Saturday, October 31, 2009

Every Day is Groundhog Day in the Middle East

By Alan Caruba

In the movie, “Groundhog Day”, the main character wakes up day after day, trapped in the same events, desperately looking for a way out of that living nightmare. It’s a very good metaphor for the Middle East.

Here are some quotes from a book whose title I will reveal in a moment:

“The only truly transcendent law in the Middle East is that of unintended consequences.”

“Nation-building and the redressing of historic wrongs were in the air…”

“His fighters secured control of key rivers, recaptured Kut, and on (date withheld) stormed victoriously into Baghdad. Still undecided was how this famous city—and, indeed, most of Mesopotamia—would now be governed.”

“I suppose we have underestimated the fact that this country is really an inchoate mass of tribes which can’t as yet be reduced to any system. The Turks didn’t govern and we have tried to govern…and failed.”

And finally “Our armies have come into your cities and lands not as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.”

All this and more was said in the 1920s by British imperialists. If it sounds like things being said by Americans, then you must assume that America has been repeating all the mistakes of Great Britain in the exact same places.

The book being quoted is “Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East” by Karl E. Mayer and Shareen Blair Brysac ($18.95, W.W. Norton, softcover) and its five-hundred pages are devoted to the extraordinary personalities of the 1920s who, believing it was Great Britain’s duty was to bring civilization to India, Africa, and the Middle East, devoted themselves to “Pax Britannia”, the rule of distant colonies representing a fourth of the world’s population.

The book is a reminder that whatever passes for modernity in the Middle East has generally been imposed by the process of European colonization in quest of its oil and other riches to fatten the profits of various British, French, and American business enterprises such as the Suez Canal and the oil companies.

Left to themselves the polyglot of tribes would never have experienced anything resembling modernization.

Afghanistan today would look very much the same to the earliest invaders and explorers who passed through it. No roads. No hospitals. Few schools. No jobs except raising poppies for the heroin trade or serving in the army or police. Men raised from youth to fight anyone and everyone. Pushtuns, Tajiks, Hazarus, Uzbeks, Turkmen, and Qizilbash.

The Middle East had been ruled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire for centuries—from Egypt to Persia. Going back even further in history, the region was no stranger to European invasions. The Crusades were a response against the Islamic invaders that at one point had laid siege to Vienna.

As the authors note, “In his history of Jerusalem, the Israeli writer Amos Elon calculates that over four millennia the Holy City has known ‘twenty ruinous sieges, two intervals of total destruction, eighteen recent reconstructions, and at least eleven transitions from one religion to another.” In 1967 visitors could find the remnants of “Roman encampments, Crusader castles, Turkish parapets, and British pillboxes.”

To suggest, for example, that after more than sixty years of Israeli national sovereignty that Arab neighbor nations (and Iran) have the slightest intention of allowing it to exist is to ignore the history of centuries old intolerance directed against both Christian and Jew.

Following World War One, England and France divided the remains of the Ottoman Empire that had chosen to side with Germany. It would have died sooner or later of its own dead weight, but it was Sir Percy Zachariah Cox who would take out “a map and a pencil to draw the boundary between Iraq and the Nejd (now Saudi Arabia). The borders with Syria and Transjordan were defined similarly.”

There were Arab leaders, but they were generally the pawns of the great powers, frequently assassinated or deposed. With some exceptions, the nations of the Middle East continue to be ruled by monarchs and despots.

As the British Empire shrank in the wake of World War Two and American power grew only one thing is clear. Neither of these imperial powers had any clue, nor way of dealing with the Middle East’s regressive Islamic fanaticism that remains a ceaseless threat to Western civilization. And, as in past times, the debates rage about staying in or getting out.

Every day in the Middle East is Groundhog Day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

Obama: Saluting for the Cameras

By Alan Caruba

Presidents engage in all kinds of ceremonial events. Every Thanksgiving, they “pardon” a turkey so it doesn’t end up on the White House menu. They make sure they are photographed with the winning teams of various sporting series. Every Easter they can be found at the White House Egg Roll accompanied, I have always suspected, by a Secret Service agent in a large bunny costume.

The other evening, shortly after midnight, President Obama made sure to be photographed standing in line with military personnel and some civilians in attendance as the dead, including three drug enforcement agents, from Afghanistan were returned home at Dover Air Force base. Our military casualties are received in a solemn ceremony few except those in attendance ever witness.

Presidents have never participated in this ceremony. The caskets are a too vivid reminder that part of their job is to send troops in harm’s way. President Bush preferred to meet with the families of fallen heroes.

When 241 U.S. military were murdered by a suicide bomber in Beirut on October 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan attended a ceremony at Camp Lejeune to speak of his grief and anger. Three months after the bombing, he pulled out U.S. troops.

The bombing, authorized by Iran and carried out by Hezbollah, foretold of the way our troops would be attacked by an enemy that would not meet them on the field of battle, would not wear a uniform, and preferred fanatical Islamic self-sacrifice as an instrument of war. The ultimate attack was al Qaeda’s 9/11 against civilians.

President Obama wasn’t there to honor those fallen soldiers or marines. He was there to be seen saluting.

Obama was there because, during the campaign he had used the war in Afghanistan as a way to criticize former President Bush’s decision to depose Iraq’s dictator only to find himself in unforeseen and ill-considered circumstances that required years and a change of strategy to redeem.

Afghanistan, said candidate Obama, was “a war of necessity” whereas Iraq was “a war of choice.” Only now, nine months into his first term, Obama is finding it very difficult to make a choice, to determine the “necessity” of conducting the war in Afghanistan or whether to withdraw from it.

What bothered me, as someone who served in the U.S. Army, was the way Obama was using those returning dead to “send a message” that he was very serious about the decision he was about to make.

The strategy concerning Afghanistan was handed to him by the existing Bush administration in a report prepared for his assumption of the office. His hand-picked general in the field says we will lose without increasing present troop strength.

Obama’s presence that evening was about perceptions and imagery. It was his way of trying to influence public opinion about his failure to act.

Increasingly, questions are being raised about his campaign statements and presumably his commitment to pursue the Taliban and al Qaeda in a vigorous fashion. The enemy knows it and it too is doing what it can to influence public opinion; they have stepped up the killing of American troops.

Frankly, knowing that he had never worn the uniform of his nation, it bothered me that he would stand there in the dark giving a salute. The closest he ever got to wearing a uniform and saluting in his past was when he was in the Boy Scouts—the Indonesian Boy Scouts.

There is something coldly calculating about using the returning battle dead to try to bolster an image of patriotism and commitment to military action, but that is what this President is all about, the image of things, statements about things in which he does not believe and intends to “transform.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are They Stupid or Evil or Both?

By Alan Caruba

It is an ancient question about any group of people who constitute a government. Are they stupid or evil? Or both? Or just stupid and the evil flows from their stupidity?

I rather imagine the Roman senators lounging around in their bath houses and asking one another whether Quintas Fabius Maximus Eburnus is a moron or has something up the sleeve of his toga?

My thoughts on this have naturally turned to Madame Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, our President, and the motley group of cabinet secretaries and “czars” advising him.

I have concluded that they are, individually and collectively, the most stupid people Americans have ever elected or had appointed to public office.

I know that historians will be emailing me asking, “What about Andrew Johnson” who succeeded Lincoln following his assassination or, for that matter, Lyndon B. Johnson who became president when JFK was killed. There probably should be an amendment to the Constitution forbidding anyone named Johnson to run for high office.

And, yes, the same historians will be clamoring to have me add Millard Fillmore to the list who, in 1856, was nominated by the American (Know Nothing) Party.

Even this short list suggests that Americans have literally survived some extremely dim bulbs in high places. However, in the days before 24/7 cable news coverage and C-Span, we were unable to see and hear the morons with such clarity.

President Obama worries me because he is an ideologue, defined by what he believes as opposed to what he knows.

In Cairo, he gave a speech saying that Islam is a tolerant religion when it is objectively the least tolerant, whose adherents are actually urged to kill unbelievers (infidels) and any Muslim who decides to convert to any other faith. Not knowing something like that or expressing an opinion contrary to that is stupid.

What other stupid things has he done since assuming office in January? Where does one start?

He bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia when no President, nor the U.S. flag, is ever permitted to bow or dip to any other head of state.

