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Tags: CAIR | Protests | Islamist | in-Museum-Video | Obama Delays Natural Gas Exports | Holocaust Awareness Dropping | Report Ranks States for Economic Outlook

CAIR Protests 'Islamist' in 9/11 Museum Video; Obama Delays Natural Gas Exports; Holocaust Awareness Dropping

By    |   Sunday, 18 May 2014 06:40 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama Delaying Approval of Natural Gas Exports
2. New Report Ranks States for Economic Outlook
3. Muslim Group Protests 9/11 Museum Video
4. Global Awareness of Holocaust 'Disturbingly Low'
5. Music TV Shows' Popularity Waning
6. Sen. Coburn: GAO Report on Sequester 'Devastating'

1. Obama Delaying Approval of Natural Gas Exports

The Obama administration is holding up approval of applications for liquefied natural gas exports that could total nearly 30 billion cubic feet per day.

Some of the more than two dozen applications were filed as long ago as 2011 and early 2012. But Obama's Energy Department has consistently favored renewable energy sources over carbon-based fuels.

"America could sell natural gas to Europe and Asia, undercutting Russia's market, at no additional cost to the federal government," according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor.

"On the contrary, increased production means additional tax revenue to federal and state governments."

Liquefied natural gas (LNG), mostly methane, is natural gas converted to liquid for ease of storage and transport.

The companies that have filed applications for export permits could potentially export 29 billion cubic feet of LNG daily, and if the export process were not so difficult, more companies would likely be willing to invest in LNG exports and apply for permits.

The earliest application was filed in October 2011, and eight were filed in 2012. The application for the largest quantity of LNG exports, 3.22 billion cubic feet per day, was filed by Freeport-McMoRan Energy LLC.

The United States has massive natural gas deposits that can now be accessed thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling techniques. In North Dakota, the average amount of "non-marketed" natural gas, which is wasted, was 0.31 billion cubic feet a day through the end of 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration.

"Most non-marketed natural gas is flared into the atmosphere like an open burner on a gas stove," Furchtgott-Roth writes for the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch. "Flaring gas releases CO2 as a byproduct of combustion, so it would be environmentally preferable for the gas to be sold."

One-third of North Dakota's total production is flared. Allowing more exports would help the state's economy and increase America's gross domestic product.

Editor's Note:

2. New Report Ranks States for Economic Outlook

The 2014 edition of "Rich States, Poor States" — the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index — is now available, and Utah is once again the state with the best economic outlook for the year.

The report was compiled by noted economist Arthur Laffer along with economist Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams, director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The Economic Outlook rankings were compiled using 15 factors "that have a proven impact on the migration of capital — both investment and human — into and out of states," the authors noted.

"Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process."

The 15 factors include the top marginal personal income tax rate, the top marginal corporate income tax rate, personal income tax progressivity, property tax burden, sales tax burden, and overall tax burden.

Also factored in are debt service as a share of the tax revenue, public employees per 10,000 population, state minimum wage, average workers' compensation costs, number of tax expenditure limits, quality of the state's legal system, and recently legislated tax changes.

Whether a state has an estate/inheritance tax and whether it is a right-to-work state contribute to the ranking as well.

Utah ranks No. 1 for economic outlook, as it has every year since 2008. South Dakota is No. 2, followed by Indiana, North Dakota, Idaho, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Wyoming.

In last place at No. 50 is New York, which has finished in that slot or at No. 49 every year since 2008. Vermont has the second-lowest ranking, followed by Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut, Montana, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

"Generally speaking, states that spend less — especially on income transfer programs — and states that tax less, particularly on productive activities such as working or investing, experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more," the report observed.

The report also offers its Economic Performance Rankings, judging the states over the past 10 years on three variables: Gross Domestic Product, Absolute Domestic Migration, and Non-Farm Payroll Employment.

Texas ranks at the top of the list, leading the nation in Absolute Domestic Migration and finishing in the top five in the other two variables.

Utah is No. 2, followed by Wyoming. North Dakota is ranked No. 4 thanks to its top rankings in the Gross Domestic Product and Non-Farm Payroll Employment categories.

Rounding out the top 10 are Montana, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Idaho.

