Sunday, November 30, 2014

Take Your Pick of Lies About Ozone, Methane or Mercury

By Alan Caruba

Is it surprising that the Environmental Protection Agency continues to tell big fat lies about anything it wants to ban, but is reluctant to show the “science” on which the bans are based?
There is currently a piece of legislation under consideration by Congress, the Secret Science Reform Act, to force the EPA to disclose its scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

This is what Nicolas Loris of The Heritage Foundation had to say regarding the mercury air and toxics rule that the EPA claims would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. “The two studies that represent the scientific foundation for 1997 ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards are highly questionable and the data concealed, even though the studies were paid for by federal taxpayers and thus should be public property.”

In addition to claims about carbon dioxide as a dreaded “greenhouse” gas, methane is also getting the attention of those opposed to “fracking”, a technique that has provided access to both natural gas and oil. James M. Taylor, a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, noted in January that “Natural gas has high methane content, but the methane is converted to energy when natural gas is burnt.” Citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Taylor noted “The ongoing decline in methane emissions supplements ongoing declines in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.” Since 2000 both are down between 6% AND 9%. 

The EPA is forever claiming billions in "health benefits" that result from their regulations. The public never gets to see the data on which such claims are based. The regulations, however, cost billions.

The day before Thanksgiving, the EPA announced that it intends to propose an updated national standard for ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog, based in part on the enforcement of rules concerning mercury. The previous day, the Supreme Court said it would review the agency’s standards requiring reductions of mercury emissions and other elements the EPA regards as toxic air pollution.

To put all this in perspective, in August CNS News’ Penny Starr reported on a study by the National Association of Manufacturers regarding the EPA’s proposed regulation of ozone. It found that “it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, and adds $3.3 trillion in compliance costs for the same period.”  NAM president, Jay Timmons, said “The regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks.”

Concurrently with NAM, the American Petroleum Institute released an analysis of the NAM study that said “The nation’s air quality has improved over the past several years, and ozone emissions will continue to decline without new regulations.” NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy, Ross Eisenberg, said, “We are rapidly approaching a point where we are requiring manufacturers to do the impossible.” 

That, however, is exactly what the ozone regulation is intended to do. This has nothing to do with health and everything to do with destroying the nation’s power producers and manufacturers, reducing vital electrical energy, and forcing factories of every description to close.

At the upper levels of the atmosphere, the stratosphere, ozone is essential to the survival of life on Earth because ozone filters harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Otherwise the radiation would damage both plant and animal life. The reason you get sunburned is that too much UV radiation has caused it. Like everything else in nature, too much or too little determines the harm or benefit it provides, but that too is largely determined by nature.

Ozone is a form of elemental oxygen, but it’s not something you want to breathe. As Wikipedia notes, It is not emitted directly by car engines or by industrial operations, but formed by the reaction of sunlight on air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides that react to form ozone directly at the source of the pollution or many kilometers down wind.” The initial mandate of the EPA to clean the air and water has been achieved. That is why smog is relatively rare nationwide. Further regulation is regressive.

As for mercury, in 2011 the EPA issued 946 pages of new rules requiring U.S. power plants to sharply reduce their emissions of mercury even though they were already quite low. As with the proposed ozone rules, the EPA claimed that they would cost $10.9 billion annually to implement, but would save 17,000 lives while generating $140 billion in health benefits. This is all just hogwash. Such figures are just plucked out of the air or, worse, based on “science” the public paid for but is not allowed to see!

Does anybody find it bizarre that, while the EPA is trying to remove the tiniest amounts of mercury in the environment, in 2011 Congress passed a law eliminate the incandescent light bulb and required their replacement by fluorescent lights that contain mercury?

As Willie Soon and Paul Driessen wrote in a 2011 Wall Street Journal commentary, “Mercury has always existed naturally in Earth’s environment. Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment.” They noted that “Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.”

The fundamental EPA lies about ozone and mercury involve the issue of toxicity. Since both are a natural part of the Earth, and since the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and since life expectancy has been increasing dramatically in recent decades, the likelihood that either represents a threat requiring the expenditure of billions to reduce tiny amounts of their emissions is based on environmental ideology, not on science.

Even if it was based on alleged science we would, as noted, not be allowed to see the data. If this reminds you of the way ObamaCare was foisted on “the stupid voters”, you’re right. The EPA hopes you are stupid enough not to realize that it is engaged in the destruction of the economy.

Editor's Note: Help Dr. Jeremy W. Grabbe of SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury by participating in his survey about climate change. Go to and take a minute to answer the questions.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

United, But Divided

By Alan Caruba

The nation united to celebrate Thanksgiving, but as anyone who follows the polls can confirm, it is sharply divided. In many ways, half of those polled see America opposite to the other half.

In early November the Associated Press reported on a survey of 20,168 voters by Edison Research. It included results from interviews as voters left a random sample of 281 precincts on Election Day, November 4. As we know, the results of the election have been interpreted as a sharp rebuke to President Obama and the Democratic Party. Power in the Senate shifted to the Republican Party that also gained more seats in the House and added to the number of governors, bringing them to 29 of the 50 states.

