Thursday, January 30, 2014
By Alan Caruba
I cannot say it strong enough. Do not believe the lies that environmental groups, particularly those that receive millions from liberal foundations and from members who never question the “science” they claim to justify massive scare campaigns.
One such organization is Friends of the Earth (FOE) and its latest claim is that bees are dying all over the world as the result of the use of pesticides in agriculture and by people protecting their gardens. It is a lie.
The attack on the use of pesticides began in 1962 with the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” that claimed that their use posed a threat to human life. She said “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.”
The problem with her opinion is that humanity cannot alter nature, but can protect itself against the diseases and other problems. Humanity endures nature in the form of climate that currently is cooling much of the Earth. Were it not for science, we would not have put an end to polio and reduced other diseases such as malaria by killing the mosquitoes that spread it. We would not have learned how to create water purification systems that protect the residents of cities worldwide. We would not have learned how to increase crops that feed millions thanks to genetic modification.
Is humanity at risk? There are seven billion of us, more than any previous time on Earth.
Why do I defend pesticides? Because, since the 1980s, I have served pest control trade associations by providing communications programs. In the 1980s I worked for a corporation that produced one of the most extraordinary pesticides invented; one that was applied with water! It so alarmed the Environmental Protection Agency, that it insisted that its multi-million dollar registration be repeated and that company decided to cease making it available in the U.S.
What do pesticides do? They protect us against trillions of insect and rodent pests that spread diseases while some represent millions in property damage—termites—every year. In June 2011, the EPA announced it intended to ban the sale of “the most toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products” to residential customers. The only result of such a ban would be millions more rats and mice in their homes!
Rachel Carson’s book predicted the massive loss of bird species due to the use of pesticides. It was a bestseller and is still in print. She was wrong, but she triggered the beginning and growth of environmental groups that have used the same bad “science” to unleash all manner of fears on Americans and worldwide. Friends of the Earth is just one of them.
Recently I received a FOE email from Lisa Archer, its food and technology program director, in which she reported a Valentine’s Day project to stop Home Depot and Lowe’s stores from selling pesticides. The project is based on the totally false claim that all the bees are dying from the use of pesticides; in particular neonicotid pesticides that are widely used in agriculture.
The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) disputes this while acknowledging that “In the last decade, a massive decline in bee populations was detected. It was given the name of “Bee Colony Collapse Disorder” and “while the problem seems to have abated somewhat after 2010, periodic declines continued, and fears of recurrent major extinctions persisted.” The fears have been fanned by environmental organizations, but the ACSH revealed new research by scientists affiliated with the Department of Agriculture here and in China, reviewed in “The Scientist” that “provides the first evidence that the bee problem in fact, stems from the tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV), not from pesticides.”
Not from pesticides despite the FOE’s claim that “neonicotinoid pesticides are killing bees” noting that Europe is banning them. Europe is a hotbed of environmental fears and, ironically, is reversing its trend toward solar and wind energy after it has driven up the cost of electricity there and harmed its economic growth.
The ACSH reports that “the bees may pick up the virus from the pollen of plants that they feed upon, and that the virus may be spread to other bees by mites that feed on them. Once it has gained a foothold in a bee, the researchers determined that TRVS can replicate itself in the bee’s body.”
“This process of a virus moving from one species to another is call ‘host shifting’”.
Writing in 2012, Rich Kozlovich, a pest control expert, reported that “it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed bee hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 percent over the last five years.”
He also noted that “most staple foods—wheat, rice and corn—do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating.”
These well-established facts mean nothing to FOE or other environmental organizations seeking to demonize pesticides. It means nothing to the EPA that has banned many extraordinarily effective pesticides from use to protect humans and property.
It is the advances of modern science that have protected and extended human life. Banning them just exposes Americans to a range of diseases, some of which kill. Until more Americans understand that the real threat is the EPA and the environmental groups spreading baseless fears, they will continue to be at risk.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
By Alan Caruba
I didn’t take notes while President Obama gave his State of the Union speech. There was no need to.
There was a time when the SOTU was a just a letter sent to Congress, but in the era of radio and television, Presidents took advantage of the opportunity to be seen and heard laying out their priorities and asking Congress to fulfill them. Since then they have become little more than laundry lists and rarely memorable.
More people will watch a sporting event than tuned in to listen to Obama. In five years he has probably given more speeches than several previous Presidents combined. His first term felt like an extension of his election campaign with one speech following another and soon enough his reliance on a Tele-Prompter became a joke.
Suffice to say that Obama has given one speech too many. Or is that one hundred speeches too many?
A second term, according to the political pundits, is usually a more subdued time as a President seeks to get a few “legacy” pieces of legislation passed and, by then, most people have taken their measure of the President, either liking or disliking him. A President’s popularity or approval ratings usually decline.
Obama’s refusal and failure to work with Congress, combined with the disaster of Obamacare that was passed with only Democratic Party votes and, even then, required Chicago-style bribery and pressure, has seen not just his approval begin to slip away, but it includes the whole of Congress.
Obama’s assertion that he will use executive orders to get his way is simply an admission that he has failed to work with Congress and intends to continue as his second term shapes up to be one of increased resistance. Earlier presidents faced with a Congress whose power was held by another party used persuasion and compromise, but Obama uses neither.
In late January a Gallup poll revealed that “The enduring unpopularity of Congress appears to have seeped into the nation’s 435 congressional districts, as a record-low percentage of registered voters, 46%, now say that the U.S. representative in their own congressional district deserves re-election. Equally historic, the share of voters saying most members of Congress deserve re-election has fallen to 17%, a new nadir.”
