Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Fears of the Red Menace

By Alan Caruba

What I am hearing among my friends and colleagues, and what I am reading as we close in on Election Day is fear of the red menace.

While vast numbers of Americans, out of ignorance or indifference, choose to ignore Barack Obama’s long family and developmental history of associations with hard-core Marxists, those that have taken notice believe that, once elected, he will not let loose the reins of power and the change he promises will mark the end of the American republic.

One friend and fellow blogger put it this way: “Our fellow Americans, (on the left side of the American political spectrum) have mistakenly read the Right’s current state of mind as “fear of losing the election.” They could not be more wrong. It is not fear of losing the election. It is, however, fear of losing our country and the growing resignation that It is already too late to stop the sprint toward an inevitable conflict between citizens of what used to be the greatest country on the planet.”

Equally outspoken has been Sher Zieve, a popular commentator whose work appears on a number of conservative websites. In a recent piece, she asked, “Is the USA ready for an American Stalin?”

Most conservatives know by now that Obama was “a red diaper baby” raised by a mother with Marxist sympathies and, after she left him with her parents, they continued his education by having a Communist Party U.S.A. representative in Hawaii, Frank Marshall Davis, serve as a mentor. He started his political career in the living room of former Weather Underground terrorists, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

Standing out from this group was Saul Alinsky, a Marxist who wrote a seminal book on how to use “community organizing” as a guise to introduce communism “by lulling the middle class into a false sense of comfort with the organizer’s ideas.”

Zieve predicts that “You will not be able to vote him out of office.”

I have lived more than seven decades at this point and I do not recall such a palpable sense of fear in the conversations I have had of late.

Some fear the end of Second Amendment protection of their right to own guns. Some 80 million Americans own guns and it is doubtful many will voluntarily give them up. We could see militias spring up on this issue alone.

Others fear the complete restructuring of the U.S. economy because of Obama’s constant criticism of corporations, CEOs, Wall Street, and the need to tax the “rich”, and to change other key elements of our capitalist economy. A major restructuring is likely what he has in mind when he talks about change. With a Democrat controlled Congress, he can make it happen.

Remember always that the power to tax is the power to destroy.

Most Americans, particularly of a younger generation that grew up reading textbooks that made little or no mention of the millions who died under Stalin’s Soviet regime in the 1930s or after Mao Zedong’s Chinese communist regime seized power following World War II. Confiscation of wealth, deportations, famines, and the outright execution of anyone deemed “an enemy of the people” characterize communist takeovers. Fidel Castro did it on a smaller scale when he seized power in Cuba in the late 1950s.

One wants to think such fears of unjustified, but a look at campaign posters for Obama reveal a red star over the words, “Obama. President ‘08.” For my generation, a red star means only one thing, communism.

So, maybe we have a reason to fear a President Obama. We only have a few days left to make sure that does not happen. After that, all bets are off.

The Obama Commercial

By Alan Caruba

The Wednesday evening half-hour, $4 million dollar, television commercial for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama was a masterpiece of imagery.

It was also entirely devoted to class warfare, class envy, and most of all to fear.

This has been the Democrat message since Franklin D. Roosevelt took over the White House in the midst of the Great Depression—the real one, not the Recession the economy has encountered today. We don’t have 15% percent unemployment as was the case in the 1930s, but we do have a vast matrix of costly government programs left over from those times.

Obama’s message and the theme of his campaign are those the Democrat Party has always used to acquire political power. They are the promises about tax cuts that mysteriously never occur once they are in office.

They are about protecting people from every kind of change that could harm them and they promise “change” as a government that will come to their aid in sickness, in their old age, to help their children attend better schools, to help them go to college, and on, and on, and on.

The Obama commercial focused entirely on people struggling against changes in their lives over which they had no control. For example there was a Ford Motor Company couple laid off from their jobs, but no mention is made of the endless federal mandates imposed on all auto companies that drove up the cost of every automobile for everyone, nor the massive union pension and health programs those companies had to agree to in order to stay in business. These and other factors have killed the auto industry in America.

The Obama commercial talked of more teachers and better schools, but ever since the 1960s, the creation of the Department of Education, and the rise of the control over all schools by teachers unions, education in America has declined so sharply that we rank behind many other nations and produce students programmed to believe government is the answer but it has been federal government that has destroyed local community control over schools and their curriculum.

At one point, Obama said, “I will always be honest with you” and I recalled Jimmy Carter’s promise that “I will never lie to you.” Both candidates arrived out of the political wilderness with very thin resumes to suggest they had the knowledge or ability to run a nation. Carter’s one term in office was a failure in so many ways, but worse, we continue to pay for those failures in foreign and domestic policy.

And wasn’t it Obama who promised to accept public funding for his campaign only to renege on that promise?

At the end of the Obama commercial the scene shifted to the now familiar large crowd of adoring supporters. How long will that last if Obama cannot make the Recession go away? How long will his popularity last if the homeland comes under attack again and we see a weak response? It was the decade of the 1990s during which a two-term, Democrat Clinton administration failed to response with strength against al Qaeda’s bombing of our embassies and other targets. By 2001, the targets were the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

It is the unanticipated problems that test a presidency, not ones that have been around for decades. And, if Americans think that government is the answer, they need to remind themselves of Hurricane Katrina.

On so many levels, the commercial will have appealed to lots of people, young and old, struggling to pay bills, but the American government works best when it gets out of the way of Americans and let’s them begin new businesses, expand existing ones, and conduct business with the least amount of paperwork and other distractions.

That’s not how the government functions these days and, under Obama, the effort to “change” America will continue to add thousands of new laws and regulations to the Federal Register, but the class warfare and class envy will not end, nor will the fear.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Snowy Halloween

By Alan Caruba

Some folks in my home state of New Jersey woke up to a blanket of snow the same week as Halloween. The state’s largest daily headlined the story as “October Surprise: Snowfall snarls traffic and cuts power to 62,000 homes.” In a swath of northern counties, snow fell as if it were mid-winter. Fourteen inches of snow fell at High Point State Park.

Snow in October is, indeed, a surprise to most, but not to those of us who, for years now, have been both debunking the “global warming” hoax and warning about a coming ice age. It may be one of short duration as in the case of the Little Ice Age that gripped the northern hemisphere from around 1300 to 1850 or it could be another like previous, major ice ages that alter history.

If you visit you can read about scores of weather events occurring right now that attest to the way the entire world has gotten much colder of late. Meteorologists track the latest cooling cycle to 1998, making it a decade old at this point with no end in sight for decades to come or longer.

From Austria to Australia, in places like Costa Rica and New Zealand, all around the world the Earth is getting cold and snow is occurring. To ignore this is pure folly.

To continue passing legislation to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other “greenhouse gases” isn’t just stupid, it is lethal. What people are going to need more of is the energy to heat their homes and workplaces. Thwarting the building of more coal-fired or nuclear plants to generate electricity is suicidal.

That is, however, exactly what Congress intends to do and we can anticipate blizzard of legislation, instituting “cap-and-trade” requirements, increases in ethanol requirements, and a host of other poisonous legislation that will severely handicap any recovery from the current financial crisis and inflict a host of allegedly “unintended” consequences.

One of those consequences were the food riots that occurred earlier this year around the world when the price of corn rose in response to U.S. mandates that ethanol be used along with gasoline. Proposed increases in such ethanol use will require engineering changes in new automobiles and likely damage to current models. It is highly corrosive, to the point where it cannot be transported by pipeline, but only by truck. The public is never told that ethanol increases the cost of each gallon of gasoline while at the same time reducing the mileage it gets.

Both candidates for the presidency profess to believe in global warming. Both are wrong. Both need to visit northern New Jersey or any one of a swath of northeastern states that could well be under a blanket of snow on Election Day.

A lot of scary ghosts, goblins, and other creatures will go trick or treating on Halloween, but future Halloweens will likely be scary for the early arrival of winter conditions similar to those experienced this week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forgetting 9/11's Legacy of Fear

By Alan Caruba

As the election nears, it occurred to me that we have forgotten the fear that we felt on 9/11, the shorthand for the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. It has been replaced by a new set of widespread fears that are communicated to me every day either personally or via the Internet.

I am talking about fears of a government under the aegis of a President Obama that abandons the U.S. Constitution and imposes its authority via martial law, declarations of emergency powers, and the myriad ways it can intrude into the privacy of our homes and lives. I am talking about a President Obama for whom there is plenty of proof—whole books—that reveal his Marxist views.

