07/7/15

Pro-Marxist Sells Greece to Moscow

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The coverage of the economic disaster in Greece, a strategic NATO country, has mostly ignored the role of Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the growing global turmoil.

Reports continue to circulate that a new European Union (EU) bailout deal with Greece is possible, as Yanis Varoufakis, a self-described “erratic Marxist,” has resigned as finance minister. But these developments appear to be for the purpose of diverting attention away from the fact that Greece has already become, in effect, a satellite of Moscow.

The Greek regime is a Moscow-backed left-right coalition led by Alexis Tsipras, the pro-Marxist and pro-Russia head of Greece’s “Coalition of the Radical Left.” Tsipras, who presented himself as a moderate when he spoke at the Brookings Institution on January 22, 2013, was a member of the youth wing of the Greek Communist Party, the KKE.

The political party known as ANEL (The Independent Greeks) is supposed to be a “conservative” party in the ruling government and yet it is pro-Russian. This reflects Putin’s cultivation of right-wing forces throughout Europe and even in America.

Back from a recent visit to Russia, Tsipras is now counting on cheaper gas and increased Russian investment from Moscow. The prospect of Russian military bases in NATO territory—Greece—cannot be ruled out at this point.

Tsipras previously signed a memorandum that is designed to make 2016 into the “Year of Greece-Russia relations.”

After his coalition won the elections in January, Tsipras received a congratulatory call from President Obama. The two leaders “reviewed close cooperation between Greece and the United States on issues of European security and counterterrorism,” the White House reported.

That alleged “close cooperation” has been replaced by a Greek deal with Moscow.

It seems like just another foreign policy disaster under President Obama, except in this case the stakes are huge. NATO notes that “Greece is strategically located in the Southern region of the Alliance, in close vicinity to South Eastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa.”

But other than expressing a vague hope that European leaders would devise a plan to allow Greece “to return to growth and debt sustainability within the Eurozone,” Obama has been AWOL on the crisis, leaving it mostly in the hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The subject of reports and even a book suggesting she is a Russian agent, Merkel knows full well that Tsipras and Putin have been undermining the NATO alliance at a time when the West fears a Russian invasion of another former Soviet republic.

For example, in the report, “Stop Putin’s Next Invasion Before It Starts,” Terrence K. Kelly of the Rand Corporation argues that “The United States needs to seriously consider stationing forces in Eastern Europe to support the nation’s commitment to protect the independence of the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—NATO members all—against the specter of Russian aggression.”

Some news organizations have alluded to Russia’s role in the current crisis. “Russian President Vladimir Putin feted Tsipras in St. Petersburg last month as bailout negotiations took place in Brussels,” noted Michael Birnbaum and Griff Witte in The Washington Post.

During that meeting Tsipras discussed energy and the “Greek Stream” gas pipeline project with Russian Gazprom chief Alexei Miller during a meeting in St. Petersburg. In fact, Russia and Greece signed a deal to construct a Turkish pipeline across Greek territory. Tsipras also met with representatives of the new development bank for BRICS countries, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, “who expressed their intense interest in cooperating with Greece,” one report noted.

“Russia has its eye on Athens, trying to break European unity to put an end to economic sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine,” Birnbaum and Witte noted in the Post.

But the situation is far more serious than the Post lets on. Syriza’s 40-point program includes undermining NATO, the global battle against Islamic terrorism, and Israel:

  • Closure of all foreign bases in Greece and withdrawal from NATO.
  • Withdrawal of Greek troops from Afghanistan and the Balkans. No Greek soldiers beyond our own borders.
  • Drastically cut military expenditures.
  • Abolition of military cooperation with Israel. Support for creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Syriza, a Greek political party, is a member of The European Left (EL). Member Parties of the EL are described as “socialist, communist, red-green and other democratic left parties of the member states and associated states of the European Union (EU) that work together and establish various forms of co-operation at all levels of political activity in Europe, based on the agreements, basic principles and political aims laid down in the EL Manifesto.” The chairperson of EL is Pierre Laurent of the French Communist Party. Tsipras is the Vice-Chairperson.

In addition to the support from these international Marxist political parties and groups, Tsipras met with the leftist Pope Francis on September 19, 2014. Tsipras said, “We pleaded with him to continue struggling against poverty and to speak in behalf of the dignity of humans as well as the structural causes behind poverty which are the inequality in the distribution of wealth and the rampant behavior of the financial markets. …we agreed that the dialogue between the Left and the Christian Church must go on. We may have different ideological starting points; however, we converge on common values, like solidarity, love for the fellow human being, social justice, and our concern regarding world peace.”

“For the first time ever the head of the Catholic Church will meet a leader of the radical Left,” is how Tsipras described the meeting with the pope at his “Change Europe” website.

In their book, EUSSR, Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov argued that the European Union was itself a project of the old Soviet Union, and that the EU has always been subject to manipulation by Moscow and its agents. Based on this analysis, what’s happening in Greece is part of a process of pulling Europe as a whole to the left and away from the United States.

