Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cuba Fund - After Obama - The Beat Goes On and Middle East and Exchange Muddle!

Father Guido Sarducci explains afterlife.  If you ever were curious about your soul - not dover sole - but your soul then you must listen to this:
For those who believe Cuba will ultimately re-join the nations of the  world and our relationship with Cuba will return to one resembling normalcy you might investigate a closed fund managed by the stockbroker son of a man who began the fund and who also runs a Florida  brokerage firm.

 The symbol of the fund  is, naturally, CUBA (See 1 below.)
Seek and yea shall find, provide and  they shall come.

Government programs that do not reduce dependency are failures by their very definition.  This is true of The Food Stamp Program  and New York's entitlement program etc.

Government is amoebic in nature and it never contracts only expands.  That is the nature of bureaucracies.  Their purpose is to grow and therefore, increase their funding.  (See 2 below.)
After Obama - Victor Davis Hanson (See 3 below.)
Israel and its natural gas energy find.  (See 4 below.)
This from my learned friend of long standing and fellow memo reader.  (See 5 below.)
Obama and his Middle East Muddle?  (See 6 below.)

And then there is this exchange problem. (See 6a below.)
Global Warming used to be a hot topic.  Has it cooled? You decide.  (See 7 below.)
And the beat goes on  (See 8 below.)

What’s behind Cuba’s new travel policy?

Analysts say politics, money, and sending a message to the U.S. may have motivated Cuba to instigate a more liberal travel policy.

Read more here: MIMI WHITEFIELD


As Cubans embraced their first week as potential global travelers, the rest of the world pondered Cuba’s motivation in enacting one of its most sweeping reforms to date and how it might affect travel throughout the region.
And one ally responded swiftly to the prospect of an increase in Cuban visitors after the change took effect Monday.
The day after the reform allowing Cubans to travel without obtaining an exit visa or a mandatory invitation letter from a foreign host, Ecuador stiffened its own policy on visits by Cubans. Previously, Cubans were allowed to visit for up to 90 days with no entry requirements. Now, Ecuador wants Cubans to provide a letter of invitation from an Ecuadorean host, or from an immigrant residing in Ecuador, that promises to pay for the visitor’s expenses, including any medical costs.
The policy, which takes effect Monday, is aimed at creating an “orderly” flow of visitors and preventing human trafficking, Ecuador said.
“In some ways, Cuba is passing the buck to the receiving countries. This is a smart step politically speaking,” said Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a Cuba expert and economics professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh.
“If Cuba implements this new policy broadly, it will reduce the pressure for another Mariel,’’ he said. More than 125,000 Cubans came to the United States during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.
Because Cubans will still need an entry visa to visit the United States, analysts say trips to countries that don’t require visas may increase and, in turn, back-door trips through those countries, with an ultimate goal of reaching the United States, also will increase.
“I think the Cubans are trying to preemptively address the pent-up demand for travel overseas as well as create a mechanism so they can continue to capture the benefits from those who travel aboard,” said Jonathan Benjamin Alvarado, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “I’m not sure they can pull this off. It’s a pretty critical moment for the regime.’’
Since Cuban Americans have been allowed to freely travel to Cuba and send unlimited remittances to the island, they have become an important source of funds and supplies for Cubans to launch their own businesses. Self-employment is now allowed in Cuba in a reform designed to move hundreds of thousands of people off state payrolls.
Cuba’s airports have bulged with supplies carried by friends and relatives to help the self-employment effort, although an increase in import duties last summer has cut into the amount of cargo that Cuba charter companies are currently flying to the island.
The strategy, said Julia Sweig, director of Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, is to allow Cubans to make money independently of the state and invest in their country.
“The travel reform and the economic reforms are all of a piece,’’ she said. “Allowing Cuban citizens to partake of the global economy is the long-term strategy.’’
Under the reform, Cubans are also permitted to travel abroad for up to two years without losing their rights as Cuban citizens, which could set up a cyclical migration where they work abroad and then return to Cuba. Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who arrive in the United States can apply for asylum and are eligible for a green card after a year.
“If such cyclical travel increases, there are opportunities and dangers for both countries — opportunity in the sense that those going back may have the resources to start businesses in Cuba; danger in the sense that the returnees could be sources of dissatisfaction and change,’’ said Robert Pastor, an international relations professor at American University and national security advisor for Latin America during the Carter administration.
Looking back to events such as the Camarioca boatlift in 1965, the Mariel boatlift and the rafter exodus in 1994 when tens of thousands of Cubans fled the island, Pastor said, “immigration has always been not only a way to release pressure in Cuba but also an instrument pointed at the United States to put this country in a defensive position.’’
Some analysts say Cuba may hope its new travel stance will pressure the United States to liberalize its own travel policy toward the island as well as take another look at the Cuban Adjustment Act. In addition to Cuban Americans, the United States permits only limited categories of other Americans to visit Cuba, such as those on people-to-people exchanges or for specific purposes such as humanitarian missions or academic trips. Travel for tourism is prohibited.
The Cuban Adjustment Act may well come up during the expected debate on immigration reform in the United States, said Sweig. “There is a good amount of resentment among other Hispanics over the Cuban migrant preference,’’ she said. “If we can create a safe, legal, regular way for undocumented people to stay here, the Cuban carve-out may stand out in a more glaring way.’’
Cuba’s new travel policy comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of Cubans have traveled to the island in recent years and attitudes toward travel are shifting.
For some Cuban exiles in South Florida, the memories are too bitter and too many years have passed for them to personally consider visiting Cuba, but they say that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t go.
“For those of us who arrived here in the early days of exile and are now entering into the third age, Cuba will always be an inconsolable memory,’’ said Felipe Fernandez, a 78-year-old attorney in Miami. “However, I understand that those who were born and grew under socialism may like to go back and forth; in a very real sense, that is their country.”
Rather than limiting travel, Fernandez thinks the U.S. should lift its restrictions: “At this point, I believe that anyone who wants to visit Cuba should be entitled to go. Let’s just hope that Americans who visit Cuba are alert enough to perceive that underneath the prepared welcome mat for visitors lies one of the most repressive and totalitarian governments on earth.’’
But other longtime exiles say they have mixed feelings about freer travel for all Americans.
“On the one hand, I believe strongly in the freedom that our system of government affords us and as such I’m against any travel restrictions for our citizens,’’ said Jose Gomez, 65, a Miami retiree who left Cuba when he was 13. “However, I personally object to providing this dictatorship with the currency it seeks from American tourists.’’
This article includes some comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with The Miami Herald. Sign up by going to

