Thursday, December 31, 2009
By Alan Caruba
In no particular order, here are ten myths that will affect U.S. domestic and international policy in the year ahead.
1. Myth: Global warming is real. It was never real except for the natural warming cycle that occurred from 1850 to 1998 when the Earth began another natural cycle, when it began to cool. The new cycle will last for several decades.
2. Myth: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a danger to humans. This is the most pernicious lie that has been put forth by environmentalists and is the basis for the global warming lie. CO2 is vital to all life on Earth as it represents for all vegetation what oxygen is for all animals. This myth is the rationalization for Cap-and-Trade legislation.
3. Myth: The world is running out of oil. Not even close. New reserves of oil are being found on a regular basis. There is no substitute for oil as the basis for transportation and the many other products such as plastic for which it is the basic component. Failure to access national reserves of oil such as that in ANWR or offshore in the U.S. continental shelf is criminally stupid.
4. Myth: Afghanistan is critical to the war on terror. No, sorry, all the real action is in Pakistan these days and, in the days to come, in Yemen. Few NATO members want to provide forces for action there for lack of confidence in its present government and other factors.
5. Myth: The future is in “clean energy” as opposed to “dirty” coal. Wrong again. If wind or solar energy could demonstrate any practical use beyond very small projects it would attract investment, but it does not. Dependent on unreliable factors and requiring a backup source of energy such as a coal-fired or nuclear plant, large scale applications are a huge waste of money.
6. Myth: The U.S. must become “energy independent.” No nation on Earth is energy independent. The U.S. has failed to encourage the building of a single new refinery since the 1970s and is failing to encourage the building of nuclear plants to meet the nation’s growing need for more electricity.
7. Myth: The government can create or “save” jobs. Wrong again. The only jobs government creates are government jobs. These are essentially managerial and often exist to justify the continued existence of government agencies that actually impede job growth or significantly interfere with the free market.
8. Myth: The financial crisis is not a significant threat. An economy whose annual gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be $14 trillion cannot long survive a debt ceiling of $12.4 trillion as approved by Congress on December 24. That requires too much borrowing. Only less spending can ensure stability.
9. Myth: The United Nations is necessary for resolving international disputes. Historically the UN has repeatedly failed to stop conflicts since its inception after WWII. It has a long record of corruption and inaction.
10. Myth: President Obama tells the truth. Barack Obama’s first year in office demonstrated to his supporters, independents, and critics that he lies all the time about everything. The only promise he made that he is fulfilling is the transformation of the U.S. into a failed socialist economy.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
By Alan Caruba
The President of the United States and many politicians are fond of telling us what a terrible place America is. They point to those who, often by choice, are “uninsured” for healthcare costs, but they never mention that by federal law no one, citizen and non-citizen alike, can be turned away from any hospital.
It’s one thing to want to correct inequities of one sort or another. It is quite another to attack the structure of society by imposing laws that authorize gay marriage or to forbid the public celebration of Christmas, or even to display the Ten Commandments in court houses.
There are, however, places far worse in which to live.
The obvious choices are those under the rule of Islam where seventh century sensibilities still rule and countless restrictions exist. When it became apparent that the Taliban were within miles of Pakistan’s capital, the government woke from its slumber and sent the army to destroy them. Pakistan’s neighbor, Afghanistan, is much in the news and not famous for modernity.
The United States and other Western nations have had to invest billions in treasure and many lives to keep the Middle East from inflicting more pain on the rest of the world insofar as it is the site of a lot of oil.
Here are a few nations that remain in constant turmoil:
Somalia is a nation that must surely qualify for the worst place on Earth. Armed gangs roam the streets as two Islamic groups vie for the ability to become its government. What government exists does so only because Africans from outside Somalia guard the president palace and government buildings. Meanwhile the population barely survives on whatever food supplies reach that hell hole.
Zimbabwe surely qualifies as a horrid place. Its president, Robert Mugabe, refused to relinquish the office after the last election. The nation’s currency is printed in a lunatic asylum where a single piece is said to be worth $10,000,000. It will not buy a loaf of bread.
Other African nations are among the most wretched places on Earth, from Equatorial Guinea to Sudan, Libya to Ethiopia to Swaziland. All are run by dictators. Yemen is the new center of al Qaeda planning of future terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the west.
Asia is not much better.
The top contender for worst, however, is North Korea which is utterly devoid of any freedom and a place where the average 7-year-old boy is almost 8 inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter than a South Korean boy of the same age.
