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U.S. scraps failed $500 million program to train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels

Moving from one spectacular failure to the next. Nothing that the US does to counter the Islamic State will succeed until officials examine its ideology realistically. Without that, every move to counter it effectively will founder on the unreality of the State Department’s analysis.

“US scraps its $500 million programme to train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels after producing fewer than 80 soldiers, most of whom were either shot or ran away,” by Simon Tomlinson, MailOnline, October 9, 2015:

The U.S. has scrapped its $500 million program to train moderate rebels after it produced fewer than 80 fighters, most of whom had been killed or fled.

U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter said Washington would instead work more closely with capable Kurdish and other forces in Syria.

No details were immediately available, but the programme to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State group is widely considered a failure.

Carter said at a news conference in London that the work the U.S. has done with the Kurds is a good example of an effective approach with a capable, motivated ground combat force.

He did not provide more details.

U.S. officials have said the new effort would focus more on embedding recruits with established Kurdish and Arab units, rather than sending them directly into front-line combat.

Last week, a commander of one of the U.S.-trained rebel units turned over a half-dozen U.S. vehicles to extremist militants….

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Rusting Windfarm Junk off Waikiki: Europe’s Disaster Coming to Hawaiian Waters

Feds to License Windfarm off Waikiki Beach?

by Henry Curtis, Ililani Media, May 15, 2015 (excerpts)

Ocean-based floating wind-generation facilities have been proposed AW Hawaii Wind LLC.

Each facility would consist of 51 floating eight megawatt (MW) turbines secured in place by anchors.

The Oahu South Project would be located approximately 17 miles south of Diamond Head in water depths of approximately 1,000 – 2300 feet.

The Oahu Northwest Project would be located 12 miles northwest of Ka`ena Point in water depths of approximately 2,300 ‐ 3,300 feet above an ocean floor plateau.

“The Southern area will be visible from Waikiki beach….  The eastern area is equally visible from the southeastern part of Oahu and will be part of the sunrise….”  (Don’t worry.  Its OK to gamble the entire tourism industry on this scheme.)

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has scheduled its third BOEM/Hawaii Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting for Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 9 am to 2:20 p.m.

The meeting will occur at the Homer A. Maxey International Trade Resource Center located at Pier 2, 521 Ala Moana Boulevard, near the makai end of Punchbowl.

The meeting itself is reserved for government conversations. BOEM and the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) will make presentations. At the end of the meeting the public can make comments….

read … Crackpot Idea Funded by Your Tax Dollars


Hawaii to be Guinea Pig for yet another Hare-brained Corporate Welfare Scheme

by Richard A Kessler, Recharge, March 20, 2015 (excerpts)

Danish developer Alpha Wind Energy (AWE) has submitted lease requests to the US Interior Department (DOI) for two proposed 51-turbine, 408MW floating wind projects in federal waters off Oahu, Hawaii.

The projects would be the first commercial application of floating wind technology in the US and be located in water depths at least five times those for conventional offshore projects under development along the east coast.

They would utilize Principle Power’s WindFloat semi-submersible, a three-legged triangular pontoon structure whose design allows onshore assembly and commissioning before towing to site.

AWE has formed a subsidiary called AW Hawaii Wind, LLC, based in Texas to carry out the projects. Its partners include Portuguese industrial group A. Silva Matos (ASM); wind energy consultant Energy and Environmental Data, and Danish energy management firm NEAS.

ASM has constructed the existing WindFloat, (Note the use of the singular here.  There’s only one of these things.) which has been in operation off the coast of Portugal for more than two years…. (Translation: The floats are not a proven technology.)

Recharge reported in January that BOEM expects to complete and release for public comment its draft environmental assessment (EA) for Principle Power’s 30MW WindFloat Pacific pilot project off the coast of Oregon.  (Translation: There are no offshore windfarms anywhere in the USA.  There’s a reason for this.  See next article….)

read … Nobody dumb enough to OK this scheme so they send it to Hawaii


Offshore wind farms are no public benefit

by Barbara Durkin, The Hill, December 6, 2014 (excerpts)

…While U.S. energy policy should address the needs of citizens for reliable energy sources that are commercially reasonable and reasonably safe, offshore wind has historically failed to deliver these public benefits to Europeans.