Out-of-towners live large at free shelters

For out-of-towners seeking “four-star’’ accommodations here, there’s The Waldorf, The Pierre, The Plaza — and the city’s homeless shelters.

“People pay $3,000 for an apartment here, and I get to live here for free!” said Michal Jablonowski, 25, who moved back to the city from his native Poland three years ago and is now staying in a Bowery shelter.
“I have food. I have health care. It’s great,’’ Jablonowski said. “Here, the city supports you. The city helps you with everything.’’
City shelters boasting generous resources have increasingly become havens for out-of-towners, statistics show.

Nearly one in four of the city’s single homeless people who entered the system in December 2012 listed their last address as outside the city.
“We get breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have a microwave and TV. They do the laundry for free,” noted Jablonowski, who lived in New York for years before going back to his homeland, only to return here to a freebie life.
Jablonowski said he even gets a prepaid cellphone — allowing 1,000 texts and 300 minutes a month — through Medicaid and boasted, “I’m going to get my teeth fixed.”
“I love New York because you cannot starve in New York, you can always find food and clothes,” he said.
“The shelters are really nice. You have clean sheets. You get to watch TV and stay in the warm. Homeless people have it so good, they don’t want to look for a job.’’
Last month, Mayor Bloomberg blasted the 30-year-old city decree that gives free shelter to anyone who says they need it.
“You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport, take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system, walk in the door and we’ve got to give you shelter,” the mayor fumed.
Taxpayers shell out $3,000 a month to feed, house and provide other services to each homeless person. The average stay in a city shelter is as long as nine months — although there’s no limit.
“Some people in here have it better than people working 9 to 5, because they’re not paying rent. I’ve stayed in hostels worse. I call this four stars,” said William Sullivan, who came to the city from LA for a job that fell through.
“Everyone in this place has a silver spoon in their mouth. You get fed three to four meals a day, and the food here is great.”
A Michigan woman who arrived in December said she was drawn to New York for the “adventure.”
“New York is New York! That’s why people come here,” said Amy Kaufman, 41, who is staying in a city-funded Chelsea shelter.
“I go to the library, and I go sightseeing a lot in Times Square and Chelsea. I like it here.
“I’m staying here for a while because the housing options are better. Michigan is in a recession right now.”
Even reverse snowbirds from Florida would rather suffer through a brutal New York winter than be homeless in their own state. Florida is the second-most popular last address for out-of-town homeless.
“Survival in Florida was a lot harder than here. There are a lot more resources here for homeless, especially in terms of housing and finding transitional housing,” said Steve Rios, 49, who came up from the Sunshine State.
“I left Florida because the environment of the shelters and rules weren’t as good. In Florida, they throw you out quick. There was a lot of drug use and addicts. It was bad,” he said.
Rios, who is staying at the BRC homeless shelter on West 25th Street, says they give him everything he needs.
“We get a cafeteria, a bed and clothing. My case worker is helping me prepare a package for housing,” he said.
There were 48,553 people in city shelters last week -- including 9,923 single adults and roughly 10,000 families.
3)After Obama

