools offers the greatest opportunity to maintain control over their societies.

That is what has been occurring since the introduction of the Common Core standards that the Obama regime has imposed on our national education system and the good news is that protests against it from concerned parents and others are beginning to increase and gain momentum.

Teachers will tell you that “one size fits all” does not apply in the classroom and never has. Children learn at a different pace with some doing so rapidly while others need extra help and attention. Learning that is entirely dependent on ceaseless testing puts stress on every child and that is the most common complaint about Common Core.

Education in America has been in decline since the 1960s when the teachers unions gained control over the process, putting themselves between the local boards of education and parents. Would it surprise anyone to learn that the Department of Education was established by President Jimmy Carter who signed it into law in 1979? It began operation on May 4, 1980. You will find no reference, no mention of education in the U.S. Constitution and it should not be a function of the federal government.

In a recent commentary by Joy Pullmann in The Daily Caller, she said, “The latest scheme is the field testing of Common Core assessments. This spring more than four million kids will be required to spend hours on tests that have little connection to what they learned in class this year and will provide their teachers and schools no information about what the kids know.”

“Parents who object to this scheme,” said Pullman, “face bullying and harassment from public officials. From New York to Denver to California, some schools are responding by forcing kids who opt out to sit at their desks and do nothing during the several-hour tests. Normal people call that a ‘time out’ and it is a punishment.”

Wyoming has become the first State to block a new set of national science standards that address climate change. In Michigan last year a group of protesters stopped the State from adopting the science standards.

Here are some excerpts of what the science standards teach as “The Essential Principles of Climate Science.”

# “The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees.”

# “Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessens its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

# “The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources.”

From “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” children are to be taught that “If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.” Only the Earth’s mean temperature is not rising! The planet is in a natural cooling cycle that is now seventeen years old, meaning that none of the students in today’s schools have ever experienced a single day of “global warming.”

By the end of grade 8, the Framework teaches that “Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of many other species.”  This, too, is untrue. The U.S. Endangered Species Act, despite listing thousands of species, has not officially “saved” more than a handful at best and this assertion is questionable.

By the end of grade 12, students are expected to believe that “Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.” While it is true that there has been an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide this is a good thing because it is an essential factor in the increase of all vegetation that includes food crops and healthier forests. Moreover, this increase does not play any role in the Earth’s climate.

The central theme of these “science standards” is to teach that we should be reducing our use of fossil fuels, the primary energy sources our nation and the world requires. What these standards do in reality is repeat and reinforce federal government laws and regulations to justify its CO2 emissions regulations based on the current method of computing the Social Cost of Carbon, but these "costs" are pure fiction. 

None of the computer models that have predicted global warming over the past four decades have been accurate. None are capable of representing the state of the Earth’s vastly complex climate.

The sooner Common Core is removed from the nation’s education system, the better.

Editor's Note: To learn more or follow the debate on Common Core, visit
The Heartland Institute's "Education Weekly" newsletter that provides data via Common Core Watch.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Obama's Muslim Brotherhood Agenda


By Alan Caruba

It is a task just to keep up with the conflicts dividing America, so it is no surprise that many Americans are unsure of what occurred during the “Arab Spring” that began in 2011 and its aftermath since then. It is likely, too, that most do not know who or what the Muslim Brotherhood is, but it has been around a long time seeking to control events in the Middle East and North African nations. It also plays an astonishing and frightening role in America.


“The Brotherhood’s peak in the United States came with the victory of Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential election of 2008,” says Walid Phares in his book, “The Lost Spring; U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid” ($27.00, Palgrave Macmillan). “The network, via its front groups, supported the campaign, not as a formal entity, but as a prelude to receiving influence within American bureaucracies and the new administration when Obama took office.”

“The factions within the global lobby had an overarching common interest: to push back against the forces of secular democracy in the Arab world and Iran, and thus against their representatives and friends within the United States and Europe, for the real threat to the Islamists in the East was a secular liberal revolution backed by the West.”

Phares is an internationally acknowledged and respected expert on terrorism, the Middle East, and events that reflect Islamism, the movement to impose strict Islamic law—Sharia—and other cultural restrictions globally, but most specifically in nations where Islam is the dominant faith.

