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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

To Bee or Not to Bee? What is behind the bee colony collapse? Or is there one?

Posted on February 6, 2014 by admin

Even we at ACSH were surprised at this one. The discussion about the reasons behind the so-called “beepocalypse” has been entirely focused on its cause. Some suspects have been cell towers, pesticides, and infectious diseases—Tobacco Ringspot Virus being the latest theory.But if you follow some of the references in Jon Entine’s recent Forbes op-ed, entitled “Bee Deaths Reversal: As Evidence Points Away From Neonics As Driver, Pressure Builds To Rethink Ban,” you will end up here: A 2013 article entitled “Everyone calm down, there is no “bee-pocalypse,” which appeared on the Quartz website – a business news publication of the Atlantic Media Company. In this piece, author Shawn Regan, a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana drops a data bombshell from a USDA report — bee colonies are just fine.
The graph (below) clearly indicates that there has been no collapse.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.48.39 PM

Furthermore, according to a 2010 report by the United Nations Environment Programme, except for a dip around 1990, bee colony populations have been steadily rising since 1960 (graph below)

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.52.21 PM

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom comments, “Along with many other folks not deeply involved in this subject, I just assumed, based on the widespread media reports, that there were serious problems with bees dying en masse. Indeed, just being outside in the spring seemed to reinforce this. It sure looked like there were fewer bees around in the last few years. Or were my observations colored by the news? I guess, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, this explanation is at least as plausible as any of the others. Maybe more so.”

This Appeared Here.....

Observations From the Back Row: 12/31/14

Definition leads to clarity. Clarity leads to understanding. Understanding leads to good decision making. Only then can we have harmony! Rich Kozlovich

Editor's Note: In order for things to make sense of what the left does we need to understand is that everything the left says is a lie. Lies of commission and lies of omission, and everything else is a logical fallacy, with just enough truth to give it credibility – all proclaimed as laudable goals that sound wonderful, but the consequences are always ignoble.

 Whether it involves helping the poor or protecting our health, the track record of the left has been disastrous ever since the French Revolution.  They almost have a monopoly on being wrong.  Unfortunately leftists never have to pay the penalty for being wrong. Everyone else pays it for them, which allows them to jump from one irresponsible leftist crusade to another, often times going in a direction that’s 180 degrees in the opposite direction of positions they’ve taken in decades past.  Constantly changing themselves into angels of light while leaving darkness in their wake.  The second thing we must understand is that leftism has no moral foundation.  Leftism’s foundation is based on moral nihilism, where nothing is right and nothing is wrong, unless it's a moral position that promotes their goal of attaining power.  A moral position they will happily abandon as soon as it's no longer necessary.  Once we understand all of that everything else they do makes sense.
All that is left to do then is to develop the intellectual arguments necessary to defeat them, and the courage to state them.  Please enjoy my picks for today!

Obama’s See-No-Islam Policy Forces Military Rethink, “We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not goingto defeat it - As I have said every day for the past decade, you can’t defeat an enemy that you refuse to name or speak of (in accordance with Obama’s sharia-compliant restrictions on jihad). Just this morning I said (yet again) that the political, cultural and media elites still fail to grasp the theological issues that drive this savage movement. Now a General is admitting it. It is good that someone in a position of power and influence finally understands that the rivers of blood will not stop under Obama’s see-no-Islam, hear-no-Islam, speak-no Islam edict. What took so long? “We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata. They do not understand...
Can Liberals Really Be this Stupid? Apparently they Can - I have grown accustomed to the fact that liberals believe they can somehow change human nature and create a utopian world or, at least, a world that fits their definition of utopia. Although I still find it disturbing, I no longer find it surprising that liberals base their opinions and actions on emotionalism rather than logic or reason. A steadfast refusal to let facts get in the way of their presuppositions seems to be in the DNA of liberals, yet they think they are brighter than anyone else. For example, recall when Jonathan Gruber, the puffed up academic from MIT, talked condescendingly about the stupidity of the America public. Frankly, if he had limited his denunciation to just liberals, I might have agreed with him….

Obama’s “Peace Partner” Iran Hangs Seven on Christmas - Obama say, “Iran could be a “very successful regional power.” The Iranian regime hanged seven citizens on Christmas morning and at least 12 others in the days before and after the holiday, according to Iranian dissidents monitoring the human rights situation. Seven prisoners being held in Iran’s Abdelebad prison were hanged “at dawn on Christmas day,” according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group. The latest round of state-sanctioned killings—which have hit an all time high in the past year—came just days after President Barack Obama praised Iran in an interview at the...

