We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Friday, December 21, 2007

Inhofe: 'Consensus Busters' Bust Global Warming

Several times in since this Blog was started, I have railed against the "theory" of Man-induced Global Warming, and the junk science used to further this fraud.

Now finally, real scientists, not failed presidential candidates are coming forward to call this movement what it is.

From Newsmax:
Friday, December 21, 2007 7:42 AM

Claims that there is a consensus among scientists on man-made global warming have been denied by over 400 prominent members of the scientific community and published in a report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

This new “consensus busters” report, Inhofe’s office says, “ is poised to redefine the debate.”

Many of the scientists questioning the consensus are from the very U.N. panel making the claims.

The report states, “The voices of many of these hundreds of scientists serve as a direct challenge to the often media-hyped ‘consensus’ that the debate is settled.”

The report comes on the heels of U.N. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Chairman Rajendra Pachauri's implication that there were only “about a dozen" skeptical scientists left in the world, echoing former Vice President Al Gore who has claimed that scientists skeptical of climate change are akin to “flat-Earth-society members” and similar in number to those who “believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona.”

Among others insisting that there is a consensus and that few skeptics exist and who are now discredited by the report:

CNN’s Miles O’Brien (July 23, 2007): "The scientific debate is over. We're done." O’Brien also declared on CNN on Feb. 9, 2006 that scientific skeptics of man-made catastrophic global warming “are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually.”

On July 27, 2006, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein described a scientist as “one of the few remaining scientists skeptical of the global warming harm caused by industries that burn fossil fuels.”

Andrew Dessler in the eco-publication Grist Magazine (Nov. 21, 2007): “While some people claim there are lots of skeptical climate scientists out there, if you actually try to find one, you keep turning up the same two dozen or so (e.g., Singer, Lindzen, Michaels, Christy, etc.). These skeptics are endlessly recycled by the denial machine, so someone not paying close attention might think there are lots of them out there — but that's not the case.

The Washington Post asserted on May 23, 2006 that there were only “a handful of skeptics” of man-made climate fears.

UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland on May 10, 2007 declared the climate debate "over" and added “it's completely immoral, even, to question” the U.N.’s scientific “consensus."

ABC News Global Warming Reporter Bill Blakemore reported on Aug. 30, 2006: “After extensive searches, ABC News has found no such [scientific] debate” on global warming.

The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are described as experts in diverse fields, including climatology, oceanography, geology, biology, glaciology, and paleoclimatology.

Moreover, some of those profiled have won Nobel Prizes for their outstanding contribution to their field of expertise and many shared a portion of the U.N. IPCC Nobel Peace Prize with Gore.

Additionally, these scientists come from prestigious institutions worldwide, including Harvard University, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the UN IPCC, and the University of London.

The report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and their academic/institutional affiliations. It also features their own words, biographies, and Web links to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and Web sites in 2007.

The report notes that skepticism is also beginning to be seen in the usually pro-IPCC media, citing an October story in the Washington Post by Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin who wrote that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking."

Moreover, the report says, many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bite the dust.” The scientists cited consistently stated that numerous colleagues shared their views, but they will not speak out publicly for fear of retribution.

Atmospheric scientist Dr. Nathan Paldor, professor of dynamical meteorology and physical oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of almost 70 peer-reviewed studies, explained how many of his fellow scientists have been intimidated: “Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media."

The report gives a voice to the rank-and-file scientists who were shut out of the process, along with teams of international scientists dissenting from the U.N. IPCC’s view of climate science, citing such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia and France, nations where scientists banded together in 2007 to oppose climate alarmism. In addition, the report notes, over 100 prominent international scientists sent an open letter in December 2007 to the U.N. stating attempts to control climate were “futile.”

The report reveals that paleoclimatologist Dr. Tim Patterson, professor in the department of earth sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, was recently converted from a believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. Patterson is quoted as saying that the notion of a “consensus” of scientists aligned with the U.N. IPCC or former Vice President Al Gore is false.

“I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority,” Patterson said.

The Report notes that the over 400 skeptical scientists featured outnumber by nearly eight times the number of scientists (52) who participated in the 2007 U.N. IPCC Summary for Policymakers.

It charges that the notion of "hundreds" or "thousands" of U.N. scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny and cites recent research by Australian climate data analyst Dr. John McLean who revealed that the IPCC’s peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired.

The report takes issue with those proponents of man-made global warming who it says “like to note how the National Academy of Sciences and the American Meteorological Society have issued statements endorsing the so-called ‘consensus’ view that man is driving global warming."

It points out, however, that but both the NAS and AMS never allowed member scientists to directly vote on these climate statements. Essentially, only two dozen or so members on the governing boards of these institutions produced the "consensus" statements.

The report concludes, “The most recent attempt to imply there was an overwhelming scientific ‘consensus’ in favor of man-made global warming fears came in December 2007 during the UN climate conference in Bali. A letter signed by only 215 scientists urged the U.N. to mandate deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

But absent from the letter were the signatures of these alleged 'thousands' of scientists.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gore's Prize

From today's S&A Digest:

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize today, for his "work" on Global Warming. Ha, ha, ha. Try not to strain anything laughing too hard. Remember: These are the same Swedes who gave their peace prize to Yasser Arafat.

No, I'm not surprised that the Nobel committee fell for Gore's flimflam. "Global warming" is the perfect political problem. No one can observe it directly, we can only see what people claim are its results – a perfect set up for politicians. It's a global problem that no one can see or measure. So there's no limit to the things that politicians can blame on global warming, no end to the "crisis," and no limit to what government can demand of us to solve it. The only good news is that your sons are extremely unlikely to be drafted into the Army to fight it... but I'm sure that won't stop people like Al Gore from trying.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quote of the Day

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has proposed $5,000 be given to every baby born in the United States. Remember when politicians used to just kiss babies? Now we gotta pay them off too.

-Jay Leno

Do We Want Another 9/11?

Washington Insider with Ronald Kessler

In their efforts to demonize the American intelligence community, Democrats and the media are playing with our safety.

The latest example is the way these critics are minimizing and distorting warnings from Mike McConnell, director of National Intelligence, about how defenseless America would become if warrants were required to intercept terrorists’ calls and e-mails even when those communications are in foreign countries.

The issue should not be controversial. Going back to the founding of the National Security Agency in 1952, the government could intercept calls and e-mails of targets situated in foreign countries without a warrant. But because most such communications now pass through U.S. switching systems in fiber optic cables, a Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) court judge ruled on May 31 that intercepting such communications requires a court order.

Obtaining a FISA court order requires an average of 200 man hours of preparation. Often, people who speak Arabic, Farsi, or Urdu have to be pulled off tracking leads to possible plots to help prepare the applications. Moreover, by the time an order is obtained for a new targeted phone number, the call is finished.

Because of the ruling, tens of thousands of calls and e-mails were not being examined. Any one of them could have contained clues to an al-Qaida plot to detonate nuclear devices in Manhattan and Washington. As FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has told me, these are al-Qaida's twin goals.

In August, Congress — over the objections of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi — voted to continue to allow intercepts of calls based in foreign countries without
the need for a warrant. But already, Pelosi and other Democrats have vowed to gut that law, called the Protect America Act, before it expires on Feb. 5.

To illustrate the need for an extension of the revision, Director of National Intelligence McConnell recently cited a delay “in the neighborhood of 12 hours” to obtain a warrant under the emergency provision of FISA. The warrant was to listen to calls made last May by insurgents who captured American soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. The bodies of some of those captured have since been found; the other soldiers are presumed dead.

That example should have been enough to put the issue to rest. What could be more absurd than having to obtain a warrant to listen to conversations of foreign insurgents? But Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, accused McConnell of trying to “politicize the debate” over electronic surveillance by citing the soldiers’ case.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, blamed government officials, not the law. Reyes claimed an emergency request under FISA should take “only a few minutes” and “one call.”

When McConnell subsequently released a time line showing that the delay in obtaining a warrant was nine and a half hours, the press pounced. The Washington Post ran a story focusing on the difference between McConnell’s initial rough estimate of the delay to obtain an emergency warrant and the more precise time line he later released.

“Iraq Wiretap Delay Not Quite As Presented,” the headline over the story said. “Lag Is Attributed to Internal Disputes and Time to Reach Gonzales, Not FISA Constraints.”

