Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Auschwitz Anniversary


By Alan Caruba

There was some serious irony when U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew gathered together with French President Francois Hollande and a Russian delegation led by Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, along with leaders from Germany and Austria to participate in the January 27 ceremony commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 by Russian troops.

I suspect that an entire generation or two born after that year, 70 years ago, may have little or no knowledge of what Auschwitz was. It was a Nazi death camp located in Oswiecim, Poland. Its full name was Auschwitz-Birkenau and it is estimated that one million people, mostly Jews, were killed there.

I say “irony” because Auschwitz-Birkenau was part of a system of six Nazi death camps that included Belzac, Chelmo, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Each camp was filled with the victims of a widespread anti-Semitism that had existed in Europe for two thousand years, so it was not difficult for the Germans to turn a blind eye or the French and others to provide assistance in rounding up their Jews.

 
The camps engaged in large scale murder to fulfil Adolf Hitler’s intention to exterminate every Jew in Europe. In 1933 there had been nine million living in 21 nations that would be occupied during World War II. By 1945, two out of every three European Jews had been killed.

In addition to the Jews, an estimated five million others deemed enemies of the state for political or other reasons such as being Communists, trade unionists, gypsies or homosexuals also died in the camps.

What is rarely acknowledged is that the Europeans of that era were largely educated, had a rich culture of music, literature, and drama, and many were church-goers. In short, you would not have been able to tell them apart from the Europeans of today.

The Nazis wrote the book on the use of terrorism to facilitate their barbaric, murderous theology of death. The Muslims that have moved to Europe have adapted it to their own ends, seeking like the Nazis to become globally dominant. They don’t have death camps—yet—but the widespread and constant slaughter in which they are engaged has a similar feel to it.

In the 1930s those European Jews had few places to which to flee. They were not even that welcome in America where anti-Semitism was widespread. Those that could did emigrate and, again there is irony because several of the German physicists that came to the U.S. were instrumental in the creation of the atomic bomb that ended World War II while others played roles in the Nazi’s defeat during the war. One such emigrant, Albert Einstein, was the first to suggest the creation of the weapon to Franklin Roosevelt.

In response to European anti-Semitism, a movement called Zionism had begun before World War II with the intention of reestablishing Israel as a Jewish state where Jews could be safe. The movement was founded by Theodor Herzl in 1896. Here again there is irony because the movement was dominated by secular Jews who were not motivated by Jewish history or the Torah. What they wanted was to be free of the oppressive antipathy of the nations in which they lived. What they were seeking was emancipation.

By the time World War II occurred they were a force to be recognized in Israel, known at the time as the Palestinian Mandate and run by the British who, as often as not, shared the anti-Semitism that had given life to the Zionist movement. It would take the Holocaust to accelerate the movement of Europe’s surviving Jews to Israel which in 1948 declared its sovereignty and was immediately attacked by the Muslim nations surrounding it.

Fast forward to our times and the Jews of Israel as well as those around the world know one truth. If Iran is permitted to reach a point where it can create its own nuclear weapons and put them on their missiles, Israel will only be minutes away from an extermination that the Iranian leadership and the other Muslim nations of the Middle East have openly called for since Israel came into being and the Islamic Revolution took control of Iran in 1979.

This time, however, the same nuclear weapons that would destroy Israel would also be turned on the United States because the shouts of “Death to America. Death to Israel” are a part of the daily lives of the Iranians, as well as others in the region.

What makes these days so dangerous is that the United States of America is engaged in negotiations with an Iran that has never made a secret of their intention to be a nuclear-armed nation. What makes these days so dangerous is that the President of the United States has barely hidden his own anti-Semitism and animus toward Israel.

One can only pray that seventy years hence some other writer will not be commenting on the second great annihilation of the Jews, literally within the lifetime of people who were alive during the first one. I am one of those people and Auschwitz is not some place that existed a long time ago. It was yesterday.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Blizzard That Wasn't


By Alan Caruba

Dateline: January 27, 2015 - 3 to 4 AM, New York City and Tri-State area.

There was no climate change where I live in a suburb of Newark, N.J. if by “climate change” you meant a dramatic blizzard with high winds and several feet of snow. It’s winter and you get the occasional, rare blizzard every few years, but more often you get snowstorms. That’s not “change” by any definition.

Listening to WABC radio follow events with callers from around the Tri-State area calling in with far more accurate reports than the meteorologists was an education in the way those trained in meteorology and the rest of us have been conditioned to believe that something is happening to planet Earth that, quite simply, is not happening.

