Search This Blog

De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Monday, April 30, 2012

China Today

By Rich Kozlovich

Over the last few months I have been paying more than the usual attention to what has been going on in China, and to be honest, I have had trouble sorting it all out. Normally the patterns in life keep repeating, but the China paradigm has been difficult for me to see.

China has unique problems that most of the rest of the world doesn’t understand. First, they have a huge population (which India may soon overtake), a totalitarian government committed to unending growth, even to the point of building cities that are vacant, a banking system that has serious problems that may soon erupt, huge funding going to building up a massive military machine, and a population that is questioning the validity of a communist party run society.

The country is huge, but most of it isn't well inhabited because so much is mountainous, semi-desert or desert. That means that most of that huge population of one billion plus is living in an area about the size of everything east of the Mississippi River in the U.S.

Due to their insane rules on how many children a family can have, girls are aborted way more than boys. The end result is that there aren't enough girls to go around. Having thousands of deprived unhappy young men isn't a basis for a stable society.

Finally after reading all these ‘China’ experts I have found an article that clarifies this whole thing…for me at least. Please enjoy!

Four Shocks That Could Change China
By Paul Roderick Gregory

In the past four months, the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has experienced four shocks that could materially affect, if not eventually end, its “leading role” in Chinese society.

First, on December 13 of last year, a mob of villagers forced out local party leaders and the police and took control of the town of Wukan. Enraged by illegal land grabs and police brutality, the villagers installed their own representatives after gaining concessions from national authorities. The Wukan uprising is symbolic of the two hundred thousand mass protests reported for 2010.

Second, on February 27, a key government think tank issued its China 2030 report in conjunction with the World Bank. Rapid growth could only be sustained, the report argued, by giving free rein to the private sector and ending the preferential treatment of the state economy: The role of the government “needs to change fundamentally” from running the state sector to creating a rule of law and the other accoutrements of a market economy. A month later (on March 28), the state council approved a financial reform pilot experiment to legalize private financial institutions and allow private citizens to invest abroad.

China 2030 is an open warning that China’s vaunted state capitalism model cannot sustain growth and usher China to the next level. A faltering economy would pose an imminent threat to the CPC’s claim to its leading role........

Zone of Reality: Castro Notes

This appeared on January 1, 2009

Cuban Stalinism at 50--and the Media Lies Continue
By Humberto Fontova

"Cuban mothers let me assure you that I will solve all Cuba's problems without spilling a drop of blood." Upon entering Havana on January 7, 1959, Cuba's new leader Fidel Castro broadcast that promise into a phalanx of microphones. As the jubilant crowd erupted with joy, Castro continued. “Cuban mothers let me assure you that because of me you will never have to cry."

The following day, just below San Juan Hill in eastern Cuba, a bulldozer rumbled to a start, clanked into position, and started pushing dirt into a huge pit with blood pooling at the bottom from the still-twitching bodies of more than a hundred men and boys who'd been machine-gunned without trial on the Castro brothers' orders. Their wives and mothers wept hysterically from a nearby road. On that very day, the U.K. Observer ran the following headline: "Mr. Castro's bearded, youthful figure has become a symbol of Latin America's rejection of brutality and lying. Every sign is that he will reject personal rule and violence."


Stuff You Didn't See On The News


De Omnibus Dubitandum!
We need to question everything because everything we are told
 should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality!

South Asia’s Arms Race Heats Up
by Eric Margolis

India just launched what the media called its "first intercontinental ballistic missile." India did indeed launch a new, 5,000 km-ranged Agni-V missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to Beijing and Shanghai. Previously, India’s 3,500-km Agni-III did not have the range to hit China’s major coastal cities. But Agni-V is not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), as wrongly reported. Nor was the missile North Korea launched on 15 April that fell apart soon after liftoff. Some media wrongly claimed it was an ICBM that could hit the United States. One longs for the days when media employed real war correspondents who understood military affairs. …..

Today, India has become the world’s largest importer of arms. India’s navy is to deploy three aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles, a powerful air force, and armed forces of 1.3 million. India has long land and maritime frontiers and needs large, well-equipped military forces.   India and China have long been locked in an arms race, though neither will admit it. China holds a lead over India in modernized armed forces, but India is catching up. India is deeply concerned over China’s land, air and missile forces on the Tibetan Plateau overlooking the plains of India, and by China’s development of blue water naval forces that are edging into the Indian Ocean.

Agenda 21: Arizona close to passing anti-UN-sustainability bill
By Jim Gold,

Arizona lawmakers appear close to sending to Gov. Jan Brewer a tea party-backed bill that proponents say would stop a United Nations takeover conspiracy but that critics claim could end state and cities’ pollution-fighting efforts and even dismantle the state unemployment office. A final legislative vote is expected Monday on a bill that would outlaw government support of any of the 27 principles contained in the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, also sometimes referred to as Agenda 21.

My Take This is from MSNBC so you know it clearly is against such actions, but this is a good start that hopefully will spread to the rest of the states.

Does global warming cause extreme weather?
By Howard Richman and Raymond Richman

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory supporters are in the midst of a big propaganda campaign leading to a global "Connect the Dots" day on May 5. Their goal is to convince the public that recent extreme weather events are due to global warming and that global warming is man-made.
They are preparing public opinion for the huge economic sacrifice involved in curbing carbon dioxide emissions, a process which they will demand at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development from June 20 through 22.