Wash Post ‘Conservatives’ Slam Ted Cruz Wing of GOP: ‘Too Much Clarity’ - Too much clarity? The staff “conservatives” at the Washington Post are throwing the kitchen sink at the Ted Cruz wing of the Republican Party again on the Post editoral page on Tuesday. In his columm, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson dismisses conservatives (like Cruz) who favor so-called “apocalyptic showdowns” with Obama on his executive-power trips. Gerson concluded by talking 2016: “Those who judge a Bush-Clinton race to be a tired retread or disturbingly dynastic should consider the more novel and dynamic alternatives. A Warren-Cruz race would be less of an electoral choice than a national trauma. It’s been said that too much clarity darkens.”  “Too much clarity darkens”? What kind of baloney is that? (It’s apparently taken from Blaise Pascal’s Pensees.) One can look at Dole, McCain, and Romney, and say “Too much moderation loses.”…..

Obama Will Shut Border Agency To Aid Illegals, Says Aide - Pfeiffer used the Huffington Post’s softball interview to prod the GOP leadership toward backing away from a fight over amnesty. President Barack Obama will block 2015 funding for the Department of Homeland Security if Republicans includes spending curbs on the president’s “executive action,” says a top aide. That amnesty action includes the award of work permits, drivers’ licenses, Social Security cards and tax rebates to at least four million illegal immigrants, despite the wage-cutting surplus of American workers in Obama’s economy. The adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, told a Huffington Post interviewer Dec. 29 that the president would “absolutely not” sign a 2015 spending bill that would include limits on amnesty spending……

Federal grant for jihadist recruit - These outrageous blunders, compounded exponentially by foreign aid to jihad groups and nations, reflect the failure of Western elites to grasp the theological underpinnings of this religious movement….A TOP Sydney school student was praised by Arthur Sinodinos and given $2000 by the federal government shortly before flying out of Australia to join Islamic State’s propaganda unit in Syria. It is unclear whether Samir Atwani, who graduated from Sydney’s Canterbury Boys High last year after receiving a university admissions score of 96.25,...

Will Obama Defy Congress on Gitmo Prisoners?  - President Obama has long advocated closing the U.S. terrorist prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He likely would have done it long ago, had Congress not stopped him.  Now, however, Obama is not in the mood to abide by anything Congress says. And he is again talking about closing Guantanamo. The result could be an ugly and protracted fight between the president and lawmakers of both parties. But it's also possible Obama will avoid a conflict and simply use his executive authority to release a prisoner here, a prisoner there, until Guantanamo is very nearly empty -- all done without any meaningful debate. Meanwhile, as he has done with immigration, the environment and Cuba, Obama will essentially dare Congress to do anything about it. It's all part of the new executive-action presidency......

Stunning data on average compensation for municipal employees in California - Forget the old-fashioned term “civil servants”; America’s new ruling class is government employees. Would you like your kids to go to work for an outfit where employees average between two hundred grand and a quarter mill? Forget about investment banks or law firms; tell them to go to work for a fire protection district in California. Transparent California, a project of two free-market think tanks, the California Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute, has released a database of municipal (cities, towns, and special-purpose districts such as water and fire protection districts) employee salaries that is stunning. The North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area had the highest averages, but other areas of that metropolis and the state as a whole also featured extraordinary averages, not to say individual cases.  Some highlights:.....

The federal government is cracking down on nonprofit hospitals under ObamaCare in an attempt to prevent harsh collection practices and steep charges for the uninsured.  Newly finalized regulations from the Internal Revenue Service, announced Monday, will require nonprofit hospitals to “take an active role in improving the health of the communities” by making payment methods more fair and making costs more transparent.  For example, nonprofit hospitals are banned from asking for money in patients’ rooms or selling debt to third-party companies unless they make a “reasonable effort” to offer financial assistance. Each hospital must also take steps to improve the health of its community, including a semi-annual evaluation of the area’s “health needs.” “For hospitals to be tax-exempt, they should be held to a higher standard,” Emily McMahon, a deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Department of the Treasury, wrote in a blog post Monday announcing the rules……