The meteorologists spent their time trying to figure out the difference between a European computer model and one generated here in the U.S. The former predicted far worse conditions. The latter fell victim, along with the rest of us, to the mindset that the conditions the computers were interpreting did not reflect what was actually happening.

At this early morning hour, it is clear that Long Island, parts of Connecticut, and generally along the coastlines, there has been a heavier snowfall. A few miles inland however it is a far different story. Callers who had been out in the midst of the storm described light, powdery snow and perhaps two to four inches at most.

Why, they asked, did the Governors of New York and New Jersey, along with the Mayor of New York City close down the metropolitan area? They speculated on the millions of lost income for everyone involved in a storm that was not posing a significant traffic or other problems, but who had seen businesses, schools, bus lines, and other public facilities shut down. When a significantly incorrect weather prediction does that, it demonstrates how important it is to correctly interpret the data being provided by the satellites—the best source.

When, earlier in January, NOAA and NASA reported that 2014 had been "the warmest year" it should have raised far more questions and media coverage given the sheer absurdity of such a report. Remember, though, these are two federal government agencies we expect to get it right. They didn’t just get it wrong, skeptical scientists were quick to note how they had deliberately distorted the data on which they based the claim.

That is the heart of the issue surrounding the endless claims of “global warming” or “climate change.”  The planet has not been warming for 19 years at this point because the sun has been in a perfectly natural cycle of low radiation.
 
Centuries ago, it was noticed that when there are few sunspots, magnetic storms, the Earth got colder. Thus, “climate change” is not an unusual event, but rather a reflection of the well-known cycles of warmth or cold that the planet has passed through for billions of years.

At this writing it is too early in the morning hours to know what the rest of the East Coast looks like, but the indications are that, as one moves westward the “blizzard” has been far less than the one predicted and will likely be downgraded to a standard winter snowstorm.

That’s the good news. The bad news was the over-reaction of meteorologists and politicians. No doubt they wanted to be “safe than sorry” but they inadvertently taught us all a lesson about the way environmental organizations and a government led by a President telling us that “climate change” is the most dangerous challenge facing us have been deliberately lying about the true meteorological record in order to drag us all back to a time in which we burned wood for heat and rode horses for transportation.
 
The Greens don’t like humans much and that is why they have been lying about “man-made” climate change when the climate has nothing to do with human activities.

Listen to the skeptics, often maliciously called “deniers”, when they tell you the truth about the meteorological science that has been deliberately distorted since the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. It has been lying to us ever since.

Depending on where you live in the area in which the snow fell and the winds blew, trust your eyes. Trust your commonsense. Be more skeptical because the blizzard that wasn’t is not a lesson you want to forget anytime soon.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Obama Disses Alaska

Alaska's "pristine" wildlife refuge

By Alan Caruba

Fifty million Americans who live in the northeast will experience what is predicted to be a historic blizzard from Monday evening through Tuesday. Cities and towns will virtually or literally close down. People will be told to stay indoors for their safety and to facilitate the crews that will labor to clear the roads of snow.

In other words, welcome to Alaska, a place that is plenty cold most of the year and which is no stranger to snow and ice.

Alaska, however, has something that the whole world considers very valuable; oil and natural gas. Lots of it. In 1980 a U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Coastal Plain could contain up to 17 billion barrels of oil and 34 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In 1987, the U.S Department of Interior confirmed the earlier estimate, saying that “in place resources” ranged from 4.8 billion to 29.4 billion barrels of oil. Recoverable oil estimates ranged from 600 million barrels at the low end to 9.2 billion barrels at the high end.

A nation with an $18 trillion debt might be expected to want to take advantage of this source of revenue, but no, not if that debt was driven up by the idiotic policies of President Barack Obama and not if it could be reduced by the same energy industry that has tapped similar oil and natural gas reserves in the lower 48 states by drilling on private, not public lands.

Instead, on Sunday President Obama referred to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as “an incredible place—pristine, undisturbed. It supports caribou and polar bears” and other species and, guess what, tapping its vast oil and natural gas reserves would not interfere in any way with those species despite the whopping lie that “it’s very fragile.” 

At Obama’s direction, the Interior Department announced it was proposing to preserve as wilderness nearly 13 million acres of land in ANWR’s 19.8 million-acre area. That would include 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that Wall Street Journal reported to be “believed to have rich oil and natural gas reserves.” 

Not a whole lot of people choose ANWR as a place to vacation. It is a harsh, though often beautiful, area that only the most experienced visitor might want to spend some time. I would want to make every environmentalist who thinks any drilling would harm the area have to take up residence in its “pristine” wilderness to confirm that idiotic notion.

