Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama: Pants on Fire

By Alan Caruba

There is simply no point going forward without acknowledging a simple truth. President Barack Obama is a shameless liar.

One always feels constrained to pass judgment on a President, assuming that he has access to information only his office can possess. Then there’s the long campaign in which, in theory, the candidate was thoroughly vetted by the mainstream media.

In truth the MSM made almost no attempt to investigate the rather thin resume and biography of Obama. If you think about it, he had already written two biographies by the time he ran for office. One assumes he thought himself the only subject worth writing about.

The media, with a few notable exceptions, became a group of swooning teenage girls. They made those of us who had been fulltime journalists cringe.

Several books were published about Obama during the campaign and one of the best was by Dr. Jerome Corsi, a political scientist, and the data he unearthed or was unable to unearth depicts a pathologically deceitful man. The world has yet to have seen Obama’s real birth certificate, nor any evidence of his school and college records. There is no paper trail for Obama and you can be sure that is no accident.

Even when he served as editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama contributed just one article to it, but where he secured the funds to attend, first Columbia University and then Harvard remains a mystery too. There is some testimony to the effect that it came from Saudi patronage. Why the Saudis would give support to a professing Christian is another mystery, if in fact the story is true.

Obama is a mean-spirited liar. When he announced the withdrawal of troops from Iraq he never once used the word “victory” even though he was addressing an audience of military personnel. Iraq is unquestionably a victory for our military. It is now a functioning democracy.

Moreover, 50,000 troops will remain in what is called a training or “protective” capacity. That is far less than the 140,000 we had at one time, but it’s hard to call it a full withdrawal. Not once! Not once did Obama make any reference to former President Bush’s achievement.

And some troops, perhaps 14,000, will transfer to Afghanistan. Obama is going to discover that Afghanistan will become his war. Those of us who think it is a very bad war, far worse than the Iraq expedition, will be as vocal as he was about “Bush’s war.”

Bush conquered a relatively modern nation, but Afghanistan is the wild lands ruled by tribes. Right beside it is Pakistan, coming apart as this is written, the prey of the Taliban who want to turn this nuclear-armed nation into a 7th century redoubt from which to wage war. Afghanistan is essentially a counterinsurgency operation and they take years to achieve any success and, as often as not, fail. Ask the Russians.

All those billions and trillions being conjured up by the financial wizards that Obama has surrounded himself with are completely disconnected to his claims of millions of new jobs, a quick turnaround of the economy, or any other of his many lies to justify the borrowing, taxing and spending that will leave this nation far worse off than any deficit he faced when taking over the office.

It is for this reason that the Dow plunges every time he speaks in public about the economy. As he begins his third month in office, more and more ordinary, common sense people are beginning to distrust him as much as I have for a very long time.

He is no friend to investors who are thunderstruck by his ineptitude.

He is no friend to the banks that suffered from the toxic assets the Democrats put in motion with their idiotic demand that loans be made to those who everyone knew would never pay them back.

He is no friend to corporate America.

He is no friend to small business owners whose taxes will rise.

He is no friend to the working man whose increasing unemployment can be traced in part to his performance in office and the policies he has announced.

He is no friend to Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East.

He is no one’s friend except Michelle’s and she is his Lady MacBeth.

He is the worst kind of liar; one who does not care if the lie is revealed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Run on the Robbers

By Alan Caruba

There’s been a run on the banks in New Jersey. By robbers!

Yes, while others may make fun of New Jersey, I am proud to say that we have some of the most industrious and hard-working robbers to be found anywhere. Just 53 days into the new year, there were 32 bank robberies, a significant improvement over the 23 recorded in the first two months of last year.

Law enforcement officials say it has nothing to do with the recession. Indeed, quite a few of the robbers actually had a job at the time. Then they quit and began to devote themselves to robbing; none of that 9-to-5 drudgery anymore. Bank robbing has the distinct advantage of being able to sleep late, select the bank of your choice, go to the Halloween store, get a mask, a wig or false beard, and then it’s off to make a permanent withdrawal.

In the 1930s when we had bank robbers with real personalities. Top of the bunch was John Herbert Dillinger, a Midwestern boy who saw opportunity and seized it with the one hand that wasn’t holding a gun. The man had style, unlike those country bumpkins, Bonnie and Clyde. Their deaths in a hail of bullets were, however, the proper way for such lowlifes to depart this world. In both cases, they were betrayed by informers, but that’s what happens when you hang out with people of low moral character. And, truly, crime does not pay.

Last year, New Jersey had 193 bank robberies or an average of about 16 per month. Thus far this year, there were 17 during the first three weeks of February. All but two occurred on work days, two were on weekends and one of those weekends was a holiday when banks were closed. Why wait in line, right?

Then, too, robbing banks is an equal opportunity kind of occupation, nor does it require any special training.

People who know about such things say that one of the reasons for the rise in bank robberies in New Jersey is because there are more banks to rob. There are, for example, 504 more branches in New Jersey now than there were in 1997. Naturally, the real boom in bank robbing has been in the suburbs where the number of robberies has doubled since 2006.

To my knowledge and recollection, there have been no fatalities in any of the bank robberies. Perhaps because tellers are taught to comply and perhaps because the robbers, surely knowing they are on several video surveillance cameras do not want to draw any more attention to themselves than necessary though the tapes will, of course, put them in jail for a very long time.

One recent serial New Jersey robber became known as the “Hat Bandit” because he always wore a different hat each time. He eventually pled guilty to six robberies over a ten month period. I guess that robbing banks is like eating potato chips; you can’t just rob just one once you get started.

The “Hat Bandit” lived in my former hometown where I resided for six decades until a few years ago. James G. Madison never used a gun and told the judge he remained a “college-educated man who still envisions the American Dream—raising a family in my own home in the suburbs.” That’s what we need; a better class of bank robber. He got ten years and, with good behavior, will be out in three.

I, myself, would never rob a bank. No guts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Do You Feel Safer Now?

By Alan Caruba

Now that we have Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, do you feel safer?

I don’t. Aunt Janet could not manage to say words like “terrorism” or “9/11” in her recent testimony before a congressional committee. If you recall, the whole reason for the reorganization that created the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 was, well, homeland security.
It brought together 22 agencies and some 220,000 federal employees to ensure the nation was not attacked again and, if attacked, could coordinate recovery procedures.

This worked fine under the Republican administration of George W. Bush during which Tom Ridge and Michael Chernoff were in charge of the department, but Democrats and, in particular, those of an extreme Leftist point of view are always ready to embrace our enemies and blame America for any attacks or other threats they pose.

In a new book by Dr. Jamie Glazov, a historian who is managing editor of, “United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror”, the author points out that, “Throughout the twentieth century, the Western Left supported one totalitarian killing machine after another. Prominent intellectuals from George Bernard Shaw to Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag venerated mass murderers such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh, habitually excusing their atrocities while blaming America, and even the victims for the crimes.”

Today, the Left’s spokespersons include former President Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Tom Hayden. And President Barack Hussein Obama who, in the first two months of his new administration has reached out to Palestinians, Syrians, Iranians, and initiated measures to eliminate restrictions on Castro’s Cuba.

Obama was elected for his opposition to the war in Iraq that deposed one of the most vicious despots of our times, Saddam Hussein, and which is demonstrating in its aftermath that democracy has taken root in Iraq. It is no accident that Obama's first television interview was with Al-Arabia or that he is proposing to give nearly a billion dollars to Hamas to "rebuild Gaza."

Will this administration decide not to call Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda or the countless other Islamist groups “terrorists”? Maybe it will begin to call them “tourists”? Granted Obama wants to increase the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, but that is virtually a guarantor of failure and he knows it. British and French generals have recommended returning Afghanistan to the tribes that have always run it. Let them fight the Taliban like they fought the Russians.

During the Clinton years, attacks on American embassies were seen as issues for the Justice Department. That’s why Osama bin Laden was allowed to slip away even when Sudan offered his capture. That’s why, when one agency of the U.S. knew that the 9/11 perpetrators were here illegally, they were not permitted to inform another agency and thus likely undermine their plot. The firewalls that permitted this travesty were put in place by Leftist Clinton appointees.

Lawyers, unlike military or counterterrorism experts, have a very different view of protecting the nation. They believe that the “rights” of terrorists take precedence over the rights of Americans to be protected against them.

