Sunday, May 31, 2015

What’s in a name? For GMOs and Organics a whole lot of nonsense

Posted on May 29, 2015 at the American Council on Science and Health

Here’s a question for our Dispatch readers: When is a GMO not a GMO? A proper science answer would go something like this: all agriculture (and really all life) has been genetically modified at some point either by humans or another species (e.g. bacteria or virus) so therefore everything is a GMO.

However, the world is not run through proper science, it’s run through politics and “concerns,” and this makes having a legal definition of GMOs difficult. Here in America, if a gene could have been introduced into a plant in nature, it can still be considered “organic” even if the process of getting that gene into the plant is highly scientific. A number of products that you are eating (and ironically they can be called organic) are created by a method that would horrify you—far more than what may concern you about GMOs.

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom explains: “New breeds or strains of… everything are created when DNA is altered sufficiently to create something with different properties. Prior to GM technology here is how if was often done: Seeds were subjected to carcinogenic chemicals, such as ethyl methanesulfonate—a chemical that puts the fear of god into chemists who need to use it in the lab.”

He continues, “Carcinogens work by damaging (and thus changing) DNA so that it no longer functions as it is “supposed to.” This may be be very bad for humans, but it accomplishes exactly what it is supposed to accomplish with the seeds. Mutated DNA gives rise to new species.”

If that sounds bad, the other method probably sounds worse. Dr. Bloom explains, “Another way to damage DNA is by exposing it to nuclear radiation. Just like with the chemical method, it has been used since the 1930s. You have most likely eaten products created by these “natural techniques.” The list of crops created in these ways is extensive: grapefruits, oranges, apples, cherries, pears, grapes. Are they dangerous? No — once the new seeds have been manufactured, there is not one bit of chemical or radiation present.”

ACSH’s Nicholas Staropoli says, “Given what you just read, does the GM process, which accomplishes the same thing, although more precisely and faster, sound so bad?”

It all boils down to this: plants created through the process of mutagenesis are considered non-GMO because the changes to the organism’s DNA are endogenous. However, using precision technology to introduce an exogenous gene from another plant mysteriously turns it into a GMO. Does this make sense to anyone?

It is this loose, inconsistent, and arbitrary definition that some researchers now want to exploit when making new genetically engineered crops — and thereby avoiding the fraught term GMO. Scientists working at the University of Copenhagen argue that, by the American definition, if they used CRISPR (a new and highly specific gene editing technique) to add previously-lost “ancestral” traits back into the modern version of the plant, it should not be labeled a GMO. In fact they have their own name for the product: rewilding. They even want to give the process a fancy name: precision breeding.

Dr. Bloom calls the use of this terminology: “Precision Bull####.”

Here’s one example, the current crop of rice plants that are grown in Southeast Asia were improved through this technique. An ancestral rice plant was found in the wild that had poor crop yields but was incredibly tolerant to flooding. Through the long, inaccurate and tedious process of cross breeding the current crops acquired the genes for the flood tolerance from the ancestral line.

The researchers argue that precision breeding does not qualify as a GMO under the American standard: since the gene was in the plant’s genome in the wild at some point, reintroducing it (by whatever means) might still be compatible with the rather arbitrary definition of “organic.”

In the future precision breeding could be a useful tool to “rewild” wheat, which is unsuitable for selective breeding because it has 3 genomes. Precision breeding could be used to remove genes from all three genomes that make the plant susceptible to the highly-destructive fungal infestation, wheat rust.

However, this sort of rebranding for GMOs does not sit well with people on both sides of the GMO aisle. Brise Tencer, the executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation in Santa Cruz, California says “They take a term that sounds really wonderful, but genetic engineering is genetic engineering is genetic engineering.”

ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: “Listen, I get the perceived need to win the public’s acceptance of GMO technology as used in agriculture. It’s sad that this is thought to be necessary to convince consumers that the products of biotechnology — ‘GMO food’ — are equivalent in safety and nutrition to traditionally-grown crops in the lab and the field, and the empirical observations over the past 20 years confirm that. But this approach of ‘rewilding’ is a bunch of semantic malarkey as far as I’m concerned, a flight from science that will not convince anyone. Clearly, there is no need from a health or science point of view to squeeze such products into a ‘non-GMO’ or ‘organic’ pigeonhole, and from the POV of the know-nothing or corrupt anti-GMO crowd, I doubt it will pass their smell test either, for what that’s worth. These people have an agenda that has nothing to do with logic, so balancing semantic angels on pinheads will not suffice for them. Nor for me either, albeit for entirely different reasons.”

And Dr. Bloom equates this nonsense with automobiles: “The Model T Ford—the first ‘real’ car—is a car. So is a Prius. Should we put warning labels on the Prius? It is quite different and is made using modern technology. Call it a Genetically Modified Ottomobile (a GMO?).”

Are bee colonies collapsing? If so, why? If not, why all the hype?

