Pageantry, History, and Change

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By Alan Caruba

Last week ended in pageantry that altered history in ways the whole world could take notice, vicariously participate, and absorb into the collective conscience. On Friday the heir to the British throne married and a former commoner became the future queen of England. The world rejoiced.

On Sunday, Pope John Paul was beatified, a step toward sainthood, in an expedited Vatican process that was a response to the crowds who gathered at his funeral on April 8, 2005 and cried out “Santos Subito!” Sainthood now.

The evening before was the annual black-tie White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner, a gathering whose humble beginnings reflected the job of covering the presidency. The Association was formed in 1914 in response to news that President Wilson wanted to hold regular press conferences, but wasn’t sure who should attend. The reporters wanted to make sure they made that decision. They held their first dinner in 1920 and, in 1924, Calvin Coolidge was the first President to attend.

Today the dinner is a glitzy affair and can be watched on C-SPAN. As Dana Milbank of The Washington Post noted in an April 29 commentary, the dinner has spawned twenty parties around the event, sponsored by corporations and media organizations who invite film and television celebrities who are also guests at the dinner. It’s a chance for star-struck reporters to rub shoulders with them.

“The correspondent’s association dinner was a minor annoyance for years,” wrote Milbank, “when it was a ‘nerd prom’ for journalists and a few minor celebrities. But as with so much else in this town, the event has spun out of control. Now awash in lobbyists and corporate money, it is another display of Washington’s excesses.”

What ties the dinner together with the beatification ceremony the following day was inadvertently touched upon by Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, historian, best selling author, and a national treasure.

Writing about Pope John Paul’s historic visit to his native Poland in June 1979, Noonan noted that the Mass he conducted was attended by easily a million or more Poles, but when “Everyone at the Mass went home and put on state-controlled television to see the coverage of the great event, they knew millions had been there, they knew what was said, they knew everyone there was part of a spiritual uprising. But the state-run TV had nothing. State-run TV had a few people in the mud and a picture of the pope.”

“Everyone looked at the propaganda of the state, at its lack of truthfulness and its disrespect for reality, and they thought: It’s all lies. Everything the government says is a lie. The government itself is a lie.”

Poland along with Eastern Europe was still in the iron grip of the Soviet Union as it had been since the end of World War Two. In Poland, however, resistance had begun in the form of the Solidarity Movement. Lech Walessa, its leader, told Noonon “We knew…communism could not be reformed. But we knew the minute he touched the foundations of communism, it would collapse.”

The collapse that came began with the failure of the Polish state-controlled press to tell the truth.

While the United States does not have a state-controlled press, the rise of many news and news analysis sites on the Internet has made it clear to a growing body of Americans that the mainstream news media (MSM) has failed or refused to report the truth.

The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 is now largely attributed to the slavish adoration and biased reporting that lifted him from virtual obscurity and put him in the Oval Office.

The release of an obviously fraudulent “birth certificate” this past week evoked virtually no outrage in the MSM. Instead they demanded that the issue of Obama’s eligibility to hold the highest office in the land had been settled. It had taken nearly two years since an initial, comparable certificate had been put out by his campaign to get a repeat of that fraud.

The trust that was formerly given the MSM has been steadily eroded for years and with good reason.

Milbank wrote that he did not fault any one host for throwing a party “or any journalist for attending. Many of them are friends. There’s nothing inherently wrong with savoring Johnnie Walker Blue with the politicians we cover. But the cumulative effect is icky.”

That’s a pretty good description of the nation’s mood about President Obama and those charged with reporting on him. It’s “icky.”

This is a President who is calling for higher taxes in the midst of a severe recession, increasing inflation, $4 a gallon gasoline at the pump, a distressed housing market, and high unemployment.

This is a President who will not let our vast national reserves of oil and coal be developed for America’s use. This is a President advocating high speed trains, wind and solar power, electric cars. He shuns our allies and thinks he can pick the winners and losers in the “Arab spring” as despots are being overthrown and challenged.

Not only has our federal government been debased by a Marxist regime, but those charged with reporting on it have allowed themselves to be seduced by it.

“Santos Subito!” is a call for a renewed spiritual faith and the spiritual values that Americans of all faiths want and need in order to replace the quasi-communist regime in Washington, D.C.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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Canvassing 2#

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Well the local Conservatives finally got around to saying hello which makes the current visitations at 2 to 1 in Labours favour, not that I favour Labour generally of course. I even got to meet my local MP for the first time even if her list had me wrongly named, or possibly she just assumed I had the same name as my partner. I also recognised her and her pictures in the press don't really do her justice, nice lady, well she would be, they wanted my vote after all.

Focussing on the local.
One of the things I have noticed between the two different parties is where their emphasis lies in how they want to gain votes. Labour are deliberately focussing on the Tories performance nationally and the supposed cuts that will make everyones life a misery, whist studiously avoiding any mention of why those cuts might be necessary or indeed how they'd solve the deficit problem other than being nicer than the Tories about it.
The Tories on the other hand want me to focus on what they are doing locally as opposed to nationally, in other words they'd rather I'd ignore what Cameron and his EUphilic ilk are up too with the Lib Dems and not focus so much on government cuts, hence the list of what my local candidates have done for my area.
Still no doubt a lot of people will be voting on national issues in the hope of affecting the governments thinking, certainly that's what the Tories were up too before the general election and something they hope we wont do now.
I still haven't decided who I will vote for yet, though it won't be Labour, I'm not even sure if any independents are standing in my ward, I'll have to check, though they haven't asked for my vote yet.
As for the referendum, well I'm still undecided.
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Cartoon Round Up

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Department of Pre-Crime

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I quite enjoy the movie Minority Report based on a Philip K Dick short story though quite well enhanced by some good effects. It essentially involves the police using pre-cogs or precognitive telepaths who can predict murder before it even happens and so the pre criminals are arrested and locked up, at least until a flaw in the system shows how it can be fooled.
Still, even today the police were out arresting people for intentions rather than actual criminal acts.

Daily Mail.