This might be why the Village Voice, a very liberal weekly, opposed Aunt Janet when word circulated that she might be appointed to head the Department of National Security. She was scorned for having taken any action to defend Arizona’s border with Mexico. To the Voice, her failure to welcome every illegal Mexican at the border was a sin.

Napolitano is the ultimate political animal, always ready to test which way the wind is blowing, always eager to run to the front of the parade, and now prepared to ensure that the indifferent and dangerous policies of the Obama administration will be reflected in the work of her mega-agency.

As we have seen with the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, probably no U.S. government agency can effectively deal with an act of God, but the National Security Agency should surely be expected to motivate its personnel to remain vigilant against potential threats. They are some very good people who get up each day to protect us. They know who the enemy is, whether it is an al Qaeda operative attempting to sneak into the nation or a Mexican drug smuggler. We owe them our thanks and our respect.

The problem for the rest of us is that Aunt Janet cannot bring herself to use the word “terrorist” or even refer to “9/11”. This is perfectly understandable when the President cannot bring himself to refer to “the war on terrorism.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is Obamamania Fading Amongst the Media?

By Alan Caruba

The day following President Obama’s State of the Union speech I opened my daily newspaper to read the headline “What the president said and what the facts say.” It was an Associated Press story and it drove a tank through the President’s various promises and assertions.

The AP reporters weren’t the only people who had some doubts. A Reuters news story confirmed my prediction, noting that “Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors found little new in a major speech by President Obama on how he planned to stabilize the economy, while gloomy home sales data weighed on the market.”

Facts are stubborn things. Eventually they cannot be ignored.

I have previously pointed out that this new President’s start in office has had what is surely the shortest “honeymoon” on record with both the public and the media. We’re not talking about FDR’s famous “first hundred days.” We are talking 56 days as this is being written.

There is, I suspect, a growing feeling among both the public and the media that this recession, if the White House and Congress had done NOTHING, would have run its course. All recessions do. But Obama came out almost immediately calling it a “catastrophe” in order to gin up support for a “stimulus” bill that surely had been in the works for the last two years that Democrats had control of Congress, but were unable to get passed because of a potential presidential veto by George W. Bush.

All that pent-up desire, for example, to reverse the welfare reform that occurred in 1996 after the GOP had gained control of Congress and for which then President Clinton took credit is now being undone. Never mind that it required people to find work in order to qualify for assistance. Never mind that it greatly reduced the cost of welfare to both the federal and state governments.

But I digress. While it is undeniably true that Obama knows how to deliver a speech, it is increasingly evident that he has great difficulty delivering the truth. Even his birth certificate is in doubt. The Hawaiian document put forth during the campaign has been declared a forgery by experts and a bad one at that.

There is no need for me to repeat what others have said about the contents of the State of the Union speech. It was a political statement, full of dubious promises and claims. I have this vision of a small group of historians some years far from now sitting around like a group of Talmudic scholars and laughing hysterically over what Obama said.

The problem for the rest of us, however, is that there is NOTHING to laugh at in his speech and the initial reaction of Wall Street had a lot of investors bailing out. The market will surely regain some, lose some, regain some, lose some. The operative word is “fluctuate.” Still, it is a window to how the speech was received by real people dealing in real money.

If the economy does improve, it will not be due to anything in the “stimulus” bill. It will be because a lot of people, small businesses and large, will make their own private bet that they must invest in their own future. Others will take advantage of the low housing prices and interest rates on mortgages. It’s called capitalism.

If public opinion about Obama is this tepid less than two months into his administration, I suspect the polls will report a continued dip in his numbers. This happened to the unlamented Jimmy Carter whose failure to deal with a recession and the taking of hostages by the Iranians gave him one term in office. I’m only surprised he has not moved to Iran and run for president there.

As to the Republicans, they are being handed the 2010 Congress on a platter. What they need is a real leader. Gov. Bobby Jindal is not that man. Louisiana, home of the populist Huey Long who gave FDR indigestion, is famed more for its history of corruption and general ineptitude than, say, Indiana, whose Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels was re-elected because of---not despite of---real fiscal prudence.

There are some potentially strong Republicans who could give Obama a real run in 2012. The party did the right thing in opposing the “stimulus” bill, but now it has to find some real courage and carry the fight to him every step of the way. It’s time to take the gloves off.

All this talk about being non-partisan makes me want to puke.

Early signs the media is already having second thoughts and buyer’s remorse must be acted upon before those sheep lead the other sheep over the cliff. Again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Santa Obama

By Alan Caruba

I have probably listened to too many State of the Union speeches over my seven decades of life to get excited by talk of cutting the budget or the promises made. I am not a cynic. I am a realist.

What I heard was President Obama being anti-Wall Street, anti-bankers, anti-CEOs, anti-wealthy people, and anti-oil, and that is just the short list.

It was a classic populist speech intended to appeal to the have-nots. Those people who dropped out of school. Those who have failed to hold onto jobs because of bad attitudes. Those who have fathered children while still in their teens. Those convinced that the system is rigged against them. They’re right. America does not reward the lazy.

The State of the Union speech was, as is always the case, filled with the promise of new spending on everything; healthcare, education, so-called renewable energy, and even the very tired promise to find a cure for cancer. Richard M. Nixon made the same promise in the 1970s.

The President spent some time whistling passed the graveyard, promising that, “Slowly, but surely, confidence will return.” We’ll see.

The bulk of the vast spending programs of the so-called stimulus bill will not kick in this year or next. Most involve major construction projects that will require years of planning. The “stimulus” will go mostly to government. Many of the projects involve an upgrade to government buildings. That money will stay in Washington, D.C.

There are other projects spread around the map to make the spending look plausible, but what is needed is not scatter-shot federal spending for purely political gain, but a far larger effort to reduce the mind-boggling waste of federal spending and, of course, reform of the vast “entitlement” programs of Social Security, Medicare, et cetera. Santa Obama wants to expand entitlement, not rein it in.

Commensurate with federal spending is state spending. The only safe states are those that require a balanced budget. The vast burden of most state spending involves lavish pension programs for civil servants, far beyond what those in the general marketplace of jobs could hope for…unless, of course, they too belong to a union.

The unions killed the Detroit auto industry and the President declared his fealty to the unions. That’s not forward looking thinking. That’s a repeat of the mistakes made during the last Great Depression during the 1930s..

But this was Santa Obama speaking and no Democrat draws breath without the desire to spread the money around, even if that money comes from hard working Americans; which it always does.

Finally, there was, for a Democrat, the fairly unusual commitment to expand our military. While the field of battle will shift to Afghanistan and Pakistan, two of the most unforgiving places to wage war. Part of our problems has come from the itch to impose our will with military force. The urge to empire is a dangerous one.

Let me dust off my crystal ball and tell you what’s in store for the day after Santa Obama’s State of the Union speech.

The Dow will take another dive as investors flee the stock market. Foreign investors will look elsewhere to put their money. U.S. corporations and manufacturers will consider moving their operations to places where everything they do is not mini-managed to benefit the federal government at their expense.

We are not witnessing the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning to this recession. We are witnessing all the errors of the past, all the failed programs, all the same efforts to expand government as the ultimate answer to every problem.

The comparisons to Franklin Delano Roosevelt are going to prove true and FDR, the consumate communicator of his times, was still struggling with the Great Depression tens years into office. That does not bode well.

We Already Know the State of the Union

By Alan Caruba

Do you want to know what the state of the union is? Here’s one way; the Dow hit a twelve-year low on February 23rd, the worst since May 7, 1997.

Meanwhile the government is contemplating taking over the banking system and, given the great job it has done in the area of mortgage loans, you know what confidence that will inspire.

Then, too, we have a President who has doubled or tripled the size of the deficit, but is promising to cut it in half by 2013, a year that would conveniently be the first of his second term if he were to be re-elected; a prospect that is not looking that good right now.

I am pretty sure the “stimulus” bill’s billion dollars that ACORN is going to get will help buy enough votes for him when he runs again, although I am inclined to think he might just announce that, like Napoleon, he is now emperor of the United States.

Aside from the bottom rung of the society who are reluctant to get and hold a steady job, can’t understand the concept of fleeing before a category five hurricane, and have lots of babies out of wedlock, the rest of the population is rapidly losing confidence in Mr. Obama and that clown car full of cabinet nominees that keeps showing up in the center ring.

