Friday, June 28, 2013

Wind Power Lunacy

By Alan Caruba
Can you love nature when it is covered with wind turbines? Or solar panels?

Putting aside the scientific, engineering, and economic idiocy behind the use of wind turbines and solar panels to generate less than three percent of the electricity used nationwide—or that, if the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining, electrical energy must be supplied by back-up traditional coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants.

My personal objection to wind power is the sheer ugliness of these devices. The notion of covering hillsides and plains with them is an offence to the land—to the nature Greens profess to love—and to the many thousands of birds they slaughter every year.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the only reason we have any wind energy, i.e. windmills and solar panels, anywhere in the U.S. is a combination of the huge propaganda power of the Greens, bribery, the stupidity and chicanery of politicians, and the gullibility of people who actually believe that wind—which does not blow all the time—is a rational source of power generation.

Suffice to say, the wind power industry would not exist without state government mandates for its use, federal tax credits, and the deafening silence of environmentalists who want to save every species on Earth with the exception of the wind turbine's slaughter of a million of eagles, hawks, geese, bats, and other flying creatures every year.

The cliché is that great minds think alike and recently there have been a spate of editorials and commentaries, all coincidently written by colleagues of mine. One of them is Dr. Jay Lehr, the science director of The Heartland Institute, for which I am a policy advisor along with others with far more impressive credentials than my own as a longtime science and business writer. On June 17, The Wall Street Journal published Dr. Lehr’s commentary, “The Rationale for Wind Power Won’t Fly.”

“After decades of federal subsidies—almost $24 billion according to a recent estimate by former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm—nowhere in the United States, or anywhere else, has an array of wind turbines replaced a single conventional power plant.” Dr. Lehr inferentially raises the question of why any nation would spend that kind of money without receiving sufficient and equivalent electrical power. It is a very good question.

As Dr. Lehr noted, “It’s known to everybody in the industry that a wind turbine will generate electricity 30% of the time—but it’s impossible to predict when that time will be.” There are about 24,000 of these hideous machines according to the American Wind Energy Association and, given their lobbying, that number could double in the next decade. They will still not produce sufficient electricity—let alone predictable and constant electricity—for a small city.

Neither wind nor solar power will provide sufficient electrical energy. This begs the question why they even exist.

The short answer is that wind and solar have been sold to the public (which pays more for the electricity they produce) as not producing “greenhouse gas emissions” that are blamed for a global warming which is not happening, but the main gas, carbon dioxide, is vital to all life on Earth, being the “food” for all plant life, much of which we consume as crops such as wheat, corn, and rice. As a demonstration of the idiocy and hypocrisy of environmentalists, huge quantities of corn are, by government mandate, converted to ethanol—moonshine—that must be added to gasoline.

Another colleague, Rich Kozlovich, has a commentary in circulation that asks why the “Precautionary Principle” that is beloved by the Greens is not applied to wind turbines. Rich quoted another colleague of mine, CFACT’s Paul Driessen, “The Precautionary Principle insists that no new technology should be permitted until it can be shown that it will pose no threat to human health or the environment.” If fully applied, humanity would be denied another medication, chemical, or technological innovation.

“The hard reality is that the green movement does not care about facts, wildlife or humans,” says Kozlovich, “and logical consistency is totally alien to them…Green elites ‘know’ what is best for all of humanity,”

I doubt he will get the plaudits and recognition he deserves, but Dr. John Droz, Jr., a physicist, has devoted his knowledge to providing the best collection of scientific date available regarding the futility and stupidity of wind power. Dr. Droz has a website where you can learn the FACTS about wind power or you can Google his name to find his many excellent articles on the subject.

I have cited some of those facts, as has Dr. Lehr, Paul Driessen, and Rich Kozlovich, but it does not take an advanced degree in physics or any other science to grasp why constructing thousands of wind turbines to produce a miniscule amount of electricity has been one of the most idiotic enterprises to emerge from the vast global warming/climate change hoax.

Instead, we live in a nation whose president insists that climate change is the greatest threat to mankind and who is devoting the powers of government to shut down coal-fired plants, deter exploration and extraction of energy reserves on lands owned by the federal government, delaying the construction of a new pipeline, and the construction of new nuclear facilities. One of his suggestions for power generation is algae, pond scum.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beware! Media Will Support Obama's Climate Lies

By Alan Caruba
In the same way the U.S. media has long supported and disseminated all the lies about global warming—now called climate change—you can expect extensive support President Obama’s Tuesday speech based this hoax.

Call it the audacity of deceit. At the heart of the President’s speech is his reference to “carbon pollution.” It has no scientific basis. You will not read that in Wednesday’s newspapers, nor hear it on radio and television unless you are tuned to conservative media.

The claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant is absurd insofar as it is, next to oxygen, the second most vital gas for life on planet Earth. It is responsible for the growth of all vegetation, including crops vital to feeding humanity and the livestock on which they depend as a food source.