They would find plenty of caribou, polar bears and other species hanging out amidst the oil and gas rigs, and along the pipe line. The Central Arctic Caribou Herd that migrates through the Prudhoe Bay oil field, just next to ANWR has increased from 5,000 animals in the 1970s to more than 50,000 today. There is no evidence than any of the animal species have experienced any decline.

The Coastal Plain lies between known major discovery areas and the Prudhoe Bay, Lisburne, Endicott, Milne Point and Kuparuk oil fields are currently in production In 1996, the North Slope oil fields produced about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day or approximately 25% of the U.S. domestic production. Alaska is permitted to export its oil because of its high levels of productivity.

So why has Obama’s Department of the Interior decided it wants to shut off energy exploration and extraction in a whopping 13-million acres of what is already designated as a wildlife refuge and along its coastlines on the Beaufort and Chukchi seas? The answer is consistent with Obama’s six years of policies to deny Americans the benefits of the nation's vast energy reserves, whether it is the coal that has previously provided 50% of our electrical energy—now down by 10%--or access to reserves of oil and natural gas that would make our nation energy independent as well as a major exporter.

The good news is that only Congress has the authority to declare an area as wilderness. It has debated the issue for more than 30 years and in 12 votes in the House and 3 votes in the Senate it has passed legislation supporting development and opposing the wilderness designation.

And guess who is the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee? Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaskan Republican. She also heads up the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Interior Department!

This latest Obama ANWR gambit is going to go nowhere. It does, however, offer the Republican Congress an opportunity to demonstrate its pro-energy credentials.

“I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska,” said Sen. Murkowski when informed of Obama’s latest attack.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

ObamaCare Must Go!


By Alan Caruba

Can anyone remember how awful the U.S. healthcare free market system was that it needed to be replaced by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare?  Can’t remember? That’s because it was ranked one of the best of the world and represented 17.9% of the nation’s economy in 2014.  That’s down from the 20% it represented in 2009 when ObamaCare was foisted on Americans.
 
One of the best ways to follow the ObamaCare story is via Health Care News, a monthly newspaper published by The Heartland Institute. The January issue begins with an article by Sean Parnell, the managing editor, reporting that ObamaCare enrollment is overstated by 400,000.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) once again lowered its estimate of the number of Americans enrolled in health plans through government exchanges in 2014. The 6.7 million enrollees who remain are far lower than the eight million touted in May at the end of the last open-enrollment period.”

ObamaCare has been a lie from the moment it was introduced for a vote, all 2,700 pages of it, to the present day. Everything President Obama said about it was a lie. As to its present enrollments, they keep dropping because some 900,000 who did sign up did not make the first premium payment or later stopped paying.

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies as the Cato Institute, said the dropout rate is a troubling trend. “It means that potentially hundreds of thousands of Exchange enrollees are realizing they are better off waiting until they get sick to purchase coverage. If enough people come to that conclusion, the exchanges collapse.”

Elsewhere in this month’s edition, there is an article, “States Struggle to Fund Exchanges”, that reports on the difficulties that “states are experiencing difficulty in paying the ongoing costs of the exchanges, especially small states. “’The feds are asking us to do their jobs for them. We get saddled with the operating costs,’ said Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow for health care policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.” Some are imposing a two percent tax on the insurance companies which, of course, gets passed along to the consumer. Even so, the exchanges are not generating enough income to be maintained.

Why would anyone want ObamaCare insurance when its rates keep rising dramatically? In Nebraska the rates have nearly doubled and another article notes that “A 2014 study finds large numbers of doctors are declining to participate in health plans offered through exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, raising questions about whether people buying insurance through exchanges will be able to access health care in a timely manner.” One reason physicians gave was that they would have to hire additional staff “just to manage the insurance verification process.”

Dr. Kris Held, a Texas eye surgeon, said ObamaCare “fails to provide affordable health insurance and fails to provide access to actual medical care to more people, but succeeds in compounding existing health care costs and accessibility problems and creating new ones.”

Health Care News reports what few other news outlets have noted. “In Section 227 of the recently enacted ‘Cromnibus’ spending measure, Congress added critical but little-noticed language that prohibits the use of funds appropriated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to pay for insurance company bailouts.” William Todd, an Ohio attorney, further noted that “Congress did not appropriate any separate funding for ‘bailouts.’” Todd predicted that “some insurers are likely to raise premiums to avoid losses, or they will simply stop offering policies on the exchanges altogether.”