Posted at the American Council on Science and Health

Last June, in response to ongoing concerns about the perceived loss of bee colonies, often referred to as “bee colony collapse disorder (BCCD),” President Obama established a multi-agency “Pollinator Task Force.” The panel’s mandate: investigate the various data on the health of bees in the U.S., and if a valid threat was detected, to determine the cause or causes and make recommendations as to how best to deal with them. Indeed, over the course of the past year or so, the concept of catastrophic, agriculture-threatening loss of bee colonies has been largely debunked.

The panel’s report came out a few months late, 2 weeks ago in fact, and its conclusions were, well, not so conclusive: While not indicting any particular exposure as key in declining bee colonies, the task force outlined a series of steps and goals for agencies to pursue, such as tackling bee-killing pathogens and mites, reducing pesticide use, restoring degraded pollinator habitats, and encouraging the planting of more flowering plants and other pollinator-friendly vegetation.

In his recent Science 2.0 column, ACSH friend Hank Campbell (who runs that site) had his own perspectives on “problem with bees” and the contributions of the pollinator task force’s methodologies and recommendations. His overall grade was “a solid B,” although some parts of the report were not up to snuff: his assessment of the panel’s recommendation to “reduce honey bee colony losses during winter to no more than 15% within 10 years” was met with a “let’s pass a law to make the sun rise earlier”-type of comment: “We can’t control winter, and summer numbers are a better indicator of any unnatural causes, not winter ones. Grade: C-.“

He wisely disposes of the “environmentalist” mythology which has sprouted and grown in the greeniac fringe (rising and falling inversely with bee populations, it seems) alleging that a perfectly safe and effective class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, has a key role in the ostensible downfall of bees, with a back-of-the-hand dismissal: “Environmentalists have created a magic bullet in a class of modern pesticides called neonicotinoids and have been lobbying for bans but Australia had no colony collapses despite heavy use of these “neonics” and shifting geography of losses in Europe and the U.S. means banning something won’t help. Scientists recognize that systemic tools like neonics are better for the environment than broad applications.”

Although there is no evidence to support the “pesticide hypothesis” and plenty of observational evidence that those crop-protecting chemicals are not causal in reducing bee health, these inconvenient facts did not dissuade the EPA from using the Pollinator Panel report as an excuse to restrict pesticide usage around areas where bee activity is expected, albeit thankfully for a limited periods of time.

ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: “We have weighed in on this topic — BCCD and its possible causes, assuming the concept is real at all — on numerous occasions: here, here and here are examples. Without being redundant, let me summarize: BCCD was vastly exaggerated by agenda-driven groups opposed to pesticides (and all chemicals, for that matter) and they targeted neonics as ‘the cause.’ Well, it turns out that bees come and go with the seasons, as always, and any unusual decline in their populations has been more likely attributed to infestations with e.g. varroa mites and the viruses they attract. Neonics are particularly safe and were, way back when, admired as such even by enviros. But, analogous to the situation with natural gas and fractavists, the chemophobes decided to let agenda and ideology trump science and economics to target this class of pesticides. The truth seems to have largely won out. This time.”

Curbing EPA abuses

Action needed now to end EPA deception, fraud, collusion, tyranny and destruction

Paul Driessen

Russian President Vladimir Putin is outraged that the United States has indicted 14 FIFA soccer officials, accusing them of corruption, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy, involving bribes totaling over $150 million in kickbacks for awarding tournament rights. He says the US is meddling in Russian affairs and plotting to steal the 2018 World Cup from his country. What chutzpah.

This is the same Mr. Putin who annexed Crimea and parts of Ukraine, and whose close cronies have been secretly channeling millions of dollars to US and EU environmentalist groups to oppose both American oil drilling in the Arctic and hydraulic fracturing – the game-changing process that is producing so much oil and gas that it’s slashed energy prices … and Russian revenues.

The Justice Department indictments generated global applause. Now the DOJ needs to conduct an equally zealous investigation into corruption, fraud and collusion in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, that will never happen – no matter how rampant or flagrant the abuses have been.

As Kimberly Strassel documents in May 14 and May 21 articles, EPA emails and other documents reveal that the agency had already decided in 2010 to veto the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska on ideological grounds, “well before it did any science” on the project’s potential environmental impacts. Meanwhile, an EPA biologist was working with eco-activists to recruit Native Americans to oppose the mine. “It’s not much of a leap,” Strassel writes, “to suggest that the EPA encouraged [petitions against the mine] so that it would have an excuse to intervene, run its science as cover, and block a project it already opposed.”

At the same time the biologist was aiding the petition drive, he was also helping to write EPA’s “options paper” for the mine – and lobbying his co-authors and report contributors to veto the mine, Strassel notes. Now, contrary to newly discovered agency emails, EPA bosses are pretending they never saw the options paper and trying to put the blame on low-level functionaries, when they were deep in cahoots all the way.

This represents incredible collusion, deception, fraud and abuse of power – to impose agency edicts and appease environmental ideologues in and out of EPA. Moreover, it is just the latest in a long line of abuses and usurpations by this Obama agency, under a culture of corruption and secretive, manipulated science used to justify regulatory overkill that imposes extensive damages for few or no benefits.

On climate, EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and living standards, even if China, India and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to alleged national security and asthma threats from climate change.