It’s worth noting that the 17% who say most of Congress deserves re-election is well below the roughly 40% that has been around for decades and Gallup says “Typically, results like these have presaged significant turnover in Congress, as in 1994, 2006, and 2010. So Congress could be headed for a major shake-up in its membership this fall.”
There’s a history lesson in the 1994 election which occurred when Bill Clinton was President. It marked the greatest victory of the Republican Party since 1980. The GOP picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives and 8 seats in the Senate. The issue that drove this change was Clinton’s advocacy of a change in the nation’s healthcare system. The Democrats did not learn anything from that defeat and Obama doubled-down on it.
While the media naturally focuses on the President, many Americans appear to have made a shift to Republicans because, at present, there are 30 Republican governors in America. Since Obama took office, Republicans have picked up a net nine governorships. In 24 of those States, Republicans control the legislatures. Democrats have similar power in just 12 States. So, at the State level, voters have already demonstrated their preferences.
A Wall Street Journal-NBC poll published on January 28, the day of the SOTU speech, revealed a nation “increasingly worried about (Obama’s) abilities, dissatisfied with the economy, and fearful for the country’s future.”
“Large majorities of respondents said they want the White House and lawmakers to focus on job creation and early-childhood education, and a slimmer majority favored increasing the minimum wage.” Just over half expressed an interest in “reducing income inequality.” Obama is appealing to the “low-information” voters these days, but the majority understands that only a growing economy can address the need for more jobs.
“The survey found that just over half of Americans disapprove of the President’s performance, with 43% approving, a trough that remains little changed since the early summer. Nearly six in 10 say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about what he will do with the remainder of his presidency. Disapproval for Congress, too, is near its all-time high.”
The midterm elections in November are likely to change Congress by adding many more Republicans in the House and enough in the Senate to give the GOP control of Congress. That will eliminate the chokehold that Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, has exercised to kill more than a hundred and fifty pieces of legislation sent by the House to repair the nation’s stagnant economy. It will likely override the President’s veto power.
Obama’s SOTU will receive a cascade of political analysis, but if the polls are any indication, the public is far less interested in another Obama speech than they are in getting the kind of change the nation really needs to grow its economy and address its problems.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
By Alan Caruba
I came into this world when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President and I have never been afraid of my government until now.
I am not alone. A consistent and growing theme of commentaries on the conservative news sites and blogs that I read every day is the fear of the Obama administration that has been cracking down on those who criticize it. They get audited by the IRS. They are refused the same status as non-profit entitles engaging in public education as Left-leaning organizations. They are accused of being racists, homophobes, anti-immigration, and anti-women.
This goes beyond the ordinary disagreements between individuals and groups that express opposition to the Obama administration. It has the look of a deliberate campaign and we have three more years of Obama as President in which to endure it.
In a speech to the leftist nonprofit Center for American Progress, Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-BY) recently urged the IRS to “redouble” its intimidation tactics against the Tea Party. He represents a State whose governor recently said that conservatives were not welcome to live and do business. Its largest city, New York, just elected a Marxist as its mayor.
Jim Lakely, the director of communications of The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank that has led the effort to debunk the global warming hoax, recently posted a commentary, “The Unceasing Political Thuggery of Obama’s Gangster Government.” He noted Michael Barone’s description of the Obama administration as a “gangster government.”
Lakely cited the growing list of actions taken against who have expressed criticism. It includes Dinesh D’Souza who produced a documentary about Obama’s life, “Obama’s America” and who arrested on felony charges for violating campaign finance law. “This is beyond absurd—especially in light of what the FBI and IRS have found not worthy of any investigation, let alone indictment” in the past. A Hollywood group of conservatives, the only one there, received an IRS demand for its complete donor list; this is a repeat of similar demands of Tea Party groups seeking non-profit status. James O’Keefe whose Project Veritas exposed the nonprofit status of the leftist ACORN is being audited as was Frank VanderSloot, a big Republican donor as was conservative journalist Wayne Allen Root—twice. The list keeps growing.
The Heartland Institute was subjected to the stealing of its confidential budget and planning documents by global warming activist Peter Gleick “for the purpose of harassing” its donors, but no action has been taken against him by law enforcement authorities.
“Never in the history of this country have we seen such a broad and coordinated abuse of the government’s power to threaten criminal prosecution and ruin the lives and livelihoods of people the President and his party see as political ‘enemies’”, says Lakely.
“This should be the political scandal of the century—if only we had an honorable and competent MSM (mainstream media) press corps in this country.”
Ordinary Americans have cause to share my fear as they discover the wreckage that Obamacare is inflicting on our healthcare system, losing their insurance plans, and now we are hearing that the insurance industry may have to be bailed out as it is subjected to major losses. The government’s website is not only a disaster, but it subjects anyone using it to the threat of identity theft as experts testify it can be hacked with ease.
The economy of a nation with enormous energy reserves, enough to make us energy sufficient for decades, is being undermined by a deliberate campaign to shut down coal-fired plants and make the construction of new ones impossible. The Keystone XL pipeline from Canada has been delayed for five years despite the jobs it represents and access to oil at the same time the government has slowed the provision of leases to oil companies seeking to explore and extract our own reserves.