So far, their propaganda campaign has been succeeding. In fact, the New York Times reported on April 17 ("In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change") that the public now believes stuff that the scientists who adhere to AGW theory don't even claim to be true:….. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has been largely hiding from the public the actual cause of recent extreme weather events -- big amplitude swings in the jet stream. In an April 2 YouTube video (click here to see it), British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn explains why severe weather occurs regularly every 60 years, plus or minus 5 years:

Green Energy Girds For Dark Times As Subsidies Expire

A red light is flashing for the green energy business. After a three-year boom, the outlook for wind, solar and other renewable energy companies has turned sharply negative. The tax credits, grants, loans and other subsidies that sparked the growth of these technologies are shrinking fast. It has been called a "subsidy cliff." The question now is who will fall and who will fly. Green power skeptics say most businesses in this sector are not ready to face the market on their own. "They're basically going to disappear," said economist Benjamin Zycher, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "They're woefully uneconomical."

In Mexico, 3 Gangs Battle for Control of Pacific State
Written by Patrick Corcoran

Mexican authorities say that three different groups are currently fighting over Michoacan -- this could mean the state will see a lengthy, destabilizing conflict in which no group is able to vanquish the others. According to the state’s Department of Public Security (SSP, for its initials in Spanish), the three gangs seeking to control the prized Pacific region are the Familia Michoacana, their spin-off the Caballeros Templarios, and the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG, for its initials in Spanish). Fighting between these groups was blamed for an outbreak of killings earlier this month, including the discovery of seven bodies, with signs of torture, in Lazaro Cardenas.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nothing of Value

By Rich Kozlovich

I keep marveling at the depth of information that is available on every conceivable subject that is missed by the media; and that includes Fox News. Did I say missed? Foolish me; perhaps I should use the correct term…."ignored"!

I had a conversation with a friend of mine Saturday who commented that all of his friends think that what we need to do is tax the rich. I went on a bit of a rant about how incredibly stupid this was, and explained to him the reality of numbers; as in who is actually paying all the taxes right now; that we now have approximately 47% of the population that pays no federal income tax ; that we now have more people on the public dole (in some form or another) than pay taxes; along with a short dissertation about the Great Depression and whose fault it really was and why. Stuff he had never before heard. Why was he unaware of all of this? Why isn't this on all the news channels?

What is most fascinating to me is that he and all of his friends live conservative lives. They go to work, they marry, they have children, they educate them and they pay their bills and mortgages. So why do they live conservative lives, raise their children to live conservative lives, and then support or promote liberal policies? Why don’t these people preach what they practice?

When shows like The Five become overnight successes it demonstrates to me that Fox is almost as worthless as NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and all the other talking head news shows, not quite as bad, but bad enough. So whose fault is that? It is the public's fault. When the public starts watching shows on Fox like the Wall Street Journal Report, which has intelligent insightful discussion devoid of interruptions and snide remarks, things will change.

Does anyone think that is going to happen any time soon? I certainly don’t think so. Why do I say that? Did you ever notice the magazine rack at the grocery store checkout line? In years gone by it was loaded with rags that touted such nonsense as 'fish boy' and 'children of aliens' stories. Then there were the more 'main stream' rags that 'exposed' indiscretions by famous people that never happened.

Most of them are gone or have had a serious drop in readership. Why? Are we to assume that people are more intelligent, more sophisticated, more serious minded; or are we to assume that they can use the internet instead? I support the latter explanation, not to mention that we now have ‘reality’ shows on television making sleazy people rich and famous by being sleazy.

I have seen snippets of all of these shows and I am so embarrassed for them that I can’t stand more than a few minutes. Try watching “Mob Wives” for more than a few minutes. That is even more unbearable than the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. Can these people be described as anything other than foul mouthed ignorant people publically exposing their lack of decency? The rest are almost as bad, but I think these two stand out as the most obnoxious examples. So what exactly is it that the pubic really wants? Is it depth of insight, knowledge and understanding people crave? Since it is meanness, meaninglessness and shallowness that is rewarded; that must be what they crave!

In days gone by this would have never been allowed by the networks, or tolerated by the public. Today it is entertainment… big time entertainment. We no longer have a moral compass as a society. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong; everything is painted in a gray shallowness. When that happens then everything is right and everything is wrong, depending on the latest philosophical flavor of the day. When that happens society will fall for anything because there are no stable values! When traditional values are abandoned we are left with nothing of value and we eventually will lose everything.

As for right now; we have lost our minds! It won’t be long before all else follows.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Forget Homeland Security, Now It's About "Environmental Justice"

By Alan Caruba
This appeared here on Alan's Blog, Warning Signs. I want to thank Alan for giving me permission to republish his works.  You may wish to go the right hand column of this blog to Caruba's Corner, Green Myths and Other Lies, to review a series of articles by Alan.  Alan's articles are timeless; even though many go back to 2007 they still work well today. RK
It is the nature of any government to seek to expand its authority. The Founding Fathers knew this and gifted Americans with a Constitution that limits authority devolving it to the states and to “the people.” Read the Tenth Amendment. It isn’t working.

The freedoms they sought to establish and preserve for future generations are being eaten away and we tend only to hear about in individual cases when, in fact, it is so widespread we accept the injustices, the inefficiencies, and the enslavement in increments.

After 9/11 it was clear that some reorganization was needed to ensure that various enforcement and other agencies could communicate and coordinate more effectively in order to wage “a war on terror.” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created. The sheer size of it should have been a warning.

One of its siblings was the Transportation Security Administration that currently makes taking a flight anywhere a nightmare of intrusive groping and, because one failed bomber used explosive in his shoes, everyone now must remove theirs to get on a flight.

Fifty-seven years ago, the State of New Jersey issued me my first driver’s license. For years all one needed to do was renew by mail, but after 9/11, it was decided that every license had to include a photo. A very high tech license resulted, but it also means that, if you live in New Jersey, every four years you are going to spend a minimum of two hours in your nearest motor vehicle agency standing in line and sitting around for your number to be called in order to renew.

You need bring several documents with you such as a passport, birth certificate, and Medicare card. Just one won’t do. Even though I already have a license with a photo (it was on record at the agency so there was no need for a new photo), I still had to personally prove I am who I am to receive a renewed license. In an age of computerized records of birth and residence, the whole process struck me as overkill.