Earlier, three protesters thought to have been planning to behead effigies of the royals were arrested in London.
Police seized a guillotine as they arrested two men - aged 68 and 45 - and a 68-year-old woman last night thought to have been plotting disruption on the day of the Royal Wedding.
It is understood one of the men arrested is Chris Knight, 68, head of the anti-royal anarchist group The Government of the Dead.
The arrests in Brockley, South-East London, come after officers warned there would be a number of pre-emptive arrests on the eve of the big day.
Ok, these people may well have carried through their attempts to disrupt the wedding, however planning something is not the same as doing, even if arrested as they were carrying a guillotine. Even then, that's a legitimate protest, granted they probably would have been lynched by the attending royalists, but, IT'S STILL NOT A CRIME! pre-emptive means by it's very nature that the police are arresting people who have committed no crime as yet and I'm fairly sure some human rights lawyer is going to have a field day over this lot once they get their teeth into it. Granted the police may have saved disruption on the day, but at what cost? I'm no royalist myself, bit of respect for the Queen, hell of a lot of respect for Prince Philip, but no respect at all for the rest of the hangers on especially the heir to the throne. To my mind though, they aren't worth a protest over, but should I have chosen to protest peacefully if noisily I might have been arrested. Even if on the day I chickened out, or was merely talking up a storm and had no intentions of doing anything. I'm not saying the people arrested weren't going to try and protest, however until they did they were guilty of nothing more than conspiracy and that isn't a crime, or rather wasn't until today. The police do however have a history of this, just ask football fans and striking miners about their coaches being turned around on mere suspicion.
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Nobody Does It Better

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Nobody does it better
when it comes to Royal weddings.
We wish the Royal couple
a long and happy marriage.
Alan Caruba
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Things I Don't Care About

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By Alan Caruba

The alleged Obama birth certificate has now become a cottage industry with YouTube videos explaining why it is a fake and a torrent of articles in the mainstream press about its release by the White House.

I don’t care about it.

Well before Obama was elected I had concluded that he was a complete fake with a totally fabricated life that included not one, but two, memoirs to provide the illusion of his progress from his birth to when he began to campaign for the presidency.

I relied then and now on Dr. Jerome R. Corsi’s excellent book, “The Obamanation”, published in 2008. His new book is presciently titled “Where’s The Birth Certificate?”

In another excellent book, “Dupes”, Prof. Paul Kengor chronicled the way the Communists among us have been manipulating public opinion and policy going back to the days when the Soviet Union was established in 1917 and immediately set up an international army of spies, advocates, and the dupes who fell for the lies about their murderous political system.

“The facts were,” wrote Kengor, “that many of Obama’s friends had been dedicated Marxists, Maoists, and Stalinists; he was party to a long-running personnel and professional association with people from the most extreme Left…”

In the two years since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, there has been a steady flow of books revealing more facts to confirm this. That latest is Jack Cashill’s “Deconstructing Obama” regarding the true authorship of the alleged memoirs that appear to be the work of Bill Ayers, a longtime Obama friend and a self-defined “Communist with a small ‘c’”. famed as one of the 1960’s Weather Underground terrorist group.

Other books include Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s “The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America”, Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski’s “The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency”, and “The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists” by Aaron Klein.

It’s not as if Obama’s totally fabricated “life” has not been thoroughly exposed and the only relevant question is why is he still in the White House?

The “Birther” movement has managed to obfuscate the obvious. Obama is not, as clearly defined, “a natural born” American insofar as his father was a Kenyan citizen. As such, he was not and is not eligible to be President.

I credit Donald Trump for forcing Obama’s hand in producing an alleged birth certificate, but it still does not resolve anything. One of the many other things I don’t care about is Donald Trump, a relentlessly self-promoting real estate mogul and television personality.

I don’t care about the “debt ceiling” that has been routinely raised seventy-four times since 1962. It will be raised again because the federal government keeps spending and spending and spending. This is enabled by the Federal Reserve that keeps printing U.S. dollars whose value declines each time they do. I do care about that!

The list of things I do not care about is quite extensive, but I will conclude by saying I do not care who wins the next “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.” I don’t care what happens to Charlie Sheen’s career or life. A small part of me, however, wants Lindsay Lohan to get clean, grow up, and get on with her acting career.

For the next year and a half we shall all remain prisoners of the state, ruled by the worst, dumbest, and most malevolent President in the nation’s short history. A lot of Americans care very deeply about the consequences of that.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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Only a politician of the left could have come up with this sort of thing and I include both Labour and Lib Dems in this category. When police actually enforce the law and do the jobs we expect them too, the net result is some idiot labour politician describing it as disproportionate, and no, I'm not on about the idiocy in Bristol where it clearly was disproportionate.

Raids on three suspected London squats ahead of the royal wedding were "disproportionate", a Labour MP says.

They seemed to be "some form of pre-emptive strike" before the ceremony, said John McDonnell, who represents Hayes and Harlington in west London.

Twenty people were arrested in Hackney, Camberwell and Sipson on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police (Met) said it brought forward the operation because of the royal wedding, but stressed it was not directly related to the event.

This week it indicated it would take pre-emptive action to stop people coming to central London on Friday to cause trouble.
Let's be quite clear here squatting in someone else's property or on someone else's land is illegal, no ifs or buts, if it's not yours then it's a form of theft by denial, dress it up in all the fancy words you like, it's still not yours.The one thing that bothers me is the fact that the only reason the police did this was because of the Royal Wedding rather than just closing a squat down as per the normal course of things.
Quite frankly despite the idiocy of John McDonnell who believes that the police should be nice to criminals this is exactly the sort of thing that the police should be doing week in week out, this is the area where zero tolerance should be being enforced.
This address was in Mr McDonnell's constituency and he said police had handcuffed one person before they "forcibly detained" others.

"I believe this disproportionate use of force is unacceptable, he told the Commons.

"I would urge that a minister comes to this house from the Home Office to explain what is exactly happening today, what are the grounds for that action and also to contact the Metropolitan Police commissioner to explain that many of us feel that this is disproportionate and no way to celebrate this joyous wedding."
Yes, there you have it, a Labour MP telling the world that the police should go easy on criminals because it's a Royal Wedding.
Wonder what he'd be saying if the squat was his house?
Bet it wouldn't be "many of us feel that this is disproportionate" that's for sure.
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History is No Help to the Federal Reserve

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By Alan Caruba

Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, gave a press conference on Wednesday and, try as I did, I fell asleep almost immediately. For those suffering from insomnia, I would recommend you “take two Bernanke’s and call me in the morning.”

At the time of his appointment Bernanke was widely known as an expert on the history of the Great Depression. It was commonly thought that he would avoid putting the nation through a similar experience, but a long, deep recession has put that in doubt.

In “New Deal or Raw Deal”, historian Burton Folsom, Jr., identified three major causes of the Great Depression, beginning with a Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act on imported goods that was signed in June 1930 by Herbert Hoover. It was the highest tariff on imported goods in U.S. history. Other nations retaliated. “Our exports, therefore, dropped from $7 billion in 1929 to $2.5 billion by 1932.” The result was that “By July the stock market had lost one-third of its value in ten months”, a second major cause of the Depression whose beginning is generally dated to the Wall Street crash of October 1929.

The other cause was due to the fact that, in the three years leading up to the bill, “the national debt balloon(ed) from $1.3 billion to $24 billion.” Our current national debt is equal to our entire Gross Domestic Product, the value of all of the nation’s goods and services.