For conservatives that is very good news. Politically Democrats feel so endangered that one of its top voices, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York just announced that passing ObamaCare was a big mistake, noting that the Party should have focused on the economy.

That is an extraordinary confession and one that abandons the President whose name is associated with the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic Party has been captured by the far Left, but Schumer seemed to be saying it has to move more to the center if it has any hope in the 2016 elections.

The Associated Press reported that “Fifty-four percent of those who voted for Democrats said the country is headed in the right direction, while 88 percent of Republican voters think it’s on the wrong track.”  One has to wonder how anyone could learn that one-out-of-five Americans on Thanksgiving Day was using food stamps and conclude this reflects the right direction.

On November 7 The Washington Post reported “With 214,000 jobs added in October, the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8 percent, the lowest level in six years, even as more workers entered the job market.”  The official unemployment rate is widely believed to be half of what the actual rate is nationwide after one factors in data the bureaucrats ignore or fudge. 

Not surprisingly, “Nearly 9 in 10 of those who voted for Republicans think the economy is in bad shape, compared with just over half of Democratic voters.”  Here again, the difference is perceptions is dramatic with conservatives having a more realistic point of view, but if more than half the Democratic voters think the economy is bad, that suggests the 2016 elections may reflect the recent midterms.

In some ways the AP poll depicted a difference based on what one might deem a more “mature” take on the state of the nation as opposed to those who ignore its problems to hold a more hopeful one, even if the facts do not support that judgement. “Sixty-four percent of Republican voters, but only 30 percent of Democratic voters, think life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today.”

The failure to embrace reality over propaganda was dramatically demonstrated by a question about climate change generated a response of “86 percent of those who backed Democrats” calling it “a serious problem”, while two-thirds of Republican voters said it was not. This means that 19 years into a planetary cooling cycle and a winter that has arrived a month early this year, Democratic voters—liberals—still cling to the belief that climate change, instead of reflecting the lower radiation levels of the Sun, is caused by human activity that generates a trace gas called carbon dioxide, all 0.04% of it in the atmosphere.

In a world where every day brings news of Islamic barbarism in the Middle East and Africa, “only 6 in 10 Democratic voters said they were worried by the threat of terrorism, while “8 in 10 Republican voters” took the threat seriously.

There are social differences between Republicans and Democrats. Of the Republican voters, 87% percent were white, while 61% of voters backing Democratic candidates were; 70% of Republican voters were married, compared with 55% of Democratic ones.

There were other differences among the two sets of voters, but suffice to say that each group lives in its own version of America and there are major gaps in their perception of the nation and the world.

The election reflected that a large portion of the voters demonstrated they prefer a conservative approach to government. If that trend continues—and it likely will—the 2016 elections will represent a major change from the two terms of President Obama and a rejection of his domestic and foreign policies.

Until then America will remain a nation divided politically and, given our diversity, within many social groups defined by gender, race, wealth, and age. Demography, the study of population, suggests that Americans are growing older in larger numbers than other subsets. Those “old folks” may just be the deciding factor in coming elections.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks, But...

By Alan Caruba

I know that Thanksgiving is the day we are all supposed to review a list of all the things for which we should be thankful and surely each of us has a list, usually family and friends, and, patriotically, for being Americans.

What makes this Thanksgiving different from those that have proceeded it is the reminder from President Obama that, in his opinion, America is not exceptional and, presumably, that means neither are we.
I don’t think this nation has ever celebrated Thanksgiving when its President did not like America.
We’ve had six Thanksgivings with Obama and each one has given us less for which to be thankful in terms of the economy and our national security.

Consider the vast unemployment that exists nationwide thanks to his failure to bring an end to the Great Recession. Forty million will use food stamps to put food on the table. Nearly half of all Americans are receiving government benefits that are paid for by those thankful to have a job. Thanks to ObamaCare millions lost their healthcare plans and millions more will in 2015. There is nothing “affordable” in the Affordable Care Act including the billion dollars spent on its website.

I think this Thanksgiving Day will have a different mood for the many Americans, especially who did not vote for President Obama or the Democratic Party. It is astounding to me that somewhere around 47% of those who presumably voted for him say they approve of his performance in office.

After election results that rejected him and his party, Obama has told them that he is more interested in what the two-thirds of voters in the last election who stayed home had to say. He “heard” them, too. He apparently did not hear what those who voted to give power in the Senate to the GOP while adding more Republicans in the House had to say.

Anyone paying any attention for the past six years knows that he doesn’t much care what any of us say and never has.

He believes his job is to “transform” a nation that did not need any transforming. America was and is a beacon of freedom to the world. That beacon, however, has grown dim for our allies whose leaders can no longer trust him. It has become clear to our enemies that they can do what they want without paying a price.