We can imagine what lies ahead in 2017 -- no matter the result of either the 2014 midterm elections or the 2016 presidential outcome.
There will be no more $1 trillion deficits. About $10 trillion will have been added to the national debt during the Obama administration, on top of the more than $4 trillion from the prior eight-year George W. Bush administration. That staggering bipartisan sum will force the next president to be a deficit hawk, both fiscally and politically.
In addition, there will be no huge new federal spending programs -- no third or fourth stimulus, no vast new entitlements. The debt is so large and voters so tired of massive borrowing that the next president will talk not of "investments" but of balancing the budget. In 2016, President Hillary Clinton or President Marco Rubio will tell us that cutting spending and living within our means is the new cool.
If eight years of borrowing, printing, spending, and lending vast sums of money at zero interest did not lead to economic recovery, then the antithesis of all that will be the explicit platform of Republicans and the implicit one of Democrats.
Obamacare may remain in name, but in fact most of its provisions will be discarded or amended. Its full implementation next year will result in almost everything that was not supposed to happen: higher health-care premiums, rationed care, scarcer doctors and fewer jobs. Obamacare will mostly go the way of the Defense of Marriage Act -- officially the law of the land, but its enforcement simply ignored by the powers that be.
Despite an increase in carbon emissions since 2000, the planet did not heat up in the last 15 years. Scientists will continue to argue over global warming, but politicians will not talk much more of implementing costly cap-and-trade policies. They will still praise green energy as the way of the future, but they will not continue the massive subsidies to substitute it for far cheaper fossil fuels.
Instead, expect a renewal of federal oil and natural gas leases on public lands. There is too much newly discovered recoverable energy on federal property to continue to delay its full production -- and too much of an upside in cheaper gas at the pump, more independence from Middle East autocracies, more jobs, more money and more economic growth.
Do not expect the same level of increases in disability and unemployment insurance and in food stamps. The trajectories of all those programs since 2009 are not sustainable. For all the talk that Social Security and Medicare are not in bad shape, Democrats and Republicans after Obama will be forced to save both programs by either upping the eligibility age, curbing some benefits or hiking payroll taxes -- or all that and more.
The next president will jettison the sort of class warfare that has led only to short-term political gain and long-term polarization. Obama's "fat cats" and "one percenters" will disappear from the presidential vocabulary. We will hear no more accusations that the successful really did not build their own businesses, or that they should have known when it was time not to profit because they had made quite enough money. Expect just the opposite: a Bill Clinton-like schmoozing of small businesses to please start buying, hiring and expanding again.
Aside from the partisan furor over whether the Obama policies have worked -- Democrats will say that things would have been worse without them; Republicans will insist that a natural recovery was turned into long-term doldrums -- we will not see them continued.
We are institutionalizing, in European style, huge government, high unemployment, sluggish GDP growth, serial annual deficits, ballooning aggregate national debt and massive dependency, along with near-zero interest rates. The two parties will disagree over the contours of this chronically weak economy, but not over the fact of its weakness -- or soon, even its causes. Most Americans will not wish to continue down the road to Italy or Spain.
Barack Obama is a landmark figure: young, charismatic, seemingly post-national and supposedly post-racial. For those reasons alone, he enjoys a level of unshakeable political support not predicated on the actual record of his tenure as president -- in the manner most remember fondly that he won the Nobel Prize but don't quite know what he did to earn it.
Obama's economic record will be dispassionately acknowledged to be similar to that of Jimmy Carter. But, unlike Carter, Obama will remain a mythical figure in liberal circles.
To borrow a line from a classic Western, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." And so we will do just that.

