Hurricane Alley… by J. D. Longstreet

Taxes By The Mile in North Carolina?

Taxes By The Mile?

By J. D. Longstreet

**************************************

Here in North Carolina, something called the 21st Century Transportation Committee is recommending the state adopt a “taxes by the mile” plan.  As I understand the proposal, the state would carefully record the miles each Tar Heel Driver drives, over the preceding twelve months, and the vehicle owner would be charged the appropriate amount in taxes for each mile the driven. As North Carolinians take their cars in each year for the mandated annual state inspection (which by itself is a gigantic tax scheme!)  the mileage on the odometer is recorded. This will be the source of the mileage figures used to tax NC drivers. Transportation experts say that later the state could switch to GPS tracking of NC Drivers.

 

You can read the piece by Steve Harrison at the Charlotte Observer’s site by

clicking here.

 

So.  Why the taxes by the mile?  Well, you see, it’s like this:  Tar Heel drivers, being the frugal people that we are, understood, when gasoline prices went sky high, that if we reduced our driving, we would spend less on gasoline.  Makes sense, what?  Of course, it does.  But, you see, NC has one of the highest state taxes on gasoline in the United States and the state has been losing it’s proverbial behind ever since Tar Heel drivers parked their cars and trucks.

 

So what to do?  Hot dang! Raise taxes! But the state needed a new scheme to do it, because NC drivers learned, while those cars and trucks were parked, that they really didn’t NEED to drive as much. Now that gas prices are substantially lower, we still have the family jalopy parked.  My truck is driven a couple of times a week.  The family sedan now gets the yeoman’s job the truck used to perform because it gets better gas mileage.   And the sedan is not on the road nearly as much as before the rise in gas prices. Hey, just because we speak slowly in NC, doesn’t mean we think slowly.

 

Enter the proposed “Road Use Tax.”

 

Now, as if the Road Use Tax isn’t insult enough, the 21st Century Transportation Committee proposes charging NC drivers a quarter cent a mile for every mile driven each year… with the first 2000 miles a year free.  How generous, don’t you think? 

 

As I noted above NC has one of the highest motor fuel taxes in the nation at 29.9 cents per gallon. But, the state expects to lose 580 million dollars in tax revenue over three years because Tar Heel drivers are buying less gasoline. As a result the state of North Carolina is desperate for tax money.

 

Now, we are not blessed with a legislature noted for it’s deep thinking. We are not even noted for a state legislature noted for frugality.  Every time we get a surplus, they manage to spend the money.  Then they poormouth to the NC taxpayers about how the state is going broke and then they roll out the old threat to cut back on essential services because of the monetary short fall.  It happens time and time again.  So being short on money in the state treasury of North Carolina is nothing new.

 

Has it not occurred to the boys and girls in the NC General Assembly that maybe we ought to consider tightening our state belt, cut back on state spending, you know, get choosy about where and when and how they spend the state’s money?  If so, I haven’t heard about it.

 

North Carolina is a great state.  I’ve called it home for nigh on to 45 years now.  I have seen this sort of thing come and go many times over that near half century I have lived in this state and I’m sure it will continue as long as there is a Tar Heel state. But our state legislature has got to learn that just as their taxpayers parked their vehicles when the price of gasoline became just too darned high, the state is going to have to learn to park some of it’s money soaking programs until state coffers become much more robust.

 

As democrats control NC, I fully expect the state legislature to not only consider this proposal; I expect them to pass some form of it into law within the next two to three years. I am convinced they’d do it now, if they thought they could get away with it. But with the recession, and all, the gang with the pitchforks and torches would be running toward the state capital building by dawn!  Oh, yes, yours truly would be amongst them replete with a pitchfork and a torch!

 

J. D. Longstreet

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“How Obama and the Democrats will Destroy the U.S. Economy” by Alan Caruba

Please see:

How Obama and the Democrats will Destroy the U.S. Economy” by Alan Caruba at:

http://www.stormwarning.bllogdrive.com/

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Rethinking the Middle East … by Alan Caruba

Rethinking the Middle East

By Alan Caruba

 

After 9/11 much of my thinking reflected the general view that Al Qaeda had to be found and destroyed. I thought, too, that Saddam Hussein had to be removed as an obstacle to stability in the Middle East given his invasion of Kuwait and general belligerence.