Hysteria and Its Discontents - Jonah Goldberg should have known he would be painted as a rape apologist when he refuted the oft-repeated “one in five” campus rape statistic. The National Review Online editor was locked in a Twitter debate with Matthew Dowd of ABC News, who posited, “[O]ne out of five college women are either raped or victims of attempted rape. thats [sic] a fact.”Well, no. It isn’t a fact. That statistic has been proven, again and again, to be nothing more than a token of feminist mythology, similar to the claim that wife-beating spikes on Super Bowl Sunday. The Department of Justice’s most recent comprehensive study of rape on college campuses concludes that the number is actually .03-in-five, making Dowd’s claim roughly a thirty-three fold exaggeration. The emotionalism that envelopes the topic of rape makes truth a commodity much less valued than concern for the victims, some of whom are genuine, and some of whom are false accusers. Ron Fournier of National Journal demonstrated this tendency to undervalue truth when he joined in the chiding of Goldberg, tweeting: “Jonah, you’re splitting statistical hairs to undermine an argument against …. rape. Let’s call it a day.” Fournier begins by referring to the exaggeration of the problem by a factor of thirty-three as merely “splitting statistical hairs,” then makes clear that he thinks Goldberg a real heel for “undermining” an argument against rape……. The end result of this kind of endless hyperbole is utter hysteria. Lives are ruined, freedom curtailed, and demagogues empowered when truth-challenged activists try to one-up each other with their alarmist claims. I, for one, am fed up with it. Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care. It means you’re a liar…….

Ferry catastrophe: Muslims beat women and children to save themselves - The media and Western elites will explain this away by saying, It’s a cultural thing. Like honor killing, female genital mutilation, etc. What culture is it? The Islamic culture. So forgive me for not embracing multiculturalism. The West is best. Under Islam, women are chattel, less than men. Their response was not quite what we saw on, say …. the Titanic……

Does Color Make A Difference? -Harvard professor, Charles Ogletree, has finally spoken the truth to the dilemma facing the world of law enforcement. In a well researched study, he found that it makes no difference as to the race or gender of the police, blacks and browns are less law-abiding than whites and commit more crimes than whites. Black, brown and white police were generally more committed to enforcing the law, even when the perpetrators were their own race. Yes, there are dishonest police, but the percentage is extremely low, and the focus on them works to lessen respect for them all. In my estimation, police do an incredible job, given the fractures, dangers and disdain placed upon them by race-baitors, leftists and police-haters that always seem to rise to the top of the pot.  So let’s look to what could be the determining factors that lead to professor Ogletree’s conclusion……

Muslim cleric: Even black men who smell bad get into Paradise - For years, Muslim Brotherhood groups and Islamic supremacists have worked feverishly to co-opt the race narrative from civil rights groups here in America. Seeing the success of “white guilt” pushback, Muslim groups have long mythologized imaginary “islamophobia” as “racist,” despite the fact that Islam is not a race. Further, there is no ideology more racist than Islam. Black in Arabic means slave, and many Muslim countries still traffic in black slavery. In a Friday sermon delivered in Maarat Al-Nu’man, Syria, Saudi fighter Sheik Abdallah bin Muhammad Al-Muhayseni...

Wheat Production Sets New Records Thanks To GlobalWarmingGlobal wheat production set new records in 2013 and 2014, contradicting alarmists’ claims that global warming is reducing wheat harvests.  Global warming alarmists and their lapdog media allies decided Christmas Week 2014 should be filled with claims that global warming is crushing wheat production. Grist, Reuters, the UK Guardian, and the Columbus Dispatch are among the many news organizations parroting alarmist assertions that global warming is reducing wheat harvests. The Reuters article, for example, cites a study co-authored by several global warming alarmists to claim, “In recent decades, wheat yields had declined in hotter sites such as India, Africa, Brazil and Australia, more than offsetting yield gains in some cooler places including parts of the United States, Europe and China.”  Reuters did not indicate whether it had fact-checked the straightforward claim that global crop yields have been declining in recent decades. Reuters also failed to provide any countering viewpoint, giving readers the impression that declining global wheat yields are universally recognized. Knowing, however, that global warming alarmists and their ventriloquist dummies in the media often make straightforward factual claims that are proven false by objective, verifiable data, I decided to fact-check their straightforward claim about declining global wheat yields……

Global-warmingtrue believers are in denial - I have a theory as to why Americans don’t worry all that much about global warming: High-profile purveyors of climate change don’t push for reductions in greenhouse gases so much as focus on berating people who do not agree with their opinions. They call themselves champions of “the science” — yet focus on ideology more than tangible results. Their language is downright evangelical. Recently, science guy Bill Nye joined other experts who objected to the media’s use of the term “climate skeptic.” They released a statement that concluded, “Please stop using the word 'skeptic’ to describe deniers.” Deniers? Like Judas?  Why, they even hear voices from science. “Science has spoken,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently proclaimed. Some men think God talks to them; others hear Science…….

Editor’s Note:  Please give this article a good go.  I know this one is bit technical and you may feel your eyes rolling back in your head…but work through that. This one’s worth it!