He doubled the national debt.

He announced the termination of the space defense system the day after the North Korea launched an ICBM.

He told the Mexicans that the violence in their nation was our fault.

He has begun to nationalize the nation’s auto industry and healthcare system.

He has demonized insurance companies, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the coal and oil industries on whom we depend for electricity and for transportation.

It’s a very long list.

As for Madame Pelosi and Sen. Reid, it is doubtful that the Congress of the United States, in its long history, has ever been led by two more stupid people to take up space in a Capitol elevator.

When asked for the Constitutional authority that justifies the proposed healthcare reform bill, Madame Pelosi was unable to cite any…because there is none. She has unveiled a health reform bill that would cost $894 billion over 10 years and includes a public option. This is on top of the $787 billion “stimulus” bill that, if the rising unemployment figures and foreclosures mean anything, has not stimulated anything.

Both Pelosi and Reid are trying desperately to pass two of the worst ideas to come before Congress in decades, the “reform” of healthcare in America and the imposition of a bizarre “cap-and-trade” scheme designed to sell “carbon credits” in order to avoid a natural global warming that stopped ten years ago.

Both these loathsome politicians assume you are too stupid to know what makes sense and what does not. I have lost count of how many times they have changed the names of various pieces of legislation in an effort to make them more palatable despite the stink that rises from their texts.

Their favorite pieces of legislation will ensure that Democrats become an endangered political species in 2010.

This brings us back to the stupid versus evil question. Both proposals (and others) are stupid, but both will also result in a great deal of evil in the lives of people who will not receive medical treatment and who will see their energy bills rise for no good reason.

For a complete list of the most stupid people in Congress, just check out the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, House Democrat Caucus, Congressional Climate Caucus, as well as the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. Yes, there are other caucuses of note, but too many to list here.

Now, before I am accused of indicting the entire Congress, let it be said there are, sprinkled among the dimwits, a number of fine, intelligent men and women who got elected.

As for the White House coven of witches and warlocks, it is pure speculation which among them is the most stupid. We already know who’s the most evil, but speaking or writing his name can occasion grief; his initials are Rahm Emmanuel, a close advisor to the most stupid President to hold that office since Jimmy Carter.

And then, of course, there’s Vice President Joe My-Foot-is-in-My-Mouth Biden, a constant embarrassment to the White House because he occasionally and inadvertently tells the truth. The rest of the time, however, he is clueless.

Being forever the optimist, I am following the daily countdown until the 2010 midterm elections and the end of Obozo’s first and last term.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Afghanistan, Bananistan

By Alan Caruba

Though it pains me deeply, I have to agree with President Obama’s reluctance to send more troops into Afghanistan.

Perhaps he is thinking about the problems the Soviet Union encountered even though they had an estimated 100,000 troops there in the 1990s? Perhaps he is wondering why the United States has been there now for eight years with not much to show for it?

I am not interested in the “politics” of the President’s decision whether to stay, to increase troop strength, to maintain the current status, or to leave. Only leaving makes any sense and I worry that Obama may want to avoid looking like a wimp by pulling out.

To those that argue that leaving will embolden the Taliban or al Qaeda, may I respectfully suggest they don’t need anything to feel that way other than their fanatical belief in Islam.

Then there is the nasty little problem called Hamid Karzai and his government of Afghanistan; the one that stuffed the ballot boxes so blatantly in a recent election even the United Nations could not ignore it. As for his government, it ends at the city line of Kabul.

In the event you missed the news this week, we are bleeding troops there at an indefensible rate. Meanwhile, in Iraq, al Qaeda or some other group blew up a chunk of the presumably secure “Green Zone” in Baghdad, killing some 165 people, in order to undermine confidence in their current government. Another car bomb just went off in Pakistan; hardly news in a region where car bombs are the calling cards of every insurgency.

That’s what Arabs do. They may not like dictatorships, but they give ample evidence of being incapable of self-governance. The Ottoman Turks controlled the region from the 18th century until the demise of their empire following World War One. What we call the Middle East is largely the invention of the British and French.

Egypt has been run by Mubarak since 1981. The Assad family seized control of Syria in 1963. Iran has been run by the mullahs since 1979. Iraq was run by Saddam Hussein from 1979 until deposed by an American invasion in 2003.

Saudi Arabia has been run by Ibn Saud and his offspring since the 1920s and this is the case of the smaller emirates.

They are, as one diplomat described them, “tribes with flags.”

Afghanistan has been around since the days of Alexander the Great and he had a terrible time there. Every invading colonizing power that has ventured into Afghanistan has had a bad time. All eventually left.

We should, too.

Putting aside the likelihood that we can “win” a war of insurgency (Vietnam anyone?) there is one compelling reason why the U.S. should not waste its time, its treasure, and the lives of its brave troops there. The reason is oil. And Afghanistan does not have any.

In fact, about the only thing Afghanistan has are poppy fields for the purpose of producing heroin, its primary export.

Afghanistan does not have a stable government and what government it will have, no matter how many “elections” it holds, will be utterly and completely corrupt because that’s how business is conducted in a place that predates medieval Europe and most other nations.

The notion that the U.S. or NATO can or should engage in “nation building” in a place that’s been run by competing warlords and tribal chieftains ignores centuries of evidence to the contrary.

Though I do not credit Obama or the people around him with much intelligence, it could be they have looked at a map of the Middle East and concluded that Pakistan is the real problem. Only in recent months, despite having had billions of U.S. dollars poured into its coffers over the past decade, has Pakistan begun to marshal its military to attack the strongholds of al Qaeda and the Taliban in a frontier area adjacent to Afghanistan.

The reason for this is two-fold; the Pakistanis have been reluctant to venture into their frontier areas because it is full of fanatical Muslims and it is an area, like neighboring Afghanistan, in which it is difficult to conduct military operations.

Secondly and far more important to the Pakistanis is their belief that their other neighbor, India, is set to invade any minute of any day. They have believed this since becoming a nation specifically for Muslims in 1947, carved out of former Indian territory.

Did I mention there is no oil in Afghanistan? From the 1920s, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire that ruled the Middle East, the great powers, Russia, England, France and America, have butted heads over the region. The reason was oil.

While Afghanistan has been around forever, Iraq is a colonial invention of the British, as is Jordan. Syria and Lebanon were handed over to the French. The control of Iran, formerly Persia, changed hands between the British and Americans until the Islamic Revolution in 1979 turned it into a mad house run by mullahs.

So, President Obama is right to hesitate about sending more troops to Afghanistan and he will be right if he pulls out. It is doubtful the Russians will want to return any time soon.

After eight years in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American military, a force composed of volunteers, is very tired and is very much in need of a rest as well as replenishment of just about everything needed to wage war.

Since the end of World War Two, the U.S. no longer fights wars to win. The Korean peninsula is still a stalemate. We now have embassies in Vietnam instead of armies. And the peoples of the Middle East are sick of us, no less than of our allies too.

It is time to leave Afghanistan and it has been time to leave for a very long time. Come on, Mr. President, do just one thing right.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Democrat Lies and Healthcare Reform

By Alan Caruba

Whatever healthcare legislation is passed will be (a) a pack of lies and (b) end up costing well beyond the estimates that range from hundreds of billions to beyond a trillion dollars.

One way or the other, the DEMOCRATS led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will find a way to pass something, anything, called healthcare reform. It simply does not matter that most voters have concluded it is yet another liberal-inspired, utopian disaster. And the only good news is that they might as well be signing the Party’s death notice in 2010.

History, as always, provides the best measure against which to determine what the future holds. This is because people, political parties, and others invariably make the same mistakes over and over again.

Let us take a look at Social Security.

When Franklin Roosevelt, a DEMOCRAT, introduced the Social Security (FICA) program he promised that participation would be completely voluntary and that the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program. These days, one is enrolled in Social Security at birth!

Participants were told that the money they to put into Social Security would be tax deductible from their income. Today, Social Security payments are taxed as income.
It was the DEMOCRAT Party that eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding. Former Vice President, Al Gore, cast the tie-breaking vote.

The integrity of Social Security was to be ensured by an independent "trust fund" and would not be mingled with the government’s general operating fund. FICA payments would be used solely to fund the Social Security retirement program.