To drive home that message, he has been reducing our military to pre-World War II levels. Reluctantly he has increased our military presence in Iraq and will maintain troops in Afghanistan after making it clear that abandoning both of those nations to the Islamists was a major element of his foreign policy; if indeed he can be said to have a foreign policy other than retreat and isolation.

Instead of addressing the growing threat of Islamic fascism, Obama is talking about “climate change” as the great threat when, except for the idiots that believe anything he says anymore, people with any intelligence knows that there is nothing anyone can do regarding the climate. The only people who believe there’s any global warming haven’t been paying any attention for the last nineteen years in which the Earth has been in a predictable, natural cooling cycle, just like the Sun.

Closer to home, the White House just released plans for 3,415 regulations, the worst of which are from the Environmental Protection Agency that is destroying our nation’s ability to generate electricity, the one energy on which we all depend. At the same time, the President has just returned from China having signed an agreement to reduce “gashouse emissions” when such a reduction has no basis in science or logic, but translates into higher costs for electricity.

A national holiday should celebrate the ideals of our founding, but this year’s Thanksgiving occurs as the federal government grows ever larger and the amount of regulation of every aspect of our lives and the economy grows with it. This is the exact opposition of what the Founding Fathers intended.

Those Founding Fathers came together to wage a revolution against England’s King George III, a monarch whose commands they did not want to obey any more. This year’s Thanksgiving occurs as Congress is being challenged by a President who wants to ignore the separation of powers in the Constitution and the limits on executive powers. His intention to alter the current immigration laws is totally unconstitutional and must be stopped by every legal means available.

This Thanksgiving America is a less free nation in which a tsunami of regulations and laws continues to reduce our fundamental freedoms. This Thanksgiving, America is a nation that is losing the respect of other nations. This Thanksgiving, we face two more years of a lawless President who threatens the Constitution.

We have two more Thanksgiving Days before we turn America around and restore it to the great nation it was.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Turning Climate Into Cash

By Alan Caruba

As this is being written, all fifty states have freezing weather and nearly a month before the winter solstice on December 21 some northeastern cities are buried in record-setting snowfalls.

At what point will the public conclude that virtually everything that we have been told about “global warming” and “climate change” by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) as well as U.S. government agencies we’re supposed to trust has been bogus, based on computer models, none of which have proven to be accurate? 

At what point will the public conclude that climate, a perfectly natural phenomenon so vast and so powerful, is being exploited in order to transfer large amounts of money from wealthy nations to those who are not? It is redistribution of wealth on a global scale. That is the primary reason for the U.N. climate fund. A total of $9.3 billion has been pledged by several nations.

My friend, Marc Morano, said this about the U.N. Green Climate Fund: 'It’s going to be a giant green slush fund of money distributed by the U.N. through political patronage system. It’s all designed to make climate an issue that every government has to pay attention to.”

“This is a new political party—if you will—the climate party, and it’s demanding a lot of fees and it’s demanding a lot of spending.  The U.N. bureaucracy loves to spend money, loves to have scandals, loves to empower themselves. So this is all about empowering UN bureaucrats, diplomats and delegates and the UN’s own sense of self importance.” 

Morano is the Communications Director for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and executive editor and chief correspondent for the award-winning, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. He has been on the front line of combating the lies told about global warming and climate change for many years.

I have been an advisor to CFACT over the years, sharing information that has consistently debunked what I regard as the greatest hoax of the modern era.
The worst part of the hoax was and is the billions that have been squandered on the bogus, useless “scientific” studies intended to keep it going. Then there have been billions more spent on the near useless “renewable” energy projects that have only demonstrated that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and solar farms have the same affect. The electricity they produce is minimal and so unpredictable it requires the backup of traditional fossil-fueled energy plants.

The near total lack of the impact of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere on its climate has not stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from using carbon dioxide as justification for issuing a torrent of regulations that are crippling the provision of energy nationwide, attacking private property rights, and slowing the growth of our economy.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Americans and others around the world experiencing the 19-year-old cooling cycle the Earth has been in are beginning to realize that humans have nothing to do with causing climate change.

Sadly, too many world leaders, including our own, keep talking about climate change as if it was something we can influence by a reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions. That’s just another way of saying use less energy.
The world leaders are wrong. Some are just flat out lying.
Editor's Note:
"According to Weatherbell: More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning, November 18. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures that day. reported 1,360 daily low maximum records were set, meaning  those 1,360 cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. In addition, snow covered more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the U.S. usually experiences in mid-November CNN reported areas in Buffalo, New York, among other cities along the Great Lakes, experienced a year’s snow in just three days."
-- H. Sterling Burnett, Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News, Nov 25, 2014

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Grand Jury Speaks

No indictment. Justice is served!


Racism Can Be White or Black

By Alan Caruba

On Monday, Nov 17, the Governor of Missouri activated its National Guard “to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.” He declared a state of emergency.

A grand jury verdict that is likely to exonerate officer Darren Wilson is assumed to require significant law enforcement because in August we witnessed the initial weeks of rioting, looting and arson in what has been described by police authorities as an organized effort.

When the subject of racism occurs, it is always in terms of white racism and rarely, if ever, discussed in terms of black racism.