If you want to learn the truth about CO2, you can visit:

You can be certain that no journalist will visit these websites because the last thing they are interested in learning or reporting is the truth. In this regard, they will saturate the print and broadcast media with accolades about the President’s climate policies.

His policies are better understood as anti-energy policies and you would be well advised to keep in mind that all nations are totally dependent on access to sufficient, indeed, abundant energy to function. Poor nations are energy-poor.

Since the first days of the global warming scare campaign in the late 1980s, the media have repeated every lie until 2009 when the posting of thousands of emails between the core conspirators working for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were found to be deliberately distorting and publishing false climate data.

Even “climategate” has not deterred the media from continuing to publish falsehoods, repeating the way Greens attribute every natural phenomenon from hurricanes to tornadoes, droughts and forest fires, to “climate change.”

As promised during his 2008 campaign, the President made good on his war on coal which, as he said, would necessarily “skyrocket” the cost of electricity. His speech outlined further efforts to deter the construction of any new coal-fired plants while forcing others to shut down. Prior to his first term, coal produced fifty percent of all the electricity generated and this has now begun to drop. There is no indication that Obama cares about the cost of everyone’s electrical bill, particularly at a time of economic stagnation.

The media have also been the cheerleaders for the so-called “renewable energy”, wind and solar power, which would not exist without government subsidies, tax exemptions, and mandates for its use. As Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, notes, “Accelerating renewable energy development on federal lands will likely lead to more bat and avian mortality and a further retreat from honest enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.” The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind far for killing a protected bird species

Obama intends to do this at the same time that a vast, new abundance of natural gas has been discovered and is being extracted; another major source of electricity generation in the nation. Between coal, natural gas, and oil, America could be energy independent and reap the benefits of exporting these energy reserves as well. Obama’s speech offers the opposite of this bounty and path out of the current stagnation of the economy.

You can depend upon the liberal press quoting liberals such as Carol Browner, a former EPA director and now a “distinguished senior fellow” the Center for American Progress. “The President’s plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants is the latest in a series of steady and responsible steps he has taken to address climate change that threatens the health of our kids and the planet.”

Like the President’s speech, this is pure Leftist bilge without a scintilla of common sense or science. Interpreting natural events from volcano eruptions to floods as “climate change” is comparable to pagan religions that think “the gods must be angry.”

Beware of Obama’s lies and policies and beware of the media coverage that will ignore the falsehoods and the outcomes.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Obama's Enormous Climate Lies

By Alan Caruba

Putting aside Obama’s intention to further reduce our nuclear arsenal as articulated in his June 19 speech in Berlin, he has solidified his position as the World’s Greatest Liar with his statements about climate change, aka global warming, which he called “the global threat of our time.”

Let us stipulate that the global threat of our time is the rise of Islamic fanaticism in its pursuit of a worldwide caliphate. It threatens some six billion of the world’s population that represent other faiths. It is on the rise throughout the Middle East and into northern Africa’s Maghreb. It has cells in South America and it threatens the lives of millions of Americans if the jihadists acquire nuclear arms.

Regarding the President’s call for nuclear disarmament, veteran journalist Bill Gertz observed that “The president is using a new term to support his earlier disarmament call back in 2009 in Prague, and it’s called ‘peace with justice’ which has a very Marxist-Leninist ring to it. All the rhetoric of the communist groups around refer to peace with justice, (and) now the president has employed it for the first time.”

Obama continues to conjure up global warming despite overwhelming evidence that it does not exist. Dubbed “climategate”, revelations in 2009 made clear that a small group within the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were deliberately falsifying their climate models.

There is nothing that humans can or should do regarding the Earth’s climate. It is a force that is so vast and powerful that calls for renewable energy, energy conservation, and a “carbon tax” on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are utterly false, a danger to human life, a threat to global economic development, and the work of scoundrels and charlatans.

At present, there has been no warming for almost seventeen years. The Earth is in a natural cooling cycle as the result of another natural cycle, the reduction of the Sun’s radiation that warms the Earth.

 “For the grim alternative affects all nations,” said Obama. “More severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise.”

The President is lying!

In his 2008 speech in Chicago’s Grant Park following his election, Obama said, “It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America”

The change has been, not just the election of the first black American as president, but the first president to consistently lie to Americans. The change he has wrought in his first term and is seeking to bring about in his second includes the largest seizure and nationalization of the American health system in our history and a “stimulus” that wasted billions of dollars that accomplished nothing to reduce unemployment and avoid economic stagnation.

Obama’s promise of change has reduced America’s standing in the world as the protector of peace and his decisions have helped advance the spread of the Islamic jihad.