Folsom identified the third leading cause as “the poor performance of the Federal Reserve. “In practice, the Fed had raised interest rates four times, from 3.5 percent to 6 percent, during 1928 and 1929. That made it harder for businessmen to borrow money to invest, which hindered economic growth.”

Under former Chairman Alan Greenspan and Bernanke, the Fed has kept the interest rates it charges banks to nearly zero. Bernanke is no doubt aware that the Fed’s failure to lend money to cash-hungry banks led to the collapse of hundreds during the Great Depression.

Fast-forward to present times and we see that the Fed has literally flooded the economy with cash, essentially by simply printing money out of thin air. All of it is backed by the “full faith and credit” of the government.

On April 25, The Wall Street Journal headlined an article, “Fed Searches for Next Step” noting that it “is likely to begin closing a wide-open credit spigot this week—but faces a major decision: when to start draining the excess credit out of the economy by raising interest rates.”

Whether the economy was infused with great gobs of cash or whether that liquidity is slowed, the Fed—then and now—is caught in a vice because history demonstrates that neither action had the desired purpose. If this was a game of Monopoly, the players could put the board away in its box, but neither history nor current trends point to anything other than a severe depression.

The rating service, Standard & Poors, recently issued a warning that the U.S. debt was slipping into a “negative” situation and this has been followed with a prediction by the International Monetary Fund that the U.S. economy will be overtaken by China in just five years. S&P is famous for its failure to spot bad guys like Enron, to whom it gave high ratings right up to the day it collapsed, nor should we believe the IMF propaganda which suspiciously tries to panic Americans.

The Fed was created by a small group of bankers and came into being in 1913. In good times and bad it has functioned in concert with international banks to control the volatility of the financial marketplace and sustain the viability of the individual nations they represent. The Fed functions largely in secret. The oversight that Congress is supposed to exercise is much the same of its regulatory agencies that have rarely seen trouble brewing, nor been able to do much about it except to clean up the mess with taxpayer’s funds.

The problem in the 1930s and now is the national debt, the result of insane, profligate spending. Those in the White House and the Democratic Party are opposing any rational steps to reduce it.

Instead, it enacted Obamacare, legislation that will further crash the economies of individual States. Some twenty-eight States are already on record opposing it. An effort to have it declared unconstitutional was greeted by the Supreme Court with a refusal to expedite the case just before the judges began a three month vacation.

An April 27, 2010 Cato Institute briefing paper by Arnold King presciently noted that “Recently, the Federal Reserve has significantly altered the procedures and goal that it had followed for decades. It has more than doubled its balance sheet, paid interest to banks on reserves held as deposits with the Fed, made decisions about which institutions to prop up and which should be allowed to fail, invested in assets that expose taxpayers to large losses, and raised questions about how it will avoid inflation despite an unprecedented increase in the monetary base.”

The Cato paper was titled “The Case for Auditing the Fed is Obvious.” The fate of the nation is held in the hands of the Federal Reserve. It performed poorly in the late 1920s and 30s, and confidence in its ability to extricate the nation from its enormous debt may well be misplaced.

A combination of unsustainable entitlement programs, too much spending, and the collapse of the housing market that resulted from Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s belief that housing prices would never fall has brought us to this point in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The response by the government, however, was to buy the bank’s bad debts and engage in multi-billion dollar “stimulus programs” which we were told would create employment and put the economy on track to recovery. It has not happened.

Instead, taxpayers have had the nation’s future put in jeopardy into the next and further generations, some of whom are as yet unborn.

Despite the Fed’s printing presses, the U.S. dollar is in decline at the same time that the price of gasoline, food, and everything else is rising.

The 2010 elections that put Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, the branch of government that initiates spending bills, has resulted in partisan warfare on Capitol Hill as the GOP weighs what steps it can take. Ambivalence about raising the debt ceiling reflects GOP concerns regarding the 2012 national elections and their fear that they, not the Democrats that regained control of Congress in 2006 will be blamed for the current crisis.

Suffice to say that both political parties deserve blame for years spent initiating excessive spending and ignoring the warning signs.

Meanwhile President Obama has declared his candidacy airily demanding that taxes be raised on “the rich” at a time when raising taxes is the worst possible choice to make as the economy struggles to recover. For the passed two years, the Obama administration has engaged in every effort to undermine and destroy the economy.

John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and the nation’s second President, warned “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

2012 looms as an election year in which Americans will decide whether to change course or, indeed, commit suicide.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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Fear of offending

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Multiculturalism, the leftist idiocy pervading government and various state provisions such as health and teaching has caused untold harm, differences do not unite us, by their very definition they can’t, they divide us and allow fears and prejudices to grow like cancers in various communities. After all, how on earth can we feel united or a part of a group of people who are so different to us? Especially when we don't mix and aren't allowed to criticise aspects of those cultures that don't fit in well with our basic freedoms and liberties (though it seems it's perfectly ok for them to criticise and insult us) It just seems that even the basic building blocks of how our society works is failing and set to fail, sometimes by well intentioned people, often enough by those with a driven political agenda who hate the English with a passion (yes Jack Straw I'm looking at you). It now turns out that the fear of offending another culture (Islamism) has endangered us all.

A fear of offending Muslims allowed extremists into Britain before the 2005 London Tube and bus bombings, a former Labour minister with close links to the intelligence services has admitted.

Kim Howells blamed “political correctness” for fostering a situation in which dozens of extremists being sent to fight the West after being indoctrinated in Britain.
The Daily Telegraph has disclosed this week how terrorist recruits from across Africa and the Middle East flocked to London to claim asylum.
According to leaked detainee files from the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph, at least 35 detainees were sent to fight against the West after being indoctrinated in Britain.
Mr Howells, a former foreign office minister and chairman of the influential Commons intelligence and security committee, blamed “political correctness” which meant that the extremists and their views were not challenged.
He said: “There is a great reluctance to talk about the whole issue. 
“It was political correctness and it lasted really until the bombings of July in 2005 when everyone realised that these people simply didn't subscribe to political correctness.”  
The Daily Telegraph disclosed today that a leaked US diplomatic cable, sent five days after the July 7 bombings, said Britain ignored repeated warnings to stop granting asylum to Islamic extremists wanted in other countries for terrorism offences.
Mr Howells, who stood down as an MP at the last general election, said that even today there was a nervousness among moderate Muslims and mainstream political debate about tackling head on these inflammatory remarks.

He said: “There's still a great reluctance to take on the basic philosophy that these jihadists argue for, which is that infidels should be killed - that it’s not really a murderous and hellish thing to do to set off a bomb and murder innocent people including innocent Muslims..