 

Since those days I have had plenty of time to reassess my views of U.S. policies and to educate myself regarding the Middle East. A lot of my thinking had been based on the inescapable fact that the U.S. and the West needs access to Middle Eastern oil.

 

U.S. policy since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been support for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, providing protection of the sea lanes that transport oil and, in the case of Iraq, protecting the Saudi kingdom against attack. This was the reason for the original U.S. effort to remove Saddam’s Iraq from Kuwait and the subsequent invasion that was based on less than accurate intelligence reports of an Iraqi buildup of weapons of mass destruction.

 

For a long time, there has been a general consensus that a “clash of civilizations” between the West and Islam was inevitable, but it is more of a clash between civilization and nihilism. The global war on terror influenced U.S. actions as the rationale for the second invasion of Iraq was, in part, to introduce democracy to the Middle East.

 

There have been two factors that have complicated U.S. policy toward the Middle East. One was the establishment in 1948 of the state of Israel, a response to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust that combined with the Zionist movement that began in the late 1800s as a response to the anti-Semitism of Europe and Russia. It received support from the newly-established United Nations, but nations in the Middle East reacted unanimously against the return of Jews to their former, ancient homeland. No surprise here; the Koran demonizes both Jews and Christians.

 

The other factor was the Islamic Revolution that erupted in Iran in 1979, a defeat of the American influence in that nation’s affairs linked in no small measure to its oil. The later defeat of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led many in the Middle East to believe that Islam could defeat Western efforts to control the region. Western hegemony in the region had begun in earnest following World War I and the end of the Ottoman Empire.

 

The weapon of choice of the new Islamic Revolution was terror and, if invaded, a slow, grinding insurgency. This is why Iraq and future theatres of war will take a long time to play out.

 

What most policy makers in the U.S. and the West tend to ignore is the fact that the nations of the Middle East differed considerably in they way they are governed and, most importantly, in the near total lack of cohesion or cooperation among them.

 

In a recent commentary from the Middle East Forum, Michael Rubin noted that, “For more than a millennium, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo have competed for leadership of the Arab world.” The establishment of Israel “became a useful template around which they could posture and against whom they could act as each sought to outdo its rivals in a claim to Arab leadership.”

 

Following World War II, a number of Middle East nations adopted the worst of Western concepts of governance, namely fascism and socialism. Baathism rose in Syria and Iraq, but only served to increase their rivalry. As Rubin points out, “Unity is not an Arab virtue,” adding that Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus “will never coexist as partners.”

 

This is not unique to the region because anyone paying any attention knows that all nations act in what they perceive as their own best interests. Some that share common historical and cultural views are more prone toward cooperation while others such as Russia measure their success against U.S. and European strength or weakness. In the Middle East, however, its culture prevents any useful, long term cooperation.

 

In an excellent analysis published in the November edition of Energy Tribune, Leon Hadar, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, demolishes many of the “intellectual constructs that reflect the imaginations of their promoters, not necessarily reality,” adding that “reality tends to bite.” The neocons of the outgoing Bush administration and the Republican Party learned this to their regret.

 

“The time has come,” wrote Hadar, “to challenge the grand idea that the Muslim world (or the Middle East, or the Arab world—terms that seem interchangeable in the American media) has a unique and monolithic political and economic culture that makes it resistant to the West’s modernizing effects.”  The analysis can be read in full at

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=1009

 

If Middle Eastern Arabs decide to become “more like us”, it will be at a time of their own choosing. Iranians, being Persian, share Islam, but have their own agenda in the region, giving rise to Arab fears concerning their apparent intent to achieve hegemony there. If and when Iran gets nuclear weapons and starts throwing its weight around, a lot of Arabs are going to begin to think of America as their best friend in the whole world.

 

It should be obvious, too, that the deep schisms within Islam, Shiite and Sunni, will continue to divide the region between the majority Sunnis and what is widely perceived within Islam as a breakaway sect of Shiites who are a majority only in Iraq and Iran. Hadar correctly points out that the Middle East “is a mosaic of nation-states, ethnic groups, religious sects, and tribal groups, and a mishmash of political ideologies, economic systems, and cultural orientations.”

 

All of which suggests to me that the same policy of “containment” that worked for nearly forty-five years regarding the former Soviet communist regime would be a wiser approach to the Middle East than an endless number of military engagements that even our European allies are reluctant to pursue.

