Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Best Hopes, Not Our Worst Fears

By Alan Caruba

I will be attending the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change March 2-4 and will be surrounded by perhaps 500 or more of the world’s leading skeptics of global warming. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, scientists, economists, and policy makers will come together from many nations to share the facts that so clearly debunk this global hoax.

Generated out of the United Nations through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the reports that underwrote the global warming hoax were from the beginning protested by many of the scientists and others invited to contribute to them.

It didn’t matter, though, because (1) the findings reported were based on flawed or deliberately false computer models and (2) the findings were preordained and determined by an inner circle of global warming propagandists for the purpose of creating a global crisis that would put more and more control of the world under the control of the UN.

The failure of its predecessor, the League of Nations, should have been a sufficient lesson to avoid the creation of the United Nations, but the world that followed the end of World War Two yearned for a way to avoid another one. What it got was a collection of the worst cynics who did the bidding of dictators most of the time while plotting to become themselves the greatest dictators in history. The United States was always the exception and, as often as not, the point of the sword when military action was required.

The world has always been a scary place. There are always people ready to commit the worst crimes against humanity in the name of some political, economic or religious doctrine. Despite that, more of humanity is freer now than it was at the beginning of the last century. It took a number of large, small, and Cold wars, but the outcome is brighter for millions because brave men and women made great sacrifices for freedom.

Always, too, there have been voices saying, “This is not our war” or “This war is a bad idea”, but freedom is a particularly American idea, even though it has been pursued by many people in many nations for many centuries. Born in the crucible of war, the American experiment has always been the standard, the lamp of liberty held high.

Part of being free is to be free of the lies and deceptions that are widely disseminated to convince people to give up their freedom for an illusionary security, for guarantees that government will take care of you from birth to the grave.

I was reminded of this while making preparations to attend a conference where scientific proof will be the measure of what is real or not. The conference is a confirmation of the freedom America provides to those for whom only the truth matters. This is a conference about what real science offers in the face of superstition and political subversion.

I was reminded, too, of something President Ronald Reagan once said: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”

The election that lies ahead for Americans must be about our best hopes, not our worst fears about the hobgoblin of global warming and the illusion of “energy independence.” Its outcome must be based on truth-telling, not vague promises of change or naïve beliefs that the nation can be protected by making deals with thugs or by not engaging them on the battlefield as so many Americans did in the past to preserve a future based on freedom.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Really Happens When There is No Wind

By Alan Caruba

Reuters reported on February 27th that, “A drop in wind generation on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers.”

Ironically called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT said that a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state. For the record, “Texas produces the most wind power of any state and the number of wind farms is expected to increase dramatically as new transmission lines are built to transfer power from the western half of the state to more populated areas in the north.”

Okay, let’s see if I have this right. The existing wind farms, composed of hundreds of wind turbines, were not enough to avoid a sudden decline in electrical power because the wind stopped blowing.

Now ask yourself if you want your home or business to be dependent on whether the wind is blowing or whether a lot clouds suddenly get between the solar panels and the sun? While you sit in the dark, you might say to yourself that this “clean energy” is helping to avoid global warming. Oh wait, I forgot, there was “colder weather” in Texas last Tuesday.

How much brain power must be applied to the fact that there is no global warming (now called ‘climate change’) and that the enormous investments in wind and solar power, currently providing a giant 1% of all the electricity used in America, are a huge waste of money?

Let me put it another way. As Robert Bryce notes in his brilliant new book, Gusher of Lies, “By 2010, the U.S. will be generating only about 50 billion kilowatt-hours per year from wind power. That’s a pittance compared to the 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity that are pumped out every year by America’s 104 nuclear power reactors.”

When you add in the 2,000 billion of kilowatt-hours generated just from coal-fired plants, the notion of wind power as a rational answer to America’s energy needs begins to look idiotic

But Texas, apparently, can’t build more wind farms fast enough. Recent plans to build some coal-fired plants were shot down. Environmentalists are mobilizing the nation’s youth to protest “dirty” coal as a source of electrical power.

Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association just released a statement to the effect that they were thrilled that, by a vote of 236 to 182, the House of Representatives passed a bill that includes an extension of the renewable (wind and solar) energy production tax credit. Now they are hoping the Senate will do the same and that the President will sigh off on the deal. “Millions of Americans across the political spectrum (who) overwhelmingly support clean, home-grown wind and solar energy.”

No they don’t. Americans for the most part haven’t a clue where their electricity is generated or how. Instead, they depend on elected and appointed leaders to ensure that they will have electricity when they turn on the lights. The more Congress keeps mandating so-called “clean energy” the less prospect of that exists.

What happened in Texas is going to become routine wherever wind or solar power is part of the grid. America is headed toward being a Third World nation that cannot keep the lights on.

If you want to risk freezing because the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, you need that “dirty” coal generating plant, the kind that currently produces 52% of all the electricity the nation uses. You need gas-fired plants. The U.S. has pretty much used up all the viable locations for hydroelectric power, so that is no longer an option. It’s worth keeping in mind that modern technology has “cleaned up” those coal-fired plants to the point they are not a pollution problem.

While Congress passes laws giving big, fat tax credits to wind and solar companies as some of its members condemn “Big Oil” and “Big Coal”, you just might want to let your Representative or Senator know what a really bad idea “clean” energy is.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Scamming

By Alan Caruba

Let’s say you’re planning to contract with a lawn service to tend to your property this spring. To put it simply, you want to hire a firm to mow the lawn. Time was, you could hire a neighborhood kid to do it, but now none of them will consider this or shoveling snow as a means to put some extra change in their pocket.

So consider the news release I just received. “Clean Air Lawn Care is Eliminating its Carbon Footprint by Measuring, Reducing, and Offsetting Emissions.”

I submit to you that anyone who hires this firm because they are spending time maintaining an “emissions inventory” or purchasing “renewable energy credits and emissions offsets” might well consider hiring Al Gore to mow their lawn.

There is an impolite term for what this “environmentally friendly lawn service” is offering. Hiring them means you are going to be paying more for the privilege of knowing they are using “clean electric mowers, edgers and blowers” as well as “biodiesel powered trucks and mobile solar panels used to charge equipment in the field.”

Anyone who seriously thinks that the act of having one’s lawn mowed or hedges clipped has anything to do with saving the world from global warming deserves to pay as much as these guys can get.

This is a classic green scam, a marketing ploy to differentiate this lawn service firm from its competitors.

“The majority of Clean Air’s footprint results from the electricity used in lawn care equipment,” said the release. Assuming they are getting it from solar power, you are still paying for the solar gadgetry needed to accomplish this magic. If, on the other hand, they are just plugging the machinery into a socket at their headquarters at night, the odds are that the electricity was generated by coal, gas or nuclear power. On overcast days, filled with clouds, their solar power will not be worth spit.

And what does it matter where the electricity comes from so long as they come on time, mow your lawn, and move onto the next sucker? Do you really care that they are “purchasing green power in the form of Green-e certified renewable energy credits”? Does it matter that the cost of these “credits” is going to be factored into your bill along with the time and labor required to mow your lawn? It should.

I’m not saying don’t hire these guys. They probably can do as good a job as the next five lawn care service providers in their market area, but please spare me the greener-than-thou pitch.

Apply this standard to anyone else that comes along promising to save the planet while painting your house, resurfacing your driveway, putting in a new toilet, or any one of the myriad other household needs that will lighten your wallet.

Do not, under any circumstances, spend thousands installing solar panels on your roof. You will be long dead and your home sold several times before that little investment begins to pay off.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dumb Governors

By Alan Caruba

Being a governor has always been a steppingstone to the presidency. It’s just a thought, but perhaps people are less and less confident in their governors these days because so many seem to be part of a succession of governors who have left their states ever deeper in debt?

One notes that neither former Governor Mitt Romney, nor Mike Huckabee, fared all that well in the Republican primaries and that two former governors who made it to the White House in recent times left it under a shadow. Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was and is a moron, while former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, though elected and re-elected, is now best remembered for turning the Oval Office into the Oral Office. Of the modern era of presidents, only Ronald Reagan, a former governor of California, restored any luster to the White House.

Governors are on my mind because the National Governors Association just finished their winter meeting in Washington, D.C. and managed to ignore the crisis most common to their states, budgets that are so over-extended that some wrenching news awaits citizens from California to New Jersey. Indeed, the exodus of people from both California and New Jersey is turning into a stampede as they stream into Nevada and Arizona in the West and head toward the Carolinas in the East.