The state of the union is not good and is, in fact, bad enough for a growing number of states to pass resolutions to restate and reassert their sovereignty. Some governors are saying they don’t want federal funds with all the strings attached; that they actually know how to run their state and what projects need tending. Other governors, of course, are wearing knee-pads as they visit the capitol to ask for more, more, more. Their states are broke. These governors are Democrats.
The word is that the President will address the need for universal healthcare, one of the liberal’s most treasured programs as it will put control of how healthcare is doled out in the hands of bureaucrats, not medical professionals. Just ask Canada or England what it is like to be sick there. Medicare and Medicaid, our systems for the elderly and indigent are essentially broke.

When even Slick Willy is telling you to brighten up your message, it would be a good idea to tell Americans that, yes, we can get ourselves out of this government-created mess and, yes, we are going to have to tighten our belts. That’s the kind of message someone who actually believes in the American spirit would deliver, but Mr. Obama believes in centralized government running everything and everyone’s lives.

If he throws in some dire predictions about the environment, he will be revealing how utterly debased his ability to tell the truth is. The Earth is cooling, not warming. If he tells us how great wind and solar energy is, he will be revealing that he hasn’t a clue about the difference between real energy and the pathetic stuff cranked out by so-called clean or alternative energy sources.

If the federal government is successful in imposing a Renewable Portfolio Standard on the states, it will doom any prospect of getting any more coal-fired or nuclear plants built because that money will be diverted to wind and solar farms, two of the least reliable sources of predictable, secure energy. Both require vast acreage and if you want to see mirrors and windmills from sea to shining sea, this is what you will get.

On the other hand, if Congress gets its way, a 1,294-page omnibus land bill will designate two million acres of new wilderness areas in nine states, establish three new national park units, enlarge the boundaries of a dozen existing park units, and add 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers and ten national heritage areas to the nation’s inventory. In the process, it will put 1.4 trillion barrels of oil and 9.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off limits to development.

Congress is crippling the nation’s ability to be “energy independent” at the same time it keeps saying we have to get off of imported foreign oil.

In fact, the state of the union is abysmal precisely because of this and past Congresses that were so disengaged from reality that we are now living in some kind of la-la land where even carbon dioxide, the other most essential gas for all life on Earth, is going to be declared a “pollutant” and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ronald Reagan said it best. “If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.”

President Obama’s State of the Union speech will be very nearly devoid of unpleasant facts.

The Academy Awards Farce

By Alan Caruba

First off, let me say that I did not watch the 81st Academy Awards. I watched “Patton” for the 172nd time because George C. Scott gave a great performance in a movie that clearly acknowledged the barbarity of war while also acknowledging that it is often the only way to defeat an evil, totalitarian regime.

I didn’t watch for another reason, a personal one. I went to high school with Frank Langela in the 1950s and can recall the skinny kid who was a member of the Parnassian Club along with other aspiring actors. In our 1955 yearbook, Frank was remembered for “his ability to make people laugh, his love for Italian lasagna, and those adlibs that livened up Senior Play rehearsals.” I remember Frank because I was the student stage manager at the time.

Frank was born to be an actor and his performance in “Frost/Nixon” deserved an Oscar. I think that among the reasons he didn’t receive it was that he was portraying one of the Left’s favorite bogymen. I guarantee you that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not have just been in China if Nixon had not opened up that nation to its potential as a trading partner.

Instead the Best Actor award went to Sean Penn who portrayed the slain openly gay mayor of San Francisco. Sean Penn who could not run fast enough to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to defend that psychopath or down to Venezuela to embrace Hugo Chavez. Penn is the quintessential Hollywood Leftist and that is why he got the award. I am pretty sure it wasn’t because “Milk” was a box office blockbuster because it wasn’t. Penn did get one thing right when he addressed the audience saying, "You Commie homo-loving sons of guns."

I used to do PR for Actors Equity and it is a tough profession. Most of that union’s members are out of work on any given day. I came to know quite a few actors, many famous faces from former times and, while there were surely some who were intelligent and would have been successful in any job, the fact is that people become actors in order to escape their own lives and enter into the make believe of fictional ones. Occasionally, between the screenwriter, the director, and the actor, we get films that inspire us; nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is turning an event like the Academy Awards into a political or social platform. If I want politics, I can turn on the news. I don’t need it, nor want it in a film.

A case in point is HBO’s “Taking Chance”, a film based on the true story of a Marine Lt. Colonel who sees the name of a lance corporal killed in action in Iraq who came from the same town where he grew up. He volunteers to escort the body from Dover Air Force Base to where he is to be buried in Idaho.

What we witness is the deep regard and respect rendered to each casualty of war by both the military and by civilians, some of them veterans, along the journey. It is not a polemic about whether the war was right or wrong. It was about the sacrifice that warriors—mostly young men—make for their nation because they believe in what that nation stands for. It’s a superb film and cast led by Kevin Bacon. Don’t miss it.

The Academy Awards have become a farce. It’s sad because I loved going to the movies when I was growing up. I don’t go any more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Rogue Congress

By Alan Caruba

I give you two quotes from earlier times about Congress:

“In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” -- John Adams, 2nd President of the United States (1735-1826)

“Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons.” -- H.L. Mencken, journalist (1880-1956)

It is cold comfort to know that right from the beginning of our republic the members of Congress were largely held in contempt.

This can never be more true than now when it is abundantly clear to everyone that these morons and their counterparts in the White House have absolutely no clue what to do about saving the economy even though the history of the Great Depression clearly demonstrates what not to do.

Worse, while trying to lay off all the blame on bankers and investment houses for taking advantage of a mortgage loan debacle of their own making, Congress refuses to even share the blame. A September 30, 1999 article in The New York Times was headlined “Fannie Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending.”

Presciently, reporter Steven A. Holmes noted that “the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980s.” The operative word here is “government.” Blaming Bush won’t work either. He didn’t take office until 2001.

And, of course, Congress is repeating every mistake made during the 1930s, the purpose of which was not to save the economy, but to expand the power and influence of the Democrat Party led by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The latter purpose worked because the Democrats literally owned Congress for decades until 1994 when the Republicans gained control.

Bit by bit the Democrat Party introduced socialism to America. There was Social Security, Medicare, and a raft of social programs that included the utter destruction of the housing market with creations such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Not to be outdone, Republicans gave the federal government control of the nation’s educational system with No Child Left Behind.

Now, with the most evil piece of regulation known to man or God, the Environmental Protection Agency, introduced by Richard M. Nixon, the Obama administration will attempt to regulate the second most vital gas for all life on Earth, carbon dioxide. They are claiming it is a “pollutant” and a danger to our health, even though we all exhale about two pounds of it every day.

The only extension of power left for these liars is to claim that oxygen needs regulating as well.

This Congress, which the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution designed to act with some measure of deliberation, dividing political decisions between the House of Representatives and the Senate, has signed a massive spending bill without any of them ever having read it.

This is criminal. It is malfeasance; misconduct by public officials.

This is what happens when a national or mid-term election becomes the equivalent of “American Idol.”

This is what happens when a candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, spends two years actually telling people what he's going to do and no one considers the consequences. He was a socialist. He is a socialist. Why are people surprised?

This is what happens when the new President’s judgment is so flawed that he cannot fill his cabinet due to the selection of people who are tax cheats and ethically challenged.

This is what happens when Chicago-style politics comes to the White House.

Congress and the White House are destroying the nation’s economy, borrowing money on top of an obscene national deficit that already exists, and reneging on all its promises of hope and change.

We have, in effect, a rogue White House and Congress, indifferent to the welfare of Americans.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stop the CO2 Madness!

By Alan Caruba

When The New York Times publishes a story, as it did on February 19, regarding the next step in the Obama administration’s intention to destroy the U.S. economy, it’s a very good idea to pay attention.

“E.P.A. Expected to Regulate Carbon Dioxide” was the headline of John M. Broder’s article. “The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to act for the first time to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet, according to top Obama administration officials.”

Those “top Obama administration officials” are unnamed and so too are the “scientists” claiming that the planet is “warming.” For the record, although you will never read this in The New York Times, the planet is NOT warming. It is COOLING. It has been cooling for a decade now and it is no secret to meteorologists who track the day to day temperatures or climatologists who study long term trends.

On March 8-10, more than 500 of those scientists who dispute the vast global warming hoax will meet in New York for a second international conference on climate change sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a non-profit, free market think tank.

Joining those scientists and others will be Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic and current president of the European Union. Also participating will be American astronaut, Dr. Jack Schmitt, Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other leading scientists who have led the effort to shed the light of truth on the global warming hoax.