Just this week, EPA announced that it will henceforth regulate any ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches and other waters that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways, even if that ill-defined connection enjoys six degrees of separation from streams in which you can actually paddle a kayak. EPA itself recognizes that “science” does not support its new regime, so now it says its “experience and expertise” justify regulating virtually all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) – and thus of all lands, land uses, and family, farm and industrial activities not already covered by its climate and other rules.

Homeowners, farmers and businesses will now have to apply for permits to do almost anything that might theoretically pollute or affect waterways. Even taking a shower is now subject to EPA regulation.

When Will Climate Scientists Say They Were Wrong?

By Patrick Michaels

Day after day, year after year, the hole that climate scientists have buried themselves in gets deeper and deeper. The longer that they wait to admit their overheated forecasts were wrong, the more they are going to harm all of science.

The story is told in a simple graph, the same one that University of Alabama’s John Christy presented to the House Committee on Natural Resources on May 15.

The picture shows the remarkable disconnect between predicted global warming and the real world........It’s impossible, as a scientist, to look at this graph and not rage at the destruction of science that is being wreaked by the inability of climatologists to look us in the eye and say perhaps the three most important words in life: we were wrong.....To Read More.....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pro-Crime Policies Work

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

Despite a generation in which radical anti-crime policies such as enforcing the law and locking up criminals slashed murder rates, there’s still plenty of debate over whether anti-crime policies work.
 

But no one can argue over whether pro-crime policies work.

108 people were shot in New York, Baltimore and Chicago over the weekend. Many of the casualties were saved from that terrible “school-to-prison pipeline” that bedevils promising young crack dealers and instead went straight to the morgue.

56 people were shot in Chicago including a 4-year-old girl. That’s quite a step up from last year in which only 17 people were shot. It might actually be the most violent Chicago weekend in a while.

And that’s saying something.

Baltimore has just racked up its deadliest month since 1999. The fascist pigs no longer go down to the ghetto to hassle misunderstood youth who are just protesting police brutality by shooting each other. When they do, they’re confronted by angry mobs brandishing ObamaPhones set to record outrageous police misconduct such as arresting career criminals and drug dealers like Freddie Gray.

The Baltimore cops got Obama’s message loud and clear. So did the gangs.

35 people were killed in Baltimore in May. And the month isn’t even over yet. The last time things were this bad, Bill Clinton was in the White House pleading with Saddam to let the inspectors back in.

This weekend, dozens of people were shot and nine were killed as gangs took advantage of the “Space to Destroy” provided to them by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Among those shot by They-Whom-We-Dare-Not-Name-Thugs was a 9-year-old boy. According to her spokesman, Rawlings-Blake is “disheartened and frustrated” by the violence. Just not enough to let the police do their jobs.

And the cops have given the pro-crime politicians what they want. Arrests have dropped in May from 1,500 to under 1,000. There’s no more of that “broken windows policing”. No more hassling drug dealers. The Freddie Grays of Baltimore have all the space to destroy that they could possibly want.

The worst of the violence is happening in the area where Freddie Gray died. Black people are dying for Freddie Gray. It’s not clear how many more 9-year-old boys will have to be shot in his name.

Maybe someone should ask a #BlackLivesMatter hipster before he swaps out his Freddie Gray t-shirt for a shirt with the soulful artistic rendering of the next martyred drug dealer of the week.

Councilman Bill Henry, who called the riots “uprisings”, insists that the answer is even less police. On CNN, he had claimed that “we’re not going to police our way out of where we are.” In response to the latest shootings, Henry argued, “We shouldn’t be paying for the police to drive by every half an hour.”

Some residents however disagree.

A 67-year-old woman who described the "boom-boom-boom" sounds of a man being killed outside her house complained about drug gangs taking over the block. “I don't see the police in this neighborhood. They don't come here. It's rare to even see them ride through,” she said.

Apparently she does believe that Baltimore can police its way out of drug dealers shooting each other.

On CNN, Henry suggested that Baltimore was still recovering from the 1968 riots because not enough money was being spent on the city. And in 2062, Baltimore will still be recovering from the last time its poor oppressed residents tried to burn it down without receiving enough money for their troubles. 

Entire countries have recovered from major wars since 1968. Not Baltimore.

But it’s easier to recover from mass destruction than from policies that reward crooks and deadbeats while punishing taxpayers and homeowners.

Pro-crime policies have paid off in Baltimore, just like they’ve paid off in Chicago and Detroit. Obama has pushed pro-crime policies in major urban areas and those policies are working.

And not just in Baltimore.

Murders are up 60% in Bill de Blasio’s New York City. 23 people were shot in 16 shooting incidents over the weekend. The complaints by local residents are the same. Where are all the cops at?

“I don’t feel safe at all,” Shantel Truluck said. “Once its dark we — me, my husband and my kids — we don’t go outside. There are just not enough cops.”

Bill de Blasio embraced pro-crime policies which not only led to the murder of police officers by a #BlackLivesMatter protester, but the killing of black people by other black people.

These days you’re 45% more likely to be murdered in Manhattan and Central Park is reverting back to a playground for muggers with a 125% increase in robberies. While Bill de Blasio has failed to get the horses out of Central Park, he brought in his voting base of violent criminals to get the people out.

