Thursday, November 27, 2014

United, But Divided


By Alan Caruba

The nation united to celebrate Thanksgiving, but as anyone who follows the polls can confirm, it is sharply divided. In many ways, half of those polled see America opposite to the other half.

In early November the Associated Press reported on a survey of 20,168 voters by Edison Research. It included results from interviews as voters left a random sample of 281 precincts on Election Day, November 4. As we know, the results of the election have been interpreted as a sharp rebuke to President Obama and the Democratic Party. Power in the Senate shifted to the Republican Party that also gained more seats in the House and added to the number of governors, bringing them to 29 of the 50 states.

For conservatives that is very good news. Politically Democrats feel so endangered that one of its top voices, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York just announced that passing ObamaCare was a big mistake, noting that the Party should have focused on the economy.

That is an extraordinary confession and one that abandons the President whose name is associated with the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic Party has been captured by the far Left, but Schumer seemed to be saying it has to move more to the center if it has any hope in the 2016 elections.

The Associated Press reported that “Fifty-four percent of those who voted for Democrats said the country is headed in the right direction, while 88 percent of Republican voters think it’s on the wrong track.”  One has to wonder how anyone could learn that one-out-of-five Americans on Thanksgiving Day was using food stamps and conclude this reflects the right direction.

On November 7 The Washington Post reported “With 214,000 jobs added in October, the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8 percent, the lowest level in six years, even as more workers entered the job market.”  The official unemployment rate is widely believed to be half of what the actual rate is nationwide after one factors in data the bureaucrats ignore or fudge. 

Not surprisingly, “Nearly 9 in 10 of those who voted for Republicans think the economy is in bad shape, compared with just over half of Democratic voters.”  Here again, the difference is perceptions is dramatic with conservatives having a more realistic point of view, but if more than half the Democratic voters think the economy is bad, that suggests the 2016 elections may reflect the recent midterms.

In some ways the AP poll depicted a difference based on what one might deem a more “mature” take on the state of the nation as opposed to those who ignore its problems to hold a more hopeful one, even if the facts do not support that judgement. “Sixty-four percent of Republican voters, but only 30 percent of Democratic voters, think life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today.”

The failure to embrace reality over propaganda was dramatically demonstrated by a question about climate change generated a response of “86 percent of those who backed Democrats” calling it “a serious problem”, while two-thirds of Republican voters said it was not. This means that 19 years into a planetary cooling cycle and a winter that has arrived a month early this year, Democratic voters—liberals—still cling to the belief that climate change, instead of reflecting the lower radiation levels of the Sun, is caused by human activity that generates a trace gas called carbon dioxide, all 0.04% of it in the atmosphere.

In a world where every day brings news of Islamic barbarism in the Middle East and Africa, “only 6 in 10 Democratic voters said they were worried by the threat of terrorism, while “8 in 10 Republican voters” took the threat seriously.

There are social differences between Republicans and Democrats. Of the Republican voters, 87% percent were white, while 61% of voters backing Democratic candidates were; 70% of Republican voters were married, compared with 55% of Democratic ones.

There were other differences among the two sets of voters, but suffice to say that each group lives in its own version of America and there are major gaps in their perception of the nation and the world.

The election reflected that a large portion of the voters demonstrated they prefer a conservative approach to government. If that trend continues—and it likely will—the 2016 elections will represent a major change from the two terms of President Obama and a rejection of his domestic and foreign policies.

Until then America will remain a nation divided politically and, given our diversity, within many social groups defined by gender, race, wealth, and age. Demography, the study of population, suggests that Americans are growing older in larger numbers than other subsets. Those “old folks” may just be the deciding factor in coming elections.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks, But...

 
By Alan Caruba

I know that Thanksgiving is the day we are all supposed to review a list of all the things for which we should be thankful and surely each of us has a list, usually family and friends, and, patriotically, for being Americans.

What makes this Thanksgiving different from those that have proceeded it is the reminder from President Obama that, in his opinion, America is not exceptional and, presumably, that means neither are we.
 
I don’t think this nation has ever celebrated Thanksgiving when its President did not like America.
 
We’ve had six Thanksgivings with Obama and each one has given us less for which to be thankful in terms of the economy and our national security.

Consider the vast unemployment that exists nationwide thanks to his failure to bring an end to the Great Recession. Forty million will use food stamps to put food on the table. Nearly half of all Americans are receiving government benefits that are paid for by those thankful to have a job. Thanks to ObamaCare millions lost their healthcare plans and millions more will in 2015. There is nothing “affordable” in the Affordable Care Act including the billion dollars spent on its website.