However, racism is a two-way street and while the ill treatment African-Americans encountered as slaves and for a century thereafter before the Civil Rights Act in 1964 is surely cause for resentment the fact remains that black Americans have had fifty years, two generations, of opportunity and equality intended to redress the past.

What white Americans find it difficult to understand is why there are protests at this point. Don’t the lives of blacks who have been killed, as often as not by other blacks, have value too?

Why doesn’t the fact that the nation has a black President, a black Attorney General, a black Supreme Court justice, blacks in Congress, and ample evidence of the progress the black community has made since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed seem to make any difference?

The events in Ferguson are well known by now. Video confirmed that Michael Brown stole some cigarillos at the Ferguson Market and Liquors on August 9th and when one of the staff protested, he was threatened in a menacing manner by Brown, a very large young man. 

The theft was swiftly reported to the police with a description that fit Brown. Not long after, Officer Wilson, driving alone, spoke to Brown and a companion, telling them to move away from the center of West Florissant Avenue. At that point Brown began to scuffle with Wilson and forensic evidence showed that Wilson’s gun was fired twice in the police car during the struggle. Brown allegedly punched him repeatedly, leaving a swelling on his face. He attacked a police officer.

Wilson went after Brown to arrest him and when Brown turned on him he was shot six times. Reportedly, six black witnesses to the incident confirmed Officer Wilson’s account. The autopsy is said to have showed evidence of marijuana in Brown’s system. Brown was not armed, but his size and the assault on Officer Wilson constituted a threat to Wilson’s life.

What followed were weeks of demonstrations that quickly escalated in force, in arson and looting in addition to the confrontations between the protesters and the police. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard to help quell the disturbances. In October the Ferguson Police Department handed over responsibility to the county police department which is larger and better equipped. At this point, all of the police who were called upon had protective gear and an arsenal of means to quell a riot.

Why did the shooting evoke such a reaction? Why did those involved in the demonstrations assume it was more than a white cop versus black suspect situation? The assumption among the protesters is that a white police officer had shot Brown for no reason other than racism.

Blacks (and whites) who commit crimes or who are suspected of doing so and who are seen to pose a lethal threat are killed by police during the course of any year. However, statistically blacks are more involved in crime, from minor to major, than whites. According to the NAACP, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” This is blamed on poverty, poor education, and other factors, but America has had wave after wave of immigrants come here, work hard, enter the middle class, and rise to success.

It is worth noting that the Ferguson police force has few blacks in its ranks. Of its 53 members, only three are black. Why? Is there something about being a police officer that is unappealing to blacks in Ferguson? This is a useful question given the fact that 67% of Ferguson’s residents are black.

Maybe we can just blame the demonstrations, the burning and looting of businesses on the fact that among the most dangerous U.S. cities, the Huffington Post just listed St. Louis as number four, dropping down from being number three last year. “The city has the highest murder rate of any locale in the top five, with 38 murders per 100,000 people. Its overall violent crime rate is 1,594 violent crimes per 100,000 people.” Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis, a city whose population is nearly half black.

The “demonstrators” and “protesters” in Ferguson are a disgrace. They have put hard working, law abiding blacks at risk of being lumped in with their behavior. That, regrettably, is how racism works.

If, however, you want to exploit the incident, you send the U.S. Attorney General to Ferguson to stir up the black racism that exists and you have the Department of Justice conduct both civil and criminal investigations.

If you want to exploit the incident, you have the Attorney General participate in planting a tree last Monday in the memory of Emmett Till, a teenager who was murdered in 1955 by white bigots and have him speak of young black men "who died senselessly," but Michael Brown died as the result of an assault on a police officer. 

The grand jury has conducted its investigation and will likely find that a police officer lawfully defended himself against a young thug. That’s how our legal system works. And black racism is every bit as bad as white racism.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Iran Will Negotiate Until It Becomes a Nuclear Power

By Alan Caruba

Monday, November 24, is the deadline for the negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China regarding its program to build its own nuclear weapons to conclude. At this writing, whether the negotiations will be extended or not is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

President Obama has been obsessed with Iran, seeking to change its hostility by finding an answer to the problem its nuclear weapon program represents. That is typical of his “magical thinking” whereby something he wants is automatically assumed to be accessible. In the case of Iran, it has been hostile to the U.S. since its revolution in 1979 and remains so today.

Iran has cause. As Marin Katusa, a leading energy investor, explains in his book, “The Colder War”, the U.S. was instrumental in overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddegh, an Iranian prime minister who set about nationalizing its oil industry. The U.S. stagied a coup in 1953 and reinstated the pro-U.S. shah. “Post-coup, the shah grew increasingly authoritarian and, in 1979, the Iranian revolution forced him to flee.”

Katusa reports what followed: “The U.S. government judged it futile to try to reinstate a pro-Western regime. So it turned its back on the shah and encouraged an invasion of Iran by Iraq. Saddam Hussein, the secular Iraqi dictator, went to war against his neighbor, supported by money and weapons courtesy of the United States.” The war last eight futile years and cost both nations hundreds of thousands of lives. No need to wonder why Iran hates and distrusts the U.S.