The story claimed that the delay of nine and a half hours was caused “primarily by legal wrangling between the Justice Department and intelligence officials over whether authorities had probable cause to begin the surveillance.”

The delay included “nearly two hours” spent trying to reach then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was speaking to U.S. attorneys in Texas, to obtain authorization of the emergency application, the story said.
In what has become standard practice in the mainstream media, the Post buried the Justice Department’s response that the case “presented novel and complex issues that we had to resolve” in the 11th paragraph of the story.

In fact, based on the original intent of FISA, since the communications were in a foreign country, no warrant should have been required in the first place. The point of revising FISA was to make that clear so that such calls could be intercepted instantly. But since the revision had not been passed last May and the communications happened to be routed through the U.S., authorities were obliged to carefully line up the facts and examine all the legalities before applying for an emergency authorization.

If, as Reyes claimed, that process normally took only a few minutes and one phone call, it would be a sham exercise. Moreover, the time required to obtain authorization from officials like Gonzales under emergency conditions only underscores why tolerating such onerous legal procedures when Americans’ rights are not at stake is foolhardy.

Rep. Holt’s claim that McConnell was politicizing the issue by presenting a case history has become a standard tactic of many Democrats. If intelligence officials like Mike McConnell or military officers like Gen. David Petraeus cite evidence to back up their case, they are accused of either being pawns of the White House or of using scare tactics.

The Washington Post’s story illustrates how the media undermine the war on terror by obscuring the truth. In highlighting a difference of two and a half hours between McConnell’s rough estimate of the delay compared with the actual duration of the delay, the paper sought to undermine McConnell’s credibility.

The problem was not “legal wrangling,” the term the Post chose to apply to legal deliberations. The problem was that FISA had not kept up with technological changes and needed to be revised to make it conform to its original intent.

If al-Qaida succeeds at its goals, it could literally wipe out millions of Americans and institute a nuclear winter. Yet between the Democrats’ efforts to handcuff those who are trying to protect us and the mainstream media’s efforts to malign those officials and distort the truth about the issues we face, we as Americans are at the mercy of people bent on committing suicide.

Osama bin Laden, known to follow the media closely, has to be laughing.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of NewsMax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail.
Go here now.

Greenspan Was Never a Republican — He Was an Opportunist

Greg’s Note: Was Greenspan a Republican? Or did he lean to Democrat? Fred Sheehan scathes these two questions below.

Whiskey & Gunpowder October 5, 2007By Fred Sheehan

Braintree, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has discovered the Republicans fall short of his standards. He is finding it difficult to break a smile on his The Age of Turbulence publicity tour.

Greenspan “glumly” told The New York Times he is “very disappointed” with the Republicans.
They ran an out-of-control budget. (In that, he is right.) “They swapped principle for power.” Greenspan expressed “remorse” that the Republicans followed his advice to lower taxes in 2001. They should have placed “safeguards against surprises.”

The real problem was Congress. It did not place safeguards around Alan Greenspan. Despite the common claim that he has been a “life-long Republican,” he was never anything of the sort. He has been a lifelong opportunist.

In February 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration, Greenspan appeared before the Senate Banking Committee. He recommended the government use the federal budget surplus to pay down the national debt.

The chairman amplified: “The growth potential of our economy under current circumstances is best served by allowing the unified budget surpluses…to materialize, thereby reduce Treasury debt held by the public.” Meaning: We should direct budget surplus dollars to reduce the federal debt. (This is accomplished by government-initiated purchases of U.S. Treasury securities.) The salient circumstance was that Clinton was not proposing a tax cut.

One year later, Greenspan worked for new management — the Bush administration. President Bush wanted a tax cut to kick off his tenure.

Greenspan marketed the tax cut as fiscally responsible, given recent surpluses. His advice was rendered on Jan. 25, 2001, to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget.

The Wall Street Journal reported the next day: “Giving a big boost to President Bush, Chairman Alan Greenspan reversed his long-held view and said he now sees room for significant tax cuts in the federal government’s financial future…. [O]ver the coming decade, the latest budget surplus numbers show not only room for reductions, but even a need.”

The New York Times on the same day: “Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave his blessing today to a substantial tax cut…. In a clear shift from his previous position that reducing the national debt should be the focus of fiscal policy, Mr. Greenspan said improvements in the economy’s long-term potential and the swelling surplus projections had ‘reshaped the choices and opportunities before us.’”

In his testimony, Greenspan expressed concern “that continuing to run surpluses beyond the point at which we reach zero or near-zero federal debt brings to center stage the critical longer-term fiscal policy issue of whether the federal government should accumulate large quantities of private (more technically nonfederal) assets.”

Of the 10,000 most likely problems the government should consider, this was not one of them. Over $5 trillion in the hole, the possibility of eliminating the federal debt ranked behind that of Venus crashing into Mars. (In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office had projected the federal budget surplus would reduce the government debt by $5.6 trillion over the next 10 years. This gem of infinite interpolation gave Greenspan the cover he needed. In 2002, the CBO reduced its surplus estimate by $5.3 billion.)

Whether his audience scratched their heads at Greenspan’s flight of fancy, another statement should have awakened their curiosity. Greenspan prefaced his tale of woeful surpluses by discussing “recent projections… [which] make clear that the highly desirable goal of paying off the federal debt is in reach before the end of the decade.

This is in marked contrast to the perspective of a year ago, when the elimination of the debt did not appear likely until the next decade.” The Nasdaq had fallen 43% from its March 10, 2000, peak. Tax revenue had risen from 12.5% of personal income to 15.4% during the boom years. In 2000, this 2.5% increase equaled $237 billion — precisely the same as the total 2000 budget surplus.

It suited Greenspan’s purposes to express mystification during testimony: “We still do not have a full understanding of the exceptional strength in individual income tax receipts during the latter 1990s.”

Greenspan could not have been blind to the source of the budget surpluses: capital gains, exercised stock options, and bonuses. These tributaries had dried up. Without these flows, his fear of paying down the national debt, or even running a balanced budget, made no sense. And while Alan Greenspan could claim that paying down the debt was a bad thing, it is a tribute to the man that his audience accepted such a silly pretense approvingly.

The Greenspan campaign for renomination in 2004 kicked off its media blitz on Feb. 11, 2003.

The Boston Globe reported that Greenspan viewed Bush’s (new) tax cut plan with a chilly reception: “Greenspan… used the opportunity to admonish the federal government for losing its ‘fiscal discipline.’” In the chairman’s words, a “return to fiscal discipline should be instituted without delay.”

That was the stick; on Feb. 12, Greenspan offered Bush the carrot. The Wall Street Journal reported: “Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan muted his initially chilly reception of President Bush’s tax cut plan, offering more praise for eliminating taxes on dividends and playing down the near-term consequences for the federal deficit.” (Emphasis added.) President Bush announced that he would reappoint Greenspan for a fifth term on Feb. 22.

On April 30, mission accomplished and Bush now bound by the reconfirmation, the chairman slithered back: “Alan Greenspan…told Congress today that the economy was poised to grow without further large tax cuts, and that budget deficits resulting from lower taxes without offsetting reductions in spending could be damaging to the economy.

Opponents of the large tax cut favored by President Bush took Mr. Greenspan’s testimony as support of their position.” (Emphasis added.) The dissembling was obvious; yet no one questioned Greenspan’s motives.

On April 21, 2005, the chairman’s bewildering tax and federal budget advice came full circle. At a Senate Budget Committee meeting, Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes of Maryland pursued a ragged thread in the Greenspan tapestry. The senator contended that Greenspan’s endorsement of the president’s 2001 tax cut was the “green light” that George Bush needed.

Greenspan replied that he had not “specifically” endorsed the tax cut plan. The chairman claimed: “You will not find anywhere in the public record that I supported the [2001] tax cut.”
the Jan. 25, 2001 speech today (available for anyone to judge on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Web site), his support is obvious. He was rooting for a tax cut.

This civil servant had made false assertions to the people’s elected representatives before. When a vote to balance the budget loomed early in Clinton’s presidency, Greenspan said a Fed study showed a balanced budget would reduce interest rates. The Fed had conducted no such study.