“Even now there's a huge reluctance in many of these communities to actually condemn the activities of murderous individuals who spread this kind of poison.
And there you have it, a poisonous fruit was allowed to bloom in these islands and was nurtured by the various governments until it exploded killing 52 people on July the 7th. Yet even now though it's anathema to criticise the Muslim and Islamic communities, those who do are often vilified as racists, Islamophobes, fascists, etc. Derided in the press as the "extreme right" thugs and hooligans and yet they've never set off bombs to kill people, yet are at more risk from losing their jobs if identified with a "right wing" organisation or party. Yet those they criticise seem to still have some immunity from prosecution.
The religion of peace in action.
It does seem at times that the socialists who want to bring down western civilisation may have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, though few seem to have learned from the example of the Iranian socialists massacred after helping in the return of Khomeini. The fanatics we've nurtured under our generous benefits system (we pay them to do nothing other than be fanatics) have even threatened the Royal wedding as a legitimate target for jihad. Yet the Muslim community remains quiet over the whole issue, because no-one is allowed to openly criticise them anymore for fear of offending and those that do offend them such as burning their silly holy book end up with 70 day prison sentences.
Something has to be done soon to remove the cancer of multiculturalism from our shores, something needs to be done to remove the fanatics the system has nurtured in our midst. Yet governments are now paralysed by the human rights act and even end up paying compensation to terrorists, whilst other leftist groups insist there isn't a problem despite the fact that there very obviously is. No, I don't any longer believe that the problem in Islam is just a minority, I believe the problem "is" Islam and is endemic in the Muslim communities who don't deal with their fanatics, because their fanatics control them. Sooner or later though they'll push just too far, they can't seem to help themselves and they'll do something really stupid and we'll deal with them once and for all.
We might regret it or be sorry afterwards (about 50 years afterwards seems to be the average) but we'll still do it.
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Scaring Mothers and All Others - The BPA File, Part Four

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By Alan Caruba

In a revealing article in the April issue of The Atlantic, “Beyond BPA: Could ‘BPA-Free’ Products Be Just as Unsafe?” the effort to scare American consumers and others around the world comes full circle. In essence, the people and organizations behind campaigns to ban bisphenol-A (BPA) and anything made from plastic exist to frighten everyone about everything.

From the snake oil salesmen who pitched their phony medicines in the days of the early West to today’s purveyors of fear about a wide range of chemicals that protect health and extend life, the key element remains the same; they lie to enrich themselves.

As John Entine wrote in an article, “Scared to Death”, “When it comes to stories on so-called toxic substances, the public discourse seems infected by a malady worse than microscopic residues: chemophobia.”

“Webster’s defines chemophobia as the irrational belief that ‘chemicals’ are bad and ‘natural’ things are good. Labeling a chemical ‘toxic’ or a ‘contaminant’ is meaningless. Toxicity is a question of degree, exposure is different from effect.”

In plain terms, our bodies are designed to process and excrete all manner of things we breathe or ingest. Our bodies are, in fact, chemical factories that produce chemicals to protect and maintain their functions while, at the same time, removing what it does not require.

A massive campaign has been underway for several years to demonize bisphenol-A, BPA, a chemical in use for more than 50 years to line cans and plastic containers for the precise purpose of protecting their contents against contamination up to and including botulism, a lethal food-borne disease.

One might think that more than a half-century of its use without any evidence that it poses any harm would be sufficient to support its use, but liars who defame BPA are catering to other, more sinister agendas and fear is the means they use to advance them.

In a lengthy analysis available on, it is noted that “BPA is one of the best tested substances” and has “been evaluated by regulatory bodies around the world” that found that:

• BPA is not carcinogenic or mutagenic

• BPA does not adversely effect reproduction or development at any realistic dose

• BPA shows weak estrogenic effects only at extremely high dose levels never reached in daily life

• BPA is efficiently ‘metabolized’ and rapidly excreted after oral exposure.

A primary target for the scare campaigns waged against BPA are women and, in particular, pregnant woman and mothers of infants. The product most targeted is plastic baby bottles.

Countless articles have been published in magazines, newspapers, and on Internet sites and blogs devoted to “environmental” topics and health issues that “report” various clinical studies all purporting that BPA represents a great risk to women.

Women unfamiliar with the scientific process are particularly vulnerable to reports that a small study of few females “may” or “could” or “might” reflect a connection between BPA and the alleged results, particularly if they are reported in medical journals that routinely publish such studies. The language of such studies is always couched in vague terminality such as indications of a “strong association” with the condition cited. In real life terms, this is meaningless.

Other reports exhibit both ignorance and bias such as a Huffington Post article that asserted “There’s no ‘Safe’ Plastic, Already!” Such a claim is absurd on its face. Lacking any basis in fact, the author claimed that “the latest science shows that plastics are really, really bad news” ignoring the fact that plastic containers of food and drink are ubiquitous. The claim itself sounds like it came from an ignorant child.

The sheer numbers involving plastic bottles should indicate their use is safe. For example, nine billion gallons of bottled water are sold every year in the United States. That’s 50 billion bottles. If they posed a health threat, it would be evident, but they do not, nor do the huge numbers of baby bottles, but expectant and new mothers are repeatedly told they should be avoided, especially by manufacturers who trumpet the news they do not use BPA.

A report in the Los Angeles Times claimed that eating canned food poses a health threat, repeating the tired and extensively disputed claims about BPA. The study, however, was released by two environmental groups that thrive on scare campaigns, the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute. Out of hundreds of thousands of families in the U.S., the study was based on just five!

What is not reported is the fact that modern science can detect infinitesimal amounts of any chemical substance and it is the fact that they are so small that means they represent no threat. As always, it is the amount of exposure that determines hazard and mere “trace” amounts that can only be detected in a laboratory represent a phantom hazard.

In the end, telling new mothers and everyone else that they should not eat or drink anything from a can or bottle protected by BPA is, in fact, to put them, their babies, and everyone else at a far greater risk.

Editor's Note: Parts One through Three of The BPA File are available on the "Warning Signs" blog.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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Making yourself look like idiots.

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I ran across this article a yesterday and although it is clearly Daily Mailesque in its tone it did rather make me smile at the sheer idiocy of the claim.