I am currently reading “Homeland Insecurity” by Terry D. Turchie and Dr. Kathleen Puckett ($25.95, History Publishing Company). Turchie is a former Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI and his co-author is a former FBI clinical psychologist. Together they provide a defense of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by examining how a dozen Washington, D.C. politicians have, over the years, compromised national security in their personal quest for political power.

We became aware of this after 9/11 when we learned that a “wall” had been put in place between the FBI and other national security agencies that made it impossible for them to share knowledge of internal and external threats. Incredibly, the person most responsible for it, Jamie Gorelick, was selected to serve on the 9/11 Commission. The authors deem the Commission to be little more than an exercise to excuse Congress from its responsibility for the circumstances that permitted the attack to occur.

Indeed, from the days of the Watergate scandal, charges have been leveled against the FBI to discredit it despite the fact that it was a high ranking FBI official, Mark Felt, who secretly assisted the two Washington Post reporters in revealing the corruption that had infected the Nixon White House.

9/11 wiped out an estimated one trillion dollars from the nation’s GDP in 2001 and I still recall George W. Bush telling us that the way to respond to it was to “go out and shop.” In the meantime, the Patriot Act was pulled off the shelf and voted into law, allowing all manner of government invasion into our lives on the mere suspicion that we might constitute a threat. Targeting the real terrorists, however, has been spotty at best if one takes a tally of cases brought against jihadists in the U.S. since 9/11.

The main theme of “Homeland Insecurity” is the view that “The political culture of Washington, D.C., operates on the principle that power enables privilege just as the royal courts of Europe functioned. Privilege shared creates its own favored class exempt from legal and social rules that govern other citizens.” None of that bodes well for the rest of us.

What I am hearing from people is the belief that the Obama administration will find a reason to impose dictates on Americans that will facilitate the “redistribution of wealth” and silence its critics.

If you think you were afraid on 9/11, it will be nothing compared to the fear that will spread throughout the nation if these predictions come true.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Year After Obama's Elected

By Alan Caruba

For all the joking about Sen. Barack Obama thinking of himself as “the Messiah” or even, as Minister Farrakhan of the Black Muslim movement declared, being the Messiah, the fact of the matter is that he is just a man.

Granted, he may be one of the most politically ambitious men to have attained high office, but a year after he has been elected President—and I suspect that will be the outcome of the election—people will be asking why he has not turned back the tide of the Recession, ended the job losses, dealt with deflation, responded more forcefully to our enemies, et cetera.

Much like Jimmy Carter was swept into office in response to the public’s anger against the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration, it will not be until Sen. Obama has been in office a year or so that voters (and those who didn’t bother to vote) are likely to discover that his “solutions” for the vast economic problems the nation will encounter are no better and likely much worse than they anticipated.

A year into his term, Sen. Obama will not be able to lay all the blame on President Bush and the eight years of Republican profligacy. He will “own” the nation’s troubles and if he and Congress are not seen as solving them, he will be harshly judged. Jimmy Carter lasted one term and set the stage for the remarkable Reagan era. The Democrat Congress that came into power two years ago has accomplished nothing.

The fact is that presidents are as much at the mercy of events beyond their control as everyone else. No one was expecting much from George W. Bush in his first year in office. They were just satisfied that he was not Bill Clinton. Indeed, Clinton had benefited from a 1994 takeover of Congress by the Republicans. Many of the programs and successes he would later claim for himself were the result of that new Congress.

George W. Bush, however, was transformed on September 11, 2001 from merely the fortunate son of a former president to a war-time president and, though people tend to forget, Americans were eager to strike back at their enemy, al Qaeda, and happy to finish off Saddam Hussein, given that Bush 41 had failed to do the job.

If Obama is seen to be weak domestically and foolish with his foreign policy, the script for the midterm elections that will come two years into Sen. Obama’s first term has already been written. The initial euphoria will have disappeared by then.

Presumably the Republican Party will have been sobered by its defeats and will have restructured itself to some degree by then. If, however, it remains solely the anti-abortion party, the military intervention party, and deficit spending party, it will not see power again for a long time.

Likewise, if the Democrats do raise taxes on everyone and engage in welfare state behavior, a lot of Americans will decide that John McCain was right when he warned against a president who wanted to “redistribute the wealth.”

It’s one thing to draw enormous crowds while running for office, but those same crowds have been known to turn up in Washington, D.C. when things go terribly wrong. They march against what they see as policy failures and they are angry.

As Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” He also said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Man From Mombassa

By Alan Caruba

I have a friend who recently referred to Sen. Barack H. Obama as “the man from Mombassa.”

It made me think of a line from the film, “Out of Africa”, in which the main character has dammed a tributary to irrigate her coffee farm only to have it break through. Her African man servant explains to her, “This river, memsab, wants to go to Mombassa”, perfectly capturing the futility of trying to alter its natural course.

The media, the Democrat Party, and the candidate have devoted all their energies to convincing America that Sen. Obama’s ascension to the presidency is inevitable. He is called, often derisively, “the One” and not long ago, Minister Farrakhan of the Black Muslim movement, declared him to be “the Messiah.”

Though the mainstream press has a virtual wall of silence around the story, the fact is that several civil suits have been filed in different states to require Sen. Obama to prove conclusively that he is a native-born American citizen. The best known of these suits has been dismissed because the attorney who initiated it was deemed not to have “standing” to do so.

However, as a citizen of the United States, it can be argued that he had plenty of standing!

That’s because the Constitution states in Article II, Section 1 "No Person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."

The cliché is that where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Here are some of the allegations refuting Barack Obama's claim of natural birth in the U.S., all raising doubt as to Obama's actual place of birth and qualification to run for president. It is asserted that he was born in Mombassa, Kenya in 1961 while his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was married to Barack Obama Sr., a Kenyan.

Additionally, there is an allegation that Obama's Kenyan grandmother claims that Obama was born in Kenya. When his mother, divorced from Obama Sr., married Lolo Soetoro and moved to Indonesia, Obama was adopted by Soetoro and became an Indonesian citizen. While in Indonesia Obama’s name was changed to Barry Soetoro; Obama traveled to Pakistan in 1981 under an Indonesian passport when Pakistan was a no-travel zone for Americans.

A lawsuit in Honolulu in the First District Court is seeking a court-order to open Obama's birth records. Obama has thus far neglected a Freedom of Information request for the records at two hospitals in Hawaii.

Lawsuits in Washington, Georgia, California, Florida, New York and Connecticut are seeking state Superior Courts to force the states' Secretary of State, as the chief state elections officer, to perform their state constitutional duties to require original certifying birth records from Mr. Obama that would verify his birth in Hawaii.

Philip Berg's months-long lawsuit in Federal Court in Philadelphia reached a dramatic plateau as Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) failed to respond to the court that Mr. Obama is not a natural born U.S. Citizen and therefore not qualified to run for office of President of the U.S.

Berg asserts that his campaign committee "admitted" to Obama's non-qualification by their failure to respond to a 30-day court ordered discovery in which Obama and the DNC were required to answer Berg’s petition. Mr. Berg, a Democrat, has stated that he will appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. As noted, his initial suit was dismissed, but even judges have ambitions to rise within the system and declaring a national election null and void because the presidential candidate does not meet constitutional requirements is a surefire way to put an end to such ambitions.

The only way left for citizens to avoid a Constitutional crisis will be to exercise their right by voting against Sen. Obama.

If, indeed, he is disqualified by virtue of not having been a natural-born citizen, it means that as a lawyer and teacher of constitutional law he clearly knew he did not qualify to do so. If so, that is such an egregious lie that he not only should not be permitted to hold the highest office, but should consider returning to the land of his birth.

He is surely not the only candidate for president to have lied to advance his campaign, but he may turn out be the only one who never had the right to have run at all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Immigration in Reverse

By Alan Caruba

America has an estimated twelve million illegal immigrants and, for an increasing number of them, the downturn in the economy, particularly in the housing construction sector, is even worse for them than for native-born Americans.

An Associated Press report out of San Diego says that “Thousands of Latin American immigrants both legal and illegal are going back home…” Hard hit along with housing construction are the landscaping and restaurant industries.

The reverse immigration out of the nation will hit Mexico hard and officials there are predicting that between 20,000 and 30,000 above the usual number will head home, not just for the holidays, but because there is no work to be found here. They will return to a nation suffering from the increasing carnage of bodies resulting from the wars between the drug cartels.

The hard times are reflected as well in the fact that illegal aliens are sending less money back home. It has been between $25 and $50 billion a year in good times. Many from Latin American nations have come here illegally to support their families and they are not just Mexicans. However, other than Mexico’s oil industry, remittances have represented a significant part of that nation’s economy.