California faces a $14 billion deficit this year while New Jersey has a $3 billion deficit. Both can boast of having some of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

So what did the National Governors Association devote their meeting to? “Reinforcing the role of states in advancing a clean energy future for America.” Clean energy is code for throwing money, subsidies and tax credits, at the least efficient forms of energy, wind and solar, while ignoring the need to encourage the improvement and expansion of the nation’s electrical grid that enables everything to function or encouraging the building of new refineries to insure a supply of gasoline and other petroleum fuels. There’s a need, too, for more nuclear plants and more coal or gas-fired plants to generate electricity.

Instead the states keep mandating that a portion of all electrical power must come from wind and solar sources that would not exist if they were not subsidized with tax and rate-payers dollars. Both require backup reserves of power providers that rely on coal, gas, or nuclear because the wind does not blow all the time and the sun does not shine at night.

“From the discussions we’ve had these past three days, it’s clear that governors are leading the way to ‘Americanize’ this country’s energy future,” said NGA Chair, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Someone better explain to Gov. Pawlenty and the other 49 governors that America runs on imported oil and will for the foreseeable future. We buy it from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else that will sell it to us. The same holds true for natural gas.

The most American form of power available is coal. We have about two or three hundred years of estimated reserves, but in states like Texas and Kansas, the building of much needed coal-fired plants to provide electricity was thwarted. Meanwhile, China is building a new coal-fired plant every week. Some plants are gas-fired and, when a major energy company recently announced it wanted to build a billion-dollar storage facility for liquefied gas way off the coast of New Jersey, the first response was to tell them to go away.

“We’re on the verge of an energy revolution in this country,” said NGA Vice Chair Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell. “And it’s clear that charting our own energy future will require every available resource at America’s disposal, from clean coal and nuclear to biofuels and renewables.”

Biofuels are a pipedream, as are so-called renewables (wind and solar). If we start building nuclear plants to generate electricity right now, we may avoid a future of brownouts and blackouts. Clean coal is a joke. Coal is dirty, but coal is cheap, plentiful and a powerful source of energy. Coal-fired plants that currently provide 52% of America's electricity would keep the lights on for the next few centuries. Because of clean-air regulations, America actually imports some forms of coal rather than being able to use its own.

None of the goals the governors have in mind will generate any kind of national "energy security" because no nation on earth can be energy independent. Even Iran has to import gasoline. Brazil that is always touted for its ethanol production actually earns much of its wealth from its abundant sources of oil. All ethanol does is reduce the amount of actual mileage a tank of this additive provides. It amounts to burning a valuable source of food for fuel that, in turn, just drives up the cost of food.

If I know this, why don’t our nation’s governors? It’s not like it’s a secret or that any of the experts in their state universities couldn’t tell them this.

With some exceptions, we have governors who apparently don’t have a clue about the realities of energy these days and for the future. Instead, they invite speakers to tell them of the wonders of ethanol made from wood chips, electricity from hundreds of huge wind turbines no one wants to live near or some comparable fantasy.

None of this bodes well for the future of America. We expect our elected leaders to have some understanding of the true dynamics of how energy is produced and where the millions of gallons of gas and diesel we use for transportation comes from.

Meanwhile, as the governor’s meeting concluded, the U.S. National Climatic Data Center announced that snow cover over North America is greater now than any time since 1966. The average temperature in January “was –0.3 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.”

Do you think they know this?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Call It Quits, Andy Rooney!

By Alan Caruba

One of the great mysteries of television is why someone at CBS hasn’t sat down with Andy Rooney and told him to clean out his desk. He is, after all, an irrelevant old man who shows up at the end of every edition of “Sixty Minutes” to rant about things of no significance whatever.

Now, I am old, too, but at least I try to pay attention to what is actually happening in the world and provide some kind of comment that might prove helpful. Rooney spent his few minutes of fame blathering about news stories and their headlines that didn’t interest him. That’s right, he talked about things he didn’t care about.

I don’t normally watch “Sixty Minutes.” I had the show on as background “white noise” because I was reading a book and the baby in the apartment next to mind was wailing away as only babies can do. The phone rang and I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the most brilliant minds in America, a resident of Falcon, Missouri, who finds the current political scene too joyful for words as Hillary and Bill Clinton finally use up whatever little credibility they ever had.

As I hung up the phone, there was the craggy visage of Andy Rooney, leaning forward and snarling at the TV camera, i.e., the viewers, to pass a few minutes asking inane questions such as what platinum is used for. That question was occasioned by the fact that its price, along with gold and other minerals, is going through the roof. So, Andy, it must be used for something! You could Google the answer.

Hear my plea, CBS-TV! Designate some intern to hand Rooney his walking papers. He stopped being entertaining or informative sometime shortly after Watergate. Nobody that dense should be allowed on television.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Idiotic Solutions to Non-Problems

By Alan Caruba

Since there is no threat from greenhouse emissions, especially carbon dioxide, the notion that The New York Times would devote space to a “solution” to CO2 that lacks even a modicum of common sense simply reaffirms this newspaper’s obsession with "global warming."

Viscount Monckton, a British scientist, has famously said that when confronted with a non-problem, the best thing to do is nothing.

On February 19, reporter Kenneth Chang, reported that “Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline.” This immediately raises the question of why this hasn’t already been done. The answer is (1) it would require an enormous amount of energy—the equivalent of the entire output of a nuclear plant and (2) that a CO2 conversion plant would cost at least $5 billion to build and would not be economically viable unless gasoline was selling for close to $5 a gallon.

According to the article, two scientists, F. Jeffrey Martin and William L. Kuble, Jr., have proposed the CO2 conversion concept they have dubbed “Green Freedom.” Apparently scientists are now taking classes in public relations.

As the article explained, “The idea is simple. Air would be blown over a liquid solution of potassium carbonate, which would absorb the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then be extracted and subjected to chemical reactions that would turn it into fuel: methanol, gasoline or jet fuel.”

According to Wikipedia, “Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, carbinol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH3OH (often abbreviated MeOH). It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable, poisonous, liquid with a distinctive odor that is somewhat milder and sweeter than ethanol.” (emphasis added)

In other words, it is moonshine. If it didn’t have the side effect of killing you, people would drink it

“Although they have not yet built a synthetic fuel factory, or even a small prototype, the scientists say it is all based on existing technology.” Vacationing on Mars is also based on existing technology. Buy your ticket today or maybe some carbon credits.

Until Planet Earth runs out of oil, the need for this “Green Freedom” energy source is totally unnecessary and, at this point, an idiotic exercise by two scientists who thirst for fame (and grants!) like the most common Hollywood starlet.

Thus we have an idiotic solution to a non-problem. Carbon Dioxide is essential to the existance of every bit of vegetation on Earth. It is not a pollutant and, at 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere, it represents zero risk of turning the planet into a dust bowl devoid of all life.

Since we are assailed daily with this kind of global warming related story, it is understandable why people think there's a problem. The problem is the fear mongers who keep telling people we’re running out of oil and that atmospheric CO2 is a danger.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Losing Our Electoral Minds

By Alan Caruba

It’s a good thing that national elections don’t come around any more frequently than every four years. The sight of so many Americans totally losing their minds must be shocking to foreigners.

The system that winnows out various aspirants for the highest office in the land seems to make no sense at all, despite the fact that it has worked now for a very long time. Almost from the beginning, the nation divided itself into political parties. After that, they engaged in the most vicious slander of the opposition in the interest of acquiring the power to influence our future.

What should give anyone pause is the way some of the most incompetent, if not crazed, men have made their way to the Oval Office. John Quincy Adams felt terribly insecure, having had to live in the shadow of his badgering, but brilliant father. Andrew Jackson, who adorns our $20 bill, had fought many duels and, by most accounts, was a compete egomaniac. In more modern times, we are still living with the succession of bad judgments made by Jimmy Carter, an ex-President who is an unfailing embarrassment to the nation.

Carter’s predecessor, Richard M. Nixon was a total paranoid. He was so obsessed with his “enemies” that he was ultimately forced to resign in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. Bill Clinton was and is a feckless, immoral fool who one hopes has now managed to destroy his wife’s insane ambition to succeed him. The train wreck of her campaign is a tribute to that tiny voice in the back of voter’s minds that she is a terribly unpleasant person and that returning him as First Philanderer to the White House would be an egregiously bad idea.