Will a return of rising temperatures validate the climate models? - The coincidence of the current plateau in global surface temperatures with the continuing rise in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has raised many questions about the climate models and their forecasts of serious anthropogenic global warming. This article presents multiple reasons why any future increase in temperature should not be regarded as a vindication of the current models and their predictions. Indefinite time scales, natural contributions, many adjustable parameters, uncertain response to CO2, averaging of model outputs, non linearity, chaos and the absence of successful predictions are all reasons to continue to challenge the present models. This essay concludes with some suggestions for useful immediate actions during this time of uncertainty.....

De Omnibus Dubitandum
(Question Everything!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let's Try and Get This Right!

Confessions of a Public Defender”, by Michael Smith, American Renaissance, May 9, 2014
Editor's Note:  I know I ran this when it first appeared, and I ran in again a few weeks ago. I've concluded I should probably run it every week, because every week I keep seeing the same stupid comments I saw the week before and will see them again next week from all these race hustlers and leftists.  It really disturbs be that these stupid comments aren't just from leftists.   
Let's get this right.   Michael Brown was committing a crime.   Police responded to complaints from the local business community.  He resisted arrest, he died from a heart attack on the way to the hospital.  He was not choked to death.  
Eric Garner wasn't a gentle giant. He was a violent thug of a giant that attacked and presumable tried to kill the cop that killed him since he was trying to get the cop's gun.  Trayvon Martin was a thug who attacked the man who shot him, and he wasn't a child, as leftist celebrity idiots like Richard Dryfuss try to claim.  
Now....let's try and get this right....once again.....all three men were thugs and two were committing crimes when they died.   As for Trayvon Martin - clearly he was up to no good.  One more thing. 
Who's Antionio Santiago?  Was he guilty of some crime?  Who killed him?  Why did they kill him?  And who marched at his killing?  More importantly, how many news stories did you see on the television about him?  Even on Fox News.  RK
I am a public defender in a large southern metropolitan area. Fewer than ten percent of the people in the area I serve are black but over 90 per cent of my clients are black. The remaining ten percent are mainly Hispanics but there are a few whites.

I have no explanation for why this is, but crime has racial patterns. Hispanics usually commit two kinds of crime: sexual assault on children and driving under the influence. Blacks commit many violent crimes but very few sex crimes. The handful of whites I see commit all kinds of crimes. In my many years as a public defender I have represented only three Asians, and one was half black.

As a young lawyer, I believed the official story that blacks are law abiding, intelligent, family-oriented people, but are so poor they must turn to crime to survive. Actual black behavior was a shock to me......To Read More.....

From Pam Geller's Atlas Shrugs

California Mosque Christmas Day Attack Turns Out Not as Police, Media, ‘Islamophobia’ Grievance Industry Expect, it was a Muslim - More faked hate. And still no media mea culpa.  As I pointed out yet again last week when the latest FBI released the latest hate crime stats, claims about “Islamophobia” are false. Most religiously motivated hate crimes were anti-Jewish, and Muslims suffered fewer total incidents than many groups and fewer per capita than gays or Jews.  The myth of islamophobia is an industry, the big lie, to silence critics of jihad and Islam. And every time another mosque is “attacked,” media heads explode with cries of racism (Islam is not a race) and hate. They never report the follow-up story — the kicker — that the perp is Muslim. More often than not, the attacker is Muslim — so as to give proof to the...

Jerusalem Post headline: “How to fight a civilized war against an uncivilized enemy” - The Jerusalem Post has published a piece entitled “How to fight a civilized war against an uncivilized enemy,” by Eric R. Mandel, the director of MEPIN (Middle East Political and Information Network), a Middle East research analysis read by members of Congress, their foreign policy advisers, members of the Knesset, journalists and organizational leaders.  And so now, several years after I first ran the ad reading, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man, support Israel, defeat jihad,” the mainstream analysts are catching up. After excoriating me as a “racist” and “bigot” for stating obvious reality, these lemmings and cowards are now daring to...

Islamic State Muslimas clamp torture spikes on woman’s breast for feeding baby in public - And then there are these morons paying homage to the most vicious and misogynist ideology on the face of the earth. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez and friends wear the hijab for a visit to Abu Dhabi mosque where an American teacher was slaughtered by a woman last week wearing the same vicious garb.  Young women in Western countries should be on the front lines of the fight for women’s right and liberty. These girls should scorn this garb as one might despise a swastika. They should be leading the charge —

Female Isis fanatics clamped torture spikes on woman’s breast for feeding baby in public - Major Christmas Terror Plot Foiled in Australia: Muslims arrested revealed ‘vision to turn Blue Mountains into killing ground’ Western political, cultural and media elites still fail to grasp the theological issues that drive this savage movement.  Until our “leaders,” “thinkers” and pundits finally come to grips with the terrible but unvarnished truth, we are in for some very dark days.  Australia is on high alert for the Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve celebrations as Prime Minister Tony Abbott concedes a new terror attack on Australian soil is “likely” amid a heightened level of chatter.