After December 1, 2012, New Jersey will join eight other States to issue a driver’s license with a gold star in the upper right corner. Without it, I will not be allowed to board a domestic flight or visit a federal building. Do I feel any more secure? Not really. In fact, what I really feel is the tightening grip of the federal and state government on my freedom to drive my car, get on an airplane, or legitimately enter a building in which the work of the federal government is being conducted. This is less about security and far more about authoritarian control.

Environmental Justice

I tell you this because I doubt you are aware that the Department of Homeland Security has added a whole new layer of authority to its portfolio. You thought it was about protecting the nation against acts of terrorism. Now it is about enforcing “environmental justice.”

The DHS has added
Green Police to its concerns and, if you think this has nothing whatever to do with some jihadists trying to kill a lot of people as was the case on 9/11, you would be right.

According to a DHS report entitled “Environmental Justice Strategy”, issued February 2012, it is a “commitment of the Federal Government, through its policies, programs, and activities, to avoid placing disproportionately high and adverse effects on the human health and environment of minority or low-income populations.”

This has NOTHING to do with homeland security by the wildest stretch of the imagination and yet it is, according to DHS, federal policy. It gets its authority from Executive Order 12898 and this is the way government expands and expands and expands beyond what citizens expect or request.

The results are always predictable. Ordinary people who just want to be left alone discover that the government has defined the ownership of their land and property as a criminal act.

Chantell and Mike Sackett found themselves locked into battle with the Environmental Protection Agency that had decided their land was a wetland, they battled the EPA all the way to the Supreme Court which granted them a unanimous decision in their favor on March 12th of this year. This kind of “law enforcement” by the EPA has been common over the years, but Congress has done little to rein in its typical bullying tactics.

Now add to the EPA, the Homeland Security Department with its own Green Police empowered to protect “minority and low-income populations.” This is a deliberate effort to divide Americans from one another, inspiring racial and class warfare. It is a vast reinterpretation of its responsibilities and authority.

Welcome to the Soviet Union of America or the National Socialist States of America.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

France This Week


De Omnibus Dubitandum!
We need to question everything because everything we are told
 should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality!

France’s Far Right Climbs Out of the Shadows
by Eric Margolis

Editor's Note:  I found this after my original post.  Because I  found this analysis compelling I have added this link at the beginning of the original post.  RK

It wasn’t another French Revolution, but the dramatic showing of France’s far right in last week’s presidential election was a bombshell that left France shaken and Europe confused and alarmed. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party won 18% of the vote in the first round presidential election in which ten candidates competed. Nine were from either left or right, and only one a self-professed centrist. In France, the center has all but vanished.

Can Socialism Fix France?
Will Marshall

When Republicans call President Obama a 'socialist,' it says more about their lunge to the right than Obama's policies. Besides, if they want to see what a real socialist looks like, they should turn to a country they love to hate: France.  Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party leader, has a substantial lead over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy heading toward their second round showdown on May 6, and stands a good chance of becoming France's first Socialist President in 17 years.  As Reds go, Hollande is not especially menacing – 'bland' is how he's usually described. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the gruff socialist from Vermont, is scarier.  But bland is what the French seem to want after Sarkozy, who is widely reviled as a vain and vulgar celebrity-president with a trophy wife – a Gallic Donald Trump. Hollande promises to be 'Mr. Normal' and restore dignity in the Elysée Palace.

By Christopher Caldwell

The French prefer “tenacity” to “cooperation” by a measure of 51-44 percent, according to a poll about political attitudes published this election season. By 57-41 percent they like “hard work and courage” better than “social justice and solidarity.” Such attitudes have not been widespread in France since the war. On Friday, Dominique de Villepin, the foreign minister who led France out of the Iraq war coalition in 2003, professed himself “frightened” of France’s right-wingers. As Attorney General John Mitchell said of the United States in 1970, This country’s going so far to the right youre not even going to recognize it.”

An Analysis By Wolfgang Kaden

François Hollande is predicted to win France's presidential election, but his victory could endanger the euro zone's carefully negotiated fiscal pact. He also wants to water down the European Central Bank's statutes, forcing it to lend more to promote economic growth. But his plans would do little more than borrow time -- and they could be very dangerous for Germany.  The whole ghastly process is now set in motion. Not just for Chancellor Angela Merkel, but also for anyone who still had a modicum of hope that the worst of Europe's debt crisis had already been overcome.  The opinion pollsters were right -- François Hollande won the first round of the French presidential election last Sunday. According to all the polls, he will also win the runoff vote on May 6. If he wins, he would become the second Socialist president of the Fifth Republic, following in the footsteps of François Mitterrand.

My TakeAre you prepared for the Sixth Republic?  It is interesting that the French Revolution was in stark contrast to the American Revolution….which I might add was a huge inspiration for the French.  The trouble with the French revolution was that it strove for utopia imposed from the top.  Socialism is a failure.  It has been a failure everywhere it has been tried.  It cannot be anything but a failure because it isn’t based on individual rights.  Socialism is a system based on envy and hate.  It is a system based on equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.  Is it any wonder that they are on their Fifth Republic?  Can the Sixth be that far away?  Yet America is still on it’s first Republic.  So why do we listen to people who claim Americanism should give way to European socialism?  Oh Wait…. I know ….  I know!  Misery loves company.

Will Hollande Really Wage War on Finance?
By  Gwynne Dyer

"My true adversary does not have a name, a face or a party," said Francois Hollande, France's next president. "He never puts forth his candidacy, but nevertheless he governs. My true adversary is the world of finance."  No other leader of a major power would dare say such a thing. If Hollande, who will be France's first Socialist president in 17 years, simply defies "the markets", they will certainly punish him and France severely. However, it remains to be seen how he plays his hand.  Hollande has one hurdle to cross before he is president-elect, but he beat President, Nicolas Sarkozy even in the first round of voting last Sunday, when 10 candidates were running. In the runoff vote May 6, the polls predict that he will trounce Sarkozy by a margin of 14 to 16 percent.