The eventual goal, some observers say, is the removal of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a development that would strike a mortal blow to the global capitalist system.

06/9/15

The Secret Russian Role in Global Conflict

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

In an extraordinary judgment that throws U.S. policy in the Middle East into complete turmoil, strategic analyst Michael Ledeen has concluded, in regard to the activities of the Islamic State, “I think the Russians are involved, in tandem with the Iranians, who have had their own troops on the Syrian battlefield for years.”

This means that a U.S. congressional declaration of war on the Islamic State would miss the point, and that the Russians and the Iranians are the bigger threat.

“It’s part of the global war, of which Syria is only one killing field, and IS [Islamic State] is one of the band of killers,” says Ledeen.

The analysis of Ledeen, who previously served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department, should serve as an opportunity to review what is really happening in the Middle East, and to examine whether the Islamic State is a Russian creation that is designed to pave the way for Iranian expansion.

Ledeen notes evidence that the top IS military commander, Abu Omar al-Shishani, is a Russian asset, and that “the Russians are exploiting their strategic position in Ukraine to set up transit facilities for IS.” He adds that Ukrainian security forces recently arrested five IS volunteers coming from Russia or the former Soviet republics.

Last September we reported on some of this evidence, noting, “We have heard repeatedly about Americans and Europeans fighting for ISIL [the Islamic state], but little attention is being devoted to the Russian-speaking foreign fighters that make up the group. Their numbers are estimated at 500 or more. Omar al-Shishani is usually described as a prominent Islamic State fighter who is Chechen. In fact, he was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and was trained there.”

Those who believe the Russians are incapable of such deception and misdirection have conveniently forgotten about the history of the old Soviet intelligence service, the KGB. It is represented in the Kremlin today by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer once based in East Germany.

In another area of global affairs that reveals a hidden Russian role, The New York Times has taken note in a June 7 story of evidence that the Russians under Putin are financing conservative movements and political parties around the world. The Times reports, “Not only is it [the Kremlin] aligning itself with the leftists traditionally affiliated with Moscow since the Cold War, but it is making common cause with far-right forces rebelling against the rise of the European Union that are sympathetic to Mr. Putin’s attack on what he calls the West’s moral decline.”

This is actually an old story. We have been reporting for more than a year about Putin acquiring agents of influence or dupes in the West, even in the United States. Perhaps the most prominent name associated with this pro-Moscow trend is veteran conservative columnist Patrick J. Buchanan. The World Congress of Families is the most prominent organization to embrace Moscow’s alleged devotion to Christian values.

It is quite natural for conservatives in favor of traditional values to abhor the Obama administration’s embrace of the so-called LGBT agenda, here and abroad. But to adore Putin in reaction to this trend is a major miscalculation that assumes Moscow is genuinely interested in preserving Western values.

It is a welcome development that The New York Times has finally taken note of Moscow’s hand in right-wing political movements.

But there’s more. The paper added, “American and European officials have accused Moscow of financing green movements in Europe to encourage protests against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a move intended to defend Russia’s gas industry. And a shadowy ‘troll farm’ in St. Petersburg uses Twitter to plant fake stories about chemical spills or Ebola outbreaks in the West.”

Another example of how Putin is deceiving the world lies in his exploitation of Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee still being hailed as a whistleblower in the United States.

Buchanan’s magazine, The American Conservative, has written about how figures on the U.S. political right such as Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley have rallied to Snowden’s defense. In a recent column, Shirley condemned “the senior GOP leadership’s embrace of the National Security Agency’s enveloping surveillance activities.”

What Shirley and other Snowden supporters ignore is the fact that the NSA’s surveillance activities rely mostly on a Ronald Reagan Executive Order (12333) and that funding and manpower for the NSA increased dramatically under Reagan.

In fact, President Reagan used the NSA to undermine America’s enemies, especially the old USSR.

National security reporter Bill Gertz wrote in 2013 about how a former “top-secret” document, “United States Cryptologic History, Series VI, Vol. 5: American Cryptology During the Cold War, 1945-89,” contained a section on how President Ronald Reagan realized the value of the NSA’s unique electronic intelligence collection capabilities.

The history notes that “the best known exposure of SIGINT [signals intelligence] since the Pearl Harbor hearings of 1945 had actually come in 1983, when the Reagan administration played the intercepted cockpit conversations of the Soviet pilot as he shot down KAL-007. The SIGINT gave the administration a tremendous foreign policy coup.”

On September 1, 1983, the Soviet Union shot down the civilian airliner KAL-007, killing 269 people.

In 1986, the document states, Reagan became the first American president to visit the NSA, as he gave the official dedication speech for the NSA’s two new buildings. He wanted to loosen “the legal reins governing intelligence,” the document says, giving rise to Reagan executive order 12333. It gave the NSA latitude in SIGINT collection that the agency had not had during the disastrous Carter years.