It has produced a war on coal, the energy resource that, prior to his taking office, provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans use every day. It has reduced access to oil and natural gas on federal lands. Obama will pursue more action in the name of climate change in the form of more regulation of power plants, new subsidies for so-called clean energy, and other big, futile, farcical, and costly government programs  

Obama’s administration has given us scandals from “Fast and Furious” to the failure to come to the aid of our ambassador to Libya in Benghazi; the revelation that the IRS engaged in a deliberate program against Tea Party, patriot groups, and even Jewish organizations. It has reduced and degraded the U.S. military with programs to permit homosexuals to serve and women to be in combat units. An outbreak of sexual assaults—26,000 and most men-on-men—in the military has resulted.

In Berlin, the President said, “Our generation must move towards a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late, that is our job; that is our task.”
On June 25, he will announce new executive orders to implement “climate change” mandates in the face of congressional resistance. He says it will be “my vision for where I believe we need to go—a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.”

Carbon dioxide is not “pollution”; it is, along with oxygen, the other gas most vital to all life on Earth.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gas Prices Should be a Lot Lower

By Alan Caruba

In the past whenever gas prices began to climb, whoever was president usually got the blame for it, but there never was anything he could do about it.  The price at the pump was and is dependent on global factors. What can, however, be said about Barack Obama is that he has led the most anti-energy administration in the history of the nation.
A nation’s economic stability and growth depends on affordable, abundant energy, especially hydrocarbon energy in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas. In the U.S. so-called “renewable” energy—wind and solar--has been a huge, costly bust as billions in loans during Obama’s first term were lost as one “green energy” company after another went belly up. At the same time, a war on coal closed mines and shut down plants using it to generate electricity. Look for it to continue.

Production of coal, oil, and natural gas on federal lands is now the lowest in ten years according to data collected by the Energy Information Agency (EIA). It was four percent lower in fiscal years 2012 than the previous year. By contrast, fossil fuel production on state and privately owned lands rose twenty-six percent over the past decade.

Without soliciting public comment, the White House recently raised its estimate of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), an estimate of the alleged economic damages associated with increasing carbon emissions.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is blamed for a global warming that is not happening. The growth of all vegetation on Earth is dependent on Co2 and, despite an increase in CO2, the Earth slipped into a cooling cycle seventeen years ago. There is NO connection between CO2 and the climate.

The Institute for Energy Research points out that raising the SCC “could impose hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs on energy-intensive businesses and American consumers alike.” If you wonder why the economy seems unable to climb out of its slump, this is just one example of an administration bent to using bogus science to justify its war on consumers.

At the gas pump, that war includes a law that requires U.S. refiners to blend 12.8 billion gallons of ethanol—made from corn—into the fuel they sell to domestic consumers. Ethanol actually reduces the mileage per gallon and damages automobile engines.

Refiners do not need all the ethanol the government forces them to purchase. They, in turn, must purchase Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) whose cost has jumped from seven cents a gallon at the beginning of the year to more than a dollar by March. The cost is passed along to consumers. Ethanol actually reduces the mileage per gallon and damages automobile engines.

Summertime is traditionally a time when Americans drive more, but thanks to the economy which did not respond to the “stimulus” and bailouts during Obama’s first term, they are driving less. Four and a half years after he took office, Obama continues to drive the economy into a ditch.

On June 13, The Wall Street Journal’s page one lead article was “U.S. Oil Notches Record Growth.” Under the normal laws of supply and demand, the price of gas at the pump should be declining. “U.S. crude-oil production grew by more than one million barrels a day last year, the largest increase in the world and the largest in U.S. history.”

You can thank “fracking”, a tested, safe technology—hydraulic fracturing—for the increase in oil and natural gas production. It is, of course, a target of major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. After all, who wants affordable, abundant energy?

“Indeed,” reported the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. crude-oil production has raced ahead of new pipeline infrastructure to move it from oil fields to refineries.” In the meantime, “railroads move more crude around the country.” Obama’s delay of the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline is just another example of his anti-energy agenda. The pipeline would connect to Texas refineries and provide an estimated 20,000 construction jobs at a time when millions of Americans are out of work.

In March, Business Week reported that “For the first time since 1995, the U.S. will likely produce more oil than it imports. That’s great for the country’s trade balance, but the benefits of cheap domestic crude still haven’t shown up at the one place it matters most: the gas station…So far this year, gasoline prices have risen eleven percent nationwide, to $3.65 a gallon.”

“Without realizing it, U.S. drivers are competing for American-made gasoline with consumers in Latin America and Asia, where demand is rising.” Thus, the global marketplace for oil is keeping gas prices high and U.S. refineries shipped a record 3.2 million barrels a day of refined fuel this year!

Finally, on top of the Obama administration policies of denying access to drilling on federal land, you will continue to hear that Big Oil is making obscene profits and gauging customers at the pump. “At a time when oil companies are making more money than ever before, how can we justify giving them billions more in taxpayer subsidies every year?” Obama energy and environment adviser Heather Zichel recently asked.

What you are not being told, however, is that the oil and gas industry paid an effective tax rate of almost forty-five percent according to the American Petroleum Institute while the healthcare industry paid about thirty-five percent and pharmaceuticals paid around twenty-one percent. In addition to federal taxes, oil companies pay state and local taxes as well. The “tax loopholes” Greens complain about are available to all other manufacturing and mining companies.

