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Shaking, Quaking, and Freezing

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, August 31st, 2014

This is article 328 of 328 in the topic Global Warming
By Alan Caruba
Have you noticed how much earthquake and volcanic activity has been occurring lately?
There was a major earthquake in Napa, California on Sunday, August 24th as well as considerable volcanic activity from Iceland to Papua, New Guinea. August was also a month that set records for colder U.S. temperatures.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were some 1,097 “low max” temperature records broken in the U.S. between August 1 and August 23, meaning that the maximum temperature during that time period was the lowest it has ever been. NOAA reported that summer across much of the U.S. has been colder than normal.
Most of us, after decades of global warming predictions that became more and more absurd, rising sea levels drowning Manhattan and Miami, an upsurge in hurricanes, forest fires, and every other calamity, have concluded that none of these things have happened in the volume or intensity predicted. In the 70s we were told the Earth would get colder. In the 80’s and 90’s we were told it would get warmer.
A new book is advising us to prepare for a serious cold spell that is not only going to arrive in twenty to thirty years, but will likely stay around to become the next ice age. This time, though, the prediction is based on well-established climate cycles and the behavior of the Sun that was known as far back as Galileo’s day.
The new “normal” is colder weather and this is because the Sun’s sunspot activity has been in a cyclical decline since about 1998, producing the latest cooling cycle for the Earth.
In combination with the earthquakes and volcanic activity, says John L. Casey’s new book, “Dark Winter: How the Sun is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell” ($24.95, Humanix Books, Boca Raton, FL) what we’re really looking at is a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, a solar sunspot minimum that occurred between 1793 and 1830. His earlier book, “Cold Sun” addressed this cyclical phenomenon.
Casey asks “Will we also experience volcanic activity that will add to the solar cooling?” and the answer, given the fifty active volcanoes around the world, is that “We should expect to deal with multiple geological disasters, including volcanoes and earthquakes, during the next solar hibernation.” We have in fact already entered that “hibernation.”
Casey is the president of the Space and Science Research Corporation. It specializes in independent research regarding the coming decades of cold weather. For thirty-five years Casey has been active in science and high tech industries. He has been a national space policy advisor to the White House and Congress, and a former space shuttle engineer, consultant to NASA headquarters.
Casey has formulated a “Bicentennial Cycle of 206 years correlated with near 100 percent accuracy to every major cold-temperature period of the past 1,200 years.” His Theory of “Relational Cycles of Solar Activity” accounts for its effects and those of other solar cycles.
He is not the first scientist to recognize the relationship of diminished sunspot activity and cooling cycles, but he is the first to have synthesized the earlier work of others who made comparable observations.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, August 29th, 2014

This is article 19 of 19 in the topic Humorous

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America, Our Debt-Ridden Nation

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, August 28th, 2014

This is article 390 of 390 in the topic economy
By Alan Caruba
Let’s look at just some of the latest news about the U.S. economy:
# According to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Services, the federal government paid $2,007,358,200,000—over $2 trillion—in benefits and entitlements in the 2013 fiscal year, October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Most of the benefits, 69.7% came from non-means tested government programs that provide them to recipients who qualify regardless of income. That would include Medicare, Social Security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s compensation, and railroad retirement, to name a few.
# The total federal government spending in 2013 totaled $3,454,253,000,000—over $3.4 trillion—encompassing defense, highway and transportation costs, public education, immigration services, and government worker salaries, to name a few.
# An astonishing amount of that spending constitutes wasted taxpayer money. In July the Government Accountability Office (CAO) testified before Congress that federal agencies made more than $100 billion in improper payments in 2013. That is an amount comparable to the combined total budgets of the Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Border Patrol, Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Agency, et cetera. Improper payments result when people collect money from government programs for which they are ineligible.
# By August, the total U.S. federal debt had increased to more than $7 trillion during the five and a half years since Barack Obama has been President. That is more than the debt increased under all U.S. Presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton—combined! More debt than was accumulated in the first 227 years from 1776 through 2003.
# During the time President Obama has been in office the number of unemployed reached 37.2%, a 36-year high for those 16 or older who do not have a job and are not actively seeking one. From December 2013 through May of this year, the labor participation rate had been at 62.8%. The last time the labor participation rate was that low was February 1978 when Jimmy Carter was President.
# As the nation sank deeper into debt by the end of 2012 there were 109,631,000 Americans living in households that were receiving one or more federally funded “means-tested programs”, more generally referred to as welfare. Combined with those receiving non-means-tested benefits and it added up to 49.5% of the population.
It is always tempting to blame everything on the President and, despite the usual rebound from a recession that has occurred in the past, it has not occurred during his first term, nor into his second at this point. In fact, the latest data reveals that the U.S. economy shrank at a 2.9% annual rate during the first quarter of 2014. Its long-run average rate of growth has been 3.3%, but the highest since Obama took office was 2.8%.
According to the World Bank, in 2013 the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the value of its goods and services, was $16,800,000,000,000. The federal, state and governments took their share via taxation on income and/or property. The rest was saved or spent by those either holding a job or receiving government benefits; very nearly half of the population old enough to be employed if there were jobs for them.
The problem that affects all of us is the imbalance of the U.S.