Greenspan testified to Congress in 1993 that tapes of Federal Open Market Committee meetings were destroyed after summaries were written. Thus, no transcripts existed. He later admitted to Banking Committee Chairman Henry Gonzales that he had known for years transcripts were kept, but only remembered when a “senior staff member jogged my memory in the last few days.”

Back to Sarbanes, Greenspan deflected the criticism with a tried-and-true tactic: flattery.

Greenspan revealed “an alternative program of tax cuts and spending increases then proposed by the Democratic Party’s leadership would have achieved the same desired reduction in surpluses.” Now we have it. He had not specifically endorsed the Bush tax cut.

Yet he also told Sarbanes that he, “like many economists,” had been wrong about the surpluses he warned of in 2001. So why was he endorsing the Democrat’s program if he had been wrong about the motivation for promoting a tax cut? We will never know. Greenspan had triumphed once again using another tried-and-true tactic: confusion.

In The Age of Turbulence, Greenspan praises Bill Clinton and criticizes George Bush. This has been good publicity for his book, but misdirected. He is not turning his back on the Republican Party; Greenspan’s only allegiance is, as it has always been, to himself.

Fred Sheehan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Buying Votes

The Democrats are falling all over eachother to see who can promise the most handouts from the Government.

Back in November 2006 I wrote "they think you're stupid, and maybe they're right" which detailed the foolish notion that anything comes from the government.

The government produces no product, they don't buy stuff and then sell it for a profit, they have no revenue as a business does, even though it is the fastest growing employer in the nation.

Therefore, the only thing that the government can "give" to you, is something that they must have first took from you.

Here is Obama's latest shell game, from the Stansberry and Associates' digest:

"To get through these uncertain times, we have to recognize that we all have a stake in one another's success..." says OBAMA! Uh oh.

I know where this going... What OBAMA! really means is that my neighbors have a right to their share of my success... and I have the right to pay them off.

Calling his plan a tax cut for the "middle class," OBAMA! intends to raise capital gains and dividend taxes and redistribute the $85 billion in $1,000 bonus checks to "working families."

Maybe someone will ask OBAMA! what "middle class" he's really talking about.

Seems to me the middle class is overwhelmingly invested in the stock market with 401k plans and IRAs... which means it's the middle class that will actually fund this tax.

If I were running for president against OBAMA! I'd use marketing that was easier to understand.

My slogan would be: Hey Poor Slobs: Vote For Me and I'll Pay You $1,000!

Monday, September 17, 2007

U.S. Sovereignty Threatened by U.N. Treaty, Critics Charge

From Newsmax:

Sunday, September 16, 2007 8:35 PMBy: Chris Gonsalves

U.S. scientists aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy are mapping the ocean floor in an effort to claim territory that holds an estimated 400 billion barrels of untapped undersea oil and gas.

The U.S. is poised to turn much of its authority on the high seas over to international arbiters by ratifying a long-controversial United Nations sea treaty.

Approval of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a 25-year-old international treaty regulating use of the world’s oceans, is steaming full speed ahead in the Senate, where committee hearings are set to begin Sept. 27.

The full Senate is likely to ratify the treaty -- which would link U.S. naval actions to those of 155 other member nations -- by year's end.

For decades, critics have derided the 182-page Law of the Sea pact as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and naval independence.

They add that it would create a massive new U.N. bureaucracy (the International Seabed Authority); would give environmentalists a back door to greater regulation; and would hinder the U.S. military's efforts to capture terrorists on the high seas.

“This is nothing less than a raid on our sovereignty,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., warns Newsmax. “I objected to it when it resurfaced in 2004, and I object to it now as I see it sneaking up on us again. What is this obsession we have for surrendering our jurisdiction to this international body? Nobody can give me a reasonable answer.”

Despite those concerns, however, support for the measure has never been stronger.

The treaty has garnered a letter of support from President Bush, favorable testimony from the Navy and Coast Guard, and the backing of at least a dozen oil, gas, and environmental groups.

Originally conceived in the 1930s, UNCLOS was crafted to supersede largely unwritten rules that limited coastal nations’ rights to just three miles of ocean.

Although U.N. discussions continued for four decades without much progress, President Truman in 1945 pioneered the extension of territorial waters to include the continental shelf extending from the coast.

As a result, a number of nations, including the United States, set 200-mile territorial-water limits -- some 30 years before UNLCOS was finalized with similar provisions in 1982.

The United States contributed heavily to UNCLOS, taking part in negotiations throughout the Nixon and Carter administrations. However, disagreements over technology sharing and deep-seabed mining provisions kept the United States from signing on under President Reagan.

The Clinton administration added an appendix in the 1990s that simplified the administration of seabed mining, after which it declared the treaty "fixed."

Frank Gaffney, the former Reagan defense official who now heads the Center for Security Policy in Washington, tells Newsmax that treaty advocates don't realize what UNCLOS really entails.

“I doubt any of these new supporters has actually read the entire treaty," he says. "If they read this Marxist document, the issue would be dead.”

Gaffney says he will fight against UNCLOS ratification and has created www.rejectlost.org to get the word out.
Critics like Inhofe and Gaffney are up against a formidable alliance of treaty supporters: senior administration officials, military officers, environmentalists, oil executives, and legislators from both sides of the aisle all favor it.

Proponents say the Law of the Sea actually guarantees U.S. ships and planes the right to traverse certain regions where they currently need permission from other governments; protects U.S. fishing interests from foreign poachers; opens up new undersea mineral and energy resources; and adds thousands of miles of seabed to America's territory.

Some 155 nations have signed the treaty. Although there are 41 countries that either haven't signed or haven't ratified the treaty, the United States is the lone holdout among the world's major powers.

"All of the major industrial states have done this except us," says University of Miami law professor Bernard Oxman, a treaty advocate who helped draft the original provisions when he was a young officer in the Navy.

UNCLOS comes up for ratification at a time when melting polar ice is opening new shipping lanes. Countries such as Russia, Canada, and Denmark are racing to lay claim to resource-rich areas under the Arctic Ocean.

“At a time when the United States is being criticized by friends and foes alike as either a Lone Ranger or worse, an arrogant bully, we can demonstrate that we believe international cooperation, done right, can serve America’s interests," says Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., a vocal supporter of the Law of the Sea.

Both Lugar and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., have indicated they’ll try to move UNCLOS ratification out of committee and bring it to a floor vote as quickly as possible.

The most controversial provisions are expected to relate to military sea travel.

For example, UNCLOS places tight restrictions on how ships must exercise their right to “innocent passage” in territorial waters, most notably requiring certain submarines and unmanned vehicles to operate on the surface and show their nation’s colors.

Opponents say the restrictions would jeopardize U.S. counterterrorism efforts by limiting the boarding of vessels to only those suspected of drug trafficking, piracy, slave trading, and illegal radio broadcasting. They fear provisions stating that “the high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes” and that signatories must refrain from “any threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” could be used to thwart U.S. naval operations.

“If we had info that some terrorist threat was heading our way on a ship, we would be restricted in what we could do in terms of search and seizure,” says Inhofe. “We would have to go through this international body to do that.”

David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy in Washington, D.C., tells Newsmax: “The treaty could complicate our efforts to apprehend terrorists or ships our intelligence believes are carrying WMDs by subjecting our actions to review by an international tribunal, a body that is unlikely to be favorable to the United States.”

George Mason University law professor Jeremy Rabkin, writing in The Weekly Standard, cites several historical examples of U.S. naval actions that he suggests would be compromised by the Law of the Sea treaty.

Among them:
The October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when President Kennedy ordered the Navy to blockade vessels coming in and out of Cuba.

The U.S. response to the 1975 Cambodian seizure of the American vessel USS Mayaguez. President Ford declared the seizure an act of piracy and dispatched Marines to force the ship's release.

In the 1980s, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi demanded that foreign vessels obtain his permission before entering the 300-mile-wide Gulf of Sidra. Reagan directed that a carrier task force enter the waters in 1986. Two Libyan patrol boats tried to resist, and were destroyed.

"The Senate should think long and hard before making the U.S. Navy answer to the U.N. version of the Law of the Sea," Rabkin writes.

Those concerns appear to be at odds with the Navy's support for the treaty, however. The Navy's leaders say it would guarantee U.S. access to patrol certain areas.