VIDEO: ‘How to Stab a Jew’ Video Goes Viral on Muslim Social Media - There’s a big market in how to indulge in a favorite pastime of devout Muslims – stabbing the Jew. Islamic Jew-hatred – it’s in the Qur’an.Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahud ….‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media.  Arab terrorists have released a “How to kill a Jew” video, and its going viral…..The “resisters of occupation in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem” are spreading on Arab social media a frightening video demonstrating tactics on how to stab a Jew to death...

Ethanol policy reform--the rare place where environmentalists and energy advocates agree

By Marita Noon

We all expect to pay a price for missing deadlines—fail to pay a parking ticket on time, and you may find a warrant out for your arrest. People have lost their jobs when they can’t get the work done on schedule. Students, who turn in papers late, get lower grades—maybe even fail the class.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can apparently miss deadlines (many) with impunity. For the past two years, the EPA has failed to meet the statutory deadline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the agency to tell refiners how much ethanol to blend into the nation’s motor fuels.

In November 2013, the EPA did make an attempt to announce the proposed 2014 blend levels—which by then were already months past the legally mandated deadline. The EPA surprised and pleased the RFS opponents when it utilized its authority to adjust the mandate and took market conditions into consideration. The EPA set the proposed 2014 standard to a level lower than 2013’s, even though the law requires increasing amounts. Ethanol producers, who were expecting the usual uptick, loudly opposed the reduction. They made so much noise, the EPA agreed to reconsider. To date, the 2014 standards have not yet been announced.

Then, on November 21, 2014, the EPA announced it would make a decision next year (2015) on how much ethanol refiners had to add to gasoline this year (2014)—yet, if refiners don’t meet the unknown requirement, they get fined. That’s akin to handing out the class syllabus after the students have failed the final exam.

With the goal of a reduction in foreign oil imports, Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 and revised it in 2007—which also provided incentives to America’s fledgling ethanol industry. At the time, gasoline demand was rising to an all-time high and oil imports comprised more than 58 percent of U.S. oil consumption. No doubt Congress believed it was saving American consumers from their addiction to oil.

Then the world changed. The U.S. economy plunged into its worst recession ever, unemployment soared, and gasoline demand fell sharply. Meanwhile, advanced drilling technologies, including the long-used hydraulic fracturing and newer horizontal drilling, began producing oil and natural gas from U.S. shale formations—which were previously uneconomic to develop—leading to America’s 21st Century energy boom.

Today the U.S. is the world’s largest natural-gas producer and is projected to pass Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer. With crude oil supplies flooding the market, prices have been cut in half. Although fears over foreign-oil dependence have abated, the U.S. remains stuck with an ethanol mandate that is outdated, unworkable, and even harmful to vehicles, engines, and the environment.

Consider just some of the RFS’s flaws.

The law requires refiners to cap their blending of corn ethanol and use more cellulosic biofuels. Never mind that very little cellulosic biofuel has ever been produced—even according to EPA’s own data. But that fact hasn’t prevented the EPA from levying millions of dollars in fines against refiners for failing to use the phantom fuel, without any assurance that enough cellulosic biofuel will ever be available. It’s kind of like receiving a bill for something you cannot buy because it doesn't exist, but you’re being charged anyway.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports cellulosic biofuels are: “complex, capital-intensive, and costly.” Given the difficulty of producing them, capacity will “fall far short of what would be necessary to achieve the very rapid growth in the use of cellulosic biofuels required” under the RFS.

Then there is the “blend wall” problem. With less gasoline being sold than Congress anticipated, refiners cannot add ever-rising amounts of ethanol to gasoline without exceeding E10—the fuel consisting of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline sold virtually everywhere in the country today. To get around the blend wall issue, the EPA granted a “partial waiver” allowing the sale of E15, a fuel blend containing up to 15 percent ethanol for model-year 2001 and newer vehicles.

The EPA’s quick fix made a bad situation much worse, and all at the taxpayers’ and consumers’ expense. Ethanol levels higher than 10 percent can damage or destroy vehicle engines, according to a study conducted by the well-respected Coordinating Research Council. Automakers are voiding warranties and refusing to be held responsible for mechanical problems caused by fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. And the marine industry warns of potential engine failures on various types of watercraft powered by the industry’s most common engines.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is so concerned about safety hazards that it has launched a campaign telling consumers to “Look Before You Pump.” OPEI says equipment ranging from lawn mowers to “jaws of life” devices could be damaged by ethanol’s corrosive properties if used in concentrations above 10 percent. Do want your expensive new lawn mower to quit the third time you use it? You certainly want life-saving devices to work on demand.