The essential problem of a nuclear Iran is that it has been an extremely aggressive nation since 1979. Iran is widely regarded as the primary supporter of terror in the Middle East. It sponsors two Palestinian organizations, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran’s support for bombings and other acts of terror would fill a book.

Even if the current negotiations come to an end, Iran still has friends. Two of the nations involved in the negotiations are an example. Iran is allied with Russia in supporting the civil war to overthrow Syria’s Assad regime. China is a major customer for Iran’s oil.

“Though Iran may be isolated from the United States and Western Europe,” says Katusa, “Tehran still has allies. Venezuela has advanced $4 billion for joint projects, including a bank. India has pledged to continue buying Iran oil…Greece opposed the European Union sanctions because Iran was one of very few suppliers willing to sell oil to the bankrupt Greeks on credit…South Korea and Japan are pleading with the United States for exemptions (to the sanctions) because of their reliance on Iranian oil.”

“Economic ties between Russia and Iran have gotten stronger every year since Putin became president in 1999,” notes Katusa. “Finally, there’s China. Iran’s energy resources are a matter of national security for China, as Iran supplies 15 percent of China’s oil and natural gas.”

Writing in The Washington Times on November 19, Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, took note of the November 24 conclusion date for the negotiations and asked, “What are the odds they will end with Iran’s rulers agreeing to verifiably dismantle their illicit nuclear weapons program? I’d wager 100 to one against that outcome, but I doubt I’d find a bookie willing to take my bet.”

May suggested that there may be “a ‘framework agreement’, a statement of principles that will be the subject of another round of talks. Such a deal could include another sweetener, e.g., billions of dollars of additional sanctions relief for Iran.” 

If the U.S. and co-negotiators arrive at a deal that allows Iran to become a nuclear power it will lose the trust of important Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who already feel threatened by Iran.

Ultimately it does not matter how long the negotiations continue or not. Only one man in Iran will decide how they end and that is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and there is no indication he wants anything less than Iran’s ability to manufacture its own nuclear weapons to put on its missiles or as bombs. Among Iran’s neighbors are Russia, China, India and Pakistan, all of whom have nuclear weapons. Israel too.

The Iranians have been negotiating a very long time and a recent statement by an Iranian official sums up what they have been saying for years. “We need more time to resolve technical issues and don’t forget that the time frame for lifting sanctions is still a huge dispute.” The longer they negotiate, the closer they get to having the nuclear weapons they want.

If the negotiations continue, it will be because the negotiators have once again caved into Iran and there will be no surprise about that. The real surprise will be the announcement that Iran has tested a nuclear weapon and, in the end, that should not be a surprise.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is There Anywhere Safe to Be a Jew?

By Alan Caruba

One might think that being a rabbi praying in a synague in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel was about as safe as one could get, but you would be wrong.

Jews, no matter where they are, understand they can be attacked and killed for being Jews. It is the price of their Covenant with God (Exodus, Chapter 12). This has been part of the history of Judaism for three millennia. In the last century it manifested itself as a Nazi genocide that killed six million European Jews and in this one it is the continuation of an Islamic war on Israel.

On Tuesday, November 18, two Palestinians, armed with a rifle and butcher knives, killed three American-Israeli rabbis, a British-Israeli rabbi, and a police officer. They injured seven others. The synague isn’t even close to the line that divides the Jewish and Arab sections of the city.  In recent months Jerusalem has been the scene of a number of attacks attributed to Muslim anger regarding the desire of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, a holy site on which a mosque, al-Aksa, was built following the Arab conquest of the city in 637 A.D.

News of Tuesday’s killings was celebrated in the streets of Gaza and no doubt elsewhere. While condemning the killings, President Obama also managed to blame Israel for building housing for its citizens. Why he thinks he has the right to tell the Israelis where and how much housing can be built is testimony to both his arrogance and his enmity toward the Jewish State.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abba condemned the killings in one breath and incited more hatred with the next, claiming that Jews had “contaminated” the Temple Mount where Abraham’s faith was tested by God.

From its independence in 1948 to the present, Israel has been attacked in wars and with organized terror campaigns called intifadas. The Palestinians rewarded the Israeli decision to turn the whole of Gaza over to them in 2005 by rocketing it ceaselessly from there until the Israelis conducted a military operation in June to bring a stop to it. In the process, they discovered dozens of tunnels intended to be used by terrorists to attack Israelis.

The Palestinians have been given many opportunities to have peace with Israel but they have never chosen to embrace it. American efforts by several Presidents have all failed. There are two Palestinian groups that claim governance or representation, the Palestinian Authority located on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
The answer why is perhaps best found in the Hamas founding document. Proclaimed in 1988, it calls for the creation of an “Islamic state in Palestine in place of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.” How is that to be achieved? Victory is defined as “killing the last Jew on earth…”

The murderous nature of Islam was highlighted in the latest Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. CNS news reported that “The number of people killed by terrorists worldwide in 2013 rose by 60 percent compared to the previous year—from 11,133 to 17,958—with four Sunni Muslim extremist groups responsible for two-thirds of all fatalities…”

The Middle East was the region where most of the killings occurred and it should be noted that Christians for whom the region has been home for millenia have been also been targeted in the same fashion as Israel's Jews.