The people of Myanmar, formerly Burma, live under the iron rule of a military junta. The 1991 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for years. Myanmar is famous for forced labor on its construction projects and the use of children as soldiers. Nearby Laos suffers from being another worker’s paradise.
Communism remains a blueprint for failure and oppression. Uzbekistan is famous for its torture rooms. A 2003 law made Islam Karimov, its dictator, and all members of his family immune from prosecution forever. A mass murder of protesters in 2005 has discouraged any efforts to rid themselves of him ever since. In Turkmenistan the government has found many ways to make life there unbearable and you can add Belarus to the list as well.
Iran is likewise a dictatorship that has begun to see protests. Its leaders have not only demonstrated utter ruthlessness against its captive citizens, but constantly engage in seizing foreign hostages. They are increasing their provocative actions. Syria is no better, having lived under the Assad family, father and son, for decades. Both nations are allies.
Say what you will, but Iraq, after three decades of Saddam Hussein’s cruelties and plunder, has emerged as a democracy and is struggling to remain one. Iraqis may discover that too great a withdrawal of American troops is an invitation to chaos.
After China rejected the idiocy of Mao in favor of a capitalist economy, life has improved for many Chinese, but they still have no political freedom. If China stops buying U.S. securities, the U.S. will financially implode.
Closer to home, Cuba remains a dictatorship under Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul. Despite the way various Hollywood stars praise Cuba after visiting, it is still a Communist prison-state and, of course, Hugo Chavez has fashioned one in its image in Venezuela.
Though Mexico is largely ignored by Americans except for its many citizens fleeing across our southern border (along with many other South Americans and those from the Caribbean), it too is in a precarious condition as its oil reserves have begun to decline from lack of exploration and development. Naturally, the oil company is owned by the government. Kidnappings and murders perpetrated by the narcotics kingpins are a part of everyday life in Mexico and are spreading like a cancer to America’s southwestern states.
The United Nations has proved to be a sinkhole of corruption and friend to every dictatorship worldwide.
It’s always a good idea to look around and do a quick comparison between life in America and much of the rest of the world.
These may well be the last days of an America where a sober and prudent government ensured careful management of its financial resources. As 2009 comes to a close, America totters on the brink of resembling other failed nation-states around the world.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
By Alan Caruba
The most dangerous political trend of 2009 has been the disdain for public opinion that has manifested itself in the White House and among the Democrats who control Congress. Combined with an obvious preference for lying to the public, it portends a difficult year ahead.
The assumption of politicians, from the President to the Democrat Senators and Representatives, that the public is too stupid to understand what they are doing and must be subjected to legislation that “transforms” our political and economic system has generated a growing firestorm of protest.
This was first seen in the spontaneous emergence of “Tea Parties” that has now coalesced into a political movement drawing large numbers of independents, as well as others in both parties. The contempt for the “teabaggers” was evident from its first days and even a massive Washington, DC protest was dismissed by the political elitists while the mainstream media did its best to ignore it.
This attitude has led to the forced passage, first of the Cap-and-Trade bill in the House and the egregious passage of the healthcare “reform” bill in both the House and Senate. Plunging the nation into levels of public debt and the potential for increased taxation and higher costs for all energy use has put the nation into a state of jeopardy it has not seen since the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The rapid decline in the President’s approval ratings, rivaling all previous Presidents in their first year in office, tells you everything you need to know about public opinion regarding Barack Obama’s performance in office in 2009.
The Founding Fathers had such a high regard for public opinion that they engaged in extensive efforts, now called the Federalist Papers, to educate and inform the public of their times about the proposed Constitution. The steady erosion of the Constitution’s limits on the federal government over the past half century is further testimony to a trend that conservatives have warned against.
Today, however, the era of 24/7 news coverage affords the opportunity to see this trend in action and the most recent example is the appalling assertion by the Secretary of Homeland Security that “the system worked” in the face of the obvious fact that it had failed in the Christmas day attempt to destroy a commercial airliner. Secretary Napolitano reversed herself the next day, but the President, after a delay of three days responded by saying it was “an isolated incident” when al Qaeda announced it was just one more attempt to inflict terror on Americans.
Earlier, following the most recent worst enemy attack on U.S. soil, the murder of U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood, the President urged Americans “not to jump to conclusions.” School children born after 9/11 concluded it was a jihadist attack.