In France, conditions appear to be set for a rout that - relatively speaking - bears a triple similitude with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Except that, this time, the scene takes place, not on the military-geopolitical ground, but in the realm of finance, and for that matter of the economy in general.  First similitude: in both cases there exists a gulf between, on the one hand, the illusions fostered by the ruling class and, on the other, the world as it actually is.  Indeed, just as Napoleon's France tried to impose her geopolitical pretensions upon the whole Europe even at the twilight of her power, so too a good tranche of today's political establishment in France keeps the public opinion under the illusion that a France with a shrinking weight in the world economy can maintain alive a profligate Welfare State that is seriously impairing the country's competitiveness and finances.


China This Week


De Omnibus Dubitandum!
We need to question everything because everything we are told
 should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality!

China-Philippines Standoff: David And Goliath Both Stumble In Island Dispute

Op-Ed: The Philippines has overreacted in the ongoing dispute between Manila and Beijing, looking to build a regional coalition against China in claims over territory in the South China Sea. Still, Beijing must learn to manage the "small powers" in a smarter way.

By Patrick M. Cronin  

THIS month’s maritime standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea isn’t the first time the region’s navies have gone toe-to-toe. But while past tensions revolved around resources under the ocean floor, this most recent event is part of a growing strategic rivalry pitting Chinese power against the United States and its East Asian allies. How Washington responds may determine the prospects for continued peace in the Pacific.   The latest crisis arose after the pocket-size Philippine Navy, with an old United States Coast Guard cutter as its new flagship, tried to apprehend Chinese fishermen it claimed were operating illegally near the Scarborough Shoal. China then sent two surveillance vessels — part of a recent effort to protect its claims in the East and South China Seas — to block the Philippine ship.

The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, but it will confront difficult challenges between now and 2025 that could greatly affect its future. In The China Challenge: Military, Economic and Energy Choices Facing the U.S.-Japan Alliance, released in advance of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s visit to the United States, Dr. Patrick Cronin, Paul Giarra, Zachary Hosford and Daniel Katz argue that the United States and Japan must address a host of defense, economic and energy security issues over the next decade if the alliance is to maintain its power as China continues to rise.
The authors conclude that “Whether a powerful U.S.-Japan alliance will endure into the next decade and beyond chiefly depends on how well Washington and Tokyo deal with major military, economic and energy challenges. Although each dimension of power is complex, basic policy choices will require coming to grips with the challenge and opportunity posed by a rising China."

By Robert D. Kaplan

As the world moves into the second decade of the 21st century, a new power rivalry is taking shape between India and China, Asia's two behemoths in terms of territory, population and richness of civilization. India's recent successful launch of a long-range missile able to hit Beijing and Shanghai with nuclear weapons is the latest sign of this development.  This is a rivalry born completely of high-tech geopolitics, creating a core dichotomy between two powers whose own geographical expansion patterns throughout history have rarely overlapped or interacted with each other. Despite the limited war fought between the two countries on their Himalayan border 50 years ago, this competition has relatively little long-standing historical or ethnic animosity behind it….Because India's population will surpass that of China in 2030 or so, even as India's population will get gray at a slower rate than that of China, India may in relative terms have a brighter future. As inefficient as India's democratic system is, it does not face a fundamental problem of legitimacy like China's authoritarian system very well might.

The Bo Xilai saga of power, wealth, corruption, and murder has brought the issue of China’s princelings (offspring of Communist Party’s leaders) to the top of international discourse on China. But Bo's privileged rise is not the norm for the contemporary Communist Party.  Three underlying assumptions about the princelings drive the noisy speculations about Chinese politics by many mainstream commentators: The princelings form a powerful interest group, akin to a political aristocracy, that exerts decisive influence on China’s political system; their corruption is enormous and sapping away China’s national strength; and their privileges of birth are so vast that they are undermining the party’s legitimacy and destabilizing Chinese society as a whole.  Such assumptions are disconnected from reality and need to be debunked.

My Take – I mostly think this is a lot of spin, much like those offspring of famous actors who became famous actors themselves, all the while claiming that it was a lot harder to have success in Hollywood because they had a famous parent.  Baloney! They had the contacts and an understanding of the business.  I don’t have a problem with that, I just hate it that they won’t admit that they got where they are because of nepotism…and the same is true in China.  Why do I say that?  Because people are people; and people do the same things other people have done all throughout the history of all peoples…..everywhere!

As Beijing prepares for a once-in-a-decade change of leadership, the ouster of Bo Xilai and a series of significant financial reforms have been widely seen as signs that reformist elements within the Chinese government are in the ascendency. This analysis may be correct, but it needs to be tempered with a broader look at the Chinese political and policy landscape, which shows that reforms still lag in multiple key areas and that progressive signals are so far limited to the financial sector. The position of the army, a key political constituent, also remains unclear.  The political intrigue surrounding the removal of Bo from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the arrest of his wife on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a British businessman has captivated the global media. As significant, it has been accompanied by a series of encouraging and previously delayed financial market reforms that point to a more progressive position emerging in government.
By Rich Lowry

China-envying New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman likes to muse about how wonderful it would be if the United States could be like China for a day.
The scandal engulfing former rising star Bo Xilai, the cashiered Communist Party boss of the city of Chongqing, suggests how this magical day might go down.  A popular governor who rose to prominence based on his anti-corruption campaign while illicitly enriching himself would fall from grace. His wife would be accused of murdering a foreign businessman. His security chief, whom he relied upon to run an extensive spying operation on potential foes, would seek asylum at a foreign consulate, fearing for his life. State and federal security forces would have a standoff outside the consulate. The entire nation would become obsessed with the case, but the government would prevent anyone from searching the Internet for information about it. Everyone would assume that the government would control the political fallout by arranging a nice show trial for the disgraced governor.