In a broader context, the level of anti-Semitism has been increasing in recent years and, despite the horror of the Holocaust during World War II, it is particularly evident in Europe. The increased Muslim population in European nations may have something to do with that, but it is also clear that the hostility toward Jews is evident in its non-Muslim population. It is not an exaggeration to say that one can find anti-Semitism virtually anywhere in the world, even in nations where there is no perceptible Jewish population.

The two Palestinians who perpetrated the attack were killed in a police shootout. In a November 19 editorial, The Wall Street Journal opined that “What Israel needs now is confidence that the U.S. will not reward these acts of jihad by browbeating Mr. Netanyahu back into negotiations with Mr. Abbas.”

“The best way to prevent another intifada is to reassure Israel that the U.S. supports its self-defense, while warning Palestinians that they will never have a homeland as long as they cultivate a society that celebrates murdering the innocent in the name of religion.”

The Palestinians are not members of a sovereign state and never have been. The closest one gets to one is Jordan which is home to many Palestinians. Other Middle East nations have not assimilated the Palestinians, often keeping them in camps for generations and denying them any vestige of citizenship. They are the oldest refugee group of the modern era, but those who chose Israeli citizenship enjoy the rights of all Israelis. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the Arab population in 2013 was 1,658,000!

Jews are members of the oldest monotheistic religion on Earth. Judaism birthed a breakaway religion called Christianity which incorporates the Old Testament with the New, and about 1,400 years ago Mohammad declared he was the newest and last prophet. He proclaimed Islam, an amalgam of the first two religions and the paganism of his Arab culture.

In 1948 Jews resurrected Israel and restored it as the Jewish state. Killing rabbis and other Israelis will not change that, something that Muslims antagonistic to Israel refuse to understand, but they also don’t understand why having two distinct and warring sects claiming to be the only true Islam, Sunni and Shiite, nor killing each other doesn’t make a lot of sense either.

Are Jews safe in Israel? No more than on any other inch of planet Earth.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

You've Been Gruber'd, Stupid!

By Alan Caruba

“No.  I -- I did not.  Uhhh, I just heard about this... I -- I get well briefed before I come out here.  Uh, th-th-the fact that some advisor who never worked on our staff, uhh, expressed an opinion that, uhh, I completely disagree with wuh, uhh, in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run.” -- President Obama replying to a question about Jonathan Gruber at the conclusion of the G-20 Conference in Brisbane, Australia. 

Will the last name of the MIT professor identified as the “architect of ObamaCare” become a verb some day? Will people say “I’ve been Gruber’d? or “The government is “Grubering again”?

After all, when he admitted that ObamaCare’s passage was achieved by deceiving the Congressional Budget Office and the entire American public, turning his name into a synonym for lying is not unthinkable. Adding insult to injury, he said the voters were “stupid.”

How stupid was it for the Democrat-controlled Congress to pass a two-thousand page piece of legislation that none of them had read? (No Republican in Congress voted for it.) ObamaCare took over one-sixth of the U.S. economy and did something that makes me wonder why we even have a Supreme Court. It required people to buy a product whether they wanted to or not. If they didn’t, they would be subject to a penalty.

One way of the other, the federal government was going to squeeze you. The Court did conclude early on that ObamaCare was a tax, but don’t expect the mainstream media to tell you about all the other taxes hidden within it.

What surprises me about the Gruber revelations—available on YouTube to any journalist who wanted to investigate, but none did—is that there appears to be so little public outrage. An arrogant MIT professor who received $400,000 from the government and made millions as a consultant to the states who needed to understand ObamaCare, calls voters stupid and the initial reaction of the mainstream media was to ignore the story.

At the heart of the Gruber affair is the fact that Obama and his administration has been lying to the voters from the moment he began to campaign for the presidency. In virtually every respect, everything he has said for public consumption has been and is a lie.

In one scandal after another, Obama would have us believe he knew nothing about it. That is the response one might expect from a criminal rather than a President.

One has to ask why it would be difficult to repeal in full a piece of legislation that the President said would not cause Americans to lose their healthcare insurance if they preferred their current plan, that would not cause them to lose the care of a doctor they knew and trusted, and would save them money for premiums. The initial deception was to name the bill the Affordable Care Act.

Repeal would help ensure the solvency of Medicare and restore the private sector market for healthcare insurance.

This is a President who was elected twice, so maybe Prof. Gruber is right when he speaks of stupid voters.  Not all, of course, but more than voted for Obama’s two opponents. As this is written over 45% of those polled these days continue to express approval for Obama’s performance in office. How stupid is that?