Emirates 24.
The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks warned that Al-Qaeda has hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe that will unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" if Osama bin Laden is captured, leaked files revealed on Monday.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Guantanamo Bay interrogators the terror group would detonate the device if the Al-Qaeda chief was captured or killed, acording to the classified files released by the WikiLeaks website.
Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, has been held at Guantanamo since 2006 and is to be tried in a military court at the US naval base on Cuba over the attacks.
His nuclear threat was revealed in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, one of several media outlets which have published the classified assessments of detainees at Guantanamo.
Sheikh Mohammed, captured in 2003 in Pakistan, also claims to have personally beheaded US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 with his "blessed right hand" and to have helped in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people.
First off setting off a nuclear bomb is not at all straight forward, as an engineer I can assure you that those things need constant expert maintenance, the timing circuit alone for the various plates to come together in just the right sequence is set to the millisecond otherwise the thing just fizzles and this thing has apparently been just sitting there since 2003?
Now given that most Islamic fanatics are like kids with a new toy when it comes to letting off weapons and committing atrocities in the name of their deity can anyone imagine them not setting it off as and when they got it into the West? So it boils down to 2 choices, they haven't got one (quite likely) or they can't set it off (possible, though there are some smart Muslim engineers out there). There's also the problem of the reaction of Europe should they do something as barbaric and I doubt it would be pleasant nor I suspect would the cries of it's only a "tiny minority" rhetoric that would be wheeled out, along with reassurances that Islam is actually all about peace and is no way connected with this heinous act. Move along now, nothing to see here, be much of a shield for them. A government that failed to act to remove Islam from its borders would be an ex government in days. If those who think that Islamophobia is a problem now, just wait till they do something truly stupid. Even a simple option for them such as a dirty bomb is likely to provoke an extreme reaction and I suspect those at the top of the terrorist tree know this. So all in all this is a massive bluff by Al Quaeda, I know it, and I suspect anyone reading it would know it, particularly in the West, it's not even particularly good propaganda as their own side will be wondering why they haven't set it off.
Oh sure I believe our security forces will take it seriously enough to at least look, but I doubt they'll find one, smart money says they haven't got one otherwise they'd have set it off already.
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The General Motors Debacle

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By Alan Caruba

I received an email from my friend, Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a veteran of the oil industry, possessing both engineering and law degrees. I first became aware of him through his book, “Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High.”

“After years of my campaigning for transparency and full disclosure, the media still does not give the American public the actual price of OPEC foreign oil or the actual price of U.S. oil. Who in America knows that the actual price of OPEC foreign oil last week was $119.82 per barrel? Who in America knows that the actual price of U.S. oil, which is always lower than OPEC foreign oil, last week was $4.86 cheaper? Now, you are some of the very few who know.”

“Why isn't the media disclosing the actual oil prices to the public? Someone might figure out that American consumers could save $4.86 x 3.3 billion barrels of foreign oil annually = $16 Billion annually if US oil replaced foreign oil imports. Doesn't everyone in America want cheaper gasoline?”

I don’t know anyone in America who doesn’t want cheaper gasoline except for President Barack Obama and his Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu. And therein lies the problem because, between moratoriums on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, obstacles to increased drilling in Alaska (not even including ANWR), and the general ban on any offshore drilling along U.S. coastlines, the likelihood that Americans will have access to their own less costly oil, barely exists.

It really doesn’t get much dumber than this unless, of course, you consider the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors. Amidst a bevy of costly bailout measures in 2009, Obama stepped in to “rescue” GM when, in fact, all it had to do is step aside and let the company file for bankruptcy, get restructured, and begin again. Countless companies, large and small, do this every year. The rescue, however, was not about GM so much as it was the United Auto Workers, a union that was largely responsible for putting GM in the poor house.

Fast forward to 2011 and reports that the U.S. government, Treasury, plans to sell off “a significant share of its remaining stake in General Motors Co. this summer.” Despite a much heralded initial public offering of stock last November, beginning in January 2011, the stock’s value had fallen 18 percent, “to about $31, which is $2 below its IPO price.

In January, Investor’s Business Daily grabbed reality by the scruff of its neck, shook it, and reported, “The bailout of General Motors wasn't supposed to cost taxpayers. In fact, the promise was that taxpayers would profit. Now the government says the bailout's a loser. No one should be surprised. Washington has handed out $50 billion to General Motors and another $35 billion to Chrysler and GMAC to keep those companies in business. Taxpayers were told their money wouldn't end up lost in a rat hole.”

A variety of factors have contributed to shareholder and investor confidence in GM and The Wall Street Journal cited “the rise in gas prices” as one of them because it “hurt sales of big, highly profitable trucks.”

It didn’t help that the Obama administration insisted that GM step up its electric car program, always notoriously unprofitable, or that the steering wheels on some Chevy Cruze models literally came off in the driver’s hands!

Of the 61 percent ownership the government once owned, it is now down to 26 percent, but to break even, the government would have to sell at $53 per share whereas it is now priced at less than $30 per share, a new low as of April 19.

The original “investment” was $50 billion. Estimates of the sell-off of remaining shares suggest a loss of more than $11 billion if the shares were sold now.

It’s one thing if some speculator takes a loss and that happens all the time, but when it is John Q. Public’s money, the expectation is that would be more cautiously managed. Nothing about the GM bailout suggests this. The dismal results of the alleged “stimulus” funding that was supposed to generate thousands of jobs can be summed up in the statistic that only 45% of Americans are working these days.

No matter which way the taxpayer turns, the decisions made by the Obama administration has resulted in the loss of billions, an unemployment rate that resembles some third world nation, and obdurate resistance to the proposed GOP budget that calls for cutting spending and reducing the debt.

Don’t expect anything like that to occur so long as this hapless, clueless gang controls the White House and the Senate.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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How to Refinance a Vanderbilt Mortgage

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Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance is a Berkshire Hathaway Company specializing in loans for new manufactured homes, including manufactured homes with land. If you have a Vanderbilt mortgage on your manufactured home that you want to refinance, you have to seek financing elsewhere because Vanderbilt does not offer refinancing loans. When refinancing, only take a loan that is at least 1 percent lower than your current loan rate.


1. Get a payoff quote from Vanderbilt Mortgage by signing into your online account or calling them at 800-970-7250. This lets you know how much you have left to pay on your loan.

2. Solicit quotes for refinancing from a variety of lenders so you can compare and get the best rate. Contact local banks in your area as well as lenders that specialize in manufactured home financing, such as JCF Lending Group, In Park Lending, and Florida Mortgage Corporation (see Resources). You can also use Lending Tree can to get rate quotes (see Resources).

3. Apply for refinancing through the lender that offers you the best rate. For the application, you need your loan payoff amount, your loan account number and contact details for Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. You also need the year the home was built, what type of foundation it has, and your income information. Once approved for the refinancing loan, you can pay off the Vanderbilt mortgage.

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Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification

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After getting a mortgage on their houses, many people find it difficult to repay their mortgage and look for solutions that would help them reduce their burden of debt. For these people, many lenders have introduced loan modification that allows borrowers to modify their loans with lower monthly repayment bills. Such a product is also offered by Nationstar Mortgage.

Nationstar Mortgage is one of the leading mortgage lenders and has helped over 250,000 customers by providing them assistance in buying loans or as refinancing. Evident from the increased delinquency ratio that many borrowers might default on their monthly payments, it has also offered Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification for its customers to avoid foreclosures.