This executive order remains in effect. Not even Obama has tried to revoke it.

Based on this history, one would have to conclude that President Reagan would defend the NSA, just as the GOP leadership in the U.S. Senate has done. Leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended the NSA against the Obama administration, liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans.

The tragedy is that, with Obama in office rather than a conservative like Reagan, some conservatives decided to join the campaign to undermine the agency that Reagan considered absolutely essential to America’s security and survival.

Could it be just a coincidence that the Islamic state, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and aggressive Chinese cyber-warfare against the U.S. have emerged as major problems in the wake of Snowden’s arrival in Moscow?

Those who blame Obama alone for all of our foreign policy setbacks should examine the evidence that Putin and the Russians may ultimately be pulling the strings. At the same time, the NSA can’t be blamed for Obama’s failure or unwillingness to use the agency effectively against our enemies.

When the next president takes office, he will need an NSA capable of gathering the intelligence information the nation needs to defend itself. The next administration will have to consider apprehending and then prosecuting Snowden for operating as a Russian/Chinese agent of influence and committing espionage against the United States.

Hopefully, those who defended or praised Snowden will one day have to answer for their foolishness.

04/21/15

Be Sustainable Comrade

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Earth Day - RecycleIf Mr. Rogers were still on television each afternoon, taking his Cardigan sweater out of the closet, putting on his slippers and greeting all the little children; one of the words he’d highlight for an entire episode would be, Sustainability.  Mr. Rogers has already gone to great lengths to share a message about re-cycling so that empty soda cans don’t end up in the trash, cautioned kids to be friendly to Mother Earth and the importance of being mindful of others.

But the word Sustainability is the new order of the day.

Earth Day(On a side note, looking at the book cover, my first thought was to a frightening novel, Lord of the Flies; images of young boys running wild through the jungle as they sought the Conch Shell of power; killing, if necessary, anyone who got in the way.)

There was an Earth Day promotion waiting for me as I went through my email, a reminder from Turner Publishing that everyone needs to do their part.  I’m so glad to know that a company owned and operated by Jane “Traitor and Communist Sympathizer ” Fonda’s husband Ted wants to enlist everyone’s help in pushing forward a new world order as outlined in the United Nation’s Agenda 21.

“Celebrating Earth Day has put all of us at Turner Publishing in the “environmentally-friendly” mood. How have you been “green” this year? We recently started recycling in our office after evaluating how much paper we were throwing away each week! Maybe we should all start this week by picking one thing we will change in our routine that leads to a greener environment? Maybe…

  • Recycle all of the paper in your office or home
  • Choose paper over plastic at the grocery store
  • Eliminate air pollution by carpooling more often or riding your bike instead of driving
  • Stop buying plastic Keurig coffee cups and use a reusable cartridge!

You can be the one person to make a simple change and inspire others to do the same! Be the change and be green”

Reading between the lines, a favorite past time, were the words, “Be Sustainable, Comrade, or Else!”  Some folks can’t see the warning; but I can assure you, it’s there.

Take for example the newly discovered powers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which now cover how long a shower you can take.  The University of Tulsa has been given a grant to develop a device which can be fitted easily to any hotel shower head to monitor how much water is used.

“EPA deputy press secretary Laura Allen issued a statement to the Free Beacon clarifying that “EPA is not monitoring how much time hotel guests spend in the shower” and said that the marketplace “will decide if there is a demand for this type of technology. It’s ultimately up to hotels to use technology like the monitors being developed at the University of Tulsa.”’

If that’s true, and finding any part of the Obama administration capable of speaking the truth might be more difficult than finding the Holy Grail…but if that’s true, then why mention a target limit of 7 minutes per shower in the title of the article?

We’ve seen a pattern of deceitfulness from the Obama administration.  “If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it”,  “If you like your primary care doctor you can keep your primary care doctor” and one of my favorites, “The Benghazi attack on our embassy was caused by a rogue video that enraged Muslims”.

The EPA recently mandated (more than a mild suggestion), mandated futher restrictions on wood burning stoves regarding “the level of fine airborne particulate emissions that wood-burning stoves can emit, from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to a maximum of 12 micrograms.”

“The EPA restrictions would ban the production and sale of the kinds of wood-burning stoves that compose 80 percent of those currently in use in the United States, Forbes reported.”

You might recall one of Obama’s campaign objectives during his run for the Oval Office back in 2008, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”  (Originally that was to have read, Obama’s campaign promises; but word check won’t let me put Obama and Promise in the same sentence)
“In 2012, the Obama EPA issued its “new source performance standard” that effectively made it impossible to build new coal-fired power plants, because no technology exists that would enable utilities to meet the new standards. At the time, the head of EPA’s air office, Gina McCarthy, assured the public that existing plants would not have to meet the new standard and that EPA was not promoting fuel-switching. Less than a year after McCarthy’s solemn promise, however, the following sentence appears on page 19 of Obama’s Climate Action Plan: “Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production and encourage the development for a global market for gas.”’