 

After World War II, the U.S. occupied the defeated nations of Germany and Japan for about seven years to ensure they would create their own democratic governments and economic systems. After that, the U.S. extended its military protection to them and everywhere else Soviet ambitions threatened.

 

The result was a stalemate in Korea that yielded a successful South Korean state, and a defeat in Vietnam that continues to influence American policy. We still do not recognize communist Cuba, but we have entered into an economic co-dependence with Red China. Go figure?

 

Just as the declining price of oil and gas brought down a Soviet government dependent on these exports, the Russian Federation will face the same contingency. Meanwhile, a decline in the price of a barrel of oil and the price of natural gas may, if long term, require Middle Eastern nations to review their policies as well.

 

The best thing America can do right now is to open up its own vast reserves of oil and natural gas that remain unexplored and untapped off of 85% of our continental shelf and to do the same in ANWR. We need to stop demonizing coal and we need to build more nuclear plants.

 

These actions would put the U.S. back in a position to improve our economy and protect us against pressures from the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere. I have serious doubts the Obama administration will do this.

 

Things change. U.S. policies will change. Not every policy, but gradually events, some of which we have set in motion in Iraq as part of the global war on terror, will bring about change if we are smart enough, strong enough, and patient enough to watch and wait.

 

Alan Caruba writes a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. Every week, he posts a column on the website of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, December 2008

 

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Rid The Sea Lanes Of Piracy.

Rid The Sea Lanes Of Piracy.

 

I reside just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and the coast of North Carolina and those barrier Islands along our coast which made for wonderful hiding places for the pirates of yesteryear.  The Coast of North Carolina is drenched in folklore about pirates.  The infamous Blackbeard was captured here and decapitated. The sports teams of at least one noted university here are named “The Pirates.”  So, we Tar Heels have a colorful history of interaction with pirates as does our sister state to the south. .

 

That was then.  This is now.

 

Again the high seas are infested with pirates.  Their aim is the same… to rob and steal. But now, they have added ransom. 

 

Recently we heard of an Ocean Liner being attacked, but managing to speed away.  A few days later, in the same waters, a freighter was attacked.  It, too, managed to get away.  As I write, at least one of the largest vessels afloat, an oil tanker, is being held for ransom by a handful of modern day blackhearts in full view of the world, and the world’s navies, including warships of the US Navy.

 

Our own Caribbean is littered with modern day pirates.  Yachts disappear to show up at some other location, with a different registration, and different name. Sometimes passengers disappear, too.

 

On at least two different occasions in our history, under two Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, the US Navy, and Marines, had to rid the coast of Africa of pirates.  The Barbary Coast Pirates.

 

I bring up these particular pirates because they were based along the African coast, mainly the North African coast.  The pirates we seem to be having the most trouble with today are also on the African coast, but the east African coast…the coast of Somalia to be more exact.  So far this year, alone, those pirates have attacked over 90 ships.  They have managed to hijack 39 freighters, tankers, and fishing vessels. At least 14 of them are currently anchored, under heavy guard, off pirate villages along the coast of Somalia.  Estimates run as high as 30 million dollars paid in ransom money. 

 

Turns out it is not as easy today as it used to be to take on the pirates.  All sorts of national and international laws tie the hands of governments and makes them less than eager to take on a couple of dozen men with small arms and two or three rubber boats. But there is an outfit, based here in North Carolina, eager to do what the governments of the world sea powers are reluctant to do.  I speak, of course, of Blackwater Worldwide.

 

Equipped with their own warship, the McArthur, Blackwater is looking to provide a new service to the merchant navies of the world.  Blackwater offers to escort paying customer’s ships through the pirate infested waters, safely.  Their plan is simple:  Issue verbal warnings to approaching vessels which appear to have piracy in mind, followed by a few shots in the air, and if that fails… then the sharpshooters aboard a couple of helicopters, flown from the deck of the McArthur, will do their job by taking out as many barefooted pirates as it takes to discourage the attack.

 

Already Blackwater is receiving inquiries from dozens of shipping companies and shipping insurance companies concerning Backwater’s services in escorting their ships through the world’s most dangerous waters. 

 

There is an excellent article on all of this at:

 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,592433,00.html 

 

The country of Somalia still has no functioning government and it is a breeding ground for this type of activity.

 

Teddy Roosevelt, the last President of the United States to deal with Barbary Pirates, had the opportunity to use the big stick he carried and, he did just that.  He sent seven battleships from the Atlantic Fleet to the North African Coast. It worked and the pirates backed down.