The primary duty of government is to protect its citizens against its enemies, but this administration has sought to close the detention facility in Guantanamo, extend Constitution rights to admitted terrorists, hold civil trials for enemy combatants, and transfer the most dedicated jihadists to detention on U.S. soil.
A Republic is by definition a governing system that is “representative” of the public’s opinion and preferences. When elected leaders ignore the public or regard it as just a body of people to be manipulated through lies, the nation is as greatly threatened from within as by external enemies.
The former U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate, Norman Thomas, once famously said that, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without ever knowing how it happened.”
It is happening now at a rapidly increasing speed and it is being done by the Democrats in the Senate and House, and the President. Their exercise of raw political power, however, is more reminiscent of an authoritarian Communist regime.
Obamacare has been described as “a monstrosity” by Republican leaders and that is an apt description. It is the penultimate intrusion and implementation of government control over the lives of all Americans. Cap-and-Trade will impoverish the nation.
2010 is likely to see a new American Revolution as this trend continues.
Monday, December 28, 2009
By Alan Caruba
The phrase, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall” comes from the world of boxing, but it applies increasingly to government.
Americans have seen that the bigger the government grows, the less able it is to respond to both the major needs of Americans, like national security, and the immediate ones such as the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The thing I liked most about our response to 9/11 was the fairly swift response of President Bush and the U.S. military. It wasn’t long before bombs were falling in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora. The thing I liked least was the astonishing incompetence that followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The lesson, I think, is that the military is ideally structured to identify and carry out a mission while its civilian counterparts are so mired in caution as to eviscerate any likelihood of success.
The consolidation of several agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security was possibly a good idea though it has its detractors. Americans are forced to believe that both they and our intelligence community are functioning well enough to protect us right up to the moment we learn they are not. It is thankless work to know you have deterred terrorist attacks only to have that wiped out with an incident like the one on Christmas.
It is made worse when, as in the normal course of things, the people at the top of the departments and agencies are too often the end result of politics, not competence. Janet Napolitano, the former Governor of Arizona, is a classic example of someone with virtually no security experience being tasked to oversee a department entirely devoted to security.
It is clear to everyone that Janet Napolitano needs to be replaced. She poses a danger to the nation’s security because she has probably demoralized her entire department and because her judgment is severely impaired.
Beyond Napolitano, there are the many “czars” that have been added to the White House payroll, the director of what has become a rogue agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, and serious concerns about an Attorney General who dismisses action against union thugs at election centers while extending the rights asserted by the U.S. Constitution to admitted enemy combatants.
The November 2010 midterm elections will afford Americans the opportunity to rid itself of as many Democrats as possible in Congress and, presumably, Republicans that will replace them will have learned their lesson since 2006. There is one overriding requirement facing Congress and that is to put our fiscal house in order, pay down debts, and get out of the way of Main Street so they can begin to create jobs again.
The only jobs government can create are government jobs and there are clearly far too many of them.
I must confess I do not see the Obama administration doing any of this. What I expect is more idiotic “Cash for Clunkers” and “Cash for Caulkers” programs, more billions wasted on “clean energy” industries that cannot attract private investment, and in the fullness of time, more revelations about corruption in the body politic.
If the Republic should fail from the prolificacy we are witnessing, it will take all of us with it.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
By Alan Caruba
If you felt a frisson of fear on news that the Senate had passed Obamacare the day before Christmas, then you now know what it was and is like to live in a dictatorship. The voice of the People was ignored in a demonstration of raw political power.
There was a time when Americans took Communism seriously. It challenged us in the form of the Soviet Union and we witnessed its takeover of China.
In Europe, uprisings against Soviet rule were crushed in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in the 1980s gave proof that only oppression can sustain this failed economic and political system. President Reagan gave voice to it when he called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”
The McCarthy hearings in the 1950s proved a setback for efforts to learn how thoroughly infiltrated the U.S. government had become by Communists, not because Sen. Joseph McCarthy was wrong, but because he proved a poor spokesperson for the cause. He was easily criticized for his bombast, but the declassification of the Venona papers, secret communications between Soviet spymasters and their agents, revealed he may well have underestimated the threat.
Later, the Russian Federation declassified former Soviet spy agency records that further confirmed that many Americans, dedicated Communists, were working to undermine our government.
The price America paid in part for the Great Depression of the 1930s was the undermining of faith in the Capitalist system among many Americans.