You can be sure of one thing. They will all continue to be attacked as crazies denying the “consensus” that Al Gore is always braying about. Science is not about “consensus”, it is about reproducible facts. All the “facts” about melting glaciers, dramatically rising sea levels, and other claims by the GW crowd have been refuted.

The claims of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the basis for the Kyoto Protocols to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been demolished repeatedly but the mainstream press refuses to report this, nor the fact that the IPCC is a political, not scientific, entity designed to advance the global warming hoax. Many of the scientists initially enticed to participate have since resigned. The vast bulk, easily 80% or more of those cited as IPCC members are not scientists who deal with issues of climate.

The IPCC’s claims have been based entirely on computer models. This in itself should have raised flags long ago. These models, as Hans Schreuder, an analytical chemist, has pointed out, “regard the earth as a flat disk bathed in a constant 24 hour haze of sunlight, without north and south poles, without clouds, and without any relationship to the real planet we live on.”

The claim that rising levels of carbon dioxide are responsible for a global warming that is not happening is entirely without scientific merit and, if for no other reason, should not be the basis for implementing EPA regulation of so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions under the Clean Air Act.

While it is true that there has been an increase in CO2 since the end of the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1500 to 1850, there is no research that demonstrates CO2 and an increase in the Earth’s temperature has any relationship. What warming occurred was entirely natural. Indeed, CO2, at less than 400 parts per million by volume, cannot influence atmospheric temperature or climate in any measurable way.

CO2 represents just 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere. The dominant factors in the Earth overall temperature are the Sun, the oceans, and even clouds.

If the U.S. weather service climate models are unable to predict changes in the weather by more than a week’s time, why would anyone believe that the IPCC’s models could predict it twenty, fifty or a hundred years from now?

Despite this, the EPA is tasked to impose regulations on CO2 emissions that would wreck the economy by requiring a “cap-and-trade” of “carbon credits” that would impact every single business and industrial activity. The European Union tried this and it has proved a massive failure and a huge drag on its economy.

Carbon dioxide is not a “pollutant” as the Supreme Court has ruled. How can the Earth’s second most vital gas, other than oxygen, be a pollutant? Not one single piece of vegetation on Earth could exist without CO2. Without vegetation, no animal life including our own could exist on Earth.

The notion that the EPA would regulate it is preposterous. It is absurd. It is criminal. It is immoral. It has no basis whatever in the actual science of the world’s climate. It is based on a massive, global hoax masterminded by the United Nations and carried out by charlatans such as Al Gore and NASA’s James Hansen.

It is, however, the vehicle for the political control of the world’s economy that would fulfill the United Nation’s global government schemes and, if enacted here in America, would mark the destruction of an economy that is the engine of the world’s economy, despite its current difficulties.

The Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years. The assertion that human beings and/or industrial activity have any effect on its atmosphere is an instrument of fascism.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Venture Capitalist Speaks

By Alan Caruba

A friend of mine, Ziad K. Abdelnour, heads a family business, Blackhawk Partners, Inc.,albeit one that deals in millions of dollars in two areas, physical commodities such as oil, and in venture capital, funding entrepreneurial enterprises that show promise of growth. When not involved in his business, Ziad also chairs the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon.

He recently sent me a commentary, “No one asked the entrepreneurs”, concerning his thoughts on the so-called stimulus package. Here are some excerpts:

“We have heard endlessly from pundits on both sides of the aisle,” wrote Abdelnour, “from folks who call themselves economists and from politicians of every stripe about the efficacy of this package. But what do business leaders think? What do people in the capital business think? And most important, what do the markets think?”

Good questions, considering that the markets continue to tank as investors and other interested parties who must make critical money-related decisions “vote” against the Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Frank solution.

“As a person who deals with capital every day, who works with and funds entrepreneurs for a living, and who knows the nuts and bolts of job and ‘wealth creation’, I believe this program is nothing less than a rip-off of U.S. taxpayers and will not work. Indeed, it looks like 25 years of government expansion jammed into one bill and sold as ‘stimulus.’”

It’s worth noting at this point that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, despite prolonging the Great Depression for ten years, ensured that the Democrat Party would dominate Congress for forty years thereafter!

Abdelnour continues: “As a capitalist and entrepreneur, I would have preferred to see a concentration of tax incentives aimed at the purchase of housing and autos, and tax cuts for small business and capital, rather than the current plan, which emphasizes bolstering federal and state welfare programs.”

The only successful way “to pull a country out of an economic recession is to put the money back into the hands of the people, not by the government taking $1 trillion out of the national economy and distributing it as it sees fit. It is contradictory to almost every historical precedent for economic growth.”

“[If] you want to see small businesses grow, lower taxes and incentivize those business to hire. If you want to see capital flow into the markets, lower capital gains taxes—or even suspend them. And suspend them for a decade! That is the opinion of nearly every businessman and entrepreneur I know.”

The stimulus bill and TARP requires the U.S. to go on a borrowing binge, up to two trillion dollars at this point. Abdelnour points out what all of us instinctively know. “There is no realistic way for the U.S. to ever pay off this debt.”

Abdelnour is too much of a gentleman to say this, but I will. The Obama administration, in office barely two months, has ruined the future for your children and grandchildren.

It was World War II, the mobilization and the investments involved, that put America on track again and, after it was over, it was America, spared the devastation of the war as was the case of Europe and Japan, that was prepared for the greatest growth of business and industry in its history.

The White House and Congress have ignored the vintage advice, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!”

A Note to this Blog's Followers

As you may have noticed, we now have 40 followers. This is, of course, very flattering. It also points to the way many others share our views of events and personalities. I appreciate your interest in "Warning Signs" and, of course, invite you to visit for my weekly post on the website of The National Anxiety Center. Those posts go up on Tuesday, but are more widely disseminated on other websites as soon as Sunday. Upcoming, "Stop the CO2 Madness!", a look at the lies about carbon dioxide that are used to justify the global warming hoax.

Alan Caruba

PS. Make that 41...We added two today!

Friday, February 20, 2009

It Smells Like Fascism

By Alan Caruba

With growing rapidity, Americans are waking up to bits and pieces of news that all smell of fascism, defined as “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”

Let’s start at the top. President Obama is no ordinary political leader as this nation has long been accustomed to. He is the leader and focus of a cult. His supporters come to him asking that he provide them with a home or believing that he will ensure they will always be able to fill their car’s gas tank for next to nothing. He has deliberately encouraged this view of him, staging huge rallies during his campaign. Women swoon. Men weep.

Now, with virtually no coverage by the mainstream media, we learn that H.R. 45 is legislation, a “Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009”, that would strip Americans of the right stipulated in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to possess and bear firearms. An estimated 90 million Americans own firearms and the vast majority do for the purpose of self defense. They are going to need their firearms if the Obama administration continues on its path to total control, not merely of the federal government, but over all fifty States.

I will not bore you with the details of this firearm act. Suffice it to say it exists to make the right and the process of ownership extremely difficult and, at the same time, authorizes government searches without warrant and the creation of a federal bureaucracy to monitor who owns guns. Not only is H.R. 45 unconstitutional on its face, there are literally thousands of firearm laws at the state level that ensures that law enforcement officials know who legally owns firearms.

The February 19 issue of The New York Times reported that “E.P.A. Expected to Regulate Carbon Dioxide.” Despite all the dancing around that the EPA and the White House are engaged in, the “fix” is in to expand the Clean Air Act to allow the federal government to extend control over every business, industry, and activity in American that generates carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

This is pure fascism and it is not based in science as we all know by now that there is no global warming and CO2 plays virtually no role whatever, if any, in climate change.

The response is a growing movement among the states, all sovereign republics, to combat the way the federal government under the control of President Obama has moved to swiftly assert even greater control over what the individual states can and cannot do if they accept federal “stimulus” funding or any funding.

In a February 20 article in The Washington Times, David M. Dickson reported that, “worried the federal government is increasing its dominance over their affairs, several states are pursuing legislative action to assert their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution in hopes of warding off demands from Washington on how to spend money or enact policy.” At least a dozen states are actively engaged in this effort and I predict it will spread to many others.

The Tenth Amendment states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.”

This nation was not founded on, nor ever intended to be government by an all-powerful central authority. If you want an example of what that looks like, read about the former Soviet Union or the failed and defeated fascist nations of Germany and Italy in the last century.

Lastly, there was the recent proposal to reintroduce the so-called “Fairness Act” that would throttle talk radio and its ability to air a dissenting point of view from the Obama administration. You can read Rush Limbaugh’s rejoinder as published in The Wall Street Journal here.