Albatross via Getty Images
The Tamar natural gas drilling platform on March 28
The start of natural gas production at a recently discovered field has raised hopes of energy independence in Israel, but few effects of the newfound resources will be felt outside Israeli borders. On March 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that natural gas had begun flowing to Israel from Tamar, a field located roughly 90 kilometers (50 miles) off Israel's northern coast. Exactly how much natural gas is being pumped from Tamar is unclear. But if projections are realized, the Tamar field could make Israeli access to energy more secure and stable than at any other point in the country's modern history.
The Israeli Energy and Water Resources Ministry estimates that Tamar could meet between 50 percent and 80 percent of the country's natural gas needs over the next decade. The field may also allow Israel to incentivize additional domestic energy production and reduce the country's use of coal and fuel oil in sectors where demand overlaps with natural gas, such as power generation. However, Israel's ability to leverage its energy assets to affect the policies of neighboring countries or resolve the myriad challenges it faces on its borders will be constrained by the region's enduring geopolitical realities.
Israel estimates that its annual consumption of natural gas will increase to 8.5 billion cubic meters in 2013 and continue to rise for the foreseeable future. In recent years, the country has depended on two major sources of natural gas: In 2005, a deal was brokered through the East Mediterranean Gas Company, an Egyptian-Israeli natural gas consortium, for Egypt to supply Israel with approximately 40 percent of its natural gas needs for the next 20 years, or roughly 1.7 billion cubic meters per year. (The agreement was later increased to 2.1 billion cubic meters per year).
But Israel's energy partnership with Egypt has been beset with problems. Egypt, a net exporter of natural gas facing its own problems with rising domestic demand, reportedly negotiated a rate increase in 2008, and since the onset of the Arab Spring in 2011, the subsequent strain on Egyptian-Israeli relations has curtailed Israeli imports from Egypt. Moreover, militants in the Sinai Peninsula have frequently targeted the natural gas pipeline that connects the two countries, occasionally shutting down flows for weeks at a time. In April 2012, Egypt's state-owned natural gas company announced that it would pull out of the 2005 agreement, and the Israel Electric Corporation formally followed suit on March 25.

Tamar's Promise

For the remaining 60 percent of its natural gas needs, Israel has relied on production from Mari B, a domestic reservoir in the Yam Tethys field located off the coast of Ashdod. Mari B's reserves, however, have depleted faster than expected. In response, Israel in recent months has turned to stopgap measures such as expediting production at smaller natural gas fields nearby, including Noa and Pinnacle. The country has also increased its use of diesel and fuel oil for electricity production.
In 2012, the state-owned Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. built a $134 million floating liquefied natural gas import terminal. Israel received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas from BP in January 2013, reportedly sourced from Trinidad, and the government hopes that as much as 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas will arrive at the terminal each year. The project was not intended to become a primary source of natural gas for Israel, but rather to bolster Israeli energy security by making the country less dependent on its pipeline. For Israel, imported liquefied natural gas is expected to cost three to four times as much as natural gas from Tamar.
With an estimated 246 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, Tamar will be particularly important to Israeli energy security, especially considering the unclear future of relations with Egypt and the inevitable depletion of Israel's natural gas fields. Still, the benefits of developing Tamar will not be felt immediately in Israel. Despite the field's initiation, electricity prices will increase by some 6.5 percent in May, and Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom said on March 31 that additional increases could follow. But over the long term, production at Tamar will serve as a stable source of natural gas fully under Israeli control, and it will thus promote Israeli energy independence.