And that’s not all. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, forcing motorists to fill up more often, thereby causing more consumer expenditures. Ethanol production has driven up food prices here and abroad. Additionally, some studies indicate ethanol usage increases greenhouse gas emissions. Politico reports: “Some green groups have vocally abandoned their support for corn ethanol, blaming the crop for polluting water supplies, wiping out conservation land and even increasing carbon emissions.” According to Craig Cox, director of the Ames, Iowa, office of the Environmental Working Group, an environmental group that opposes the mandate as it is now structured: “Corn ethanol’s brand has been seriously dented in the last 18 months. …it certainly doesn’t occupy the same pedestal that it occupied two years ago.”

But then, despite the fact that the EPA says decisions are made on merits, politics entered the scene. Rumors flew that the announcement of the 2014 blend levels was delayed to help Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-D) in his Senate bid. Braley was pushing for an increase in the proposed levels and was hoping that he would be able to influence the White House to raise the targets. Additionally, a Republican-controlled Senate would be more likely to pass legislation to reform or repeal the RFS. Braley was quoted in Politico saying: “Voters in Iowa look at where I stand on this issue and where my opponent stands, who’s supporting me in this campaign and who’s supporting [Ernst].” The Politico story states: “Iowans say wavering on corn ethanol once would have been certain political suicide in a state where 90 percent of the land is farm acreage. So Braley sought to capitalize on Ernst’s expressed qualms about big government, portraying her as someone Iowans can’t trust to fight for them.” Yet, Ernst, a Republican, won the Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Tom Harkin by 8.5 percentage points.

The EPA’s unwillingness to do its job by setting ethanol volumes—along with ethanol’s loss of “political heft”— should provide the impetus for ending the complex and wasteful RFS program. Ethanol is a rare topic where environmentalists and energy advocates agree. Now is the time to get our elected officials all on board. As soon as the new Congress convenes in January, it should give the RFS an “F” and reform, revise, or even repeal it.

(A version of this content was originally published on

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations' combined efforts serve as America's voice for energy.=

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

By Thomas Sowell
When the political left wants to help the black community, they usually want to help the worst elements in that community -- thugs they portray as martyrs, for example -- without the slightest regard for the negative effect this can have on the lives of the majority of decent black people.....If anyone in the mainstream media is at a loss for what New Year's resolution to make, try this: Stop "spinning" or censoring stories about race, and try telling the plain truth, if only for the novelty of it.......There are few modest talents so richly rewarded -- especially in politics and the media -- as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights........Has anyone asked the question, "How could so many people across the country spend so much time at night marching, rioting and looting, if they had to get up and go to work the next morning?"........ Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don't win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, "You're a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!"............There’s More Here on More Topics......

Monday, December 29, 2014

Buddhist militancy triggers international concern

James Crabtree in Colombo and Michael Peel in Bangkok December 28, 2014

Sri Lankan soldiers of the special task force patrol the streets of Aluthgama, a town in the south of the country, following clashes between Muslims and an extremist Buddhist group in June Shahabadeen Sahira had a traumatic first-hand view of a new wave of militant Buddhist nationalist groups, whose rise across parts of Asia has triggered growing international alarm. Wearing a black headscarf, the elderly Muslim former schoolteacher recalls her ordeal in June, when a gang burst into her home near the southern Sri Lankan coastal town of Aluthgama, during the worst religiously inspired violence to hit the tropical island nation in three decades.

“They came and took everything I had,” she recalls of the men from the country’s largely Buddhist Sinhalese majority, who burned dozens of homes in two days of clashes with Muslims. Three people were killed. “My house was ruined. All my money, all my jewellery, was gone,” she says. “If I could meet those responsible, I would ask: ‘Sir, does your Lord Buddha teach this?’” The bloodshed was sparked by a street-corner disagreement between a Buddhist monk and a young Muslim. But Alan Keenan, analyst at the International Crisis Group think-tank, says it is part of a wider trend: the rise of a new generation of militant anti-Muslim Buddhist organisations. The most prominent in Sri Lanka is the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or Buddhist Power Force.......To Read More....