Unions arose, not just in response to worker grievances, but also because their leaders were frequently sympathetic to Communism. The FDR and subsequent administrations introduced Social Security and Medicare, tapping into the fears of those who had experienced the Depression with programs that vastly expanded the federal government, characterizing them as the ultimate “safety net.” Then Congress plundered the trusts that were supposed to fund both programs. Both programs are insolvent.
A recent study by Paul Hollander, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, was published by Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty & Prosperity. It is titled, “Reflections on Communism: Twenty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall.”
The celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall earlier this year was attended by many world leaders with the notable exception of President Barack Obama. For a man who has visited more foreign nations in his first year in office than any previous President, the decision to avoid this significant anniversary was taken as one more signal of his true political and economic agenda.
We know that he was greatly influenced by Marxists or people who viewed Communism sympathetically, not the least of which were his grandparents who introduced him to a mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA.
Obama wrote that he was drawn to Marxists among his teachers in college. He began his political career in the home of former Weatherman Bill Ayers. These days he is praised by Communists in Cuba and Venezuela. He sided with a Leftist former president of Honduras who tried to illegally alter its constitution. The Hondurans had the courage to cast him out.
The specter of Communist subversion of the U.S. Constitution is staring us in the eye with the so-called healthcare “reform” of Medicare; it includes all manner of provisions that are unconstitutional and would expand federal government control over one-sixth of the nation’s economy. The bribery and thuggish pressures and threats against Democrat Senators and Representatives to pass the bill reveal a political leadership more devoted to ideology than the will of the People.
Specifically, President Obama’s drive for a single payer system is the direct result of the influence of Dr. Quentin Young, a retired physician with a long history of commitment to Communism. In 1995, Dr. Quentin was among those who met in the Hyde Park home of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn to launch Obama’s political career.
As Prof. Hollander points out in his study, “Not only individual intellectuals but entire professional associations have expressed favorable attitudes toward communist systems” citing the Latin American Studies Association that has “repeatedly taken positions supportive of Castro’s Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua.” In 1990, the Organization of American Historians defeated a motion that expressed regret that the organization “never protested the forced betrayal of the historian’s responsibility to truth imposed upon Soviet and East European historians by their political leaders.”
The recent United Nations’ Climate Change Conference refused to take notice of the revelations that the data on which the “global warming” theory is based was falsified by a handful of meteorologists and climatologists in an effort to impose a global governing system. The interim first Secretary General of the UN was Alger Hiss, an American and secret Soviet agent
It did not escape notice that Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, received a rousing ovation when he spoke at the conference or that President Obama continues to repeat the lies surrounding the discredited “global warming” fraud.
Virtually the entire agenda of American environmental organizations has been focused on an attack on private property rights and denying Americans access to their vast reserves of energy in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas, thus undermining U.S. growth and prosperity.
Unlike Prof. Hollander who escaped Hungary following the crushing of the 1956 revolution by Soviet forces, “Western intellectuals who remain attracted to communist ideals never had the disillusioning experience of living in an actual communist or socialist society.”
Among them we must number much of the nation’s media that has been a party to political and environmental deceptions, and the Hollywood community that has produced many films to influence public opinion about the earlier efforts to address Communist activities and later Green issues with a very Red agenda.
The Medicare “reform” expands “socialism” in America, but it is an example of naked Communism at work. It is a bill put together behind closed doors and so extensive its control of the lives of Americans literally determines who lives and who dies. It will wreck the best healthcare system in the world albeit one that has its flaws.
It is authoritarianism at work, the kind we associate with regimes in Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere else Communism has been imposed on captive nations.
Healthcare “reform” is not about uninsured Americans. It is not “socialism.” It is Communism, effectively putting the entire nation’s healthcare system under state control. It must be defeated just as past generations of Americans knew the threat of Communism and devoted the nation’s treasure and even their lives to defeat it.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
By Alan Caruba
If there is an American remaining who does not understand that the Islamic revolution is at war with our nation and the West, then they are in serious denial.
For general purposes, it began with the Iranian revolution that overthrew a U.S. ally, the Shah of Iran, in 1979 and then took our diplomats hostage, holding them for 444 days. Only recently have we learned that Iran has been providing sanctuary to the family of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11 and an earlier attempt to destroy the Twin Towers.
This raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s first year in which considerable effort was made to open diplomatic communications with Iran, the primary source of all the conflicts in the Middle East as the guide and funding source for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, and the provider of weapons against our troops in Iraq.
No Middle Eastern nation is safe from Iran, least of all its obsession, Israel. Its quest for nuclear weapons is not merely just another nation seeking to join the Nuclear Club.