Export Obstacles

The Israeli government has yet to articulate a clear vision for exporting the reserves at Tamar -- and at Leviathan, an even larger offshore field discovered in June 2010. In 2012, the Tzemach committee, a task force commissioned by the government to review Israel's natural gas export policy, recommended that 53 percent of the country's reserves be made available for export. But this figure was based on an assumption that future discoveries would increase Israel's total reserves to around 950 billion cubic meters and that 450 billion cubic meters of natural gas would be needed to cover domestic consumption over the next 25 years. Opposition elements in the Israeli government have called for a reassessment of the committee's recommendations, asserting that the group underestimated Israeli natural gas consumption. Disappointing results from exploratory drilling at the Mira, Sara and Shimshon sites have cast further doubt on the recommendations.
The committee's findings have yet to be adopted, though Israel's new government is rumored to be favoring them. Proponents of exporting natural gas argue that doing so would encourage foreign investment in Israel. Perhaps more beneficial, the country could also use its newfound resources to attempt to cement strategic relationships with countries such Turkey and Jordan.
However, there would also be advantages to prioritizing domestic energy needs. By reserving its strategic supplies of natural gas for use at home, Israel might be able to keep consumer prices low and guarantee access to the resource. This, in turn, would make it easier for industry and household consumers to shift to natural gas and away from other energy sources. In 2011, according to the Israel Electric Corporation, roughly two-thirds of Israeli electricity was produced with coal and refined petroleum products, while natural gas provided the rest. Directing most of the reserves to the domestic market could also allow Israel to lower its import bills and reduce the country's strategic energy vulnerabilities.
Achieving National Security in the Periphery
Moreover, Israel must overcome myriad technical and geopolitical hurdles before exporting natural gas from Tamar and Leviathan is even possible. The easiest way for Israel to sell the resource abroad would be to build a pipeline running along the coasts of Lebanon and Syria and eventually reaching Turkey. But Lebanon and Syria are openly hostile to the idea. Even if they agreed, neither country has a government stable enough to secure such a project in perpetuity. Syria is engulfed in conflict, and violence from the civil war has been spilling across the border into Lebanon more frequently.
In 2010, Israel signed an agreement with Cyprus recognizing the island's claims to certain natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean -- a deal that raised the possibility of future energy cooperation between the two countries. But Cyprus' major economic and political issues would limit its ability to build the technically advanced infrastructure needed in such a partnership. Meanwhile, geographic, technical and political issues would undermine energy cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Even Jordan, a country whose own serious energy issues could be mollified somewhat by importing Israeli natural gas, would be hesitant to cooperate openly with Israel due to domestic political concerns.
The launch of natural gas production at Tamar is still welcome news for Israel and will likely make the country less dependent on neighboring countries and foreign partners for energy. The field will have a positive effect on Israel's economy and, considering the mounting challenges facing the country, will lessen one area of concern for the Israelis. But the tangible effects of production at Tamar on the broader region will be subtle at best. Israel's estimated reserves are relatively small compared to other natural gas fields in the region. The region's pervasive political instability will hamper Israel's ability to navigate the major infrastructural and political obstacles that prevent it from exporting natural gas. And the type of development needed to make fields such as Tamar relevant outside Israel's domestic market is unlikely, thus blunting Tamar's possible geopolitical impact.
5) Dick:

This is from a friend in the military contracting space who emailed me about the George Will column on the imperial presidency.  How can we expect anything different when less than 1% of the population knows who Cincinnatus was?  

"Slightly different perspective, but the same conclusion.  Congress isn’t weakened.  Congress can take measures to rein in the president to the constitutional confines, anytime they want.  They have constitutional powers to do so; the problem is that they don’t want to.  The president has as much power as he is willing to take and congress is willing to cede.  For the most part, congress has actively ceded power to this president, and he has willingly grabbed it.  The first two years of his administration, Obama had the unwavering support of both chambers of congress.  Now he has Harry Reid, his sycophant in the Senate who will do anything the president demands.  Reid is Obama’s avatar in the Senate.  (I use the word “avatar” to be polite.)  Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House have been timid and will do little to exercise their constitutional powers in opposition.  If the Senate is openly agreeable and the House will not oppose, then Congress has granted the president authority.  Congress isn’t weak – it is either actively supporting the president’s powers not authorized by the constitution (in the case of Reid), or it is actively allowing the president to take power not authorized by the constitution.