My Take: As I've said in the past, I've been following this story with special interest. On July 10, 2013 I posted a link to this story:

The Mad Monks of Myanmar

Myanmar is home to a growing wave of anti-Muslim sentiment, as seen in the troubling 969 movement. The numerical significance of the digits is rooted in Buddhism’s Three Jewels (Tiratana), which comprise 24 attributes: nine special attributes of Lord Buddha, six core Buddhist teachings, and nine attributes of monkhood. Co-opted by members of Myanmar’s nationalistic Buddhist majority, the number has become a symbol of religious division that has led to both discrimination and violence. Even the government, under President Thein Sein, has taken controversial actions that seem to align with its anti-Muslim stance, from its ongoing purge of the nation's Muslim minority Rohingyas to its highly contentious two-child policy, applied solely to the same group.

While the movement has infiltrated the country’s mainstream over a long period of time, a prominent Buddhist monk, Ashin Wirathu, has recently become its unofficial leader. A photograph of Wirathu in crimson robes, with the words “The Face of Buddhist Terror”, made the cover of the July issue of TIME Magazine, causing a furor in Myanmar and drawing international attention to the country's heated religious tensions……To Read More…

My TakeI have been following this story and my first link was on Thursday, April 18, 2013 with the article, Monks Gone Bad,To Read More…. “My Take” at the time was;

“There is a question not answered, nor is it asked in this article. Why? The author talks about poverty as a vehicle for inclusion into the religious orders, but that isn't an explanation as to why this particular group of monks she discusses have decided to be violent against Muslims. There is much more to this story that isn't being told, and it is my belief the right questions aren't being asked.

This article answers those unasked questions when a monk named Wirathu says:
 “Muslims are fundamentally bad. Mohammed allows them to kill any creature. Islam is a religion of thieves, they do not want peace.”

I have stated in the past that at some point there is going to be a backlash against Muslim violence. What I didn’t expect was to see it started by Buddhists. What I also find interesting is how much the world bemoans violence against Muslims, and yet those same voices seem to be silent at violence perpetrated by Muslims. The world has gone nuts. This much is clear though. When it starts it will become more unpleasant than anything we have seen for a long time.

Further Comments: I stand by that prediction. This isn't going to be isolated. The West, and especially Americans, finds the idea of a religious war anathema. We just won't accept that concept. Well, much of the rest of the world, particularly the Muslim world, views religion as the basis for war as a very real concept, and in the case of Muslims it's a religious requirement. 
Furthermore, they don't much care what the West thinks, and in point of fact, they like the West's reticence. That way they can use our own values against us and declare any effort to identify Islam as a warmongering criminal organization disguising itself as a religion as Islamophobia! 
All done with the help of ideologically corrupt elite leftists in government and the media. But reality will eventually overcome ideology. This is going to grow worldwide and become more unpleasant than anyone ever thought could happen in a modern world.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Social Security Collection Agency

Paul Jacob | Dec 28, 2014

To those nattering nabobs of negativity who don’t trust government to do the right thing, or even to stop doing the wrong thing once discovered, I just want to say: “You’re right.”
Last April, a Washington Post exposé about a bizarrely tyrannical debt collection program caused the Social Security Administration (SAA) to publicly promise it would cease and desist from said program. The Social Security bureaucracy had been snatching the income tax refund checks of grown children whose parents, many decades ago, had allegedly been sent excess money intended for the care and feeding of these then-youngsters by this same incompetent outfit.
The booty? A not insignificant $75 million. The victims? A whopping 400,000 of them.
Due process? The SSA didn’t go before a judge to prove these people owed a valid debt, nor even bother to inform folks that their tax refunds were being seized. Instead, the Social Security gang just flat-out took the money . . . surreptitiously, like any other thief in the night........To Read More.....

The Deadbeat Candidate

Debra J. Saunders | Dec 28, 2014

Carly Fiorina is gearing up to run for president. National Journal reports she already has begun hiring staff.  Fiorina has run for office only once, as the Republican challenger to Sen. Barbara Boxer of California in 2010 -- and she lost. Still, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO won prime attention by running and losing. She's on "Meet the Press" all the time. She's still rich and still good-looking. (In 2010, Fiorina and husband Frank claimed a combined net worth of $30 million to $120 million.) Insiders think she's probably running for vice president; if Hillary Clinton is the Dems' nominee, the GOP nominee likely will be looking for a female running mate. Or maybe "she's running for enhanced fame, image and possibly the Cabinet," opined GOP consultant Kevin Spillane. "There's really no downside with her running." So maybe it isn't totally crazy that Fiorina is running for president, even if she's never won an election. But it is totally crazy that Fiorina is running for the White House when, according to federal election reports, her 2010 campaign still owes $486,418 to creditors. Who wants a deadbeat for president?............ "The only effective way she could discharge that debt would be for her to write a personal check," Wilson added. Then again, she can afford it......... If Fiorina had not repaid herself that $1 mil, her campaign coffers would have had enough money to discharge all of the campaign's debts……To Read More…..