To be eligible for the Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification, the applicant must be able to provide useful information depicting the financial hardship of the applicant. This can be in the form of reduced income, medical issues, unemployment, unexpected expenses or temporary layoffs made by the employer.

Therefore, if the borrower has defaulted on the loan payments due to any of these or other financial reasons, he/she may apply for the Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification to prevent foreclosure of the house. This may be done by modifying the terms of the loan.

There are other requirements that need to be fulfilled before an applicant can apply for the Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification. For example, applicant may not apply for the loan modification if the he has filed for any bankruptcy. Also, it is necessary that the borrower plans to keep the house and want reduced interest rate and monthly payments of the loan. The lender may also check if the borrower has a stable source of income and if he/she would be able to pay the monthly installments even at the modified terms.

You can apply for Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification when you have defaulted on more than one payment and are sure that making monthly loan payments will not be possible anymore. Also, if you haven't been a delinquent on loan payment yet, however, you are hardly making both ends meet; you can still apply for Nationstar Mortgage Loan Modification.

Another situation when you can apply for loan modification is if your previous mortgage loan was based on an adjustable rate and now the monthly installments keep on increasing, then you can modify your loan and get your rate modified and fixed.

Loan modification is a very good solution for people who cannot pay the current monthly installments of their mortgage and want to avoid foreclosure of their property.

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Living high on the hog

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They still don't get it and it's looking increasingly unlikely this side of the revolution that they ever will, because there are no consequences really to their actions. I'm talking about various public bodies spending taxpayers cash like it's an inexhaustible fountain, which I suppose to them it really is as no government in recent memory has actually tackled the bastards and made them accountable to both the government and the public. Take the Audit Commission (please) in any ordinary set of circumstances you'd expect the people there to have a tight rein on what they are spending our cash on, after all it's supposed to be their job to keep an eye on what every other government department is spending our cash on.

Senior figures at the Audit Commission, which polices spending at local authorities, NHS trusts and other government bodies, spent almost £20,000 of public money over the past two years on luxury goods and services.
The body is thought to be the first government organisation to release details of spending on taxpayer-funded credit cards. Thousands of other civil servants also have the cards, which have been used for spending of about £1  billion, leading to warnings of a public funds scandal.
The credit card receipts disclose that Audit Commission executives enjoyed meals costing more than £600 at L’Escargot and Coq d’Argent in London. Hundreds of pounds were also spent at a brasserie owned by Raymond Blanc, the French chef. In total, £11,390 was spent on fine dining in two years.
Executives also made 30 purchases at florists, costing more than £1,300, and also bought goods from HMV and Thorntons, cinema tickets and doughnuts.
The details were released to Eric Ollerenshaw, a Conservative MP, and will be officially disclosed to the House of Commons this week. 
A government insider said that another “MPs’ expenses-style scandal” could emerge if details of credit card expenditure across government were published. Senior mandarins are understood to be privately seeking to block such a release.
The government procurement cards are Visa cards issued by several banks for small office expenditure, including travel. Some Whitehall departments insist that the cards are used for all spending of less than £5,000, which is automatically paid off from public funds.
It really beggars belief at times the profligacy and corruption of taxpayers cash at the top of the public services, if anyone tried that in my company their feet wouldn't even touch the floor as they were kicked out and means set in motion to recoup the money through either civil or criminal courts. Though most expenses wouldn't even be allowed to reach the stage that these troughing pigs have managed, they'd just look at the receipts and say we're not paying that. But in the weird world of the public services such basic safeguards don't seem to have a place in the culture of waste and mismanagement at the top of the tree, though I suspect the junior ranks might just struggle to get a replacement paperclip from the stationary store such would be the paperwork involved.
It will be interesting to see if senior mandarins in the civil service do manage to block the release of credit card expenditure on their Visa government procurement cards after all, they can spend up to £5,000 on them and it's paid off automatically no questions asked, well at least until now, people like Eric Ollerenshaw MP are asking and seem to be trying to get to the bottom of the foetid stink of corruption that emanates from senior civil servants.
Will he succeed? We can hope so. Will heads roll? We can hope so too. What we can be sure of is that the senior mandarins will fight like trapped rats to prevent even a hint of their largesse ever coming to the attention of the public or even MP's if they can help it. It's one of the reasons they have to go, or be strung from the lampposts as and when we get around to them after hanging the MP's and lawyers etc.
It's a long list and it just keeps getting longer and possibly always will at least until they show a lot more respect to the long suffering taxpayer and really start giving value for money.
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Parish Notice

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I have been cordially invited to post occasionally on a new blog the Orphans of Liberty and I'm in some very good company.

Longrider, James HighamThe SpineMark WadsworthSackersonCaptain RantyHarry HookLuikkerlandChucklesTrooper ThompsonSwbk2345Autonomous MindLeg-ironPavlovs CatWitterings from WitneyJuliaM  and Prodicus have all agreed to post their thoughts on liberty as well as their take on life as we know it both here and abroad. The official opening date will be noon on the 25th of April, though it is open now for you to take a look.

Please enjoy (I hope) and add your comments there too.

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Condoning breaking the law

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Some groups are more equal than others, this is one of the sad facts of life in this land in which we live. Some groups get away with a blind eye being turned because a full investigation would be "racist" at least until someone finally got the nerve to complain, well someone other than the BNP of course. And there are some groups who get away with vandalism and squatting because their beliefs fall in line with government policies, groups like the environumpties currently squatting in a school near Brighton.

The grounds of a disused school in East Sussex have been occupied by a group of climate activists.

About 40 protesters from Brighton Climate Action entered the grounds of the former St Anne's school in Lewes on Friday, declaring squatters' rights.

They have pledged to undertake a week of training and "direct action" against companies accused of environmental damage.

Sussex Police said the camp was peaceful and no arrests had been made.
Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said he was "sympathetic" to the protesters' action as "climate change is one of the most serious issues we face".
He said they were right to draw attention to it, but he was doubtful about the method chosen, saying that any protest must be "peaceful and within the law".

Mr Baker added that he did not condemn their use of the school building and grounds as it had been "empty for years".
I wonder whether Mr Baker would have been quite so forgiving if say they'd occupied his house, the Lib Dem party HQ or say the group had been someone like the EDL? I somehow think the response from him or indeed the police might have been somewhat different. After all the followers of the great green goddess have protected status in this land and they can seemingly get away with causing criminal damage in the name of their religion, well so long as they are doing it to someone other than the powers that be of course.
Squatting is illegal, these people don't even have the excuse that they are homeless and have nowhere else to go and I have a sneaking suspicion that any damage done to the site wont come out of their pockets either. Of course they might be perfectly well behaved (hah!) and leave in a weeks time after doing their thing.
The group also said an exploratory oil drilling site in an area of ancient woodland on the South Downs would be targeted for sabotage.
Or perhaps not, seems you can be a criminal in this land provided you're doing it for the right (green) reasons just don't try smoking indoors, driving marginally over the speed limit or drinking too much, apparently they're the wrong kind of law breaking.
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The Middle East Mess

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By Alan Caruba

Anyone such as myself who lived through the long years of the Vietnam quagmire knows that the United States is repeating the same errors in the Middle East that we did with that nation. We seem incapable of recognizing a civil war when we see one and incapable of not inserting ourselves in the midst of it.