 

This blight on the oceans will not go away if we turn a blind eye.  It will get worse.  Eventually they will manage to stop and board a passenger liner and death and destruction will be the result.  Or, terrorists will seize an oil tanker, sail her into the harbor of one of the world’s great cities, and blow it up with unbelievable death and devastation as the result.

 

Now is the time to hunt them down and destroy them… even if that means following them to their center of operations in the seacoast villages of the country, or countries, providing them safe haven.

 

J. D. Longstreet

 

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America’s Group Hug About To End

America’s Group Hug About to End

BY J. D. Longstreet

As I watch, read, and listen to the MsM report the news of Obama’s selection of those people he wants to serve in his administration, it occurred to me that the change he had promised was simply a change… back to the Clinton Administration. 

 

Remember how it is when you begin watching a TV show that is a rerun, but you are not aware of it in the opening moments?  As the characters begin to flash onto the screen and the plot becomes more and more familiar it slowly dawns on you that you have seen this show before.  As I watch Obama gather his merry band together, that is exactly the feeling I get.  I have seen this show before.  Eight years ago.  So… it IS “Change BACK”!

 

Well, what about HOPE?  Remember… Bill Clinton was “The Man From HOPE!”

 

Look, the dems are nothing if they are not persistent.  They don’t seem to have had a NEW idea in decades.  They are still running elections with the same promises and pledges and even the same phraseology in their speeches that FDR used in his. So it should not be surprising that the Obama Administration looks so very much like the Clinton Administration because, for all intents and purposes, it IS the same.  All Democratic Party Presidential Administrations are the same. 

 

As soon as Americans stop slapping themselves on the back and congratulating themselves for making history, and overcoming “White Guilt”, and ending racism, and all that baloney, it will dawn on them that they have been had… again.

 

Soon, it will become clear that Americans, well, SOME Americans, are expecting entirely too much of Obama. Too much was promised and too little will be delivered.

 

Lowering expectations is the order of the day on the democratic side of the aisle.  Very serious democrats, in and out of the Mainstream Media, and in and out of the Democratic Party apparatus, are telling us to not expect so much from Obama.  Of course, that is exactly the opposite of what they were telling us just a few weeks ago.  Way back then they were promising miracles, hinting that Obama could heal the sick, make the lame to walk, the blind to see, the mute to speak, and there was a better than 50/50 chance that Obama could walk all the way across the Potomac… on his bare feet!  And yet, today, we are told that we should lower our expectations. This is all a bit much.  But this is what you get when the candidate is a blank slate upon which the voters can write their own expectations, their own desires, and, yes, their own fantasies. 

 

That American group hug, we mentioned at the beginning of this article, is slowly breaking apart as Americans begin to look up and cast their eyes in the direction of Obama’s selectees for his cabinet.  There’s some anxiety about its reflection of the Clinton Administration.  Then, too, the confirmation that among Obama’s foreign policy plans is one to lean on Israel to retreat back to it’s borders as they were before they were attacked by their Arab neighbors in 1967 and had to fight for their very existence.  In the war that ensued, Israel recaptured the old city of Jerusalem thereby reuniting it.  Now, apparently, the US is going to insist Israel turn it back over to the people who call themselves Palestinians. This has caused a stir in Israel and there is now some strain between Jews in Israel and those Jews in America who supported the Obama campaign.  They are NOT a happy bunch, at the moment. Neither are the Evangelical Christians in America and around the world.  But, then, Evangelical Christians did not support Obama and won’t.

 

And there is more, much, more to come. 

 

Too much is being expected of Obama by the Germans, the Iraqis, the Afghanis, the Georgians, most of eastern Europe, and all of Africa.  Here at home, in America, too much is being expected of Obama by the African-Americans, the White Americans, the Spanish-Americans, the Gay Americans, the unborn Americans, the poor Americans, the sick Americans, the old Americans, the young Americans, even those busy breaking into America across our wide open southern border in hopes of change with Obama.

 

Disappointment comes first.  Then comes dissatisfaction. Then comes disaster. After all, Obama is but a man. How he handles these three “D” words will define him for history.

 

Unlike George Bush, or any Republican President, Obama will have the added luxury of a Mainstream Media to justify his mistakes, his shortcomings, his disgraces, etc, to the nation and the world. After all, he is THEIR man and they will not allow him to fail. 