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Decapitating the U.S. Military

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

This is article 303 of 303 in the topic US Military
By Alan Caruba
Many Americans were shocked by the Islamic State video of the beheading of the photo journalist James Foley. Perhaps they had already forgotten the decapitation of Wall Street Journal journalist, Daniel Pearl in 2002. Most certainly, the memory of the murder of nearly 3,000 on September 11, 2001 with the destruction of the World Trade Towers has begun to recede.
What most do not know is that decapitation is a requirement in the Islamic holy war and holy book, the Koran.
“So when you meet in Jihad in Allah’s cause those who disbelieve, smite their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them…” (Surat 47, al-Qital—the Killing–, Ayat 4.
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks and smite them over all their fingers and toes.” – Surat al-Anfel (The Spoils), Ayat/Verse 12.)
If I were a jihadist who wanted to undermine the capacity of the United States of America to both defend itself and/or to wage war on those who regard us as their enemy, I would welcome what is currently occurring to weaken our military. It is exactly what President Obama and a compliant Congress has been doing for some time now.
In the name of the “sequester”, an across-the-board reduction in federal spending, the military has suffered the most despite being the single key factor to defend the nation and to project our power to protect our allies.
An August 26 article in Politico reported that the five leading U.S. defense firms, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing’s defense unit, and Northrop Grumman, have eliminated 70,000 jobs since 2008 through layoffs, buyouts, attrition, or, as Boeing did, moving employees to the commercial side of its business. “There’s little momentum in Congress to undo the current caps on discretionary federal spending and, facing a war-weary public, U.S. officials are pledging to avoid sending combat troops to today’s hotspots, including Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.”
As reported by Bloomberg News in July, “The U.S. Navy can’t meet its funding needs for surface warships and a new class of nuclear attack submarines from 2025 to 2034 according to the service’s latest 30-year shipbuilding plan.” The Navy is just one element of the Pentagon’s current five-year funding plan “in an era of declining defense spending.” It will impact the need for new submarines, the planned full production of F-35 fighter jets, and a new long-range strike bomber.
In March The Washington Times reported that “President Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say have helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.” Obama wants to eliminate the famed Tomahawk and Hellfire missile programs. Why?
We have, however, billions for a variety of welfare programs, those devoted to “environmental research”, and countless other examples of sheer waste.
In January, commentator Mike Snyder raised the question, “Why are Dozens of High Ranking Officers Being Purged from the U.S. Military?”  He noted that “Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, high ranking military officers have been removed from their positions at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented. Things have gotten so bad that a number of retired generals are publicly speaking out about the ‘purge’ of the U.S.