This brings us to what can only be called a celebrity phenomenon, Barack Hussein Obama. Strongly influenced in his youth by a Communist fellow traveler who he acknowledges without referencing his political orientation, Obama has got to be the strangest aspirant for the White House in the history of the nation. A mulatto son of a white mother and a black father who deserted the family early on, he proudly bears a Muslim name while attending an Afro-centric Christian church. Any one of these aspects of his life might automatically exclude him from serious consideration, but let’s add the obvious fact that he has zero evidence of any kind of a legislative record. A rookie Senator from Illinois, Obama is famous for reluctantly voting on anything in his days in the Illinois legislature and has little accomplishment to point to in the U.S. Senate.

Yet this is a man who makes some members of his audience swoon and faint in ways that Frank Sinatra or Elvis did. He offers some rhetoric about change and hope, but it is difficult at best to know what he would do in office, except to retain and act upon the most leftist bona fides of anyone in that hallowed debating chamber.

Finally, we have yet another liberal, one who keeps proclaiming his conservative bona fides, Sen. John McCain. He’s not keen on shutting the southern border to the vast influx of illegal aliens or for encouraging those already here to return home. He’s consistently teamed with the most liberal Senators to co-sponsor bills that make conservatives cringe. He believes that the Earth is actually undergoing a global warming when there is zero science to support this UN-inspired hoax.

It’s not just the political silly season. It’s a completely senseless season because the choices the two-party system has served up are absurd. The Republican voters have apparently settled on the least worst of those who initially contended for the nomination. The Democrats have tilted away from Lady Macbeth toward a total unknown with excellent oratorical skills and a pie-in-the-sky message that is dangerously naïve.

Yes, the nation is tired of being a superpower. It’s tired of being the only one around that really believes there is a war between two civilizations, the West and Islam. Americans keep electing children to office who spend money without any accountability or regard for the debt piling up. We want to believe in the Socialist fairytales that say we can all have health care without really having to pay for it, old age security despite the fact there are fewer workers paying into a system while others, having lived far longer than expected, continue to receive their checks.

Or the biggest fantasy of all, that we can be “energy independent” without ever exploring and extracting resources we have, permitting a new refinery to be built, allowing coal-fired, gas-fired or nuclear-powered electricity plants to be built. Our wonderful economy and lifestyles are totally dependent on importing the most global of all commodities, oil and natural gas. Happily, we have ample coal. It is the cheapest energy source around and yet there are people who think it’s going to destroy the atmosphere. It won’t. It can’t.

Presidents since Jimmy Carter and earlier have been warning that we are running out of energy resources and have been telling us we must become independent. The U.S. peaked in oil production in the 1970s. We now import what we need. So does the rest of the world. Even some oil producing nations have to import gasoline for lack of refining capacity.

And every four years we elect someone to manage the affairs of the nation and, these days, the world. Occasionally we get lucky. We get a Jefferson, a Lincoln, a Teddy Roosevelt, a FDR to lead us through a world war, a Reagan to restore our faith in our political system and ourselves. We have had, for the most part, men that were up to the task, but we have had some clinkers.

Obama is the Pied Piper of Chicago. He’s filling stadiums with huge crowds. Rock musicians do this routinely, but they aren’t expected to manage the United States of America for the next four years. We need more than rhetoric. We need a keen sense of reality.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Governors Ignore Infrastructure, Discuss Environment

By Alan Caruba

At a time when America’s infrastructure—bridges, roads, seaports and airports—is in need of repair, the nation’s governors are gathering to discuss ways to waste time, money, and labor on something that is impossible, “an energy independent” America. No nation on Earth is energy independent.

On Feb 23, the 2008 National Governors Association will gather for their winter meeting and the primary topic will be making America “a global leader in energy efficiency, clean energy technology, alternative fuels use, and energy research…” I doubt that the subject of building more coal or gas burning, let alone nuclear, electricity generation facilities will be high on their priorities. Indeed, in state after state, governors have expressed opposition this vital necessity.

Saturday’s open session will feature Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presentation, “Securing a Clean Energy Future.” This is code for the increased use of wind turbine and solar energy. At present, these two provide barely one percent of the nation’s energy needs. They are incredibly inefficient and are incapable of replacing coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear energy to meet the needs of the nation.

The term “clean energy” is code for opposition to greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, but CO2 is just 0.038 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere and plays an insignificant role as a greenhouse gas. It is the Sun that is the determining factor when it comes to heating or cooling the Earth. The Earth is getting cooler, not warmer.

Former CIA Director, R. James Woolsey, will address “the need to develop and support alternatives to imported petroleum.” I don’t know who Woolsey is shilling for, but I have personally heard his standard speech on this topic and I can tell you he is full of hot air. There isn’t a nation on Earth that can afford to reduce its imports of petroleum. It is a global commodity that is sold to the highest bidder. Oil doesn’t have a nationality—only a price.

The notion that America can, will or should reduce oil imports is a huge misrepresentation of the truth. Energy is the engine of our economy. Reduce or restrict its use and you will see businesses and jobs move anywhere it’s available. And yet Congress refuses to grant access to the vast oil reserves going untapped in Alaska or our continental shelf.

What’s scary about all this hogwash about energy efficiency and alternative energy sources is that these are the people who will shape the future of their individual States and of the nation.

Instead of advocating a better tax structure to encourage and stimulate industries and small businesses in their States, they are wasting time on discussing ways to thwart the building of new electricity generating plants, new refineries, and insuring that our own natural resources go unused.

These are the same governors whose States have been on a spending spree for a very long time, far outpacing their revenues. They have borrowed and borrowed to the point where our grandchildren and their children will be paying off the debt load.

America is in trouble and the governors want to discuss ethanol, wind turbines, and solar panels when they need to be discussing bridge maintenance, potholes, and jobs leaving for places where it costs far less to produce anything.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye, Fidel, and Good Riddance

By Alan Caruba

In 1959, six months before I graduated from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fidel Castro came to power in a coup that overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. It was big news on campus though I must confess that I knew next-to-nothing about Castro.

The New York Times reporting had failed to mention Castro was a Communist and, in fact, I doubt that anyone, including those high up in our government, knew that essential piece of information. The Times had also famously neglected to mention the horrors of Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union. In essence, you could have read Pravda or the Times and gotten the same party line. You still can.

Castro set about executing the Batista cabal and, as we know from “The Godfather”, the mafia lost their investment in Havana’s hotels and casinos. It could be argued that the Cuban people lost their freedom, but an estimated 20,000 Cubans had died under Batista’s rule. Now, some fifty years later, they still haven’t enjoyed any real freedom.

I can still recall the images of Castro and his ragged little band of revolutionaries coming into Havana on New Year’s Day in 1959. I can also remember that, shortly thereafter, any Cuban who could, fled the island. They flooded into Miami where many remain.

This is the same Cuba that threatened the United States with Soviet long-range missiles, precipitating the 1962 missile crisis that forced the Soviets to back off. In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had spent time in the Soviet Union and had supported the “Fair Play for Cuba” committee, assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Fidel and his brother, Raul, have ruled Cuba with an iron fist. Disagree with him? Go to jail. Face the firing squad. There is something obscene that this is happening 90 miles from the coast of Florida. There is something odd that this nation went halfway around the world to liberate the Iraqis, but have done little other than the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to free the Cubans.

These days, the Chinese are drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, but the Congress of the United States still prohibits drilling in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf.

Here’s where history coincides with the future. In April 2000, while running for Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton opposed granting Elian Gonzalez residency, asylum, in the United Nations with members of his family. His mother had drowned trying to give him a new life in America. The Clinton Administration seized him at gunpoint and forcibly returned him to Cuba.

Fidel lives, retains power, though now officially retired, and Hillary Clinton wants to be the next President of the United States.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rest Easy, Palm Beach, You're Not Running Out of Idiots

By Alan Caruba

The good citizens of Palm Beach County, Florida, may go to sleep tonight, assured that the supply of local idiots remains sufficient to try to deprive them of the electricity they require.