And millions of Americans are out of work or have ceased looking for work as the result of the worst economic “recovery” in the history of the nation. This is occurring at a time when the Obama administration has added $6 trillion to the nation’s debt, causing a leading credit agency to downgrade the nation’s credit rating for the first time in its history.
The scandals attributed to the Obama administration keep mounting from “Fast and Furious” that transmitted weapons to Mexican drug cartels, to the failure to provide security to our Libyan consulate despite many requests, leading to the Benghazi killing of a U.S. ambassador and three brave security personnel who went to his aid. The list keeps growing.
There is ample reason for Americans to fear their government these days and the mood of the nation is growing worse as they realize that they have a President who lies all the time and pursues “climate change” policies that have no basis in known science and a campaign of class war based on “income inequality” as the incomes of Middle Class Americans have suffered a decline. The solution to income inequality has always been an increase in the national economy.
The nation’s military is being undermined by budget cuts and policies that encourage open homosexual participation and the introduction of women into its combat forces. A growing list of generals and admirals have been forced to retire.
It has taken only five years to bring the nation to this point and none of the scandals has resulted in anyone in the Obama administration being held accountable.
They have good reason. When they can no longer depend on the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and other elements of the government to act lawfully, this nation—a nation of laws—we are all in jeopardy.
For these and other reasons I and many Americans are growing fearful. We have good reason.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
By Alan Caruba
It’s not as if those in the Northeast have not experienced bone-chilling cold or that it is predicted to extend from the Midwest down into our southern States. There may possibly be a snow storm that will require the National Football League to reschedule the Sunday, February 2nd Super Bowl at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Crews spent 18 hours working to remove the snow from last week’s storm.
A visit to IceAgeNow.info yielded headlines of news stories last week that included “Record Cold—Millions of Americans hit by Propane Shortage”, “Ice and Snow Closed Texas highways This Morning”, “Ice-cover Shuts Down Work on New Hudson River Bridge”, and so you understand this is a global phenomenon, “Kashmir—Heaviest January Snowfall in a Decade”, “Heavy Snowfall Sweeps Eastern Turkey”, “Romania—Heavy Snowfall and Blizzard”. And “Bangkok Suffers Coldest Night in Three Decades—Death Roll Mounts.”
Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and editor of http://www.icecap.us says that, as the President addresses the nation on Tuesday, every State will have freezing temperatures and parts or all of 27 States will be below zero.
All this is occurring as President Barack Obama is anticipated to talk about “climate change”, a warming Earth, during his Tuesday State of the Union speech. He will be speaking to the idiots who still think the Earth is warming because they are too stupid or lazy to ask why it is so cold.
Michael Bastasch, writing for The Daily Caller on Saturday, confirmed D’Aleo’s and other meteorologist’s forecasts. “The bitter cold that has hit the U.S. East Coast is expected throughout February, and on Jan 28—the day of the address—the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to be hit with freezing cold air that could drive temperatures below zero in big cities among the I-95 corridor.”
Washington, D.C. will be one of those cities, but as Bastasch reported, “Environmentalists and liberal groups are urging Obama to use the speech to reaffirm his commitment to fighting global warming. ‘President Obama should rank the battle against climate change as one of his top priorities in his State of the Union speech next week’, said Center for Clean Air Policy president Ned Heime.”
For environmentalists, it does not matter if the real climate is a deep cold. They committed to the lies about global warming in the late 1980s and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) has maintained the hoax ever since. Along the way we learned that the computer models on which it based its assertions and predictions were rigged and bogus, but that has not deterred the IPCC which is now referring to a “pause” in global warming. This is lying on a global scale.
It was the environmental group Greenpeace that put out a television advertisement featuring a Santa Claus telling children that he might have to call off Christmas because the North Pole was melting. How malicious can they get? When a group of global warming scientists and tourists took a ship to the Antarctic to measure the “melting” ice down there, the ship got caught in the ice which also resisted the efforts of two icebreaker ships to rescue them.
We are dealing with environmental groups, the IPCC and government leaders like Obama for whom the telling of huge and blatantly obvious lies about global warming is nothing compared to the billions generated by the hoax for the universities and scientists that line their pockets supporting it and industries that benefit by offering ways to capture carbon dioxide or conserve energy by first banning incandescent light bulbs.
The “pause” has lasted now for seventeen years and, as is the case with all climate on the Earth, the reason is the Sun.
A report published by CBN News noted that “The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.”
Jens Pedersen, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, said that climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.
“Global warming is nowhere to be found,” said David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, in a January 16 commentary in The Washington Times. “As frigid conditions settled over the nation, global-warming alarmists went into full denial mode”, adding that “weather extremes also seem to bring out the lunatic fringe” and that is why the public is being told that cold weather has been caused by global warming!
Whatever the President has to say about “climate change” should be taken as just one more example of five years of lies to advance policies that have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans needing jobs or the execrable Obamacare attack on the U.S. healthcare system.
The cold reality may well be a Super Bowl played on another day and a President for whom the truth is incidental to his shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the increase in the nation’s ever-growing debt, a lagging economy, and his intention to by-pass Congress rather than working with it.
That kind of thing will put a chill up any American’s spine if you think about it.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
By Alan Caruba
It is typical of the media that it concentrated on a few observations of Obama when reporting on Robert M. Gates new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War”, while ignoring the main themes of the 600-plus page book.
Suffice to say, this is not light reading. It reads much of the time like a daily record of endless meetings—because there were endless meetings—and it is filled with the details of personnel changes and much else that went with a job he took on during the last two years of the Bush administration and was requested to remain on by Obama.