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Common Core Rapidly Losing Support

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This is article 257 of 257 in the topic Education

By Alan Caruba

As their children either start or return to school, parents are naturally concerned about the quality of education they receive from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In the past, before the teachers unions gained virtual control of the schools and before the federal government decided it had to impose “national standards”, it was the job of local boards of education to ensure students learned the basics—the three R’s—and, if history is any indicator, they did.
There should be no federal intervention in our school systems, but programs such as 2001’s “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” have conditioned people to accept its role. The most recent example is Common Core, but it is the creation of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The support it has received from the White House, the Department of Education, and voices on Capitol Hill has left many with the impression it is a federal program. That doesn’t make it any less awful.
If you want to learn the facts about it, read a brief analysis by Joy Pullman, “Common Core: A Bad Choice for America”, which you can download for free from The Heartland Institute’s website or purchase copies in quantity. Pullman, a research fellow, is the managing editor of Heartland’s “School Reform News”,published ten times per year. For the record,  I am a Heartland advisor.
As Pullman notes in her analysis, “In 2010, every state but Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia adopted Common Core education standards, a set of requirements in each grade in math and English language arts.” As school begins this year, four states, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and South Carolina have already dropped the program. Watch other states such as Louisiana and Wisconsin do the same.
Here’s why. As Pullman notes in a recent article, for the first time the annual Pi Kappa Delta/Gallup poll revealed that “a majority of Americans—81%–has heard of Common Core. And 60% oppose it.”  As more Americans learn more about Common Core, they too will oppose it, but the most intriguing finding of the poll was that, among teachers, there was a drop of support from 76% last year to 46% this year! The poll demonstrated that “Majorities wanted local school boards to have far more control over what schools teach than state or federal governments.”
Pullman said, “Everyone is for ‘standards’ in the abstract. Everyone is not for ‘standards’ that, like Common Core, coerce teachers and schools, and impose bad education theories on the countries.”
“Nationalizing education, like nationalizing anything,” says Pullman “requires compromise to get enacted. And compromise inevitably sacrifices quality. Quality has to grow from the ground up, through cooperation and competition, or it will never exist.”
What teachers and parents subject to Common Core requirements have learned rather quickly is that the program has a number of serious flaws. It not only slows the process of learning multiplication, it dampens the development of the creative thinking process, and offers a skewed, leftist selection of reading materials about U.S. history.
Pullman says, “The most important thing to understand about education standards is that research has demonstrated they have no effect on student achievement. That’s right: no effect at all.

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What is the Difference Between the DNC and the CPUSA?

by Alan Caruba on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is article 143 of 143 in the topic Democratic Party
By Alan Caruba
On the home page of the Communist Party USA it says “A better and peaceful world is possible—a world where people and nature come before profits. That’s socialism. That’s our vision. We are the Communist Party USA.”
No, it’s not Socialism which is a watered down version of Communism. Real Communism is the kind that was practiced in the former Soviet Union. It can be found in Cuba and North Korea where the state controls all power and property,and the people have none.

Modified versions exist in China, Russia, Venezuela, and other nations where some aspects of Capitalism are maintained for the sake of their economies. In the West Socialism was incorporated by both the U.S. and Great Britain, and other nations via various social welfare programs.

Capitalism is about profits, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment. It is about the freedom to acquire wealth. It emphasizes work, not welfare. It is the reason America has a dynamic economic system—when it is permitted to prosper, free from federal interference.
In America, conservatives have always been acutely aware of Communism, but the 47% who still approve of Barack Obama and those who are members of the Democratic Party are the dupes of those whose quest for tyrannical power permits them to tell the most appalling lies, particularly about Republicans.
The Democratic Party is so politically corrupt and devoid of moral standards that it is currently engaged in seeking to harm potential Republican presidential candidates with an utterly bogus indictment of Texas Governor Perry and the slanders leveled against New Jersey Governor Christie. It is a tactic of those who fear a loss at the ballot box.
It is the Democratic Party and its elected officials that have advanced the global warming hoax, now called climate change and the CPUSA website refers to the “Accumulation of greenhouse gases (as) a ‘planetary emergency’” This is what both the President and the Secretary of State are saying, but there has been no warming on a planet that is now 17 years into a cooling cycle.
As for those “greenhouse” gases, nitrogen and oxygen are the most abundant in the atmosphere, followed by nothing more dangerous than water vapor! Carbon dioxide is a very minor gas at 0.04%. And most importantly, the Earth is not a greenhouse. When the Sun’s radiation is reduced due to its own natural cycles, it gets colder.
Tied to the climate change message is an agenda that includes Obama’s “war on coal” and his refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from our neighbor Canada, among other measures to restrict access and use of America’s vast energy reserves. This is an attack on the nation’s economy in the name of “nature” or the “environment.”
The CPUSA wants “No new sanctions on Iran” and the administration’s negotiations with Iran to slow or end its nuclear weapons program have dropped some sanctions to get them to the table, but no one believes that Iran will stop because they are openly avowed enemies of America and Israel.
If you wanted to harm America, you would undermine its southern border so that thousands of illegal aliens could join the estimated eleven million already here.