What is so offensive about Gruber’s own revelations about the manner in which the bill was written and the lies that were told to get it passed is the incalculable misery it has caused millions of Americans.

It has caused the loss of jobs. It has forced others into part-time employment. It has caused companies to reconsider expanding to grow the economy. It has driven up the cost of healthcare insurance. It has impacted local hospitals and clinics to the point where some have closed their doors. It has caused many healthcare professionals to retire or cease practicing medicine.

I invite you to make a list of all the things you think the government should require you to purchase whether you want it or need it. Should you be required to own a bike and use it as an alternative to a car? (Yes, you must own auto insurance to defray the cost of accidents, just as you must pay a tax on gasoline to maintain our highway system.)  Should you be required to wear a certain style or item of clothing? Should you be required to get married by a certain age? Should you be required to eat certain foods and avoid others?

A new study by the Legatum Institute in London ranked citizen’s perception of their personal freedom in a number of nations. Americans ranked way down the list at 21 out of 25, well below Canada, France, and Costa Rica to name just three. The study was based on a 2013 poll.

What is a stake here is (1) the absolute need for a trustworthy federal government and (2) the need to repeal a piece of legislation based entirely on lies. On a larger scale, the right to make your own decisions on matters not relevant to the governance of the nation should be regarded as sacred, it’s called liberty.

The Republican-controlled Congress and the Supreme Court are the two elements of our government that can and must provide a measure of protection against the deception that is practiced every day by President Obama and members of his administration. Let’s hope neither is "stupid" in the two years that remain.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Two Ukraine's

By Alan Caruba

“Obama is just not up to the task—a geopolitical lightweight who was easily outmaneuvered in Syria and Iran.”

That’s Marin Katusa, writing in his new book, “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp” ($29.95, John Wiley and Sons, and Casey Research). Katusa is no fan of President Obama, but one might wonder who is these days other than the 48% of Americans who think he’s doing a great job. Calling them stupid as the now famed Jonathan Gruber of ObamaCare fame has done is not far from the mark.

Katusa is a successful fund manager with a specialty of investing in the energy sector and helping to create energy companies. Along the way he has been to many nations around the world to see firsthand how their governments impact the energy companies working domestically and beyond. This is particularly true of Russia’s Vladimir Putin who took the collapsed Soviet Union and brought Russia back to life as the Russian Federation. At the core of the revival were and are his energy strategies.

That is what is at work these days in the Ukraine, divided between those who want it to join the European Union and NATO, and those who want to ally with Russia. Katusa reminds us that “At one time, Ukraine was Russia. Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state, was established by the Varangians in the ninth century.”

“At the end of the eighteenth century, Ukraine was partitioned, with a small slice going to Austria/Hungary and the rest to the Russian Empire. The second decade of the twentieth century was as chaotic for Ukraine as it was for the rest of Europe. Civil War raged from 1917 to 1921, with a host of factions vying for control of the government of the newly proclaimed Ukrainian Republic. Their sovereign state proved to be short-lived.”

“By 1922, the Ukrainian army was overpowered and the nation became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.” World War Two was a horror for Ukraine. One out of every six Ukrainians died during the war, many of whom sided with Nazi Germany against Russia. It was recaptured in 1944 by the USSR. 

Why is it important to Putin and Russia in 2014?

He wants to ensure that Ukraine, via pipelines, accommodates Russia’s natural gas production to buyers in Europe. “Half of Russia’s gas exports to the European Union (which cover 25 percent of the EU’s consumption) pass through Ukraine.”

Putin also needs to ensure that the Russian Navy has a secure port at Sebastopol on the Crimean Peninsula for to access to the Black Sea. Moreover, having Ukraine in its sphere of influence provides what the former USSR satellite nations did, a buffer that keeps NATO at a distance. Russia annexed Crimea shortly after Ukraine had political problems in March 2014.

Finally, Putin wants Moscow to be seen as the protector of all Russian people, including the eight million, 18% of Ukraine’s population, who live in the eastern part of the nation.

“For 15 million Ukrainians, about one-third of the population, Russian is the first language,” notes Katusa, “They are concentrated in the eastern parts of the country, and in some areas, including Crimea, they are a majority.”

In a very real sense, the Ukraine is actually two nations, a western leaning one and an eastern leaning one. When “an independent Ukraine emerged in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union” it was, as Katusa notes, a country that was plagued by corruption and political intrigue from day one. For Russia, pre-and-post collapse, it has always been a real pain, often stealing gas from the pipelines passing through it or defaulting on payment for its use.

I will pass on the politics of Ukraine that got us all to this point, but suffice to say that Putin’s efforts to bring at least the eastern portion under Russian influence or control has not gone down well with European nations, virtually all of whom are highly dependent on the gas and oil they purchase from Russia. The U.S. has put sanctions on Russia and Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, bluntly told Putin to get out of the Ukraine at the recent G-20 conference in Australia.

The fear is that, if Putin is successful in breaking away the eastern half of Ukraine, he would not only want the other half but set his eyes on former Soviet Union satellite nations in Eastern Europe.