 

Clear thinking Americans, both republican and democrats, know whom America elected and they are worried.  They have reason to worry. America is as vulnerable as it was before World War Two… and every bit as naive.  In a country like America, vulnerability and naiveté can bring on disaster.  Anything can happen. Like a blind man negotiating a minefield, America must tread softly, and carefully, over the next few years.  Inexperienced leadership was not what the country needed, but that is what we have. Americans are now trusting in blind luck to get us through.

 

Me?  I pray a lot.

 

J. D. Longstreet 

 

 

Turning Boom into Bust … by Alan Caruba

Turning Boom into Bust

By Alan Caruba

 

Energy is called “the master resource” because every other aspect of life operates off of it. Nations that are rich in energy resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal, grow wealthy.

 

There is also something called “the curse of oil” because, if the price per barrel drops, the fate of some nations goes with it. This is the case, for example, of the former Soviet Russia whose government collapsed when it could no longer secure hard currency when oil and gas prices fell. Venezuela is an economic basket case these days, having nationalized oil and most of its financial and business sectors.

 

The history of nationalized oil and gas-rich nations is that they tend not to invest in their energy industries. They do not engage in sufficient exploration. They do not expand their capacity to extract their natural resources or to refine it. We have seen otherwise oil-rich nations like Mexico encounter financial tremors as in the 1990s when the Clinton administration had to loan Mexico billions to keep it functioning.

 

America has adopted anti-energy policies because of incessant environmental propaganda about “dirty” coal, out of the fear of nuclear power, and the refusal to permit exploration of 85% of the continental shelf and, of course, Alaska’s ANWR area, a tiny fraction of that State’s landmass.

 

If Congress imposes a windfall profits tax on the American oil industry, it will quite simply wreck the economy. As my friend, Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a longtime oil industry attorney as well as a petroleum engineer, points out, “”President Jimmy Carter started the ethanol subsidy on November 9, 1978 and signed the oil windfall profits tax on April 2, 1980.”

 

In effect, Carter put in motion an anti-oil policy that has existed for over three decades. Why is that a bad thing? The ethanol policy has severely disrupted the price of food worldwide as corn is diverted into fuel. The justification for this is “energy independence” from the purchase of foreign oil, but U.S.-produced oil has always been cheaper than imported oil.

 

If, however, the government creates conditions under which it is simply too risky, too expensive or prohibited to explore for more oil reserves, obviously oil production declines. There has been a 59% decline in U.S. oil production since 1980, the year the windfall profits tax was imposed. It was later repealed, but U.S. oil companies have a responsibility to their investors to act prudently and that has driven them to explore for oil outside of the U.S. or, to put it another way, to find foreign oil.

 

When you add in the idiotic ethanol mandates, you compound the problem. Graham points out that, “After thirty years, U.S. ethanol production was only able to produce less than 3% of our oil demand last year.” Moreover, “ethanol cost taxpayers $3.3 billion in subsidies in 2007.” Environmental claims that ethanol is cleaner than oil are false. Not only do you get less energy and poor mileage when ethanol is blended with gasoline, it actually emits more carbon dioxide per mile. “It is absolutely impossible for ethanol to replace foreign oil,” says Graham.

 

The justification for a windfall profits tax on oil companies ignores, for example, that ExxonMobil, just one of the few remaining oil companies operating in the U.S., pays more than $100 billion in taxes on the average. 

 

Less than 11% of ExxonMobil’s profits come from marketing and refining in the United States and the company recently announced it was spinning off its retail outlets.  Yes, it made great profits in recent years, but it also had enormous, risk-filled expenses.

 

Imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies will give them cause to consider moving their corporate headquarters to other more congenial nations. The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has been engaged in a vast office building effort, perhaps anticipating the movement of corporate headquarters.

 

Americans greeted the expiration of the ban on offshore exploration and drilling with the expectation that American oil would begin to flow and thus lower their costs for this vital national asset. That will not happen if the President or a Democrat controlled Congress reinstates the ban and/or imposes a windfall profits tax.

 

The city of Houston has been enjoying a boom due to the increase in the cost of a barrel of oil. Even at $80 dollars a barrel, it is enough to have created “its strongest resurgence in more than 20 years” according to a 2007 New York Times article about Houston. “Some energy companies are expanding and putting up new buildings.” Others, like Schlumberger among the hundreds of service providers to the energy industry have established their headquarters in Houston.