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Freedom OF Religion, Not Freedom FROM Religion

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, August 24th, 2014

This is article 184 of 184 in the topic US Constitution
By Alan Caruba
The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution do not abandon religion, they embrace it. They do not, however, require that Americans believe in God, nor punish them for failing to do so.
Central to the liberties enshrined in these documents is the belief that they come from a higher power and America exists because of that belief. Without it there would have been no America. There are those among us who insist that, as a nation, we abandon faith in God and, if we do, America will cease to be a power for good in the world.
When Thomas Jefferson presented the Declaration to those who would pledge their lives and their sacred honor to achieve independence from England John Adams asked that it include the words “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” after the phrase “all men are created equal” and Benjamin Franklin agreed, suggesting that “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” be added as well.” In their 2004 book, “Under God” by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, said “The changes demonstrated Congress’s strong reliance upon God—as delegates added the words “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.”
Aware of the dangers inherent in a state religion, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” followed by freedom of speech, the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.” There is no state religion in America, but reflecting the values that created it, its leaders have always acknowledged a greater power than government, the belief in God.
There would be no America if the Pilgrims who established Plymouth, Massachusetts had not left England in the quest for their right to worship as they wished, reflecting the Protestant Reformation. Another early settlement, Jamestown, was a business venture by investors to obtain wealth. Jamestown failed and Plymouth is with us today.
I am not a religious person per se, but I do believe in God. Always have and always will. I don’t insist that anyone else has to and neither do our founding documents. They do, however, acknowledge God and sought His protection to create a new nation; a republic with clearly stated protections for all its citizens.
There are, however, those who insist that any reference to God be removed from public documents and recognition. The leader among them is the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their most recent lawsuit is against the U.S. Treasury Department claiming they are discriminating against non-believers by including the phrase “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency. Their claim is that the government is prohibited from endorsing religion over non-religion.
“In God We Trust” on U.S. coins was first approved by Congress during the Civil War in 1864. In 1956, Congress passed a resolution to recognize the words officially as the national motto, replacing the de facto phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” and it has appeared on U.S. currency since 1957.
The Foundation’s intention is to make any acknowledgement of God illegal by any public institution.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

This is article 18 of 19 in the topic Humorous

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Big Fat Lies About Fat

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, August 21st, 2014

This is article 71 of 71 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies
By Alan Caruba
Americans are obsessed with fat; either with eating it or being it. We’ve been told that we’re too fat and we’re told that eating fat is bad for you.

Being fat is your own business. You’ll feel better if you lose a few pounds, but you will enjoy your next meal if it has a fat content rather than being a bland cereal…which explains why so many cereals today have some surgery covering or content.