The picture of ObamaCare failure emerging from these excerpts is a very true one. Its momentum, in fact, is gaining.

In mid-December, the Wall Street Journal opined that “With the Supreme Court due to rule on a major ObamaCare legal challenge by next summer, thoughts in Washington are turning to the practical and political response. If the Court does strike down insurance subsidies, the question for Republicans running Congress is whether they will try to fix the problems Democrats created, or merely allow ObamaCare damage to grow.”

“King v. Burwell will be heard in March with a ruling likely in June. “Of the 5.4 million consumers on federal exchanges, some 87% drew subsidies in 2014, according to a Rand Corporation analysis.”

The Wall Street Journal recommended that “The immediate Republican goal should be to make insurance cheaper so people need less of a subsidy to obtain insurance. This means deregulating the exchanges, plank by plank. Devolve to states their traditional insurance oversight role, and allow them to enter into cross-border compacts to increase choice and competition. Allow insurers to sell any configuration of benefits to anyone, anywhere, and the private market will gradually heal.”

Or, to put it another way, eliminate ObamaCare entirely and return to the healthcare insurance system that had served Americans well until the White House decided that socialism was superior to capitalism.

The problem with the Affordable Care Act is that the cost of the insurance sold under the Act is not affordable and ObamaCare is actually causing hospitals and clinics to close their doors, thus reducing healthcare services for those who need them.

ObamaCare must go. If the Republicans in Congress did nothing more than repeal ObamaCare, the outcome of the 2016 election would be a predictable win no matter who their candidate will be. If not repeal, some separate actions must be taken such as eliminating the tax on medical instruments.

If the Republican Congress fails to take swift and deliberate action on ObamaCare between now and the 2016 elections, they will have defeated themselves.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Supreme Court Malfeasance

Question asked at a gay protest event

By Alan Caruba

Over the course of its history the Supreme Court has made some very bad decisions and the decision to declare abortion legal ranks high among them. On January 22, 1973, in Roe v. Wade the Court interpreted the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to extend a right of privacy to a woman’s decision to have an abortion prior to the third trimester of pregnancy.

There have been 57.5 million abortions since 1973—42 years—when the decision became the law of the land. In all the wars America has fought, going back to the Revolution, the total of those killed in combat as of September 2014 was 1,343,812.

The casualties of the Supreme Court’s decision about unborn Americans reveal the wide gap between the morality, as opposed to the legality, of the Court’s decision.

Now the Court has taken on cases that will determine the legality of same-sex marriage and here again the morality of sanctioning this definition of marriage is a world apart from the morality of marriage occurring exclusively between a man and woman as has been the norm since the earliest history of mankind.

Marriage has always been understood as the critical cornerstone of a healthy functioning society. It has always been understood that children raised by a mother and father are a benefit to society while those deprived of this union are frequently subject to problems of one sort or another.

In the United States, however, many of the traditional morals that served the interest of society have been abandoned since around the middle of the last century. The gap between liberals and conservatives has widened.

One result was recently announced in a Pew Research Center study that found that less than half of all American children now live in a two-parent household with two married heterosexual parents who are, in fact, their own parents.

The Daily Caller reported that “In addition, fully 41% of all American babies are currently born out of wedlock. By way of comparison, in 1960 73% of all American children” lived in a traditional married household.

An earlier Pew Research Center study, announced in August 2013, depicted mothers as the main provider in 40% of American households with children. Jennifer Marshall, Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, noted that 25% of “households with children under 18 are supported by a single mother.” Their median income was $23,000 and 44% are never-married moms. “More than a third of these single mothers aren’t working at all—meaning they are much more likely to depend on government welfare.”

What all these statistics add up to is a nation in which traditional marriage is under attack while living together unmarried or having children as a single mother have become accepted at an alternative lifestyle.

Now we are being told that America should abandon the concept of legal citizenship and accord it to anyone who crosses the border. This isn’t how an orderly society or sovereign state is defined. It is a definition of anarchy.

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the same-sex marriage case, the rest of us are wondering why a tiny minority of society should be granted a right that no society in history has ever imparted.

How small is it? In September 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that men who have sex with men (gay and bisexual) comprise about 2% of the U.S. population. When you add in lesbians the number moves up to about 3%.

The CDC tracks such things because “In 2010, among persons newly infected with HIV, 63% were men have sex with men (MSM) and among persons living with HIV, 52% were MSM.” According to the CDC it is contracted primarily through anal sex. Despite federal spending to combat AIDS, between 2008 and 2010 “new infections increased 22% among young (aged 13-24) gay and bisexual men and 13% among gay and bisexual men overall” regardless of age.