If you go to Radio City Music Hall, remember that shooting incidents in the area have increased by almost 50% and murders have gone up 28%.

Don’t take the bus. Murders in the area of Grand Central are up 75%.

Bill de Blasio calls this “fearmongering”. People who can add two and two together call it math. The combination of statistics and a public tired of being perpetually victimized by liberalism’s pet welfare class which would rather steal than work put a bullet in the head of pro-crime policies in the 90s. Now an alliance between a new generation of college activists and fringe libertarians is bringing them back.

And the results are as predictable as that of any other failed leftist social experiment.

While Bill de Blasio trots out his Progressive Contract with America as a platform for a possible presidential run, the bodies are piling up in the city’s tourist districts. The city’s finances are fueled by a real estate bubble and tourism that allowed it to go deep into debt on social services spending.

Bill de Blasio wants the social services spending without the public safety and the money. And that’s a ticket to Baltimore and Detroit.

Mayor Bloomberg had warned that one percent of the households pay 50 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent pays 71 percent of the taxes. The growth in violence is calculated to drive them out. And then the left can defeat the evil of gentrification and build housing projects everywhere just in time for the city to go bankrupt.

By then New York City’s Bill de Blasio may join former Baltimore’s Martin O’Malley in a race to succeed Chicago’s own Barack Obama in implementing the progressive disaster nationwide.

The winner will get to watch the country burn.

A generation after the policies of the left decisively went down in flames from Moscow to New York, radical progressives insist on digging them up and trying them all over again. The shuttered stores, loss of hope and dead bodies show how well their policies are working.

There’s room for debating how well anti-crime policies work, but there’s no doubt that pro-crime policies deliver swift and efficient results. Just take a walk in Freddie Gray’s old neighborhood. And try not to get shot.

On Free Trade Agreements

By Maury and Dog

Every once in a while, the US becomes involved in some kind of so-called free trade agreement with some other nations of the world. The current trade agreement is the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership. Several years ago there was great concern with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement involving Mexico, the United States, and Canada. What is a free trade agreement?

I guess my dictionary is outdated. I thought the US purports to use a capitalist economic system -- supposedly a competitive, free enterprise system of which free trade is one element. It seems to me that free trade is an oxymoron with the concept of formal trade agreements such as TPP or NAFTA. If there exists truly free trade among individuals, organizations, or nations, then why is there a need for formal, legal agreements? And if there is a North American Free trade Agreement with the US, Mexico, and Canada, then what kind of trade do we have with South America, or Europe, or Turkey? Do we have a NATFTA, North American and Turkey Free Trade Agreement? How does free trade exist under a formal trade agreement?

I don't get it. When is free free?

My Take - Maury asks a foundational question that needs to be asked repeatedly and answered often because history shows any deal struck by governments, for governments - it's never free. Do we think the tax code, which is written by government for the benefit of government, is "fair and equitable"? Of course not! There are all sorts of tax benefits for special interests, many times buried in sections that have nothing to do with that particular part of the tax code. There's a reason the tax code has 74,608 pages.

The words "free trade" are much like everything else defined by government - they're misnomers used to fool the public. Free trade agreements are in reality "managed trade agreements" that "serve special interests and big business, not citizens"! If it was otherwise why would there need to be an agreement?

Press Release 30/05/15

GWPF Calls On EU Leaders To Set Red Line for UN Climate Negotiations

Keynote Address at Solidarność Trade Union Conference


London, 30 May: Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, has called on European leaders to set a red line, threatening to withdraw its pledge to cut 40% of CO2 emissions by 2030 should the Paris climate conference fail to agree legally binding CO2 targets for all nations.

International negotiations are under way to reach an international agreement at the United Nations climate change summit in Paris later this year.

In a keynote address to the Solidarność Trade Union in Katowice, Poland on Friday, Dr Peiser said:

"Europe’s unilateral climate policies have become an existential threat to the long-term survival of Europe's energy-intensive industries.

The EU has agreed to offer to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 below the 1990 level, a conditional pledge that the European Council has agreed to review in light of the outcome of the Paris conference.

In the event that the Paris agreement fails to make its nationally determined mitigation pledges legally binding, the EU should abandon or at least delay making its own 40% pledge legally binding."



Benny Peiser: The Paris Climate Conference and Europe's Red Line

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bernie Sanders Answer to Childhood Hunger: Destroy Capitalism!

By Rich Kozlovich

Yesterday Michelle Malkin wrote an article entitled, "Bernie Sanders’ Foul Socialist Odor". She quotes Bernie Sanders saying: “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don’t think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on.”

Which Michelle points out must mean: “Our store shelves have too many different brands of deodorant and sneakers. Just look at all those horrible, fully stocked aisles at Target and Walgreens and Wal-Mart and Payless and DSW and Dick’s Sporting Goods. It’s a national nightmare! If only consumers had fewer choices in the free market, fewer entrepreneurs offering a wide variety of products and fewer workers manufacturing goods people wanted, Sanders believes, we could end childhood hunger.”