In September 2010, after Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters in the East China Sea, Beijing allegedly retaliated by holding back shipments to Tokyo of rare earths, a group of 17 elements used in high-tech products. Arcane names such as cerium, dysprosium, and lanthanum -- elements that populate the bottom of the periodic table and whose unique properties make them ideal materials in the batteries that power iPhones and electric vehicles -- suddenly commanded global attention. It mattered little whether Beijing actually carried through with the threat (reports are murky), the damage was already done: The world had awoken to the fact that overreliance on China for rare-earths supplies could put the international high-tech supply chain at risk. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

With Our Own Values They Destroy Us: Part XV

To follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream.....

Ryan Houck is the executive director of, a project of Americans for Limited Government. His column was inspired by Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” published in 1964 and 1996.

Zone of Reality: Castro Notes

This appeared on January 4, 2009

'Dictators' to the Right of me, 'Presidents' to the Left
By Humberto Fontova

From the AP to Reuters and from the New York Times to the Washington Post the MSM stories on the Cuban Revolution” 50th anniversary all mention a “dictator”-- but his name is Batista. The Castro brothers invariably appear as “Presidents.” Fidel Castro has ruled (unelected) longer than Hitler and Stalin combined and mandates what his subjects, read, say, earn, eat (both substance and amount), where they live, travel or work. No matter. He's a “president”

You will search these stories in utter vain for any mention of mass-murder and jailings or torture—on the part of the Castros that is. Yet mass-repression started on day one of the Castroite triumph and kicked into highest gear in the mid 60's, precisely at the apex of the Castro/Che popularity with western politicians, celebrities and “intellectuals.”

In April 1959, three months after his triumph, Castro toured the US to thunderous acclaim. At the time of his delirious, deafening, foot-stomping receptions at Harvard Law School and the National Press Club (most of whose members oppose capital punishment), his firing squads had slaughtered 1,168 men -- and boys, some as young as 15.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zone of Reality: Castro Notes

This appeared on January 14, 2009.

A Bailout for Castro Too?
By Humberto Fontova

The U.S. taxpayer remains among the few in the industrialized world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. But fear not! Most "analysts" see Obama moving quickly to rectify this shameful state of affairs, by scrapping his country's obnoxious (to liberals and foreigners) penchant for "unilateralism" in foreign policy. "Will Obama Shift Policy on Cuba?" pants a recent BBC headline. After all, as the AP reported from the Latin American summit in Brazil last month: "Latin America leaders demand (italics mine) U.S. end Cuba embargo." And as the Russian News Agency, Novosti, reported back in October: "UN General Assembly demands (italics mine again) U.S. lift embargo on Cuba." Needless to say, MSM commentary overwhelmingly supports these "demands." U.S. policymakers must immediately take heed of these "demands," from those more internationally sophisticated parties, who have all been doing business with Cuba for decades.

For those actually aware of Castro's commercial record and the nature of the "Cuban embargo" a much better explanation for these "demands," is that: "misery loves company."To wit:

"Cuba stopped payment on all its foreign commercial and bilateral debt with non-socialist countries in 1986." disclosed U.S. International Trade Commission Report in 2001.

"Debt talks between Cuba and the Paris Club of creditor nations are on hold. On the table was $3.8 billion of official debt to Paris Club members, part of a much larger debt Cuba ran up through the 1980s, until it began to DEFAULT on payments and then stopped talking with creditors." Reuters, from back in June 2001.


With Our Own Values They Destroy Us: Part XIV

Biodiversity: The Politics and Religion of the Environmental Movement, Part 1

Biodiversity: The Politics and Religion of the Environmental Movement, Part 2

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Observations From the Back Row


De Omnibus Dubitandum!

Posted by Arnold Ahlert
Students who vocally call for the destruction of Israel have created a stir in Florida with their promotion of modern-day blood libels and lies demonizing the Jewish State. On March 30th, 200 mock eviction notices were placed on dorm-room doors by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. “We regret to inform you that your home is scheduled for demolition shortly,” begins the notice, which can be seen here. “You have three (3) days to vacate the premise persuant (sic) to code no. 208.2A or you will be subject to arrest. If you do not leave, we reserve the right to destroy your home. Anyone left inside is not our responsibility.”

Posted by Bruce Thornton
Editor’s note: Robert Spencer’s acclaimed new book, Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins, is now available. To order, click here
One of the jihadists’ most potent psychological weapons is the double standard Muslims have imposed on the West. Temples and churches are destroyed and vandalized, Christians murdered and driven from the lands of Christianity’s birth, anti-Semitic lunacy propagated by high-ranking Muslim clerics, and Christian territory like northern Cyprus ethnically cleansed and occupied by Muslims. Yet the West ignores these depredations all the while it agonizes over trivial “insults” to Islam and Mohammed, and decries the thought-crime of “Islamophobia” whenever even factual statements are made about Islamic history and theology. This groveling behavior confirms the traditional Islamic chauvinism that sees Muslims as the “best of nations” destined by Allah to rule the world through violent jihad.

Social Security Faces Unfunded Liability of $8.6T, or $73,167.83 Per Household
By Christopher Goins
Social Security faces an unfunded liability of $8.6 trillion, according to the 2012 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds.
The unfunded liability is the amount that has been promised in benefits to people now alive that will not be funded by the tax revenue the system is expected to take in to pay for those benefits. (The Social Security trustees calculate the unfunded liability for a period of 75 years into the future, from 2012 to 2086)

U.N. Chief Calls for Universal Access to Abortion and Contraception for Teen Girls
By Pete Winn
Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon waves before flying out of N'djamena, Chad. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that millions of girls -- teenagers and younger -- need access to abortion and contraceptives in order to “avoid unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections.” “Sixteen million adolescent girls become mothers every year, and every day, more than 2,000 young people contract HIV,” Ban said. “We have a collective responsibility to drive these numbers down.”