I think this Thanksgiving Day will have a different mood for the many Americans, especially who did not vote for President Obama or the Democratic Party. It is astounding to me that somewhere around 47% of those who presumably voted for him say they approve of his performance in office.

After election results that rejected him and his party, Obama has told them that he is more interested in what the two-thirds of voters in the last election who stayed home had to say. He “heard” them, too. He apparently did not hear what those who voted to give power in the Senate to the GOP while adding more Republicans in the House had to say.

Anyone paying any attention for the past six years knows that he doesn’t much care what any of us say and never has.

He believes his job is to “transform” a nation that did not need any transforming. America was and is a beacon of freedom to the world. That beacon, however, has grown dim for our allies whose leaders can no longer trust him. It has become clear to our enemies that they can do what they want without paying a price.

To drive home that message, he has been reducing our military to pre-World War II levels. Reluctantly he has increased our military presence in Iraq and will maintain troops in Afghanistan after making it clear that abandoning both of those nations to the Islamists was a major element of his foreign policy; if indeed he can be said to have a foreign policy other than retreat and isolation.

Instead of addressing the growing threat of Islamic fascism, Obama is talking about “climate change” as the great threat when, except for the idiots that believe anything he says anymore, people with any intelligence knows that there is nothing anyone can do regarding the climate. The only people who believe there’s any global warming haven’t been paying any attention for the last nineteen years in which the Earth has been in a predictable, natural cooling cycle, just like the Sun.

Closer to home, the White House just released plans for 3,415 regulations, the worst of which are from the Environmental Protection Agency that is destroying our nation’s ability to generate electricity, the one energy on which we all depend. At the same time, the President has just returned from China having signed an agreement to reduce “gashouse emissions” when such a reduction has no basis in science or logic, but translates into higher costs for electricity.

A national holiday should celebrate the ideals of our founding, but this year’s Thanksgiving occurs as the federal government grows ever larger and the amount of regulation of every aspect of our lives and the economy grows with it. This is the exact opposition of what the Founding Fathers intended.

Those Founding Fathers came together to wage a revolution against England’s King George III, a monarch whose commands they did not want to obey any more. This year’s Thanksgiving occurs as Congress is being challenged by a President who wants to ignore the separation of powers in the Constitution and the limits on executive powers. His intention to alter the current immigration laws is totally unconstitutional and must be stopped by every legal means available.

This Thanksgiving America is a less free nation in which a tsunami of regulations and laws continues to reduce our fundamental freedoms. This Thanksgiving, America is a nation that is losing the respect of other nations. This Thanksgiving, we face two more years of a lawless President who threatens the Constitution.

We have two more Thanksgiving Days before we turn America around and restore it to the great nation it was.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Turning Climate Into Cash


By Alan Caruba

As this is being written, all fifty states have freezing weather and nearly a month before the winter solstice on December 21 some northeastern cities are buried in record-setting snowfalls.

At what point will the public conclude that virtually everything that we have been told about “global warming” and “climate change” by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) as well as U.S. government agencies we’re supposed to trust has been bogus, based on computer models, none of which have proven to be accurate? 

At what point will the public conclude that climate, a perfectly natural phenomenon so vast and so powerful, is being exploited in order to transfer large amounts of money from wealthy nations to those who are not? It is redistribution of wealth on a global scale. That is the primary reason for the U.N. climate fund. A total of $9.3 billion has been pledged by several nations.

My friend, Marc Morano, said this about the U.N. Green Climate Fund: 'It’s going to be a giant green slush fund of money distributed by the U.N. through political patronage system. It’s all designed to make climate an issue that every government has to pay attention to.”

“This is a new political party—if you will—the climate party, and it’s demanding a lot of fees and it’s demanding a lot of spending.  The U.N. bureaucracy loves to spend money, loves to have scandals, loves to empower themselves. So this is all about empowering UN bureaucrats, diplomats and delegates and the UN’s own sense of self importance.” 

Morano is the Communications Director for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and executive editor and chief correspondent for the award-winning ClimateDepot.com, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. He has been on the front line of combating the lies told about global warming and climate change for many years.

I have been an advisor to CFACT over the years, sharing information that has consistently debunked what I regard as the greatest hoax of the modern era.
 
The worst part of the hoax was and is the billions that have been squandered on the bogus, useless “scientific” studies intended to keep it going. Then there have been billions more spent on the near useless “renewable” energy projects that have only demonstrated that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and solar farms have the same affect. The electricity they produce is minimal and so unpredictable it requires the backup of traditional fossil-fueled energy plants.