"We need this treaty to lock in the rights we already have," Rear Adm. Bruce MacDonald, the Navy's judge advocate general, tells The Wall Street Journal.

One reason for the differing perspectives on the treaty is the way disputes are determined. Disagreements among UNCLOS parties are decided by a tribunal based in Hamburg, Germany.

Rabkin concedes that "the treaty can be acceptable if interpreted as we want it to be interpreted." But U.S. interpretations, he says, are up to the international tribunal, adding, "The treaty stipulates that decisions of international arbitration must be treated as 'final' and 'binding.'"

Lugar, however, says opt-out clauses commonly used by more powerful UNCLOS members will keep the treaty from impinging on U.S. military operations.

“Ratifying the treaty will do nothing to change the status quo with respect to U.S. intelligence and submarine activities in the territorial seas of other countries,” Lugar says. “We’ll continue to operate under the same rules we’ve relied on for more than 40 years. [We’ve] specified explicitly that we alone define what constitutes ‘military activities’ not subject to review.”

The Coast Guard is also calling for ratification of UNCLOS, saying global regulation of the sea is good for law enforcement and for the military.

Speaking at a July symposium sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Coast Guard Rear Adm. John E. Crowley said UNCLOS provides “the freedom to conduct the kind of operations we need to conduct.

“In a time of vulnerability to terrorism, it is even more crucial that we have these treaty rights. [UNCLOS] was never intended for military activities, but far from inhibiting the military, it will enable it. Unimpeded travel is necessary to the United States as it enhances the ability of the Navy and Coast Guard to protect U.S. interests around the world.”

Bush has issued a statement urging the Senate to ratify UNCLOS, claiming the international pact “will serve national security interests [and] secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain. And it will give the United States a seat at the table when the rights that are vital to our interests are debated and interpreted.”

“George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan, choosing to follow rather than lead,” says Ridenour. “When Reagan assumed office, about 150 nations were backing the treaty.

"He instantly recognized that the treaty wasn’t in the U.S.’s interest and launched an intensive lobbying campaign to get other nations to follow his lead. As a result of these efforts, 46 nations rejected the treaty,” Ridenour says.

Lugar, however, remains adamant that UNCLOS has evolved and so has the international landscape.

“Failure to move now could directly hurt American interests,” he maintains. “Russia has, under terms of the treaty, laid claim to stretches of the Arctic Ocean, hoping to lock up potential oil and gas reserves which could become more accessible as climate change shrinks the polar ice cap.

Unless the United States ratifies the treaty, Moscow will be able to press its claims without an American at the table.”

Beware the Judge

In 2006, a lot of Republican voters (whether registered as Republican or not), chose to stay home during the national elections.

Their intent was to "teach Republicans a lesson". Frustrated by a myriad of issues from a lack of spine to stand up to congressional Democrats, over-spending , Jack Abramoff to the Mark Foley sex scandals. Republican voters thought that it was time to send a message that "we vote principle, not party" and let the Republicans see what happens when you lose our support.

So was this affective? At this point, I'm not sure. But I do know this, instead of making their point during the Republican primaries, they instead ushered in a very activist Democratic majority that is getting more emboldened with every passing day.

Part of the problem we face now is that the party in control, also controls the judiciary and if you don't think that fact alone is a reason to vote for a bad Republican, read on.

Judge Overturns Sex Offender Conviction
Posted on 09/13/2007 3:24:12 PM PDT by MotleyGirl70

A Sheboygan County judge has overturned a jury's verdict in the case of a convicted sex offender accused of trying to entice a 9-year-old girl into a park shelter to have sex, saying that the shelter the man tried to lure the girl into wasn't secluded enough to satisfy the requirements of the charge.

According to a criminal complaint, Mitchell D. Pask, 44, of Sheboygan, was charged in June with approaching the girl at a playground at Workers' Water Street Park in Sheboygan, offering her candy and asking her to follow him to a nearby shelter.

The girl testified at Wednesday's trial that Pask three or four times asked her to accompany him, offered her candy and made hand gestures signaling her to follow him to the shelter.

A witness overheard Pask tell three other men standing nearby, "Look at those sexy little salty girls."A 13-year-old friend of the girl witnessed the exchange and took her home, where the girl's mother called police.

Pask was arrested a short time later, according to the complaint.The jury visited the site on Wednesday as part of the one-day trial and found Pask guilty of felony child enticement after deliberating for about 30 minutes.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Timothy M. Van Akkeren immediately overturned the verdict, however, determing that the park shelter was not a "secluded area" as required for the charge.

Van Akkeren did not explain the legal definition of "secluded area" during jury instructions, Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco said.DeCecco said he was "stunned" by Van Akkeren's ruling."In our opinion, any area can be 'secluded,' including a park shelter, trees and large bushes.

The jury, having visited the site of the incident, obviously concluded we had met that burden beyond a reasonable doubt," DeCecco said in the statement.Van Akkeren could not be reached and indicated through an assistant that he would not comment on the case.

DeCecco said today he will file a motion with Van Akkeren to reconsider his decision.

If that fails, DeCecco said he will ask a state appeals court for an immediate stay on Van Akkeren's ruling so that Pask will remain in jail pending the outcome of an appeal, which could take up to 9 months."Our aim is to keep him where he is. We don't want him back on the street," DeCecco said, referring to Pask.

Pask is currently in custody in the Sheboygan County Jail on an unrelated disorderly conduct charge.Pask has a long criminal history.

In 1992 he was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy.

In October 2005, he was convicted of a sex offender registry violation and sentenced to 30 days in jail.Pask is a registered sex offender.

This is just the latest of a long string of rulings liberal judges make that many of us would consider in direct opposition to the laws and customs that a civiliztion such as ours requires to thrive. Whether it's ruling in favor of the confiscation of private property that will be given to a wealthy developer who can generate more taxes, or releasing a convicted sex offender back to the street because he disagrees with a jury. These judges, and the politicians that appoint them to office are a threat to all of us.

So next time you want to teach Republicans a lesson, look at the big picture. your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews may be the next victims of their deranged view of our society.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

War, Psychology and Time

An excellent article by George Friedman of Stratfor, sent to me by John Mauldin of investorsinsight.com.

War, Psychology and Time

By George Friedman

There are moments in history when everything comes together. Today is the sixth anniversary of the al Qaeda attack against the United States. This is the week Gen. David Petraeus is reporting to Congress on the status of the war in Iraq. It also is the week Osama bin Laden made one of his rare video appearances. The world will not change this week, but the convergence of these strands makes it necessary to pause and take stock.

To do this, we must begin at the beginning. We do not mean Sept. 11, 2001, but the moment when bin Laden decided to stage the attack -- and the reasoning behind it. By understanding his motives, we can begin to measure his success. His motive was not, we believe, simply to kill Americans. That was a means to an end. Rather, as we and others have said before, it was to seize what he saw as a rare opportunity to begin the process of recreating a vast Islamic empire.

The rare opportunity was the fall of the Soviet Union. Until then, the Islamic world had been divided between Soviet and American spheres of influence. Indeed, the border of the Soviet Union ran through the Islamic world. The Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union created a tense paralysis in that world, with movement and change being measured in decades and inches. Suddenly, everything that was once certain became uncertain. One half of the power equation was gone, and the other half, the United States, was at a loss as to what it meant. Bin Laden looked at the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and saw a historical opening.

His problem was that contrary to what has been discussed about terrorist organizations, they cannot create an empire. What they can do is seize a nation-state and utilize its power to begin shaping an empire. Bin Laden had Afghanistan, but he understood that its location and intrinsic power were insufficient for his needs. He could not hope to recreate the Islamic empire from Kabul or Kandahar. For bin Laden's strategy to work, he had to topple an important Muslim state and replace it with a true Islamist regime. There were several that would have done, but we suspect his eye was on Egypt. When Egypt moves, the Islamic world trembles. But that is a guess. a number of other regimes would have served the purpose.

In bin Laden's analysis, the strength of these regimes also was their weakness. They were all dependent on the United States for their survival. This fit in with bin Laden's broader analysis. The reason for Muslim weakness was that the Christian world -- the Crusaders, as he referred to them -- had imposed a series of regimes on Muslims and thereby divided and controlled them. Until these puppet regimes were overthrown, Muslims would be helpless in the face of Christians, in particular the current leading Christian power, the United States.