On Christmas day, Abdul Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, aka Umar Farouk Abdul Madallad, a 23-year-old Nigerian and former engineering student at University College in London, attempted to set off an explosive device over the U.S. as Delta-Northwest Flight 253 was soon to land in Detroit.
Eight years ago this past week, Richard Reed, aka Abdul Raheem and Tariq Raja, tried to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami. There is an important message to be understood from these two incidents and it is the contempt for both Christianity and Judaism that Islam has always displayed. It’s worth remembering that Israel was attacked in 1973 on Yom Kippur, one of its holiest days.
The other message is that al Qaeda’s war on the West and its quest for the establishment of a new caliphate to rule the world is far from over.
The fact that the vast intelligence gathering machinery of the United States, in cooperation with that of many other nations, have not been able to find and kill Osama bin Laden and his colleagues has been a major failure.
In 2007, Strategic Forecasting released a report saying, “All signs indicate this group is no longer functional and cannot be replicated. Whether or not Osama bin Laden is still alive, al Qaeda as it once was is dead.”
There are ample signs of life from al Qaeda and events in Somalia and Yemen suggest that some elements of it are still very much alive. One of Osama bin Laden’s earliest goals was to replace the Saudi Arabian monarchy.
It does not help that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has, during the first year of the Obama administration and its Secretary, Janet Napolitano, refused to even use the word “terrorism” throughout 2009. It does not help that President Obama has gone out of his way to display his sympathies for Islam.
What I have found interesting is the way the perpetrators of acts of terrorism against the West frequently involve well educated Muslims willing to die for Islam, but not before killing large numbers of innocent infidels, “unbelievers”, in places like U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, against the citizens of Madrid, London, and, of course, New York.
After attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan following 9/11 and then ridding Iraq of its dictator, Saddam Hussein, I am beginning to believe that former President Bush had a better understanding of the threat of militant Islam than anyone has ever given him credit for. As war-weary as Americans may be at this point, the fact is we have a fairly substantial military engagement precisely where it needs to be in the heart of the Middle East.
Reducing our troop levels now or even in the near future is very likely a very bad idea.
Something is very wrong in the Obama administration’s decision to give Khalid Sheikh Muhammad a civil trial in New York. It defies the obvious fact that he is an enemy combatant who should be subject to a military tribunal, not the full rights of an American citizen. The decision goes beyond just being stupid. It makes New York City “ground zero” for another spectacular attack in 2010.
In large and small ways, the Obama administration betrays sympathies for al Qaeda’s larger mission and the election of a President who spent several years of his youth in a Muslim nation as the step-son of a Muslim father, and whose very first message as President was an interview with Al Jezeera, the popular television channel that serves the Middle East, does not bode well for our national security.
Al Qaeda has sent America a Christmas message. Are we paying sufficient attention to the one the White House is sending?
By Alan Caruba
On the day before Christmas, the Democrats in Congress passed a alleged healthcare reform bill that the vast majority of Americans did not want. Nearly a million Americans had showed up on September 12 to let them know that, but they ignored them and now they have spat in their face, along with the rest of us.
Democrats have forgotten that democracy is supposed to reflect the voice of the People..
And thank you, Republicans, who stood together in opposition. What was most evident about Obamacare was the appalling bribery, using public money, of various members of Congress including the worst offenders, Senators Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu’s $300 million “Louisiana purchase.”
Given the size of the bill and others like it this past year, it is clear that America is being taken to the poorhouse as the result of the billions in “pork” projects being attached to virtually every bill passing through Congress these days. The Medicare bill is so flawed that it has been called a “monstrosity.” The failed “Stimulus” bill was nothing but pork.
A friend of mine, Wes Driggers, a state certified general contractor, recommended an idea whose time has surely come. As Wes points out, “the reality is that this immoral practice has been going on for over 100 years and it is a corrupt practice to buy votes from their constituents come next election time.”
Wes asks and answers the question, what is so wrong with the practice?
1. It encourages legislators to vote for bill they may not have voted for otherwise.
2. It encourages legislators to buy the votes of their constituents regardless of the merit of the project.
3. It forces the taxpayers of the whole country to pay for a State’s project that may only potentially benefit that state. The Senate’s oldest serving member, Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia, has become famous for the many projects there that bear his name at the expense of the other 49 States.