“Everglades Earth First!” informed me today that “dozens of concerned community members from Palm Beach County and all over the nation put their bodies on the line to halt construction of FPL’s (Florida Power and Light) West County Energy Center demanding energy efficiency, truly clean, renewable energy and a moratorium on development in south Florida.”

The facility under construction is a 3800-megawatt gas-fired power plant that the Earth First folks claim would “emit 12 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide), a leading greenhouse gas, every year.”

What they chose to ignore is that it would also provide much-needed power for the residents of south Florida it is intended to serve. You know, people who want to turn on the lights, watch their television, run their washers and dryers, use their computers, keep the refrigerator going, use their air conditioning units, and sundry other things people tend to do with electricity.

People in south Florida know what it’s like to be without electricity. It happens all too regularly when a really big hurricane occurs. Having lived in Miami in the past, I can assure you that life without electricity in Florida is no fun. Indeed, when it fails where I currently reside, it is not fun.

“A dozen activists locked themselves together,” Earth First reported, while “200 supporters rallied around them.” They were upset that the constant legal challenges from the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition did not stop Florida Power and Light from providing cheap and abundant energy to current and future residents.

These loonies should have tried to block the many people crossing the Florida border intent on living there. I mean, really, who would want to live in a place where there’s abundant sunshine all year long, lots of beachfront property, lakes, great fishing, some really great theme parks, and similar attractions?

The main complaint seems to be that the plant is rising across from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, as if this means that the insects, birds, animals and various reptiles were in dire danger. They’re not. The other complaint about the amount of CO2 that would be emitted is a crock. The Earth’s atmosphere contains about 0.038% CO2, an amount so minimal as to represent no significance whatever.

On the other hand, CO2 is absolutely vital for the growth of every single piece of vegetation in Palm Beach County and the Earth!

And, finally, the Earth has warmed about one degree Fahrenheit since 1850 at the end of the last mini-ice age. One degree! Without that warming, there would still be a mini-ice age and a lot more people would be headed for Florida!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Republican? Racist?

By Alan Caruba

I am beginning to think the biggest problem McCain and fellow Republicans will have running against Obama is going to come down to being called a racist every time anything critical is said about him.

This is going to be the first time a Black is running for the highest office in the land--if Hillary craps out in Texas and/or Ohio--so it presents a completely unique problem.

I think Republicans are going to have to brace themselves for an avalanche of claims that they are being racist if Obama is the Democrat's choice.

It's interesting how little notice was ever taken of Bush's choice of Blacks on his team; first Colin Powell, and then Condaleeza Rice. Indeed, the Bush Administration has been remarkably multi-racial. Of course, when Republicans do that, it apparently doesn't count.

It's well to recall which party existed in large part because of the racism endemic to its southern Senators and Representatives. That was the Democrat Party that virtually came apart when the "Dixiecrats" left as the civil rights movement gained momentum. When LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act following the assassination of JFK, he said, in effect, "There goes the South. It will be Republican for a long time to come." He was right.

If Obama is the candidate, his race will play a role in the choice voters make. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either naive or not telling the truth.

Postscript: On February 18th, ironically President's Day, Frank Rich of The New York Times weighed in with a column titled, "The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama", virtually proclaiming him the winner of the 2008 election because he is Black.

At one point, he said that McCain is seen by the Millennial generation (those born in and after the 1980s) as a "Grumpy Old White Guy." If this isn't a form of racism, I do not know what is.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Lunatics Among Us

By Alan Caruba

Whether it was the lunatic who killed several people in a mall, the ones who killed students on the Virginia Tech and the North Illinois University campus, or news of the capture of the alleged meat cleaver killer of a New York psychiatrist, the simple fact is that there are lunatics who live among us every day.

I suspect that if we knew how many of these people are out there, we would be demanding that laws be changed to lock them up for just about any reason. This is one of those areas of tension that exist between the right against being arbitrarily arrested and held without “due process” and the need to protect the public.

The greatest mystery in our lives is the question we ask when we wonder what someone else is thinking. Even acts of kindness make us wonder, though a threat is frequently intuited instantly.

How many murdered wives have told their friends and relatives that their husband is going to kill them some day? How many husbands are killed by wives that “snap”? Police will tell you that your chances of being murdered by someone you know are far higher than being killed by a stranger.

The mental institutions and the jails of America are filled with people who have either a tenuous grip on reality or who regard the laws that we respect and obey to be an obstacle to their wishes.

Whether they are hearing voices in their head or just yielding to their own demented desires, they are a threat to everyone. We rarely, however, know it until we are directly confronted by the threat.

This is the primary and most compelling argument to permit law-abiding citizens the right to carry concealed weapons. These are ordinary people with no criminal record who have demonstrated competency with a handgun. They save lives. In States where it is known that the general population can legally carry concealed weapons, the numbers of murders and other crimes are reduced.

I’m not sure how many people defend their lives daily with guns, but it is in the hundreds and more. In a population of 310 million and climbing, the odds you will encounter a threat are climbing too. The mere presence of a gun, however, is often sufficient to deter further trouble.

It seems to me, though I have no statistics to prove it, that these murderous incidents where people are known to gather in numbers and to be defenseless, whether it’s a mall or a campus, are increasing.

I have always found it interesting that we will watch a Western movie where all the men walk around with guns in holsters or carrying rifles and accept the normality of it. Often the only law in town was a sheriff and that was no guarantee against a bad guy. So men routinely carried weapons. We understand the need, but we shy from today’s citizens having the same level of personal protection. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

In the last John Wayne movie, “The Shootist”, the old gunfighter explained, “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.”

That makes a lot of sense to me.

What doesn’t make any sense and never will are the actions of deranged people who kill complete strangers. As often as not, they kill themselves too. Why don’t they do that before harming others? It has something to do with the absolute evil that lurks in the dark places of the soul.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Gonna Get Ugly!

By Alan Caruba

If you think the respective campaigns have been nasty catfights to this point, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Americans always complain that their political campaigns are not polite, genteel affairs devoted to the “issues”, but they are always about the individual candidates. It’s about who we like and who we hate. Yes, hate. That’s a powerful and important part of every campaign and, frankly, I would not have it any other way.

I want voters who are energized enough to come out and pull the level to make sure some SOB they dislike does not get elected.

About the most fun of past elections has been to watch the total funk into which Democrats have sunk every time some idiot like Gore or Kerry didn’t get elected. And, of course, it had to have been "stolen" from them! There was no way more people actually voted for the Republican. Democrats love democracy just as long as they’re in power. In the 40 years from the days of FDR to the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan, they treated the Republicans in Congress and their staffs horribly. They didn’t even pretend to be fair or bi-partisan.

Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi let an essential element of our national security, the right to listen into people plotting to destroy our nation, lose its basis in law because…well, who knows why? Maybe she just wanted to teach President Bush a lesson? Wanted to let him know who’s in charge in the House? Nancy should be back in San Francisco baking cookies for a gay rights rally. Instead, thanks to the Democrats, she is the Speaker of the House! Let's put an end to that in November by electing more Republicans to the House.

Republicans have to stop crying over the fact that most of their fellow party members have decided John McCain is the man for the job of President. They have to do what Mitt Romney did today. They have to rally around and commit themselves to voting into office a raft of GOP Senators, Representatives, Governors and everyone else down to the job of town dogcatcher.

Rush Limbaugh and the other conservative talk show folks have to shut up, stand up, and salute Sen. McCain. The voters have chosen him, not anyone else. Huckabee needs to get out of the race, go fishing in Arkansas, and maybe start a rock’n roll come-to-Jesus church there.

I don’t really care who the Democrats select. They are both quite awful for different reasons. Both want to expand government. Both will raise your taxes. Both will quit in the Middle East just as we are beginning to see some real success there. It has long been a vile place demonstrating the worst aspects of tyranny for hundreds of years, so it just may take a while to change.

We will defeat the jihadists just so long as we don’t stop killing them.

Frankly, I do not want a government that will tell me what to eat, whether I can smoke, own guns, or any of the other things Democrats/liberals intend to demand. My first rule of good government is that it should stay the hell out of my life.

I want it to stop loading up the federal budget with billions in pork projects for the folks back home, especially since I am not one of those folks.

I want it to replace all the old aircraft our Air Force is flying, replace all the beat up hummers and tanks our soldiers are using, give the Marines anything they want, and make sure we have the biggest, baddest Navy on the blue waters of this planet.