It was Lyndon Johnson and the DEMOCRAT controlled House and Senate that eliminated the independent "trust fund" and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it.

The DEMOCRAT Party, led by Jimmy Carter, decided to give Social Security annuity payments to immigrants who at age 65 would be eligible to receive payments. The Party gave these payments to them even though they may have never paid a dime into the program.

And, finally, for the first year since 1975, Social Security beneficiaries will not receive a cost of living adjustment in 2010 despite the fact that the cost of food, energy and healthcare continues to climb and the value of the dollar declines against other currencies.

Healthcare costs can be addressed. Simply permitting insurance companies to sell policies across state lines in the same fashion as auto, home, and other insurance is sold would increase competition and spread the risks. As it is, the insurance industry has a paltry 2.2% profit margin and the proposed healthcare reforms would put them out of business.

So, as you watch the machinations involving five different versions of “healthcare reform”, each ranging up to and beyond a thousand pages, you might want to write your Senator and Representative urging them to reject this latest fleecing of Americans.

You need not write if they are Republicans as that Party is almost unanimously opposed to it.

The DEMOCRAT’s are doing what they do best; lying to voters.

This “healthcare reform” seems to have as its goal the further destruction of the economy, the degrading of the healthcare system, and further control over the most intimate decisions Americans and their physicians make regarding their lives.

If passed, in some cases, they will be told to go home and die.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How to be a Jerk

By Alan Caruba

Let us begin with a fact that whole legions of global warming alarmists cannot wish away or hide from public view. The Earth has been cooling since 1998 and it is getting demonstrably cooler almost everywhere in the world. The cooling will continue for decades.

So it follows that the best way to be a complete jerk is to have your book, “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”, published at the same time that a recent Public Strategies Inc/Politico poll revealed that “Just four percent (4%) ranked climate change as the top issue."

If the congressional election—-next year’s midterms—-were held today the economy would be the top issue (45%), followed by insane government spending (21%)

Another survey, one by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted between September 30 and October 4, found that “fewer respondents see global warming as a very serious problem,; 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”

James Hoggan, the cofounder of DeSmogBlog, along with Richard Littlemore are the proud authors of what has to be the silliest book of the year. It actually has a blurb on the back cover from Leonardo DeCaprio, famed actor and, until now, an unknown meteorological savant.

In the interest of full disclosure, both Hoggan and I have plied the magical arts and craft of public relations for a living. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus, clunkers program, ownership of General Motors and other former private enterprises, I have been forcibly retired. I am looking forward to not being retired as I have rent to pay and enjoy eating on a regular basis.

Hoggan’s preface begins by saying, “This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility on an epic scale. In its darkest chapters, it’s a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgment—of an anti-democratic attack on our political structure and a strategic undermining of the journalistic watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest.”

Did he say “journalistic watchdogs”? Last year more than 40,000 of them lost their jobs due to an ailing economy, bad business models, and the growing perception that the “news” they were reporting was biased and unreliable.

To this day, reporters are still writing about "global warming" as if it is real and blathering about greenhouse gas emissions as if they have anything to do with the climate.

From Hoggan’s description I thought he was talking about the huge global warming hoax that has been foisted on the world’s population by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore, countless feckless politicians, grant-seeking scientists, and so-called environmental organizations.

But no, Hoggan is talking about “an organized campaign, largely financed by the coal and oil industries, to make us think that climate science was somehow still controversial, (that) climate change still unproven.”

Climate “science” based on appallingly manipulative and misleading computer models is controversial. As for “climate change”, it is the new term being used by “global warming” alarmists because there is NO global warming.

Ignoring the billions the U.S. government under several presidents have lavished on scientists lined up to prove the Earth was dramatically warming, the sea levels were rising at unprecedented rates, that polar bears—-excellent swimmers-—were drowning, and just about other natural phenomenon was affected by or demonstrated global warming, so far as Hoggan is concerned, “Denier scientists were being paid well, not for conducting climate research, but for practicing public relations.”

Like many alarmists, Hoggan does not care much for humanity or its achievements, noting that “We can kill one another more quickly than ever in human history, and we can change the world’s climate in a way that scientists say is threatening our ability to survive on Earth.”

Only ignoramuses think that human beings “can change the world’s climate.”

Oh wait, it turns out that the President of the United States, speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was critical of the “naysayers” who “make cynical claims” that ignore the alleged scientific evidence about greenhouse gas, i.e., carbon dioxide, emissions.

Move over Hoggan, it turns out that Obama is as big a jerk as you.

Obama has been touting “clean energy” technologies such as solar and wind that are so wanting in practicality and dependability that only government requirements keep these providers of barely one percent of all electricity in business.

As part of the stimulus and the horrid Cap-and-Trade bill lingering a slow death in Congress, billions of taxpayer dollars would go to “clean energy” companies while the Obama administration wages an economic war on coal and oil companies, denies permits to mine coal, the opportunity to drill for oil in Alaska or in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf.

If coal and oil companies that provide 99% of our power for transportation and all other uses are evil, then surely General Electric that manufactures wind turbines and stands to make a lot of money thanks to a government ban on the manufacture and use of all incandescent light bulbs is the epitome of all that is good and wonderful.

“We are standing at the edge of a cliff,” writes Hoggan of global warming and “Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting.”

Oh, those terrible human beings who want a standard of living that includes electric lights, television sets, computers, air conditioners, automobiles, and a dinner that does not require burning animal dung to cook.

Maybe Hoggan is bucking for a prize for publishing one of the most idiotic books of the year, ten years into a worldwide cooling of the Earth.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Government List of Things that Could Kill You

By Alan Caruba

With the presidential announcement that H1N1, the “swine” flu, is now officially a national emergency, plus reports out of the CDC that not enough vaccine is available, I thought it might be helpful to provide a list of things that the government says could kill you.

Right up there at the top is, of course, (1) global warming. President Obama and Al Gore says the entire planet is going to resemble a toasted marshmallow at a Boy Scout jamboree if we all don’t stop driving cars, manufacturing things, generating and using electricity, et cetera. And that goes for you, too, China and India!

Next is (2) smoking. It is an incontrovertible fact that everyone in the graveyard nearest to you who ever smoked is dead. The government, which used to make a lot of money from tobacco taxes, is dead set—no pun intended—against anyone smoking. This used to be a matter of personal choice, but now it will get you thrown out of arenas, restaurants, offices of all descriptions, and just about every other public place. Those who insist on still smoking are going to die. At some point.

Another thing that will kill you is (3) guns. It is a matter of complete consternation that the 90 million or so gun-owners in America are not all dead! The government wants to take away their guns in order to protect them from shooting themselves, their family members, and possibly someone trying to break into their home or apartment. Apparently criminals have not paid sufficient attention to government warnings and insist on using guns, whenever possible, in robberies and drug deals gone bad.

May I digress briefly to note what almost any homicide detective in America will tell you; on entering the murder scene, the first question they ask is where’s the husband or wife of the victim? Then they go down a list of nearest relatives and friends; most of the time this produces the perpetrator. Here’s a tip. If you kill someone, your family and friends will be the first to turn you in because they don’t want you killing them, too. So, essentially, if someone does end up murdering you, it’s someone you know and, if you kill someone, your mom will send you up the river faster than drinking the water in Mexico will give you the runs.

Before I go further, I need to also list (4) eating to the list of lethal activities in which you may be engaging. Eating, as is statistically demonstrated, can lead to obesity, defined as the inability to see your shoes or put them on without help. Or you may just get “fat.” And we all know that fat people are (a) jolly and (b) doomed to any early death. The food groups you are not supposed to eat are cookies, candy, and ice cream. If you eat any of these, you’re doomed, but frankly life without cookies, candy, and ice cream life is probably not worth living anyway.

A little known fact that the government is trying to suppress is that being a Republican or a conservative will, in fact, add years to your life. That’s because most of these folks have guns. Also, they have a very low level of gullibility so they are less prone to things like panic-inducing Swine flu announcements. They just deal with stress better. A lot of them love to hunt and fish. You know, clinging to their guns, et cetera.