Speaking in Australia after the G-20 conference, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Putin was practicing a foreign policy reminiscent of the Cold War. “This isn’t just about Ukraine” she said in a question-and-answer session. “This is about Moldova, this is about Georgia, and if this continues then one will have to ask about Serbia and one will have to ask about the countries of the Western Balkans.”

“What happens next in Ukraine,” writes Katusa, “is anyone’s guess. But it’s not likely to be pretty.” Putin has said he will not intervene militarily, but adds that he would act to protect the Russian population in its eastern half if he thought they were being threatened.

I personally believe Putin is far too canny to engage in an active overt military takeover of Ukraine. He is more likely to fund and arm the eastern half to a point where they can declare themselves a separate nation. It is doubtful that either the EU or NATO would intervene. Russia has already demonstrated that it would turn off the gas if they did. That would essentially shut down Europe.

A new, Colder War is developing says Katusa. “Its weapons would be oil wells, gas fields, uranium mines, energy processing plants, pipelines, and ports. Again, Europe would be the primary zone of engagement even though the United States would be the primary opponent.”

Now consider this. Prior to and during the past six years of the Obama administration, the environmental movement in the U.S. has thrown up all manner of obstacles to the development of any of the U.S. reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. The refusal to approve a Canadian oil pipeline to our Gulf coast is just one dramatic example, the failure to be able to tap the huge energy reserves in Alaska is another, and the slowness of issuing permits to seek oil on federal lands and offshore is another.

For two decades the U.S. has tied its own hands despite being the Saudi Arabia of coal and having more oil than any other nation. The size of our natural gas reserves is huge. And we need to be building more nuclear facilities to generate electricity. Instead, the EPA is forcing coal-fired plants out of business. Our electrical grid is in need of repair and expansion. Et cetera!

Putin must look at Obama and the U.S. and wonder just how stupid we are.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Praying or Not on the Temple Mount

By Alan Caruba

The Palestinians never lose an opportunity or excuse to kill Jews. What is feared is a new intifada or holy war in Israel, specifically in Jerusalem, where attacks on its civilians and soldiers have been occurring. The present grievance has to do with the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, but one that was taken over by Muslims when they invaded in 638 A.D.

Muslims have a habit of either destroying the places of worship of Jews and Christians or converting them to mosques. In the case of the Temple Mount, known to Arabs as Masjid al Aksa, the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik, around 688 A.D., built the Dome of the Rock, a mosque. The site, Mount Moriah, had been holy to Jews for 3,000 years as the place where Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice when his faith was tested by God. 

As recorded in 2 Chronicles 3:1 “Then Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David, his father.”  

And then Mohammad came along with a fanciful story. As recorded in the Koran, Sura Al-Isra 17:1. “Glory be to Him who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Sanctuary to the farthest Sanctuary, whose precincts We did bless…”  According to Mohammed, one night he was transported from Mecca to Jerusalem, escorted by the angel Gabriel. From the future site of al-Aksa, he ascended to Heaven where he met the great prophets before returning to Mecca. Suffice to say the “Night journey” became a sacred event for Muslims and al-Aksa, when built, a sacred mosque.

Apparently anything in Islam is justification enough to kill any “unbeliever” and Jews have been on the top of that list since it was created by Mohammed, largely because the Jews of his time refused to abandon their faith and accept him as a prophet.

When Israel became a sovereign Jewish state in 1948, it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors and has had to fight several wars since then. It has never been free from attacks, the latest being those by Hamas from Gaza that provoked a military operation to stop their ceaseless rocketing.

In the wake of the first war the Jordanians retained control over the Mount Moriah, refusing entry to the area. The Israelis conquered the whole of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and liberated the Temple Mount. It was the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans that they had control.

Currently, the Israelis allow Jews to enter the Temple Mount on a restrictive basis, but they are barred from praying there!

Prayer is forbidden because the Israelis have not wanted to offend Muslims. Meanwhile the Palestine Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has accused Israel of launching a religious war when Israelis responded to attacks by Palestinians on their civilians and soldiers as a way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death. Abbas has had years in which to find a way toward peace with Israel, but never has.

Access to the Temple Mount has been a topic of discussion among Israelis for whom the site is as holy as that of the Muslims. Attacks on Jewish activists and others have increased, reflecting the Muslim resistance to any policy of tolerance that might permit Jews to pray there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on record that Israel will not change its policy, but prominent Israeli political figures have made trips to the plaza of the Temple Mount to protest the regulation.

For all those in the West who speak of the necessity to extend tolerance to Islam and try to accommodate the demands of Muslims, it would be wise to look at what is happening in Israel, a holy land for three thousand years to Jews, then for two thousand years to Christians, and then to Muslims who arrived on the scene 1,400 years ago and who are engaged in a holy war to dominate the whole of the world.

These days, when not fighting each other throughout the Middle East, Muslims are committing atrocities around the world, killing innocent people with abandon in the name of their holy war and while they do Jews and Christians are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount.

© Alan Caruba, 2014