I speak specifically of Libya and the inchoate decisions and measures taken by the Obama administration. To suggest that the present White House and State Department have a Middle East “policy” is to vastly overstate and misunderstand their ignorance of that region of the world and the forces at work within it.

The United States has been militarily involved in Afghanistan since 2001, shortly after 9/11. What should have been a short sortie to inflict punishment on the al Qaeda and the Taliban has turned into a classic “quagmire”. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 reflects this as well.

Like many, I thought that the application of U.S. military intervention would somehow drag the Middle East into the 21st century, but clearly the region remains subject to the seventh century religion of Islam and its schism between the majority Sunnis and the minority Shiites. Islam, plus a tribalism that reaches back millennia, renders the Middle East intractable to the West’s efforts.

Billions have been squandered in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the real enemy, Iran, has been allowed to go unscathed in its pursuit of regional hegemony and its pursuit of nuclear parity with its “neighbors”, Pakistan, India, and Russia.

As this is written, Saudi Arabia has concluded that the United States will take no action to stop the Iranian nuclear program and is seeking to pull together a Gulf State coalition to end the expansionist ambitions of the Iranian ayatollahs. The Saudis have also consulted with Israel.

Forty years seems to be the limit that Middle Eastern populations will tolerate the various despots that have controlled Islamic nations. In Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria those in charge have found themselves under siege and, in some cases, removed.

In two cases, Libya and Egypt, the Obama administration has openly sided with the rebels. At the same time, it has incomprehensibly offered a weak defense of Syria’s dictator, Bashar el-Assad, Iran’s strongest ally in the region. Sensing a shift in power, even Egypt’s new ruling body has reached out to Iran to thaw decades of antipathy.

The only consistent Middle Eastern policy of the Obama administration has been its hostility to Israel, the region’s only democracy and America’s traditional ally since its founding just over sixty years ago. For all the caterwauling about the Palestinians, they have long since been abandoned by the Arab nations and are now well within the Iranian orbit of influence and support.

The Palestinians could have had a separate state decades ago but have always pursued an all-or-nothing policy aimed at the destruction of Israel. It is widely believed that they will initiate a new war as Iran’s proxies, from Lebanon in the north and Gaza in the south.

The Palestinians, in fact, have a sovereign nation. It is called Jordan which lost the West Bank, part of ancient Israel, to modern Israel after attacking it in 1947-48 and 1967.

Iraq has made it clear to the United States that it wants to see American troops withdrawn as agreed by the end of the year. Its Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki recently ordered an attack on Camp Ashraf, home to 3,500 Iranian dissidents for the past twenty-six years. That should tell even the casual observer that Iraq is now in the Iranian orbit. This is true as well of Lebanon, first occupied by Syria for decades and now in the grip of the Palestinian Hezbollah.

As to the Iranian people, the Obama administration made it clear they have been abandoned after protests against Mamoud Ahmadinejad’s stolen election last year received no support whatever by a U.S.

America has severely weakened itself since 9/11 with ill-advised military excursions that, like the Vietnam debacle, have proven costly in treasure and lives sacrificed in an area that is resentful of our unwanted incursions, coupled with our addled “nation building” schemes.

There is a massive realignment occurring as the result of the popular uprisings against despots across the North African Maghreb and the heart of Middle Eastern nations, several of which were the artificial creations of Western interests. Resentments against the tyrannies of former despots will likely give way to new despots, not democratic reform.

There is no end to the resentment against America and the West.

Lacking any kind of cohesive policy toward Arab nations except for the oil they provide, the only sensible policy America should pursue would be to drill for our own extensive oil reserves to prevent a severe shock to our economy and security. So long as Obama is President, this will not happen.

There is no perceivable policy in place to stand against Iran and has not been since the Carter administration abandoned the Pahlavi regime in 1979. The fall of Tunisia’s Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Mubarack, Syria’s Assad, and the resistance to Gadhafi, along with unrest in Yemen and Bahrain will be seen, in retrospect, as inevitable.

What remains is a Maghreb and Middle East in a volatile struggle to determine whether it returns to an Islamism reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire or an enlightened embrace of Western values.

There is little reason to hope for a good outcome.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
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Happy Easter

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Cry God! For Harry, England and St George!

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Cartoon Round Up

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600+ Followers for Warning Signs

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At some point today, Warning Signs acquired two new Followers, bringing the total to just over 600. Welcome to these new folks and a warm Good Friday greeting to all you others.

Thank you for your interest and your support.

Alan Caruba
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Earth Day Predictions of 1970.

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I do not know the author who compiled these quotes, but they are a good reason why they were wrong in 1970 when Earth Day was established and continue to be wrong today, Earth Day 2011.

"For the next 24 hours, the media will assault us with tales of imminent disaster that always accompany the annual Earth Day Doom & Gloom Extravaganza.

Ignore them. They’ll be wrong. We’re confident in saying that because they’ve always been wrong. And always will be.

Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, spectacularly wrong predictions made on the occasion of Earth Day 1970.

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Stanford's Paul Ehrlich announces that the sky is falling.

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones.”
• Martin Litton, Sierra Club director

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Keep these predictions in mind when you hear the same predictions made today. They’ve been making the same predictions for 39 years. And they’re going to continue making them until…well…forever.

Here we are, 39 years later and the economy sucks, but the ecology’s fine. In fact this planet is doing a lot better than the planet on which those green lunatics live."
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The bluebells of High Elms

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I took Lady QM and the hairy hound off for one of our favourite walks today, it's not particularly long but at this time of year it has certain advantages. We go to High Elms country park (near Bromley) and walk a circular route up to the village of Downe and back to High Elms through Cuckoo Woods.
The walk at this time is notable for the apple blossoms in the orchards en route,
Wild apple tree
And up to one of my favourite pubs the "George and Dragon" in Downe for a pub lunch and a superb couple of pints of real ale.
The pub
Afterwards though we walk down to Cuckoo Woods and wander through shady woods looking at the ground as it's covered in bluebells.
Simply wonderful
Here, there and everywhere.
But it's not just the bluebells, there is spring everywhere and an abundance of colour in the leaves both green and the red of the copper beech.
Sheer vibrancy

Copper Beech
It's not a particularly long walk, but at this time of year it cannot be beaten, the dog even got to chase squirrels.
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Obama's Make-Believe Life

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The date was January 2, 2010 and I started the year with some thoughts on Barack Obama that ended up going around the world a couple of times. Insofar as Friday 22nd is Good Friday, I am going to post those thoughts again in lieu of an original commentary. Feel free to share this with friends and family.