So the nation has been experiencing a holocaust of murdered fetuses thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling and now we are supposed to abandon the ancient definition of marriage to accommodate a tiny minority of those who engage in sex with the same gender. If justification for that can be found in the Constitution, then it can be interpreted in any manner to degrade our society and the nation.

Same-sex marriage is an issue that President Obama said was “America at its best” in his State of the Union speech. Seven years earlier, campaigning to become President, he said that marriage was “a sacred union” and was “between a man and a woman.”

I don’t care that a number of states have already extended a legal status to same-sex marriage. I don’t care that it applies to a very small number of Americans. They can have “civil unions” that resolve any legal issues, but “marriage”? No.

Just as I say no to those who want to strip the practice of religion from any public ceremony or remove the saying of prayer in our schools, I will say no to those who want to remove the moral pillars that have served our society and all societies over the millennia.

We can only hope that enough of the current Supreme Court justices feel that way too.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Isn't It Treason?

Yemini terrorists released from Gitmo

By Alan Caruba

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” – Article Three, Section Three, U.S. Constitution.

Given the fact that one of the suspects, Said Kouachi, in the Paris killings had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the killings, does it strike anyone as strange that Obama set free five Yemeni detainees out of Guantanomo Bay? Four were sent to Oman, a nation that neighbors Yemen. A fifth was transferred to Estonia. It was the first time either nation had accepted Gitmo prisoners for resettlement.

Does anyone think that the five Afghan Taliban leaders Obama set free last year are still in Qatar? Among the things Obama will be remembered for will be his promise to close Gitmo and these releases of U.S. enemies.

Since when is freeing Islamic terrorists to return to the battlefield not giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Well, it is not if you are the President of the United States because, believe it or not, what he did was entirely within his legal authority.

Most dramatic was Obama’s decision not to join the forty other world leaders in Paris to demonstrate a common opposition to Islamic terrorism. Indeed, he has denied the use of any reference to Islamic terrorism by government spokespersons or in government documents. To this day, the Fort Hood killings are still referred to as “workplace violence” despite the fact that the perpetrator was shouting “Allah akbar” as he killed his victims.

How stupid is it to continue to ignore the evidence that we have a President who is more inclined to side with our Islamic enemies than with Americans?

He withdrew our troops from Iraq, setting up the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS) to fill the vacuum that was created. He has officially declared an end to the American role in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yes, he has authorized drone killing of al Qaeda leaders and bombing of the ISIS troops, but neither has demonstrated any significant reduction in terrorism.

Then there is Obama’s “war on coal” which has resulted in a torrent of Environmental Protection Agency regulations and actions that between 2012 and 2020 will bring about the loss of 60 gigawatts of electricity generated by coal-fired plants around the nation. Replacing that lost production is not going to occur overnight. At this point, according to the Associated Press, more than 32 mostly coal-fired plants have closed or are in the process. “Another 36 plants could be forced to shut down as the result of new EPA rules regulating air pollution.”

In a response to the State of the Union speech, Mike Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said, “President Obama failed to offer answers about the calamitous consequences of his environmental regulations. Rather than seek a commonsense energy plan for America, President Obama bypassed Congress and is forging ahead with his climate crusade at the expense of the nation’s economic security.”

If a foreign nation had invaded the United States and began closing down the plants on which vast areas of the nation depend for electricity, wouldn’t we consider that an act of war?  What is the difference if it results from the actions of the U.S. President? Moreover, these closures are totally unnecessary because they are based on false “science” regarding so-called greenhouse gas emissions. Is the planet warming? No. It has been cooling for 19 years.

I am not a lawyer or authority on the Constitution, but it is hard not to consider that Obama’s long record of lying to Americans doesn’t qualify him, if not for treason as it is defined, at least for fraud. The way ObamaCare was sold to the public is a classic example and, as it turns out, Jonathan Gruber, one of its architects and advisors to Obama, made it quite clear that deception was the key to its passage, referring to voters as “stupid.”

The 2014 elections demonstrated that Obama’s policies were firmly rejected by the voters as power in both the Senate and House was turned over to the Republican Party, but he is giving no evidence of moderating the arrogance that has distinguished his term in office to date.

On Tuesday, January 20, the nation was two years from the day in 2017 that Obama’s second and final term ends and a new President takes power. We need to make sure we elect a patriotic, God-fearing man to begin the process of reversing and ending the damage Obama has done thus far.

© Alan Caruba, 2015