That whiff of fascism in the air must not be ignored and must be opposed.

To learn more about H.R. 45, visit, the website of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama: Reversing Course and Going Nowhere Fast

By Alan Caruba

It is standard procedure in Washington, D.C. for a new administration to reverse course on many of the initiatives of the previous administration, particularly if it represents the other political party. After eight years of the Bush administration, one might reasonably expect the Obama administration to change direction.

The great irony for President Obama is, after two years of proclaiming he was going to pull troops out of Iraq, declaring it a bad war, he inherited an Iraq that peacefully conducted its second national election for someone other than the dictator, Saddam Hussein. Thank you, George W. Bush.

At a recent press conference, the general in charge over there rather bluntly said that he expected U.S. troops to remain for at least two, maybe three, or more years. If history is any indication, after we invade a nation, we tend to stay around for a couple of decades.

So, poor Obama has to do something and that something is to transfer troops from Iraq to the world’s worst place to fight a war, Afghanistan. Ask the Russians. They had 100,000 troops there at one point, suffered 14,000 casualties, and watched their government collapse after they pulled out.

The Obama administration has reversed course in another way that can do nothing but tarnish America’s reputation. It intends to send a U.S. delegation to the upcoming United Nations Durban Review Conference in April. The last Durban Conference on Racism resulted in the U.S. delegation leaving rather than be a party to the appalling attacks on Israel in particular and Jews in general.

The first Durban conference managed to ignore problems in Sudan’s Darfur section or any of the many other incidences of racial and religious bigotry in the world. It was an Islamic wet dream.

The obscenity called the United Nations is working toward a second such conference. Recently a meeting was held in London attended by more than 35 countries to discuss what to do about the platform for Islamic hatred of everything and everyone who is not Islamic, but mostly about hating Jews.

The London meeting issued a declaration saying that the nations in attendance “must not be witness or party to another gathering like Durban in 2001.” The U.K. Foreign Office sponsored the meeting because there is the very real possibility that Durban II will try to impose restrictions on freedom of speech involving any criticism of Islam.

The Bush administration deliberately did not participate in the preparations for Durban II.
To date, only Canada and Israel have formally announced that they will not participate. The United States should, if it had a shred of dignity and respect for its most fundamental creeds, join these two nations, but no, it is sending a delegation.

The conference preparations have been going on since 2006. There is nothing the U.S. delegation can accomplish at the last moment except to lend legitimacy to the process and weaken the resolve of some Western nations to avoid attending.

Gregg Rickman, formerly with the Bush administration as its special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, denounced the Obama decision. “How can the United States possibly be a part of this insanity?” he asked. “If we join this charade, we extend this dishonor through our presence, sullying ourselves in the process.”

How, indeed? Given that this President has made a series of moves to demonstrate his solidarity with Palestinians—at least the farcical Fatah Party—and chose Al-Arabia as the first news organization to grant an interview, a pattern has emerged that suggests a strong tilt toward Islamic interests.

I am sure this must have pleased Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya that chairs Durban II and even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran that serves as vice chair. Not pillars of tolerance, you say?

So far Barack Hussein Obama’s administration is reversing course and going nowhere fast; at least nowhere some 35 other nations want to go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The U.S. Government's War on Coal!

By Alan Caruba

While President Obama was eagerly signing new legislation to keep unqualified borrowers in their homes by doling out billions of our dollars, over at the Environmental Protection Agency they were leaking plans to use the Clean Air Act as a subterfuge to regulate the second most essential gas, other than oxygen, for all life on planet Earth, carbon dioxide (C02).

Cheering from the sidelines is every demented environmental group in America including the Sierra Club which, if it had its way, would ban the building of a single new coal-fired plant anywhere and shut down the existing ones. This is madness on a scale we have not seen since the mid-point of the last century.

Over at Friends of the Earth, they are breaking out the prayer beads, worried to death that upgrading and improving the nation’s infrastructure means building new roads, bridges and tunnels where they are needed.

All the while, the most deceitful President to have ever occupied the Oval Office keeps telling everyone that global warming is real when, in fact, the Earth has been cooling for the past decade. Obama is trying to transform the United States of America into a nation where science means nothing and lies mean everything.

We now have the spectacle of a government employee, Dr. James Hansen, shilling for Capitol Climate Action,, saying on a YouTube video that everyone should come to Washington, D.C. on March 2 for what is described as “the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history.” The event is a protest of the Capitol Power Plant that uses—gasp—coal to produce electricity.

By the way, that white stuff coming out of the stacks of power plants, including nuclear, is excess steam used to turn the huge turbines that generate electricity. In other words, water vapor.

Dr. Hansen is the Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who lately has been writing to the leaders of the United Kingdom and Europe saying that coal-fired plants are the moral equivalent of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during WWII. He’s the fellow who, in 1988, told a congressional committee that global warming was going to destroy the Earth. Al Gore uses him as a footstool.

The immediate question is why someone drawing a government check should also be advocating civil disobedience on behalf of a non-governmental organization or group?

The larger question is whether the government is going to make it impossible to provide the growing needs for electricity that all Americans will require by 2030 or sooner? The U.S. has vast deposits of coal with which to generate electricity. To claim that coal is responsible for a global warming that is not occurring and that we must abandon the source of 50% of all the electricity we use every day is insane.

First let’s fire Dr. Hansen. He is making a mockery of NASA and engaging in behavior that is irrational and quite possibly illegal.

Then let’s bury the White House in emails, letters and faxes to say “Lay off coal!”

In an astonishing few weeks, the Obama administration has initiated legislation that will further bankrupt the nation, saddle future generations with debt, interfered with the normal action of the housing market, and now wants to leave us without enough electricity to turn on the lights!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

$65.5 Trillion in Debt

By Alan Caruba

Today, a man who has been President less than one month in office has signed a piece of legislation rammed through a Congress which probably not one single member has read. It spends billions on what most people of reasonable intelligence understand to be little more than “pork” projects designed to consolidate political power within the Democrat Party.

Why did the Democrats vote for it? Because they could. And because they are all essentially socialists who have now successfully imposed socialism on America.

Jerome R. Corsi, the author of “Obama Nation”, recently calculated that, “The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively has placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy…” Total obligations exceed four times the annual U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and the amount is more than the entire GDP of the world.

The nation, since the 1970s has veered from Richard Nixon who took the nation off the gold standard, to the far Left politics of Jimmy Carter who pleased no one, to the recession recovery engineered by Reagan. The caretaker administration of George H.W. Bush was replaced by the centrist political philosophy of Bill Clinton who would later take credit for Republican reforms instituted when the GOP regained control of Congress. What followed were two terms of George W. Bush which no more resembled conservatism than an elephant resembles a mouse.

We have arrived at the administration of Barack Hussein Obama, a man whose vital documents are not merely unavailable to Americans for examination, but who is waging a major legal battle to keep them that way. Do you think, perhaps, he has something to hide?

Throughout it all, from the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt until the present, Americans have more than happily voted for either party offering a government program that would dole out money to them for any reason. FDR’s Social Security and Truman’s Medicare is now mostly paid for by swapping IOUs between various government agencies and departments. There’s little actual cash to keep these programs going.

It would be easier if we could just lay the blame on a particular President, but all have participated and Social Security is widely described as “the third rail” of politics. Credit Bush43 for trying to getting a program going that might actually allow people to have some control of the money taken from them to allegedly fund it.

So, since this is a republic and a democracy, the blame rests ultimately with the American people. We, Americans, voted for these people or at least for some of them.

In his second inaugural address on January 21, 1985, Ronald Reagan said, “An almost unbroken fifty years of deficit spending has finally brought us to a time of reckoning, We have come to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions. I have asked the Cabinet and my staff a question, and now I put the same question to all of you: If not us, who? And if not now, when? It must be done by all of us going forward with a program aimed at reaching a balanced budget. We can then begin reducing the national debt.”

The answer to Reagan’s question by way of George H.W. Bush was William Blythe Clinton who was voted into office by way of saying, “No, Ron, not now and not here.”

So we have all reached a point in our nation’s history where, sooner than we may believe, other nations are going to seriously question whether they want to buy the Treasury notes we want to sell in order to borrow more and more trillions.

A spokesperson for the Chinese government put it quite succinctly, “We hate you.” The U.S. dollar will shortly begin to resemble Zimbabwean money which is utterly worthless.