Lying to the American public is the stock-in-trade of Green organizations and those directing the Obama administration’s anti-energy policies. When and if the obstacles to fossil fuel exploration and production are removed, the price of a gallon of gas will drop dramatically while, at the same time, the U.S. economy will gain from the sale of its fossil fuels around the world.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Common Core Straight Jacket

By Alan Caruba

American education was based on some very fundamental principles and, from the 1640s until the 1840s, they were, in the words of Joseph Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, “real civics, real economics, and real virtues.”

Bast is the co-author of “Education and Capitalism” and in a recent speech at the Eighth annual Wisconsin Conservative Conference took a look at the way an education system that produced citizens who understood the values that existed before “progressives” took over the nation’s school system, turning it into a one-size-fits-all system of indoctrination.

“One-size-fits-all is easier for bureaucracies, but it’s not good for kids. No two kids learn the same way, and no two teachers teach the same way”, but Common Core not only makes this assumption, but enforces it.

The good news is, as Bast notes, that “since the early 1960s, parents and activists have been fighting to return to the country’s education system to what had worked so well for 200 years.”

In a Wall Street Journal commentary by Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo, they called Common Core “uncommonly inadequate” and documented the way it destroys student academic achievement. Gass directs the Center for School Reform at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute where Chieppo is a senior fellow.

The brain child of Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education, and spelled out in a letter to Hillary Clinton following Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, Gass and Chieppo quoted its stated intention “to remold the entire American system” into “a system of labor-market boards at the local, state, and federal levels” where curriculum and ‘job matching’ will be handled by government functionaries.”

Gass and Chieppo cited the way in Massachusetts Common Core’s English standards “reduce by 60% the amount of classic literature, poetry, and drama that students will read. For example, the Common core ignores the novels of Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, and Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ It also delays the point at which Bay State students reach Algerbra I—the gateway to higher math study—from eighth to ninth grade or later.”

Common Core is not a plan to produce a new generation of citizens who understand the values on which the nation was based and built, but rather one that focuses on job skills to the detriment of civics, economics, history, the arts, and traditional values. It is a system for serfs, not citizens. It is yet another example of  how progressives view people as mere instruments of the state and how they have used the schools to indoctrinate and train them for that purpose.

“We have a president,” says Bast, “who thinks wealth is created by redistribution, that the producers of the world will continue to produce no matter how high the taxes or how heavy the regulations. High school and college students are taught to think the same way” to the detriment of “honesty, hard work, self-responsibility, faith, hope, and love. Are these things being taught in public schools today?” asked Bast. “Maybe in some, but not in many.”

“As long as government owns and operates ninety percent of the schools in the United States,” Bast warns, “we have no right to expect that fewer than ninety percent of students who graduate will be socialists.” The result of the two Obama elections are testimony to that.

In a commentary on leftist school indoctrination, Bruce Thornton, a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a professor of classics and humanities at the California State University, described the distortions today’s students are being taught in K-12.

“The founding of the United States, then, was not about things like freedom and inalienable rights, but instead reflected the economic interests and power of wealthy white property owners.”

“The civil war wasn’t about freeing the slaves or preserving the union, but about economic competition between the industrial north and the plantation south.”

“The settling of the West was not an epic saga of hardships endured to create a civilization in the wilderness, but genocide of the Indians whose lands and resources were stolen to serve capitalism exploitation.”

This is not what students who attended American schools in the 1940’s and 1950’s learned, but starting in the 1960s these distortions were, as Thornton noted, “married to identity politics, the defining of ethnic minorities and Third World peoples on the basis of their status as victims of capitalist hegemony and its imperialist and colonialist mechanisms.” Feminism added women to the list of victims “sacrificed to the white male structure.”

The result, said Thornton was “a student population ignorant of the basic facts of history, the vacuum filled with melodramas of victimization, racism, oppression, and violence that cast the United States as the global villain guilty of crimes against humanity.”

It’s a noticeable, though small, trend as parents homeschool their children. A report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased 75%, however that still represents only 4% of school-age children nationwide. These children do far better on standardized assessment exams than those in government schools.

The good news is that parents and activists across the nation are fighting back to ensure that school choice, based on a voucher system, and other options that include tuition tax credits, special needs scholarships, and education savings accounts. These empower parents to enroll their children in schools that have demonstrated higher standards and traditional values.

“If we can return to a free-market education system,” says Bast, “we can solve most of our political problems.”

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Continuing Collapse of the Global Warming Hoax

By Alan Caruba

While the nation tries to come to grips with the cascade of scandals involving the Obama administration, a significant phenomenon has been occurring. It is the demise of the global warming/climate change hoax that has driven national and international policies since the 1980s.