What needs to be done? Driggers recommends the following:
1. Term limits for all legislators. The Founding Fathers believed that men of virtue would serve a term or two and then return home, but we now have Senators and Representatives who, due to the practice of “seniority” and reelection, serve for decades. The voter’s inclination to simply reelect an incumbent member of Congress unless he has been found to be corrupt (and sometimes even then!) is itself an invitation to corrupt values and judgments.
2. Specifically, it should be illegal to include any spending provisions in any bill that are not directly associated with the main reason for the bill. In addition, make it illegal for the federal government to fund projects for any one State to the exclusion of others with the exception of aid required by natural disasters.
3. While we’re at it, the ever-expanding “perks” for legislators beyond their salaries should be reduced or eliminated until the budget is balanced.
4. And, of course, require by law that the federal budget be balanced every year. There should also be an end for all “off budget” items.
Both Wes Driggers and I agree that these proposals are not likely to be embraced by a Congress that now appears to be so corrupt that it is beyond redemption, but candidates in the 2010 midterm elections and those to come should be asked to sign a public statement to the effect that they support these measures.
Unless some degree of rationality returns to Congress, this nation is in deep trouble. Something is terribly wrong when the debt ceiling has been raised to $12.4 trillion in an economy that generates about $14 trillion Gross Domestic Product annually.
According to the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, U.S. public debt has risen from 41% to 53% of GDP in the past year alone. They project it will be 85% by 2018. I believe this is a deliberate effort by the President and his cohorts to bankrupt the nation.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
By Alan Caruba
The news of the day before Christmas is that former President Jimmy Carter has apologized for anything he has said or done to offend America’s Jewish community and presumably around the world.
The news was welcomed by the national director of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation league, Abraham Foxman, who said that it was “incumbent for us to accept” the apology, but Foxman does not speak for me or for the American Jewish community.
I do not accept the apology and neither should anyone who holds the state of Israel as the fulfillment of a 2,000 year old dream of return to the land in which Judaism took root and flourished through exiles and dispersion.
My reasoning is that Carter has spoken only with the prospect that his grandson, Jason, is anticipated to run for public office in Georgia in a congressional district with what is reported as “a vocal Jewish population.” It’s politics. It’s not a confession of the heart. Jason hailed the apology as a “great step towards reconciliation”, but I suggest that it is deeds, not words, that matter.
The former President is credited with trying to resolve the Palestinian conflict with the Israelis and gained a Nobel Peace Prize along with the terrorist, Yassir Arafat, but that prize has long since been tarnished and discredited for having also been awarded to the charlatan Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and most recently to President Obama who has done nothing of significance to earn it.
It was Carter’s 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” in which he compared Israeli efforts to defend themselves against wars and a campaign of terrorism with South Africa's hateful system. Present attacks have abated only with Israel's action against Hamas in Gaza, a part of Israel from which the Israelis withdrew in yet another effort to achieve a peace that is still rejected.
If the so-called Palestinians and the greater Muslim community throughout the Middle East continue to plan war against Israel, an apology by Carter pales in the face of this reality. If the Jordanians and Egyptians could sign peace agreements with Israel, surely other Middle Eastern nations could do the same.
Carter’s apology is cosmetic. It is a Band-aid that ignores Israel’s claim to statehood and sovereignty. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE (Before Common Era), a thousand years before the rise of Christianity and 2,000 years before the rise of Islam. Jews have had a continuous presence in Israel for the last 3,300 years.
Jerusalem is mentioned more than 700 times in the Jewish Holy Scriptures, but not once in the Koran. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was deliberately built over a site sacred to Jews, deemed the rock where Abraham was commanded by God to spare the life of his son.
Al-Aqsa has twice been destroyed in earthquakes. Jews are forbidden access and restricted to prayers at the Western Wall.
The calumnies and lies about Israel that the former President has lent his name to and the support he has demonstrated for the enemies of Israel cannot be wiped clean by an apology.
A million Christian and Muslim Arabs call Israel home and enjoy full citizenship. They face an Iranian nuclear annihilation with their Jewish neighbors.
It is time for Israel’s enemies to embrace the message of peace on Earth, but a militant Islam forecloses that elusive goal for all mankind and the land where it was first proposed.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By Alan Caruba
If it isn’t a shooting war, the media and presumably many Americans are just not interested in the Middle East. Have you noticed how little news is being generated there of late?
True, Americans are rightly focused on the monstrous healthcare “reform” bill being imposed on the vast majority that opposes it, but we are transferring several thousand more troops to Afghanistan and we still have several thousands more in Iraq. I keep thinking that the mere presence of all these active fighting units continues to give Iran pause with regard to its nuclear hegemonic ambitions.