So Bernie’s solution is to end choice, pick the antiperspirant he decides is best or the shoes he approves of and then force the others out of business. And that will end childhood hunger? Did I get that right? Did I miss something? How do you conflate stopping body odor and foot wear to hunger? Make no mistake about this. A leftist will always find some way to include the concept - "It's for the children" - because that's such an emotional trigger people fail to look deeper into what they're really pursuing, which ends up doing things "to" the children, not "for" the children.

I know you’re going to say. “He’s just using that as an example of how out of touch the capitalists of the world are.”Okay…..well…..that was a really bad example! What it really demonstrates is how shallow is his thinking. Successful businesses don’t cause hunger - they provide jobs! Jobs provide the means for society to meet its needs, including buying the food needed to prevent hunger, which creates the incentive to grow all the food we need. And where exactly is all this hunger he’s talking about? The last time I looked the media claimed were all eating too much and we’re all getting fat. If anyone in America is going hungry it isn't because there isn't enough food.

What Bernie is really saying is if one person is suffering – even if that suffering is self induced – then everyone has to turn power over to him and his socialist friends and allow them to make all economic and moral decisions for everyone else. That’s exactly what the communists in Russia did in 1917 and their economy was always on the verge of collapse. If the west hadn’t kept propping them up economically they wouldn’t have lasted the 75 years they did.

Just ask all the ladies in the Soviet Union how many hours they stood in lines just to buy underwear. They could send men into space, but in 75 years they never were able to figure out how much underwear women needed. They advanced technologically and militarily – with a lot of help from German scientists –but they did it on the backs of their own people who suffered with chronic shortages of everything including food. Tens of millions of people all over Russia starved to death under the communist central planners. If anyone in a socialist state is going hungry it’s because there is no food. All caused by socialist central planners. Or perhaps Bernie and his leftist myrmidons think they starved because Russia was too focused on the manufacture of antiperspirants?

The U.S. advanced technologically and militarily – with a lot of help of German scientists – and Americans became a society that provided food in such abundance we sold it to the Russians, who had unending crop failures because of the incompetence of central planning socialists like Bernie. A fact they refused to accept. They refused to recognize people can’t be forced to work in a collective in the same way people will enthusiastically work when there are economic rewards they will receive as individuals. Capitalism! And yes….the businesses in America did build those businesses in spite of what the little communist in the White House says. A stunningly ignorant statement from a man who never had a job except in academia or politics. Neither of which are real jobs.

For clarities sake- communism is the left wing and fascism is the right wing of socialism, but they’re merely two sides of the same coin. Central planning all powerful elites trampling on the inalienable rights of humanity! To be a man of the left means you have to reject history and reality in favor of a utopian dream which has consistently been shown to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. We have approximately 225 years of history, since the French Revolution, that absolutely demonstrates socialist concepts doesn’t end hunger and want. It merely distributes the suffering all around. Unless of course you’re one of the central planners and then you can steal what you need from the capitalists until the capitalists run out of money! Then they steal from the people who are already suffering.

Leftists must truly be insane!

From Communists to Progressives, the Left's Takedown of Family and Marriage

By Paul Kengor

As the Supreme Court considers rendering unto itself the right to redefine marriage -- that is, to arrogate to itself something heretofore reserved to the laws of nature and nature’s God -- it’s a good time to have something that liberals always insist we have: a conversation. And given liberals’ constant calls for “tolerance” and “diversity,” they ought to be willing to sit back and join us in a civil, healthy dialogue.  To that end, I invite them to consider something so crucial and yet so neglected that I wrote a full book on it, released just in time for this national conversation on marriage. It’s titled, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and I sincerely wish liberals would lend it their professed toleration and open-mindedness.

Before I share my thesis, I should clarify my own stance......Read more.....

Declassified docs: Hillary aided rise of ISIS

Confirm reports of U.S. arming Middle East jihadists


More than 100 pages of previously classified Department of Defense and Department of State documents implicate the Obama administration in a cover-up to obscure the role Hillary Clinton and the State Department played in the rise of ISIS.  The documents were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Washington watchdog Judicial Watch.

They confirm WND reporting over the past three years of evidence that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was involved in shipping weapons from Benghazi to support the al-Qaida-affiliated militias fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, effectively arming the Sunni jihadists who morphed into ISIS.  The documents further confirm WND reporting that the goal of the terrorists behind the Benghazi attack that killed Stevens was to force the release of Omar Abdul Rahman, the “blind sheik” in U.S. prison serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and to avenge death of a prominent Libyan al-Qaida leader killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan.

“These documents are jaw-dropping,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.”…….Read more at.....

The Hillary Enigma

Posted by Alan Caruba @ Warning Signs

Does it strike anyone as strange that the only candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination to be the next President of the United States is the wife of a former President? There is no historic precedent for this, no way to measure this against how Americans have selected Presidents in the past.

Like most Americans, I first took notice of her when Bill began his campaign to become President. I recall being struck by the fact that in 1969 as a student at Wellesley College, her 92-page senior thesis was devoted to the community organizer, Saul Alinsky’s book. The title of the thesis was “There is Only the Fight…”: An Analysis of the Alinski Model.” She would request Wellesley to deny access to it.