Directed from within the bowls of the most corrupt international organization on planet Earth, the United Nations, the hoax originally generated the Kyoto Protocols in December 1997 to set limits on the generation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The UN’s climate charlatans claimed that CO2 was causing the Earth to dramatically warm. It was a lie. The U.S. Senate unanimously refused to ratify it and, in 2011, Canada withdrew from it.

As reported by Craig Rucker, Executive Director of CFACT, fast-forward to the recent UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, and news that Russia, joined by Ukraine and Belarus, blocked the adoption of the agenda of the “Subsidiary Body for Implementation”, part of the standard fast-tracking toward a 2015 Climate Treaty scheduled to be adopted and signed in Paris. Part of the treaty is a scheme to redistribute the wealth of developed nations to those less developed.

The Russians were fed up with the usual behind-closed-doors proceedings that create such treaties, but no doubt they were well aware that the treaty would empower the UN to govern a large portion of economic activity around the world. All UN treaties require nations to surrender some aspect of their national sovereignty. 

There is clearly a backlash against the global warming hoax, particularly from nations that have discovered the costs to their economies that idiotic “renewable” energy schemes and emissions reductions incur. In the real world, they are experiencing longer, harsher winters as the result of the cooling cycle the Earth has been in for the last seventeen years!

Despite President Obama’s incessant claims that the Earth is heating, scientists in both Russia and China have been publishing data from scientific studies disputing the Big Lie of global warming/climate change.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences—50,000 members strong—recently published “Climate Change Reconsidered and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report”, two hefty volumes with more than 1,200 pages of peer-reviewed data on climate change published by The Heartland Institute in 2009 and 2011.

In May, Marc Morano, publisher of and a former member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee submitted written testimony to the committee.

“The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim—from A-Z—the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing,” wrote Morano, “and in many instances the claims are moving in the opposite direction. The global warming movement is suffering the scientific death of a thousand cuts.”

“There is no evidence,” wrote Morano, “we are currently having any unusual weather.”  Weather events such as the Moore, Oklahoma tornado and the sub-tropical storm Sandy that hit the northeast are normal occurrences despite the damage they inflicted.

In The Wall Street Journal in May, Princeton University physicist Dr. William Happer and NASA moonwalker and geologist, Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt wrote that “Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case.”

Literally thousands of scientists around the world have disputed the IPCC “science” and many former “warmists” have reversed their former beliefs. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, a top Swedish climate scientist, formerly affiliated with the IPCC, said in February “We are creating great anxiety without it being justified…there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic...

“The warming we have had the last 100 years is so small that, if we didn’t have meteorologists and climatologists to measure it, we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.”

The threat facing Americans is posed by the Environmental Protection Agency that clings to the Big Lie about CO2 and uses it as the basis for a flood of regulations that are doing great harm to economic recovery and development.

The same holds true for the Departments of Energy and the Interior that deny access to the nation’s huge reserves of energy resources and, in the case of coal, act to destroy its mining industry and plants using it for the generation of electricity.

The global warming/climate change hoax continues to be widely taught in the nation’s schools and that should end. Now.

It continues to be reported as truth by the mainstream media and as fodder for Hollywood movies and for television programs such as those on the National Geographic Channel.

Despite the lies surrounding global warming/climate change, the hoax is in its final death throes and has been for many years. That’s the good news.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's a Matter of Distrust

By Alan Caruba

“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.” – Barack Obama, August 28, 2006

I am trying to think of a time when the federal government was distrusted more. The era leading up to the Civil War surely comes to mind. The deep enmity between the northern and southern states over the issue of slavery pushed the latter into secession. In retrospect, only war could have settled it.

The protests against the Vietnam War went on for years, but it was not an issue of trust, but of policy. They forced Lyndon Johnson to forego running for office again and continued through Nixon’s first term. It was Watergate, however, that raised the issue of trust and it was focused on the White House.

Nor can I recall a time when a matrix of revelations about government, i.e. executive branch, policies and actions, came together as they have regarding the use of the IRS to target conservative and other groups to make fund-raising difficult or impossible. Add to that providing their information to other groups opposing them is nothing less than criminal.

The actions of the Department of Justice to secure access to the phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen involved deceiving a court into issuing a warrant. The seizure of the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters was little more than intimidation in the name of finding a leak. An earlier DOJ scandal, “Fast and Furious”, an idiotic gun-running scheme to Mexican drug cartels, was hushed up with an executive order. If you can’t trust the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, who can you trust?

Now, the leak by a former National Security Agency contractor employee has raised Fourth Amendment issues concerning the greatest data-gathering programs in the history of the world. It has made strange bedfellows of liberals and conservatives, both concerned about the implications of a government that can know everything about one’s personal communications.

It strikes me that, while the National Security Agency can vacuum up mindboggling amounts of data, the CIA is focused to spotting foreign dangers, the FBI is searching for terrorists, and the TSA is seizing laptops of iphones because some agent had a “hunch” about their owners, it proved incapable of identifying and preventing the Boston Marathon bombers.