And, yes, we were just treated to President Mamoud Ahmadinejad ranting about efforts to impose sanctions, but it appears that the present world leaders are pursuing the same disastrous policies that preceded earlier wars when dictatorships were given meaningless warnings to cease and desist from developing a war machine. The prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons and their delivery systems fits that description.
The more general lack of coverage may well have to do with the way American news organizations have slashed their foreign bureaus and, in my opinion, the notion that, if Americans are not dying in action in sufficient numbers, there’s no need to pay the Middle East much attention. During the height of the Iraq war, every single casualty rated page one coverage.
War in far off places is the price a great nation pays to maintain its position in the world and America is no exception. President Obama’s reluctance to acknowledge or act decisively on this bodes ill, though he has shown great enthusiasm for measures to reduce the Earth’s temperature a degree or two centigrade.
It was news, however, that the aged and ailing president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, received a visit from the Iranian speaker of its parliament, Ali Larijani, in Cairo on December 20 and, despite the fact he rarely travels these days, Mubarak flew immediately to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Arab emirates to discuss what must have been deemed a major turn of events.
Close observers have concluded that the Iranians are trying to ease the tensions their bellicosity has aroused throughout the Middle East. This is not surprising given the fact that it has few real friends throughout the region with the exception of Syria and the terrorist groups, Hezbollah and Hamas, wholly-owned Iranian subsidiaries.
Moreover, Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah are believed to have given up hope of any effective action by America or Israel, to deter Iran’s nuclear program. I have thought in the past that Saudi Arabia would grant air space permission for an Israeli attack, but this option appears to be off the table.
The apparent movement toward coexistence with a nuclear Iran marks a significant downgrade of Washington’s influence in the region and would further isolate Israel if that is possible. The weakness displayed throughout Obama’s first year in office has likely convinced Middle Eastern leaders that they are on their own so far as any protection the U.S. might provide.
The Middle East has been in flux ever since the end of World War One when France and England divided up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire, creating new nations as colonial outposts. World War Two did nothing to reduce the never ending turmoil and the emergence of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948 led to a series of wars that Arab nations lost and the Palestinian pretext to refuse recognition.
Overriding all other interests the West has in the Middle East is the fact that it sits on top of one third or more of the world’s the known reserves of oil.
About the only card the West holds at this point is the fact that the Iranians lie about everything. Since this is well known to the region’s leaders, they will proceed with caution regarding any promises or deals they offer. Lacking their own nukes, they don’t have much bargaining power. They will soon have far less.
All of which explains why we should be more vigilant about events there, even if they do not include firefights, bombings, and other mayhem.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
By Alan Caruba
It’s become the new Christmas tradition; a handful of people who demand that everyone else stop celebrating Christmas by displaying manger scenes in public places or stop singing Christmas carols in school, or stop saying “Merry Christmas.”
These people are annoying twits, but they too often get their way because the courts back them with the claim that the state cannot condone any religious expression in public places. Given the long history of religious faith and practice from the nation's founding and earlier, this is as idiotic as it gets. It runs contrary to America’s long tradition of tolerance.
In November, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Stratechuk v Board of Education, South Orange-Maplewood School District. It upheld the district’s policy banning celebratory religious holiday music at school-sponsored holiday concerts.
While holiday music could still be taught in music classes and songs with religious content “not specifically related to the holidays” could be performed in concerts, the music of Christmas was banned. The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim that the school was unconstitutionally restricting student’s access to ideas.
“Those of us who were educated in the public schools remember holiday celebrations replete with Christmas carols, and possibly even Chanukah songs, to which no objections had been raised. Since then, the governing principles have been examined and defined with more particularlty,” said Judge Delores Korman Sloviter in the 22-page opinion.
The controversy dates to 2004 when the Maplewood-South Orange district extended a 20-year-old 1990 ban on singing religious songs in school performances to include instrumental versions of those songs. An appeal of the decision is being considered.
Many, many years prior to the 1990 ban, I passed through the Maplewood-South Orange schools, from kindergarten to graduation from twelfth grade. In the earliest years, America was at war in Europe and the Pacific. In Europe, it was not only against the law to sing Chanuka songs, it was against the law to be a Jew and punishable by death. Following victory in 1945, Christmas took on a particularly joyous quality when the troops returned home and began families. In 1955 I bade goodbye to Columbia High School.