Add to that the estimated $338 billion that illegal aliens cost Americans in terms of welfare, food assistance, education for their children, incarceration for crimes, and the estimated losses in wages to native-born Americans whose jobs they take. There is a long list of ways illegals are a drag on the economy and the taxpayers who maintain it.

Reportedly, the vast majority of Mexican immigrants who have lived here for a few years will stay put because job prospects in Mexico are far worse than here. Then, too, both candidates for president are in favor of extending yet another amnesty. That alone will keep them struggling to remain, despite the overwhelming opposition from native-born Americans.

Americans are learning that there is a price to be paid for not maintaining our borders and those that have crossed them illegally are learning that the “free lunch” they’ve enjoyed so far may be coming to an end.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Everything is in Free Fall

By Alan Caruba

It increasingly seems that not only is the economy in free fall, but so too have been the nation’s cultural values. I do not know if there is a link, but I would not be surprised if there was.

When it was announced that some pornographer was making a film, “Nailin’ Pailin”, featuring a Gov. Sarah Palin look-a-like, it struck me that this was some kind of nadir in the way our society has permitted commonly held values to erode. Exploiting a candidate for Vice President in this fashion reflects a loss of all restraint. We live, however, in a society where most girls have lost their virginity around the age of 17.

The Democrat candidate for President, Sen. Barack Obama, reportedly thinks it is okay to allow babies born as the result of a failed abortion to die. Having reneged on a pledge to take only public funding for his campaign, he has reaped millions from private donations, some of which are suspected to have originated in foreign nations. There are numerous investigations of a voter registration group with which he has been associated. Etc, etc, etc.

The Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, has not had to contend with comparable allegations because his life is pretty much an open book as opposed to Sen. Obama’s that lacks even the most modest paper trail, nor any indication he knows how to run any kind of enterprise, least of all the government of this nation.

We are about to arrive at an Election Day not unlike the one in 1932 in the midst of the last Great Depression when voters turned to Franklin D. Roosevelt to save them from ruin. The fear then was palpable and it is today as well.

Citizens expect their economic system to be managed prudently, carefully, and wisely. Ours has been managed by children in Congress and a White House for whom there were no known financial restraints. That contagion spread to Wall Street.

It is instructive that the higher Sen. Obama is in the polls, the worse the market gets as investors sell off their stocks, banks refuse to make loans, and corporations announce more layoffs in anticipation of an imploding economy.

What has taken place is the wildest spending spree in history as both federal and state governments, and individuals ran up huge debts while putting no savings aside for a proverbial rainy day. This is in part a reflection of a culture in which debt was encouraged and a belief that growth was inevitable. It is a culture that came to believe that the government would protect everyone from cradle to grave.

That’s not the job of government. If you check the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, you will note that among the government’s most essential functions is to “establish justice” and “provide for the common defense.”

The Founding Fathers threw in “promote the general welfare” which is a phrase that has been so severely distorted that we have several giant federal bureaucracies such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy, neither of which has demonstrated any useful contribution. Then, of course, there’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two “government sponsored” agencies that are responsible for the economic meltdown.

Most importantly, the Founding Fathers understood that the Constitution was intended to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” If a new Congress institutes a “fairness doctrine” on the broadcast media, the liberty to express views contrary to those approved by the government will largely vanish. Talk radio will become pure pabulum and television news will become so “balanced” as to provide no insight whatever. You can be sure that the tentacles of government control will be extended to the Internet.

When you add in the spread of atheism throughout our society, you can see how the former values of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and living by a Judeo-Christian moral code have been severely eroded.

Note, too, that a nation that will not safeguard its borders ceases to have a coherent and cohesive population.

Add in widespread belief in pseudo-scientific nonsense about “global warming”, used to justify efforts to thwart the provision of energy to a growing population, and you have the conditions that, when mixed with economic failure, could lead to either fascism or anarchy. History demonstrates that most people will choose fascism.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Green Drivel, Green Deceit

By Alan Caruba

We are all so besieged by the drivel that Greens put out daily that it is easy to forget how idiotic it is and, in many cases, how deceitful it is.

I recently received an emailed news release with the following headline: “If you don’t know what to buy for the holidays, the Better World Shopping Guide will help you decide.” The Guide is described as “a must-have guide for the socially and environmentally responsible consumer or those who want to improve their awareness.”

The guide purports to evaluate 1,000 companies and 75 product categories to determine “a product’s value by price point and its cost to society…” This, my friends, is bull feathers! When you are buying Christmas gifts this year, buy something the recipients will actually enjoy. If you’re in the mall trying to figure out which product threatens all life on Earth, you are certifiably insane.

Slowly, but surely, people are beginning to realize that the environmental movement is not about saving the Earth, but about destroying everything that passes for industry, business, and the enhancement of human life through the use of every kind of energy for transportation and other purposes.

An example of this is a recent editorial in New Scientist magazine titled, “The Folly of Growth: How to stop the economy killing the planet.” Using the “environment” to hide behind, all manner of lies are put forth to justify everything from preposterous schemes such as “cap and trade” of “greenhouse gas emissions”, also sometimes called “pollution credits”, to the claim that we have to scrap the most effective means of generating electricity, coal and nuclear, for wind turbines and solar panels.

The famous line from the movie about the Watergate scandal was “Follow the money.” Who will get rich selling “carbon/pollution credits”? Al Gore and his friends. Who benefits from efforts such as a proposition on the ballot in San Francisco to require that only “clean” energy be used? The owners and investors in wind and solar energy.

The bonus for the Greens is that these and other schemes will impoverish the economy worse than any sub-prime mortgage meltdown. If you have to pay out millions for “carbon credits”, as utilities around the nation are already doing, the person who gets socked with the cost is ultimately to consumer.

Making energy expensive is the single most effective way of wrecking the economy.

To achieve this goal, the nation’s environmental organizations are pouring millions into getting Barack Obama elected. The trade publication, Greenwire, has published an article that affirms the findings of Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-OK) investigation into the multi-million dollar funding and partisan political activities of environmental groups. They are non-profits that are not supposed to engage in partisan political activities, but as the article points out, “In every instance, the environmental groups are backing the Democrat.”

Whether it’s what to buy for Christmas, the increased cost of the electricity from your utility or national politics, the Greens are involved via propaganda, bizarre schemes to undermine the nation’s energy needs, or who gets elected.

You are being played for a chump while the Greens pick your pockets.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ruining America

By Alan Caruba

George Washington warned against “factions” by which he meant political parties, but even in the earliest days of the new republic, the most natural of human inclinations was to band together with like-minded people to elect one’s preferred candidate to office.

Indeed, in the early years of the nation, elections were the occasion for candidate vilification of a sort that would appall the modern voter. All manner of calumnies and slanders were heaped upon each other by the early candidates and it was considered a perfectly natural way to campaign.

The provision of booze was considered another standard element of running for office. One could whet one’s whistle and get a bite to eat in exchange for listening to speeches and debates. Since this was what passed for entertainment in the days before mass communications, nobody thought it improper.

Eventually, it became the practice of those running for president to not even campaign in any way we’d recognize these days. Instead they stayed home and had surrogates represent them. It would have been deemed unseemly to actually want the high office. You had to be drafted by your friends and admirers.

For a long time in U.S. history, if you hadn’t been tested in battle, you might as well not even run for public office. Teddy Roosevelt so hungered for the warrior’s glory, he put together his own fighting unit, the Rough Riders, to participate in the Spanish-American War.

Today’s political battles are fought daily with endless emails and news releases, disputing every word the other side says about anything. Then the television and radio ads pile on. Major issues are reduced to “sound bites” and irrelevant charges about the smallest aspect of the candidate’s look or behavior are instantly analyzed.

In person together for a debate, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain shook hands and exchanged an hour and a half of tedious conversation, elements of which had been carefully tested in advance. Obama did well because he is blessed with a serene demeanor that has nothing to do with his mind-boggling leftist agenda whereas McCain is a mass of twitches, blinking eyes, and inappropriate smiles. It makes one yearn for the polished affability of Ronald Reagan.

If you locked McCain in the Oval Office and sent in sandwiches, he probably would do a very competent job of running the madhouse we call America. Obama, on the other hand, in between sips of his mocha latte will bring the economy to total ruin with the help of a Congress that will more resemble the Russian Duma than anything that passes for an independent, bicameral chamber.

So now, for the remainder of the campaign, we will be assured that the “other” side will destroy the nation and, in the case of the McCain campaign, they will be right to issue such warnings. One need only listen to the ravings of Barney Frank, the lunacy of Nancy Pelosi, or rock bottom stupidity of Harry Reid, to know that.