When I read that the EPA is studying how to monitor how much water is wasted while someone takes a shower, flushes a toilet, turns on a CFL light bulb because incandescent bulbs have been outlawed, heats their house above 72 degrees or cools it below 78 degrees…let’s just say I’m skeptical when they say they have no intention of mandating that function.

On to victory as we celebrate Earth Day.  Remember, Comrade, Be Sustainable – or else!

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

02/19/15

The EPA’s Ozone Nightmare

By: Alan Carbua
Warning Signs

Sunset

Putting aside its insane attack on carbon dioxide, declaring the most essential gas on Earth, other than oxygen, a “pollutant”, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently engaged in trying to further regulate ozone for no apparent reason other than its incessant attack on the economy.

In late January on behalf of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Dr. Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D, filed his testimony on the proposed national ambient air quality standard for ozone. The EPA wants to lower the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 70 to 65 ppb, and even as low as 60 ppb.

“After promulgation of the current ozone standards in 2008,” Dr. Cohen noted, “EPA two years later called a temporary halt to the nationwide implementation of the standard in response to the severe recession prevailing at the time.”

In other words, it was deemed bad for the economy. “Now, EPA is proposing a new, more stringent standard even before the current standard has been fully implemented and even though, according to the EPA’s own data, ozone concentrations have declined by 33 percent since 1980.”

OzoneAccording to Wikipedia: “Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation. This same high oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 ppb. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level. However, the so-called ozone layer (a portion of the stratosphere with a higher concentration of ozone, from two to eight ppm) is beneficial, preventing damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface, to the benefit of both plants and animals.”

So, yes, reducing ozone in the ground level atmosphere does have health benefits, but the EPA doesn’t just enforce the Clean Air Act, it also seeks to reinterpret and use it in every way possible to harm the economy.

As Dr. Cohen pointed out, “the Clean Air Act requires EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to produce an evaluation of the adverse effects, including economic impact, of obtaining and maintaining a tighter standard. Despite repeated requests from Congress, (the Committee) has not produced the legally required evaluation. By ignoring this statutory mandate, and moving ahead with its ozone rulemaking, EPA is showing contempt for the rule of law and for the taxpayers who provide the agency’s funding.”

Since President Obama took office in 2009 he has used the EPA as one of his primary tools to harm the U.S. economy. In a Feb 2 Daily Caller article, Michael Bastasch reported that “Tens of thousands of coal mine and power plant workers have lost their jobs under President Obama, and more layoffs could be on the way as the administration continues to pile on tens of billions of dollars in regulatory costs.”

The American Coal Council’s CEO Betsy Monseu also testified regarding the proposed ozone standards, noting that the increased reductions would affect power plants, industrial plants, auto, agriculture, commercial and residential buildings, and more.

Citing a study undertaken for the National Association of Manufacturers, “a 60 ppb ozone standard would result in a GDP reduction of $270 billion per year, a loss of up to 2.9 million jobs equivalents annually, and a reduction of $1,570 in average annual household consumption. Electricity costs could increase up to 23% and natural gas cost by up to 52% over the period to 2040.”

In a rational society, imposing such job losses and increased costs when the problem is already being solved would make no sense, but we all live in Obama’s society these days and that means increasing ozone standards only make sense if you want to harm the economy in every way possible.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/9/15

It’s Not Just Brian Williams

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Barack Obama

“When reporters forfeit their credibility by making up stories, sources, or quotes, we are right to mock them. When their violations are significant or repeated, they should be fired,” says Charles Lipson, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Demanding honest reporting has nothing to do with the reporter’s politics, personality, or personal life. It is about professional standards and our reasonable expectations.”

Writing at Real Clear Politics.com, Prof. Lipson concluded by saying, “It’s essential for our news organizations, and it matters for our democracy.”

Are we seeing a trend here? Dan Rather at CBS and now Brian Williams at NBC? Well, two news anchors are not a trend, but biased and bad reporting is. It’s not new, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and nowhere has it been more apparent than the millions of words written and spoken about “global warming” and now “climate change.”

It would be easy and convenient to lay the blame on America’s Liar-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, but the “global warming” hoax began well before he came on the scene. It was the invention of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dating back to its creation in 1988 when it was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

The IPCC came to world attention with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that committed the nations that signed it to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” based on the premise that global warming—a dramatic increase—was real and that it was man-made. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The United States Senate rejected it and our neighbor, Canada, later withdrew from it. Both China and India were exempted, free to continue building numerous coal-fired plants to generate the energy they need for development.

Today, though, the President is an unrelenting voice about the dangers of “climate change” which he and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have rated the “greatest threat” to the world. Obama’s national security strategy document was released just a day before he equated the history of Christianity with the barbarism of today’s Islamic State.