 

Houston is home to the headquarters of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and foreign owned companies like Citgo, BP and Royal Dutch Shell also maintain corporate offices there.

About half of Houston’s jobs, an estimated 1.1 million positions, are tied to the energy industry. The impact of a windfall profits tax would prove devastating to Houston.

 

Destroying the oil industry in America, a process that has been in place since the Carter administration, has left the nation vulnerable to foreign sources. The U.S. already imports some 70% of its oil. There has been a significant decline in the exploration and development of national reserves.

 

Unleashing the energy industries in America could dramatically improve our present financial troubles. Congress, having turned boom into bust, has a historical opportunity to reverse that trend.

 

Editor’s Note: “Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High” by Seldon B. Graham ($10.95) is available from Amazon.com.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, November 2008

 

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Will Israel Strike Iran If Obama Objects? … By J. D. Longstreet

Yes!  I believe she will.

 

Forgive me, but I cannot SEE Israel sitting around waiting on the Europeans, the Americans and the UN and the IAEA to do something about Iran… much longer.

 

The Israelis see all this “jaw-jawing” as just what it is… putting off an impending event. Israel cannot afford to wait.  Their very lives depend on the nuclear facilities of Iran being taken out.

 

Any morning now, I expect to awaken to news reports that unmarked aircraft conducted massive bombing raids over Iran and immense damage was done to Iran’s nuclear factories and research plants.  Of course, there will be a slew of reports of collateral damage. The Mainstream Media, in order to be sure we all understand, will report the deaths of uncounted women and children by these dastardly phantoms of the air!

 

Now… this is going to happen!  I see no way of preventing it now, at all.  The US has only two choices … they are… to be ahead of the curve… or behind it.  With, or without US help, Israel is going to defend itself and if that means pre-emptive air attacks on Iran and the use of Israeli nuclear weapons, then so be it.

 

There is now concern that an Obama Administration will not allow Israel to fly through Iraqi airspace, a route the IAF needs to get to Iran, drop their payloads, and get back to Israel.

 

Some time ago, I read an unconfirmed report concerning an Israeli plan to force their way through Iraqi airspace by taking on US air forces in air to air combat in order to allow enough of their bomb laden aircraft to get through to Iraq and bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.  It is understood by the Israeli airmen that if such a mission is undertaken by the IAF it will be considered a suicide mission. 

 

The tiny country of Israel is sort of like Fort Apache.  It’s surrounded by hostiles and it cannot survive a first strike.  It has no choice but to strike first and continue the strikes as long as it takes to remove the threat.  They cannot consider what the US wants, nor Great Britain, no the Europeans, nor the UN.  This is THEIR LIVES they will be defending.

 

Within 24 hours of the nation of Israel being created by the United Nations she was attacked by hordes of Muslims.  She fought them off and has continued to fight them off throughout their history. 

 

Israel has stated publicly that she will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons IF she believes her chances of survival are slim to none otherwise. 

 

The remainder of the world had best prepare.  All the negotiations, underway now, and all the posturing by the diplomats of the world, are accomplishing absolutely nothing.  As soon as Israel feels the time is right, they will strike.

 

We wish them every success.  We pray God that He will, once again, come to the aid of His people and extend His arm of protection over the brave pilots who will participate in the raid.

 

Godspeed IAF!

 

J. D. Longstreet

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What Media Objectivity?

Media Objectivity is Dead!  But Most Americans Just Noticed.

 By J. D. Longstreet

Pardon me if I stand and cheer when I read and hear reports of newspaper organizations crumbling and going under, some out of business.  Forgive me if I applaud loudly as the “unbiased” media gets it’s due.

 

It is always good to see the arrogant ones get what’s coming to them and of all the arrogant businesses on the face of the planet; the news media is certainly the most arrogant.

 

This past election cycle in the United States the News Media dropped all pretence of being unbiased.  They decided early on that Obama was their candidate and they did everything possible to promote him and his campaign… and they succeeded.  To hell with what the readers and viewers wanted! To hell with being fair!  The media knew Obama was the best thing for America and they went about making absolutely sure he was elected. 

 

It was the sorriest, must dishonest, most dishonorable thing I have ever seen done by the news media.