The near total lack of the impact of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere on its climate has not stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from using carbon dioxide as justification for issuing a torrent of regulations that are crippling the provision of energy nationwide, attacking private property rights, and slowing the growth of our economy.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Americans and others around the world experiencing the 19-year-old cooling cycle the Earth has been in are beginning to realize that humans have nothing to do with causing climate change.

Sadly, too many world leaders, including our own, keep talking about climate change as if it was something we can influence by a reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions. That’s just another way of saying use less energy.
 
The world leaders are wrong. Some are just flat out lying.
 
Editor's Note:
 
"According to Weatherbell: More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning, November 18. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures that day.
Boston.com reported 1,360 daily low maximum records were set, meaning  those 1,360 cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. In addition, snow covered more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the U.S. usually experiences in mid-November CNN reported areas in Buffalo, New York, among other cities along the Great Lakes, experienced a year’s snow in just three days."
-- H. Sterling Burnett, Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News, Nov 25, 2014

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Grand Jury Speaks

No indictment. Justice is served!

 

Racism Can Be White or Black


By Alan Caruba

On Monday, Nov 17, the Governor of Missouri activated its National Guard “to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.” He declared a state of emergency.

A grand jury verdict that is likely to exonerate officer Darren Wilson is assumed to require significant law enforcement because in August we witnessed the initial weeks of rioting, looting and arson in what has been described by police authorities as an organized effort.

When the subject of racism occurs, it is always in terms of white racism and rarely, if ever, discussed in terms of black racism.

However, racism is a two-way street and while the ill treatment African-Americans encountered as slaves and for a century thereafter before the Civil Rights Act in 1964 is surely cause for resentment the fact remains that black Americans have had fifty years, two generations, of opportunity and equality intended to redress the past.

What white Americans find it difficult to understand is why there are protests at this point. Don’t the lives of blacks who have been killed, as often as not by other blacks, have value too?

Why doesn’t the fact that the nation has a black President, a black Attorney General, a black Supreme Court justice, blacks in Congress, and ample evidence of the progress the black community has made since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed seem to make any difference?

The events in Ferguson are well known by now. Video confirmed that Michael Brown stole some cigarillos at the Ferguson Market and Liquors on August 9th and when one of the staff protested, he was threatened in a menacing manner by Brown, a very large young man. 

The theft was swiftly reported to the police with a description that fit Brown. Not long after, Officer Wilson, driving alone, spoke to Brown and a companion, telling them to move away from the center of West Florissant Avenue. At that point Brown began to scuffle with Wilson and forensic evidence showed that Wilson’s gun was fired twice in the police car during the struggle. Brown allegedly punched him repeatedly, leaving a swelling on his face. He attacked a police officer.

Wilson went after Brown to arrest him and when Brown turned on him he was shot six times. Reportedly, six black witnesses to the incident confirmed Officer Wilson’s account. The autopsy is said to have showed evidence of marijuana in Brown’s system. Brown was not armed, but his size and the assault on Officer Wilson constituted a threat to Wilson’s life.

What followed were weeks of demonstrations that quickly escalated in force, in arson and looting in addition to the confrontations between the protesters and the police. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard to help quell the disturbances. In October the Ferguson Police Department handed over responsibility to the county police department which is larger and better equipped. At this point, all of the police who were called upon had protective gear and an arsenal of means to quell a riot.

Why did the shooting evoke such a reaction? Why did those involved in the demonstrations assume it was more than a white cop versus black suspect situation? The assumption among the protesters is that a white police officer had shot Brown for no reason other than racism.

Blacks (and whites) who commit crimes or who are suspected of doing so and who are seen to pose a lethal threat are killed by police during the course of any year. However, statistically blacks are more involved in crime, from minor to major, than whites. According to the NAACP, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” This is blamed on poverty, poor education, and other factors, but America has had wave after wave of immigrants come here, work hard, enter the middle class, and rise to success.

It is worth noting that the Ferguson police force has few blacks in its ranks. Of its 53 members, only three are black. Why? Is there something about being a police officer that is unappealing to blacks in Ferguson? This is a useful question given the fact that 67% of Ferguson’s residents are black.

Maybe we can just blame the demonstrations, the burning and looting of businesses on the fact that among the most dangerous U.S. cities, the Huffington Post just listed St. Louis as number four, dropping down from being number three last year. “The city has the highest murder rate of any locale in the top five, with 38 murders per 100,000 people. Its overall violent crime rate is 1,594 violent crimes per 100,000 people.” Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis, a city whose population is nearly half black.

The “demonstrators” and “protesters” in Ferguson are a disgrace. They have put hard working, law abiding blacks at risk of being lumped in with their behavior. That, regrettably, is how racism works.