In the aftermath of 9/11 a commission concluded that various intelligence and law enforcement agencies needed to actually share their information.

I have always had a sense of reassurance that these agencies and others such as those responsible for border control are made up of good people seriously trying to protect the rest of us. Those engaged in counter-intelligence need years to develop their skills and instincts. Those engaged in law enforcement know the limits and requirements for its exercise.

So the problem or threat of any corruption of their duties has to come from the very top of government where policies—schemes—are set in motion.

This is what lies at the heart of the mysteries surrounding the assassination of our U.S. Ambassador in Libya and the cover-up that ensued after the September 12, 2012 attack. To date, those Americans on the ground, some working for the CIA, have not been heard from with the exception of some State Department employees who delivered devastating testimony that almost instantly disappeared from further news coverage.
Even more troubling is the way the former UN Ambassador who was sent out to provide a bogus story about a video has been promoted to the position of the President’s National Security Advisor. Replacing her at the UN is an ambassador with a well-documented antipathy to Israel in particular and Jews in general.

What complicates all this for me is the knowledge that America has real enemies.

Despite the President’s assertion that al Qaeda is on the ropes, the facts on the ground suggest it is expanding throughout the Middle East. The Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, has not only taken control of Lebanon, but is actively engaged in support of the Syrian regime. It has the support of both Russia and Iran, and Iran is still in hot pursuit of securing its own nuclear weapons. The Chinese are engaged in a massive espionage program as, no doubt, the Russians as well.

So, yes, I want a vigorous, effective intelligence gathering and law enforcement community of U.S. agencies, but I worry that those who currently hold political power in the White House and the Senate do not have America’s interest in mind.

I worry that a generation that has passed through our government schools have not been taught the true history of the nation or an understanding of capitalism versus communism. I worry that they have been indoctrinated to believe that America is to blame for the attacks that have occurred and that conservative organizations seeking to uphold the Constitution and traditional values are the enemy. And that many of this generation work for the federal government.

The loss of confidence—of trust—in our nation’s institutions is evident. Barely six percent of likely voters have any confidence in Congress to represent their views.

A Rasmussen poll result announced on Monday says that, despite Obama’s reassurances, fully 68% of likely voters think that the government is listening to their conversations. A poll on Sunday indicated that 59% oppose the government’s secret collecting of phone records.

While the revelations about government scandals continue, there will be a continuing erosion of trust. At some point it will reach critical mass and one can only hope the forthcoming 2014 midterm elections will set in motion a reversal and permit power in both the Senate and House to be returned to true conservatives.

We can survive a President who has foisted Obamacare on us, who has weakened our nation’s position in the world, and who has failed to put our economy on a path to renewed prosperity.

The Republic cannot survive a government we no longer trust.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Living in the Government's Fishbowl

By Alan Caruba

You have to wonder why all the data gathering by the National Security Agency, Homeland Security, and the FBI failed to identify and surveil the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing? When even the Russians warned national security authorities about the Chechen brothers, Dzhokan and Tamerlan Tsaraev, they were reportedly interviewed and then ignored.

“Are you planning to make bombs to kill infidels?”  “No, sir.”  “Okay, have a nice day.”

It is useful to recall the extraordinary fear that the 9/11 attacks generated. Americans were ready to accept any means possible to avoid further attacks. The Patriot Act came off the shelf and was enacted swiftly even though most members of Congress barely had time or perhaps even made the effort to read it.

On June 6, an unidentified “senior administration spokesman” said, “Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.” The latest revelations about the scope of that intelligence gathering, combined with those about the misuse of data by the Internal Revenue Service, led The New York Times to say of the reassurances being offered—just trust us—“The administration has now lost all credibility”; amending that shortly after to “…on this issue.” Too late. You told the truth the first time.

The Times, along with many conservatives, was wary of the Patriot Act, saying it was “reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.”

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath and affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

S.T. Karnick, the Director of Research for The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based, free market think tank, said, “The audacity of monitoring everyone’s phone calls in hopes of catching a small number of terrorists demonstrated the unconstitutionality and self-contradiction at the heart of the mass government surveillance. There is no probable cause for which to search any particular individual’s call records, merely a probability that someone somewhere used a telephone to assist in the planning or commission of a crime.”
A report in The Guardian, a British newspaper, of the gathering of all phone data was followed on June 6 by a report in The Washington Post that “The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top secret document obtained by The Washington Post.”

That document was leaked and if it were not for such leaks to the news media we would not know even a fraction of what the current and past administrations have been doing with regard to the invasion of the constitutionally protected privacy of Americans.

Dr. Yuri N. Maltsev, PhD, professor of economics at the A.W. Clausen Center for World Business of Carthage College, responded to a Heartland Institute invitation to address this issue saying, “Our Constitution is openly and brazenly violated and it reminds me of how Russians, Chinese, Cubans, and many many others lost their freedom and paid dearly with tens of millions of innocent lives.”