I want a really nasty, no holds barred campaign for the highest office in the land because, dammit, my life and yours depends upon it. The future of the greatest experiment in representative democracy, freedom, and liberty depends on it.

Vote Republican. Defend the Republic.

This is not Mexico, not Venezuela, not Red China, not Putin's Russia.

It is the United States of America.

We are capitalists and optimists.

Attack us and we will come after you. We don't want to talk to you. We want to kill you.

Vote Republican. Defend the Republic.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's Kick Hugo's Butt

By Alan Caruba

The first thing that came to mind when I read that Hugo Chavez threatened to stop exporting oil to the United States was that, right after Iraq, the next nation in need of liberating just became Venezuela.

Yes, I know we’re stretched a little thin these days when it comes to invading oil-producing nations and my response is hardly nuanced, but the plain fact is that by “nationalizing” Exxon Mobil’s considerable investment and holdings there, Chavez and his merry band of Commies is engaged in theft.

Most of the world’s oil sits under nations that have gone the same route, enriching a thin sliver of those in charge while rarely improving life for everyone else. Exxon Mobil, like other major oil companies, spends billions every year on exploration, extraction, and refining.

I suspect the reason they went to the courts to challenge the Chavez government’s right to nationalize one of its four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin is to recover their investment and to make it clear that such behavior is a threat, not just to Exxon Mobil, but to the entire publicly traded oil industry.

These are the people who are frequently called “Big Oil” and widely criticized for risking billions to make sure the oil keeps flowing. The truth is they don’t control the price of oil. It is a global commodity whose price is set by mercantile exchanges on a daily basis.

As noted, Hugo Chavez has publicly threatened to cut off oil exports to the United States. Since Venezuela is the fourth largest supplier of oil to the U.S., that threat goes way beyond a dispute with Exxon Mobil.

Do you remember the public relations campaign Chavez staged by offering heating oil to low income Americans? He even had one of the Kennedy kids shilling for him in television ads. There have also been a number of Hollywood actors that found time to be photographed with Chavez. He thinks we’re stupid.

Chavez may also think the U.S. is too involved in Iraq and Afghanistan to spare a carrier group to park offshore or that we are too distracted by our national elections. Thugs tend to calculate such matters.

Saddam Hussein overplayed his hand and my guess is that Chavez may well do the same. It’s not like the place is on the other side of the planet. Check the map. It’s a lot closer than that.

What Venezuela needs is a whole new government, one that is not fashioned after Cuba’s. Chavez is making life very unpleasant for Venezuelans who value freedom and the United States, sooner better than later, needs to demonstrate our support for them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Republican Collapse

By Alan Caruba

Writing in the fall edition of the Republican National Committee magazine, “Rising Tide”, David H. Winston analyzed “The Lessons of the 2006 Election” and warned that, “the party’s prospects for future victories hinge on whether we can learn from our mistakes.”

“The 2006 election turned out to be a traditional national election. Exit polls found that 60 percent of people said that national issues mattered most to them in deciding their vote,” noted Winston, adding that, “After Republicans lost the Congress in November, many political pundits speculated that an unhappy Republican base had stayed home. They couldn’t have been more wrong.” The base did turn out, but the independent and swing voters—the “Middle”—gave the election to the Democrats by a whopping 18-point margin.

“We failed to win the support of this important voter group, which includes married women with children, Catholics, Hispanics, and others, because we stopped talking to them about the issues they cared about and failed to address those concerns with legislative actions.”

Winston writes a weekly column in Roll Call and has solid credentials and experience in the political jungle of Washington, D.C. He is the founder of The Winston Group that provides counsel to Republican candidates.

“The bad news is that our majority coalition fell apart in 2006.”

In my opinion, the bad news in 2008 is that it is likely to get worse. What I know about politics you could put in a bug’s ear, but like every other voter, I am watching and listening as the primaries unfold, demonstrating a distinct lack of enthusiasm on the part of Republican voters. They are not showing up to vote in anywhere near the numbers of Democrats.

Republicans are disenchanted and dispirited. We have a right to be. The President and the Party has pretty much let us down on a whole range of issues from immigration to education. They have long since ceased to be the party of small government, fiscal prudence, and national defense.

In Congress, Republicans ran up a huge deficit without a single veto from the President for six years, nor have they shown much enthusiasm for solving the problems associated with the many entitlement programs sucking up an increasing portion of the national budget. They even managed to worsen the problem by adding a huge prescription add-on to Medicare.

It’s not that Democrats are any better. Indeed, neither Sen. Clinton, nor Sen. Obama, show any inclination to slow down the financial apocalypse the nation is heading toward. Talk of universal healthcare at a time when there will be fewer taxpayers and workers to under gird the present entitlement programs is nothing less than madness.

“There is no structural change in ideology,” noted Winston. “America remains a center-right country, with 32 percent of voters calling themselves conservative, 47 percent moderate, and only 20 percent liberal.”

Winston believes the Democrats are positioning themselves out of the mainstream of American thought. Tell that to the crowds showing up to listen to the Pied Piper of Chicago, Sen. Obama, orate about “change” and “hope.”

It’s giving Hillary Clinton fits and it should. She has nothing to run on but her universal health program and that was rejected in the first term of husband Bill, followed by the 1994 control of Congress when Republicans actually laid out a program of policy objectives called the Contract with America.

Winston said the GOP has to rebuild the majority coalition that won them the Congress and the White House, but that coalition is demonstrating that it is no longer a sure thing as Christian evangelicals continue to embrace Gov. Mike Huckabee, despite the delegates that Sen. John McCain has secured. Assuming Sen. McCain will be the GOP candidate for President in 2008, I do not believe the evangelicals will turn out for him in sufficient numbers.

As Pat Buchanan has noted, the only thing that would unify the Republican voters would be a Hillary Clinton candidacy. He’s right, but that is beginning to look uncertain at this writing.

Winston urged GOP candidates to avoid negative attack strategies. To put it another way, Republicans have to take the path of identifying the major concerns of voters and providing programs to respond to them.

That will not happen with Sen. McCain whose solution for illegal immigration is to make them all citizens, guaranteeing an even greater influx of illegal aliens. That will not happen with Sen. McCain who believes in global warming despite the near total lack of real science for this international hoax being run out of the United Nations.

Sen. McCain’s only strength is his position on the Iraq War and it remains a largely unpopular one which he openly projects will keep us in the Middle East for a very long time. By contrast, both Democrat candidates are promising to pull the U.S. out of the conflicts there, an astonishingly stupid action, but one that appeals to a lot of voters, particularly young ones.

President Bush was narrowly elected a second time on the strength of attacking the Jihadists where they live. That was not enough to keep control of Congress in 2006 and his popularity—along with Congress—is as low as it has ever historically been.

That has all the indications of a huge Democrat victory in November. Republicans are unhappy with their party. Democrats feel they have a real chance to reclaim power in both Congress and the White House. That relatively small margin of self-identified liberals may well exceed the “middle” if they decide to stay home in November.

The attack on Sen. McCain by talk show hosts may well have wounded McCain so seriously he cannot recover by November. He may say he’s a conservative, but he is not when it comes to the major issues, not the least of which is the state of the nation’s economy.

What I keep hearing from Republican strategists, pundits, and candidates is a lot of wishful thinking, despite Winston’s analysis that comes down to issues, issues, and issues. For a lot of Republicans, Sen. McCain is on the wrong side of too many of them.

If Pat Buchanan is right—and I think he is—the GOP better hope that Sen. Clinton is the Democrat Party choice. She is vulnerable in many ways, not the least of which is a fellow named Bill Clinton.

The Democrats are the same party that nominated McGovern, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry. And gave us President Jimmy Carter. Republicans need to get lucky again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Energy Morons

By Alan Caruba

The ugly little secret of Election 2008 is that it does not matter which candidate becomes your next President because all of them, Democrat and Republican, have energy policies that will keep America moving down the road to an inevitable lack of electrical energy and the oil, i.e., gasoline and diesel, needed to keep cars and trucks on the road. Throw in the need to heat homes and other structures in the winter and cool them in the summer, and you have a bad choice no matter who your choice may be.

In a recent Washington Times editorial, the energy proposals of the candidates were compared. All subscribe to the hoax of global warming and, with it, the notion that carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, has to be reduced or sequestered. Given that CO2 constitutes 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere, this might seem strange to anyone with any sense, but we are talking about politicians here.