The root problem, as bin Laden saw it, was psychological. Muslims suffered from a psychology of defeat. They expected to be weaker than Christians and so they were. In spite of the defeat of the atheist Soviets in Afghanistan and the collapse of their regime, Muslims still did not understand two things -- that the Christians were inherently weak and corrupt, and that the United States was simply another Crusader nation and their enemy.

The 9/11 attack, as well as earlier attacks, was designed to do two things. First, by striking targets that were well-known among the Muslim masses, the attack was meant to demonstrate that the United States could be attacked and badly hurt. Second, it was designed to get a U.S. reaction -- and this is what bin Laden saw as the beauty of his plan: If Washington reacted by doing nothing effective, then he could argue that the United States was profoundly weak and indecisive. This would increase contempt for the United States. If, on the other hand, the United States staged a series of campaigns in the Islamic world, he would be able to say that this demonstrated that the United States was the true Crusader state and the enemy of Muslims everywhere.

Bin Laden was looking for an intemperate move -- either the continued impotent responses to al Qaeda attacks in the 1990s or a drastic assault against Islam. Either one would have done.

For the American side, 9/11 did exactly what it was intended to do: generate terror. In our view, this was a wholly rational feeling. Anyone who was not frightened of what was coming next was out of touch with reality. Indeed, we are always amused when encountering friends who feel the United States vastly exaggerated the implications of four simultaneous plane hijacks that resulted in the world's worst terrorist attack and cost thousands of lives and billions in damage. Yet, six years on, the overwhelming and reasonable fear on the night of Sept. 11 has been erased and replaced by a strange sense that it was all an overreaction.

Al Qaeda was a global -- but sparse -- network. That meant that it could be anywhere and everywhere, and that searching for it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. But there was something else that disoriented the United States even more. Whether due to disruption by U.S. efforts or a lack of follow-on plans, al Qaeda never attacked the United States again after 9/11. Had it periodically attacked the United States, the ongoing sense of crisis would not have dissipated. But no attack has occurred, and over the years, actions and policies that appeared reasonable and proportionate in 2001 began to appear paranoid and excessive. a sense began to develop that the United States had overreacted to 9/11, or even that the Bush administration used 9/11 as an excuse for oppressive behavior.

Regardless of whether he was a one-trick pony or he did intend, but failed, to stage follow-on attacks, the lack of strikes since 9/11 has turned out to be less damaging to bin Laden than to the Bush administration.

Years of vigilance without an indisputable attack have led to a slow but systematic meltdown in the American consensus that was forged white hot on Sept. 11. On that day, it was generally conceded that defeating al Qaeda took precedence over all other considerations. It was agreed that this would be an extended covert war in which the use of any number of aggressive and unpleasant means would be necessary. It was believed that the next attack could come at any moment, and that preventing it was paramount.

Time reshapes our memory and displaces our fears from ourselves to others. For many, the fevered response to 9/11 is no longer "our" response, but "their" response, the response of the administration -- or more precisely, the overreaction of the administration that used 9/11 as an excuse to wage an unnecessary global war. The fears of that day are viewed as irrational and the responsibility of others. Regardless of whether it was intentional, the failure of al Qaeda to mount another successful attack against the United States in six years has made it appear that the reaction to 9/11 was overblown.

The Bush administration, however, felt it could not decline combat. It surged into the Islamic world, adopting one of the strategies bin Laden hoped it would. There were many reasons for this, but part of it was psychological. Bin Laden wanted to show that the United States was weak. Bush wanted to demonstrate that the United States was strong. The secretary of defense at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, used the term "shock and awe." That was precisely the sense the United States wanted to deliver to the Islamic world. It wanted to call bin Laden's bet -- and raise it.

That was more than four years ago. The sense of shock and awe, if it was ever there, is long gone. Rather than showing the Islamic world the overwhelming power of the United States, the United States is now engaged in a debate over whether there is some hope for its strategy. No one is arguing that the war has been a slam dunk. Whatever the complex reasons for invading Iraq, and we have addressed those in detail, time has completely undermined the psychological dimension of the strategy. Four years into the war, no one is shocked and no one is awed. The same, it should be added, is true about Afghanistan.

Time has hammered the Bush administration in two ways. In the first instance -- and this might actually be the result of the administration's success in stopping al Qaeda -- there has been no further attack against the United States. The justification for the administration's measures to combat al Qaeda, therefore, is wearing thin. For many, a state of emergency without any action simply does not work after six years. It is not because al Qaeda and others aren't out there. It is because time wears down the imagination, until the threat becomes a phantom.

Time also has worn down the Bush administration's war in Iraq. The Islamic world is not impressed. The American public doesn't see the point or the end. What was supposed to be a stunning demonstration of American power has been a demonstration of the limits of that power.

The paradox is this: There has been no follow-on attack against the United States. The United States did dislodge Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and while the war goes badly, the casualties are a small fraction of those lost in Vietnam. Most important, bin Laden's dream is gone. No Muslim state has been overthrown and replaced with a regime that bin Laden would find worthy. He has been marginalized by both the United States and by his rival Shiite radicals, who have picked up the mantle that he dropped. His own jihadist movement is no longer under his effective control.

Bin Laden has been as badly battered by time as Bush. Unable to achieve any of his political goals, unable to mount another attack, he reminds us of Che Guevara after his death in Bolivia. He is a symbol of rebellion for a generation that does not intend to rebel and that carefully ignores his massive failures.

Yet, in the end, Guevara and bin Laden could have become important only if their revolutions had succeeded. There is much talk and much enthusiasm. There is no revolution. Therefore, what time has done to bin Laden's hopes is interesting, but in the end, as a geopolitical force, he has not counted beyond his image since Sept. 11, 2001.

The effect on the United States is much more profound. The war, both in Iraq and against al Qaeda, has worn the United States down over time. The psychology of fear has been replaced by a psychology of cynicism. The psychology of confidence in war has been replaced by a psychology of helplessness. Exhaustion pervades all.
That is the single most important outcome of the war. What happens to bin Laden is, in the end, about as important as what happened to Guevara. Legends will be made of it -- not history. But when the world's leading power falls into the psychological abyss brought about by time and war, the entire world is changed by it. Every country rethinks its position and its actions. Everything changes.

That is what is important about the Petraeus report. He will ask for more time. Congress will give it to him. The president will take it. Time, however, has its price not only in war but also psychologically. And if the request for time leads to more failure and the American psychology is further battered, then that is simply more time that other powers, great and small, will have to take advantage of the situation. The United States has psychologically begun tearing itself apart over both the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. Whatever your view of that, it is a fact -- a serious geopolitical fact.

The Petraeus report will not address that. It is out of the general's area of responsibility. But the pressing issue is this: If the United States continues the war and if it maintains its vigilance against attacks, how does the evolution of the American psyche play out?

Sunday, September 09, 2007


If you hate Bush, you best not read this Boston Globe article. To have this assessment made by such a great observer of history debunks the shallow thinking of his detractors.

By Tony Blankley

The Boston Globe -- the respected, liberal newspaper owned by the New York Times -- ran an article last week that Bush critics may wish to read carefully. It is a report on a new book that argues that President Bush has developed and is ably implementing only the third American grand strategy in our history.

The author of this book, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Harvard Press) to be released in March, is John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett professor of military and naval history at Yale University. The Boston Globe describes Mr. Gaddis as "the dean of Cold War studies and one of the nation's most eminent diplomatic historians." In other words, this is not some put-up job by an obscure right-wing author. This comes from the pinnacle of the liberal Ivy League academic establishment.

If you hate George W. Bush, you will hate this Boston Globe story because it makes a strong case that Mr. Bush stands in a select category with presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and James Monroe (as guided by his secretary of state, John Q. Adams) in implementing one of only three grand strategies of American foreign policy in our two-century history.

As the Globe article describes in an interview with Mr. Gaddis: "Grand strategy is the blueprint from which policy follows. It envisions a country's mission, defines its interests, and sets its priorities. Part of grand strategy's grandeur lies in its durability: A single grand strategy can shape decades, even centuries of policy." According to this analysis, the first grand strategy by Monroe/Adams followed the British invasion of Washington and the burning of the White House in 1814.