The fact is you can eat almost anything you like and remain a healthy weight if you just don’t eat too much of it. It’s not rocket science.
For politicians, however, controlling what we eat has become an obsession. A demented Democratic Representative, Rosa DeLauro, from Connecticut, has proposed a bill—the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act—SWEET for short, that would penalize people one-cent for every teaspoon of sugar used in their drink of choice. It’s none of her business, let along the government’s, what you want to drink.
This obsession with what we eat has been personified by First Lady Michelle Obama who championed the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kinds Act that overhauled nutrition standards affecting more than thirty million children in schools around the nation.
It authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day. The law includes vending machines, snack cards, and daytime fundraisers. That now means that campus bake sales, the most popular fundraiser, now has to pay heed to a federal law that forbids selling cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.
Laws like this are a perfect example of how intrusive into the ordinary lives of Americans of all ages are laws that are slowly killing the concept of personal choice and personal freedom. They also demonstrate how wrong such laws are when they are written and passed by people who are clueless about nutrition.
A recent Gallup poll on “consumption habits” revealed that “Nearly twice as many Americans say they are actively trying to avoid fat in their diet (56%) as say they are actively avoiding carbohydrates (29%). However, fewer Americans are avoiding fat now more than a decade ago.”
Over the years as a book reviewer and avid reader, I have read “You Must Eat Meat” by Max Ernest Jutte, MD and Frank Murray, and “The Cholesterol Delusion” by Ernest N. Curtis, MD. Both books authoritatively debunk what Americans have repeatedly been told about meat and cholesterol, but my earliest advisor on these and other food related topics was Rebecca Caruba,my Mother, who taught gourmet cooking for three decades in local adult schools and who authored two cookbooks. She was a keen student of nutrition and early on warned students against margarine, telling them to use real butter and to enjoy all manner of meats, cheeses, and other foods we are constantly told are not good for us.
At this point I want to add Nina Teicholz to the list of heroes like my Mother and the authors of the two books mentioned above. A skilled journalist, she has written a 479-page book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” ($28.99, Simon & Schuster).

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EPA Pesticide Bans Threaten You and the Economy

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

This is article 79 of 79 in the topic EPA

By Alan Caruba

When Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring”, was published, filled with totally false claims about DDT, the Environmental Protection Agency looked it over and concluded she had used manipulated data. They concluded that DDT should not be banned, but its first administrator, William Ruckleshaus, overruled the agency and imposed a ban.
Ruckleshaus was a lawyer, not a scientist. He was also politically connected enough to hold a variety of government positions. He got the nod for the EPA job from John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General who later went to jail for his participation in the Watergate cover-up.
Wikipedia says, “With the formation of EPA, authority over pesticides was transferred to it from the Department of Agriculture. The fledgling EPA’s first order of business was whether to issue a ban of DDT. Judge Edmund Sweeney was appointed to examine the case and held testimony hearings for seven months. His conclusion was that DDT “is not a carcinogenic hazard to man” and that “there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT”. However, Ruckelshaus (who had not attended the hearings or read the report himself) overruled Sweeney’s decision and issued the ban nevertheless, claiming that DDT was a ‘potential human carcinogen.’”In 2008, having returned to the practice of law, he endorsed Barack Obama.
I cite this history from the 1970s because most people believe that the EPA operates on the basis of science and, from the beginning, that could hardly have been less true. It has evolved over the years into a totally rogue government agency issuing thousands of regulations with the intent to control virtually every aspect of life in America, from agriculture to manufacturing, and, in the case of pesticides, the effort to ban them all, always claiming that it was to protect public health.
Not killing pests, insects and rodents, is a great way to put everyone’s health in jeopardy. New York City announced a new war in May against rats and will spend $600,000 to hire new inspectors to deal with an increased population. Lyme disease and West Nile Fever are just two of the diseases that require serious insect pest control. A wide variety of insects spread many diseases from Salmonella to Hantavirus. Termites do billions in property damage every year.
Thanks to the EPA ban on DDT and the nations that followed the USA action, an estimated 60 million people have died from malaria since 1970 because it was and is the most effective way to control the mosquitoes that spread it, particularly in Africa. In the West, malaria had been eliminated thanks to the use of DDT before the ban.
In the 1980s I worked with the company that produced an extraordinary pesticide, Ficam that was applied with nothing more than water. Although it had gone through the costly process of securing EPA registration, the agency told the manufacturer it would have to do so again. Because the cost could not justify re-registration it was taken off the market in the USA, but continues to be used successfully for malaria control in more than sixteen nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and against the spread of Chagas, a tropical parasitic disease in Latin American nations. Ficam can be used to control a wide variety of insect pests.

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