It’s important to know that the Muslim Brotherhood has been around in the U.S. for decades, as often as not working through front organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Student Association, and others. Using petrodollars, it has supported the creation of Islamic studies departments in universities and maintains a communications program to present through the U.S. media its interpretation of events and thus influence public perceptions and opinion.

Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood members who joined his administration after he took office in 2009 were caught completely off guard, however, by the Arab Spring, the name given to a number of revolutions to cast off despots ruling the Middle East. It began in Tunisia, spread swiftly to Egypt, then to Libya, and affected events in other nations of the region. It was led initially by the youth that were connected to one another by communications technology such as iphones and the Internet. They were joined by secular groups, Muslims who did not wish to live under the repression of fanatical Islamists. Swiftly, ordinary Muslims, women, and others joined them.

In retrospect, a nation whose embassies from Lebanon to Tanzania had been under attack by al Qaeda for decades and which had suffered 9/11, an act of Islamic terrorism on its homeland, would seem unlikely to elect a man whose father was a Muslim, who had spent some of the years of his youth in Muslim Indonesia, and whose brother was an active member of the Brotherhood, to be President. But he was. Twice. This represents almost suicidal stupidity.

From the very beginning of his first term, the White House announced that he would take steps to change America’s image in the Arab and Muslim world. Pharas noted that his first interview was with al Arabiya TV on January 29, 2009 to assert that “The United States was the aggressor in the region” and that “the Jihadists were not the aggressors against humanity.”

There was no denying that the U.S., in the wake of 9/11, had been at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2001 and in 2003 had waged a war in Iraq to rid it of Saddam Hussein. Both wars had the intention to introduce and help establish democracy in those nations. By 2009 Americans were war-weary and Obama made it clear in his campaign that he would pull our troops out and talked of shutting down Guantanamo detention center where the worst captured terrorists were being held.

Within two months of taking office, Obama went to Cairo where he identified America as the cause of the ills afflicting the Middle East. “When millions of young men and women hit the streets of Tehran in mid-June 2009, they initially protested voter corruption and the forced reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinijad as president. Later they pushed against the entire regime. The world,” said Pharas, “witnessed a moment in which the regime in Iran was very close to crumbling.” Obama’s response was not to support the democracy movement, saying he did not want to “meddle” in Iranian elections.

This was repeated during the Arab Spring as, time and again, Obama withheld support for the outpouring of desire for democracy in the affected nations, waiting until the Muslim Brotherhood, the only organized faction, was able to seize the movements in order to impose their own control. In Egypt, the people had to fill the streets of Cairo and other cities a second time to oust them from power.
 
How successfully has the Brotherhood infiltrated the circles of power in the U.S.?  Huma Abedin was the Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Azizh Al-Hibri serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Areef Alikhan serves in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with Mohamed Alibiary and Kareem Shora who are members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; and Mohamed Magid who is a member of the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. There are others. Too many others.

Obama made sure that the word “terrorism” disappeared from the government’s vernacular. When soldiers at Fort Hood were murdered by a jihadist, it was classified as “workplace violence” and the whole concept of the “War on terror” disappeared. It was replaced by the charge that any criticism of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups was “Islamaphobia.”

Obama would tell Americans that “I consider it as my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” Instead, we had a President who would seek to make a deal with Iran, the foremost supporter of terrorism worldwide and a nation determined to make its own nuclear weapons to intimidate the Middle East and the world.

We have a President who turned his back on the forces in the Middle East seeking to install democratic governments. That struggle is far from over, but they and the world must wait until Obama leaves office before real progress can be made against the Muslim Brotherhood and the jihadists.

For now, one of the most powerful Islamists in the world resides in the White House.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Hard Being a Black Conservative

By Alan Caruba

“We’re not being governed. We’re being ruled by incompetence.”

It is refreshing to read a book that reflects one’s own views and “Guardian of the Republic” by Allen West, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army for over twenty years and a former, one-term congressman from Florida, who is perhaps best known these days as a Fox News channel contributor. He is a very conservative, articulate black American.

As he points out, “The Left must destroy black conservatives because it cannot afford to have freethinking, independent-minded black Americans. When the Left wins, our community loses. The result of such blind loyalty is that many black voters have come to resemble Vladimir Lenin’s ‘useful idiots.’ They make up an electorate that is completely taken for granted and no one even bothers to listen.”

It is ironic that the first black President will not only be remembered as our worst, but that his failure will reflect on the entire black community in America even while men like West and other blacks of real achievement exist.