UK’s offshore wind energy projects’ results should serve as the catalyst for termination by the administration of its proposed ocean auction to wind limited liabilities corporations.  U.S. rate and taxpayers are unacceptably exposed by this administration’s blind eye to the UK’s failed offshore wind program.   Neither the ocean area the federal government holds in trust for U.S. citizens, nor U.S. citizens themselves, should be exploited by an industry that historically fails to deliver public benefits.

Germany’s flagship BARD Offshore I is a 400MW wind project intended to supply the energy needs of 400,000 households.  But Bard Offshore 1 remains out of operation according to industry source Offshore Wind Biz (June 2014) citing: “frequent technical problems with the converter substation,”  “a smoldering fire,” “failure of the system,” “five unplanned outages since the beginning of 2014” and “transmission problems.”

WindPowerOffshore (September 19, 2014) reports the Danish company Vattenfall is going to dismantle the Yttre Stengrund in Swedish waters after only 13 years of operation. “Only one in (5) turbines is currently operational.”

Europe’s offshore wind energy endeavors reveal the challenges of the harsh and corrosive marine environment.  GE deployed the Cape Wind prototype GE 3.6 MW wind turbines at Arklow, the wind farm offshore of Ireland.  GE subsequently “discontinued” the Cape Wind 3.6 MW wind turbine even while Cape Wind, the wind farm planned for offshore Massachusetts, was under permit review by the DOI. That review advanced Cape Wind as a “reliable” energy source.

Cape Wind changed specifications to Siemens 3.6 MW during their power purchase contract negotiations with the national grid.  But Siemens is not boasting offshore wind success, according to the Wall Street Journal [1/08/14]:

“Siemens, the world’s largest manufacturer of offshore wind turbines, and its partners concede they underestimated the challenges behind offshore wind. The financial fallout from these challenges was highlighted on Thursday, when Siemens said it booked €128 million ($171 million) in new charges related to connecting offshore wind farms to the power grid. It blamed unexpectedly high costs for shipping, installing and starting up grid components.”

A Spiegel International article ‘Turbine Trouble: Ill Wind Blows for German Offshore Industry’says, “Operators of offshore wind farms depend on sufficiently high electricity prices to refinance their investments.”  This runs contrary to public interest. Citizens need commercially reasonable energy sources that are reliable, while offshore wind energy technology is historically not reliable, yet its price is high.

The stunning and sobering candor of an executive of the “world’s largest” manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas, would be comical if not for the serious context — billions in public funding along with the sacrifice of  the thousands of ocean acres that DOI intends to grant to wind LLCs.

In 2011, Anders Søe-Jensen, then president of the offshore division at Vestas said, “It’s a bit like buying an old crappy car. It’s starts cheap, but spends most of the time in the workshop costing you a fortune, so you didn’t drive much, and your cost per driven mile is staggeringly high. It’s the same with the cost of energy when you look at capital expense and operating costs with overall production.”

While President Obama’s energy goals should be to deploy energy sources that are commercially reasonable, reliable, and reasonably safe, based on the  best science, offshore wind has miserably failed to deliver public benefits to Europeans….

read … No Benefit

Obama’s Middle East Debacle

Saudi Arabia's King SalmanI had to laugh when I heard that the new King of Saudi Arabia, Salmon, told the White House he wasn’t going to attend Thursday’s photo-op get together of Arab leaders. Some lesser Saudi officials will attend. The message is clear enough, so long as Obama continues to make nice with Iran, the center of the problems in the Middle East, the Saudis and the others are going to be wary of any proposal that comes out of the White House.

As far as the Middle East is concerned, Obama seems to have no idea of the history or the dynamics that affect all the actions there. His Secretary of State, Kerry, is no better. He met with Arab officials last Friday and they told him they want a defense treaty in the event they were attacked by “external forces”, something that the Congress will not approve so long as Obama is in the White House.