"To illustrate my point, Republicans are considering – CONSIDERING – immigration legislation.  The answer should be – NO!  Enforce the laws or we will begin defunding you.  The laws passed by congress don’t mean anything because the president won’t enforce them and congress keeps subverting their own laws.  Republicans should hold hearings until the cows come home.  Subpoena Holder and others and hold them in contempt.  Congress has oversight authority.  Where are they on Benghazi?  Any hearings?  Any subpoenas?  Holder provided a ridiculous report on “Fast and Furious” gun-running and the House did… exactly…nothing.  The administration promised answers would be forthcoming on Benghazi shortly after the elections and there have been no answers – the witnesses are in hiding. 

"Congressional Republicans simply don’t have the stomach to exercise their powers, so Obama is perfectly willing to fill the vacuum.  I don’t think it is a matter of the president establishing authority as much as the congress is abdicating its role.  In politics, the first line of power is drawn by your opponent and then you see what you can take beyond that.  In this case, there was no line the first two years.  After that, I am not sure Congress (House Republicans) ever drew a line.  Even forcing Sequestration was a crap shoot – I was not sure Republicans wouldn’t blink.  They already blinked on taxes.  Now they are blinking on everything else: immigration reform, gun control, foreign affairs, Benghazi, ObamaCare…  Republicans seem incapable of wielding power, even when they have the constitutional authority, due to political considerations.  It seems like they forgot what to do and are busy playing political games instead of doing their elected job and filling their constitutional role.  In any event, the president wields powers not authorized by the constitution.  He doesn’t need consent of Congress if they are willing to allow it – that doesn’t come from the president’s own discretion, but from the inaction and support of Congress.  Same conclusion. "  

6a)  Obamacare Incompetence

Let me try to understand this: the key incentive for small businesses to support Obamacare was that they would be able to shop for the best deals in health care superstores — called exchanges. The Administration has had three years to set up these exchanges. It has failed to do so.

This is a really bad sign. There will be those who argue that it’s not the Administration’s fault. It’s the fault of the 33 states that have refused to set up their own exchanges. Nonsense. Where was the contingency planning? There certainly are models, after all — the federal government’s own health-benefits plan (FEHBP) operates markets that exist in all 50 states. So does Medicare Advantage. But now, the Obama Administration has announced that it won’t have the exchanges ready in time, that small businesses will be offered one choice for the time being — for a year, at least. No doubt, small-business owners will be skeptical of the Obama Administration’s belief in the efficacy of the market system to produce lower prices through competition. That was supposed to be the point of this plan.

Certainly, the Republicans who have stood in the way of these exchanges — their own idea, by the way, born in the conservative Heritage Foundation — deserve a great deal of “credit” for the debacle. But we are now seeing weekly examples of this Administration’s inability to govern. Just a few weeks ago, I reported on the failure of the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to come up with a unified electronic health care records system. There has also been the studied inattention to the myriad ineffective job-training programs scattered through the bureaucracy. There have been the oblique and belated efforts to reform Head Start, a $7 billion program that a study conducted by its own bureaucracy — the Department of Health and Human Services — has found nearly worthless. The list is endless.

Yes, the President has faced a terrible economic crisis — and he has done well to limit the damage. He has also succeeded in avoiding disasters overseas. But, as a Democrat — as someone who believes in activist government — he has a vested interest in seeing that federal programs actually work efficiently. I don’t see much evidence that this is anywhere near the top of his priorities.

One thing is clear: Obamacare will fail if he doesn’t start paying more attention to the details of implementation, if he doesn’t start demanding action. And, in a larger sense, the notion of activist government will be in peril — despite the demographics flowing the Democrats’ way — if institutions like the VA and Obamacare don’t deliver the goods. Sooner or later, the Republican Party may come to understand that its best argument isn’t about tearing down the government we have, but making it run more efficiently.

Sooner or later, the Democrats may come to understand that making it run efficiently is the prerequisite for maintaining power.   
7)The Coming Global Warming Voter Backlash
By Jonathon Moseley
News is breaking out all over: global warming stopped 20 years ago.

A political earthquake has resulted from a feature story in the Economist magazine because the Economist used to be a consistent cheerleader for global warming activism.  Doubts about global warming used to be censored by its London editors, one reporter confided to Stephen Hayward.
So what will voters do to Democrat candidates in 2014 and 2016 when the former realize that the Democratic Party was lying to them?  Is it time to run away from the issue for Democrats, journalists, and Hollywood personalities?

While our economy is struggling and our nation in debt, Democrats squandered tens of billions on a climate change hoax.  How many voters are unemployed due to climate change polices?  Unnecessary regulations are strangling people's jobs and their lives.  And then one must wonder: what else were Democrats unbelievably wrong about? 

Can Democrats hide by claiming that climate change hysteria was an innocent mistake?  It was never a credible story.  Democrats, journalists, and liberal commentators went way out on a limb.  Like the collapse of ENRON or Bernie Maddoff's Ponzi schemes, political fortunes have been built on the shifting sand of bad science.  Japan's Society of Energy and Resources in February 2009 declared the myth of man-made global warming to be like "ancient astrology."

Liberals always knew, as reported in TIME in 1969, that it was even warmer during the period of Viking exploration than today, in the Medieval Warming Period.  Greenland was actually green when Vikings landed and averaged about 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in 1200 AD than today.  In Greenland, human villages are being uncovered from under the ice when glaciers melt.  The Climateers have to erase this time from history, when it was hotter than today only 700 to 1,000 years ago.

Liberals knew that warming temperatures were also measured on the planets Mars and Pluto, and the planet-like moon of Neptune called Triton.  There was increased storm activity consistent with warmer temperatures on Jupiter and Saturn.  The Martian ice caps were shrinking year over year.  So how would voting for Democrats protect the entire solar system from a warming sun?

Melting polar ice was supposedly the proof of a warming climate.  Yet even the alarmist BBC admits that polar ice is expanding:  "Climate scientists have been intrigued by observations that Antarctic sea ice shows a small but statistically significant expansion of about 1.9% per decade since 1985, while sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking over past decades."  Ice has been growing at the South pole for more than a decade.  A Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute study tries to argue that expanding polar ice results from the same ice melting and then re-freezing.  Ye overall, the ice pack is expanding.  So it's not the same water re-freezing.

So are forces other than humans at work?  The volcanic eruption of Mount Pinotubo in the Pacific belched as much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in a few weeks as 1,000 years of humans driving automobiles.  Similarly, the production of methane gas -- a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2) -- from herds of wildebeest in Africa far exceeds the greenhouse gas emissions of the largest U.S. cities.

The only scientific data we ever had is this: over the geological history of the Earth, when temperature increased, 800 years later we see a rise in atmospheric CO2.  Higher temperatures are not caused by carbon dioxide in the air.  CO2cannot cause a warmer climate, because warming occurs 800 years on average before any increase in CO2 levels.  (It is suspected that CO2 dissolved in the oceans escapes as the oceans grow warmer.) 

Well, something caused warming.  So it must be humans, right?  The impeccable logic of the liberal environmental conspiracy theorist.  The Earth is warmer than it used to be.  So people must be to blame.
Did they consider the sun?  Could that big yellow thing in the sky have anything to do with the Earth's temperature? 

Earth's distance to the sun changes.  The Earth goes through cycles of 23,000 years, 26,000 years, 41,000 years, and 96,000 years -- the Milankovich Cycles.  The gravity of other planets gradually alters the shape of Earth's path around the sun.  Sometimes our orbit is more egg-shaped and sometimes more round.  The strength of sunlight hitting the Earth changes with the varying distance.  The angle of the Earth's tilt in relation to the sun changes the Earth's temperature from a complex combination of factors.
A recent study now claims that the Earth is the warmest it has been in 4,000 years.  So it was also this warm 4,000 years ago.  Guys, you are not helping yourselves here.  There was no industry 4,000 years ago.  Are humans warming the Earth when it was hotter 4,000 years ago?

Natural forces change temperatures on Earth.  The sun "wobbles" slightly under the influence of the planets.  Dr. Theodor Landscheidt calls this "The Swinging Sun."  All the objects in our solar system orbit the sun's center of gravity -- even the sun itself.  In fact, this wobbling is how astronomers detect distant planets around other stars.  This wobbling causes the 22-year sunspot cycles.  (Every 11 years, the sun's magnetic poles reverse.) 

Dr. Landscheidt revealed how the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn and other planets cause multiple overlapping cycles of roughly 22, 79, 178, 400, 1,000 years, etc.  The sun is a ball of liquid "plasma."  Very slight ripples or oscillations are caused as the sun swings with this orbital torque.  The effect is vanishingly small for the sun overall.  But varying sunlight can cause small temperature swings on Earth.
This wobbling also changes the sun's magnetic field.  The amount of cosmic rays hitting the Earth from outside our solar system increases and decreases.  Cosmic rays hitting the Earth impart additional energy to the Earth.

Furthermore, the sun is hurtling through space -- very fast, in fact.  Our solar system is orbiting the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  We fly through areas of space with more or less gas and dust.  As the sun moves through different environments, the amount of gas and dust filtering sunlight changes.

It is a scientific fact that carbon dioxide gas will absorb heat.  So -- the simplistic mind presumes -- CO2 in the open atmosphere must also trap heat on a planetary scale.  But real scientists don't make those kinds of leaps of faith.  Planetary weather is unimaginably complex.  We cannot extrapolate from a sample of CO2 gas in the laboratory the open atmosphere on a global scale. 

Humanity crossed from superstition to the scientific era when Sir Francis Bacon publicized "The Scientific Method."  This requires hard data from controlled experiments, which are independently repeated.  But we now have "science bypress release."  Political activists calling themselves scientists offer raw opinion and speculation.  And now Western civilization is in deep trouble.  We are sinking back into superstition, in which elite priests tell us what to think.

As the embarrassment of climate change "science" grows, will there be calls and congressional hearings on the sorry state of science education in our nation's schools?  How could so many people abandon "The Scientific Method" grounded on hard experimental data in favor of pure speculation?  Are our schools teaching science, or myths?
8)Rahm's Latest Union Beating

Read more here:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have thought he bought labor peace when he agreed to a fat increase in teacher pay to settle a strike last year. Instead the Chicago Teachers Union is throwing massive resistance against his plan to close 54 under-used public schools.
The closings are part of the city's attempt to address a budget gap projected to be $1 billion next year thanks to years of fiscal mismanagement. Annual pension payments for Chicago teachers will rise to $593.3 million from $218.6 million by 2016, and the city has to finance that 16% teacher pay raise over four years. Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett says closing the 54 schools that are operating at less than 69% capacity will save some $43 million in operating costs next year and $560 million in capital costs over 10 years.
Critics claim the closings break up neighborhood schools, but most of the 14,000 affected kids won't need to travel more than a few blocks. Many of the schools are on the city's minority-dominated South and West sides, leading CTU President Karen Lewis to call the plan "racist," adding that it "sets an example that low-income, African-American children are disposable."

The real racial offense is leaving another generation of black children to languish in some of the nation's worst schools, with a high school graduation rate near 60%. Chicago's black population dropped by 181,000 between 2000 and 2010, and much of that decline is on the South and West sides. The Chicago Public School system now has only about 400,000 students despite a capacity for 500,000.
Ms. Lewis's real fear is that closing those schools will expedite student migration to non-union charter schools. There are currently 119 charters operating in the city and serving some 40,000 Chicago students. Last year the charter waiting list was more than 19,000, one of the longest in the country.
In Chicago, two-thirds of charter schools perform better on state assessment tests and at charter high schools three-quarters of graduates go to college. A recent poll by the Joyce Foundation and Chicago Tribune found that about two-thirds of Chicagoans support new charters opening in neighborhoods where kids are on the waiting list and 67.9% say it should be easier for charters to expand.
Charters also save the city money. State law says charters may get between 75% and 125% of per pupil spending in the district. But in practice most get an average of 78% what Chicago spends per pupil on traditional public schools, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.
Mayor Emanuel campaigned on his support for charters and Chicago has approved 11 new charters for this fall. But to assuage the unions, Ms. Bennett says she won't let charter schools use the empty buildings left from the 54 closing schools. Never mind that the buildings were paid for by Chicago taxpayers, and they'll go unused or be sold for very little otherwise.
Closing under-used and failing schools is among the remedies proposed by President Obama's Race to the Top program, and failing businesses are closed every day. Only in American public education do people argue with a straight face that failing schools need to be kept open "for the children."

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