They responded to that threat by developing a policy of gaining future security through territorial expansion -- filling power vacuums with American pioneers before hostile powers could get in. That strategy lasted throughout the 19th and the early 20th centuries, and accounts for our continental size and historic security.

FDR's plans for the post-World War II period were the second grand strategy and gained American security by establishing free markets and self-determination in Europe as a safeguard against future European wars, while creating the United Nations and related agencies to help us manage the rest of the world and contain the Soviets.

The end of the Cold War changed that and led, according to Mr. Gaddis, to President Clinton's assumption that a new grand strategy was not needed because globalization and democratization were inevitable. "Clinton said as much at one point. I think that was shallow. I think they were asleep at the switch," Mr. Gaddis observed.

That brings the professor to George W. Bush, who he describes as undergoing "one of the most surprising transformations of an underrated national leader since Prince Hal became Henry V. " Clearly, Mr. Gaddis has not been a long-time admirer of Mr. Bush. But he is now. He observes that Mr. Bush "undertook a decisive and courageous reassessment of American grand strategy following the shock of the 9/11 attacks.

At his doctrine's center, Bush placed the democratization of the Middle East and the urgent need to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting nuclear weapons. Bush also boldly rejected the constraints of an outmoded international system that was really nothing more that a snapshot of the configuration of power that existed in 1945. " It is worth noting that John Kerry and the other Democrats' central criticism of Mr. Bush -- the prosaic argument that he should have taken no action without UN approval -- is rejected by Mr. Gaddis as being a proposed policy that would be constrained by an "outmoded international system."

In assessing Mr. Bush's progress to date, the Boston Globe quotes Mr. Gaddis: "So far the military action in Iraq has produced a modest improvement in American and global economic conditions; an intensified dialogue within the Arab world about political reform; a withdrawal of American forces from Saudi Arabia; and an increasing nervousness on the part of the Syrian and Iranian governments as they contemplated the consequences of being surrounded by American clients or surrogates.

The United States has emerged as a more powerful and purposeful actor within the international system than it had been on September 11, 2001." In another recent article, written before the Iraqi war, Mr. Gaddis wrote: "[Bush's] grand strategy is actually looking toward the culmination of the Wilsonian project of a world safe for Democracy, even in the Middle East.

And this long-term dimension of it, it seems to me, goes beyond what we've seen in the thinking of more recent administrations. It is more characteristic of the kind of thinking, say, that the Truman administration was doing at the beginning of the Cold War."

Is Mr. Bush becoming an historic world leader in the same category as FDR, as the eminent Ivy League professor argues? Or is he just a lying nitwit, as the eminent former Democratic Party Chairman and Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe argues?

What Happened to the Republican Agenda?

I left the Republican Party when George H. W. Bush agreed with the Democrats in Congress to raise income taxes on those who put them in office. It was at that point that I realized that Mr. Bush did not embrace the constitutional belief of Thomas Jefferson and the founders who knew the danger of an unlimited government.

So now that I cannot go a single day without hearing about the presidential race (and how the Democrat candidate, whomever that may be will save the country by making the government even larger and more oppressive through increased taxation, regulation and the takeover of our health care), I wonder when we will see a Republican candidate who represents Republican ideals.

If I were to recite a "platform" for a Republian Candidate that I could support, in the way political parties do, you'd find the following items:

1) reinsitute hard money...to protect savings...and rebuild America's capital

2) tax consumption, not production... and repeal the income tax

3) reduce regulation... and do away with a number of the "departments" of the Federal government

4) cut government spending -- including military spending -- and pass a balance budget amendment to the Constitution

A simple program. Makes sense. But waaaay out of the mainstream.

Look at the list again. None of these items promises anything to voters, so I guess that the Republicans believe that they wouldn't have a chance at getting elected.

But that's why I'm doing what I'm doing... because the political parties aren't.

Ethanol: The Other Corn-Fed Pork

By Bill Bonner

"You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns," said William Jennings Bryant, on July 9, 1896, in the most famous political speech in American history. "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

The proximate target of this gush of oratory was the gold standard. But look deeper. Behind the scene were millions of farmers who had made an age-old mistake. They had gone too deeply into debt in order to increase production. In short, they had overdone it. The burden of today's cogitation is that they overdo it regularly.
Judged as a businessman, the typical farmer would make a good veterinarian. Over and over, he walks into the same trap. When prices go up, he borrows in order to expand his holdings. He buys more equipment. He leases more land. And he plants more crops to take advantage of the high prices.

Of course, the extra production soon causes prices to fall. Then, all of a sudden, he is ducking his creditors and running up the phone bill to his congressman. Save our Farms…Spare Us from the Evil Bankers… Give us subsidies, tariffs, he asks.

Farm products - especially corn - have played such a large role in American history that like the odor of lemon madeleines in Proust, they recall for us a whole series of debacles.When the farmer gets into a jam, the entire nation feels the pinch. The earliest settlers in the New World learned how to grow corn; it saved their lives. Then, farmers settled in the rich bottomlands…and planted corn. Soon, they were spreading out beyond the Appalachians growing corn everywhere they could turn the earth.

The trouble in the early days was not growing the corn, but moving it. There were no roads, no canals, no railroads. So, the pioneers figured out that they could pack the energy of corn into a denser form that made it easier to store and easier to transport - corn whiskey.

No market is an island. Each one is connected to the mainland of human economy by tracks that bear a constant, and often curious traffic. After the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers attempted to pay off the nation's war debts by imposing a tax on whiskey. But the nine-cents-a-gallon tax on small producers was enough to set off another revolution - the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, centered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. The insurgents got their hands on one tax collector, for example; they sheared his hair, tarred him and feathered him. More comedy than tragedy, George Washington sent out 13,000 troops, who managed to round up 20 whiskey rebels. Two of them were convicted of insurrection, but soon pardoned; Washington said that one was a simpleton and the other was insane.

With the rifles back over the fireplace mantles, farmers went back to making whiskey…and produced so much that the price of the elixir collapsed. This was probably America's golden era, when corn liquor was so cheap anyone could get drunk any time of day or night. The wild Irish slums of New York and Boston were soon blighted by booze…while, out on the frontier, even Abraham Lincoln passed around a jug of 'corn.'
Then, a national epidemic of alcoholism gave way to a worse case of sobriety. The sour Temperance Movement arose - citing the many evils of Demon Rum and Cruel Corn Whiskey as Public Enemies No.1& 2. This infection of public improvement festered for nearly 100 years and finally broke out in a Constitutional Amendment completely outlawing alcoholic beverages in the United States of America. This was not without political consequences of its own; rum-runners, mobsters, and the Kennedy family all got rich.

But it was not temperance that changed the lives of the corn farmers; it was transportation. In the mid-1800s, first canals, later railroads, made it possible to deliver un-distilled corn all over the country. Suddenly, growing corn was more profitable than ever. The price of farmland west of the Mississippi soared. Kansas farmland went up four to six times between 1881 and 1887. The price of an acre of land on which you could grow corn rose as high as $200.

Nature was rarely kinder to the Great Plains than in the years following the War Between the States. It rained out on the prairies, raising crop yields to levels rarely seen before or since. And the new railroads made it possible, for the first time ever, to ship a bushel of corn - inexpensively - from the western prairies to the major cities in the East. Between 1880 and 1887, Kansas doubled the mileage of rail lines. In that same decade, railroad mileage quadrupled in Nebraska and rose 11 times in the Dakota Territory.
All over the Midwest, farmers planted corn, corn, and more corn.

What happened next could have been predicted - by anyone but a farmer, an investor or a banker.
The years that followed were dry…and as the crops withered, so did the credit available to farmers. In the last three years of the decade, mortgage lending fell to only 10% of the previous three years' activity. Land prices fell. And farmers went bust.

Today, it has been 35 years since a debtor was last crucified on a cross with any trace at all of gold content. But, in 2006, you could still go out to Kansas and buy an acre of farmland for only about $1,000. Adjusted to 1880 prices, that is only about $25, or barely 15% of the peak prices set 120 years ago.

But now, there's a new bubble out on the plains…and a new political scam to go with it. In Martin County, Minnesota, says Fortune Magazine, six new ethanol plants are either in operation or being built. In the last eight months, the price of corn has doubled, from $2 a bushel to $4.