He did so for another two years and he describes the frustrations of being in the inner circle of the handful of people to whom all the problems, domestic and international, came to for decisions. As Gates notes, “while the national security apparatus to deal with such problems is gigantic, ultimately they all had to be addressed by just eight people: the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, the director of national intelligence, the director of CIA, and the national security advisor.”
One cannot come to any conclusion other than the fact that Gates, a former Director of the CIA, a position he rose to after years in the spy agency, is a patriot for whom partisan politics is of little importance compared to the range of enemies the U.S. had to address when he served as the Secretary of Defense. What kept him on the job was literally his love of the troops who serve in our armed forces.
If one reads the book looking for juicy revelations about those for whom and with whom he served, you won’t find any. He is uniformly sympathetic to all of them, understanding the immensity of the pressures, no matter their experience and judgment.
What also comes through, however, is the way the bulk of the people whom we elect to high office in the White House and Congress, or who serve in various appointed offices are rarely extraordinary intellects, but rather fairly ordinary individuals who are in these positions often largely due to their personal ambitions.
The military, based on merit, does a good job of selecting men—and now women—to rise to flag rank, but the Pentagon as a whole, as Gates reveals, is a massive inefficient bureaucracy filled with people who are mostly detached from the fact that the U.S. has been at war since 2001 in Afghanistan and, until we were forced to withdraw, in Iraq since 2003. Even worse, for those in Congress these wars were more about how much to fund the Pentagon and the political ramifications of conflict’s success or failure than about the young men and women sent to fight them.
It gets worse. Military budgets are based on five-year plans and most procurements of the hardware needed to fight a war represented programs that could take years, even decades, from the decision to the delivery. The wars the Pentagon remains focused on are not the insurgencies led by non-state actors like al Qaeda, often unpredictable conflicts, but those more related to World War Two and the Cold War when major adversaries faced off against one another.
As the years have gone along, I would complain that the U.S. had forgotten how to fight wars, but I too was thinking of the big ones. At the time, I swiftly came to regard Vietnam as a war in which we should have never become engaged. It had begun in 1950 with a few military “advisors”, escalated dramatically through the 1960s, and finally ended in 1973, but not before 58,220 American troops had died.
After September 11, 2001, I thought the attack on the al Qaeda in Afghanistan was an appropriate response, but I doubt anyone thought we would stay on an engage in “nation building.” This repeated itself after Iraq’s Saddam Hussein provoked action in the 1991 Gulf War to drive him out of Kuwait—a war that lasted 100 hours, but was followed by another in 2003 to remove him. What followed was more nation-building in a 4,000 year old nation that had always been run by despots and no experience with democracy.
Gates says that “all the services regarded the counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as unwelcome military aberrations, the kind of conflict we would never fight again.” We had, by then, been fighting such conflicts in Grenada, Lebanon, Libya (twice), Panama, Haiti, the Balkans and elsewhere “usually in relatively small-scale but messy combat.”
There’s a reason the subtitle of Gate’s book was about “a secretary at war.” His memoir is about a job that put him at war with Congress, with those in the Pentagon, and in conflict with those in the White House who often did not grasp the horrors of war. While Bush had confidence in the military, in the Obama White House “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials—including the President and Vice President—became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander-in-chief and his military leaders.”
Throughout the two years of the Obama administration there were no formal budgets and, as a result, “The world’s largest and most complex organization was being funded hand to mouth, living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck.”
This is why the Gates memoir is about a nation that has been fighting and losing wars for far too long. It is about American Presidents who “confronted with a tough problem abroad, have too often been too quick to reach for a gun—to use military force…”
War is not a video game or a technological endeavor that kills safely and at a distance. Gates quotes Civil War General William T. Sherman who said “every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.” Famously, Sherman said, “War is hell.”
The U.S. has been losing wars for a long time now. We don’t seem to be learning anything from that history.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Friday, January 24, 2014
By Alan Caruba
David W. Snook, 57, of Bridgewater, New Jersey died on Wednesday, January 15, when two deer leaped into the path of his Dodge Ram on Route 206. One of them was airborne when it smashed through the front windshield, striking him before exiting out the rear window. This caused the truck to veer into the guard rail and come to rest in a ravine.
In 2012, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection estimated that the Garden State was home to 110,000 deer. Each year about 35,000 are killed in hunts and those of us who live here owe the hunters a debt of gratitude. In my county of Essex, home to Newark, the freeholders regularly hire hunters to cull the herd that shares its home with one of the most densely populated counties in the state.
Need it be said that the animal rights crowd is always upset about this. New Jersey also has a fairly sizeable bear population and during the hunting season, between 250 and 450 are “harvested” as the Fish and Game agency calls it. They have been found in all 21 counties of the state. And state officials now estimate that there are more coyotes in New Jersey than bears.
Suffice to say New Jersey’s animals are not suffering from a decline in species, nor facing extinction any time soon. My guess—and it’s only a guess—is that this is true nationwide. However, to justify one of the dumbest laws ever passed, the Endangered Species Act, some 1,500 species are classified with fuzzy definitions of being “threatened”, “endangered” or “recovered.”
The Act was signed into law in 1973 by Richard Nixon, who also gifted us with the Environmental Protection Agency, currently doing everything in its power to destroy the coal industry and plants that use it to generate electricity. They claim that the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a threat to the climate, but ignore the many other natural sources of CO2, including all seven billion humans that exhale six pounds of it a day. And that all species would die without CO2 maintaining all the vegetation on Earth.
