- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2015


So much for “containment.” Though the White House has a more positive narrative in mind about the terrorist threat, news is not promising in the third annual Global Terrorism Index, a new study ranking the impact of terrorism in 162 nations based on such indicators as the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage. The take-away message: “Terrorism is increasing, and it is spreading.”

Deaths from terrorism increased 80 percent last year; 32,658 people were killed by terrorism in 2014 compared to 18,111 the previous year, the study found. Boko Haram and the Islamic State were jointly responsible for 51 percent of the fatalities.

The economic toll of terrorism now stands at $52.9 million, up 61 percent from 2013, when it stood at $32.9 million. The number of countries with at least one or more deaths from terrorist activity has increased from 59 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. This includes Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France. Despite this, just five countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria — account for 78 percent of all deaths in 2014.

The majority of deaths from terrorism do not occur in the West, however: only 2.6 percent of deaths have occurred in the West since 2000. Lone-wolf attackers are the main perpetrators, causing 70 percent of all deaths in the West over the past decade.

The number of countries that suffered more than 500 deaths has more than doubled, increasing from five in 2013 to 11 in 2014. The new additions were Somalia, Ukraine, Yemen, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon.

The research was conducted by the Australian-based Institute for Economics and Peace, a think tank which also ranks the relative peacefulness of the world’s nations based on economic and sociological data. And in terms of its ranking on the Terrorism Index, the U.S. is at No. 35 among the 162 nations adversely affected by terrorism — behind Algeria, and just ahead of France.


Even the pollsters now wonder if Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is made of Kevlar, Teflon or maybe tempered steel. Despite the din of an unfriendly news media and a battallion of hostile political operatives, Mr. Trump continues to sail over the competition on both sides of the aisle. Trump is Trump; he does not appear to be guided by surveys, he has candor, humor, entertainment value, nerve and occasionally lapses into bombastic mode. He tosses insults and truths with abandon - and he rules the polls and dominates the campaign trail.

Why is this?

“Millions of Americans who are currently supporting Donald Trump may not even be too thrilled with him as a person. They are supporting him because they feel he could be a person capable of turning the country around. They are also supporting him because they don’t have confidence in America’s current leadership,” says Frieda Birnbaum, a New York City-based psychologist and author of the the book “What Price Power.”

She adds, “Supporting Trump is a means to vent their frustration on the establishment. America appears hungry for strong leadership and for right now Trump is fulfilling that need.”


“President Obama attacked me for not wanting Syrian refugees to enter our country. He doesn’t want you to know that his and Hillary Clinton’s failed tough-talk-but-do-nothing policies are responsible for the meltdown in the Middle East. Millions of families are fleeing their homes because the Obama-Clinton tough talk is just empty rhetoric. We need leaders who will stop whining and start winning.”

— GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson in a new campaign video. The candidate was recently in Jordan visiting Syrian refugees to see their problems first-hand.


No matter how they spin it, the 190 global leaders who have been endlessly gathering in Paris to talk about climate change can’t escape carbon footprints left by their aircraft and ground transportation to the event, which ends December 11. The United Nation’s’ own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that such transport accounts for 23 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and the percentage is expected to increase.

But the big shots have to get their some how. Germany’s environmental minister Barbara Hendricks took a train to Paris, rather than fly in, though the journey was still disrupted by “anarchists” protesting her mode of travel.

“Climate change alarmists stubbornly refuse to live as if they believe a single word of what they’re saying. The size of their carbon footprints is staggering,” observes John Hayward, a Brietbart columnist. “These conferences are unnecessary. It’s 2015. We have incredibly advanced telecommuting systems. Climate confabs are an excuse for politicians to soak their taxpayers for luxury junkets to exotic vacation destinations, where they stay in five-star hotels and dine on the finest gourmet foods.”