One would think that any President at this point would have concluded that the Palestinians have no intention of signing onto a peace treaty with the Israelis.

Writing in The New York Times on May 8, Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, put it bluntly, “It doesn’t matter what these politicians think now or have said in in the past. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not happening in the next two years.” That’s how long we all have to wait until Obama leaves office.

David P.Goldman, a Senior Fellow of the Middle East Forum, writing in Asia Times Online on May 10, spelled it out. “It is inconvenient for diplomats to say so, but the Palestinian Authority collapsed quite some time ago,” noting that “President Mahmoud Abbas’ term in office began in 2005 and ended six years ago, and he has not called new elections for the simple reason that Hamas—the Palestinian branch of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood—would win those elections.” These days the Egyptians label Hamas a terrorist organization and have taken steps to eliminate the Brotherhood. At least they know who the enemy is.

Obama has been antagonistic to Israel from before he was elected and has made little effort to hide it. Consider this, as Goldman notes, “Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel in 2014, prompting Israeli counterstrikes during the summer.” Its declared intention and the reason for its existence is to eliminate the State of Israel. Why are we surprised to hear that Obama wants to take the statehood issue to the United Nations, a hotbed of anti-Semitism, and has little to say of the Palestinian Authority’s assertion that it wants to drag Israel in front of the International Criminal Court for having defended itself against the attacks by Hamas!

Not only has the Saudi King sent Obama a message, but so did the Israelis when they overwhelmingly reelected Benjamin Netanyahu as their Prime Minister. “The Israelis look around the Middle East and see nothing but conflict, carnage, instability and danger,” said Schanzer. “The Obama doctrine—which includes a deliberate contraction of American power in the Middle East—has undeniably made Israel less safe.”

It has made the U.S. and the world less safe too.

One of the most obscene aspects of the Obama obsession with Iran is that, in return for any deal—which Iran would ignore and cheat—they are ready “to provide as much as $120 billion in sanctions relief to satisfy the narrow technical parameters of a nuclear deal, which would legitimize Iran as a threshold nuclear state. These funds,” said Schanzer, “will flow to Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Iran terror proxies dedicated to Israel’s demise.”

To put all this in perspective, as Goldman reminds us, “From Israel’s standpoint, the Palestinian Authority was offered 95% of Judea and Samaria in return for a final peace agreement, and both times (at Camp David in 1999 under Ehud Barack and in 2008 under Ehud Olmert) the offer was rejected.”

“The U.N. Security Council,” said Goldman, “will punish Israel for the failure of negotiations that were meaningless to begin with, and establish a Hamas-controlled state within nine miles of the Mediterranean coast. Iran has already promised to arm West Bank Arabs, just as it armed Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Israel which has enjoyed the support of the United States since it declared its independence in 1948 is now put at risk by the first administration to deliberately turn its back on it in preference for a deal with the leading terror-sponsor, Iran, in the Middle East.

You cannot make a greater mess of the mess that already exists in the Middle East, but Obama is doing his best to add to it. What else should we expect from a President who refuses to utter words like “Islamic terrorism”?

© Alan Caruba, 2015

New Cold Climate to Devastate Global Agriculture within Ten Years

EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished as the predictions made in 2015 are coming true today.


The Orlando, FL headquartered Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) announced today that the predicted new cold climate will soon begin to end the historic era of growth in U.S. and global agricultural output that began after the end of World War II.

Specifically, as a result of recent events on the Sun and changes in the Earth’s climate, the SSRC again warns that record crop yields and volume in the U.S. and Canadian corn, wheat, and soybean belts are about to end. The SSRC expects the first substantial damage could be observed at any time but certainly within the next ten years.

This new announcement is based on a well researched set of new climate trends of oceanic and atmospheric temperatures, and solar activity. The SSRC believes as long as the Sun continues its solar hibernation (a once every 206 year cold climate event) that we are on the precipice of a long term drop in global temperatures.

It is entirely possible that the decades-long period of record global agricultural output that our world has enjoyed will soon be over, perhaps for many decades.