I lived through the 1960s with the rioting in the streets, the drugged-out hippies, the terrorists like Bill Ayers, and know I do not want to live in a nation where those perpetrating hostile activities in the name of The Revolution are in charge or at least whispering in the ear of President Obama.

Things look grim. I remember the ugliness surrounding President Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War and the national welfare state he tried to create with his Great Society program. That, in turn, facilitated the election of Richard Nixon. In the wake of the Watergate Scandal that brought down Nixon, we ended up with Jimmy Carter, a virtual unknown with a big toothy smile who turned out to be straight out of Mad Magazine.

Just voting for “change” in bad times ought to require knowing and understanding what that change will be. So, yes, Obama’s “change” will ruin the nation by returning to all the failed programs the Democrats have foisted on us since the days of FDR.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Attention Span of Fungus

By Alan Caruba

We call it “news” because, presumably, the news media is providing us with some “new” information about events in the world. If editors and reporters could not come up with something new to write about, your daily newspaper or television news program or channel would cease to exist.

The problem is that most news is the same news. Only the names change.

There is, of course, the constant issue of bias in the reporting of the news, but quite possibly the most serious problem facing the news media and those of us who consume their offerings is the way our attention span is somewhere between that of fungus and algae.

As case in point is the astounding financial meltdown that eliminated millions, if not trillions, of dollars of value in the stock market, the housing market, imports and exports. We were all “rich”, i.e., had access to credit, and now we are not. Despite what is being hailed as the kick-off to the latest Recession, Americans were devoid of any signs of panic.

The reason, I suggest, was the now depleted American attention span. Credit crisis! Bailout! What’s for dinner?

For a generation whose idea of communication is text messaging “How R U?” the notion that they are avidly following the campaigns or aware of national and world events is laughable.

For an older generation whose water cooler debate focuses on wondering who the hell the Tampa Bay Rays are, an ardent concern with every nuance of the campaign is not to be expected.

An older generation that survived past recessions and wars are about the only people who can be counted upon to actually be conversant with the issues.

So the campaigns are reduced at this point to slogans about Joe the Plumber, shooting moose, and comparable inanities.

To the extent the whole thing has gone on far too long, we have only ourselves and our primary election system to blame.

To the extent that supporters of Barack Obama know virtually nothing about his life, his associates, his political agenda (liberal!), and what he is likely to do if elected, it really doesn’t matter. A short attention span requires only that he look good and speak well.

McCain’s supporters know who he is and presumably what he stands for (Conservative? Moderate? Bi-partisan?) simply because the man has been around so long. No need to pay much attention to John, we’ve heard it all before and now we’re stuck with it.

How many Americans will remember to actually vote is entirely predictable. At least fifty percent of registered voters never bother to vote. How close will this election be? At this time in the last national election, John Kerry was way ahead.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Middle East Flashpoint

By Alan Caruba

What does Joe Biden know that the rest of us don’t? He’s predicting that, if elected, President Barack Obama would be “tested” within six months of taking office. I’m thinking it would be more like six days or six weeks.

The sooner the better would be a factor for anyone seeking to initiate trouble, considering that the new president would not have his administration in place long enough to find out how the whole thing works.

For example, Syria currently has an estimated 6-8,000 troops massed on the North Lebanese border. Hezbollah, an Iranian puppet, is virtually a nation within a nation so far as Lebanon is concerned. It initiated the war against Israel two years ago.

On October 17, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made it known that the Bush administration would “never permit Syria to intervene militarily in Lebanon.” The problem with that is (1) Rice will not be Secretary of State after January 20, 2009; (2) the U.S. does not have the military power to intervene on the ground in Lebanon if Syria attacked; and (3) the last time troops were sent to Lebanon, it was 1983 and several hundred Marines were killed when a suicide car bomber attacked their barracks.

Except for showing up offshore during the last Lebanon-Israel war to evacuate U.S. citizens trapped in Beirut, the likelihood of U.S. military involvement in the next war is slim to none.

So what does Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak suggest? He recently recommended resurrecting the 2002 Saudi plan that offered pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal from all lands captured since the 1967 war. That would include the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the Golan.

Here’s what happened when Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000; a war in 2006. Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 has resulted in constant, daily rocket attacks. Jerusalem was founded by King David over three thousand years ago. Despite being conquered and re-conquered over the centuries, it was and is the capital of Israel, no matter what anyone says. As for the Golan Heights, it’s a perfect place for artillery if you happen to be a Syrian general making war on Israel.

Why these captured lands were not annexed years ago is a question a lot of people have asked without getting a good answer. What we do know is that every Israeli effort to swap “land for peace” has proven to be a disaster.

Israel remains a flashpoint in the Middle East simply because the despots who run the nations in the region have found it convenient to denounce its only democracy. Now, however, it’s definitely less convenient and the reason for that is Iran. Even though its economy is in the toilet, Iran continues to fund terrorists in Lebanon and Gaza while pressing ahead to become a nuclear power.

Imagine if Saudi Arabia announced it was going to recognize Israel’s sovereignty and open up formal diplomatic relations? What if Egypt went along? And Jordan? And the Gulf states? Maybe even Iraq? All of a sudden, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran are the ones that are isolated.

It would, in effect, make life more difficult for a lot of volatile, difficult to control bad guys. It is not as far-fetched as it may seem. The last thing Saudi Arabia and Egypt, among others, want is to find themselves threatened by a belligerent, aggressive, nuclear Iran. And the only nation in the region that could inflict a lot of hurt on Iran is Israel.

Considering that the U.S. under a President Obama would significantly draw down its forces in Iraq and likely reconsider its commitments in Afghanistan, the leaders of nations in the Middle East are going to have to come up with some kind of plan. That could be hastened by another Lebanon-Israel war while Syria sneaks in the backdoor to regain control of Lebanon.

I hope Joe Biden is wrong. I suspect he’s right. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

When You and Everyone Else You Know Are Crazy

By Alan Caruba

We are now entering the final two full weeks of the campaigns and, if you feel like you and everyone else you know is crazy, you’re right.

Elections bring out the worst in everyone because, without close friends and family with whom we can share our real feelings, we are required to be very polite and tolerant of the views of everyone who is voting for the other guy who is not your choice.

To make matters worse, if you are passionately devoted to one candidate, getting through the final two weeks requires that you mute all of the other candidate’s commercials, stop listening to the news on television, and read only the sports section of the daily newspaper.

The feeling that you are being manipulated does not come from some weird paranoid delusion. You are being manipulated. That’s what elections are all about. That’s what all those promises are about. That’s why you think the candidate you are not voting for thinks you’re a moron.

By the way, both candidates think you’re a moron.

This election will be further exacerbated by (1) the vast contempt voters have for Congress in general and George W. Bush in particular; (2) the vague feeling that either candidate is unqualified for the job based on their positions on the issues; and (3) the sure feeling that the nation is in a Recession that is going to get worse.

You’d have to be nuts not to be nuts by the time Election Day arrives.

Many voters have been nuts for a very long time. They include people (1) who think the Earth is warming even though it has been in a cooling cycle for a decade; (2) those who think that electricity that is generated by coal or nuclear power is a bad thing even though those two sources currently produce over 70% of all electricity; and (3) those who think a Black President will convince the rest of the world that America is not as racist as every other nation.

Invariably, all families have people who will vote for the other candidate. This ruins the Thanksgiving Day dinner every election year.

The point being that elections are a period of mass psychosis in which candidates make appeals to the reason that has long since deserted us after months of listening to the candidates, their surrogates, and the pundits telling us what the polls mean and which states are in play.

Since the craziness affects Democrats and Republicans equally, the few people who dislike both parties and their candidates are left to decide who wins for the rest of us.

Will things change if Obama is elected? Yes, they will get worse. Will things change if McCain is elected? Yes, they will get worse. It’s only a matter of degree.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

With "Friends" Like These

By Alan Caruba

In a recent letter to its members, Friends of the Earth, one of the larger environmental organizations, claimed that “warming means war.”

Like all the diehard Greens that have sought to foist a bogus “global warming” hoax on the nation and the world, FOE is growing more desperate to use this great lie to impose restrictions on the nation’s economic growth that are aimed at the development of our national energy reserves.

Claiming that “more oil drilling” and other energy sources, including coal, are an “addiction to dirty energy”, the FOE assert that their worldwide use, combined with “global warming” will “weaken failed states, cause famine and poverty, population shifts, water shortages, flooding and other unpredictable consequences.”

This is a direct contradiction of the fact that energy is the “master resource” that distinguishes advanced nations from those striving for greater development. It is no accident that China is building coal-fired plants to generate the electricity it needs or that India has embarked on an ambitious program to build nuclear facilities for the same reason. All around the world, the need for more energy, not less, is recognized as the key to improving people’s lives and nation’s economic growth.