The national security document included terrorism to which it devoted one out of its 29 pages. Essentially Obama sees all the problems of the world, real and imagined, as challenges that require “strategic patience and persistence.” This is his way of justifying doing nothing or as little as possible.

Still, according to Obama, the climate is such a threat, his new budget would allocate $4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to bribe more states to close even more power plants around the nation. He wants to increase the EPA’s overall budget by 6% to $8.6 billion. The Republican Congress is not likely to allocate such funding.

As for the environment, there have been so many lies put forth by the government and by a panoply of environmental organizations of every description, buoyed by legions of “scientists” and academics lining their pockets with billions in grants, that it is understandable that many Americans still think that “global warming” is real despite the fact that the Earth is now 19 years into a well-documented cooling cycle.

Not only are all the children in our schools still being taught utter garbage about it, but none who have graduated in recent years ever lived a day during the non-existent “global warming.”

On February 7, Christopher Booker, writing in The Telegraph, a British daily newspaper, wrote an article, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.” You are not likely to find any comparable reporting in a U.S. daily newspaper.

Citing research comparing the official temperature graphs from three weather stations in Paraguay against what had originally been reported by them, it turned out that their cooling trend had been reversed by the U.S. government’s Global Historical Climate Network and then amplified by “two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Climate Data Center.”

Why should we be surprised that the national media continues to report on “global warming” when our government has been engaged in the deliberate distortion of the actual data? It is, however, the same national media that has provided virtually no investigative journalism to reveal what has been going on for decades.

What fate befalls Brian Williams is a mere blip on the screen of events. At this writing, I cannot see how NBC could ever keep him as the managing editor and news anchor.

What matters regarding much of the product of the mainstream media is the continuing torrent of “news” about “global warming” and “climate change”; the former is a complete hoax and the latter a factor of life on planet Earth over which humans have no control, nor contribute to in any fashion.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/5/15

Lukewarm About Climate Change

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Climate Change

“In short, climate change is not worse than we thought,” wrote Bjorn Lomborg in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal. He is best known as the author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and his skepticism is welcome, but insufficient.

First of all, climate change is a very long-term process and always has been. The climate takes decades and centuries to change, largely based on well-known warming and cooling cycles. During the course of these cycles, both related to comparable cycles on the Sun, all manner of climate-related events occur, from hurricanes to blizzards. Nothing new here.

The problem with Lomborg’s commentary is that he confuses climate change with global warming, the hoax concocted in the late 1980s by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to have an international tax imposed on “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), that the IPCC guaranteed was going to heat up the Earth in a few decades unless greatly reduced. Lomborg even cites the IPCC which has grown notorious for its lies.

The predictions about when the heat would become lethal ranged from ten to fifty years as the amount of CO2 increased. The problem for Lomborg and others is that CO2 has been increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere without any evidence of the predicted heating. That explains why Lomborg and other “Warmists” don’t refer to global warming anymore. As for the increase, the latest, best science points to the fact that CO2 has no affect whatever on the climate.

Lomborg wrote, “A well-meaning environmentalist might argue that, because climate change is a reality, why not ramp up the rhetoric and focus on the bad news to make sure the public understands its importance.” Even Lomborg acknowledged that is exactly what the environmentalists have been doing for the past twenty years.

“The public has been bombarded with dramatic headlines and apocalyptic photos of climate change and its consequences. Yet despite endless successions of climate summits, carbon emissions continue to rise, especially in rapidly developing countries like India, China, and many African nations.”   That’s called development and that requires electricity and other means of powering manufacturing and transportation.

One thing Lomborg got right is that “Alarmism has encouraged the pursuit of a one-sided climate policy of trying to cut carbon emissions by subsidizing wind farms and solar panels.” These are two of the most costly and worthless forms of energy generation and Lomborg notes that even the International Energy Agency doesn’t expect them to provide any more than “a minuscule 2.2% of the world’s energy by 2040.”

Lomborg continues to do his best to be on both sides of the issue of “climate change” when, in fact, it is not an issue because there is nothing humans anywhere on planet Earth can do to have any impact on it. What we can do, however, is encourage the development which he points to. “This is important because if we want to help the poor people who are most threatened by natural disasters, we have to recognize that it is less about cutting carbon emissions than it is about pulling them out of poverty.”

It has nothing about cutting carbon emissions because that is not a threat. Indeed, without CO2 all life on Earth would cease to be. It is the gas on which all vegetation depends, just as mammals and other creatures depend on oxygen.

“In short, climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better. That doesn’t mean global warming is not a reality or a problem. It definitely is,” says Lomborg.

No, despite his science credentials and the two books he has written, Lomborg is just dead wrong. Global warming is neither a reality nor a problem because the Earth has been in A COOLING CYCLE for nineteen years at this point and one might think Lomborg would know this; particularly since his views are being published in an eminent U.S. newspaper that should also know this.