EEOC Says Transgenders Are Protected from Workplace Discrimination
The agency that enforces the federal job discrimination laws has for the first time ruled that transgender people are protected from bias in the workplace. In a groundbreaking decision late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said a refusal to hire or otherwise discriminate on the basis of gender identity is by definition sex discrimination under federal law. While some federal courts have reached the same conclusion in recent years, employment law experts say the EEOC decision sets a national standard of enforcement that offers employers clear guidance on the issue. "This decision is important because the EEOC is the agency with lead authority to interpret and enforce the nation's employment rights laws," said Jennifer Pizer, legal director of the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy.

Those Cheapened Pulitzer ‘Prizes’
By L. Brent Bozell III
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes looked less like an excellence-in-media competition and more like an exercise in leftist self-affirmation. No prize established this more strongly than the coveted National Reporting prize going to -- The Huffington Post! The Pulitzer judges who would rather swallow rat poison than give an award to a conservative outlet, such as The Washington Times, are bestowing kudos on a site that thrives on such celebrity dreck as "Miley Shows Off Legs in Lacy Shorts" and "Kim Kardashian Kanye West Earrings: Reality Star Sports 'KW' Initial Jewelry."….. It's amazing that liberals have cartooned conservative thinkers as locked in a bubble or an echo chamber. These cheapened "prizes" expose the airless insularity of today's leftist journalism.

Bill that bars public money from going to Planned Parenthood OK'd by Senate
Arizona is on the verge of joining eight other states that have banned the use of public dollars for Planned Parenthood. The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would bar the state or any local government from using public money to support an organization that includes abortions among its services. Although House Bill 2800 does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, it's clear the organization is the target. In a news release issued after the 18-8 party-line vote in the Senate, the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, cheered the decision. "Planned Parenthood's abortion-centered business model does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars," Marilyn Musgrave, the group's government-affairs vice president, said in a statement.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ depicts wasteland of sexual promiscuity
Call it bad sex and the city. With its unflinching (and often explicit) depiction of some of the most unerotic couplings you’ll ever see onscreen, HBO’s critically-acclaimed new comedy “Girls” captures the sexual wasteland of the millenials’ hook up culture — the grim reality of “no strings attached” sex between post-college guys, who have learned what they know about sex from online porn, and post-college girls, who have learned what they know about sex from Cosmopolitan magazine. Created by and starring Lena Dunham and executive produced by Judd Apatow, “Girls” tells the story of four educated and adrift young women in their mid-twenties trying to manage their romantic lives amid the joyless sex and jobless recovery of an unforgiving New York City

N. Korean military has 'powerful modern weapons'
North Korea is armed with "powerful modern weapons" capable of defeating the United States, a top military chief in Pyongyang said Wednesday amid increased speculation abroad about the nation's missile arsenal and nuclear ambitions. Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho emphasized the importance of strengthening the military to defend North Korea against threats it sees from the United States and South Korea. He called his nation a nuclear and military power and praised new leader Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s, as a "military strategist" who has been giving the army guidance for years. "The Korean People's Army is armed with powerful modern weapons … that can defeat the (U.S.) imperialists at a single blow," he told party and military officials, using familiar descriptions of the country's rivals.


The Heartland Institute is Fighting Mad

By Alan Caruba

As always, Alan intelligently and factually goes right to the heart of the matter. I am grateful that Alan allows me to republish his works, because Alan's work stands the test of time. Funny how the facts presented truthfully does that! This first appeared at Alan's blog Warning Signs. Please read daily. RK

It’s a pleasant fiction that think tanks are places where scholars spend time in dusty libraries. They are places of great intellectual ferment, but one hardly thinks of them of places were battles rage with infiltrators and propagandists, but The Heartland Institute, a 28-year-old national non-profit organization, is doing that right now.

Having been victimized by a leading advocate of global warming and other environmental inventions, Dr. Peter H. Gleick, who misrepresented himself as a member of its board in order to secure confidential information about Heartland’s donors and then took it a step further by creating a phony “memo” misrepresenting its mission has led Heartland to consider legal proceedings against him.

On April 1, I wrote about “Fakegate”, the name Heartland has applied to L’Affair Gleick.

“One leading voice among the global warming advocates was Dr. Peter H. Gleick whose work in the field of hydroclimatology catapulted him into the top ranks of the scientific community. In 2003 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and in 2006 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2011 he led a new task force on “scientific ethics and integrity” for the American Geophysical Union.

On February 16, 2012 he resigned from the task force citing “personal, private reasons” but the reasons would become very public. On February 20, 2012, Dr. Gleick admitted to having fraudulently obtained documents of a board meeting of The Heartland Institute “under someone else’s name” for the purpose of making known its donors.

Dr. Gleick had also allegedly forged a two-page “strategy memo” purporting that the Institute was engaged in a variety of efforts to fraudulently undermine the claims of global warming scientists. The Institute did not have to, nor ever did engage, in any such efforts. The truth about the global warming claims was sufficient to undermine them.”

One might think the exposure of Dr. Gleick’s effort to slander Heartland would end there, but Heartland understands that it has taken decades of effort to undo the damage done by the global warming hoax and the necessity to take off the gloves in combating the fascist tactics of environmentalists.

Earlier this month, when Oxford University offered Dr. Gleick a prestigious platform to lecture on April 24—despite his confession of improper, unethical and illegal behavior. Heartland called on Oxford to deny him this honor. Oxford declined.