The government really doesn’t want you to know this because it will cut into General Motors and Chrysler sales, but (5) driving a car can kill you a lot faster than most other activities. On the average, it kills about 40,000 people every year. So buckle up. Obey the traffic signals. Drive at a safe speed, and hope that the other people on the highway or street aren’t pumped full of “meth” or “coke”, so spaced out of their minds they think they’re in a space ship on the way to Planet Zeno. And, of course, there are all those drunken drivers out there, too.

I should also point out that ordinary flu kills about 36,000 people a year no matter what name it has. They are frequently the very young who lack sufficient immunity or old people with other life-threatening ailments. The H1N1, in terms of fatalities, does not appear to be anything other than a variation of ordinary flu.

There are, in truth, so many things the government thinks can or will kill you, legislators and bureaucrats are exhausted from passing laws against them, regulating them, and generally getting between you and them.

For the record, I think global warming is pure crappola; I have smoked cigars since my late teens and am now in my seventh decade of life averaging two a day; I own several guns; I eat and drive a car every day. I have an occasional drink, mostly wine. I get a “regular” flu shot every year and I get most of my exercise as a pall-bearer for friends who watched their diet, didn’t smoke, or had much fun when they were alive.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Light Bulbs: Taking Away Your Choice

By Alan Caruba

I am always amazed at the variety of choice that exists in my local supermarket. There are other supermarkets in the area, but the one I frequent most has lower prices on most items and almost anything you want to purchase allows one to select among several brands available.

We Americans may not think much about choice when it comes to what we buy because we have so many choices. It is the mark of a free marketplace where competition determines winners and losers. It says a lot about a society that puts a high premium on freedom.

Your government, however, has decided that, in 2012, you can no longer choose to purchase and use Thomas Edison’s iconic invention, the 100 watt incandescent light bulb. By 2014, all such bulbs will be banned from sale. That’s right, they will vanish from the shelves of supermarkets and other outlets.

As this is being written, your government is debating taking away your choice to purchase health insurance. Or not. If it gets its way, everyone, old and young, healthy or ill, everyone will have to buy health insurance—most likely the brand issued by the government because it will drive most present insurance companies out of business. That is so un-American as to defy belief.

In Europe, thanks to a European Union ban on incandescent light bulbs, consumers are cleaning out the shelves to stockpile a supply when they can no longer be sold. As Jason Lomberg, the Technical Editor of Electronic Component News, a trade publication, noted recently, “The ban has proved to be massively unpopular. All across Europe its media are reporting huge increases in the sales of incandescent sales. In Germany alone, sales for 100 watt bulbs rose by 80% to 150%.

Why were the EU and U.S. bans put in place? It is the view of environmentalists who insist that incandescent bulbs are less energy “efficient” than compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and that consumers must be denied the choice between them.

They are less “efficient”, but it is equally true that CFL’s unnatural, bluish light takes time to achieve full brightness, about three minutes on the average. At least a quarter of them fall short meeting their rated service life, meaning you will have to buy more of them.

In addition to the fact that some “emit a headache-inducing buzzing sound” the worst thing about fluorescent light bulbs is that they contain mercury. As a recent issue of The DeWeese Report points out, they “contain poisonous liquid mercury over 300 times the EPA’s standard accepted safety level.”

“In addition, days after a bulb has been broken,” noted Tom DeWeese, “vacuuming or simply crawling across the carpeted floor where the bulb was broken can cause mercury vapor levels to shoot back upwards of 100 times the accepted level of safety.” Who crawls on the floor? Babies! Whose closer to the floor than you? Pets!

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection reported that a woman was quoted $2,000 for cleanup of a broken compact fluorescent bulb in her house.

The politicians in the U.S. Congress, pandering as always to the crazed environmentalists, enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that put the ban in place to begin in 2012.

The Obama administration has declared war on the building of new coal-fired energy plants despite the fact that they currently provide just over half of all the electricity we use daily, nor has a new nuclear plant been built in decades. It won’t allow any offshore exploration and extraction of oil or natural gas either. So, while allegedly providing for “energy independence” the government is thwarting any new provision of electricity.

But you will be forced to buy fluorescent light bulbs to ensure “energy efficiency” while one of the greatest inventions, the incandescent light bulb, is banned from use. The result will turn all U.S. landfills into toxic dumps.

Where the government finds the justification for destroying your right of choice continues to elude my grasp.

What it portends are supermarkets with far less products and food choices than currently exist because some environmentalist or vegetarian has decided that coercive laws are the best way to take away the freedom of choice that is quintessentially American.

This ban must be repealed along with so-called healthcare “reform” and the hideous “cap-and-trade” law, renamed as the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”, that will raise the cost of electricity in the name of saving the Earth from a “global warming” that is NOT happening.

As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where are the Hurricanes, Mr. Gore?

By Alan Caruba

That god among men and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore, told us in “An Inconvenient Truth”, his Oscar-winning documentary, that we had to brace for increasing numbers of hurricanes as the result of global warming.

So, where are the hurricanes of 2009, Mr. Gore?

The hurricane season that runs from June through November is about to end with nothing more than one weak to borderline moderate tropical storm that hit Florida’s panhandle, but there have been NO hurricanes; at least none that made landfall.

So, where are the hurricanes of 2009, Mr. Gore?

Trying to predict how many hurricanes there will be each year is probably fun, but is a highly risky undertaking. I have a lot of friends among the meteorological and climatological community, men of science, but I always cross my fingers for them when they take a run at it.

This year, Bill Gray of Colorado State, perhaps the best known among the hurricane forecasters, thought there would be at least 7 hurricanes of which 3 would be major. Weather Services Inc. agreed with Dr. Gray and, over at Accuweather, the prediction was for 8 hurricanes of which 2 would be major.

NOAA and the National Weather Service do not predict hurricanes, but as political as well as scientific entities they have a very bad track record of trying to confirm Al Gore’s global warming claims.

In March, William J. Broad, reporting in The New York Times, noted that Gore’s “scientific audience is uneasy” in the wake of his global warming documentary. “These scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.”

In Great Britain, a judge ruled that the documentary could not be shown in the schools unless teachers read a long list of its erroneous claims.

Since an increase in hurricanes was one of his dramatic claims along with rising sea levels and disappearing polar bears, Gore is batting zero these days. The sea levels have been rising a few inches every century for millennia and it is generally conceded that the polar bear population since the 1950s has been thriving.

In May, hurricane specialist Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in Miami disputed theories that “global warming” has caused more hurricanes. His study was published in The Journal of Climate.

Landsea, like all meteorologists who haven’t been in a coma since the 1980s, knows that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998. Thus, the warmth that feeds hurricanes has diminished and is likely to stay that way for decades to come.

Landsea’s research showed that, since the mid-1990s, the average number of hurricanes per year had almost doubled what it was during the few prior decades, about on par with hurricane activity in the early 20th century. “It’s busy, yes, but not anything we haven’t seen before,” said Landsea while attending the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference in May.

For the non-scientist, that should confirm that hurricanes are governed by natural cycles, not some non-existent, dramatic increase called “global warming.”

Though what I know about hurricanes would fit comfortably in a bug’s ear, I am nonetheless tempted to suggest that the cooling cycle the Earth entered in 1998 may be a contributing factor to why this year’s hurricane season is, at this writing, minus any hurricanes.

So, where are the hurricanes of 2009, Mr. Gore?

Known as “the Gore factor”, it is the irony of blizzards or severe snow storms that seem to follow him around whenever he delivered one of his “global warming” speeches.

It is my profound prayer that, in December when the United Nations climate conference convenes to issue an international treaty based on the Great Global Warming Lie, that the city of Copenhagen gets hit by a blizzard so great that the delegates cannot leave their plush hotels for days.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Using "Global Warming" to Steal your Rights

By Alan Caruba

By now, anyone paying any attention whatever to the weather has begun to notice that it is getting colder earlier in the U.S. and that this is occurring around the world.

On, Robert W. Felix, the author of “Not by Fire, but by Ice” and “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps”, reports on current weather events. A recent visit contains these items:

Storm now heading for Ireland & Britain predicted 100 days ago Snow likely to follow - 18 Oct 09

Significant snow in Argentina’s Southern Andes - 19 Oct 09

Czech Republic: Most snow in 100 years - 16 Oct 09

Snow across Central and Eastern Europe - 15 Oct 09

Earliest October Snowfall on record in Southern Germany - 15 Oct 09

Why then is a United Nations conference on climate change to be held this December in Copenhagen still claiming that the Earth faces the dreaded “global warming”?