John McCain is the biggest believer in global warming among those still running. He has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Joe Lieberman that would impose an economy-killer in the form of a “cap-and-trade” arrangement on American business and industry that would have them wasting money on emissions “credits” they could use, trade or sell. This plan has been a total failure in Europe and, of course, ignores all the emissions being produced in places like China, India, Russia, the continents of Africa, South America, etc. It is idiotic.

Hillary Clinton hates “Big Oil”, possibly because they may not be among her biggest contributors. She is calling for increased fuel-efficiency standards, but I keep telling people there is just so much energy that can be squeezed out of a gallon of gasoline. It's called the Law of Thermodynamics. Much of the current energy is wasted in the form of heat and the rest keeps your pistons providing power to the wheels. This isn’t rocket science, but there are limits to efficiency, even if there are no limits on stupidity.

Barack Obama, when he isn’t peddling “hope” and “change” like the Pied Piper, claims to be ready to introduce a “green economy.” He, too, wants a cap-and-trade system. Apparently green economy means an economy in a permanent Recession or worse. And it does get worse, because he wants to require that 25% of the nation’s electricity come from wind and solar generation. The problem with this airhead solution is that wind and solar currently represent less than 1% of the electricity the nation uses and can never produce anywhere near 25%. It is the most inefficient form of energy on Earth, no pun intended.

Mike Huckabee has energy plans, too, but who really cares what this hayseed has to say about anything? He’s promising “energy independence by my second term.” That kind of talk comes right out of a bottle of good ole Arkansas moonshine. No nation on Earth can or will be energy independent. You may have noticed that the U.S. imports a lot of its oil and gas from other places. You may have noticed we haven’t built a new nuclear plant in thirty years?

Put them all together or rearrange them any way you want, this group of morons are going to send your energy bills soaring. No matter which one gets to the Oval Office, when it comes to energy, they don't have solutions. They haven't even got a sixth grader's grasp of the issues.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hillary's Voice

By Alan Caruba

I rarely write about politics because it defies logic and common sense.

I don’t understand how a “Republican” President can preside over six years of mindless spending and, only after his party loses control of Congress, demand austerity while presenting it with a $3.1 trillion budget. Things like that make no sense to me.

I am, however, a close observer of the human animal, if not the political one. I have come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton with either not get the nomination or, if she does, will not get elected.

The reason is her voice.

I don’t think there is a man of voting age in America who will want to listen to her every day for four years in office. This is why Bill is always given a pass for cheating on her. Men understand instinctively that Bill had to find his pleasure elsewhere; find escape and relief from that voice.

Then there are the tears. What American man wants a President who is prone to burst into tears when she’s had a hard day or hears something that touches her deeply? There are a dozen women who are the presidents of their nations and I do not think one of them has ever teared up in public.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the one to remind former President George H.W. Bush to not “go wobbly” during the first Gulf War. That is strength of character. British men of her era looked at her and saw the female version of Winston Churchill.

Hillary keeps telling her audiences how tough she is, but Americans view tough women as entertainment, whether they are in a roller derby or belong to the World Wrestling organization. Women who compete in bodybuilding contests or get into professional boxing are seen as freaks, not feminine.

Hillary’s not tough. She’s mean. She’s the nag in your life who will never stop telling you to put the toilet seat down.

So, no, Hillary may be knocking on the door of the Oval Office, but the men of America—the one’s who still have some stones—will not let her sit in it for four years.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Too Many Books

By Alan Caruba

I have been reviewing books since the 1960s and am a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle. For years I have also been a judge for the Publishers Marketing Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards.

There are too many books being published.

I know that may sound like apostasy, but you don’t get an average of 150 books a month. I do.

I can pretty much judge a book by its cover. This is particularly true of the insane deluge of self-published books from pay-to-print operations like iUniverse, Xlibris, and Author House, to name a few. As far as I can tell, a number of authors create their own publishing firm to put out their books. The truth is that a handful of such books in any year are quite good, but I doubt that any reviewer has the time to sift through the deluge to find the pearl.

There is a reason why reviewers tend to favor the mainline publishers, large and small. They do it to pay their employees and, ultimately, to generate a profit. They mostly manage to do so successfully enough to cover the losses from the books that become “remainders”, an odd name for books that just do not sell.

I personally think it is obscene to give some celebrity an advance of millions of dollars and I take a certain pleasure when their books fail in the marketplace.

Truth is, I cannot give away the tons of books I receive to local libraries. I stopped doing that long ago when I discovered they really didn’t want them any more than myself. Even a library has a finite amount of space on its shelves. Instead I give as many as possible away to anyone who loves to read, usually folks where I reside.

The reason I say there are too many books being published is that, from experience, I can tell you that, after a while, one concludes that the world does not need another cookbook, another diet book, another garden book, another get-rich-quick book, another how to manage your corporate team book, another book about dogs or cats. How many travel books about Hawaii or any other place on Earth are needed?

I cannot tell you how many World War II, Korean, Vietnam and now Iraq War books I receive every year. This is true also for books about the Holocaust. These events were momentous and tragic, but why must we read every book by everyone who participated or survived them?

Memoirs by people nobody ever heard about are a mystery to me. Biographies of equally obscure people baffle me.

Then there are the novels. I am convinced that the current generation of retirees, tired of playing golf or some other pastime, have decided to sit down at their computer and write that great novel they have had running around in their head for years. And it’s not just retirees. It’s everyone who can belly up to the keyboard.

There is no way to describe the volume of novels being published these days. I received one today by an author who has written “over sixty thriller and supernatural novels.” It defies logic that anyone could produce anything of merit in that quantity. Even the best American novelists such as Steinbeck and Hemingway ran out of ideas and energy, writing some stinkers to pay the rent.

Every month, over at, I post a report about new books. It averages about 70 titles, fiction and non-fiction. That’s nearly 850 books a year and I guarantee you they are the best of the lot of the approximately 1,800 I receive.

I recommend you visit. It will astound you.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Calm Sun, Cold Earth!

By Alan Caruba

When you’re well known as a global warming skeptic, it comes as no surprise that any scientific evidence that refutes this hoax means that your email box fills up quickly as the dissenters share the news. I am among a relative handful of people who also believe that we are heading right into a new Ice Age.

Investors Business Daily had an editorial today, Feb 7, titled “The Sun Also Sets”, in which it cited the views of Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council. In essence, Tapping wants people to know that solar activity such as sunspots, i.e., magnetic storms, “has been disturbingly quiet.”

It’s useful to know that global temperatures closely reflect solar cycles.

The lack of activity “could signal the beginning of what is known as the Maunder Minimum.” While solar cycles tend to last about 11 years, the lack of normal or increased activity can trigger the Maunder Minimum, an event that occurs every few centuries, can last as long as a century, and causes a colder earth.

The most recent such event was the mini-Ice Age that climatologists date from around 1300 to 1850. In the midst of this there was a distinct solar hibernation from around 1650 to 1715.

“Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.”

If you have been paying attention to global weather reports, you know that China has had the heaviest snowfall in at least three decades. David Deming, a geophysicist, in a December 19, 2007 article in The Washington Times, noted that, “South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918.” This occurred across the entire Southern Hemisphere. “Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever.”

This represents a major threat to Earth’s population because it means that food crops will fail and, with them, the means to feed livestock, and the rest of us.

Up to now, the mainstream media has ignored this cooling. They have been in complete thrall to the howling of Al Gore with his endless lies about an imminent warming. Add to Gore the large numbers of scientists who have sold their soul to the global warming lies in order to receive millions in research grants.

Driving this bogus crisis has been the United Nations whose International Panel on Climate Change reports have been based, not on hard science such as observations of solar activity, but on flawed, often deliberately false computer models. To their credit, many of the IPCC participants have protested these reports.

Now layer in U.S. politicians and their counterparts in Europe who are seeking to impose all manner of limits on energy use based on the false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. They want to mandate a “cap-and-trade” scheme that will make some people and industries wealthy selling credits that will permit greenhouse gas emissions. But it is not greenhouse gases we need to fear, it is the action or inaction of the Sun.