Seton Motley, president of Less Government and, like myself, a Heartland policy advisor, also responded to the invitation, saying, “This is just the latest example—but maybe the worst—of the Obama administration’s complete disregard for the Constitution and the freedom from government overreach it guarantees us. Here’s hoping the stunning totality of all we’ve lost will cause us to rise up and demand that it all be restored.”

We have learned that we now all live in a government fishbowl.  

In the aftermath of 9/11 the Bush administration did what it thought must be done to avoid a comparable attack, but the Obama administration has turned the Patriot Act into an excuse to ignore the Constitution and impose a potential police state on all of us.

In a June 6 Wall Street Journal opinion by Elizabeth Goitein, a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, warned that “The most tangible problem is the invasion of American’s privacy. The so-called metadata collected by the NSA includes information about our calls, such as the numbers we call, the numbers of those who call us, when the calls were made, and for how long. This information may seem relatively trivial at first blush. Yet, pieced together, these details can paint a detailed and sensitive picture of our private lives and our associations.”

Add in the information gained from surveillance of our data on the Internet and you have NO privacy whatever.

It is time to increase restrictions on the way the IRS can use the information we are required by law or regulatory fiat to provide. Indeed, it is time to eliminate the income tax and replace it with a Fair Tax. It is time to remove the IRS from the enforcement of Obamacare and to repeal this noxious law.

It is time to overhaul the Patriot Act and to put strong limits on the capacity of the federal government to indiscriminately gather information on every U.S. citizen with massive data gathering systems in the name of national security.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pesticides Kill Pests...And Protect People

By Alan Caruba

A bit of personal history; in the 1980s I was engaged by the U.S. producer of a pesticide called Ficam to develop case histories about its use.

Ficam is applied with water and it killed off a wide range of common insect pests. There is no odor and there is no hazard to humans when correctly applied, but at some point the Environmental Protection Agency told the producer it would have to go through the entire process of re-registering it for use. Since that would have cost several millions of dollars, the decision was made to cease selling it in the U.S. As a result, it was essentially banned from use in America. Today it is still in wide use in other nations.

The 1980s was a period of extensive propaganda by environmental organizations about any use of any pesticide. It had begun two decades earlier with the publication of Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring”, that falsely claimed that DDT posed a threat to bird populations and to humans. The book created the hysteria about DDT that got it banned in the 1972 and subsequently in many other nations.

In a recent commentary, “Environmental Fear-Mongering Isn’t Just Silly, it Kills People”, by Walter E. Williams, he quoted an article by Dr. Henry Miller, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Gregory Conko, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who said the ban was responsible for the loss of “tens of millions of human lives—mostly children in poor, tropical countries—having been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors (birds). This remains one of the monumental human tragedies of the last century.”

Williams noted that “In 1970, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences wrote: “To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as DDT…In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria that otherwise would have been inevitable.” These days, the World Health Organization estimates that malaria infects at least 200 million people, of which more than half die, each year. Most malaria victims are African children.” Four decades later, millions continue to needlessly die because of the DDT ban.

DDT killed billions of mosquitoes, the transmitters of malaria. Ficam, when it was used in America, killed billions of disease vectors such as cockroaches that are known to spread Salmonella, Gastroenteritis, Leprosy, Dysentery, and Typhoid fever, among others.

The EPA didn’t care about this when it banned DDT or forced Ficam off the U.S. market. The environmental organizations that continue to attack pesticides don’t care that insect pests spread disease or that termites annually cause billions of dollars in property damage.

In an Investors Business article, Paul Driessen, a senior advisor to CFACT, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, debunked the scare campaigns surrounding die-offs of bee colonies. Greens are currently spreading lies about “neonics”, a pesticide derived from naturally-occurring nicotine plant compounds, saying they are responsible for the bee die-offs, but such colony collapses were first reported in 1869 and to this day scientists are still unable to identify why they occur. Typically, the laboratory studies expose bees to doses “far above what a realistic field dose exposure would be”, according to a study by Dr. Cynthia Scott-Dupres, an environmental biology professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. In layman’s terms, there is no connection between neonics and the current bee die-off.

Since 1986, I have been the public relations counselor for a pest management association, writing and disseminating press releases about seasonal pest problems. The June release addresses Lyme disease, spread by ticks, and West Nile Fever, spread by mosquitos.

The outbreak of West Nile Fever in 1990 reawakened public awareness of the need for effective mosquito control, By 2007 it had spread to forty-six states and that year it was responsible for 115 deaths according the Centers for Disease Control. It is a form of Encephalitis.

In my home state the Department of Health fact sheet on Lyme disease notes that “In New Jersey, the most commonly infected tick is the deer tick. Immature ticks become infected by feeding on infected white-footed mice and other small mammals, such as deer and meadow voles. Deer ticks can also spread other tick-borne diseases. Humans can be infected by more than one tick-borne disease at a time.” If untreated, weeks to months later some people may also have arthritis, nervous system and heart problems. If treated early, antibiotic therapy for three to four weeks is generally effective.