Why is “global warming” the justification for terrible legislation such as the cap-and-trade bill currently festering in Congress?

Plainly stated, there is no “global warming” and the Earth is, in fact, in a new cooling cycle that began in 1998. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Australia’s governing body, the European Union, Al Gore and the President of the United States who will attend the UN conference, are all lying.

They are lying to impose a One-World Government on every nation stupid enough to ratify the December conference’s treaty on “climate change.” That has been the goal of the United Nations since its Environmental Program initiated the global warming hoax with an “Earth Summit” held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. To learn more, Google “Agenda 21.”

Suffice it to say, the Kyoto Climate Control protocol that followed exempted China, India, and undeveloped nations from having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide. In 1998, the U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution refusing to ratify this pack of lies. Today’s Senate, as well as House, is controlled by the Democrat Party and it is hell-bent on “global warming” legislation such as “cap-and-trade” and other horrid laws and regulations.

The reason the UN environmental program has been able to perpetrate the greatest hoax in modern times can be traced to the “computer models” they cited to justify the “science” of global warming.

Computer models are used by the U.S. Weather Service to predict conditions around the nation and you may have noticed via your local weather forecast that they are just barely reliable. At best, they have about a 50-50 chance of getting it wrong within a period as short as four days. This is because no computer model can predict the action of clouds. Yes, clouds! They are a significant factor in weather.

Worse, however, is the way these computer models have been deliberately manipulated by global warming alarmists such as James Hansen, a complete loony who unfortunately and inexplicably heads up the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a post he’s held since 1981.

A computer model he produced in 1971 predicted global warming well into the next century and blamed it on “fossil fuel CO2 emissions.” Greens like Hansen are united in their opposition to the use of any energy other than solar and wind energy for anything. Solar and wind account for about one percent of all the energy Americans consume daily.

In a commentary by Norm Kalmanovitch, he noted that “As with the 1971 model, the 1998 model was proven to be false when global warning ended after 1998 even as carbon dioxide emissions continued to rise at unprecedented rates.” Carbon dioxide is vital to all plant life on Earth and, as such, vital to all life on Earth. The more the better. It would produce higher crop yields and more forest growth.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also perverted computer models for the purpose of advancing its One-World government agenda; the same one that will be advanced in Copenhagen in December. The same one President Obama is salivating for the opportunity to sign.

The IPCC’s continued global warming lies, Kalmanovitch noted “not only made no mention of the fact that from 1998 to 1999 the Earth cooled more than it had ever cooled during the entire global temperature record, but emphatically stated that from 1997 to 1998 the Earth had warmed more than it ever had.”

The next time anyone tells you that the Earth is warming, they are lying to you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The U.S. Afghanistan Policy

The Decline of U.S. Journalism

By Alan Caruba

I was looking forward to reading Tom Fenton’s “Junk News: The Failure of the Media in the 21st Century”, a new book and part of a Fulcrum Publishing series called the “Speakers Corner”; short books on contemporary issues.

Fenton is a four-time Emmy winner from his years with CBS-TV news, but those years were during the era when Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather set the agenda and, as we now know, both were raving liberals and, in the case of Rather who was more or less forced to resign, his legal suit against CBS was recently dismissed. To learn more, read Bernie Goldberg’s book, “Bias”, that reveals how liberal the tilt to the news was when he was a CBS reporter.

All of the network news programs have suffered a loss of viewers as they flocked to Fox News Channel in search of “fair and balanced” reporting, leaving the cable news competitors, MSNBC, CNN, and others in the ratings dust.

These days Fenton, a foreign correspondent in his glory days, resides in London and is described as “a freelance commentator for the BBC and other media.”

The book arrived the same day The New York Times announced it was laying off another 150 staffers from its newsroom by year’s end. In the spring of 2008, it cut a hundred jobs, among which were 15 to 20 reporters. As the Times noted, “Nearly all papers in the metropolitan region have been cutting their news operations for years and some have fewer than half as many people in their newsrooms as they did in 2000.”

A free and independent Fourth Estate is essential to a democracy and it is typical of autocratic nations that newspapers and other media are controlled by the state. The loss of journalists means that the engines of government have fewer people to keep an eye on their machinations.

Sadly, though, Fenton uses much of his book to flay former President George W. Bush for all the ills of the world, repeating the criticisms of the decision to remove a depraved dictator, Saddam Hussein, from his rule over Iraq. Saddam had waged an eight-year war against Iran and, after that ended in a stalemate, he invaded Kuwait. Given his track record, he was a major destabilizing factor in a Middle East, as if it needs any more trouble than al Qaeda and the Taliban provide.

“Our media had lulled us into a false sense of security by feeding us a steady diet of junk news, celebrity gossip, health fads, and fluff rather than the real news we needed to keep us alert and our government on its toes,” writes Fenton and few will argue with that.

Fenton goes on to say that “the mainstream media have contributed to the public’s ignorance and disinterest in economic, government, and international news.” Most certainly, 9/11 stirred Americans from their disinterest in such matters, but eight years later, we are back to the endless silliness of celebrity news and the mindless nonsense of “reality” television.

As for the news business, Fenton calls it “sick, broken, and increasingly dysfunctional.”
For this he blames the economic stress that all news media are experiencing, but specifically cites the way, so far as television news is concerned, “News went from being the jewel in the crown to a profit center.” TV's evening news was almost entirely based on the morning’s headlines in The New York Times and Washington Post, notes Fenton.

When you consider that most of the large U.S. news organizations closed their foreign bureaus as a cost-saving measure, the news we receive from foreign nations is frequently not being generated by U.S. journalists. Do you really want to get news of the Middle East from al Jazeera?

The corruption of television news content has been well documented at this point. When Fenton sticks to the mechanics of news gathering he is on firm ground, but his book too often is a platform to lambaste the Bush administration; something he has in common with the Obama administration that has spent the last nine months blaming it for all the problems it was elected to solve.

One can only hope that the economic failures that have impacted the U.S. news media will be reversed sufficiently to allow it to hire back some of the thousands of journalists that have been laid off since 2008.

And one can only hope that the Obama administration will stop trying to distract us from its failures by attacking Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Channel.

In former times that was called censorship and in present times one has to wonder how much intimidation is involved in the failure of news organizations to investigate whether he is a natural born American, a Kenyan, or an Indonesian? Or raise serious questions about the coterie of deep-dish Leftists with whom he has surrounded himself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The "Rent Seekers" - Green Corporations

By Alan Caruba

In economics, “rent seeking” is a term that describes the process by which corporations, unions, trade groups, and individuals try to gain unfair advantages through politics and lobbying rather than via competitive trade in the free marketplace.

Going “Green” has proven to be one of the favorite ways by which corporations position themselves to benefit.

“Global warming” and the reduction of “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide from various forms of energy use, is the reason given for the hideous “Cap-and-Trade” legislation making its way through Congress. It will enrich some corporations that have rolled the dice on “renewable” energy (solar and wind) and, in particular, the utilities supporting its mandatory system of “carbon credits” to be traded among energy producers and users.

Business Week recently took note of the way global warming positions are rather dramatically dividing the business community. Apple became the fifth large member company to resign or reduce its role in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the Chamber’s “aggressive opposition to climate change legislation.” Nike also resigned.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Al Gore is a member of the board of Apple and that Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, “happens to sit on the board of Nike.” The Journal further noted that “Both companies may figure they can afford a U.S. carbon tax because most of their manufacturing is done outside the U.S.”

This is a classic example of rent seeking, giving them an advantage over competitors whose manufacturing is U.S.-based in the event they (and the rest of us) have a carbon tax imposed on them.

Business Week reported that, under the leadership of Thomas J. Donahue, the Chamber “has moved sharply to oppose much of the legislation and many of the regulations and policies streaming out of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress on health care, labor issues, and finance.” Good! The Chamber deserves support and praise for this.

But Business Week reporters, Theo Francis and John Carey, like so many of their colleagues continue to fall into the same trap of ignorance and inaccuracy, writing that “The Chamber vehemently opposes legislation now before Congress as well as moves by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate harmful carbon emissions.” They are NOT harmful. They play no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

That is a major reason the Chamber is opposing legislation and regulations based on the false science and claims about carbon emissions. Beyond that, the impact of such legislation and regulations would be to literally wreck the economy that is based on access to affordable and abundant energy.