  1. Sterling Burnett, the Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News, took note of the current weather, saying “Despite the cold, temperatures in the U.S. at present are closer to the normal winter range than they were in 2014 during the depth of the polar vortex,” adding a tweak to the Warmists, saying “Seems like a good time to protest global warming.”

The real issue for Americans is an Obama administration that is imposing regulations based on the utterly false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced because of global warming.

In June 2014, James Delinpole, wrote: “Here is the Obama administration’s green strategy reduced to one damning equation: 19 million jobs lost plus $4.335 trillion spent = a reduction in global mean temperature of 0.018 degrees C (0.032 degrees F). These are the costs to the U.S. economy by 2100 of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on carbon dioxide, whereby all states must reduce emissions from coal-fired generating plants by 30% below 2005 levels.”

If you still wonder why the U.S. economy has just barely begun to pull itself out of the Great Recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, the answer is the Obama administration’s spectacular failures typified by massive wasteful spending, ObamaCare’s impact on the healthcare sector, and its continuing attack on the energy sector.

Only Congress and the courts stand between us and Obama as he pursues the destruction of the nation while claiming he is acting to “combat climate change.”

© Alan Caruba, 2015

01/27/15

Oil Prices Changing The Face Of Global Geopolitics

In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats.

Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate.

In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country now faces slowing economic growth, a depressed ruble, and runaway inflation estimated to be up to 150 percent on basic foodstuffs.

The Kremlin is counting on austerity cuts to help balance its budget, which has revenues coming in at $45 billion lower than earlier projections. The exception, significantly, is defense. With the military exempted from the austerity plan, it begs the question of whether Putin will “play the nationalist card,” such as he did in Crimea, in an effort to strengthen greater Russia during a period of economic weakness.

Georgia On His Mind

We are already seeing this to be the case. As Oilprice.com reported on Tuesday, Putin is set to absorb South Ossetia – Georgia’s breakaway republic that declared itself independent in 1990. Under an agreement “intended to legalize South Ossetia’s integration with Russia,” Russia would invest 2.8 million rubles (US$50 million) to “fund the socio-economic development of South Ossetia,” according to Agenda.GE, a Tbilisi-based news site.

The situation is analogous to Crimea because, like Crimea, South Ossetia contains a significant Russian-speaking population with ties to the Motherland.

If Putin succeeds in annexing the tiny province, it will be a real poke in the eye to the United States, which provoked Russia in the early 1990s by promoting construction of a pipeline between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The BTC pipeline moves oil from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

BTC started operating in 2006. Then, two years later, Putin built his own pipeline to cut out Georgia. The South Ossetia pipeline run by Gazprom stretches 75 kilometers from South Ossetia to Russia.

The current move on South Ossetia is a way for Russia to assert its energy independence in the face of Western sanctions and low oil prices.

It comes as Russia announced plans to divert all of its natural gas crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey. As Bloomberg reported last week, Gazprom will send 63 billion cubic meters through a proposed link under the Black Sea to Turkey – after the earlier South Stream pipeline, a $45-billion project that would have crossed Bulgaria, was scrapped by Russia amid opposition from the European Union. By sending the gas to Turkey and on to Europe via Greece, Gazprom is in effect sending Europe an ultimatum: build pipelines to European markets, or we will sell the gas to other customers.

According to one observer, the proposed land grab in South Ossetia combined with the snub to Europe by shifting its gas to Turkey and bypassing Ukraine, is a classic Putin power play:

“Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies,” Steve LeVine writes in Quartz. “Putin has argued that the west is simply intent on ousting him and weakening Russia… Faced with these perceived attempts to undercut him and his country, Putin suggests that he has no choice but to pull around the wagons and stick it out. This could go on a long time.”

Iran: Falling Oil Prices Spur Peace Dividend

Some have speculated that the oil price crash was orchestrated by the Saudis, possibly in collusion with the United States and other Gulf states, to punish Iran, its main political and religious rival in the Middle East.

Whether or not that is true, there is no denying the effects of a low oil price on Iran’s economy. “Iran is already missing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue due to Western sanctions and years of economic mismanagement under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bloomberg reported on Jan. 7. Like Russia, Iran is looking at spending cuts in next year’s budget, which is based on an overly-optimistic $72 a barrel crude oil price.

However, unlike Russia, which is “circling the wagons” and pulling further away from the West currently, the oil price drop could actually lead to more of a détente between Iran and Western countries. In a speech on Jan. 4, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s economy “cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world,” while at the same time, Iran’s foreign minister was negotiating a nuclear deal that could see the lifting of UN sanctions, the Washington Post observed.