 

The have been losing subscribers and listeners and viewers by the droves and yet, they hang on to the overt liberalism in their biased reporting — all the while insisting that they are not the least bit biased and that all their reporting is “right down the middle”. Why, even a blind man can see their claims to no bias are a falsity.

 

Have you ever wondered how blogging suddenly came out of nowhere and became such an overnight success?  Well, the bias of the Mainstream Media is your answer.  People have grown tired of their false claims and their “in the tank” reporting for all causes liberal and many decided they could do a better job of it by simply telling readers right at the banner head of their website that yes, this site is biased in favor of conservatism, or even liberalism. Surfers on the Internet like that honesty.  They surf to a site, see the declaration of it’s biases right on the front page and, Walla, they like it!  The Web Log business took off like a rocket and shows no sign of losing strength or popularity among users of the Internet.

 

Cal Thomas has an excellent piece on this very thing over at:

http://townhall.com/columnists/CalThomas/2008/11/04/media_meltdown?page=full&comments=true We recommend you drop by and read it.  He is right on the money.

 

Thomas mentions an article titled: “The Death of Objectivity” in the Colorado Springs Gazette.  That, too, is a must read and you’ll find it here:

 

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f13/death-objectivity-journalists-work-elect-obama-33863/ 

 

For years now, I have been relying on what I refer to as “off shore” media to access news of current events in America.  I simply do not trust my own country’s media to supply a straight forward report on what happened, who was involved and when… basically, the fundamentals of a news story, and allow me to draw my own conclusions.  I have grown weary of being told what I should think about a news story, how I will be expected to react to that story, and why I should react in a certain way.  I’m a big boy.  I’m fairly well educated and I have nearly seven decades of experience in a whole lot of things including the broadcast news business.

 

Will the Mainstream Media recover?  Possibly.  But I doubt they will survive in the same configuration.  Already, many have established a presence on the Internet, experimenting with the “New Media,” if you will.  But it will take many decades to recover, even if they are successful.  I expect their turf has been lost to the New Media, the Internet. If one could point to any single show of bias from the media as the “coup de grace,” it would have be their almost total and blatant bias for Obama the democratic candidate for President of the US. (Now President-Elect)  It will take at least a generation for Americans to finally “get over it” as they say.  Me? I will never forgive them for it.

 

On the other hand, it just might be that the News business has reverted to it’s past when all the news outlets were overtly biased.  In which case the newspaper business, as a hard copy, on paper, delivered to your door each morning, is dead.  It’s as dead as their objectivity.

 

J. D. Longstreet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Obama Commercial … by Alan Caruba

The Obama Commercial

By Alan Caruba

 

The Wednesday evening half-hour, $4 million dollar television commercial for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama was a masterpiece of imagery.

 

It was also entirely devoted to class warfare, class envy, and most of all to fear.

 

This has been the Democrat message since Franklin D. Roosevelt took over the White House in the midst of the Great Depression—the real one, not the Recession the economy has encountered today. We don’t have 15% percent unemployment as was the case in the 1930s, but we do have a vast matrix of costly government programs left over from those times.

 

Obama’s message and the theme of his campaign are those the Democrat Party has always used to acquire political power. They are the promises about tax cuts that mysteriously never occur once they are in office.

 

They are about protecting people from every kind of change that could harm them and they promise “change” as a government that will come to their aid in sickness, in their old age, to help their children attend better schools, to help them go to college, and on, and on, and on.

 

The Obama commercial focused entirely on people struggling against changes in their lives over which they had no control. For example there was a Ford Motor Company couple laid off from their jobs, but no mention is made of the endless federal mandates imposed on all auto companies that drove up the cost of every automobile for everyone, nor the massive union pension and health programs those companies had to agree to in order to stay in business. These and other factors have killed the auto industry in America.

 

The Obama commercial talked of more teachers and better schools, but ever since the 1960s, the creation of the Department of Education, and the rise of the control over all schools by teachers unions, education in America has declined so sharply that we rank behind many other nations and produce students programmed to believe government is the answer but it has been federal government that has destroyed local community control over schools and their curriculum.

 

At one point, Obama said, “I will always be honest with you” and I recalled Jimmy Carter’s promise that “I will never lie to you.” Both candidates arrived out of the political wilderness with very thin resumes to suggest they had the knowledge or ability to run a nation. Carter’s one term in office was a failure in so many ways, but worse, we continue to pay for those failures in foreign and domestic policy.