Alinksy was a Communist. His twelve rules for radicals, unlike the Ten Commandments, are devoid of a moral message. Instead, the message is “this is how you can win.” Hillary would do well to review Rule 7, “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” She was already old news when she announced her candidacy and it is becoming older with every passing day as she fails to take questions from the media, participating in totally staged events to look like “one of the people.”

She and Bill are not one of the people. They, like the Bushes, are political royalty. They have both been around a very long time.

Hillary, however, despite the millions of words that have been written about and by her remains an enigma. Other than being farther to the Left than Bill, she is a woman whose “achievements” in life have largely been the result of having married Bill. She would spend eight years in the White House as the First Lady and, pursuing her college dreams of political power, they would move to New York State where she ran and won a Senatorial election.

There isn’t a single Senate bill that she introduced or that is credited to her. She is said to have worked hard and gotten along well with her colleagues, but her Senate years are a blur in her public life. Then she made a bid to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2008 and along came Barack Hussein Obama with whom the voters fell in love. When he was elected, he asked her to become his Secretary of State.

With the exception of the Benghazi tragedy on September 11, 2012, a clear failure of judgment and duty, and about which she lied, her years as Secretary of State reflect her years in the Senate; nothing of any significance resulted, no major treaties, no major anything, except for one more scandal.

So the question remains; who is Hillary Rodham Clinton? What are her fundamental principles beyond the acquisition of political power? And money. Lots of it while uttering nonsense such as she and Bill being “dead broke” when they left office?

What are we to make of her deletions of thousands of emails on her private server—something she was not supposed to use as Secretary of State—and her assertion that those we may never see were of no importance? They’re important if, as is widely believed, foreign governments hacked her private email server and thus had access to information about policies affecting themselves and others. She may not have broken a law, but she surely did not obey Obama White House policy regarding the emails.

Alinski’s Rule 1 is “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from two main sources—money and people.”

We are told that Hillary has a huge amount of money with which to wage a campaign to become the first woman President. In light of the revelations about the Clinton Foundations, virtual slush funds, and the millions earned by her and Bill to give speeches, there is little doubt of that.

You cannot, however, buy trust and the polls indicate that is seeping away.

Her die-hard supporters probably know as little about her as the rest of us, but it is their trust she is depending on right now. Should she actually receive the Democratic Party’s nomination, the distrust of independent voters, disaffected Democrats, and of course Republicans, will play a crucial role in who is elected in 2016. It is not likely to be Hillary Clinton.

It is not likely because, as we have already seen, she seems to have reached a point where her political abilities have grown tired and out-of-date. These are not the 1990s. A whole generation has been born since Bill was President.

Like her, the Democratic Party seems tired as well. Can you believe there is not another Democrat, a Governor or Senator who could emerge to represent the Party? How devoid of any real leadership has the Democratic Party become if the only candidate they can offer is a former First Lady? That has been her primary claim to fame despite the two offices she has held since the 1990s.

I suggest that Hillary ceases to be an enigma if you just think of the Wellesley student who thought the best topic for her senior thesis was the book by a dedicated Communist, Saul Alinsky.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

The real reason the EPA wants to regulate puddles and ditches

By Newsmachete

The EPA has promulgated rules to regulate waterways as small as potholes. The EPA is supposed to have authority over "navigable" waterways, ones deep enough for a boat to drive on. The theory behind the Clean Water Act of 1972 was that if a company on private property discharged pollution into a body of water that touched on other private properties, that was a harm that was being transmitted to other property owners, and thus it was justified to regulate what the property owner was putting into the water. This makes perfect sense, even from the perspective of private property rights…....for example, the government could regulate a dry stream bed, in addition to ditches of water.  What is really going on?......Read more…..
 
 

Destroy Capitalism, Save the Climate?

By Robert Ellison

In a recent article by prominent academics, "Climate models and precautionary measures," it is contended that the climate debate is about the accuracy or otherwise of climate models. Those who believe in climate models argue for specific – but unspecified – policy. Those who hold models to be inaccurate believe that there is no proof of harm sufficient to warrant action.

The chain of reasoning breaks at the very first link. Models are known without a doubt to be inaccurate. It is called "irreducible imprecision" and has been known about since Edward Lorenz plied his convection models in the 1960s. Models can have slightly different starting points as a result of uncertainty in inputs. Many solutions are thus possible, for a single model, that diverge exponentially over the calculation period.   Irreducible imprecision is shown in the diagram below.
 
 
It is from a paper by Julia Slingo, head of the British Met Office, and Tim Palmer, head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecasting.  It is quite demonstrable math, but mention this on any global warming blog, and the inhabitants will exhibit severe agitation and fear and loathing as cognitive dissonance kicks in……Read More……

Rev. Al Sharpton wishes climate control or his god on Texas

By Ethel C. Fenig

What's a man accustomed to the limelight going to do when there is no limelight? That's the oh so sad plight of the man of some god, Rev. Al Sharpton. A violent Memorial Day weekend across the country where, sadly, many black civilians didn't act as if #blacklivesmatter deprived him of the limelight of trumped up civil rights abuse charges. His daughter decided to sue the city of New York after she tripped on an uneven public sidewalk, claiming she now has permanent injuries with a diminished quality of life. But then pictures were posted of her happily hiking in exotic places after this disastrous event surfaced. Whoops! And there is that matter of those substantial back taxes Sharpton owes.   So in desperation Sharpton pulled on a distraction limelight, capitalizing on the tragic flooding in Texas…..Read more…..