Michigan is at the bottom of the list, ranking No. 50 in the Gross Domestic Product and Non-Farm Payroll Employment categories and No. 50 overall.

Ohio is No. 49, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, Wisconsin, California, Maine, and Massachusetts.

ALEC is a nonpartisan organization of state legislators, made up of nearly one-third of America's state elected officials.

Editor's Note:

3. Muslim Group Protests 9/11 Museum Video

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging the National September 11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan to edit a video presentation on al-Qaida and remove terms such as "Islamist extremism" and "jihadism."

The move follows a CAIR letter sent last month and co-signed by several other Muslim and Arab-American organizations complaining about what they termed "academically controversial terminology" used at the memorial. Museum officials did not reply to the letter, according to CNS News.

On Monday, CAIR's New York chapter began asking "all Americans" to "click and send" a letter written by the chapter calling for the video titled "The Rise of Al-Qaeda" to be edited to remove "anti-Islamic terminology" before the museum opens to the public on May 21.

The letter is addressed to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents lower Manhattan.

In the seven-minute video, NBC News anchor Brian Williams narrates over images of terrorist training camps and al-Qaida attacks spanning decades. The video refers to the 9/11 terrorists as Islamists who viewed their mission as a jihad, The New York Times reported.

It airs adjacent to a gallery with photographs of the 19 hijackers from 9/11.

CAIR said in a statement that terms like "Islamist extremism" and "jihadism" are objectionable because they "conflate Islam and terrorism and carry the risk of misinforming museum visitors, particularly those unfamiliar with Islam."

CAIR-NY board member Zead Ramadan said: "The film ignorantly implies a religion, rather than a group of criminals, was to blame for the September 11 attacks."

Museum officials are standing by the video.

"From the very beginning, we had a very heavy responsibility to be true to the facts, to be objective, and in no way smear an entire religion when we are talking about a terrorist group," said Joseph Daniels, president and chief executive of the nonprofit foundation that oversees the museum.

And the museum states on its website: "What is an Islamist extremist? 'Islamists' see Islam as a guiding ideology for politics and the organization of society. That is, they believe that strict adherence to religious law should be the sole basis for a country's law, as well as its cultural and social life.

"While some Muslims believe this, many do not. Islamist extremists believe violence is acceptable to achieve these goals. Al-Qaida is one of many Islamist extremist groups."

Editor's Note:

4. Global Awareness of Holocaust 'Disturbingly Low'

Only 54 percent of people around the globe have ever heard of the Holocaust — and others think it's a myth, a new survey sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League reveals.

The survey involved more than 50,000 adults in 102 countries and territories, and included data from interviews conducted in 96 languages between July 2013 and February 2014.

Among the respondents who said they have heard of the Holocaust, 4 percent believe it is a myth and never happened, and 28 percent believe the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated.

That means 78 percent of those polled either have never heard of the Holocaust or believe it is a myth or greatly exaggerated.

Holocaust awareness is greatest in Western Europe, where 94 percent of respondents have heard of the genocide, and lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 24 percent are aware of it. In the Americas it is 77 percent.

In the Middle East and Northern Africa, just 8 percent have heard of the Holocaust and believe the historical account.

Among those aged 50 and over worldwide, 61 percent are aware of the Holocaust, but just 48 percent of those under age 35 are aware.

The survey, conducted by First International Resources, found that 30 percent of respondents agree with the statement: "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust."

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said: "When it comes to Holocaust awareness, while only 54 percent of those polled had heard of the Holocaust — a disturbingly low number — the numbers were far better in Western Europe.

"At the same time, the results confirm a troubling gap between older adults who know their history and younger men and women who, more than 70 years after the events of World War II, are more likely to have never heard of or learned about what happened to the 6 million Jews who perished."

Interestingly, 48 percent of those polled think that Jews make up more than 1 percent of the world's population, or about 70 million people; 18 percent think they make up more than 10 percent of the population; and 9 percent say Jews make up 20 percent of the population, or about 1.4 billion people.

In fact, Jews make up just 0.19 percent of the world's population.

As for the "myth" of the Holocaust, a Massachusetts court has ordered the author of a mythical Holocaust memoir to pay $22.5 million to her publisher.