A reading of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill reveals it is about much more than carbon credits. The Institute for Energy Research notes that half of the bill’s 1,428 pages conjure up the carbon credits scheme. “The rest of the bill is packed with regulations that would completely alter the United States’ economy.”

Here’s just a sample:

It would mandate that utilities provide 20 percent of electricity from qualified renewables by 2020, up from 2.8 percent today. This means that solar and wind providers, now producing barely one percent of the nation’s electricity, would by virtue of legislation, gain the funding to be competitive. In a free market, they are virtually uncompetitive and heavily reliant on government subsidies just to exist!

Think you’re paying enough for electricity today? The Waxman-Markey bill would establish a new $1 billion annual tax on electricity from coal and natural gas-fired power plants. Coal generates just over half of all the electricity Americans use. Nuclear is responsible for about twenty percent with the rest coming from natural gas and hydroelectric power. The proposed tax just drives up the cost of energy for everyone.

It gets worse if that’s possible, the Waxman-Markey bill would establish a new $30 billion revolving loan fund to subsidize wind turbines, solar energy, fuel cells, batteries, biomass equipment and other energy sources. Who is a major manufacturer of such items? General Electric. This bill is pure “rent seeking” by GE.

Gazing into their crystal ball, Waxman-Markey requires utilities to develop large scale plans for electric vehicles and would increase the ceiling on loans to auto manufacturers to build electric cars. Can you say General Motors or Chrysler, both currently owned by the U.S. government instead of those who invested in them or made loans to them.

This vile legislation would even establish a “National Climate Adaptation Program” to empower federal zoning of land and oceans. Federal zoning! Not local zoning where decisions over land use is closest to the people most affected by them. Federal zoning as in the communist concept that the state owns all the land!

Make no mistake about it, while some corporations are polishing their Green image, the federal government—your government—is making plans to own every square inch of land in America. It’s not just unconstitutional. It is a move toward dictatorship.

Healthcare Bill Cartoon

Monday, October 19, 2009

Only Idiots Listen to these "Leaders"

By Alan Caruba

Not long ago U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, told everyone they only had a few weeks in order to save the Earth from “climate change” and this week it’s the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown.

Ever since he was Vice President and a defeated candidate for the presidency, Al Gore has been telling people the Earth is doomed.

President Obama talks about climate change—remember when it used to be global warming?—and will no doubt sign the treaty coming out of a “climate” conference in Copenhagen in December. The real problem will be whether the Senate will ratify it because, if it does, the U.S. Constitution will be nullified in favor of a global government.

Ever since the first United Nations conference on “global warming” the only goal has been to establish a global government so that the “leaders” could grow wealthy while the rest of mankind is treated like cattle.

Why would anyone believe anything as preposterous as the claims being made regarding global warming or climate change?

Consider what happens when climate and natural events occur? If it’s a drought, people have to flee to find sources of water. If it’s a flood, people have to flee to avoid being drowned. If it’s a hurricane, they often have to evacuate and, even if they don’t, their homes can be flattened by the winds. Anybody remember Hurricane Katrina?

If a lightning strike sets off a forest fire, people have to get away from it. If a blizzard hits a city or a rural area, people have to wait for the roads to be cleared. If a mudslide occurs, those in its path get killed.

For the past ten years the Sun has moved into a cycle in which it is virtually free of sunspots; magnetic storms on its surface. In that time, the Earth has been cooling and in October, early autumn, parts of this nation and other places around the world are getting snow. Overall, the temperatures are falling and breaking records that have existed for a century or more.

Why then is a climate change conference based on claims of “global warming” even being held? Answer: Because it has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with the destruction of the right of local people exercising local control over their lives through elections.

The further away from the source of government, the less control people have. This was the reason the U.S. Constitution cedes most governing power to the States and puts limits on federal power. Those limits have been steadily eroded since the middle of the last century.

Imagine, now, decisions being made about your life, your choices, by unelected bureaucrats in some far-off place, completely protected from public opinion.

A YouTube video of Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to British PM Margaret Thatcher, addressing a recent event at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, has gone “viral” as people share it with friends, family, and colleagues.

In his speech, he says of the Copenhagen climate change treaty that “a world government is going to be created. The word ‘government’ actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfaction of what is called, coyly, ‘climate debt’ because we’ve been burning CO2 and the haven’t”

“How many of you think that the word ‘election’ or ‘democracy’ or ‘vote’ or ‘ballot’ occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn’t appear once.”

“And the trouble is this; if that treaty is signed, your Constitution says that it takes precedence over your Constitution and you can’t resign from that treaty unless you get agreement from all the other state parties—and because you’ll be the biggest paying country, they’re not going to let you out of it.”

“They are about to impose a communist world government on the world.”

Who do you trust? Ban Ki-moon? Gordon Brown whom most of the British will replace at their next election? Tony Blair, a former British PM who wants to be the next president of the European Union? Former President Bill Clinton? His former Vice President, Al Gore? President Barack Hussein Obama? The many CEOs of corporations who want a piece of the climate change pie? The financial markets that want to trade in “carbon credits” instead of equities backed up by something of actual value?

Or none of them because they all will be running the new world government, because they have all been lying about climate change for years, because they don’t care about the United States, the United Kingdom, or any of the other free nations that will be subject to the great gray army of bureaucrats who will kneel before them.

Only idiots listen to and believe these “leaders”!

They are the same kind of “leaders” that, in the last century, dragged Europe into war twice, destroying its economies and destroying its cities and peoples. Ditto for the Empire of Japan during WW2.

They are the same kind of “leaders” that foisted communism on Russia in 1917 until in 1991 it finally failed of its own dead weight.

These are the same present-day “leaders” who think they can “negotiate” with crazy Islamic fanatics who can’t wait to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

Who cleaned up the mess those former leaders left behind in World War II? Americans. Whose dollar is being destroyed by a President that has foisted more debt on the nation in nine months than all previous presidents combined? Americans.

Whose lives, dreams, and hopes are going to be destroyed by the present administration and Congress rushing to “reform” the nation’s healthcare system, the best in the world, and to enact a huge energy tax via cap-and-trade? Americans.

Who will send U.S. representatives to Copenhagen and who will sign that horrid treaty?

It has the putrid odor of treason.

Editor’s Note: Want to read the UN Climate Change treaty?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

They Don't Care!

By Alan Caruba

It has finally dawned on me why President Obama and the Democrats in control of the Congress rushed to pass an unread “stimulus” bill “redistributing” billions of taxpayer dollars, have been voting bills out of committee to “reform” our national healthcare system, and another to impose a huge tax on all energy use.

They don’t care.

They don’t care that the polls clearly demonstrate that the majority of Americans oppose these and other initiatives.

They don’t care that the time-tested and time-proven way out of a recession is to cut taxes.

They don’t care that a similar healthcare program in Massachusetts did not reduce costs, that funding was slashed, and that rationing began.

They don’t care that there is absolutely no need for a bill to regulate carbon dioxide in order to “stop global warming” and that it is a huge tax increase on all Americans at a time when the Earth has been cooling for the last ten years.

They don’t care.

These are people like David Axelrod, the President’s advisor, who dismissed the hundreds of thousands of people who came to Washington, D.C. on September 12th to protest, saying, “They’re wrong.”

It is obvious that President Obama doesn’t care.

There is a complete disconnect between what he says and what he does. One could prepare a very long list of promises and statements made during his campaign and since his inauguration that reveal an astounding and frightening level of daily mendacity.

As for Congress, the rush to pass legislation such as healthcare reform that had been examined during the Clinton years—and rejected—is the single greatest indicator of how bad the outcome of this “new” effort will be. This is a bill being put together out of sight of the public because, if they knew its provisions, they would lay siege to Congress to stop it. Indeed, they already have. It won’t even be posted on the Internet for public review.

They don’t care.

It’s the same attitude that was demonstrated by the Nobel Prize committee that awarded Obama its Peace Prize barely two weeks after he was inaugurated, announcing it to a stunned world months later when it was apparent to everyone that he had done nothing to earn what was formerly one of the highest international accolades.

They don’t care.