At the intense urging of President Obama the U.S. Congress has engaged in what can only be called either herd mentality or “magical thinking”; the belief that other nations will bail us out of our financial crisis when, in fact, we have created and spread it like a virus to the entire world.

Note that the Republican Party, with three notable exceptions, unanimously rejected the “stimulus” bill. Too late! They had eight years of the Bush Administration to not act like Democrats. Too late!

Neither Socialism, nor Communism work at all, but even Capitalism has its limits. The game is over.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Government by Crazy People

By Alan Caruba

It is one thing to be mistaken when developing and administering government programs. It is another to be nuts.

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired plants are factories of death.”

Would someone please get the net and throw it over Dr. James Hansen, the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies? The above is a direct quote.

Recently, Dr. Hansen, the man who has the dubious distinction of predicting back in 1988 to a congressional committee that we were all going to die from global warming, had an insane diatribe published in The Guardian, a liberal newspaper published in Great Britain.

“A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired plants in Britain,” wrote Dr. Hansen. “I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd, and other leaders. The reason is this—coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.”

On January 24, I posted a commentary, “Coal, Glorious Coal”, on the website of The National Anxiety Center, my clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public policy and opinion.

I noted that Stephen Chu, the Secretary of Energy, is on record saying, “Coal is my worst nightmare” and pointed out that coal provides over 50% of all the electricity in the nation.

At least Dr. Chu isn’t writing to the leaders of Europe telling them that the entire human race is doomed if they don’t shut down all the coal-fired plants producing electricity. Well, not yet. But Dr. Hansen is.

By contrast, Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. is the former director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and an associate professor of environmental studies. He is a scientist with the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Together with Radford Byerly, Jr, he was the editor of “Prediction: Science, Decision Making, and the Future of Nature” published in 2000. His PhD is in political science.

“Our planet is in peril,” wrote Dr. Hansen.

Dr. Pielke, who like many of his colleagues has grave reservations about the global warming hoax, has written that Dr. Hansen’s rants can be characterized as “scientific authoritarianism”, noting that “The idea that one person’s policy views should carry so much weight in democratic societies is an indication that Hansen believes that expertise should carry decisive weight in decisions.” Dr. Hansen trained as an astronomer, not as a climatologist or even as a meteorologist.

That may account for why recent assertions by the Goddard Institute about the warmest years and other “warmest” this and that have been soundly criticized and debunked. Using a government agency to spread lies is not new, but it puts a strain on the public’s knowledge of what is real or not.

“Hansen’s argument includes,” noted Dr. Pielke, “his complaint that policy makers have not followed his advice, which apparently, Hansen believes should take precedent over all other views. Indeed, he dismisses the views of the public as being too poorly informed, too distracted or unsophisticated to contribute to decision making on the climate issue.”

Meanwhile, poll after poll, indicates that the public has concluded in ever growing numbers that global warming is pure hogwash.

I recently wrote about a paper by a leading authority on “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” who concluded that President Obama gives ample evidence of it. One might conclude that Dr. Hansen has the same problem. Indeed, Dr. Pielke said that Hansen’s commentary “swerves from scientific authoritarianism to megalomania.”

Anyone who can write that “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet” is surely irrational and in need of the same sequestration that Hansen wants for carbon dioxide.

The problem for the rest of us is that people like Dr. Hansen, Secretary Chu, and all of President Obama’s science and environmental advisers hold genuinely crazy ideas about coal, oil, solar and wind energy, biofuels, and global warming that will be implemented as government policy and law.

It is worth noting that perhaps the looniest of the whole bunch, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, recently said, “The new Administration is stopping the headlong rush to open offshore areas of drilling”, commending Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar for “wisely initiating a review of the potential that offshore renewable energy projects can proceed in an environmentally-responsible manner.”

In other words, the 85% of the nation’s continental coast will continue to remain unexplored and untapped for the billions of barrels of oil and natural gas it is estimated to contain.

Try to square this up with the Administration’s claim that it wants America to become more “energy independent.” You can’t because the two statements are diametrically opposed. That’s why only crazy people can keep two such opposing ideas in their heads at the same time.

Meanwhile, absolutely nothing stopped the “headlong rush” to pass the most massive spending bill in the history of the nation with Speaker Pelosi leading the charge along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

This isn’t the way our government is supposed to function. This is the real threat to the lives and welfare of all Americans.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Of Presidents, Living and Dead

By Alan Caruba

No, it’s not just an excuse for a three-day weekend, another federal holiday. President’s Day, combining the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, exists to make us think about these two extraordinary men in terms of something more than sales at the mall, auto dealers, and furniture outlets.

The cookie-cutter biographies we are provided with in school barely scratch the surface of what remarkable people these two men were. They have become myths obscured by the many facts that have been collected by historians, but they were perhaps mysteries even to those who were their contemporaries. Both possessed unusual qualities though. They were not so much elevated to leadership as recognized for it.

For their times, both men were taller than most. Lincoln, most certainly, but Washington was an imposing figure as well and both knew it. Washington was an extremely successful farmer-entrepreneur, a wealthy man by any standard. Lincoln was a well-to-do corporate lawyer.

Washington, like those of his generation and especially his contemporaries in the Continental Congress, was concerned for what was then called “virtue”. What we now call honesty, ethical behavior, and similar terms regarding behavior that we all recognize as evoking confidence and respect.

Lincoln was concerned with the moral obscenity of slavery. It was the issue of his times and he felt compelled to end it. Beyond that, I suspect both men were as different as night and day. Lincoln was “every man”, approachable, folksy, and fortunately for succeeding generations of Americans, a canny politician and intellect. The Gettysburg Address is virtually a poem.

President’s Day always seems to involve those awful lists of who was a great President and who was the worst. That reduces the achievements of some or the failures of others to a parlor game. Presidents reflect the times in which they serve as well as their own personal traits. They were not cardboard cut-outs, but flesh and blood men grappling with events.

Washington put his enormous wealth and personal honor on the line to serve for seven long, discouraging years as the general of what can only charitably be called a continental army. It took a Prussian officer and immigrant to whip them into being a real fighting force, but it took the extraordinary courage and determination of Washington to see them through to independence from England, the greatest power of his era.

To understand the presidency of Abraham Lincoln it is essential to know that he became President on March 4, 1861. This is important because by the end of February 1861 seven southern States had already made it clear they intended to secede and had already convened a confederate congress in Richmond, Virginia. Quite literally, Jefferson Davis had taken his oath of office before Lincoln had arrived in Washington, D.C., to take up his duties. He took office with the sole task of preserving the Union. He was reelected during the course of the Civil War. He gave his life in that cause.

This is what each new generation of Americans needs to know, to understand, to absorb into their understanding what it means to live in a republic composed of separate and sovereign republics.

As this is written, millions of Americans are looking to the nation’s capitol and wondering what kind of man they have elected to be the 44th President of the United States and how the current Congress could so insanely burden the nation with enormous debt, piled upon an already existing one, because he deems these times to be "catastrophic."

The current financial crisis would, economists tell us, have eventually resolved itself on its own. If Washington gave us a nation and Lincoln preserved the Union, then Obama has rendered future generations of Americans mere serfs, born with a vast debt the moment they first draw breath.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

America, We Have a Problem

By Alan Caruba

I am always reluctant to engage in psychologically profiling politicians because I have always suspected you have to be a little bit crazy to get into a profession that virtually requires one to constantly lie and to betray one’s own sense of ethics and morality.

Poking fun at his profession, Harry S. Truman once said, “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”

I have seven decades of life under my belt and I rarely expect politicians to act as statesmen, though some most surely have. What history and my own experience has taught me is that some very twisted souls aspire to high office and the power that comes with it.

For this reason my interest was piqued by a paper written by Dr. Sam Vaknin, PhD, the author of “Malignant Self Love”. Posted on the Global Politician website back in August 2008, Dr. Vaknin found Barack Obama’s background and behavior fit the description of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder spelled out in his book.

His paper runs to eight pages, so I will be selective in quoting from it, but I recommend everyone read it if they have picked up on the signals Dr. Vaknin lays out. You can read it at

The narcissist (1) feels grandiose and self-important, (2) is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, (3) is firmly convinced he or she is unique, (4) requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention, and affirmation, (5) feels entitled, (6) uses others to achieve his or her own ends, (7) is devoid of empathy, (8) is constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustrations, (8) suffers from persecutory, paranoid delusions, (9) is constantly envious of others, and (10) behaves arrogantly and haughtily, and “Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, ‘above the law’’, and omnipresent (magical thinking).