For now, it is definitely an uphill struggle for black conservatives, particularly for those in public life. “The mainstream media,” says West, “have a clear tendency to recruit other blacks to denigrate and demean black conservatives” and have “sought to disrespect and deny the existence of black conservatives, but they’re losing the battle and they realize it. The big lie that has resulted in the twenty-first century economic plantation will be exposed and defeated, and our community will be restored.”


I don’t know when I first heard West, but I suspect it was during his run for Congress.  I do recall I was instantly and enormously impressed. He won that race and served from 2011 to 2013 representing Florida’s 22nd District. His race for reelection was a classic case of electoral tampering, misconduct, and political slander by those who wanted to defeat him.

“One of my biggest frustrations and concerns about America (is that) our electorate doesn’t have a clue about who we are or whence we came.” Much of his book is devoted to a mini-history lesson regarding the founders, the Constitution, and the principles that set America on the path to greatness among nations. West holds two masters degrees; one from Kansas State University in political science and the second from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in military arts and sciences.

He had just over twenty years to practice military arts, but he had set his heart on joining the Army early on, joining the ROTC in college and thereafter being recognized at every stage for his intellect and his leadership skills. He was deployed to Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003.

West is plain-spoken. He defines our fundamental governing principles as “limited government, fiscal responsibility, a free market, individual sovereignty, a strong national defense, and an understanding that all of man’s freedoms come ultimately from God.”

And then he says, “Measured against our fundamental governing principles, we clearly do not have good government—heck, we suck! We have excessive debt, growing poverty, exploding deficits, an expanding nanny-state, and an anemic economy.”

“The sad thing is,” says West, “there seems to be no reprieve in sight. Why? Because, as a nation, we have become uninterested, uninformed, and disengaged from the truth.”

Throughout his book, West mixes lessons regarding the system the Founders implemented and his fears about the present generations of Americans, given the last two elections. “I fear national-level elections have become nothing more than a version of American Idol,” says West at one point. He concludes his first book saying, “We have to turn off the brain-draining reality TV shows for a few hours and read, think, assess, and challenge ourselves to be better.”

West has had a remarkable life to this point and he could choose to make a lot of money in some corporate position or as an entrepreneur, but he wants to reach out, not just to the black community, but to all Americans because he is worried about where President Obama has taken the nation he loves and wants to see it saved from unimaginable and unconscionable debt.

We need a lot more men like Allen West. The black community needs to pay him and other black conservatives more attention. The rest of us should hope that a change in future administrations will bring his talent to bear on the restoration of America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Obama's War on U.S. Energy


 By Alan Caruba

A nation without adequate energy production is a nation in decline and that has been the President’s agenda since the day he took office in 2009. He even announced his war on coal during the 2008 campaign even though, at the time, it was providing fifty percent of the electricity being utilized.

It’s useful to know that the U.S. has huge coal reserves, enough to provide energy for hundreds of years and reduce our debt through its export to nations such as Japan. It increased coal-fired power generation by ten percent in 2013 while Germany’s coal use reached the highest level since 1990. Both China and India are increasing the use of coal. So why is coal unwelcome in the U.S.? Because Obama says so.

On April 15, the White House held a “Solar Summit” to continue promoting subsidies for solar panels and the Obama Energy Department has announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local government’s use of solar energy. Its “Capital Solar Challenge” is directing federal agencies, military bases, and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “solar energy provides two-tenths of one percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. While the amount of solar electricity capacity in the U.S. has increased in recent years…it still only accounts for 0.1% of net electricity generated…the least among the renewable sources of hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar.”

So, in addition to the millions lost in earlier loans to solar companies like Solyndra that failed not long after pocketing our tax dollars, Obama is using the power of the federal government to waste more money on this unpredictable—the Sun only shines in the daytime and clouds can get in the way—source of energy whose “solar farms” take up many acres just to provide a faction of what a coal-fired or natural gas powered plant does.

This isn’t some loony environmental theory at work although the Greens oppose all manner of energy provision and use whether it is coal, oil or natural gas. This is a direct attack on the provision of energy, fueled by any source, that America needs to function and meeting the needs of its population, manufacturing, and all other uses.