At the very moment the Earth is on the cusp of what is likely to be a very long cooling and possibly a full scale repeat of the last Ice Age, all the engines of government, nationally and internationally, are trying to inhibit the discovery, extraction, and use of energy reserves that will be needed to cope with climate changes that will impact millions, if not billions of people.

All the wind turbines and solar panels in the world will not keep you warm in your home or apartment when a short or long term cooling of the Earth occurs. Ironically, as the Greens rant about so-called endangered polar bears in the Arctic, the bears are far more likely to survive than humans.

What controls the Earth’s climate? The Sun!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Republicans Have Nowhere to Go

By Alan Caruba

People who regard themselves as real conservatives have nowhere to go between now and Election Day.

This is not to say they should not vote Republican, but it is to acknowledge that John McCain is in almost every way the antithesis of conservatism. Other than his support for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan against the Jihadists, there is virtually nothing in his resume that recommends conservative support.

What this suggests is that the coalition of Christian evangelicals, fiscal conservatives, and supporters of a strong military, with the exception of the last category, do not really have a candidate. The Republican Party deserted them years ago and, with President Bush in office, mirrored the spending excesses, the entitlement programs, and expansion of the federal government that we associate with Democrats.

When the historians look back, they will tick off programs such as No Child Left Behind, the expansion of Medicare to include pharmaceutical entitlements, the out of control use of “earmarks” to spend $100 billion during the Bush years, and a host of other reasons to explain the disenchantment of the conservative political movement, the party’s base.

It’s useful to remember that, for a very long time, the Democrat Party had a very strong conservative base as well. It used to be the South. When conservatives left the Party, it devolved into a home for radical environmentalists, pacifists, and for all the ills we associate with socialism.

A modern conservative Republican Party began with Barry Goldwater in the 1960s and culminated with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The presidency of George H.W. Bush was the first sign of its demise, followed by eight years of Bill Clinton. George W. Bush fashioned himself to be “a compassionate conservative”, whatever that meant. He was, within months of taking office, a wartime President and has been ever since.

Mitt Romney, in his farewell speech, correctly noted that America is at war. It has been difficult for me to discern any anxiety over that fact other than that associated with how long it would take for America to quit the Middle East and its global mission to hold back the tides of fanaticism and fascism.

Whoever will be the Democrat candidate will take the nation back to the bad old days of Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.

As someone who has made the journey from mindless liberal to serious conservative, I cannot say at this point what I will do on Election Day. Perhaps I will just mourn the passing of the Republican Party? Or perhaps I will try to take comfort in the belief that a reinvigorated conservative movement will rise from the ashes on that day?

For now, I will watch to see what the conservative talk show hosts and other leaders of the conservative movement have to say. Will they, for the party, for the nation, embrace the candidacy of Sen. McCain? Stranger things have happened.

Indeed, the February 7 CPAC response to McCain's speech was notable for the warm reception it received, suggesting that the political pragmatists in the Republican Party may have decided that Sen. McCain represents their only chance to retain control of the White House. This thought was surely in the mind of those who voted twice for George W. Bush and only in 2006 withheld support for the GOP after years of disappointment.

The prospect of either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama in the Oval Office may be sufficient to insure the embrace of Sen. McCain.

Whatever happens, I surely do not have a good feeling about the years ahead.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Nausea Factor

By Alan Caruba

There always comes a time at some point in the process by which Americans select the next “leader of the free world” that one experiences the nausea incurred by too much political rhetoric. There is an impolite word for this that begins with the word “bull.”

Depending on one’s age, fortitude, gullibility, gender, et cetera, the nausea can set in early or late, but it will arrive and, with it, what is generally called wisdom. There is that quiet voice in the back of your head that says these are the same people that put the nation in the mess we’re in and we’re arguing over which one of them should dig the hole deeper.

How much change will either Sen. Obama, McCain or Clinton bring about when they have all been part of the gang that managed to add 55,000 “earmarks” over Bush’s seven years in office that cost Americans more than $100 billion? When the President sent a $3 trillion dollar budget to Congress this year, not one of them rushed to the microphone to suggest we’re broke. The government keeps itself in business by borrowing millions every day.

And, guess what? All around the world bankers and hedge fund gamblers are trying to figure out how much money they’ve already lost in the subprime mortgage debacle. One bank in France lost $7 billion because one very low level employee broke the rules and nobody noticed. That doesn’t put folks in a mood to lend to anyone, including the U.S. of A. where the value of homes is dropping like a stone.

I do not normally pontificate about politics. I am busy enough pointing to the cracks in the dam where policy failures in areas like energy, education, or immigration are showing signs of stress and collapse, enough to leave politicians standing around in Congress asking, “What happened” and not, as usual, having any common sense answers.

That said, it seems to me the wheels are coming off both parties. Forget about the rallies filled with cheering crowds, the endlessly parsed speeches and answers, or the drama of who won what state, has x-number of delegates, or cried (again). The voters are so sharply divided that the party leaders must be wondering how their candidate will be nominated without conventions where television viewers will watch anarchy in the aisles.

The party conventions are likely to be a bloodletting as the “big tent” collapses under the weight of fractious constituencies. Ultimately, the “super delegates”, party workers, most of whom will vote to protect their jobs, will decide the outcome. And absolutely no one will be happy.

For now, this onlooker is trying to recover from the nausea of a night of endless blather by people who are supposed to know what’s happening, but more often than not seem as confused as the viewers. As for the polls and the pundits, pay them no mind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Greens Try to Cash in on Valentine's Day

By Alan Caruba

Below is the actual text of an email received today. It is one more example of the way Greens cannot resist cashing in on every aspect of our lives by laying a guilt trip on us. I have put the especially obnoxious aspects in italics.

"We thought that your readers would be interested how this year their Valentine’s Day gifts can not only woo their loved ones, but also care for the planet. At, your readers can find both traditional and ‘green’ gift ideas for their Valentine’s. And no matter which they choose, they can make a difference by reducing their carbon footprint. searches millions of products from top retailers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Guitar Center and 1-800-Flowers, among thousands of others. And whether the Valentine’s gift is a box of chocolate (organic, even) a dozen roses, or a book of poetry, half of the commission-based revenue that EarthMoment receives from the vendor goes to , the leading nonprofit climate change solutions organization that supports third-party verified carbon offset projects.

As shoppers show their love this Valentine’s day, they can give a little extra without even trying - giving back to their favorite planet to really make a difference. Please let me know if you would be interested in speaking to anyone at EarthMoment for insider gift ideas."

Carbon offsets are the bogus indulgences that permit Al Gore to live in a home that uses, in a year's time, energy equal to twenty ordinary homes. They are being pimped as the new way that "polluting" industries that produce greenhouse gas, i.e. carbon dioxide, emissions can buy or sell the offsets so they can continue to do what they have always done...without any harm to the earth. CO2 is a good gas. Part of CO2 is OXYGEN. It is not bad for the planet because every single piece of vegetation on earth depends on CO2.

All chocolate is organic. It starts with a chocolate BEAN that grows from the earth. The same holds true for FLOWERS, except for the ones made from silk or plastic. Plastic is a derivative of OIL which comes from the earth and fuels our modern civilization.

The Earth is my favorite planet because there is no life on any other planet in our solar system. It's not like I have a choice.

Turning Valentine's Day into yet another excuse to fleece people to get money for phony, non-existent threats to the planet should be deemed a bunko crime.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Betting on the Future or the Past

By Alan Caruba

My own memories of elections go back to Harry S. Truman when I was just a child and had no idea what the whole business of being President was about, but I recall seeing the newsreels with him taking a walk for exercise, usually with a gaggle of reporters trailing at a polite distance. There must have been Secret Service agents close at hand, but those were days when a President could just take a stroll outside the White House and shake hands with whoever was sharing the sidewalk with him.

Eisenhower was a great general and, though we kids thought he was funny because he was not an eloquent speechmaker or speaker, and seemed to play a lot of golf, it turned out that he made a lot of very good, very smart decisions. The man had seen the worst of what fascism could do to people and he set us on a course to oppose Soviet ambitions.

Then came Jack Kennedy in 1960. I was 23 years old at the time and, thanks to the Draft, in the Army. I can remember the excitement of this charming, young candidate, running against the ever-scowling Richard M. Nixon. Those years between 1961 and 1963 seemed to lift everyone’s spirits. There was the Peace Corps and the face-off over Soviet missiles in Cuba, but we just loved to hear him talk because the future, we knew, truly did belong to a new generation. And then, on November 22, 1963 he was assassinated.