We all know people who exhibit some of these traits and Dr. Vaknin points out that “Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture.” Even an experienced mental health diagnostician, warned Dr. Vaknin, “would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Even so, after two years of campaigning and now a month or more into his presidency, one can sense that Barack Obama is no ordinary, ambitious politician. As Dr. Vaknin notes, like those with the disorder, Obama “Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and ‘ideals’.”

This disorder permits the narcissist to ignore data “that conflict with his fantasy world or with his inflated and grandiose self-image.” Moreover, such people feel that they are “above the law” and the fight being waged by Obama to ensure that his birth certificate and other data such as college records is a reflection of this.

Such people have “a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his ‘mission’,” says Dr. Vaknin. Think back to Obama’s speeches in which he talks of “our moment” and being the one that people were waiting for.

“Pathological narcissism is the art of deception,” says Dr. Vaknin. “The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.”

We live in a society where more people can name the American Idol judges than tell you who uttered the words, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

America, we have a problem and his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and he is the President of the United States. And he has a Democrat controlled Congress that has cobbled together—in secret—a “stimulus” bill that will likely destroy the economy in the long or short term.

None of my generation ever expected to see this day arrive and few of the younger generations that think he will take care of all their needs understand the dangers to the republic, to our freedoms, and, for some like the elderly who will be denied treatment under universal healthcare, their lives.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Israel's Arabs

By Alan Caruba

Prior to the Israeli elections, Ali Zahalka, the principal of an elementary school in Kfar Kara, Israel, wrote about the rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of an Israeli political party who has become a pivotal figure in determining who will be the next Prime Minister.

Taking note of Lieberman’s increased political power, Zahalka said, “Apparently, we got what we deserve. If we (Arab), citizens of the State of Israel, which has a Jewish majority, connect to the worst enemies of the State, why are we surprised that this is what we get?”

In December 2006 I attended a luncheon in New York sponsored by the Middle East Forum. Avigdor Lieberman was the speaker and I wrote a commentary that asked, “Who is Avigdor Lieberman?” because I suspected few Americans had ever heard of him and because a great many Americans, Jewish and gentile, follow events in Israel closely.

At the time, I wrote that, “Lieberman is staring at the glacial destruction of Israel by demography; the way populations grow or decrease. For Israel, the numbers do not bode well.” By 2005, the Arab population was 16% and today it is 20%.

Zahalka warned against anti-Israeli radicalism. “This extremism climaxed with the ‘Death to the Jews’ chants during Operation Cast Lead,” the decision by Israel to respond to months, if not years of rockets from Gaza. It was an effort to destroy the tunnels through which munitions were smuggled into Gaza. Hamas leaders, however, found safety in bunkers or in Damascus while Palestinians bore the brunt of the short military action. When it ended, Hamas declared they had achieved a victory and, in the Arab world, they had. It was a PR victory.

Zahalka’s fear of Lieberman’s party gaining more seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, came true.

In my January 2007 commentary, I noted that Lieberman wants Israel’s Arabs to take a loyalty oath or lose voting privileges in national elections and the right to hold national office. He wanted to expel Arab politicians in the Knesset and to impose a “permanent resident” status on Arab Israelis to deter their influence on the future of Israel.

The Arab population of Israel is not just a political or demographic question, but rather an existential one that asks whether a nation created to be the homeland for Jews can exist if its Arab population continues to grow and, as citizens, play a growing role in its affairs?

Considering the serious divisions that exist between the liberal Democrat Party and conservative Republican Party in the United States, can you imagine an Israel that must address divisions between its Arab Muslim population and its majority Jewish one? These are more than merely political divisions, they are religious and cultural, and they occur in a nation literally surrounded by Arab nations, most of which deny Israel the right to exist.

Zahalka has good reason to fear the future for Israel’s Arab population, but mostly because it has acted in ways that give rise to genuine fears about their loyalty as well as their growing numbers.

The fact is that Israel’s Arabs enjoy more actual freedoms than any of their counterparts elsewhere in the Middle East. They can and do serve in the Knesset. Some even serve in its judicial system as judges. However, it must also be said that, where they gather, they tend to drive out both Jewish and Christian populations. Bethlehem, for example, is now nearly bereft of Christians.

Zahalka made reference to “radical Arab parties” in Israel and pleaded for “the opportunity to integrate as citizens with equal rights.”

What Lieberman knows and what exists wherever there are large minority populations anywhere, is that they do not integrate.

France has seen Muslim riots of great ferocity. In England, Muslims continue to press its parliament for separate but equal rights to impose Sharia courts and to make all manner of other demands. In the Netherlands they are threatening that nation’s traditional tolerance.

So, yes, Avigdor Lieberman, a politician who has been a part of the former Olmert administration and who continues to press for limits on Israel’s Arab population, is emerging with growing political power at the same time Israel appears to remain deeply divided over its future as some hope for some accommodation with the so-called Palestinians while others conclude they cannot and will not accept a peaceful co-existence.

If Iran makes good on its many threats to destroy Israel, the irony and tragedy will be that its Arab population will die along with its Jewish population. They should heed the call to integrate, to show their loyalty, before it is too late to have a nation called Israel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One Month into a Failed Presidency

By Alan Caruba

“Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed? In normal times, this would be a ludicrous question. But these are not normal times. They are times of great danger…The costs to the US and the world of another failed presidency do not bear contemplating.”

This was the view expressed on February 10 in the Financial Times.

It is nothing less than extraordinary that, less than a month into the presidency of Barack Obama, the warnings are flying that it has embarked on a course of actions that are a danger to the nation and to the world.

A day later, Kathleen Parker, a columnist for The Washington Post, was lamenting President Obama’s lack of experience and, more importantly, his lack of maturity. “Obama wants too much to be liked…but there’s a price in becoming president. Giving up being liked is the ultimate public sacrifice.” George W. Bush can confirm the truth of that.

“Obama’s lack of authority over the stimulus package has underscored the value of political experience and toughness,” wrote Parker of Obama’s ceding control to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Meanwhile, two weeks into his presidency, both Obama and wife Michelle were complaining that they were “tired of being in the White House” given the limitations on their former freedom to come and go as they wished.

“Sell the sizzle, not the steak” is an old advertizing maxim. Just over half the voters bought the sizzle surrounding the charismatic candidate, but the steak is proving hard to swallow.

In the first month of his four-year term, there were several cabinet appointments that turned out to be seriously flawed, but that was just the beginning of a number of odd decisions culminating in what may have been the most boring first press conference by a new President. He delivered a ten-minute opening statement followed by a ten-minute response to the first question.

Meanwhile, Obama has issued a flurry of executive orders including shutting down Gitmo, but not determining what we do with a bunch of fanatic, stone killers, some of whom have been released and went right back to al Qaeda. Not satisfied with that, he authorized the spending of $20.3 million in immigration assistance to Palestinian refugees—calling them victims—who want to leave Gaza and bring their hatred here.

His first call to a “head of state” was to Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Fatah Party. Abbas is not a head of state and Fatah exists only at the pleasure of Israel who needs to appear to be negotiating something other than its own destruction. His first television interview was with Al Arabia. The Iranian response was to demand that he apologize for the “past crimes” of the U.S.

He has ordered all overseas CIA interrogation centers closed and then withdrew all charges against the mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole. Do you feel any safer now?

His administration is about to kill any possibility of exploration and drilling for offshore oil while at the same time talking endlessly about “energy independence.”

Finally (though not really) he has nomined David Ogden to be deputy Attorney-General. This is a man whose most notable accomplishments include representing pornographers, trying to defeat child protection legislation, and undermining family values. He once represented a group of library directors to argue against the Children's Internet Protection Act that requires libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites.

The barbarians aren’t at the gates, they are inside the gates.

This isn’t just a failed presidency at this point. It is a suicidal one that is threatening to take down the nation with it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

By Alan Caruba

When television is filled with advertisements by firms offering to help you out of your debt by negotiating with the IRS or consolidating it to the satisfaction of your creditors, you have to wonder why President Obama and the Democrats intend to impose an estimated three trillion dollars in debt on the nation.

Much of that debt will have to be borrowed from other nations.

Would YOU loan any money to the United States of America today? Or tomorrow?