The environmental propaganda machine has been in full throes to “spin” Dr. Gleick’s misdeeds and, most recently, when a group called Forecast the Facts engaged in the tactics of misdirection and deception so common to the Left, Heartland fought back.

As Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and editor of Watts Up With That, noted on April 16th “The Center for American Progress aka Think Progress, a front organization for all things left and ‘progressive’…let it slip (whether by design or accident we don’t know) that they are behind this ‘Forecast the Facts’ outfit.” The Center has a $30 million+ annual budget.

“We always wondered,” said Watts, “who was funding (a) “hate campaign against a local television meteorologist” they deemed a “denier” of the global warming hoax.” Typically, Forecast the Facts attributed perfectly natural weather events, tornadoes, to global warming or climate change. They claimed that the states affected were “dominated by anti-government, anti-science ideologues.”

Heartland has identified Forecast the Facts as “a front group created by the same individuals responsible for politicizing the science and polarizing the debate over climate change”, noting further that the group “has no scientists on staff, no history of participating in the climate change debate, and no credibility.”

“Forecast the Facts is promoting the results of a petition that is fraudulent, based on false claims contained in a forged memo (by Dr. Gleick). It is grossly misrepresenting The Heartland Institute’s position on climate change.”

With elegant irony, one of the earliest advocates of global warming, James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia (Earth Goddess) hypothesis, has just come forth to admit he was completely wrong and that he and others who spread fear and panic over global warming were alarmists. In his words, "The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books - mine included - because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened,"

On May 21-23, Heartland will sponsor the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago. As had previous conferences, it will field an impressive group of scientists and others who have braved the kind of slander heaped on Heartland by Green organizations and groups whose purpose is to mislead the public regarding the science of climate change.

It is refreshing to see how Heartland has declared war on those who have sought to damage its reputation and to deter donors from supporting it, and is fighting back in a vigorous fashion.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Observations From the Back Row


De Omnibus Dubitandum

While this is only slightly related to Resourceful Earth’s work on natural resources, its too comical/depressing not to share:

The government spent at least $205,075 in 2010 to “translocate” a single bush in San Francisco that stood in the path of a $1.045-billionhighway-renovation project that was partially funded by the economic stimulus legislation President Barack Obama signed in 2009.

“In October 2009, an ecologist identified a plant growing in a concrete-bound median strip along Doyle Drive in the Presidio as Arctostaphylos franciscana,” the U.S. Department of Interior reported in the Aug. 10, 2010 edition of the Federal Register. “The plant’s location was directly in the footprint of a roadway improvement project designed to upgrade the seismic and structural integrity of the south access to the Golden Gate Bridge.

“The translocation of the Arctostaphylos franciscana plant to an active native plant management area of the Presidio was accomplished, apparently successfully and according to plan, on January 23, 2010,” the Interior Department reported.

The bush—a Franciscan manzanita—was a specimen of a commercially cultivated species of shrub that can be purchased from nurseries for as little as $15.98 per plant. The particular plant in question, however, was discovered in the midst of the City of San Francisco, in the median strip of a highway, and was deemed to be the last example of the species in the “wild.”

I do not profess to be particularly knowledgeable or excited about flora, but I cannot for the life of me understand why it matters that this plant was located in the “wild” especially if everyone was fine with moving the plant anyway. It certainly doesn’t exist in the “wild” after the government spent $200,000 to move it to a new location. It’s effectively been planted/altered by man at that point, as far as I can tell.

Biodiversity Bombshell: Polar Bears And Penguins Prospering, But Pity Those Paramecia!
Just last year, the World Wildlife Fund’s climate blog headlined that “Polar Bear Population in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay Unlikely to Survive Climate Disruption.” But it seems that since then this subpopulation, previously believed to be among the most threatened subpopulations due to global warming, has made a miraculous recovery. According to aerial surveys released by the Government of Nunavat this month, their numbers are at least 66% higher than expected. This region, which straddles Nunavat and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered to be a bellwether for how well polar bears are faring elsewhere in the Arctic.

GMO label movement faces hurdles in Vermont
Advising people that their food contains food is somewhat counterproductive. It’s only real purpose is to enable activists and scare mongers to frighten consumers about, well, nothing, actually.

Charles Clover: Green Rage Against Shale Gas Is Irrational
This Sunday marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. Once again, we can expect an all-out assault covering all communication channels, a barrage of all the most stale ideas concocted by the most backward-looking eco-obsession.

Peter Foster: Human Day
Property rights are the best guides to custody of the ¬environment - For more than 40 years, Earth Day has both reflected genuine environmental concern and mirrored the UN’s attempted eco power grab. Sunday’s Earth Day comes two months ahead of the vast, but significantly brief, UN Rio+20 conference. Both are pale reflections of their original radical aspirations. Earth Day is still celebrated, but 42 years of crying wolf have inevitably had an effect. The event has also been corporatized, greenwashed and taken over by such announcements as that of the “50 sexiest environmentalists.” Rio+20 will represent the graveyard of aspirations for all prospective — and inevitably less sexy — Captains of Spaceship Earth, Global Saviours, and High Priests of Gaia.

My Take - “Captains of Spaceship Earth, Global Saviours, and High Priests of Gaia" - we have far too many of these types in the pest control industry. One fumigator I am familiar with classifies himself as a “world problem solver” because he embraced the eco-clamor to replace methyl bromide.  Now his “solution” is under attack and I hear nothing from or about him.

The primary registrant asked for support from the pest control industry to keep their product, sulfuryl fluoride on the market. Yet I didn’t hear a peep from them when that piece of junk science known as the Montreal Protocol eliminated their competition methyl bromide!

These people just don’t get it. No solution will stand the test of time with the greenies. They will embrace any “solution” to one of their non-problems today as long as it suits their needs in order to attack some product they wish to destroy. Afterwards .... whatever is left out there will be fair game.