What is never mentioned is that species extinction has been around as long as there have been species. It was not CO2 that killed the dinosaurs and 75% of other species that had dominated the Earth for 180 million years and there were no humans around to blame for the Great Permian Extinction when more than 90% of all life on Earth disappeared—animals, plants, trees, fish, and even algae. Most geological eras have come to a close with calamitous events.
In December 2013, the Obama administration granted industrial wind farm operators a 30-year permit to kill legally protected bald eagles and golden eagles without being subject to legal repercussions. Wind energy has killed 1.4 million birds and bats every year, including those regarded and protected as threatened such as California condors, bald eagles, and Indiana bats. Apparently, if you are producing 1% percent or so of electricity, it’s okay to kill these creatures. Meanwhile everyone else pays higher electricity bills.
The dirty little secret about the Endangered Species Act is that environmentalists have used it for years to deter all manner of economic development by claiming some fish or other creature was endangered if you built a hospital, new homes, or in the case of the dunes sagebrush lizard which lives in the West Texas and Southeast New Mexico Permian Basic when oil companies want to explore and extract this energy resource that will generate jobs and huge tax revenues to help reduce the national debt.
It is insanity to think humans can or should do anything to “save” various species. The most dramatic and tragic evidence of this has been the twenty-year effort to “save” the northern spotted owl. The result was to close millions of acres of federal forests in the Northwest from logging, devastating the once flourishing timber industry.
In July 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would permit the killing of barred owls believed to be killing the spotted owls. The sawmills that once thrived are mostly gone, along with their jobs, and revenue. The forests are overgrown and are immense fire traps. And the Fish and Wildlife Service thinks that spending $127 million might restore the spotted owl population over the next 30 years.
This kind of stupidity is criminal.
How effective has the Endangered Species Act been? As it enters its 41st year it has “recovered” less than 2% of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened since 1973. A December 17 Wall Street Journal article reported that “it has endangered the economic health of many communities and created a cottage industry of litigation that does more to enrich environmental activist groups” that pays their salaries.
The Endangered Species Act is a huge failure. It should be repealed, but don’t expect Congress to do anything that sensible.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Thursday, January 23, 2014
By Alan Caruba
The Environmental Protection Agency has been in a full assault on the U.S. economy since the 1980s when the global warming hoax was initiated. It has been assisted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
To put it in other terms, our own government has engaged in lying to Americans and the result has been the expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars on something that was not happening and is not happening.
On January 22, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released the deposition transcript of former senior EPA official John Beale. After defrauding the agency of nearly $900,000 and spending weeks and months away from his office by claiming he was on assignment for the CIA, the transcript contained a bombshell.
Discussing his job, at the time as a close associate of Gina McCarthy, the new EPA administrator, Beale revealed that he was there to come up with “specific proposals that could have been proposed either legislatively or things which could have been done administratively to kind of modify the capitalist system…”
Dan Kish, senior vice president of the Institute for Energy Research, responded to the revelation saying “In his testimony under oath, Beale, perhaps unwittingly, has laid bare the administration’s end goal. The President’s policies are not about carbon, they are not about coal, and they are not even about energy and the environment. They are about fundamentally altering the DNA of the capitalist system. These policies are not about energy, but power.”
When the new EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, in testimony before a congressional committee in mid-January was asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL-R) to confirm a statement made by President Obama last year that global temperatures were increasing faster in the last five or ten years than climate scientists had predicted.
She said, “I can’t answer that question.”
“You’re asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy and you won’t answer the simple question of whether (temperature around the world is increasing faster than predicted) is accurate or not?” Sessions responded.
“I just look at what the climate scientists tell me,” said McCarthy.
The Earth is in a cooling cycle that has lasted seventeen years at this point, but the EPA administrator was not inclined to accept this fact, nor question the climate scientists who provided the data based on computer models that have been consistently wrong now for decades.
We owe the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank a debt of gratitude for the eight international conferences it has held to debunk global warming. Joseph Bast, its president and CEO, has said, “The toll our EPA is taking on the country is staggering, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work at a time when millions of people are unemployed and our reliance on foreign sources of energy threatens to compromise our nation’s security.” Heartland’s science director points out that “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health, Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies…” I serve as an advisor to Heartland.
This is the same EPA that proposed restrictions for new wood stoves in early January. The reason given was to reduce the maximum amount of fine particulate emissions (soot) allowed for new stoves sold in 2015 and 2019. The soot is made up of solid particles and liquid droplets that measure 2.5 micrometers or less. The EPA claims, as it does for virtually all its regulations, that it is linked to heart attacks, decreased lung function, and premature death in people with heart and lung disease. This is worse than junk science. It represents no science whatever, being an invention of EPA employees who specialize in such nonsense. The Earth produces soot every day and circulates it globally.
The only way Americans will be protected against the EPA’s attack on our economy will be a Congress controlled by the Republican Party and a Republican President that will support the oversight that is needed and the reversal of its vast output of regulations. It will have to do this as well for NOAA, NASA, and other governmental departments and agencies that, until recently, spewed forth all manner of “data” supporting the global warming hoax.
At the heart of the global warming hoax, now called climate change, is the assertion that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases” have been dangerously warming the Earth by trapping heat, but you don’t have to be a scientist to know that the current cold spell, comparable to the 1500-1850 mini-ice age, is the result of lower solar emissions by a sun. CO2 is a minor (0.038) element of the Earth’s atmosphere, but the second most vital gas for all life on Earth because it is the “food” that maintains all vegetation.