Then there is the cooperation between the West and Iran over the terrorist group ISIS. The National Post’s J.L. Granatsein wrote in a column on Tuesday that Iran has deployed substantial numbers of its Revolutionary Guard elite Al Qods brigade into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, along with Western allies including the US, Britain, France and Canada. This is despite Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria’s president Assad.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, but not much can be stranger than this. Led by the Americans, hitherto the Great Satan to the Iranian leaders, the ties between the West and Iran are becoming tighter, each side reacting to the horrors of Islamist fundamentalism throughout the region,” Granatsein writes. “The Iranians have been hurt by sanctions, and they are being wracked even more by the falling price of oil. Easing curbs on trade and Iranian banks may mitigate the effects of the oil price collapse.”

Venezuela Bracing For The Worst

The other major loser in the oil price collapse, Venezuela, may not see such a positive outcome. Wracked by decades of economic mismanagement by Hugo Chávez, the South American oil producer was already struggling to pay its debts when new president Nicolás Maduro came to power.

Now, with inflation running at 60 percent and lines forming outside state grocery stores for food and other basic supplies, Maduro faces the specter of serious social unrest if conditions do not improve. The country has some of the world’s cheapest gasoline prices, but Maduro has refused to end fuel subsidies, fearing, no doubt, a repeat of widespread riots in 1989 that left hundreds dead after gasoline prices were allowed to rise.

Venezuela is even more dependent than Russia on the price of oil, earning some 96 percent of its foreign currency from oil sales, putting Maduro in the untenable position of either borrowing more, despite crushing debts, or slashing spending:

“With only $20 billion left in its reserves, and $50 billion in debt to China alone, Venezuela appears headed toward a choice between abandoning its oil giveaways and defaulting on its debts, or starving its own population to the point of revolt,” according to the Washington Post.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Crushing-The-U.S.-Energy-Export-Dream.html

By Andrew Topf for Oilprice.com

01/6/15

Frenetic Pace

Arlene from Israel

Where to begin in these days of turmoil, both at home and abroad?

I think I’ll start at home, with the weather.  A major winter storm is due to start here within hours.  It is predicted that the north, Jerusalem, and high places in Judea and Samaria will see considerable snow between now and Friday.  In other places there will be torrential rain, hail, thunderstorms and flooding.

Credit: gopicpix

As long as I don’t lose my electric power, I’ll keep writing.

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From snow, to heavier issues regarding the Palestinian Authority:

The US State Department has criticized Israel’s declared intention to withhold collected taxes from the PA because of Abbas’s application for membership in the ICC. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki delivered one of her typical, vastly irritating statements: “We’re opposed to any actions that raise tensions. Obviously this is one that raises tensions.”

Translation: “Yes, I know the PA did something deplorable, but be nice. We don’t want to make them angry now, do we?”

Well, actually, yes, I think we do.

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I had alluded recently to the fact that while we are about to withhold PA tax money, the PA owes the Israel Electric Company enormous sums of money.  And now, lo and behold, the Israel Electric Company seems to have come to its senses.  Or, perhaps more accurately, I should say that they’ve been given a tacit nod from the government that allows them to take a necessary and sensible position.

Israel Electric Company CEO Eli Glickman has now sent a letter to Israel’s security chiefs, letting them know that there may be a certain amount of “unrest” in PA-controlled areas because a decision has been made to limit the supply of electricity in those areas.  That is because the PA and the Palestinian-Arab controlled Jerusalem District Electric Company owe the Electric Company 1.7 billion shekels (well over $400 million). The PA buys the electricity from IEC and then sells it to PA-controlled municipalities.

Glickman has written that, “the debt imposes a heavy burden on the company’s cash flow…” and IEC “as a supplier of an essential service that is committed to all its customers, is obligated to begin working in the coming days to collect [outstanding funds]” either by limiting supply of electricity or refusing to connect new customers.

At last!

Please do note that service will be reduced, not curtailed.  And I am quite certain that nothing has been initiated that would affect service during the predicted storm.

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It must be pointed out that the failure of the PA to pay this bill is not an indication of a simple lack of funds, but rather of a highly inappropriate utilization of funds.  There is, for example, the matter of “salaries” paid to the terrorists in Israeli jails (with the amount of the salaries higher for those who committed more heinous crimes).

And then, of course, there is the enormous corruption in the PA, so that, while the Palestinian Arabs receive the highest amount per capita in international funding of any group, a good deal of that money seems to “disappear.”

Please see, “The  10 year klepto-dictatorship of Mahmoud Abbas”:

“Like any dictator, [Abbas is] corrupt. His predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was accused of embezzling billions of dollars of money meant for the Palestinian people, with US officials estimating the man’s personal nest egg at between one and three billion dollars. In line with his role model, after whom he named his own son, Abbas has continued this ignominious tradition.”

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What must be asked, however, is why the Israeli government is not simply turning over to the Electric Company the money that is being withheld, so that a good part of the money owed by the PA for electricity would be covered.

The fact that this is not the case suggests that the government knows now that the money is being held only temporarily as a gesture, and that ultimately it will be given to the PA.  Or that there is at least the possibility of this decision being made, in response to international pressure.