The systematic efforts to extend control over all the land and all the waters of the United States through government agencies such as the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Corp of Engineers runs counter to the Constitutional Amendment protecting the sacredness of private property.

They don’t care.

It is increasingly evident that President Obama may, in fact, not be a natural born citizen of the United States as required by the Constitution to hold the office. Far too many essential documents have been withheld from public review to not legitimately question this fundamental issue of legal authority. A Democrat Congress will not take this up, but the courts must.

I am reminded that the Declaration of Independence was a long list of grievances set forth by Thomas Jefferson who wrote “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them (the People) under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide such new guards for their future security.”

Barring a complete change of power in Congress in next year’s midterm elections, it
is beginning to look like a new Declaration will have to be written as this administration and this Congress continue to run roughshod over the will of the People to bring about their enslavement and the destruction of the nation.

They don’t care!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Maybe you can win one, too!

Hat tip to Theo Spark's blog. See the link.

All the Gnus That Fits

By Alan Caruba

My friend, the humorist Ron W. Marr has a section on his website,, titled “All the Gnus That Fits.” It is a send-up of what passes for journalism in the mainstream media (MSM).

The section begins with a poem:

I know not what the truth may be,
I tell it as was told to me.
So If it's not true, please don't call.
I heard it was, and that is all.

A lot of what passes for “news” is often this kind of reportorial sausage based on hearsay, gossip, and innuendo.

I was reminded of this in the wake of the libel perpetrated against conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh. Not one single “racist” quote attributed to him was true and those in a 2006 book had no citations noting the date the quote was made, where, and to whom. They were a total fabrication.

Here’s a statistic that will astound you. As reported in Editor & Publisher, the trade magazine of journalism, “News media, including newspapers, broadcast and digital, have shed 35,886 jobs” from August 2008 to September 2009.

In the course of a year, journalism jobs have “gone away at almost three times the rate jobs have disappeared in the general economy, according to a report by Unity: Journalists of Color.” In fact, the numbers are actually worse. Unity reported that, since January 1, 2008, “the news industry has shed 46,599 jobs.”

Newspapers have become the dinosaurs of the digital age. What saddens me more is that so much of what was and is still being reported is so slanted, biased, and often swiftly proven to be inaccurate is an indicator of the closed minds of those doing the reporting, editing, and producing.

It says something about the level of journalistic decay that two kids, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, barely in their twenties, could break the story about the corruption of ACORN, Obama’s favorite “community organizing” organization. With a hidden television camera, posing as a pimp and his prostitute, they revealed how little was investigated and reported by the mainstream media about this sinkhole of corruption.

It took, an Internet news outlet, and Glenn Beck of Fox News to break the story. It is worth noting, however, that in addition to print journalism, radio and television, and even digital news jobs are being lost.

A major reason it has taken barely nine months for the Obama administration and a compliant Congress to rack up the worst approval or disapproval poll scores is that the mainstream media can no longer hide the ugliness of who these people are and what they are doing. As often as not, they are being exposed by people outside the world of professional journalism.

Try as they did to ignore nearly a million or more Americans in the streets of Washington, D.C. on September 12th, the images and the news rippled out across the Internet and, thanks to C-Span, on television. MSM coverage was desultory at best. The event, however, was revolutionary.

It was the MSM that slavishly and worshipfully touted Barack Obama during the campaign, who put his picture on the covers of their “news” magazines so many times it became a joke. These were the people who, like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, got "a tingle" every time he spoke.

I am an old, former journalist whose first real job after college and the Army was as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in New Jersey. I had not taken a single course in journalism. It was strictly on-the-job training and my first editor said, “Listen, kid, if you personally don’t like one of the politicians in this town, I expect you to bend over backwards to be fair to him.” It was my first lesson in journalism. It’s called objectivity; the need to keep oneself out of the story, but to get the quotes and facts straight!

I suspect those days are long gone. It’s okay for commentators to gain credibility and recognition for the insight and analysis they provide, but their work appears on the editorial and/or opinion pages. By contrast reporters used to be—with the exception of a byline—the invisible eyes and ears who just reported.

A lot of the loss of journalism jobs over the passed two years tracks to the loss of revenue newspapers and news magazines used to generate. Buying a single issue of a newspaper these days comes with sticker shock. Revenues for other news outlets—with the exception of Fox News Channel—are suffering as well.

It’s not just the economy. It’s Obama’s economy.

The one that gave billions of taxpayer dollars to private enterprises.

The one that passed an unread “stimulus” bill filled with “pork.”

The one where the federal government owns General Motors and Chrysler.

The one that wants to take complete control of the nation’s healthcare system.

The one that wants to tax all energy use.

The one overseeing the devaluation of the U.S. dollar.

The one waging a campaign out of the White House against Fox News.

That isn’t just the news that’s fit to print. That is an all-out assault on the Constitution and very future of the nation.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Watching Democrats Commit Political Suicide

By Alan Caruba

I don’t venture much into political prognostication. I follow politics, but not so much to comment on the day-to-day madness of Washington, D.C., but because the legislation that does get passed often has long term penalties for Americans and for our economy.

All that legislation that began so long ago that inserted the government into the mortgage loan and banking business ultimately resulted in the bubble that came close to wreaking the economy. It all stemmed from the liberal notion of “social justice” that included a hitherto unknown “right” to own a home even if you clearly could not afford to.

Out of that came Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, the “securitization” of masses of bad loans they owned and sold. And out of that came the destruction of investment houses and banks. As usual, the U.S. taxpayer picked up the cost because it is our billions that were spread around Wall Street and used to “bail out” General Motors, et cetera.

The bizarre “reform” of Medicare and the nation’s healthcare system, a private enterprise at this point, is another aspect of “social justice” because its advocates keep claiming that people who cannot afford health insurance should be provided with it by the rest of us.

It turns out that people who do have a health insurance plan like their plan and do not want the federal government to mess with it or to get between them, their doctors, and the provision of medical and healthcare services.

I have not written about the machinations of Madame “crazy eyes” Pelosi, the Lord High Executioner, Harry Reid, or the other rascals in Congress trying to merge five different versions of a bill that the American people do not want.

The worst of it is that few in Congress have even read the proposed legislation, nor are likely to do so before voting on it. The best of it is that they will all be Democrats.

When you add in the carbon/energy tax that the Democrats are also trying to impose, along with the most astonishing imposition of communism in the form of a proposed federal “zoning” provision that would shift control, if not ownership, of every square inch of America to the federal government, you have two of the most horrid pieces of legislation ever proposed in the modern era.

It’s not like the Democrats don’t know that these proposed new laws are widely and vocally hated.

The Tea Parties that spontaneously occurred early in the year, followed by the huge rally in Washington on September 12 would, one might suppose, cause Democrats to show some caution, but it is abundantly clear that the Democrats in Congress don’t give a crap about the voters/citizens of the United States of America.

There are some “blue dog” Democrats expressing opposition, but that herd of brain-dead, power-obsessed elected “leaders” has waited since 2008 to turn the ship of state around and head for the socialist paradise that began so many years ago with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was ten years into the Great Depression without once having figured out what he was doing wrong. Only the advent of World War Two saved him.

I will not predict what will happen with either piece of legislation. I think the Democrats will pass some version of both and that is very bad news for the economy and the rest of us.

It is, however, very good news insofar as it will constitute the political suicide of the Democrat Party. It will ensure that Republicans will regain control of Congress next year when the midterm elections are held.

The Republican Party has been declared dead in the past and, at one point, split apart allowing Woodrow Wilson to get elected. It is about to come roaring back to life.

When that happens, the questionable presidency of the former Indonesian citizen, Barack Hussein Obama, will become a lame duck in which his dreams of becoming the next Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez will be nullified.

Obama does not have the political smarts of “Slick Willy” Clinton. Faced with a Republican Congress, Clinton tacked to the center and even to the right a bit. Obama is a “red diaper baby” whose communism is so deeply imprinted on his brain he will be unable to do that.

And the bonus is that Pelosi, Reid, and the Democrat chairpersons of congressional committees will be out of power.

A chastened Republican Party may actually return to its central principles of fiscal prudence, a strong national defense, and support for the dollar. That is, at least, my hope.

The "Trout Wrapper" Returns

By Alan Caruba

I want you to visit the revived website of the Trout Wrapper, the most drop-dead, funny writing to be found anywhere on the Web.