Little wonder, during the government shutdown, more than 93% of EPA employees were furloughed when designated as “non-essential.” That was more than nine out of every ten employees!
In September 2013, the Republican members of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee issued a report that EPA officials had, from the beginning of President Obama’s tenure had “pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight.” It detailed violations of the Freedom of Information Act and other federal laws and regulations intended to encourage transparency and accountability in the government.
In mid-January, the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute revealed that emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the EPA used official events to help environmental groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking. “The level of coordination in these documents is shocking” said an EELI spokesman. The EPA has a long history of this, including a policy of “sue and settle” working with environmental groups to bring a suit to advance regulations and settling the suit to enable it to implement those regulations.
In an April 2013 article in Investor’s Business Daily, John Merline reported that “Overall air pollution levels dropped 62% from 1990 to 2012, while GDP grew 69% and population climbed 26%.” The pollution the EPA keeps claiming is rising includes carbon monoxide, soot, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and others, all well below the EPA’s safety threshold. Water quality, too, has also improved over several decades.
In May 2013, Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) noted that the EPA, since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, had generated 1,920 new regulations. “The EPA’s actions are forcing us to expend vast financial, human and technological resources to achieve minimal or even zero health benefits.”
This is the same EPA leading the effort to shut down coal-fired plants that produce electricity. It is the same EPA seeking to stop the Pebble Mine, described as “a natural resource project in Alaska that could yield more copper than has ever been found in one place anywhere in the world.”
The EPA is the instrument of those who want to undermine capitalism in any way it can. Only that can explain why entire books have been written about its impact on the economy of the nation and the deceptive way it has imposed regulations responsible for it.
President Obama called for “hope and change” when he first ran for office. We can only hope that a new Congress and President will bring about the change we need to shut down the EPA and return control over the nation’s environment to its 50 sovereign states.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
By Alan Caruba
Have you noticed how liberal intellectuals are drawn to various dictators? Largely unknown to most Americans is the history of many intellectuals who expressed their disdain for “the masses”, all those millions who work in manufacturing, have small businesses, and hold onto the American dream of success, having a home of their own, and other elements of a good life based on hard work.
Those ordinary Americans don’t worry about “income inequality” because there has always been income inequality and because America provides income mobility. You can earn more if you want to. You can change jobs. You can open a business. You can acquire wealth. There were 53,000 new millionaires in America last year. We have a President who criticized “millionaires and billionaires” throughout his first term.
In his book, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class” by Fred Seigel (Encounter Books), he provides a history of liberalism that dates back to the early years of the last century and the rise of communism; particularly in the Soviet Union that collapsed in 1991 from its implementation.
You may be surprised to learn that authors like H.G. Wells (1866-1946), the famed science fiction writer, were early advocates of socialism—communism-light. “Liberals thought themselves smarter than other people because they had seen through the supposed Victorian verities to a future not yet born,” says Seigel, noting that one of his books, “Anticipations”, was described by Wells “was designed to undermine and destroy…monogamy, faith in God, and respectability, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electrical heating.”
The “success” of liberalism has given us a nation where a million unborn are killed every year, where marriage is subject to a 50% divorce rate, where same-sex marriage is now law in several states, the middle class is heavily taxed, and—not surprisingly—an increasing number of Americans regard Big Government as the biggest threat to their liberty and freedom.
It is also a nation that has twice elected a Marxist named Barack Hussein Obama who is now openly equating any criticism of his failed policies as a form of racism.
The early liberals “looked to a new elite, a separate caste with the wisdom to lead society to social salvation by breaking with the conventions of middle-class Victorian morality.” It was an early liberal, the literary critic Van Wyck Brooks, who coined the terms “highbrow” and “middlebrow” to demarcate the levels of taste in American life. America’s entry into World War I put the liberals into high gear as they regarded the war years as revealing “American society and democracy (as) agents of repression.”
Seigel writes of liberals that “They had no doubt that the American masses were culturally diseased people, playthings in the hands of America’s philistine plutocrats. For the critics of mass culture, World War I had discredited not the Kaiser and German militarism, but democracy.” Those attitudes from the 1920s persist today.
So now we have a President who daily reveals his contempt for the Constitution and wants to rule by executive order rather than work with the Congress. We have a President who disdains the U.S. military, has been engaged in a purge of many top generals and admirals, and whose view that America is not an exceptional nation, has triggered and supported a growing disrespect of America, contributing to its declining influence on global events and trends.
By the 1940s and 50s, liberals—often Soviet agents—had infiltrated the U.S. government to such an extent that many Americans became concerned, but Sen. Joseph McCarthy who tried to expose them was attacked by liberals who have turned “McCarthyism” into a term for anyone who seeks to expose them.
The intellectuals who led liberalism had a deep disdain for the masses and the egalitarianism of American democracy which they regarded as a degraded form of government that in one’s description discouraged “respect or esteem for superior individuals.” That, too, remains a major theme among the current generation of intellectuals. Obama’s administration is filled with people who never ran a business or worked in one. Government for them is the ultimate means to control Americans, not serve them.