In the name of “national security”, however, FOE demands that the United States “encourage conservation” as the “most rapid way to respond to climate change.” There is climate change, but it is not about warming. The Earth is getting cooler.

FOE goes on to call for the development of “a solar and wind energy-based economy and set a goal of carbon-free/nuclear free” energy. This borders on criminal stupidity and duplicity because solar and wind accounts for only 1% of the energy requirements of the United States. There is no way the nation could or should convert to these inefficient and impractical sources. Neither would even exist were it not for billions in taxpayer subsidies provided by the federal and state governments.

FOE goes on to call for national leadership on “climate change by committing to reduce emissions.” The greenhouse emissions to which they refer, primarily CO2, play no role whatever in climate change and most certainly the only warming that occurred since the last little ice age ended in 1850 was entirely natural.

Cloaking their global warming lies in the garb of national security and the threat of wars as the result of climate change is the worst kind of propaganda. It is intended to frighten people into accepting solutions to something that is not happening and to do so at a time when our ability to access our own national reserves is critical.

With “Friends” like these, there would be no coal to generate electricity to light our homes and businesses, no oil to fuel our cars, trucks, ships and planes, and no further development of nuclear energy either.

The proposals by Friends of the Earth amount to an attack on our nation every bit as devastating as a military one.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The IRS Will be Hiring

By Alan Caruba

If Barack Obama is elected, the Internal Revenue Service had better double its workforce because the amount of cheating on tax returns will rival Italy’s.

The scariest thing about the final debate between the candidates is that both appear to be utterly oblivious to the way the Stock Market dropped 700 points on Wednesday after a brief rally the day before.

Hearing either candidate talk about spending billions to fix this or that was surreal. I don’t even know how deep in debt the nation is at this writing, but I am of the view that we don’t have billions to “fix” education, health care, or anything else. Of course, John McCain did talk about taking an axe to the budget and Barack Obama did talk about using a scalpel, but who’s kidding who here?

Any budget cutting would be an improvement over the last eight years of George W. Bush’s failure to veto any spending bill Congress, controlled by Republicans until 2006, sent his way. Only after a Democrat epiphany did W actually wield the veto in the name of fiscal prudence. By then it was too late and talk of $700 billion bailouts filled the air.

It is essential to remember that the current crisis is entirely the creation of Democrats. Starting with Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, exacerbated by Jimmy Carter’s and Bill Clinton’s exploitation of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, ignored by congressional oversight, the Democrats own this one.

It’s no comfort that Speaker Nancy Pelosi cannot wait to get the House to enact a bushel of new spending bills. The Senate historically has been a break on the short-term Representatives (two years versus the Senate’s six year terms) who, when not devoting most of their day raising money for reelection, spend the rest of it on, well, spending the public treasury for various pet projects and special interests.

Congress seems to exist in some parallel universe that has no connection to the rest of the nation. Its disconnect can be seen in the way, since Jimmy Carter was in office, Congress has actively worked against any exploration or extraction of the nation’s oil, natural gas, and coal reserves. It imposed “windfall taxes” and other restrictions until now there are only three oil companies of any size, mostly due to mergers. Now Congress apparently hates coal, too.

Then there was the creation of the Department of Education, contrary to the Constitution that excludes federal involvement by not mentioning it. It effectively has nationalized the education system with a one-size-fits-all policy that totally ignores the fact that different children in different places learn at different rates. The failure of urban schools has less to do with the enormous amounts of money spent per pupil than the crime-infested, jobless streets they must walk to get to school. It’s not like their parents don’t want better schools. They do. The grip of the teacher’s unions makes that nearly impossible.

I could list other government programs, but the point is they all cost a lot of money and a lot of that money is just totally wasted. For example, the government has a host of idiotic programs involving “climate change” when no government on Earth can do a thing about the climate. Likewise, the only reason to maintain a “space” program is to hoist spy and communications satellites into position. Explore Mars? Are you kidding me?

John McCain and the Republicans are right about cutting taxes. If that doesn’t happen, this Recession I assume we’re in, will turn into a full-fledged Depression just like 1929. At that point, we won’t be able to borrow money from China, Japan, and elsewhere. At that point, it won’t matter who’s in Congress or the White House because they created the problem.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Avocado Index: High Finance in Hard Times

By Alan Caruba

I have what I call my “Avocado Index.” I happen to like avocadoes, even if they are an acquired taste. My problem, however, is that a single avocado now costs $2.50 at my local supermarket.

They used to cost a lot less, but over the last three years, they have gone from barely affordable at around $1.50 each to the present level. In earlier times, if you paid 50 cents for one, it was a lot.

So I can pretty much determine the state of the economy in the produce section of the supermarket where I now pass by the avocadoes and artichokes. It’s a matter of principle with me. I will not pay that much for a vegetable.

The other day I was walking by the theatre where I took my first date to a Saturday matinee. I think we were both in sixth grade. The price of a ticket then—it was the late 1940s—was 15 cents. Back then, the Maplewood Theatre was huge. A giant cavern of a place and the screen was equally huge. Now it’s a metroplex that’s been carved into some five or so small theatres with small screens. The price of a ticket for “adults” is $9.50, “seniors” get in for $7.50, and children are admitted for a mere $5.50.

I knew there was a reason I have not seen a movie in a theatre, any theatre, in a very long time. Still, the price of a ticket was a shock to me. The theatre marquee, somewhat disguised, appears in a scene from the 1998 movie, “One True Thing”, with Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger, and William Hurt.

As the economy shudders from the current crisis—one that a lot of people saw coming and warned about—the sales notices posted outside some of the town’s shops are indicative of the fact that not just bank loans are hard to get, but that shopkeepers as well as major chains are discovering that people are increasingly reluctant to spend as they did when credit was king and the price of housing knew no limit.

I stopped to talk with Bob Klein. His father had a real estate business in my hometown and Bob runs it now. Why, I asked were the prices of houses still so high? He just smiled. “It’s Maplewood,” he said and I knew exactly what he meant. This picture perfect town has long been a magnet for those who hopped the train into New York for a twenty minute commute or could drive to the campuses of the many corporate headquarters in northern New Jersey. The schools routinely sent kids onto Ivy League universities.

Four years ago I sold the home I had shared with my parents since 1942. That’s sixty-two years. I sold because my property taxes had doubled even though not much about that old house had changed over the years. Some things had been upgraded, but it was essentially the house they bought long ago. The “new” furnace, many years old, ran on gas instead of the coal I used to shovel into the old one as a kid.

That house sold for a lot of money. It was completely refurbished by the contractor who bought and then flipped it for even more money. In the four years since, a family came and went in my former home and a new one lives there now; two families in four years. Compare that to sixty-two years. Today, on the little street where I lived, of its ten houses, two are for sale, though one actually fronts on a street that borders the elementary school.

I went to Jefferson school from kindergarten to sixth grade. Now it’s just for third through fifth or some such nonsense. Kids are bussed there from across town. A kid who lives on my street today might actually have to get on a bus instead of being able to walk to the schoolyard at one end.

I tell you this to give you a sense of the changes in one little northern New Jersey town. It’s a place that prides itself still on its tree-lined streets, its manicured lawns and gardens, its “village”, a shopping center that no longer has a five-and-dime store, a hardware store, a men’s wear store or a pharmacy. You have to drive somewhere else to get these things. Now I buy most everything I need on the Internet.

Outwardly the town looks very much the same as it did when I was a child, but avocadoes cost $2.50. A movie ticket costs $9.50. And the houses are priced for a king’s ransom.

Must-See You Tube Video

Philip Berg has been an active Democrat, as well as an attorney. His credentials in both areas are solid. He has filed a case to obtain proof that Barack Obama is, in fact, a U.S. citizen. If he is not, he is ineligible to run for or be president.
In this video, Berg discusses the elements of the case. Obama has failed and refused to provide papers to the court demonstrating that he meets the requirements to be president. The case will move forward.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too Close to Call

By Alan Caruba

As someone who gives praise to a merciful God for the invention of the Internet connection to my banking information, I will not pretend that I understand much about the arithmetic of polls except that they seem to be wrong a great deal of the time.

There are so many variables regarding how a poll is conducted, the respondents, the nature of the questions asked, and the fact such things are then quantified and expected to be “accurate” in any sense of that word has got to qualify as a miracle.

To put it another way, people change their minds all the time. The candidates are essentially pitching their message at this point to the great, messy mob of “independents” and “undecideds.”