Russia Debt One Grade Above Junk With Downgrades Coming, How Likely is Default?

Mike Shedlock | Dec 28, 2014

All three rating agencies are expected to downgrade Russia's debt to junk soon and bailouts to Russian banks are on the rise, but how likely is default?

The Financial Times reports ...

Russia trebled the size of its bailout of troubled lender Trust Bank to Rbs99bn ($1.9bn) on Friday, laying bare the growing financial fallout from its currency crisis and the slump in the price of oil, its main export.

The rapidly rising cost makes the rescue of Trust bank, which foundered as the rouble collapsed early last week, the second-largest seen in Russia. It has now consumed a tenth of the money earmarked by the government last week for bank bailouts.

The authorities also said they would spend Rbs320bn ($5.9bn) propping up two other banks. Anton Siluanov, finance minister, said state-owned VTB, the second-largest lender by assets, could receive Rbs100bn before the end of this year and another Rbs150bn in 2015, while Gazprombank could be allocated Rbs70bn.

Trust Bank was the first financial institution to fall victim to the currency crisis as it suffered a run on deposits by customers panicked by the steep drop in the rouble’s value, which at one point on December 16 plummeted to an all-time low of 80 against the dollar.

The central bank said that the state-run Deposit Insurance Agency would provide Trust Bank with up to Rbs99bn. It would give an additional Rbs28bn loan to Bank Otkritie, one of Russia’s largest private lenders, to restructure Trust Bank, with the two then merging by the end of 2020.

Foreign Reserves

Although US and EU sanctions make it difficult for Russian companies to obtain financing, and although the Russian banking system is a mess, sovereign default will only occur if Russia cannot meet its foreign debt obligations.  Russia has about $4000 billion in foreign currency reserves, lowest since 2009, but foreign currency obligations for 2015 total about $120 billion.   On that score, the immediate risk seems slim. In fact, one has to wonder if the impending downgrade to junk is politically motivated.  Regardless, the US severely underestimates the fallout, especially to Europe, should default occur.  Sanctions are economic madness and Obama's claim they are working is preposterous. For further discussion, please see Russia Under Attack: Letter from CEO of Genoil to CEO of JPMorgan Chase on US Foreign Policy Blowback

This Appeared Here....... 

My Take - I know I'm going to surprise a whole bunch of people, but I don't know how this ends up being Obama's fault? Everyone demanded he do something and then complained when he didn't start a war. Well, somehow I think that starting a war with Russia isn't such a good thing. So if that's the case - just how many options did anyone think he had? In this case sanctions were all that was left, otherwise everyone had to take their toys and go home and be quiet. No one's forcing Putin to be stupid. That's his choice.

Some weeks back I commented that all the saber rattling everyone is so concerned about is nothing more than a big show by Putin to make him look strong, when in reality he's a typical arrogant economic idiot, just like Stalin, Lenin, Castro and the rest, and with the weakness that comes with going broke.  That leaves bluster and bluff, at which the Soviets excelled, especially when dealing with men like FDR and JFK.  

He destroyed Russia's opportunity to become an economic powerhouse. He and all those corrupt ex-security agents and their allies basically stole all the worthwhile businesses in the nation.  Eventually the only thing Russia had left as a economic base was energy, and those prices are collapsing as I'm writing.  He's broke, he's scared, he's clueless and his real concern is not whether or not he can hold power. I'm willing to bet his real concern is his own safety. Let's face it - he's surrounded by men as equally immoral as he.

Let’s get a little clarity here.  This economic problem in Russia is not the fault of the West, nor is it Obama’s.  It’s Putin’s fault!  No one forced him to attack Ukraine and occupy the Crimea.  Putin attacked Georgia , threatens Azerbaijan and stirs up animosity between them and Armenia , puts economic pressure on Kazakhstan and Belarus and uses his influence in Belarus for military action against Ukraine,  and has been privately threatening to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states.  And just who is it in the West that's responsible for all of this imperialism by Putin?

If Russia defaults I think it’s a wonderful thing.  I have a great deal of sympathy for the Russian people who will undoubtedly suffer, but as an entomologist once said, “There’s nothing like a good epidemic to get things started”.   If Russians have any hope of fixing their nation it will take a major economic downturn to dig these thoroughly corrupt people out from their positions of power.  As for the economy in the EU if Russia collapses economically – this will be a good opportunity to re-evaluate their own economic system and start to dump so many of the stupid policies they’ve adopted – including their idiotic green initiatives, especially involving energy.  Economic collapse is the beginning of wisdom for those living under the boot heel of socialism!