There is probably no way to put an exact number of people in my home state and around the nation who will be infected by Lyme disease and West Nile Fever this year, but there are steps people can take to avoid being infected. Pest control is about protecting lives and property.

In New Jersey, organized mosquito control work began in the early 1900s following the discovery that mosquitoes were directly responsible for the transmission of some of the most deadly diseases known to man and animals. Today the Mosquito Control Commission maintains programs to kill these pests while overseeing programs at every level of government, ranging from seasonal programs at the municipal and federal levels, to year-round programs administered by county and state agencies.

Unless pest populations are kept in check the diseases for which they are famous will spread. They also protect billions of dollars’ worth of crops that feed millions here in the U.S. and around the world.

The next time you read a newspaper article or watch some report on television declaring that pesticides are a hazard, keep in mind that pest management professionals are trained in their proper use and the pesticides are all registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. The rest of us need to read and heed the label!

Malaria is still killing millions in Africa. Elsewhere in the world, diseases like Dengue Fever have a similar impact. The extraordinary advances that could protect humans continue to be under attack by environmental organizations, more interested in “saving the Earth” than they are in saving lives.

If you ban all the pesticides, all that is left are the pests.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Global Warming Charlatans are Meeting in Bonn

 By Alan Caruba
The city of Bonn, Germany is currently the location of more climate chicanery courtesy of the United Nations and an organization called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Two climate change conferences are being held there this week.

At noon, June 5, in Bonn, Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) will hold a press conference, but the likelihood that you will read about it in any U.S. newspaper ranges from slim to none. CFACT is a free market think tank for which I am an advisor and Rucker has been keeping me and its supporters informed about the conferences.

If you think ICLEI or the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has little to do with your life, think again. ICLEI is just one organization among many whose purpose is to deprive you of your property rights and your ability to influence decisions being made about the city or town in which you live.

“The ICLEI was formed in 1990 for the purpose of promoting the UN’s vision of ‘sustainable development’ as embodied in a document called Agenda 21,” notes Rucker. “It now counts more than 1,200 cities (worldwide) in its membership, the vast majority of whom use taxpayer money to pay membership dues to participate.” There are an estimated 450 member communities in the U.S. and in practical terms it means that any development efforts in those communities must meet stringent environmental and other standards even if they represent new jobs or new public facilities.

Think of it as a Death Star
Tom DeWeese, the founder of the American Policy Center, has been an opponent of Agenda 21 for as long as it has existed and a visit to the Center’s website provides information about the UN's “sustainable development” agenda. In brief, this is how DeWeese explains that, “According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.”  

Those advocating Agenda 21 “insist that every societal decision be based on environmental impact, focusing on three components; global land use, global education, and global population control and reduction.”

Its other component is “social justice” and DeWeese explains that “Social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.”

Like all fundamentally communist programs, so-called social justice includes the “redistribution of wealth” and regards “private property as a social injustice since not everyone can build wealth from it.” It is communism.

National sovereignty is regarded as social injustice and that is where the UN comes in because it has never ceased to move toward its goal of being a global government.

Rucker reports that the delegates to the ICLEI are in a sweat about local pushback here in the U.S. precisely because of the work of CFACT, comparable think tanks, and grassroots activists loosely identified as the Tea Party movement.

From June 3 through June 14, Bonn is also hosting UN climate talks aimed at creating a binding climate treaty by 2015. As Rucker points out, “This treaty will be a disaster for the economies of the free world.”

There is a reason we keep hearing about “climate change”, the replacement code words for “global warming.” As Rucker points out about the fear-mongers, “They pay no heed to real world observational data or the expense, ineffectiveness, waste, fraud, and abuse surrounding the policies being proposed. A UN climate conference is an unrealistic wonderland.”

All this would be comic if it did not affect the lives of those throughout Europe and here in the U.S. A senior advisor to CFACT, Paul Dreissen, notes that “European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people’s jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats, and human lives.” That same can, of course, be said for America.

The notion that the United Nations or the entirely of the world’s population could have any effect on the climate is so absurd that it should be dismissed out of hand, but the UN climate program and forthcoming treaty it is fashioning has nothing to do with the climate.  It is about the fascist utopia being fashioned by those telling huge lies about the climate.

This is why we keeping hearing President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry issue warnings about the climate. On election night Obama said “we want our children to live in an America…that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

But the planet is not warming. It has been cooling for sixteen years at this point despite Kerry’s lies that “the science is screaming at all of us and demands action.”

“Obama and Kerry have stepped up the climate rhetoric,” says CFACT’s Rucker. “They must feel great pressure to deliver some tangible result to the Green pressure groups that supported them last fall.” And Kerry will set the agenda for the U.S. delegates to the UN climate talks.

What happens in Bonn unfortunately will not stay in Bonn.

 © Alan Caruba, 2013