So here’s what I am thinking. I am thinking the race is so close that everyone involved, the candidates, their campaign teams, and the media mob pursuing them do not want to admit that it’s a toss-up.

The other day John McCain positioned himself as behind Barack Obama, telling a crowd that they had to turn out on Election Day and drag their Aunt Sarah to the polls with them. It was a passing statement and many candidates find it advantageous to suggest that they are battling to “come from behind” and need their followers to make a special effort.

Years ago, I used to assist the Republican committee in my little hometown. The town had been solidly Republican for decades, but then lots of young Democrats began to move in. One evening it was obvious that the only Republicans left were about a dozen of us sitting around in the mayor’s living room. All this talk of Red States, Blue States and Purple States is really a discussion of who has moved in or out.

The fact is that Obama is ahead in dollars and television commercials. I can’t remember the last campaign ad for McCain I’ve seen in the New York tri-state area.

I suspect that the GOP has had more than its share of problems getting the rank and file to pony up some bucks for McCain and other candidates. Since the base is definitively conservative and since the Republicans in Congress were spending as fast as the Democrats, the party is dealing with a lot of disaffected members.

Disaffected, but not suicidal. Even if they didn’t send money, that doesn’t mean Republicans won’t show up on Election Day. Most like what McCain is saying and, in the end, it is votes that matter.

Finally, the notion is beginning to circulate among the cognoscenti that this financial meltdown has occurred far too conveniently just before the election. To the extent that such things can be manipulated, the financial crisis could not have come at a more advantageous time for the Obama campaign.

I would bet that the financial crisis is the “October surprise” that people always talk about as affecting campaigns just before Election Day.

What I find more interesting, however, is how swiftly the stock market seems to be rebounding. The government opens the spigots of the Federal Reserve and, within a week or so, everybody has concluded that the problem has been solved.

Too close to call is my take on the campaign. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race as an Election Factor

By Alan Caruba

I find it remarkable that so little attention has been paid to the role of race in the 2008 election, especially since, for the first time in the nation’s history, one of the parties has nominated a man who, though biracial, identifies himself as Afro-American or Black.

Throughout most of America’s elections, race was a factor, going all the way back to the way opponents of Thomas Jefferson spread rumors of a relationship between him and his slave, Sally Hemmings. Turned out the rumors were true, but Jefferson became our third president anyway.

Slavery, a racial and moral issue, would eventually lead to a rupture among the states, much as the Founding Fathers had feared when they created the Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederacy. A Civil War would be fought to settle the matter. What followed was a century of suppression of blacks and a resistance, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, that would erupt in the 1960s.

A lot of people, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, concluded that at last America had put the issue of race and bias behind it. Not so. The vast majority of those in poverty today are descendents of those Black Americans who were granted a further layer of protection of their constitutional rights in the 1960s.

Add to them a whole new layer of society in the form of a huge influx of illegal aliens, primarily Mexicans and those of Hispanic descent, some of whom were granted citizenship via an amnesty in 1986. A second effort to provide amnesty to an estimated twelve million illegal aliens was defeated in 2006 due to a massive public outcry.

In a new book, “Segregation: The Rising Costs for America”, its authors argue that, “By the middle of this century, today’s minorities will constitute half of the U.S. population and that fast-growing population is disproportionately impoverished, ill-housed, poorly educated, and tenuously linked to labor markets.”

The book was published just as the financial system of the nation crashed, due almost entirely to laws that required mortgage loans, called sub-prime, be made to minorities in order that they be able to live in homes that they could not afford.

Thus, a liberal program based on the view that the poor have a “right” to live beyond their means has created a crisis that has destroyed several banks and investment firms, and imperiled one of the nation’s largest insurance firms. Much of the value of stocks has been lost as well. This is a financial crisis that is the direct result of a foolish notion that was entirely rooted in the politics of race.

The problems associated with crime in America are largely rooted in race and the failure to stem the tide of illegal aliens. The nation’s jails are filled with minorities. A recent study indicates that one out of every nine Black males, aged 20 to 34, is behind bars. Hispanics make up a third of those incarcerated. By 2003, the nation’s prison population had passed two million.

It is one thing to open doors to opportunity. It is quite another to get people to walk through them. In the case of the illegal aliens, even the fences at the border could not keep them out and, once here, they are instant criminals breaking our immigration laws.

One man, Barack Obama, has risen to challenge for the highest position in the land. He has been received by cheering crowds. And he is indisputably Black.

I think it would be a great mistake to think that Barack Obama’s racial identity would contribute to a reduction in any of the social problems afflicting America’s Black community. If anything, a Democrat controlled Congress is likely to repeat and exacerbate the same kinds of mistakes that produced the current financial crisis.

Indeed, just as politicians used race in former times to influence the outcome of an election, Obama is the consummate politician and will do the same. If anything, Obama’s race, if he is elected, could lead to unrealistic expectations and possibly even social unrest.

Some may vote for him out of “white guilt” over offenses done to Blacks in a previous era, but no one living today ever owned a slave. Those whites who grew up in the segregated South, as often as not will tell you they were as trapped in its constrictions as Blacks. Most are glad to see the Jim Crow era gone.

But in countless ways segregation is not gone and it is practiced every day on a purely voluntary basis. Watch how students segregate themselves by race in a high school cafeteria. Watch how their parents segregate themselves by race when they attend church on Sunday. Watch how the two races tend to congregate in largely separate sections of a community.

Segregation or human nature? Discrimination or the choice of people to live among those who share their race, their heritage, their values, their culture? There is a historic reason one can visit San Francisco’s or New York’s famed China Towns. Depending on where you live recent tides of Russians, Asians and of course Hispanics have created their own “towns.”

Remember, too, that even in Congress there is a Black Caucus. On October 12 Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and veteran of the civil rights movement, said that the negative tone of the Republican presidential campaign reminded him of the hateful atmosphere that segregationist Gov. George Wallace fostered in Alabama in the 1960s. It doesn’t get more absurd than that. The politics of race is alive and well.

If anything, I think whites can take a bow. They have proved themselves capable of eliminating the barriers that previously existed for racial minorities. A lot of white people voted for Obama in the primaries; more than voted for Hillary Clinton.

What barriers exist appear to be endemic to the vast majority of America’s Black community, long passed the marches of the 1960s, long past the 1995 Million Man March, and now, if Obama is elected, soon to be launched into an era where there will be no one left to blame.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

At the Core of Election Corruption

By Alan Caruba

A lot of people who know politics far better than I are beginning to openly worry if John McCain can close the gap with Barack Obama. At a time when voter registration investigations and scandals are erupting in more than a dozen states, McCain insists on calling Obama “a decent man”, but his record suggests otherwise.

At the heart of the voter registration abuses is an organization called ACORN, an acronym for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and Obama has a long history with it.

ACORN is officially a taxpayer-supported “non-partisan” organization. The truth, however, is that ACORN has an anti-free market, radical socialist agenda.

1985 - 88 Barack Obama’s political mentor was ACORN’s Madeleine Talbot. Barack Obama trained Talbot’s ACORN cadre.

1992 - Barack Obama was director of “Project Vote” which coordinated with ACORN.

1993 - 02 Barack Obama was on board of directors of Woods Fund which gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to ACORN.

1995 - Barack Obama was attorney for ACORN in a “motor-voter” case.

1995 – 99 - Barack Obama was chairman of the board for former Weather Underground, domestic terrorist, William Ayer’s Chicago Annenberg Challenge which gave millions of dollars to ACORN.

1999 - Barack Obama endorsed ACORN state chair Ted Thomas for alderman.

2000 – 02 - Barack Obama was on board of directors of William Ayer’s Chicago Annenberg Challenge funneling money to ACORN.

2004 - ACORN endorsed Barack Obama for US Senate.

Feb 2008 - ACORN endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Aug 2008 - Barack Obama’s presidential campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN.

Nov 4 2008 – ACORN’s alledged voter fraud could possibly elect Barack Obama President. Recall how close the Florida race outcome was between Bush and Gore.

The Chicago political machine is virtually the template for political corruption and Obama has been a part of it now for decades. The fact that this raises no doubts or questions in the minds of his supporters is a serious cause for concern for the rest of us.

It well may be that the financial crisis gripping the nation may so distract voters that the wish for “change” will be sufficient for them to ignore some very ugly truths about Obama. If that proves true, the real losers won’t just be John McCain and the Republican Party. It will be the American people.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate" Why You Should Ignore Rumors & Conspiracy Theories

By Alan Caruba

In one of the movies that made the late Paul Newman famous, “Cool Hand Luke”, one of the characters, a prison warden, utters the line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” His point being that he is in charge, not the prisoners.