Foolish people in our industry (and I include the manufacturers at the top of that list) will work to find something to replace a perfectly good product with one that is acceptable to the greenies.

After the greenies have attained their goal, they turn on the replacement product and those who manufacture, sell or use those products. There is no safe ground with the green movement. They are irrational; they are misanthropic; they are not our friends; they cannot be trusted because they have no command and control structure!  Why can’t we get that?

Patrick Michaels: Celebrating Earth Day: Is Another Half-Acid Apocalypse On the Way?  Editor’s Note: Ignore the ad and it will go away in a few seconds.
What with it being Earth Day and all, it’s a good time to reflect on the sorry track record of environmental apocalypse prognostication and make a little forecast of our own, namely that something called “ocean acidification” is going to be the latest, greatest threat to our survival. “This time we mean it”, my greener friends are saying.

Zone of Reality: Castro Notes

This appeared on February 17, 2009.

The New York Times and 'Book Banning'
By Humberto Fontova

The New York Times, its stock value in the cellar while squirming under the thumb of a foreign robber baron, makes the same thing shabby, malodorous and pathetic.

Most of America, for instance, applauds "parental involvement" in their children's education. But a recent New York Times editorial decries it. "Banning Books in Miami," blares their editorial headline from February 10th. "The Miami-Dade School Board's decision is not only unconstitutional, it is counterproductive. If the ( local school) board wants to oppose the totalitarianism of the Castro regime, banning books is an odd way to go about it."

The New York Times definition of "book banning" has an excruciatingly selective application. To wit: back in 2006 a children's' books titled Let's Go to Cuba that depicts Stalinist Cuba as a combination Emerald City and Willi Wonka's Chocolate Factory was stocked in Miami-Dade public school libraries. Some American parents of Cuban heritage in Miami, many of them former Castro political prisoners with the scars to prove it, saw that these books were crammed with the usual academic lies about Cuba, but in BigBird-speak for 9-year-olds. So they filed a complaint with the Miami-Dade school board who voted to remove the books.

"Miami-Dade School Board Bans Cuba Book!" thundered a New York Times headline of the time. The ACLU also claimed to be scandalized and filed suit to retain the book. …

With Our Own Values They Destroy Us: Part XIII

Behind the Green Curtain: Part I

Behind the Green Curtain: Part 2

Behind the Green Curtain: Part III

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Observations From the Back Row


This is a link that should be in your favorites.
Welcome to Discover the Networks

President Obama and his obedient lap dogs are out in full force this week attempting to convince voters that those evil guys on Wall Street have moved on from destroying the value of their homes to artificially raising the price of gasoline. Soon they are coming for your first born. From one of Obama’s speeches this week:

….. It’s less embarrassing when you realize this is nothing more than a political stunt designed to convince voters that Obama is doing something about high gasoline prices. From here we take it away to an excellent post by an economics professor/blogger on a similarly ridiculous op-ed in the NYT:

Jay Carney made some extraordinary statements about the Keystone provision on Friday. According to the Hill, Carney said that permitting the 1700-mile pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf coast would be “preemptively sacrificing American sovereignty” and that it would be “a foreign pipeline built by a foreign company emanating from foreign territory to cross U. S. borders.”
Carney also said that Rep. Terry’s amendment had been added to the highway bill in a “highly politicized, highly partisan way.” That is odd, considering that increasing numbers of Democrats in the House support overriding President Obama’s opposition to permitting the pipeline.  One supporter is Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic Whip.  The Senate narrowly defeated an amendment to permit the pipeline last month on a 56 to 42 vote (with 60 required for passage).  Eleven Democrats voted for the amendment.  That’s about as bi-partisan as the Senate gets these days.

By Rebekah Rast

Earth Day is every day under the Obama administration — with an overgrown U.S. Forest Service and an overzealous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Here’s a list of the top 10 earth-related snafus — in no particular order — from the view of Americans for Limited Government (ALG):

The U.S. Green Building Council has begun floating a series of progressive amendments to its building certification program, stirring controversy within the construction, forestry and chemical industries that warn the proposal is radical environmentalism masquerading as reasonable regulation.  The proposed changes to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, administered by the private USGBC group but since adopted by the federal government, disallows the use of over 75 percent of America’s certified forests and the third most commonly produced plastic worldwide.

By Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor

A DEAD wedge-tailed eagle, chicken eggs without yolks and a dysfunctional village with residents bursting to flee. This is the clean-energy revolution Waterloo-style, where the nation's biggest wind turbines have whipped up a storm of dissent. Village resident Neil Daws is concerned his chickens have been laying eggs with no yolks.  Ironically called wind eggs, the yolkless eggs can be explained without wind turbines.  But together with a spike in sheep deformities, also not necessarily connected to wind, reports of erratic behaviour by farm dogs and an exodus of residents complaining of ill health, Waterloo is a case study of the emotional conflict being wrought by the rollout of industrial wind power.  When Adelaide University masters student Frank Wang surveyed residents within a 5km radius of the Waterloo wind turbines he found 70 per cent of respondents claimed they had been negatively affected by the wind development and the noise, with more than 50 per cent having been very or moderately negatively affected.

My Take  - I am still waiting for the activists to storm the halls of power demanding that windmills be dismantled.  If this was near a chemical facility, an oil well or a nuclear plant  they would have already called Erin Brockovich and demanded compensation in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars, and the Wildlife Service would have fined them tens of thousands of dollars over the bird kills.

By Dr. Glen Barry

The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

My Take Amazing! A greenie attempting to vilify a whole mess of other greenies, who are clearly corrupt hypocrites, without sounding too condemnatory.  This was supposed to be a sacrosanct issue with the greenies…. in spite of the fact that the world’s forests aren’t really disappearing….another greenie lie.