The most recent example of this is the further extension of the delay on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. That too is part of Obama’s war on energy for the nation, but it may also have something to do with the fact that the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad owns all of the rail lines in the U.S. connecting to western Canada. They haul 80% or more of the crude oil from Canada to the Midwest and Texas, earning a tidy sum in the process. It is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a major contributor to Democrat causes and candidates. The Keystone XL pipeline could divert more than $2 billion a year and if its delay is not crony capitalism, nothing is.

 
This is what the Sierra Club is telling its members and supporters as of Monday, April 21: “Keystone XL means cancer. It means wolf blood spilled. And it’s nothing short of a climate disaster.” It is a lie from start to finish.

Keystone has become a political issue and the announcement by the Obama State Department that is giving agencies “additional time” to approve its construction due to ongoing litigation before the Nebraska Supreme Court that could affect its route brought forth protests from red-state Democrats in Congress who even threatened to find ways to go around the President to get the project approved. Eleven Democratic senators have written to the President to urge him to make a final decision by the end of May. Some of them will be up for reelection in the November midterm elections.

Even Congress, though, seems incapable of over-ruling or overcoming Obama’s war on the provision of energy sources. In early April, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new data showing that federal onshore oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits are at the lowest levels in more than a decade. Leases to companies exploring the potential of oil and natural gas reserves were down in 2013 from 1.8 million acres the year before to 1.2 million, the smallest area since records began to be maintained in 1988!

We have a President who gives daily evidence of his contempt both for those who voted for him and those who did not. His anti-energy agenda impacts on the creation of jobs, causes manufacturing to delay expansion or to go off-shore, reduces the revenue the government needs to reduce its debts and deficits, and drives up the cost of energy for everyone.

And he is doing this in one of the most energy-rich nations on the planet.

Editor’s Note:
For the latest, updated information on energy visit http://www.energydepot.us/

© Alan Caruba, 2014

3.4 Million Visits to Warning Signs

As more and more people discover “Warning Signs” as a source of documented facts and my analysis of events and issues, the blog is enjoying an increase in visitors, many of whom come every day. The blog just passed a total of 3.4 million visits, averaging 20,000 a month.

Your donation to the blog puts you in partnership with our effort to contribute to the discussion of what is occurring in the United States and worldwide with a focus on the enemies of freedom in general and the U.S. Constitution in particular. My thanks to all who have made donations and to those who will.
 
We are living in dangerous times and truth is the best defense.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Try to Ignore Earth Day


 
By Alan Caruba

Try to ignore Earth Day, April 22. It won’t be easy. The print and broadcast media will engage in an orgy of environmental tall tales and the usual end-of-the-world predictions. It will scare the heck out of youngsters and bore the heck out of anyone old enough to know that we have had to endure the lies that hide the agendas that have driven the Greens since 1970 when the event was first proclaimed.

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. It is the third planet from the Sun and fifth-largest of the eight other planets that orbit it. It is the only planet in our galaxy that has life on it and it has an abundance of mineral resources as well as water and the fecundity to grow crops and maintain livestock to sustain the human race.

The climate on Earth is entirely dependent on the natural cycles of the Sun. Despite four decades of being told that the Earth was going to heat up due to greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide and methane, we are currently in a cooling cycle and no child born since 1997 has ever experienced a single day of the dreaded “global warming.”

Humans play a very small role affecting the Earth’s climate although, for example, deforestration is one way it has affects it. Other than cutting down trees, another way is to put the government in charge of vast acres of forest. It has a long record of failing to manage them well to the point where diseases and pests render the trees so weak that wildfires wipe out what would otherwise have thrived.

Otherwise, the Earth is and always has a been a very volatile place, subject to a variety of extraordinary natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, blizzards, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The only thing humans can do is clean up and rebuild.

What has mostly changed for humans has been the discovery of energy sources that have transformed and enhanced their lives. Coal, initially, followed by oil and natural gas. All are carbon based, but then, so are humans and other life forms.

The Greens call them “fossil fuels” and some refer to “dirty coal” or seek to demonize “Big Oil.” Between 2007 and 2012, three U.S. oil companies paid a total of $289.7 billion in corporate income taxes. Until the Obama administration took power, coal provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans used. Completely bogus “science” cited by the Environmental Protection Agency has been used to shut down coal-fired plants and close down coal mines. And, in concert with costly, unpredictable and unreliable “renewable” energy, wind and solar, have driven up the cost of electricity for everyone.