Over the course of the 1960s, “national income had doubled. The poverty rate was cut in half as unemployment dropped to only 3.5 percent and inflation-adjusted personal income grew by nearly 40 percent. Home ownership reached record highs that have been difficult to surpass.” Yet it was the 1960s in which Lyndon Johnson launched his “War on Poverty” saying that the “days of the dole in this country are numbered.”
Under Obama, the most liberal President ever to hold the office, unemployment is estimated to be over 13 percent and millions are on some form of government dole. Liberals still do not make a connection between liberal policies and actual outcomes. Facts do not concern them.
The 1960s also marked the takeover the American system of education and what we are witnessing today has much to do with the indoctrination of socialist values in the generations that attended schools and universities since then.
The 1960s also saw the beginning of the environmental movement. Now don’t get me wrong. America needs clean air and clean water, but it does not need an out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency whose real agenda is to undermine the provision of energy and the entire economy. It is environmentalism that led the government to ban incandescent light bulbs, to mandate a reduction in the amount of water in your toilet seat, and generates countless other idiotic regulations whose real purpose is to control all aspects of your life.
In 1962, a baseless screed against the pesticides that protect human health and property against the onslaught of many pest insect species was published. It was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” The establishment of Earth Day followed in 1970 and ever since liberals have corrupted science to claim that humans were destroying the Earth and to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming.
The liberal disdain for humanity—the masses—was reflected in Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb”, published in 1968, that claimed that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over.” Like environmentalism, it was a fear-mongering theme designed to influence public policies. Liberals not only disliked humanity, they disliked the industrial societies that gave them the opportunity to live better lives with innovative technologies.
As Seigel notes, “Before the 1960s, government regulation was aimed at specific industries. But with the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1964) the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), the Consumer Products Safety Commission (1972)m and the vast expansion of the Federal Trade Commission, government asserted its influence over the entire economy.”
Now the nation is sharply divided between liberals and conservatives. The problems encountered in the decades since the 1960s have not had any impact on the views of liberals. As Seigel says, “Liberal interests never examined their assumptions, even when faced with social and political failure.” They turned to the courts to achieve their goals and have been successful in transforming the nation through them.
The greatest transformation is the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that has seized one sixth of the nation’s economy while depriving millions of Americans of their personal health plans, forcing many to give up their personal physicians, and is negatively affecting the entire economy. The fact that it is such a disaster is the only good thing that can be said for it because it will likely force many who favor such liberal programs to rethink their views. It will likely have a major political backlash toward more conservative candidates.
The lesson is clear. It is liberals who have been working very hard to undermine the U.S. Constitution, our democracy, and our freedoms.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
By Alan Caruba
On January 28, the President of the United States will stand before a joint session of Congress and lie to them and to all Americans.
The mainstream media will treat it as a serious presentation and make no mention of the lies.
Following the State of the Union speech (SOTU) there will be a formal response by a Republican spokesman. It will be very polite and not likely to strongly expose the lies and oppose the President.
The “low information” Americans will take Barack Obama at his word. Nearly half of all Americans who might listen to the speech or read about it are on some form of government dole or entitlement program. They are interested in food stamps, unemployment compensation, their disability status, and an older generation will understandably want to ensure their Social Security checks keep coming and Medicare will continue to underwrite their medical costs.
Whatever Obama has to say about the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—will be a lie. His administration continues to lie about the number of those who have enrolled, but we know they are mostly the elderly while the younger generation wisely avoids it.
We live in a nation where more than 90 million Americans are out of work, cannot find work, or have given up looking for work. Anything Obama has to say about the economy will be a lie.
When Obama gives his speech, the total population of America will be 317,490,000 people. It is the third-most populous nation in the world with 82% residing in cities in suburbs as of 2011. Anyone who has driven throughout the nation knows that much of it is nearly uninhabited. A mere 2% of the population are the farmers and ranchers who feed the rest of us.
The two most populous states are California and Texas. New York City has the largest population of the nation’s cities. It just elected a Communist as its new mayor. He has announced he intends to raise taxes.
There are an estimated eleven million illegal aliens living in America and The New York Times reports that number may be growing. Previous efforts at amnesty resulted in not only endowing them with citizenship but their entire families, many of whom joined them from their home nations. At a time of high unemployment among natural born and naturalized citizens, increasing the population in this fashion will only add to the economic problems the slowest recovery in decades represents. In Congress Democrats favor an amnesty. Republicans are unsure of whether to oppose or accept it.
In addition to amnesty, the President will no doubt make some mention of tax reform. The reform the nation needs is the elimination of the income tax in favor of a fair tax based on consumption of products and services. You buy it. You pay a national sales tax.
No doubt the President will make some reference to gun control. He has been unable to get any legislation about it and has relied on executive orders to impose limits on the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, Americans are buying guns like crazy. It’s about self-defense and the prospect of a President who may not want to leave office. He will cite the Newtown slayings, but mass slayings in America have not increased in decades. It is not common, though it is always tragic.
It’s hard to predict how much time Obama will devote to “climate change”, but this greatest hoax of the modern era is very dear to him and the Democrats in Congress. A group of them are signing a letter to be sent to the heads of the network channels urging them to devote more airtime to lies about how carbon dioxide is causing the Earth to warm and poses a huge threat. The Earth, meanwhile, has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years and many Americans recently experienced record-setting cold weather. More of them—though only about 23%--are beginning to express doubts about global warming. Duh!
The climate change agenda is being pursued outrageously by Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency which is issuing regulations intended to continue shutting down existing coal-fired plants that generate electricity and keep new ones from being built. It is a direct attack on the nation’s economy which depends on electricity. Whatever Obama says about it will be a lie.