Indeed, President Obama flew to Paris aboard Air Force One, which costs $206,000 per hour to operate and burns five gallons of jet fuel for every mile it covers, Mr. Hayward says. Since aviation fuel releases 21 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere for every gallon burned, he figures the president’s 7,656-mile round-trip to Paris will consume 38,280 gallons of fuel, and release 803,880 pounds of carbon by the time Mr. Obama returned home.

And the grand total here? Wired.com reporter Nick Stockton estimates that the thousands who travel to the conference are ultimately responsible for the emission of 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide — based on typical industry standards, and the average travel distances of the participants.


“Solar Socialism”

— Term coined by Citizens against Government Waste, which has released a new report calling for the end of “solar socialism — or federal government solar energy subsidies, which have cost taxpayers $77.7 billion in the last decade alone. “Taxpayers should be aware of the cost of renewable energy and understand why the U.S. government should not be anointing certain niche industries over others,” advises Tom Schatz, president of the watchdog group found here: CAGW.org.


Need something for the Republican who has everything? From the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation comes the “Trust But Verify” gift collection. Among items emblazoned with one of the 40th president’s most famous phrases, plus his signature: coffee mug, money clip, leather portfolio, pen, desk box. Much more merchandise from glassware to jellybeans and jewelry, all Gipper-themed, and Nancy-themed too. Check things out in the museum store at ReaganFoundation.org or through an old-fashioned phone call to 800/998-7641.


Sharp-eyed analysts have found yet another burden stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

“Amid Obamacare’s 3,000 pages lies a regulation that may squeeze craft beer brewers out of business. Regulators claim that American consumers are not healthy because they are blissfully unaware of the amount of calories in beer,” notes an new analysis from the National Taxpayers Union.

Next year all brewers must include a detailed calorie count on every type of beer they produce. Failure to comply means craft brewers can’t sell their beer in any restaurant chain with over 20 locations — a major blow to smaller operations. The Cato Institute also estimates the new labeling requirements will cost up to $77,000 to implement — doable for larger beer companies, a burden for local artisan brewers.

“The increasingly small size of craft breweries means they are faced with a tough decision in light of the impending regulations: cut costs and possibly lay off workers to pay for the calorie labels, or be shut out of one of the most profitable markets for their product. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation for craft beer brewers and drinkers, an industry that grew 27.8 percent from 2013 to 2014 when it was left alone,” says the taxpayer watchdog.


Is Donald Trump “really pro-gun?” asks Tom McHale, author of several consumer gun guides, and a contributor to OudoorHub, a sports news site. He notes that while Mr. Trump has a concealed carry permit in New York, he also donated $584,850 to Democrats, the Clinton Global Initiative and Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for Chicago mayor. The candidate also publicly supported a ban on assault weapons at one point.

Still, Mr. Trump’s talk on the campaign trail seems “clear and convincing,” Mr. McHale says.

“On the plus side, he’s been more specific about exactly how he supports Second Amendment issues than any other candidate. He’s also detailed his position in writing in his platform. Many others will verbally state some nebulous support of gun rights in a speech, but are often reluctant to detail their views, especially in writing. On the flip side, his past positions are a valid reason for concern as he has yet to clarify a believable explanation for his apparent change of position,” Mr. McHale writes.

“As far as the donations go, it’s hard to draw conclusions one way or the other. As a businessman trying to get things done all over the country, it’s far more likely that his donations are a tool to gain support for his various development projects. If you made me choose a position, I’d put candidate Trump in the ‘gun rights supporter’ column, but clearly Mr. USA has some additional explaining to do,” Mr. McHale concludes.


⦁ 46 percent of Syrian residents say they would leave their country “if given the opportunity.”

⦁ 43 percent expect to at least leave their current community in the next year.

⦁ 39 percent would prefer to migrate permanently to Europe, 35 percent prefer the Middle East and northern Africa.

⦁ 30 percent prefer to continue living in Syria.

⦁ 10 percent would prefer to live in Asia, 6 percent in North America.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,002 Syrian adults conducted throughout January and released Monday.

⦁ Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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