The various members of the U.S. government, our elected legislators and the President, have failed to communicate—some have said misled—Americans regarding the reasons we are trying to cope with a financial crisis based largely on an issue of trust. We do not trust our government and we do not trust our banking and investment community, and they don't appear to trust each other.

It is at times like this that conspiracy theories and rumors abound.

Take, for example, one put forth by Wayne Madsen, a former naval officer who was assigned to the National Security Agency as well as being a former executive at a Fortune 500 company. Wayne now fashions himself a citizen journalist at That pretty much constitutes all that I know about Madsen other than he does some radio with something called the Republic Broadcasting Network.

On October 9, Madsen reported that he had learned from “knowledgeable Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sources that the Bush administration is putting the final touches on a plan that would see martial law declared in the United States with various scenarios anticipated as triggers.”

Were that the case, President Bush would become the nation’s warden. The triggers, according to Madsen, would include “massive social unrest, bank closures resulting in violence against financial institutions, and another fraudulent presidential election that would result in rioting in major cities and campuses around the country.”

At this point, let it be said that talk of rioting and martial law always circulates in times like these. It’s worth taking careful note of who is doing the talking.

There have been times when rioting occurred, but it has usually involved racial discord. One has to reach back to the days of the Hoover administration for protests regarding the economy, but in that case it was a government riot in which WWI veterans who had descended on Washington, D.C., to demand promised payments for their service were forced from their improvised “Hooverville” shacks by the U.S. Army.

Speculation that the present government and whichever one takes over in January would be dusting off plans in the event of such discord is predictable as well. It is not unlikely that the geniuses who created this financial mess, Congress in particular, are looking at contingency plans in the event the U.S. was to default on its loans and other debts. The fact that the current crisis is international in scope would portend military conflicts if not brought under control.

It is extremely doubtful events would come to that.

All one needs to do is recall the calm with which Americans waited out the Florida vote count and the result of the Bush-Gore election. No riots. Just a giant collective shrug.

What is happening is likely some kind of restructuring of how the international financial system operates in a new age in which a depositor can transfer funds with the click of a computer key. This new crisis is based on very old human error; spending too much, promising too much, pretending a problem does not exist until it can no longer be ignored.

The government has to ramp up its communication skills and programs to reassure Americans and others that, indeed, a rescue plan is in place and will begin to function soon. That’s really what people want to hear.

So far the public has been treated first to a rather panicky Secretary of the Treasury, followed by a droning, boring Secretary of the Treasury, in both cases doing a poor job of explaining anything. Let’s begin by keeping Hank Paulson way from microphones and television cameras. For that matter, President Bush has proven to be a very poor cheerleader.

If John McCain continues to “name names”, i.e., Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, et cetera, he might just get elected. He was once famous for “straight talk” and Americans are hungry to hear more of it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cold and Colder

By Alan Caruba

Joe Bastardi, the Chief Long-Range Forecaster at AccuWeather, has released his 2008-09 Winter Season Forecast addressing issues of average temperature and precipitation that will impact the nation.

His forecast calls for one of the coldest winters in several years across much of the Eastern portion of the United States, the population-dense third of the nation. The northern Rockies and Northwest is predicted to have more snow than normal, though not as much as last year when the snow pack reached twice normal levels. In the East, however, he anticipates a lot more snowfall than last year.

AccuWeather employs 113 meteorologists to provide forecasts and severe weather bulletins to more than 110 million Americans every day via the Internet, mobile devices, and other media. Chances are, if you are checking the weather on CNN, ABC stations, the Washington Post or The New York Times, you are getting an AccuWeather report.

The snowier winter is predicted to begin in December and is likely to generate blizzards in late January and into February.

This forecast has all kinds of implications for the economy. Those in the East will no doubt see their heating bills soar. Blizzards impact the delivery of all kinds of goods because most are transported via truck around the nation. Severe storms can close down schools and affect other public services. Icy roads predictably lead to more auto accidents and deaths.

Thomas Jefferson, our third President, was very interested in the weather, but at that time the nation’s economy was largely agricultural and weather played a major role in the success of crops. The early years of the nation’s history occurred during a Little Ice Age that affected not only the U.S. but much of Europe. Dating back to around 1300, it did not begin to end until around 1850.

The warming that occurred thereafter was entirely natural and had nothing to do with the phony “global warming” that has afflicted public policy since the 1980s and is responsible for the waste of billions of taxpayers’ dollars thrown at the study of a non-existent problem. It continues to distract us from reality, intruding into the presidential debates and campaigns as both candidates inaccurately or deliberately exploit pure nonsense about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

A nation suffering a financial crisis can ill afford to indulge in idiotic “cap-and-trade” programs involving millions of dollars thrown at bogus “carbon credits”, but I can assure you that this is occurring even as I write.

There are a lot of good reasons to pay attention to Bastardi’s forecast which, by the way, is comparable to the Farmer’s Almanac forecast predicting the same thing. For one, this would be a good time to make sure you have some good cold weather outerwear in the closet and, if you don’t, to buy some.

I have a friend who lives in a cabin in rural Missouri and you can bet he is laying in a supply of firewood in case his new electric housewarming device for himself and his companion dogs gets disabled by downed lines in a big snowstorm.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that “global warming” does not cause cold weather, although it has and will surely be blamed again for this, as well as for hurricanes and every other form of weather. There never was any unnatural “global warming” and we are most certainly into a new cycle of cooling on planet Earth. It’s been occurring since around 1998.

The question on my mind and others who take an interest in climate cycles is whether or not we are actually at the beginning of another major ice age? They occur every 11,500 years and we are at the end of the most recent interglacial cycle between ice ages. It’s going to be a cold winter in the United States and elsewhere around the world. My guess is that this is just the beginning of a very long period of cold.

Birthdays (Mine)

By Alan Caruba

In one’s youth, birthdays are occasions for celebration because they mark opportunities for new experiences from being able to get a license to drive to gaining the right to vote. Earlier, they can include getting one’s first bicycle or a “sweet sixteen” party. Birthdays are markers for the young.

The older one gets, birthdays take on a new meaning because life is a cycle and it comes with an unknown expiration date. I turn 71 today, October 9, and for me it is marked by the peace of mind that comes with seven decades of life. It’s called experience. It places one’s life in the context of modern and past history.

Both my parents lived well into their 90s and both lived through one of the most extraordinary centuries of the modern era. They lived through a time that spanned the first flight of the Wright Brothers to the space age. They saw the introduction of radio and were there for the first television sets, the first computers. They lived through two world wars, a succession of lesser ones, and the Great Depression.

Each generation is challenged in different ways. Ours finds itself facing an ancient threat to Western civilization, a resurgent Islam. It is called a religion and it has more than a billion adherents, but it is a seventh century cult built around the life of Mohammed and its holy books advocate a “justice” the world has struggled to abandon, from slavery to cruel punishments, from the suppression of women to a ruthless intolerance for all other beliefs.

While I can enjoy “a longer view” of life and its vicissitudes, that does not mean that my life and yours is free of familiar troubles. The sudden failure of trust in ours and the world’s banking and financial systems echoes a similar breakdown that led to more than a decade of terrible times starting in the 1930s and ending only with the defeat of totalitarian governments in Germany, Italy, and Japan. That was followed by 45 years of a Cold War waged against Soviet communism.

It also saw the beginning of the nuclear age and, in particular, the creation of the first nuclear weapons. The world has been fortunate that none have been used since the need to end World War II in the Pacific theatre. There is no guarantee they will not be used in this century and there is no more singular threat to mankind than Iran’s effort to acquire them. It combines the worst of an Islamic belief system that requires massive death and destruction to herald the return of a mythical Twelfth Imam with the capacity to deliver those horrors.

Our government, designed by the Founding Fathers to limit the role of the federal role and ensure that the powers not reserved to itself belonged to the States “or to the people”, has slid toward a socialism that has been a proven failure wherever it has been adopted. Too many Americans now look to government to protect them against taking responsibility for their own lives; a government they believe should pay their transit through life in countless ways. Yet this same government is now deeply in debt for failing to exercise fiscal responsibility.

So our times are no less dangerous than previous eras and far more crowded as more than six billion people wake up every day in need of food, clean water, and energy to power the marvelous machines we have invented to make life easier and to communicate in ways no previous generation ever imagined.

Humanity has the power to solve its problems, but humanity in terms of the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s existence, is a very young thing, a creature not long out of the trees and standing upright. Let’s hope it gets to celebrate many more birthdays without enslaving or destroying itself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Dangerous Place for Jews

By Alan Caruba

The world has always been a dangerous place in which to be a Jew.