No doubt he will make reference to his latest scam, income inequality. If there is one thing communists love it is class warfare. The best way to reduce income inequality is well known. It is a thriving economy that provides more jobs and higher pay. Meanwhile, there may be a passing reference to increasing the minimum wage, a great way to deny entry-level jobs to young workers and increase the cost of everything else to the consumer.
Obama is not likely to have much to say about foreign affairs. In general he has managed to reduce America’s role as an international leader for democracy, justice and human rights. We are running out of allies, especially in the Middle East where Israel, Jordan, and a few Gulf states remain friendly.
When I was a young man coming of age in the 1950s I could never imagine living in a nation whose moral structure was such that a million unborn children are killed every year by abortion. I would never have believed that some 40% of women would choose to be single mothers. Or that the divorce rate would reach 50% and more. I could never imagine young men and women graduating from college with huge debts in an economy where jobs were not only fewer, but subject to an Obamacare law that forces businesses to cut the number of hours they work, limiting their earning capacity.
This is not an America I envisioned, but it is one that Presidents and Congresses since the Great Depression of the 1930s whose government they have expanded to the point where many Americans regard Big Government as the biggest problem facing the nation. They’re right.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
By Alan Caruba
“We’re going to take things from you on behalf of the common good”
“It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few…and to replace it with shared responsibility, for shared prosperity”
“(We) …can just let business as usual go on and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”
“We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own…in order to create this common ground.”
“I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in the entire economy that they are being watched.”
“I certainly think the free market has failed.”
Was it Joseph Stalin? Lenin? Hugo Chavez? Kim Jong II? All reveal a communist philosophy.
It was Hillary Clinton. Over the years, Hillary has made it clear that the redistribution of wealth—communism—is central to her beliefs and that her regard for capitalism and the free market economy of America is nil.
The election of Hillary Clinton would be an extension of the two terms of Barack Obama and, if possible, worse.
There are moments when a politician’s opportunity to win elections passes—often unnoticed at the time. I think that time was 2008 when Hillary lost the Democratic nomination to an unknown Senator from Illinois who offered “hope and change.”
Eight years later, having served as his Secretary of State, she will share his growing disapproval as Obamacare unfolds as the perfect namesake of the worst President the U.S. has ever known. And then, of course, there is their shared Benghazi scandal.
For these reasons, I believe Hillary will decide her time has passed and elect to avoid the ordeal of a presidential campaign even if the Democrats gave her the opportunity.
Her long career in the public eye has been filled with scandals and failures, not the least of which was her early advocacy of “HillaryCare.” When her husband was President, she was put in charge of developing a plan to take over the healthcare sector despite the fact that she was not an elected official, but merely his wife. It was overwhelmingly rejected.
The most astonishing thing about the 2016 elections is that the Party still regards her as the sole candidate to run for the presidency even as 2014 Democrats seeking reelection are fleeing the disastrous failure of Obamacare and the huge debt that Obama imposed on the nation. In addition, elements of the Party’s base, Millennials—younger voters—and Hispanics are among those deserting it while some are beginning to call for Obama’s resignation.
There is something so disconnected from the facts, from reality, about the Democratic Party that it suggests that those who remain within its numbers are deranged.
Some political pundits will be inclined to dismiss Hillary as too old to run, that her agenda would not stand up to examination, that she would be in effect Obama’s third term, or that her record as Secretary of State is littered with lies and failures.
Democrats do not vote based on such things. They vote out of a nostalgic attachment to its past, to its message of fairness and equality, out of concern for its false “war on women”, “income inequality”, and the accusations leveled against the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement. Democrats will be driven by the belief that it is time for a woman to be President, no matter how awful her qualifications or political beliefs.
This is also a belief of the nation’s leftist media and the momentum of news coverage about Hillary will be orchestrated by her. In the meantime, she will earn tidy sums giving speeches and receiving every leftist award that’s out there. No doubt there is a book in the works as well.
Hillary has left a long record of scandals in the course of her “public service.” The most recent was the lies about the killing of an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi on the 2012 anniversary of 9/11. Most famously, under questioning she said, “What difference does it make?” Nowhere during the course of her service as Secretary of State is there a single major international treaty or significant accomplishment. Indeed, her tenure is marked by the severe loss of respect for America and its influence over foreign affairs.
The Clintons have always been about the acquisition of money to fund their lifestyle. In 1979 Hillary earned $100,000 profit on a $1,000 investment in cattle futures within the course of just nine months. She was guided to the windfall by a highly placed Tyson Foods connection. An investigation into her role as an attorney with the Rose law firm was stymied until its billing records magically appeared in her White House office, years after they had been subpoenaed.
Like Obama, Hillary never recalls anything involved with her past. She knew nothing. She was the victim of others around her. It’s all a right-wing conspiracy.
The real conspiracy has been the takeover of the Democrat Party by the far Left and its elected office holders who appear to have no regard for the decline of the nation thanks to their relentless spending and borrowing.
Hillary Clinton has been among the most relentless of all Democrats, concerned only with her determination to become the next President and for the acquisition of wealth that puts her and Bill firmly in the one percent of the extremely wealthy that Democrats and liberals defame.
A significant defeat of Democrats in 2014’s midterm elections will influence her decision. A lot can happen between now and 2016. Even the mainstream media’s fixation on getting her elected may decline. Stay tuned.
© Alan Caruba, 2014