If, however, you want to exploit the incident, you send the U.S. Attorney General to Ferguson to stir up the black racism that exists and you have the Department of Justice conduct both civil and criminal investigations.

If you want to exploit the incident, you have the Attorney General participate in planting a tree last Monday in the memory of Emmett Till, a teenager who was murdered in 1955 by white bigots and have him speak of young black men "who died senselessly," but Michael Brown died as the result of an assault on a police officer. 

The grand jury has conducted its investigation and will likely find that a police officer lawfully defended himself against a young thug. That’s how our legal system works. And black racism is every bit as bad as white racism.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Iran Will Negotiate Until It Becomes a Nuclear Power


By Alan Caruba

Monday, November 24, is the deadline for the negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China regarding its program to build its own nuclear weapons to conclude. At this writing, whether the negotiations will be extended or not is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

President Obama has been obsessed with Iran, seeking to change its hostility by finding an answer to the problem its nuclear weapon program represents. That is typical of his “magical thinking” whereby something he wants is automatically assumed to be accessible. In the case of Iran, it has been hostile to the U.S. since its revolution in 1979 and remains so today.

Iran has cause. As Marin Katusa, a leading energy investor, explains in his book, “The Colder War”, the U.S. was instrumental in overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddegh, an Iranian prime minister who set about nationalizing its oil industry. The U.S. stagied a coup in 1953 and reinstated the pro-U.S. shah. “Post-coup, the shah grew increasingly authoritarian and, in 1979, the Iranian revolution forced him to flee.”

Katusa reports what followed: “The U.S. government judged it futile to try to reinstate a pro-Western regime. So it turned its back on the shah and encouraged an invasion of Iran by Iraq. Saddam Hussein, the secular Iraqi dictator, went to war against his neighbor, supported by money and weapons courtesy of the United States.” The war last eight futile years and cost both nations hundreds of thousands of lives. No need to wonder why Iran hates and distrusts the U.S.

The essential problem of a nuclear Iran is that it has been an extremely aggressive nation since 1979. Iran is widely regarded as the primary supporter of terror in the Middle East. It sponsors two Palestinian organizations, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran’s support for bombings and other acts of terror would fill a book.

Even if the current negotiations come to an end, Iran still has friends. Two of the nations involved in the negotiations are an example. Iran is allied with Russia in supporting the civil war to overthrow Syria’s Assad regime. China is a major customer for Iran’s oil.

“Though Iran may be isolated from the United States and Western Europe,” says Katusa, “Tehran still has allies. Venezuela has advanced $4 billion for joint projects, including a bank. India has pledged to continue buying Iran oil…Greece opposed the European Union sanctions because Iran was one of very few suppliers willing to sell oil to the bankrupt Greeks on credit…South Korea and Japan are pleading with the United States for exemptions (to the sanctions) because of their reliance on Iranian oil.”

“Economic ties between Russia and Iran have gotten stronger every year since Putin became president in 1999,” notes Katusa. “Finally, there’s China. Iran’s energy resources are a matter of national security for China, as Iran supplies 15 percent of China’s oil and natural gas.”

Writing in The Washington Times on November 19, Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, took note of the November 24 conclusion date for the negotiations and asked, “What are the odds they will end with Iran’s rulers agreeing to verifiably dismantle their illicit nuclear weapons program? I’d wager 100 to one against that outcome, but I doubt I’d find a bookie willing to take my bet.”

May suggested that there may be “a ‘framework agreement’, a statement of principles that will be the subject of another round of talks. Such a deal could include another sweetener, e.g., billions of dollars of additional sanctions relief for Iran.” 

If the U.S. and co-negotiators arrive at a deal that allows Iran to become a nuclear power it will lose the trust of important Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who already feel threatened by Iran.

Ultimately it does not matter how long the negotiations continue or not. Only one man in Iran will decide how they end and that is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and there is no indication he wants anything less than Iran’s ability to manufacture its own nuclear weapons to put on its missiles or as bombs. Among Iran’s neighbors are Russia, China, India and Pakistan, all of whom have nuclear weapons. Israel too.

The Iranians have been negotiating a very long time and a recent statement by an Iranian official sums up what they have been saying for years. “We need more time to resolve technical issues and don’t forget that the time frame for lifting sanctions is still a huge dispute.” The longer they negotiate, the closer they get to having the nuclear weapons they want.

If the negotiations continue, it will be because the negotiators have once again caved into Iran and there will be no surprise about that. The real surprise will be the announcement that Iran has tested a nuclear weapon and, in the end, that should not be a surprise.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014