According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, released in March, over the next two decades the EPA’s climate rules aimed at reducing “global warming” (which is not occurring) will cost the economy $2.23 trillion. An estimated 600,000 jobs will be lost. The jobs that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline have been waiting five years for the White House to approve the project.

As mentioned, it has been the many inventions that utilize the energy sources the Greens want to “leave in the ground” that have totally transformed the lives of Americans and others throughout the world. What Earth Day is really about is not the improvement of life, but limits that will reduce the world’s population. The one thing all environmentalists agree upon is that there are too many humans. This is a form of fascism that goes back to the creation of the communist/socialist economic systems, none of which have provided the level of prosperity that capitalism has. Even Communist China has adopted the capitalist model.

The other agenda Greens agree upon is that the government should own and control every square inch of the nation’s (and world’s) landmass. That is why climate change is part of the United Nations’ intention to become the single world government. It is home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has clung to the global warming hoax since they invented it in the late 1980s.

Recently, the IPCC released another report claiming “climate change” will melt polar ice, cause the oceans to rise dramatically, generate extreme weather conditions, et cetera. There have always been extreme weather conditions somewhere and the rest of the IPCC claims are just great big lies that have been around for decades.

Along the way, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth, among countless others of comparable or lesser size have received millions in membership dues, donations, the sale of products, and from the assets that many own. Many, like Greenpeace, enjoy a non-profit status. For example, in 2011, Greenpeace took in $27,465,948 and had assets of $4,653,179. Multiply that against all the others and it adds up to billions.

Green organizations represent a very big business that is constantly at war with legitimate businesses in the energy, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors, seeking to impose laws and regulations that cost them and consumers billions every year.

If you’re a parent take some time to explain to younger children that the Earth is very old and not going to suffer the claims Greens repeat and repeat. As for everyone else, just try to ignore the Earth Day deluge. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Christianity in Troubled Times


 By Alan Caruba

The vast ignorance of American history by far too many Americans is perhaps demonstrated in the failure to understand that it was the free practice of their interpretation of Christianity by the pilgrims that led to the creation of America. Plymouth colony, established in 1620, put the Atlantic Ocean between them and hostilities they had encountered in England.

To understand the role of religion in America, the First Amendment begins with a prohibition that the states shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion...” The Founders wanted to make sure that neither the federal, nor state governments designated a particular religion as the only one. We can thank James Madison for that and the other enumerated freedoms.

Religious tolerance, which took some time to become fully established in the colonies and the new nation, has been a significant part of life in America---a nation that has always been predominantly Christian. Easter should remind us of that.

As 2012 came to a close, the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project offered the following numbers regarding the global population of Christians. They were determined to be approximately 2.2 billion worldwide. That’s about one-in-three (32%).

About half of all Christians are Catholic (50%) while an estimated 37% belong to the Protestant tradition. The Orthodox Communion, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, make up 12% of Christians while those who belong to other branches such as Mormons, Christian Scientists, and Jehovah Witnesses, make up about 1% of the global population.

Though Christianity took root in the Middle East, less than 1% of Christians are found these days either there or in North Africa. The largest concentration is in Europe (26%), followed closely by Latin American and the Caribbean (24%), and sub-Saharan Africa (24%). Most Christians (87%) live in countries where Christians are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories in the Pew study, 157 had majorities, but most had relatively small populations.

What surely has to be a cause for concern in America are the results of a Harris poll released in December 2013. While a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults said they believe in God, the figure was down from 82% in earlier years. Belief in miracles, heaven, and other religious teachings were all in decline.

For Christians, 68% expressed a belief that Jesus is God or the Son of God, down from 72%. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%) was down from 72% ten years earlier.

Ranging across various faith groups and other demographics, absolute certainty that there is a God was expressed by 54%, a decline from 66%.

Only 19% described themselves as “very” religious, while 40% described themselves as “somewhat” religious, a decline from 49% in 2007. Nearly one-fourth of Americans (23%) said they were “not at all” religious, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2007 when it was only 12%.

A campaign against the free practice of religion and respect for individual religious values has been in place since the election of President Obama in 2008. It has been particularly evident in the U.S. military, affecting its chaplains and those to whom they minister. There are nearly a hundred cases in U.S. courts resisting the demands of Obamacare and other actions by the administration and those in various states and cities that affect religious beliefs and values.