I wouldn’t and my guess is that, pretty soon, China and other nations will have second thoughts about buying U.S. Treasury notes

The February 11 Rasmussen polls revealed that 67% say they could do a better job on the economy than Congress; 75% oppose the nationalization of banks; 62% want more tax cuts and less spending; and 50% says the stimulus bill will make things worse. Does the public get it? Oh, yes!

Meanwhile, the President keeps talking down the economy, doing his best to use the current financial crisis to justify spending billions on “green” energy and “green” jobs, among countless other idiotic “pork” projects, though it must be said that money spent on infrastructure maintenance and new projects is a good investment.

At the heart of the economic crisis is a banking problem. It is a problem of credit liquidity—the willingness to loan money—that is the direct result of the government mucking around in the mortgage industry, having insisted that banks give mortgage loans to people who could not afford them.

The government was and is the problem. The answer, when the government already has a huge deficit, is not to go on a $799 billion spending spree or to stealthily introduce a program to nationalize the healthcare system.

The stimulus bill will not “create” jobs. Only private enterprise can do that, unless it is the intention of the government to create more government jobs and, in fact, much of the bill is devoted to expanding government.

I don’t even say this as someone with any economist credentials to flash around, but I do know that more borrowing or, worse, the printing of money “to put in circulation” will only lead to inflation.

Spending enormous amounts of borrowed money does not address the fact that it has to be paid back at some point. It is, in fact, stealing from future generations of Americans.

The process is called deficit spending and it is the same as if you ran up a huge debt on your credit cards. At some point you will not be able to pay it off. At some point the collection agencies will be calling. At some point you will have to greatly restrict your spending because your credit is shot.

What is happening around the world is a tightening of credit. It’s not just the United States. The losses encountered by American banks are reflected worldwide. While job losses are increasing at home, the amount of job losses in China with a population of a billion are far greater. Now multiply that by job losses in other nations.

When the European Union discovered that the stimulus bill included a provision to “buy American” products as opposed to imported ones, they saw the specter of protectionism, the same action that prolonged and deepened the last Great Depression in the United States.

With an existing federal deficit of $1.2 trillion, how great is the insanity of adding additional spending and interest payments to it? The cost of borrowing will increase.

At some point, Congress will demand that the Federal Reserve begin to print more money. The result, as noted, will be inflation. Or, as was the case in the 1970s, “stagflation” as Congress relies on the Fed to finance a huge deficit.

We’ve been here before and all the “answers” Congress is proposing and has passed into a law awaiting the President’s signature will simply repeat all the errors of the past.

Congress and the White House is in the process of bankrupting America, compounding the excessive spending of the Bush administration while adding layer upon layer of government control to every aspect of a free market economy that was once the envy of the world.

Recall that the “stimulus” action taken toward the end of the last administration failed. Why would anyone seriously think that doubling down on the same mistake will produce anything other than a similar result?

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Move Over, Slick Willy!

By Alan Caruba

Does it seem to you that Obama is seeking to dominate the news cycle with a lot of appearances on television? If so, you’re right. This is a presidency that understands that a large portion of the population will respond to the mere fact that he is on television, but not to the specifics of his message.

Even so, he is a masterful orator. He is so relaxed, so smooth, so apparently in control of his alleged facts, and has such a light touch when he needs it to inject a bit of humor that he challenges the likes of former President Bill Clinton for the moniker of “Slick.”

The contrast with former President George W. Bush is particularly sharp. Bush was one of the least articulate speakers, subject to all kinds of distracting quirks when he spoke, prone to malapropos, and an accent that most people associate with good ole’boys having a beer at the local bar.

Despite that, we tend to forget that Bush got most of his bills through Congress, especially spending bills like the Medicare Prescription program and “No Child Left Behind”, a liberal education program for which few have anything good to say. He was, however, unable to convince either Congress or most Americans that Social Security is a ponzi scheme that must inevitably fail.

Obama is utterly charming and beguiling and he knows it.

He has arrived at the Oval Office with one of the thinnest resumes for any actual achievement, other than running for office, of any prior President. At least Clinton and Bush had been governors, a common platform for the leap to the White House.

I hear from a lot of people who say the same thing. Obama scares them.

They have good cause. Few people are aware of the influence that Frank Marshall Davis had on the adolescent Obama. Davis was a newspaper journalist, poet, and organizer for the Hawaii Communist Party, part of the CPUSA. Born in Kansas, living much of his life in Chicago, he moved to Hawaii in 1948. He would claim that he had been “brain-washed for years after the Bolshevik revolutions.” An Afro-American, one can easily see how Obama would identify with him while being raised by his white grandparents.

When you combine the way Obama was marinated in communism during his teen years and, after an Ivy League education, followed his mentor’s footsteps to Chicago where he studied the techniques of “community organizer”, Saul Alinsky, the separate threads of Obama’s path to the White House begin to come together. Alinski literally wrote the book on how to deceive people into accepting communism.

Little wonder the inclusion of a major revision in healthcare was discovered buried deep in the so-called “stimulus” bill. The socialist healthcare programs in Canada, in England, and elsewhere are a horror. Imposing a socialist healthcare program on America has nothing to do with job creation and everything to do with expanding an ever growing and ever more intrusive government bureaucracy.

And yet Obama’s actual election margins are slim. He won by 53% in the general election with 46% of the voters choosing other candidates. Very nearly half of the voters did not and presumably still do not support him. They are the ones who are scared and they should be.

“We won” in a constitutional republic does not mean you are free to govern by executive order and with a majority in Congress that is determined to impose the largest spending bill in the history of the nation.

The refusal to compromise, a rush to impose legislation without the traditional debate and discussion process, and a cult around the man in the White House is a danger to the republic.

With less than a month in office, Obama has managed to unify the Republican Party in ways we have not seen in decades. They understand the danger even if they don’t have the votes to deter it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Secret of Success

By Alan Caruba

Unless you are a pest control professional, it is unlikely you ever heard of Norm Ehmann. Those of us who were fortunate to know him, however, just loved the man. He passed away recently at the age of 84 and everyone in America owes him a huge debt of gratitude.

Every business and industry in America has a handful of men who transform it and always for the better. They come to their daily tasks with a personal integrity and an enthusiasm that is irresistible.

There was a time when, if people had a pest problem, they asked the local pest control provider to park his car or truck around the corner so others would not know. The inference was that you were not keeping a clean house. People who engaged in pest control had a handful of products and devices to get rid of insect and rodent pests. Their business practices frequently involved a low-ball price for dubious services and results.

Norm Ehmann was instrumental in changing that. He was involved in pest control for more than fifty years and he was passionate about it. What he and others did was introduce educational seminars to the profession. He understood that the most important element of eliminating insect and rodent pests was a thorough-going knowledge and understanding of their habits, life cycles, and harborages.

I knew Norm because, back in the 1970s I participated in the introduction of a remarkable new insecticide called “Ficam.” It was applied with water. It was lethal to a wide variety of insect pests, but virtually harmless to human beings. You’d think this was a good thing, but many years later, the Environmental Protection Agency demanded that the product undergo a repeat of the multi-million dollar registration process and the manufacturer decided it just wasn’t worth it.

I tell you this because it reflected what happened to DDT. During WWII, DDT successfully saved the lives of countless American soldiers and refugees from insect-borne diseases. People were literally dusted with DDT and, then as now, they lived because of this remarkable insecticide. Then Rachel Carson wrote a book, “Silent Spring”, that defamed DDT and, in time, it was banned. Every year now, in Africa alone, five million people die from Malaria for the lack of this miracle insecticide.

Norm worked for Van Waters & Rogers, a leading distributor of pest control products that purchased the company for which he was a salesman. He helped take VW&R from a $3 million operation under its previous owner to a $200 million enterprise. The introduction of new pesticides is the reason that Americans do not have to fear the diseases that insect and rodent pests spread whether it be in a supermarket, a hospital, a school, a hotel, or anywhere else professional pest control services exist.

For Norm, pesticides, used properly, were the answer to the threats of disease and property damage that had always plagued mankind. Over his life he was instrumental in creating 8,000 insect slides and specimens to help train pest control operators, owners and technicians.

That’s why people greet “the Orkin man” and other pest control folk with a smile. Most arrive in a clean uniform, have a professional demeanor, and all are licensed and certified by state agencies.

Norm didn’t just give sales talks. He helped train thousands of men and women to be effective, to understand the products they were using, to understand the pests to be exterminated, to project pride in their profession, to regard and respect each customer as essential to their own success.

Such people transform their industries and, as a result, improve the lives of all Americans.