Corn is not just a crop in the America; it is a currency. Corn is used to feed pigs and cattle. Corn syrup is a main ingredient in Coca Cola, candies, cakes, ice cream, hamburgers and many other products. When the price of corn changes, every calculation changes with it. The price of land, for example. An average acre in the mid-west produces 180 bushels. At $2, that puts the gross yield per acre at only $360. After costs, farmers had little left over - only about $30, according to Fortune.

But at $4 a bushel, corn farming becomes much more profitable…with net yields 10 times higher than they were two years ago. With that kind of money rolling over the plains, farmers grow bold. They begin to cast an eye over the "Property for Sale" section of the newspaper…and stop in at the John Deer dealership. In fact, Citigroup is expecting a 25% increase for John Deere shares.

In Martin County, Minnesota, an acre of farmland is already up to $4,000 - a price it hasn't seen in 25 years. What happened after the last peak? Corn went down, and farmers who had stretched to produce as much as they could, went broke. Land fell back to $1,500 per acre, where it stayed until the current boom.

Part of the trouble with this boom is that it depends on ethanol. Thirty-one new ethanol plants have been built in the United States since 2005. When corn was $2 a bushel, and oil was $70, they could make more than a dollar per gallon. But at $4 a bushel, their profits have fallen to 3 cents per gallon, on average. And if corn continues to rise, or ethanol prices fall, even with their subsidies, they will be losing money.

Meanwhile, farmers are eager to take advantage of these high prices; they are doing what farmers always do - they are overdoing it again. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 90 million acres of corn will be planted this year - the most in 63 years.In other words, as corn rises in price, nature seems to wake up. Farmers plant record amounts. And the biggest consumers - particularly ethanol plants, which are expected to take up more than a quarter of this year's crop - cut back. Supplies increase. Demand falls. How long will it be before corn falls again?

Of course, this time could be different. Ethanol may be a fraud, but it's got the U.S. Congress behind it. Corn-fed pork might not be good for you, but there are 3 billion Asians yearning for more of it. On those facts alone, we wouldn't bet the farm. But at least we'd be doing our sums on the subject. Could we sell forward enough corn to pay for a few more acres? Or how about a new air-conditioned tractor?

Whether corn will go down soon, we don't know. But even if the price continues to go up, many farmers will still find a way to over-do it…and ruin themselves.

Advantage: China

By Kevin Kerr

It seems like a weekly occurrence that another deal is struck between China and another key energy-producing country. Meanwhile, U.S. relations with those countries continue to erode.

The countries that will likely be the "energy elite" in the coming 50 years certainly don't include the United States. In fact, the U.S. isn't even on the guest list. Meanwhile, America is losing its "preferred customer" status with many oil producing nations. Now the U.S. is seen as a third-rate customer that is taking a back seat to China and others.

As Chinese officials jet around the globe cutting supply deals with oil producers in Russia, Venezuela and various Middle Eastern countries, the world's oil supply lines are being locked up. And that's not the only problem. Some of the world's most prominent oil exporters are thumbing their noses at the U.S.
"The United States, as a power, is going down and China is going up," says Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. "China is the market of the future."

Chavez was speaking in Caracas when he said that Venezuela will diversify its oil exports to ease dependence on the U.S. market. Historically, Venezuela has shipped about 1.5 million barrels a day. Chavez announced again that Venezuela's goal is to boost oil exports to China to 1 million barrels a day by 2012, from about 150,000 barrels today. Guess where all that oil will come from.

Even more distressing is that as Chavez now nationalizes every aspect of the country, especially projects that had significant U.S. investment, he announces that Venezuela and China plan to form joint ventures to drill in the South American county's heavy crude belt and even build three refineries, all for oil for export to China.
The venture was announced between the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA and China National Petroleum Corp. The partnership deal may also include building tankers to ship the Venezuelan crude to China.

China has struck similar deals with Russia in recent months, as well as with a couple of Africa nations. All of this activity is vital to Chinese interests and its economy's increasing reliance on fossil fuels.

Just a decade ago, there were almost no privately owned cars in China. Fast-forward to 2005 and there were almost 24 million. It's hard to imagine, but China now has more car brands than the United States. The Chinese car market has just surpassed Japan and is now the second largest market in the world, after the United States. Some analysts estimate another 20-25% growth in 2007.

While China is busy striking strategic oil partnerships around the globe, the U.S. is still mired in problems with Iraq, and now even facing possible conflict with Iran. With no clear energy policy being presented by any presidential candidate, it seems as though the U.S. will continue to be pushed aside in the ongoing deal making and strategic oil alliances. All of this bodes very badly for energy prices going forward, as the situation is likely to get much worse before it gets any better. At a time when the U.S. should be encouraging more global partnerships and foreign investment, the opposite seems to be happening.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Why The West Is In Danger Of Extinction

Why The West Is In Danger Of Extinction
by Gary D. Halbert September 4, 2007


1. What happens when Islamism dominates Europe? 2. Falling birthrates in the West are a recipe for disaster. 3. It's the demography, stupid!


The article reprinted below first appeared in a publication called The New Criterion, which focuses on global trends and related intellectual issues, and was subsequently reprinted in January 2006 in the Wall Street Journal, which is where I first read it. To say the least, this article offers a sobering look at what the future might well be, based on current and projected demographic trends. [Due to space limitations, I have omitted certain parts of the article.]

Birthrates in the West have plummeted over the last 50 years, especially in Europe, Russia and in Japan to the point that these populations are in decline. By contrast, birthrates in Islamic countries continue to explode. As editor Mark Steyn points out in the article below, many Western countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain and others must be willing to accept millions of Muslim immigrants over the next 20-30 years or longer, or they may cease to exist. What happens when Islamism dominates Europe, or even before, is scary.

There is little doubt that the world our children and grandchildren will inhabit is going to be quite different from today. While I have strongly disagreed with the "gloom and doom" crowd over the last 25 years (and quite correctly, I might add), the article I have reprinted below has some very troubling long-term implications you should be aware of. Please read it carefully and think about it.


The real reason the West is in danger of extinction by Mark Steyn

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West.

One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society--government health care, government day care (which Canada's thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain's just introduced). We've prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity--"Go forth and multiply," because if you don't you won't be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare....

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths--or, at any rate, virtues--and that's why they're proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

Speaking of which, if we are at war--and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada and Europe don't accept that proposition--then what exactly is the war about?

We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally. [Emphasis added.]

Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it's not what this thing's about. Radical Islam is an opportunistic infection, like AIDS: It's not the HIV that kills you, it's the pneumonia you get when your body's too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose--as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there's an excellent chance they can drag things out until Western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.

That's what the war's about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: "Civilizations die from suicide, not murder"--as can be seen throughout much of "the Western world" right now. The progressive agenda--lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism--is collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism. The great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures--the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It's fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society....

Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the prince of Wales did, the prime minister of the United Kingdom did, the prime minister of Canada did . . . The premier of Ontario didn't, and so 20 Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque....

Anyway, the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died down, but it set the tone for our general approach to these atrocities. The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims. In most circumstances, it would be considered appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual "hate crime" by scaremongering about a purely hypothetical one. Needless to say, there is no campaign of Islamophobic hate crimes. If anything, the West is awash in an epidemic of self-hate crimes. A commenter on Tim Blair's Web site in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: "Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning's Terrorist Attack." Those community leaders have the measure of us.

Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In "The Survival of Culture," I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, Queen's Counsel. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage "Islamic fundamentalists." "We as Western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves," she complained. "We don't look at our own fundamentalisms."

Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those Western liberal fundamentalisms be? "One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I'm not sure that's true."

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you're nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda, so 9/11 is greatly facilitating our surrender to the most extreme aspects of the multicultural agenda. [Emphasis added.]

For example, one day in 2004, a couple of Canadians returned home, to LesterB.Pearson International Airport in Toronto. They were the son and widow of a fellow called Ahmed Said Khadr, who back on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier was known as "al-Kanadi." Why? Because he was the highest-ranking Canadian in al Qaeda--plenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda, but he was the Numero Uno....In the course of the fatal shootout of al-Kanadi, his youngest son was paralyzed. And, not unreasonably, Junior didn't fancy a prison hospital in Peshawar. So Mrs. Khadr and her boy returned to Toronto so he could enjoy the benefits of Ontario government health care. "I'm Canadian, and I'm not begging for my rights," declared the widow Khadr. "I'm demanding my rights."