Voting for Lyndon B. Johnson was pretty much a no-brainer. I was a Democrat, the son of Democrats. It never occurred to me to vote for anyone who was not a Democrat. The problem with that blind faith was something called Vietnam. I swallowed hard and voted for Hubert Humphrey, even though I thought the war was a very big mistake. Nixon beat him handily. My confidence in the liberal platforms of the Democrat Party was beginning to slip.

Though I had a visceral dislike and distrust of Nixon, neither I nor anyone else could have ever contemplated Watergate. It was so bizarre that only a total paranoid could have sanctioned anything like it. Turned out Nixon was a total paranoid. Gerald Ford, his Vice President, took over, pardoned him (wisely in retrospect), but lost to what is arguably the worst president in modern times, Jimmy Carter. Recession followed along with the seizure of U.S. diplomats by Iranian revolutionaries, held hostage for 444 days.

By then I was casting around for anyone to vote for who wasn’t a Democrat. Along came Ronald Reagan. I am reminded of the words of St. Paul. “When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” I registered as a Republican and eight very excellent years followed. Dutifully I voted for George Herbert Walker Bush for whom I held no strong feeling one way or the other.

What followed, though, was eight years of William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton. It was a conservative nightmare, eased only by the 1994 landslide transfer of power in Congress to Republicans. Every kind of shady deal and weirdness that could come from the Clinton White House was ultimately eclipsed by his tawdry affair with an intern the age of his daughter. Even then, the Senate could not or would not find grounds to remove him from office. If ever there was a low point in the political and moral life of the nation; that was it.

It also marked what, in retrospect seems to have been the beginning of a sharp divide between American voters that continues to this day. Elections have been very nearly 50-50 events with the barest majorities deciding them. This was true of both victories by George Walker Bush.

As Super Tuesday looms, that same division remains and it afflicts both parties, Democrat and Republican. It really is an election about the past or the future. It really is about more Clintonian politics or the fresh face and voice of Sen. Obama. It really is about the 70 year old John McCain, Vietnam War hero, or Mitt Romney, a Washington outsider with a depth of experience in the world of business.

America always seems to do best when it puts its bet on the future, not the past.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Six More Weeks of Winter

By Alan Caruba

Punxsutawny Phil, Pennsylvania’s and the nation’s most famous groundhog, took time out from hibernation to let us know that there will be six more weeks of winter. Apparently, once again he did not see his shadow.

This annual bit of theatre arrived the same time we are reading about horrendous blizzards in China that killed some, stranded millions, collapsed 100,000 homes, and have wrecked winter crops. But it’s winter, right? Well, how about the snowstorms in the Middle East? In January, dozens died in Iran after being stranded in their cars by blizzards. Jerusalem was blanketed with heavy snow. But it’s winter, right?

In January 2007 there was a major freeze in California and in April a severe freeze hit the Midwest and South East. In the first weeks of 2008, there have been some equally severe blizzards and freezes in parts of the nation. The Cascade snowfall was 150% above normal. A number of record low temperatures occurred across the U.S. But it’s winter, right?

If you want to check out the weather, you can visit NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center at They have the data on 2007’s worldwide major weather events.

Weather watchers noticed for example that, by July 2007, Alaska’s glaciers had advanced one-third of a mile in less than a year. Glaciers normally tend to be…well, glacial. But in October 2007, there were reports that the Mont Blanc glacier on the border of northern Italy and France almost doubled in four years. When glaciers begin to grow it is a sign that the weather is getting colder and over long enough periods of time to permit and encourage such growth.

So, yes, it’s winter, but some of us are not so sanguine about what we’re seeing. Some of us think that, because we are at the end of the typical interglacial period of about 11,500 years, these blizzards and glaciers that are on the move likely signal the arrival of a new ice age. And when it comes, it will arrive very swiftly. The last one left wooly mammoths frozen in place with their last meal still fresh in their belly when the scientists dug them up.

To learn more about this, visit, a website that Robert W. Felix maintains. He authored “Ice Age Now”, a book filled with the science about ice ages and the prediction that the real climate drama coming soon will be a whole new ice age.

An earlier change in the climate chased the Vikings out of a place they called Greenland because, when they arrived, it was green. During the mini-ice age from 1300 to around 1850, the Thames River in London froze over and Napoleon’s army was destroyed by the cold after it failed to conquer Russia. Here in the U.S., it made for a very cold winter in Valley Forge.

That’s the thing about ice ages, large and small, they do not take into account the problems for humans. They, like the bogus “global warming”, are not caused by humans. They are the result of forces far greater than anything humans can create. Or stop.

But, hey, it’s winter, right?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Irrational Legislation

By Alan Caruba

I heard from Friends of the Earth, a huge environmental organization, who one would think would favor the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007 being advanced by Senate Democrats. It would impose a cap-and-trade program to force reductions of so-called greenhouse gas emissions.

FOE, however, was wailing about the way “it lavishes up to $1 trillion on industries responsible for global warming and in return asks for reduction targets well below what scientists say are necessary.” This is typical of the Greens for whom enough is never enough. It also reflects their insane hatred of the very industries that underpin the nation’s economy, i.e., jobs, exports, the whole enchilada.

This legislation is unnecessary for one reason. There is no global warming and the primary greenhouse gas the Greens are forever worrying about, carbon dioxide, constitutes barely 0.038% of the earth’s atmosphere. For the mathematically challenged, that is less than half of half a percent.

Thus there is no need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. To do so means wrecking the economy.

Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, recently had a commentary posted on the website of Tech Central Station titled “How Not to Address Climate Change.” You may have noticed that the Greens now routinely talk about “climate change” as opposed to “global warming.” For the record, over the past 4.5 billion years of the earth’s existence, there has not been a single day without some climate change occurring.

Green said that, “cap-and-trade schemes are fundamentally flawed, and particularly ill-suited to greenhouse gas control.” This is assuming that any real reductions could ever be achieved without returning human society to a time when horses were the primary means of transportation and the Industrial Revolution had not begun.

Even putting aside the fact the European Union has had a cap-and-trade scheme for several years during which none of the nations have ever met its reduction goal, Green correctly identifies the Lieberman-Warner Act as "an irrational policy."

The Act would require U.S. per capita emissions to fall by a total of 13.8 percent over the 2000-2012 period, plus an additional 20.2 percent from 2012 to 2020, and a further 27.6 percent from 2020 to 2030. This adds up to "about 25 to 35 times greater " than all of the emissions from 1990 to 2000. This represents a “regulatory drag on economic growth” and no growth, as you might have noticed lately, means no new jobs and the likely loss of many existing ones.

Green also notes that such schemes provide “incentives to cheat.” Lastly, it would generate “a perpetual group of rent-seekers—those raking in profits in new carbon trading” that would want more and more restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, need it be pointed out that, aside from the fact that there is no threat of global warming (the earth is actually showing clear signs of a climate cooling trend) such a program is utterly and completely useless unless every other nation on earth also reduces its greenhouse gas emissions and that, my friend, is not going to happen.

This cap-and-trade scheme involving the sale and purchase of “carbon credits” is so completely bogus that, like the financial meltdown resulting from the mortgage loan mess, it would surely cause one that would make the nation’s current financial problems look like a kindergarten picnic.

It is a market based on nothing, on “carbon credits” involving any use of energy. Our entire economy, indeed everything that passes for our lifestyle and standard of living, is based on the use of energy. What better way to destroy it? “Its benefits are non-existent”, said Green.

It is a totally irrational policy. This bill is making its way through the Senate. It is not unlike the December “energy” bill that, among other things, bans the purchase and presumably the manufacture of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb starting in 2012. Its ethanol mandates have driven up the cost of corn around the world and has already led Brazilian ranchers and farmers to destroy a huge section the size of Rhode Island of that nation’s rainforest for more grazing and growing acreage.

We normally call such things unintended consequences, but there is nothing unintended about the Lieberman-Warner bill. Its authors and supporters know exactly what it will do. And they don't care.

Meanwhile, anyone with a wit of sense knows that humans never have and never will have the slightest “control” over the weather or the climate.

You might want to tell your senator that. Only a major wave of resistance, comparable to the way the public was able to stop the recent amnesty bill, will kill this horrid piece of legislation.