The introduction and support of same-sex marriage in the United States is a direct attack on a tradition that pre-dates Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. It is fundamentally anti-religious.

Beyond our shores the slaughter of Christians by Muslims in Middle Eastern and nations like Nigeria continues to pose a threat to them and those of other faiths. Islam is the greatest threat to civilization that has existed since its rise began in 632 A.D.

All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to those early pilgrims and to the Founders who understood the value of religion and its free expression. Those who demand that crosses be removed from public lands or that Christmas carols not be sung in our schools do not understand what America is all about. Christians, in particular, must vocally resist such demands and should be joined by those of other faiths.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Declaring War on Americans


By Alan Caruba

You have to be extremely stupid to send a couple of hundred armed government agents to confiscate some bullheaded rancher’s cattle without contemplating how the rest of the nation will interpret your actions.

What was obvious to voters who rejected Barack Obama’s run for the presidency the first and second time was the fact that he lacked any record of competency to be President. The rest voted for him because they wanted to say they helped elect the first black President of the United States and because they believed what this pathological liar said then and since.

The assertion that Obama’s and Eric Holder’s actions and policies are opposed because they are black is absurd. It is an insult to everyone who voted for Obama and to the rest of us.

I love the notion that Cliven Bundy lives in Bunkerville. It reminded me of Bunker Hill and you know how badly that eventually turned out for the British in 1775. What ensued was a guerrilla war led by George Washington that defeated the most powerful nation of its time. There is no way a militia with small arms can defeat the kind of arms the U.S. government can bring to bear on such a battle, but one has to admire the courage of those people who showed up to confront them. That’s quintessentially American!

Bundy should have paid his grazing rights fees. Other ranchers do. What he has done, however, is bring greater awareness the amount of land that the federal government owns in Nevada and elsewhere, particularly west of the Mississippi, and expose a regime that wants to intimidate Americans with force.

According to Wikipedia, “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers America's public lands, totaling approximately 247.3 million acres, or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages 700 million acres (2,800,000 km) of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state, and private lands. Most public lands are located in western states, especially Alaska. With approximately 10,000 permanent employees and close to 2,000 seasonal employees, this works out to over 21,000 acres (85 km) per employee. The agency's budget was $960,000,000 for 2010 ($3.79 per surface acre, $9.38 per hectare)

 I can understand the need for national forests and reserves, but I have concerns that those reserves are used as an excuse to deny access to massive energy sources that lie beneath their surface. If the U.S. didn’t own most of Nevada, Bundy would not need to pay grazing fees. Most certainly, his ancestors didn’t. The other excuse, that the government is trying to protect an endangered tortoise, is just part of the environmental movement’s efforts to keep energy sources from being available to all of us. Endangered species is pure fiction.

What worries me and many of my blogger colleagues is the prospect of a renewed effort by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding what is essentially a fairly minor dispute between it and Bundy. Showing some common sense, the BLM backed off its initial effort.

I don’t think the BLM response to Bundy was exclusive to the agency. That decision needed to be sent up the line as far as the White House. Indeed, it was likely initiated by the White House.

Even more scary is the fact that only Fox News channel had reporters on the scene. No other major television news outlet set journalists to record the event. How much in league with the White House does the media have to be to ignore two hundred armed government agents descending on a ranch in Nevada?

I suspect that a lot of Americans and most certainly those who live in the rural areas of the nation are going to remember the Bundy face-off with the BLM come the November midterm elections. While most voters are crowded into the cities on the East and West Coasts, there are a lot of others in “flyover country.’

When you add in all the folks who lost their healthcare insurance and others who have discovered they can’t even buy a policy until next January, that’s going to be a voting bloc that could decimate Democratic Party candidates.

All tyrannies over-reach at some point and we are seeing that occur in the White House. The nation is fortunate to have the House controlled by Republicans and now needs a Senate as well in order to dispense some much needed justice on behalf of Americans.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the White House responds to the May 16 “Operation American Spring” being organized to bring a million or more to Washington, D.C. to participate in an event that will demonstrate the breadth of the unhappiness that has spread since Obama’s first election and is gaining momentum since his second.

The White House response will tell us all a lot about its current state of mind. Whatever it has in mind is likely to leak. The best thing about Washington, D.C. is its inability to keep a secret. The worst thing is the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

© Alan Caruba, 2014