I have known its publisher, editor, chief writer, and owner of Boris the blind Malamute, Ron W. Marr for many years and was a contributor to the original Wrapper when it was a monthly newspaper that gained a wide circulation of readers, accolades in Playboy magazine, and elsewhere.

When you're through reading it, I want you to subscribe. It is a mere $30 a year, but it will help pay the mortgage on Ron's cabin in the woods of Missouri and feed both himself and Boris. Since he is a national treasure and the reincarnation of the spirit of Mark Twain, the investment will be worth it. Anybody who just reads it for free is not doing their part to keep America a nation where we are still free to speak truth to power.

You will discover its Horror Scopes, a version of astrology that can be found no where else and which suggests that being born between January and December is filled with the many miseries of just being alive. Other elements of the Wrapper are equally entertaining. Just reading The Marr Side will renew your faith in the American tradition of questioning authority wherever it rears its ugly head.

America has the Comedy Channel and many truly awful films passing themselves off as comedies, but real humor, splendid satire, is a rare and wonderful thing.

I promise you that bookmarking will guarantee a much-need jolt of laughter each time you visit.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Global Warming? The "Deniers" are my Heroes

By Alan Caruba

It has been nearly three decades since I first wrote that “global warming” was a hoax and I have had to repeat myself countless times since then. Along the way I met many of the so-called “deniers” and dissenters. I had correspondence with others. We all knew that Al Gore was lying. We all know that President Obama is lying,

And yet the lies continue. The most amazing aspect of the hoax is that, despite a decade of global cooling, the mainstream media, print and electronic, relentlessly continue to write about “greenhouse gases” as if they have anything to do with the Earth’s climate.

The primary greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere is 95% WATER VAPOR. The primary source of warming and cooling on Earth is the SUN.

The claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) has anything to do with the climate, other than to react to changes in it hundreds of years after they occur, is totally discredited, but I still read magazines like Business Week or The Economist, Time and Newsweek, as well as newspapers, whose reporters and editors demonstrate an astonishing ignorance—a willful ignorance—by continuing to publish global warming lies saying that CO2 emissions must be reduced..

Even the advocates of global warming began to speak and write about “climate change” several years ago in order to avoid the obvious fact that the Earth began cooling in 1998.

Climate change!

As if the Earth’s 4.5 billion year history is not one long record of climate change!

As if there would be any life on Earth without carbon dioxide, the plant food of all vegetation that in turn sustains animal life.

Led by Joseph Bast, The Heartland Institute, a non-profit, free market think tank has been at the forefront of the battle for truth for many years. In 2008 and 2009, the Institute brought together the finest minds from the world of meteorology and climatology in conferences that were a marathon of scientific symposia that laid waste to the bogus claims of global warming.

I attended both conferences and had an opportunity to meet some of the “deniers”. In the beginning there were a handful such as Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He does not suffer fools easily.

Others who joined the struggle against an avalanche of lies about “global warming” included Drs. Patrick J. Michaels, Robert Balling, Tim Ball, and S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist at George Mason University and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, a think tank on climate and environmental issues.

There were other academics that included Dr’s Willie Soon, Joseph D’Aleo, Vincent Gray, and William Gray, all meteorologists and climatologists of international repute, as well as Howard Hayden, an Emeritus Professor of Physics.

In time, a handful of skilled science writers translated the data for the public. They include Christopher C. Horner, Marc Morano, Steven Milloy, Jay Lehr, and Paul Driessen. Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, wrote articles that gained favor with the mainstream media and did much to undermine the global warming lies.

Think tanks such as The Heartland Institute, the Hudson Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, C-Fact, and the Business & Media Institute all deserve praise for taking leading roles in disputing and debunking the global warming hoax.

Editor’s note: There are others unnamed for purposes of length, but who are no less deserving of honor.

The propaganda war to smear these men continues to this day. A favorite tactic to discredit them was to post “biographies” on Wikipedia suggesting they were all in the pay of corporations and could not be trusted.

The work of these think tanks and individuals is hardly over. The horrid “Cap-and-Trade bill, its name changed in the Senate to deceive everyone into believing it’s about the foolishness of so-called “clean energy”, is a nightmare of taxation on energy use and a vast transference of billions to near useless “renewables” (solar and wind).

At the same time, access and use of America’s vast energy reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil continues to be denied by a Congress and administration that is hell bent on destroying the nation’s economy.

The “deniers” are being vindicated by Mother Nature. The truths they have been telling are showing up this year in America and around the world in early snowfalls, icy road conditions, and blizzards to come that will bring entire cities to a standstill. Spring and summer may be a little late in 2010.

In time, the “deniers” will be honored for their service to humanity, for their courage, and for hopefully saving this nation and others from the torrent of deceit coming out of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and every environmental organization in America and worldwide.

Halloween Political Lesson

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ruining Halloween for Everyone

By Alan Caruba

When I was a kid, some seven decades ago, Halloween was one of the most enjoyable holidays other than Christmas.

The sixth graders in my town, in cooperation with local merchants, would paint Halloween scenes on the windows of stores and, on the great night, kids of all ages would go forth with bags and baskets to make a circuit of homes on their street to collect a bounty of candy.

Flash forward to present times and it is often the grownups who are having the most fun if the sales of Halloween costumes and the many Halloween parties are any indication. Kids? Well, they are treated like an endangered species.

Among the first signs that Halloween was being exploited was the way UNICEF decided to use the holiday to get little kids to collect money for it. Apparently it is not enough that the United States contributes over twenty percent of the UN budget or that UNICEF advocates a number of “New World Order” educational programs.

According to a news release from The Thinking C.A.P.P Foundation, based in Hollywood, California, while Halloween is “a fun time for millions of children across the country, unfortunately there are thousands that end up in the emergency room due to preventable accidents.”

Thousands? Emergency rooms over-flowing with injured children? I seriously doubt this. The foundation is devoted to “teaching children to protect their lives” and CAPP stands for Children’s Accident Prevention Program. Do we really need such a foundation? Isn’t it the job of PARENTS to teach their children what they need to know to avoid accidents?

Some of the foundation’s recommendations include:
“Pick a costume both you and your little ones can easily get in and out of”
“A little face paint versus a mask for your toddlers”
“Wear bright colors (Add a splash of neon color if your costume is black)”

As is well known all kid’s Halloween costumes tend to spontaneously burst into fire, masks cause toddlers to die from asphyxiation, and any child wearing a black costume is sure to be run over or disappear into the night and never be seen again. Do we really need such needless advice?

The foundation goes on to tell parents not to let the kids carry “wands, swords, pistols, etc.” And here I thought the whole idea of dressing up like a pirate or cowboy was to be able to wave a sword or toy pistol around. And surely all our little princesses are not going to impale themselves on a toy wand.

These days, most parents accompany the very young as they make their Halloween rounds. The foundation needlessly warns them to “ALWAYS have them within view!” and adds that “Nothing should be in your child’s hands except for their basket” and that “Everyone should have a type of light stick on them at all times.”

As for the candy kids receive, you’d think that it was some kind of poison as far as the foundation is concerned. Avoiding the “Sugar Rush” comes with life-saving instructions that include drinking a glass of water or warm milk after they’ve indulged. Then they should “brush (their) teeth immediately after eating candy.”

The whole point of Halloween is to over-indulge a bit. The foundation’s instructions to adults attending parties would probably warn them against getting diabetes or just getting too drunk to drive.

These instructions are among the first avalanche that everyone will read or hear on their local media, filling the minds of parents with sheer dread of Halloween instead of the fun of picking out costumes and watching from a careful distance as the little ones go completely out of their minds with the joy of collecting FREE CANDY from the neighbors.

Bad things happen to some kids everywhere every day. They fall off monkey bars, off of bikes, off of anything and everything. Since “if it bleeds, it leads” is the working motto of all local news television some kidnappings evoke huge coverage despite the fact that all child kidnappings and/or murders are horrible.

That doesn’t justify ruining Halloween for the hundreds of thousands of kids who will one day look back on the fun it involves and the thousands of parents who enjoy it just as much.

Here’s my advice for all the Halloween kill-joys, butt out! We all know you’re the ones who turn off the lights and pretend you’re not home.