By Alan Caruba

I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he’s led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his facile speaking skills could even put him in the White House.

In a very real way, he has been a young man in a very big hurry. Who else do you know has written two memoirs before the age of 45? “Dreams of My Father” was published in 1995 when he was only 34 years old. The “Audacity of Hope” followed in 2006. If, indeed, he did write them himself. There are some who think that his mentor and friend, Bill Ayers, a man who calls himself a “communist with a small ‘c’” was the real author.

His political skills consisted of rarely voting on anything that might be deemed controversial. He went from a legislator in the Illinois legislature to the Senator from that state because he had the good fortune of having Mayor Daley’s formidable political machine at his disposal.

He was in the U.S. Senate so briefly that his bid for the presidency was either an act of astonishing self-confidence or part of some greater game plan that had been determined before he first stepped foot in the Capital. How, many must wonder, was he selected to be a 2004 keynote speaker at the Democrat convention that nominated John Kerry when virtually no one had ever even heard of him before?

He outmaneuvered Hillary Clinton in primaries. He took Iowa by storm. A charming young man, an anomaly in the state with a very small black population, he oozed “cool” in a place where agriculture was the antithesis of cool. He dazzled the locals. And he had an army of volunteers drawn to a charisma that hid any real substance.

And then he had the great good fortune of having the Republicans select one of the most inept candidates for the presidency since Bob Dole. And then John McCain did something crazy. He picked Sarah Palin, an unknown female governor from the very distant state of Alaska. It was a ticket that was reminiscent of 1984’s Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro and they went down to defeat.

The mainstream political media fell in love with him. It was a schoolgirl crush with febrile commentators like Chris Mathews swooning then and now over the man. The venom directed against McCain and, in particular, Palin, was extraordinary.

Now, nearly a full year into his first term, all of those gilded years leading up to the White House have left him unprepared to be President. Left to his own instincts, he has a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. It swiftly became a joke that he could not deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present Tele-Prompters.

Far worse, however, is his capacity to want to “wish away” some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West. Any student of history knows how swiftly Islam initially spread. It knocked on the doors of Europe, having gained a foothold in Spain.

The great crowds that greeted him at home or on his campaign “world tour” were no substitute for having even the slightest grasp of history and the reality of a world filled with really bad people with really bad intentions.

Oddly and perhaps even inevitably, his political experience, a cakewalk, has positioned him to destroy the Democrat Party’s hold on power in Congress because in the end it was never about the Party. It was always about his communist ideology, learned at an early age from family, mentors, college professors, and extreme leftist friends and colleagues.

Obama is a man who could deliver a snap judgment about a Boston police officer who arrested an “obstreperous” Harvard professor-friend, but would warn Americans against “jumping to conclusions” about a mass murderer at Fort Hood who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” The absurdity of that was lost on no one. He has since compounded this by calling the Christmas bomber “an isolated extremist” only to have to admit a day or two later that he was part of an al Qaeda plot.

He is a man who could strive to close down our detention facility at Guantanamo even though those released were known to have returned to the battlefield against America. He could even instruct his Attorney General to afford the perpetrator of 9/11 a civil trial when no one else would ever even consider such an obscenity. And he is a man who could wait three days before having anything to say about the perpetrator of yet another terrorist attack on Americans and then have to elaborate on his remarks the following day because his first statement was so lame.

The pattern repeats itself. He either blames any problem on the Bush administration or he naively seeks to wish away the truth.

Knock, knock. Anyone home? Anyone there? Barack Obama exists only as the sock puppet of his handlers, of the people who have maneuvered and manufactured this pathetic individual’s life.

When anyone else would quickly and easily produce a birth certificate, this man has spent over a million dollars to deny access to his. Most other documents, the paper trail we all leave in our wake, have been sequestered from review. He has lived a make-believe life whose true facts remain hidden.

We laugh at the ventriloquist’s dummy, but what do you do when the dummy is President of the United States of America?

(c) Alan Caruba
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Contra mundum

Diposkan oleh Zainal Arifain

Obscure Latin legal term that normally nobody ever would have heard about save only that these days it's coming somewhat into vogue because of gagging orders. It literally means "against the world" and it does seem that many of these gagging orders are being used specifically to deal with instances of preventing the public knowing about instances of companies as well as the rich and famous getting caught and their affairs published worldwide by the press or even bloggers I guess as the term is a catch all.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he feels "uneasy" about judges granting injunctions to protect the privacy of powerful individuals.
He argued that Parliament, not judges, should decide on the balance between press freedom and privacy.
The courts are using human rights legislation "to deliver a sort of privacy law", he warned.
His comments follow a number of recent injunctions which have banned the identification of celebrities.
Mr Cameron was challenged about the use of injunctions during a question-and-answer session at the General Motors factory in Luton.
He said: "I think there is a question here about privacy and about the way our system works."
"I think we do need to have a proper sit back and think: is this right?
"What ought to happen in a parliamentary democracy, is Parliament, which you elect and put there, should decide how much protection we want for individuals and [on] freedom of the press and the rest of it."
But Mr Cameron admitted he did not have all the answers and that he needed to think some more about the issues.
Of course parliamentary privilege means that an MP can get up and say what we aren't allowed to, though the Carter Ruck's of this world have recently tried to gag parliament itself, fortunately without success.
Thing is though if a company or guy gets caught with their figurative hand in the cookie jar why should they get legal protection via a gagging order? Ok I don't really give a damn about which premiership footballers are shagging other women outside their marriage, but if they are caught with their pants down then no, they don't get to gag the press. Same with Trafigura and Ivory Coast toxic waste.
Even today a judge set a new benchmark for secrecy laws yesterday by granting a TV star a permanent gagging order until now reserved for killer children.
The ‘family’ man, a household name, won the High Court injunction to suppress for ever ‘intimate’ photographs of him with a woman.
It is the latest in a series of increasingly draconian secrecy rulings and came just one day after appeal judges decreed that another celebrity who had an affair with a  colleague should remain anonymous to protect his children.
Perhaps he should have thought about protecting his children by not doing what he was doing? But for life? I can't imagine what the judge thought he was doing.
We really ought to be getting back to a situation where if you're caught doing something you shouldn't be then you pay the consequences. If that means having your name dragged through the mud by the press then so be it, gagging the press to prevent publication of your peccadillo's is not healthy for society as a whole, be it business or private individuals. If you don't want your kids to know what a scoundrel you are, then either be more careful or don't be a scoundrel in the first place, you shouldn't have recourse to the law to cover up your sins.
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