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The PA application for membership in the ICC does not require the US to act – beyond, perhaps, closing a PLO office temporarily.  But, according to recently passed US legislation, no funding may be provided to the PA if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

Both Israel and members of Congress are watching the situation closely.http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-ask-congress-to-stop-funding-pa/

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When reports came out very recently indicating that non-governmental Israeli organizations might be the ones to pursue charges against the PA in courts outside of Israel, my thoughts went immediately to Shurat Hadin.  And here you are:

“Shurat Hadin said it would be sending copies of the ready-to- file complaints to Abbas, Mashaal, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and many others so that they could see directly what they will face if they go beyond signing the Rome Statute and take the final step of filing war crimes complaints against Israelis.”

They’re fantastic.

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International lawyer Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has now drafted “Ten Points Regarding the Fundamental Breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords.”


Credit: inthelastofdays

It is the considered legal opinion of Ambassador Baker that (emphasis added):

In “petitioning the UN, the International Criminal Court and international organizations to recognize them and accept them as a full member state, and by their unification with the Hamas terror organization, the Palestinians have knowingly and deliberately bypassed their contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation.

“This, together with their attempts to delegitimize Israel among the international community and their attempted actions against Israel’s leaders, has served to frustrate any possibility of realization of the Oslo Accords, and as such the Palestinians are in material breach of their contractual obligations.”

“…according to the accepted and universally recognized laws of contracts and international agreements, a fundamental breach enables the injured party to declare the agreement void and is freed from any further obligations pursuant to the agreement or contract. Therefore the fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians is indicative of their conscious decision to undermine them and prevent any possibility of their implementation. As such they have rendered the Accords void…Israel has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid and to act unilaterally in order to protect its essential legal and security interests.”

A very important legal opinion. But fairly meaningless if Israel does not act accordingly.

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Matters have not been exactly peaceful here in the political sphere, aka the “political circus.”  A few highlights:

There were some irregularities discovered in the voting in the Likud primary, which were challenged by Tzipi Livni.  After some re-counting was done, she found herself just 55 votes shy of taking the (realistic) 20th slot from Avi Dichter. She says she is not giving up yet.  There have been some other readjustments of slot assignments according to the recount.  But I will not report on details until it is all final.

Netanyahu made a statement regarding campaign plans for the Likud that involved some future legislation that would change electoral procedures.  But this is campaign talk.  If and when such legislation is proposed, I will write about it.

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For some many days the Herzog-Livni duo, according to the polls, was either slightly ahead of Likud or neck and neck with it.  Now polls are showing Likud pulling ahead.  Predictions are that a right-wing religious coalition might be composed of as many as 69 mandates.

At present, neither the newly founded party of Michael Ben-Ari nor that of Eli Yishai is shown to make the cut-off (3.75% of the vote)for getting into the Knesset.

Shas is, unsurprisingly, showing at only a fraction of its current strength.  A similar drop in mandates is showing for Yisrael Beitenu (Lieberman) and Yesh Atid (Lapid).

A word about Lapid here: He has admitted on IDF radio that he went into the Finance Ministry, “a bit power drunk…we should have listened to advice more.” He sure was power drunk, and he did damage in the process. Perhaps he thinks making this confession will square him with the voters, but I do not.

Moshe Feiglin has announced that he is leaving Likud.  His plans are a bit vague. Either he’ll start a new party (we need another party, yes?), in which case he recognizes that he will not be in the Knesset next time around. Or he’ll join with another nationalist party now, in hopes of securing a realistic place on a list.  Ben-Ari has invited him; it is not clear to me at all if Feiglin has sufficient voter influence to bring Ben-Ari’s party into the Knesset.

New people are joining parties at a rapid clip – including from the broadcasting world and the entertainment world.  Let’s see who makes the cut once lists are announced.  Up-coming soon is the Habayit Hayehudi primary; not every party determines its list via primary.

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I close with this upbeat opinion piece by Guy Bechor: “The Arab oil era is over.”

“As the Gulf states are left with no money to spend and are experiencing internal shocks, the era of destructive Arab power is coming to an end; the Israeli mind and innovation era, on the other hand, is just beginning.

“The most dramatic news in 2014 almost went unnoticed: The United States lifted the restrictions on American oil exports, and as of the first day of the new year it has begun exporting oil to the world.

“No one believed this would happen so fast, but the US is already the world’s biggest oil manufacturer, bigger than Saudi Arabia, thanks to the oil shale technology which changed the world of energy…

“As the year 2015 begins, we are facing a new world: A world of a revolution of information, mind, personal strength, innovation and inventions. And in this world, Israel is a real princess…

“Israel is becoming a close friend of countries which were distant in the past but are close today, like India, Japan, China and South Korea. They too understand that those who are not innovative and lack a creative mind will just not be. And in this field, Israel has a lot to offer them, just like they have a lot to offer in return.”

As I hear the wind howling outside my window, I am able to smile.