 

And wasn’t it Obama who promised to accept public funding for his campaign only to renege on that promise?

 

At the end of the Obama commercial the scene shifted to the now familiar large crowd of adoring supporters. How long will that last if Obama cannot make the Recession go away? How long will his popularity last if the homeland comes under attack again and we see a weak response? It was the decade of the 1990s during which a two-term, Democrat Clinton administration failed to respond with strength against al Qaeda’s bombing of our embassies and other targets. By 2001, the targets were the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

 

 It is the unanticipated problems that test a presidency, not ones that have been around for decades. And, if Americans think that government is the answer, they need to remind themselves of Hurricane Katrina.

 

On so many levels, the commercial will have appealed to lots of people, young and old, struggling to pay bills, but the American government works best when it gets out of the way of Americans and let’s them begin new businesses, expand existing ones, and conduct business with the least amount of paperwork and other distractions.

 

That’s not how the government functions these days and, under Obama, the effort to “change” America will continue to add thousands of new laws and regulations to the Federal Register, but the class warfare and class envy will not end, nor will the fear.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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San Francisco: the Epicenter of Stupid Ideas … by Alan Caruba

San Francisco: the Epicenter of Stupid Ideas

By Alan Caruba

 

In the 1980s I found myself traveling all over the United States in the employ of a corporation’s quarterly newsletter. I visited many cities and places, discovering the unfailing courtesy and good will of Americans everywhere I went. One of my favorite places was San Francisco. It is picturesque, sits beside a bay spanned by a marvel of engineering, and has great restaurants, hotels, and other attributes.

 

San Francisco is now the epicenter of spectacularly stupid and just plain bad ideas. Being stupid isn’t a crime, but enacting stupid ideas into law comes close to being a definition of criminal stupidity.

 

This is a city that has been at the forefront of gay marriage. Why anyone other than a homosexual would think there was any sense in two people of the same sex constituting a “marriage” defies the laws of nature. Webster’s dictionary defines marriage as “The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.” But not in San Francisco. The rest of the citizens of California have made it abundantly clear they oppose same-sex marriage.

 

On November 4, in addition to voting for the president and other legislators, the citizens of San Francisco will be asked to vote on Proposition H, otherwise known as the “San Francisco Clean Energy Act.”

 

It would amend the city and county charter “to require the city to transition from fossil fuels to clean, non-nuclear, sustainable energy production at affordable rates.”  With this vote, if successful, the city will abandon the use of any energy afforded by coal, natural gas, and, as noted, nuclear power.

 

Electricity is measured in kilowatts-hours.  America’s 104 commercial nuclear power reactors now provide about 20% of its electricity. More than 50% is produced primarily by 400-plus coal-fired “fossil fuel” producers of electricity, providing more than 2,000 billion kilowatt-hours of reliable energy. Hydroelectric and gas-powered plants constitute the rest of the mix.

 

Solar and wind power constitute about 1% of the electrical energy produced from these two inefficient, impractical, and spectacularly idiotic sources of power.

 

What the citizens of San Francisco and, for that matter, the rest of the nation, don’t understand is that even in the best locations, wind turbines produce power only about one third of the time. When they cease to produce sufficient electrical power, a back-up coal-fired or nuclear plant has to be in place to meet the immediate needs of energy consumers. Comparably, solar power depends on the sun shining. Occasionally clouds obscure the sun. At night, it is shining somewhere else on Earth.

 

Proposition H states that, “Nuclear (power) is prohibited from being included in the definition of clean energy.” Moreover, solar and wind power will be mandated to produce “at least 107 megawatts” by 2012, and 75% of San Francisco’s electrical power by 2030.

 

Who supports Proposition H? They include the Sierra Club, the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, and the San Francisco Democrat Party. I hope they get used to working by candle light if the measure passes. For all those other things that require reliable electrical power, they should plan on finding some means to keep them going other than the electrical socket in the wall.

 

The advocates of this supreme act of madness had the audacity of promoting it by asking, “If you and five friends could save the world, would you do it? If San Francisco voters pass Prop H for a 100% clean energy future, we could save the world.” The justification for this is, of course, “global warming”; something that is not happening.

 

If Proposition H passes, one assumes that views of the city will be obscured by miles and miles of wind turbines and that the drive into the city will include miles and miles of solar panels lining the highways. I don’t plan on visiting in the future.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, October 2008

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