As they always say, treason's hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadr's death it seems clear that not only was he providing "aid and comfort to the Queen's enemies" but that he was, in fact, the Queen's enemy.... Nonetheless, the prime minister of Canada thought Boy Khadr's claims on the public health system was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his own deep personal commitment to "diversity." Asked about the Khadrs' return to Toronto, he said, "I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree."

That's the wonderful thing about multiculturalism: You can choose which side of the war you want to fight on. When the draft card arrives, just tick "home team" or "enemy," according to taste. The Canadian prime minister is a typical late-stage Western politician: He could have said, well, these are contemptible people and I know many of us are disgusted at the idea of our tax dollars being used to provide health care for a man whose Canadian citizenship is no more than a flag of convenience, but unfortunately that's the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlife's got away with it. Instead, his reflex instinct was to proclaim this as a wholehearted demonstration of the virtues of the multicultural state. Like many enlightened Western leaders, the Canadian prime minister will be congratulating himself on his boundless tolerance even as the forces of intolerance consume him....

We spend a lot of time at The New Criterion attacking the elites, and we're right to do so. The commanding heights of the culture have behaved disgracefully for the last several decades. But if it were just a problem with the elites, it wouldn't be that serious: The mob could rise up and hang 'em from lampposts--a scenario that's not unlikely in certain Continental countries. But the problem now goes way beyond the ruling establishment. The annexation by government of most of the key responsibilities of life--child-raising, taking care of your elderly parents--has profoundly changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. At some point--I would say socialized health care is a good marker--you cross a line, and it's very hard then to persuade a citizenry enjoying that much government largesse to cross back. [Emphasis added.]

In National Review recently, I took issue with that line Gerald Ford always uses to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." Actually, you run into trouble long before that point: A government big enough to give you everything you want still isn't big enough to get you to give anything back. That's what the French and German political classes are discovering.

Go back to that list of local conflicts I mentioned. The jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you're not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians and the Nigerians, why wouldn't you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Danes and New Zealanders?

So the jihadists are for the most part doing no more than giving us a prod in the rear as we sleepwalk to the cliff. When I say "sleepwalk," it's not because we're a blasé culture. On the contrary, one of the clearest signs of our decline is the way we expend so much energy worrying about the wrong things... One way "societies choose to fail or succeed" is by choosing what to worry about. The Western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return we've developed a great cult of worrying.

You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book "The Population Bomb," the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." In 1972, in their landmark study "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.

None of these things happened. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. We're pretty much awash in resources, but we're running out of people--the one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russia's the most obvious example: it's the largest country on earth, it's full of natural resources, and yet it's dying--its population is falling calamitously.

The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens--from terrorism to tsunamis--can be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of Western civilization. As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

And even though none of the prognostications of the eco-doom blockbusters of the 1970s came to pass, all that means is that 30 years on, the end of the world has to be rescheduled. The amended estimated time of arrival is now 2032. That's to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted "the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species. . . . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems . . . 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct . . ." Etc., etc., for 450 pages. Or to cut to the chase, as the Guardian headlined it, "Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster."

Well, here's my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future . . . where the environment will look pretty darn good. If you're a tree or a rock, you'll be living in clover. It's the Italians and the Swedes who'll be facing extinction and the loss of their natural habitat.

There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. What's worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about that we don't worry about the things we should be worrying about. For 30 years, we've had endless wake-up calls for things that aren't worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society--the ones truly jeopardizing our future--we're sound asleep. The world is changing dramatically right now, and hysterical experts twitter about a hypothetical decrease in the Antarctic krill that might conceivably possibly happen so far down the road there are unlikely to be any Italian or Japanese enviro-worriers left alive to be devastated by it. [Emphasis added.]

In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as "globalization" is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite--that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World.... That's the way to look at Islamism: We fret about McDonald's and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo . . .

What's the better bet? A globalization that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalization that exports the fiercest aspects of its culture? When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026.... And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is.

"Replacement" fertility rate--i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller--is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. [Emphasis added.]

In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 [states] with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans (very interesting from a political viewpoint). [Emphasis added.]

As fertility shrivels, societies get older--and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business--unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so. If you look at European election results--most recently in Germany--it's hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they're unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them....

This isn't a deep-rooted cultural difference between the Old World and the New. It dates back all the way to, oh, the 1970s. If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it's a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington's problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a postmodern military alliance? The "free world," as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else.

And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, it's hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to reshoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the West makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.

There is no "population bomb." There never was. Birthrates are declining all over the world--eventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the Western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of 39. But demographics is a game of last man standing... Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9% of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26%. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30% of the world's population to just over 20%, the Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20%. [Emphasis added.]

Nineteen seventy doesn't seem that long ago. If you're the age many of the chaps running the Western world today are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair's less groovy, but the landscape of your life--the look of your house, the layout of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge--isn't significantly different. Aside from the Internet and the cell phone and the CD, everything in your world seems pretty much the same but slightly modified.

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%. And by 2020? [Emphasis added.]

So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)--or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.

Can these trends continue for another 30 years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: The grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

What will Europe be like at the end of this process? Who knows? On the one hand, there's something to be said for the notion that America will find an Islamified Europe more straightforward to deal with than M. Chirac, Herr Schroeder & Co. On the other hand, given Europe's track record, getting there could be very bloody. But either way this is the real battlefield. The al Qaeda nutters can never find enough suicidal pilots to fly enough planes into enough skyscrapers to topple America. But unlike us, the Islamists think long-term, and, given their demographic advantage in Europe and the tone of the emerging Muslim lobby groups there, much of what they're flying planes into buildings for they're likely to wind up with just by waiting a few more years. The skyscrapers will be theirs; why knock 'em over?... [Emphasis added.]

...To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020.... Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans [largely due to immigration], and what's left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: Its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if it's populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it's populated by Algerians? That's a trickier proposition.

Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates. Worst-case scenario: Sharia [rule by Islamic law], circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner--and we're already seeing a drift in that direction.

In July 2003, speaking to the U.S. Congress, Tony Blair remarked: "As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?"

Excellent question. Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world today--Australia, India, South Africa--and in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the People's Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from 18th-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.

A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the "what do you leave behind?" question is more urgent than most of us expected. "The West," as a concept, is dead, and the West, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

What will London--or Paris, or Amsterdam--be like in the mid-'30s? If European politicians make no serious attempt this decade to wean the populace off their unsustainable 35-hour weeks, retirement at 60, etc., then to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035. As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character? [Emphasis added.]

This ought to be the left's issue. I'm a conservative--I'm not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: I'm with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the West's collapsed birthrates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by "a woman's right to choose," in any sense....

The refined antennae of Western liberals mean that whenever one raises the question of whether there will be any Italians living in the geographical zone marked as Italy a generation or three hence, they cry, "Racism!" To fret about what proportion of the population is "white" is grotesque and inappropriate. But it's not about race, it's about culture. If 100% of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesn't matter whether 70% of them are "white" or only 5% are. But if one part of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy and the other doesn't, then it becomes a matter of great importance whether the part that does is 90% of the population or only 60%, 50%, 45%.

Since the president unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrine--the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world--innumerable "progressives" have routinely asserted that there's no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, that Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that's true, it's a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow.

According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under Shariah--in the United Kingdom. If a population "at odds with the modern world" is the fastest-breeding group on the planet--if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions--how safe a bet is the survival of the "modern world"? [Emphasis added.]

Not good.

"What do you leave behind?" asked Tony Blair. There will only be very few and very old ethnic Germans and French and Italians by the midpoint of this century. What will they leave behind? Territories that happen to bear their names and keep up some of the old buildings? Or will the dying European races understand that the only legacy that matters is whether the peoples who will live in those lands after them are reconciled to pluralist, liberal democracy? It's the demography, stupid. And, if they can't muster the will to change course, then "What do you leave behind?" is the only question that matters. [Emphasis added.] END QUOTE

Mr. Steyn is a syndicated columnist and theater critic for The New Criterion, in whose January 2006 issue this article appeared.