Massachusetts resident Misha Defonseca's "Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years," was published in 1997 and translated into 18 languages. It purported to be the autobiographical account of a young Jewish girl who roamed around Europe after her parents were deported from Belgium, at one point being sheltered by friendly wolves.

In 1998, Defonseca and her ghostwriter won a $32.4 million judgment against Mount Ivy Press and its founder Jane Daniel for allegedly hiding profits.

But Daniel began uncovering many of the memoir's fraudulent claims, finding that Defonseca was in fact Monica Ernestine Josephine De Wael, that she was not Jewish, and she spent the war as a student at a Belgian school, Forward.com disclosed.

The $22.5 million is her share of the judgment against her publisher.

Editor's Note:

5. Music TV Shows' Popularity Waning

Music-based TV shows pioneered by "American Idol" dominated the ratings for more than a decade, but they are now suffering a steep decline in ratings.

"Idol" reportedly earned Fox close to $3 billion in profits over its 13-year history. But it fell to a new viewership low in the first full week of May, with about 7 million viewers — down from a high of more than 30 million. And its ratings in the 18-to-49 demographic plunged to 1.7, down from a high of 12.6 and an average of 8.6 in 2011, The New York Times reported.

Also troubling: The median age of its viewers has risen from 32 in its first year to 52 this season.

NBC's "The Voice" also dropped to a new ratings low for its May 6 telecast. It garnered just a 2.5 rating in the 18-to-49 group, according to the website TV by the Numbers.

Its median age has risen from 42 in its first season, 2011, to 52 this season.

The U.K. music TV show launched in the American market by "Idol" judge Simon Cowell, "The X Factor" on Fox, was canceled after three years of declining ratings.

"They flooded the market," Cowell told the Times. "There have just been a ton of shows and something has simply gone awry."

Another music-themed show, "Glee" on Fox, once averaged more than a 6 rating in the 18-to-49 group. On May 6, it scored a rating of 0.8 in that demographic.

ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" has also suffered a ratings plunge, and ABC last year dropped it from two shows a week to one.

The show now has one of the oldest audiences on TV, with the median age of its viewers topping 62.

Editor's Note:

6. Sen. Coburn: GAO Report on Sequester 'Devastating'

Officials from President Obama on down warned of the dire consequences of last year's "sequester" that triggered automatic spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit.

The White House issued a lengthy report declaring that "sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions."

The president also said that "thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off," and White House aide Stephanie Cutter last spring said sequestration amounted to a "series of automatic and destructive budgets cuts."

But a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report discloses that the total number of jobs lost due to sequestration in 2013 was . . . one.

Yes, one.

The cuts have been removed through a budget deal passed early this year, and last year's cuts totaled only $44 billion in a $3.5 trillion budget, according to Nick Gillespie of Reason.com.

The website reported that GAO investigators looked at 23 federal agencies and the actions they took to deal with the budget cuts. The agencies that "implemented reduction in force" — cut jobs — included only the Department of Justice, which eliminated one job in its Parole Commission.

Twenty agencies canceled or limited monetary awards, 20 reduced employee travel, 19 reduced employee training, 19 curtailed external hiring, 15 reduced overtime, and seven furloughed employees from one to seven days.

"Despite relentless warnings about the dire consequences of sequestration's budget cuts, it appears sequestration resulted in only one layoff," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said in a statement. "While it's good news for federal employees and other workers, it is devastating to the credibility of Washington politicians and administration officials who spent months — and millions of dollars — engaging in a coordinated multi-agency cabinet-level public relations campaign to scare the American people.

"Taxpayers expect us to root our predictions in fact, not ideology and spin."

Two of the oft-cited predictions about federal layoffs as a result of the sequester estimated between 100,000 and 1.5 million jobs would be cut, he pointed out.

Coburn said he was sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget in hopes of soliciting a "fact-based explanation for the American people."

He added: "The American people deserve to know the truth, especially if it suggests politicians' favorite programs can endure far more in budget cuts than sequestration imposed."

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Editor's Note:

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CAIR, Protests, Islamist, in-Museum-Video, Obama Delays Natural Gas Exports, Holocaust Awareness Dropping, Report Ranks States for Economic Outlook, Sen. Coburn, sequester
Sunday, 18 May 2014 06:40 PM
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