The real climate threat to our national security

National security, the Seattle oil rig, hypocrisy, and Greenpeace’s dirty money

Ron Arnold

President Obama had it all wrong in his recent commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He warned that climate change “deniers” endanger our national security – insisting that denial “undermines the readiness of our forces.”

In fact, climate change true believers are the real threat to our national security. That includes the notorious Seattle mob of Greenpeace “kayaktivists” who were recently paddling around Puget Sound, in kayaks made from petroleum, trying to stop Shell Oil’s Polar Pioneer Arctic drilling rig from making a layover at the Port of Seattle to gear up for Alaskan waters.

When thwarted by the Coast Guard’s 500-foot no-approach cordon, the Greenpeace canoe crowd left the harbor and took to the streets, where they blocked supplier access to the rig until city police dispersed them.

These angry picketers are the threat. They undermine America’s share of the Arctic Ocean’s estimated 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of its oil reserves. That fuel could power the military as well as civilians.

How can slogan shouters endanger America’s national security when their targets are civilian oil rigs? Shell’s rigs will draw needed attention to the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in an ocean filling with Russia’s growing Arctic supremacy. This month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a Senate appropriations committee hearing that the U.S. military Arctic defense policy is falling short.

The United States lacks ships able to operate in or near Arctic ice. We have only two medium icebreakers, one of which is nearly a decade past pull date. Russia has 40 big icecap-crunchers, 25 of them nuclear-powered, including one battleship-size beast ominously named 50 Years of Victory (but it takes tourists to the North Pole for 15-day cruises at $30,000 and up).

Our entire Alaskan Arctic coast has no U.S. military base, not one. Russian jets make nearly monthly incursions to the Air Defense Identification Zones off the coast of Alaska. Interceptors have to fly to the north coast from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks (500 miles) or all the way from Elemendorf AFB in Anchorage (725 miles).

President Putin strategically laid claim to great swaths of Arctic oil and gas with deployed rigs. He has activated the Northern Fleet – two-thirds of the entire Russian Navy – as a strategic military command. And he has assigned a 6,000-soldier Russian Arctic warfare unit to the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, with next generation fighter aircraft in addition to advanced S400 Triumf anti-aircraft systems. An Arctic military reconnaissance drone base 420 miles off mainland Alaska is operational.

In February, President Obama seemed to have adopted the Greenpeace strategy of roll over and play dead, when he stripped Alaska of vast stores of its oil and gas wealth, by reducing offshore drilling and declaring most of the 19.6-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off limits to oil production. Yet his administration approved a conditional permit for Shell’s Arctic oil exploration.

The United States “may be 40 years behind” Russia, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski told Defense Secretary Carter. This spring, the U.S. Northern Command is supposed to release a report that is expected to militarize the existing 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. However, according to the strategy, as reported by Foreign Policy Journal, “the Navy’s role will primarily be in support of search and rescue, law enforcement, and civil support operations.”

Shell’s oil rigs provide peaceful reasons for our warships and planes to patrol the Arctic in counterbalance to Russia. Carter told Murkowski, “The Arctic is going to be a major area of importance to the United States strategically and economically to the future.”

Research by Chicago-area Heartland Institute found a secret beneath Greenpeace’s anti-oil ruckus: it is funded by oil-drenched millions from investments in ExxonMobil, Chevron, PetroChina and dozens of other fossil fuel firms, ironically including shares of Royal Dutch Shell, owner of the rig docked in Seattle.

According to Foundation Search, the top Greenpeace donor is the leftist-run David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which paid them a total of $2,146,690 since 2000. The deceased electronics mogul’s foundation managers boast 2013 assets of $6.9 billion.

They have invested enormous working capital into Anadarko Petroleum, Apache Corporation, Arch Coal, Carrizo Oil and Gas, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Devon Energy, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Phillips66, Questar, Tesoro, Valero Energy, World Fuel Service (a defendant in lawsuits over the 2013 oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec that killed 47 people), and many others. They pay Greenpeace from the profits.

Second-ranked Greenpeace donor is the leftist-funding Arcus Foundation, which gave the Rainbow Warrior security threats $1,055,651 since 2007. Established by ultra-green billionaire Jon Stryker, Arcus’ 2013 assets totaled $169,472,585 – with working capital injected into China Petroleum, ExxonMobil, PetroChina, Royal Dutch Shell and TransCanada (the “tar” sands pipeline company). It also paid Greenpeace from its fossil fuel profits.

The list of foundations giving oil profits to Greenpeace goes on and on – and Greenpeace goes on and on hypocritically taking those oil profits to undermine America’s real energy future.