This ominous prediction is accentuated by the fact that governments worldwide and their agricultural corporations, systems, and farmers, are preparing for more global warming and doing nothing to adapt to the ongoing transition to a new potentially dangerous cold climate.

According to SSRC President Mr. John L. Casey:

“The era of bumper crops that the U.S. and Canadian breadbasket has been delivering for decades, is about to come to an end. The production levels seen in recent years are unsustainable in view of the dramatic decline in temperatures we are expected to see. Unfortunately, the world’s agricultural industry and our fellow citizens are totally unprepared for the new cold climate.”

Click Here to Download a PDF File of the Rationale for the SSRC Press Release 2-2015

Is a Gay Football Player News?

Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete drafted into the National Football League, did not make the cut with the St. Louis Rams after it trimmed its roster ahead of the start of the 2014 season.

Sam has been signed for the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, but given their dismal record of late we are not likely to hear much other than their losing scores. The only reason I would watch the Cowboys on TV is their cheerleaders!

Now we will be able to enjoy the season without a story every day about what Michael Sam did or said. We will not have to endure television interviews of him and his boyfriend telling us how wonderful it is to be gay in America.

If I never see a photo of those two kissing one another, I will be happy knowing that neither will a generation of young boys who want to grow up to be football players.

If you think about it, since homosexuals are about two percent of the U.S. population, it should hardly be newsworthy that a particular athlete is gay. We accept that there’s a fair percentage of gays in the arts and other fields, but gay athletes are deemed—at least by the media—to be in some special category.

When it comes to sports, most of us only want to know if an athlete has won or lost. Writing for NBC Sports, Michael David Smith probably got the Michael Sam story right. He reported that Eric Wood, a Bill’s defensive lineman, believes that “teams are avoiding Sam because they don’t want the ESPN hype that would come with having Sam.”

The plain fact of Sam’s fate was that he was not as good as the others on the preseason team. Prior to the news he was not signed, Vinnie Iyer, a Huffington Post sports writer, noted, “Robert Quinn and Chris Long are the Ram’s elite starters at defensive end. Veterans William Hayes and Eugene Sims are the projected backups. Sam’s chief competition, undrafted fellow rookie Ethan Westbrooks, was better than Sam throughout the preseason.”

To show his support, Sam’s boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, tweeted a photo of the couple together, wearing shirts from the University of Missouri, where they both attended college. In May, ESPN had aired a celebratory kiss between the two men. “You know, I can play in this league,” said Sam. Just barely.

If you think the media devotes altogether too much “news” about gays, I would be inclined to agree. There is, however, a massive propaganda campaign conducted by gay organizations to ensure that their issues are always in the news. They hardly merit such coverage. Why should their sexual orientation be the subject of so much coverage? The answer most likely is the intense liberal orientation of the news media these days.

Nor has the U.S. ever had such a gay-oriented President as Obama in its history. On July 21, Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating “on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”  Obama said, “I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American.” The EO amended a previous one issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Everything that can be done to undermine the moral values of the nation has been underway for several decades. In December, a judge appointed by Obama, Robert J. Shelby, issued an opinion declaring that a right to same-sex marriage is “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. When he was confirmed to the federal bench on September 21, 2012, no senator objected. CNN reporter, Terence P. Jeffrey, said “His opinion could fundamentally alter American law and culture.”

There is not a bit of U.S. history or a word in the Constitution to justify Judge Shelby’s decision.

The media, according to a June 2013 study released by the Pew Research Center, found that articles with “statements supporting same-sex marriage outweighed those with statements opposing it by a margin of roughly 5-to-1.” The study was of nearly 500 stories from March 18 through May 12 “primarily focused on support for the measure…”

As children return to schools, K-12, this year, their curriculums will include support for homosexuality when many older Americans recall that this subject was never a part of what was taught when they attended school.

Ensuring special treatment for gays is now part of many aspects of life in America and if that isn’t inherently unfair, unequal, and totally out of proportion to the other 98% of the population, than it is impossible not to conclude it is part of the government’s and media’s agenda these days.

None of this bodes well for America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Jerry Jones: Michael Sam ‘Is Not Ready To Go At All’