The climax of modern era anti-Semitism came during my lifetime in the last century with the Nazi Holocaust, the wholesale effort to kill every Jew, man, woman and child in Europe, with the “Final Solution.” It promises to repeat itself if Iran is permitted to obtain nuclear weapons.

Despite having been the creation of the United Nations, largely in response to the Holocaust, the last sixty years of Israel’s existence have been marked by wars and constant terrorism that continues to this day. The UN has become the global locus of anti-Semitism and it will be on display at its next Durbin conference on racism. The last one was an orgy of anti-Semitism and similar ugliness.

In August, UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group, expressed alarm over the declaration adopted by the African regional meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, which will shape the UN world conference to be held in April 2009. Among its elements was an attack on guarantees of free speech, the positioning of Islam above all other religions, and an attack on Israel and only Israel.

The growing Muslim populations in Great Britain and throughout Europe have led to a rise of anti-Semitism, but it was always latent among the non-Muslim native populations.

The embrace of Israel by America’s evangelical faith communities and the general good will toward American Jews remains intact. The problem for Jews, however, is that bad economic times never fail to raise charges that Jews are the cause.

For American Jews, this isn’t just historic paranoia. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard University professor of law and prolific author, has just had his latest book published; “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace.” It is a disquieting sign when a former U.S. President is an active anti-Semite, though Carter is not held in high repute, nor should be.

Dershowitz also takes note of two famed commentators, Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Both have demonstrated their antipathy to the Jewish State, but the greater threat that he cites is clearly a resurgent Islam and, most particularly, Iran’s ranting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose threats against Israel are an offense to all humanity.

As America comes to grip with a serious financial crisis, its Jewish community will be watching carefully for an indication of the libel that it is somehow responsible for the problems that ensue. Two generations have come of age since the dark days of World War II.

Perhaps no where else on Earth have Jews found a true paradise than in America. It has a long history of being congenial to Jews, though that history has been a long period of overt anti-Semitism that existed up to the revelations of the horrors of Holocaust.

No one can predict the future, but Jews have survived in many cases by being able to anticipate a reversal of fortune and the lucky ones fled to whatever sanctuary they could find.

For Israel, a nation of 5.3 million Jews and 1.3 million Muslim and Arab Christians, the threat at this point is deemed “existential”, but it grows more real with every passing day. Its fate hangs in the balance. For Jews around the world, memories of the Holocaust are never far from their thoughts.

On October 9, Yom Kippur, Jews around the world will pray for repentance and forgiveness of sins, but these are a people more sinned against than sinning.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who Actually Votes?

By Alan Caruba

Given that we know the mainstream media is utterly devoted to electing Barack Obama, virtually everything they report and interpret will be favorable to his campaign, including the latest spate of polls showing he has gained a lead.

Most certainly, the McCain-Palin ticket has any number of negatives to address. There is the public’s dissatisfaction with the short invasion and long occupation of Iraq. The fact that the goal of establishing a stable, democratic nation in the Middle East has been largely accomplished or at least successfully begun seems to escape everyone.

The current financial crisis will spur some voters to pull the lever for “change” without considering what that change will be, but data indicates that those most likely to vote are more motivated by avoiding change and in uncertain times, that is likely to hold true.

A clever new book, “Bet You Didn’t Know: Hundreds of Intriguing Facts About the USA” by Cheryl Russell ($18.95, Prometheus Books, softcover) offers some glimmer of hope regarding what may be the deciding factor in what will surely be a close race.

“Politicians are old because voters are old and voters—like it or not—tend to select their own kind. Fewer than half of 18-to-24-year-old citizens cast a ballot in the last presidential election. Voting rates rise with age, peaking at more than 73 percent among 65-to-74-year-olds.”

We old people (I turn 71 on October 9) may well prove to be the margin of victory for another old person named Sen. John McCain.

Then there is the issue of race. “The nation’s politicians do not reflect the diversity of the United States because voters are not diverse. Non-Hispanic whites account for only 66 percent of Americans, but for nearly 80 percent of voters.” I repeat, 80 percent of voters.

Another critical factor regarding who votes has to do with wealth. “The average voter is considerably more affluent than the average American. Despite the fact that many voters are retirees, their median family income great exceeds the median income of the average family.”

These older, more affluent, white people vote to protect the status quo and Sen. Obama is the antithesis of the status quo.
The notion that either Hispanics or Blacks will hold the balance of power in the coming issue is wrong. Statistically, only two out of three Hispanics vote and Black votes are about the same in terms of turn-out.

Finally, it’s worth noting that in a Battleground Report, a noted bi-partisan polling group, at least 60 percent of those asked to identify their political point of view said they were conservative. The “silent majority” that Richard Nixon made famous is, in fact, conservative and that, too, will have an impact on the outcome of the coming election.

On the surface, a number of factors seem to favor Sen. Obama, but the known voting patterns of those who will actually turn out on Election Day tell a very different story.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The 1930s Redux

By Alan Caruba

The nation’s economy is caught in a perfect storm. We are looking at an international tsunami of fear. Investors are dumping their stock holdings. Credit has hit a choke point making it difficult for banks and lending institutions to make the loans that are the ocean of trust and optimism upon which our economy floats.

When the supply of money dries up, every kind of business enterprise grinds to a stop. Meanwhile, we bystanders watch as large banking operations seek to gobble up those in trouble. We watch as the Dow deflates. A category five hurricane is about to hit and we have no where to run.

For decades we have stood by and watched the federal government grow in size and reach under both Democrats and Republicans. The “bailout” is, in effect, the nationalization of the banking and financial industry. We have acquiesced in the federalization of the nation’s educational system. We have permitted Constitutional protections be put in jeopardy by the Patriot Act.

Not only are we looking into the eye of a storm that threatens to become a worldwide depression, we have been left vulnerable to power and energy losses as the result of a relentless attack on our oil industry since the days of the Carter Administration. The result is our dependence on foreign oil. Add to that the attacks by environmental organizations on coal and nuclear energy, both of which combine to provide the bulk of the nation’s electrical power.

We have debased both our fuel and our agricultural sectors with mandates for ethanol. To the tune of millions, the government is subsidizing the least effective and most inefficient forms of energy, wind and solar power, and biofuels.

None of this has happened overnight. It has been the result of incremental bad decisions made by Congress and/or put forth by various administrations. We know now that it was pressure from the Clinton Administration that required Fannie Mae to begin purchasing sub-prime mortgages and requirements imposed on banks and lending institutions to make these loans. When the housing bubble burst, so did the illusion that housing would always continue to increase in value.

There are some extraordinary demographic shifts that only occasionally gained public interest and concern. One example has been the resistance to the flow of millions of illegal aliens into the nation. Sanctuary cities are now rife with crime.

What is generally unknown, however, is that the Caucasian population of most Western nations, including our own, has stopped breeding. Europeans are not reproducing themselves and neither are Americans. What population growth we’ve had has come from both legal and illegal aliens. And this is happening as millions of baby boomers are starting to retire. Who will support our huge entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare if unemployment increases?

Cheap credit and cheap imported goods have fueled our economy and lifestyle, but if foreign nations begin to protect their own industries and exports, life in America is going to become unpleasant. We are seeing early signs of this occurring. Nations, for all the talk of international trade, will act in what they believe is in their own interest.

The last Great Depression in the 1930s was a combination of trade protectionism and the imposition of higher taxes at the very time the nation needed to be able to export more of its goods and allow more money to remain in people’s pockets. If money becomes scarce prices will fall, but unemployment will rise in a cascade of business failures.

For Americans, it did not end until well after World War II. That war literally saved the American economy which had been stagnant for a decade. It also killed millions of people around the world. Since our national infrastructure was intact, Americans not only had jobs in the converted war industries, it was also positioned to begin an unprecedented spate of economic growth.

If history is any guide, a thoroughly corrupt and criminally partisan, i.e. divided, U.S. Congress, having thrown $700 billion of taxpayer’s money at the current crisis will find lots of other people to blame for the crisis they put in motion.

We are on the cusp of electing the product of pure public relations, Sen. Barack Obama, a man whose greatest influences in his life have been Muslims and Marxists. A product of the Chicago political machine and a man who gives every indication of having a messiah complex, Barack Obama is the worst possible choice to lead a nation at risk. If that happens, the liberties the Constitution guarantees can be gone in an instant.

It happened in 1930s Germany and Italy. An imperialist Japanese Empire was already gobbling up China and the rest of Asia. Substitute a hundred million Muslims eager for a new caliphate, armed with nuclear weapons, and you have global turmoil that will make the last century look tame.