This cabal could redeem itself instantly: they could just stop using any fossil fuels right now.

Ron Arnold is Executive Vice President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller.

Queen’s Speech 2015: UK Energy Bill To Boost Oil And Gas Production

Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation Reports
OPEC Concede Defeat In Anti-Shale War

The UK aims to maximize domestic oil and gas production and curb the spread of onshore wind farms as the government leans toward maintaining energy security over cutting carbon emissions. The measures form part of an Energy Bill announced by Queen Elizabeth II in a speech to Parliament in London on Wednesday that outlines the first legislative program of Prime Minister David Cameron’s majority Conservative government. --Bloomberg, 27 May 2015

The North American oil boom is proving resilient despite low oil prices, producer group OPEC said in its biggest and most detailed report this year, suggesting the global oil glut could persist for another two years. A draft report of OPEC’s long-term strategy, seen by Reuters ahead of the cartel’s policy meeting in Vienna next week, forecast crude supply from rival non-OPEC producers would grow at least until 2017. It also said that since 1990, most of the forecasts concerning future non-OPEC oil supply have been pessimistic and often erroneous. --Reuters, 28 May 2015

For months Saudi Arabia was cagey about its oil strategy. The kingdom claimed its decision not to cut production and stop the slide in prices was solely about letting the oil market reset itself. That charade is over. The Saudis now openly boast that their strategy to let oil prices collapse was an attempt to kill U.S. shale production. Citing the nearly 60% drop in the U.S. oil rig count since October and the slowing of U.S. oil production, they are claiming a brilliant triumph. But rather than kill the U.S. shale revolution, the Saudis have only made it more resilient, sped up its rate of technological innovation and capped oil prices for at least a half-decade or more. --Mark Perry, Investor's Business Daily, 26 May 2015

Note to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s country, the United States is poised to begin exporting huge amounts of liquefied natural gas produced from shale fracking. It will obviously pose a significant threat to Russia's dominance in the European gas market. This may be a direct result of the Russian invasion of Crimea and its continued interference in Ukraine. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first exports may be shipped overseas as early as this year. --Dwight L Schwab Jr, The Examiner, 26 May 2015

A new study, by scientists from the University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre (NOC), implies that the global climate is on the verge of broad-scale change that could last for a number of decades. Since this new climatic phase could be half a degree cooler, it may well offer a brief reprise from the rise of global temperatures, as well as resulting in fewer hurricanes hitting the United States. --University of Southampton, 27 May 2015

Harper’s climate pledge is hot air

Canada has no way to ensure that developing nations keep their commitments

Tom Harris

In announcing the Stephen Harper government’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets earlier this month, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Canada will “work with our international partners to establish an international agreement in Paris that includes meaningful and transparent commitments from all major emitters.”

But Canadians are being tricked.

Any GHG emission reduction pledges made by developing countries in Paris later this year will almost certainly not be enforced.

Written in bureaucratese, the convoluted first sentence in last December’s “Lima Call for Climate Action,” the United Nations’ last major climate change agreement, indicated exactly that.

It reads: “The Conference of the Parties, Reiterating that the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) shall be under the Convention and guided by its principles...”

The ADP is the group of back room negotiators who are drafting the text for the big climate deal to be signed in Paris in December.

The “Convention” refers to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and hundreds of other world leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

And the ADP’s work will adhere to the UNFCCC, including its critical Article 4: “The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.”

Translated, this means that, under any treaty based on the UNFCCC (which all UN climate agreements are), developing countries will keep their emission reduction commitments only if we in the developed world pay them enough and give them enough of our technology.

Also implied in the article is that, even if we give them everything we promise, developing countries may simply forget about their GHG targets if they interfere with their “first and overriding priorities” of “economic and social development and poverty eradication.”

Developed nations like Canada, on the other hand, do not have this option. We must keep our emission reduction commitments no matter how severely it impacts our economies.

It is not as if the UN has been hiding this “firewall” between developing and developed nations.

It has told us repeatedly in UN climate change agreements in Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and Lima that, “development and poverty eradication,” not emission reduction, takes top billing for developing countries.

Actions to significantly reduce GHG emissions would entail dramatically cutting back on the use of coal, the source of 81% of China’s electricity and 71% of India’s.

As coal is by far the least expensive source of electric power in most of the world, reducing GHG emissions by restricting coal use would unquestionably interfere with development priorities.

So, developing countries simply won’t do it, citing the UNFCCC in support of their actions.

Some commentators have speculated that tougher requirements will be imposed by the UN on poor nations over time as they develop.

The only way this can happen is if there are substantial revisions to the UNFCCC treaty.

China, India and other developing countries have clearly indicated that they will not allow this to happen any time soon.

Chinese negotiator Su Wei summed up the stance of developing nations when he explained that the purpose of the Paris agreement is to “reinforce and enhance” the 1992 convention, not rewrite it.

Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in part because it lacked legally binding GHG targets for developing countries.

So why is the Harper government supporting a process that will result in our country being stuck in another Kyoto?

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition, which challenges the hypothesis that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities are known to cause climate problems. This article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun.