Palestinian Authority President Abbas refuses President Obama's request to withdraw UN bid. Status change approved by UN General Assembly.
November 30, 2012
The United Nations voted to grant "Palestine" the status of non- member observer state, at the General Assembly meeting in New York on November 29, 2012. Previously, the Palestinian Liberation Organization was designated a non-state observer, as the official representative of the Palestinian Arabs.
The reaction of the US Congress was immediate. In a bipartisan statement on C-SPAN, four outraged senators presented serious consequences for Palestinian actions if they attempt to leverage their new UN designation in an inappropriate manner.
According to a joint press release, the Graham-Schumer-Barrasso-Menendez measure would terminate American foreign assistance to the Palestinian Authority if the International Criminal Court adjudicates any matter proposed or supported by the Palestinian Authority and forces the immediate closure of the PLO office in Washington, DC, unless the Palestinians have entered into meaningful negotiations with Israel.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D) of New York said,
"We are committed to using every means at our disposal to ensure that this UN vote does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums. Over the past year, Palestinian leaders have indicated an intention to apply for full membership in the International Criminal Court and over a dozen other international institutions in order to assert Palestinian claims against Israel. These unhelpful efforts would not only unfairly target our Israeli ally, but would devastate efforts to resume the peace process and do possibly irreparable harm to those international institutions. We stand united in preventing this from happening, and will do everything in our power to block the Palestinians from using the International Criminal Court and other international bodies to assert Palestinian claims against Israel."
Sen. Graham (R, SC) said approximately $1 billion of designated aid to the Palestinians is in play and will be cut off if the Palestinians petition the court against Israel. Only states can do so. In 2012, $495 million was appropriated for the Palestinians, but the funds were not released due to provocative behavior by the Palestinians. In 2013, aid amounting to $440 million will be in play. One might ask if the US has better uses for these funds than funding enemies of state.
Wind Captures 40% of New Power Generation
November 25, 2012, updated November 28, 2012
General Electric recently celebrated the installation of its 20,000th wind turbine, according to a November 14 press release.
The company said 40 percent of new power generation installations over the last four years in the US and Europe have been wind solutions. Over the last decade, the cost of wind systems have declined and reliability has improved -- availability has increased from 85 to 98.5% and there has been a three-time reduction in the cost of electricity generation.
On November 28, GE announced that they are developing a new manufacturing approach and wind blades that will revolutionize the wind industry and create the "fabric" of our clean energy future."
The new technology is expected to overcome technical obstacles to enable the national goal of 20% wind energy market share to be achieved. Costs will be reduced by 25 to 40%. Bring it on.
Election day, November 6, 2012
There's a rising Islamist threat to free speech in America and President Obama and Hillary Clinton are working hard to forward it. They believe you should not be allowed to criticize Islam.
To prevent you from even critical analysis of Islam, the Administration seeks ways to override the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold. Americans, they believe, should be bound by international law that was forwarded by the Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Cooperation, at the United Nations.
What do the American people hold more dear or defend more strongly than freedom of speech?
A Center on Security Policy press release describes a new documentary film that warns of "an ominous pattern of Team Obama's submission to the stealthy Islamist effort to enforce in this country the supremacist doctrine known as shariah and its prohibition of any expression that "offends" Islam or its god, prophet or followers."
Shockingly, President Obama proclaimed, "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." The CSP rightly responds that, "This is a sentiment espoused by radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Taliban and al Qaeda." Our government is disturbingly taking the side of America's enemies.
Silent Conquest is a movie you don't want to miss. Information on the official release date will be provided by the Center for Security Policy at a later date. The documentary was produced by Sanctum Enterprises, LLC.
America is at a crossroads where "We the People" will either defend our freedoms or lose them. It's American values or totalitarian ideology (Socialism/Islamism). The latter is quietly creeping forward to threaten our way of life, as we speak.
IQ2 Debate: Better Elected Islamists than Dictators
New York City October 4, 2012
Moderator and ABC News Correspondent John Donovan declares this debate is in the running for the best debate Intelligence Squared has ever produced. Don't miss this important analysis by the experts.
Reuel Marc Gerecht
Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
President, Middle East Forum
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser
Founder/President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Who won the debate? Dr. Daniel Pipes and Dr. Zhudi Jasser, who demonstrated why dictators are more appropriate than elected Islamists at this stage of the development of the Middle East. It seems counter-intuitive to some, but listen to the compelling arguments that turned around this New York audience.
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Speech to the World
United Nations New York City September 27, 2012
PPrime Minister Netanyahu's speech speaks for itself. Please note President Barack Obama's comment below.
Obama: A nuclear-armed Iran can not be contained
"Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That is why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
-- President Barack Hussein Obama
Will Obama Try to Force the Arab Two-State Plan on Israel?
Family Security Matters May 15, 2009
When President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will he urge him to support the Saudi king's two-state Arab peace plan?
Much of the world's oil reserves reside in the Middle East. The West plays a role in securing that energy supply. Today, we find that the world is challenged by radical, militant Islam both in the Middle East and around the world. Middle East scholar Dr. Daniel Pipes' take on the nature of this virulent threat.
It is well known in energy industry circles that the primary demand driver for oil consumption in the United States is vehicular use. In Europe, however, demand is roughly split between electric generation and vehicular use. It follows, therefore, that world demand for oil could be cut dramatically by a conversion of European power generation facilities from oil to gas or renewable power. The price of oil should then come crashing down, while improving the national security profile of the free world. You see, gas is abundantly available around the world. Meanwhile, a large part of the known oil reserves reside in countries hostile to the West.
Let's stop the nuclear fiasco before it gets started; clearly this is an industry that should be shut down. Move towards clean gas and renewable energy for electric generation in Europe.
A Silver Lining in the Oil Cloud
The Energy Debate Second Quarter, 2005
US Energy Information Administration shale gas and oil resources map, updated May 9, 2011 Zoom
Most people would probably say we're having an oil crisis. After all, it can cost $75 to fill up an SUV. The price of gas is at record highs and we are at war in the Middle East, a volatile region that holds its own uncertainties and much of the world's oil reserves.
If there is a benefit to the crunch, it is in the development of alternatives. One promising alternative is the reserves of oil present below our feet in the "lower-48," as the Alaskans call the 48 contiguous states. Vast reserves of oil are present in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming in the form of oil shale. Reserves are shown in the table below.
Table: World oil reserves (barrels):
Conventional: 1 trillion - proven reserves 1.7 trillion - possible/undiscovered reserves Unconventional: 2 trillion - U. S. oil shale 1.5 trillion - Canadian tar sands
Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves
we could be the new Middle East, with 1.6 trillion barrels of unconventional oil."
No other resource is so concentrated, according to Anton Dammer, director of the Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale, speaking at this year's Energy Information Administration Conference in Washington, D.C. United States oil shale can yield up to 2 million barrels per acre. The resource is about 10 feet thick and the yield is 15-25 gallons per ton. The fields will yield at least one trillion recoverable barrels of oil.
Oil shale is viewed as an insurance policy. The synthetic oil program was abolished in 1985, when oil prices dropped through the floor. The difficulties and costs of extracting oil from shale are similar to those of the tar sands currently being mined in Alberta, Canada. A great deal of water is currently required in the process, for example. Large reservoirs are required, but the water is recycled.
The Alberta Tar sands production costs have come down significantly, according to Mr. Dammer. In 1981, they amounted to $34/barrel. In 2005, costs dropped to $7/barrel (costs reflect year 2000 dollars). During that timeframe, production increased from 200,000 to 700,000 thousand barrels per day.
Shell's North American Energy Advisor, Andrew Slaughter, believes gas-to-liquid (GTL) will be the next big initiative after the Canadian tar sands. He views GTL as a bridge to coal-to-liquid and biomass technologies. Mr. Slaughter suggests oil shale will be even longer term.
Shell is testing a promising new technology to extract the oil from shale, using an in-situ process where the shale is heated to melt out the oil and gas. Conventional well bores may then be used to extract the oil from the ground. The process has far less environmental impact and improves recovery rates. Additional testing is required to determine the viability of the technology in production.
The silver lining? Oil shale proffers a secure American source of oil and can reduce the trade deficit, as it could displace some imported oil. As Mr. Dammer enthusiastically says, "we could be the new Middle East, with 1.6 trillion barrels of unconventional oil."
One day, we may cash in on the oil shale insurance policy. The oil shale project will be launched later this year and development should commence by 2010. According to the EIA's vision, expressed in its December, 2004 oil shale roadmap, a ramp-up to two million barrels per day (mbpd) could be achieved within 15 years (by 2020), with output of three mbpd by 2040.
Kyoto, American Style
The Energy Debate Second Quarter, 2005 Updated: October, 2012
The United States did not sign the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But that should not be taken as an indicator that we are not working on the problem.
The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that the Bush Administration has spent over $6 billion per year to, create and promote technologies that will reduce emissions and promote economic growth, including:
$700 million in tax credits to promote clean technologies.
$3 billion in research on new clean technologies.
$200 million to transfer clean technologies to developing countries.1
New technologies are encouraged through direct government subsidizes and grants. Yet the numbers above do not reflect the huge investments made by private industry, which is pouring their own capital and that of venture capitalists and angel investors, into a wide range of research and development on advanced technologies. Such investments help assure that the United States remains at the forefront of emerging technologies and moves forward in our efforts to curb greenhouse gases.
Why the investment? Sure there's reducing greenhouse gasses and pollution. But it is also an economic opportunity for enterprising companies. And it's a means of reducing the trade deficit through technology and associated service sales to other countries. There is also a firm market in the United States, where companies envision a growth market. Growth is all but guaranteed by the many State initiatives that are mandating that percentages of electric generation be produced from renewable sources.
So don't count the U. S. out on global warming. We are pursuing a vast range of alternatives across many exotic technological disciplines that make economic sense, like: nano technology, composite materials, wind turbines, solar concentrators, geothermal, hybrid vehicles, cellulosic ethanol, clean coal, hydrogen, and nuclear fusion. Stay tuned, this country is just warming up.
The Energy Debate First Quarter, 2005 Updated October 12, 2012
We have heard "it's all about oil." And many assume oil is our primary means of power generation. Well surprise, oil accounted for only three percent of electric generation in the United States in 2003. Staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer is not the issue.
So why do we have such a fear of running out of oil? It's because oil is refined into gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles. Oh, and oil is also used to produce jet fuel, fertilizers, plastics, etc. Oil does make the world go 'round.
An oil shortage can translate into a shortage of gasoline, which can put a damper on the economy and lead us into a recession. As supply diminishes and becomes more difficult and costly to extract and competition increases from large, rapidly developing countries like China, there is a longer-term possibility of resource wars between nations. Already, we are seeing wars in the Middle East, which revolve around a stable and secure world oil supply.
So yes, oil is critical to our way of life and is responsible for much strife in the world. Let's move it right out of the picture, as much as possible.
The Energy Debate First Quarter, 2005 Updated October, 2012 (terror financing)
Since oil is in crisis, what can we do to reduce the demand for this black gold? An obvious target to pursue is vehicular use. The simple, interim measures include:
use of hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, to give us more bang for the buck -- boosting the mpg efficiencies of vehicles
increase in CAFE regulatory standards to require automakers to improve the performance (mpg) of vehicles in any way they chose
produce vehicular fuel from natural gas or coal, fairly plentiful resources (Qatar is building out natural gas-to-diesel refining capacity as we speak)
The longer-term answer is the pursuit of new technologies. One technology in the R&D stage is hydrogen-powered vehicles, which could hold the promise of fuel derived from water, in the long term. But the Hydrogen Economy is wrought with technical issues that must be resolved and a nationwide infrastructure that will need to be deployed. Meanwhile, the industry seems to have passed it by in favor of electric, battery-operated vehicles.
Is there other alternatives to traditional fuel sources to power vehicles? Perhaps electric cars? How about nuclear vehicles? It's time to move on -- off of oil, that is. Recently, advances have been made in nuclear batteries for small equipment. These devices can run for years and the amount of nuclear material is so small that they can be shielded by plastic. Can we scale up this technology to power an automobile? With more advanced shielding materials, it seems possible to use a nuclear source to charge batteries. It should be explored.
Imagine the consequences of virtually eliminating the need for gasoline and the enormous, growing, and unsustainable oil consumption it represents. A dramatic curtailing of gasoline and diesel fuel use would have enormous benefits:
Reduce the trade deficit through a dramatic reduction in oil imports. The large and growing current account deficit is a global concern that is weakening the dollar and encouraging countries to diversify from the dollar to a basket of reserve currencies.
A new export industry would emerge, giving the United States a competitive edge in the global vehicular marketplace.
Vehicular fuel is an expense item to consumers and businesses, alike. These are non-productive monies that can be put to better use, including the savings that spur investment capital for business and GDP/GNP expansion. The beleaguered consumer is offered another reprieve.
Vehicles would no longer contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions.
Health care costs would decline significantly, with the elimination of pollutants and associated chronic respiratory and heart disease. Reduced mortality rates, absenteeism, and drug and medical costs would result. Companies could realize productivity improvements
As the population ages, elimination of the gasoline industry would reduce the need for unskilled labor and its import.
Imports of vastly larger amounts oil as economies grow would no longer fund the long-term global Islamic jihad against the West.
Think of the now-theoretical return on investment of the nuclear car. People would see an improved quality of life. The consumer would be revitalized. Savings could be spurred. Corporations would realize huge productivity improvements. The faith in the United States dollar and our competitive edge in the global vehicular marketplace would be restored. And our enemies will find that it is increasingly difficult to fund terrorism and radicalization.
So, today The Energy Fair issues a nuclear challenge. Let's develop a nuclear battery and engine for vehicles -- jet planes too? -- that lasts the life of a vehicle, is secure and safe. Presumably, the nuclear security issues can be addressed and risk minimized. We don't know if it can or can't be done until we try.
Looking for a hairy, audacious goal? Think clean, efficient, safe, innovative, and inexpensive nuclear cars. Think technologies that will eliminate overhead expenses like gas and electric and free up capital for other purposes.
Ending Our Energy Dependence
The Energy Debate First Quarter, 2005 Updated October 6, 2012
Since this article was written, significant advances in technology, primarily fracking and horizontal drilling, with possible replacements for fracking in the R&D stage, have revitalized the O&G industry and enabled significantly improved oil recovery and recovery from non-traditional sources like shale rock. Coal may remain in the hip pocket as the new oil boom is in full swing.
We have energy solutions, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. What's the killer technology? Coal. The United States is sitting on the largest coal reserves in the world. At current consumption rates, it will last for hundreds of years -- some four hundred and fifty years, based on proven reserves and current consumption rates.
New clean coal plants are environmentally friendly, as they release few pollutants. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the exception. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has been implicated in global warming. Technologies for eliminating CO2 from fossil fuel plants are in the R&D phase and can be retrofitted to power plants when it is ready for deployment. It is also possible that the CO2 emitted from power plants is an insignificant portion of overall greenhouse gas effect.
As an aside, coal can also be used to produce gasoline. That is, if necessary, after building coal-to-gas refineries, we could produce gas from coal if our oil supply were interrupted. Personally, I prefer the nuclear car or hydrogen economy, as coal should be reserved primarily for electric generation.
Finally, what is the economic advantage in using coal? It could reduce natural gas and uranium imports significantly. Like the nuclear car, a migration to clean coal technology could significantly reduce the trade deficit. Getting the balance of payments in better shape could lead to a more secure future.
[Not] A Stake through the Heart of Nuclear Power
The Energy Debate First Quarter, 2005 Updated October, 2012
There are two ways we will end the current nuclear power plant debate. With our destruction or through planned obsolescence. My preference is the latter. Yet read on, this is not the whole story.
Nuclear power has its allure to some people. Breeder reactors could generate something of a perpetual fuel supply. Sustainable energy is a worthy goal.
There are two human components to global warming -- the emission of greenhouse gases, which intensify warming, and the heat output of everything on Earth. Cooling heats the environment. But which is more damaging, CO2 or heat emissions? I doubt the analysis has been done to answer this question. I do know nuclear power plants give off a great deal of heat.
A perpetual fuel supply is the holy grail of power generation. In the case of breeder reactors, it comes at a cost. Plutonium is one of the most lethal substances on Earth. One nuclear plant disaster could have unintended consequences beyond our wildest imagination. Perhaps even civilization-busting consequences.
Great leaders make the tough choices required to benefit and sustain mankind. What is clear is our thinking requires a paradigm shift, a strategic change of direction. The shifts? From nuclear power plants to nuclear vehicles. From fission, to fusion or other "perpetual motion" energy machines for power generation. Wind and solar could certainly reduce demand for non-renewable resources like fossil fuels and uranium.
Perhaps nuclear fusion is the answer. Perhaps we will tap the unlimited supply of dark energy in the Universe. Is it clear how vital R&D is?
We have a lot of time, yet little time, to consider alternatives. Let us pursue the opportunity. Regardless of interim solutions like coal or wind power, the holy grail of a virtually perpetual-motion energy machine is required for a sustainable future.
On the US and The Kyoto Protocol
The Energy Debate First quarter, 2005 Updated October, 2012
The Kyoto Protocol is a United Nations framework on climate change that went into effect on February 16, 2005. Industrialized nations who ratified the agreement agreed to cut their emissions of six greenhouse gases to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by the 2012.
The United States did not ratify the Protocol, which exempted developing nations like China and India from reductions and would prove too costly an undertaking for us at this time.
The decision does not presuppose a denial of global warming, which is disputable, or an unwillingness to pursue solutions to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. The United states pledged some $5.8 billion on research and climate change programs for 2005 alone.
The evidence of global warming is on shaky ground. A scandal exposing fraudulent results from scientists contributing producing the United Nations IPCC reports rocked the scientific community. Some call it another UN scam that seeks to redistribute wealth from so-called rich countries to developing nations. Have they heard we're broke?
Yet, don't write off the Kyoto protocol. It has had some benefit. It guaranteed that industry continued to pursue technology solutions to reduce CO2 that have actually reduced corporate costs, however counter-intuitive that is.
Journalists should have a qualified privilege to protect confidential sources and information obtained during the newsgathering process from the threat of forced disclosure through subpoenas. State laws to offer such protections are commonly called "shield laws."
Should such rights be absolute? How protected should journalists and their sources be? Can such legal protections be abused or endanger the public?
This analysis explores the balance between the needs of a free and independent press and those of law enforcement and national security.
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