All through those years, Christian and Jewish students sang Christmas carols, many about a world at peace with good will to all men. In my experience, none of the Jewish students ever gave a single thought to singing the carols beyond sharing the joy with their Christian friends. Those songs brought everyone together.
Now they drive apart those who respect the traditions of all religions and those atheists who insist that everyone else reject belief in a higher power or give voice to it. Not content with toleration, they appeal to the courts and, as is the case in New Jersey, they get their way.
I am no jurist, but it seems to me that the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech…” Singing a Christmas carol or Chanuka song is not the “establishment” of religion and banning them in school-sponsored “holiday” concerts is a complete absurdity. Too bad the U.S. Third Circuit Court can’t understand this.
For myself, I am happy that I attended Maplewood’s school in what surely were better times, guided by teachers who taught us that we could all take joy in each other’s holiday celebrations.
Monday, December 21, 2009
By Alan Caruba
The little-known American poet, Delmore Schwartz, is remembered best for having once said, “Even paranoids have real enemies.” The year ahead, 2010, is going to be a harvest of fears for those as paranoid as myself.
Happily, I stopped worrying about “global warming” years ago, having figured out what lots of people have recently discovered; the whole thing was based on rigged computer models, including NASA’s.
Like an increasing number of Americans, however, I cannot help wondering what fresh new horror Barrack Hussein Obama has in mind for us. No doubt he will spring some great plan during his first State of the Union speech. Perhaps to stimulate the economy, he will initiate the building of “re-education camps” around the nation where people who have the temerity of disagreeing with him will learn to love the Great Leader.
I know he’s a Great Leader because he modestly gave himself a B+ for his first year in office and because the government tells me that unemployment is “only” ten percent when all my friends and others keep telling me its closer to seventeen percent. Would Barrack Hussein Obama lie to me?
Indeed, 2009 was distinguished by the spectacle of seeing President Obama everywhere all the time. Whether he was picking up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo or twice visiting Copenhagen, bowing to a Saudi Arabian prince or the emperor of Japan, the Great Leader could have been seen everywhere from Cairo to the Great Wall of China. The only wall he missed was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I am not merely paranoid about the White House. I have growing fears about the trial of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11. Extending the Bill of Rights to this admitted terrorist barely blocks from Ground Zero makes me wonder how many of his colleagues are planning another attack on New York as a further demonstration of their hatred. Giving him a civilian trial for an act of war strikes me as a deliberate attack on the U.S. Constitution.
I keep wondering, too, how many others are out there like the Fort Hood murderer, American born Major Nidal Malik Hasan who experienced Sudden Jihad Syndrome, gunning down twelve of his fellow soldiers, wounding 31 others. We have since learned that a group of five born-in-America Muslim lads made their way to Pakistan to join al-Qaeda in order to learn the arts of terror. As they say, not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.
I may be paranoid, but I keep thinking that, one of these days, China is going to inform the U.S. Treasury that it no longer wants to purchase its securities and, of course, every other nation will follow suit. I stopped loaning money to deadbeats long ago.
I am so nuts these days that, in the event U.S. courts find that Barrack Hussein Obama is not eligible to be President, Joe Biden is beginning to look good to me. I worry, though, that his health might falter and we would end up with President Pelosi.
Frankly, we have been very lucky that the U.S. has been spared any category five hurricanes like Katrina and, in fact, not one single named hurricane even showed up in 2009. That kind of luck never lasts and what are the prospects that the same folks who gave us the non-stimulating Stimulus Bill and Cash for Clunkers would be in charge when a natural disaster strikes?
I worry, too, that there are no more Democrat Senators and Representatives left to bribe with our money and that the Healthcare “reform” that almost nobody wants will become law.
You’d have to be crazy not to worry that Iran is just months, weeks or days away from developing its own nuclear warhead to put on top of those nifty missiles it has been showing off of late. You have to wonder, between seizing foreign nationals to hold hostage and putting down protests from their own people, how they find the time.
There is one bright spot on the radar for 2010 and it’s the November midterm elections. Being paranoid, however, I worry that there will be Tea Party candidates who will drain votes from Republicans, thus leaving the present Congress in charge all the way through to 2012.
I worry that, by then, the Democrats will have figured out how to anoint Barrack Hussein Obama President-For-Life and to suspend the Constitution.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
By Alan Caruba
It was a fitting symbol of the pack of lies that constitute “global warming.”
The President of the United States, along with the Speaker of the House, had to flee Copenhagen’s Climate Change Conference because of a snow storm of epic proportions for that Danish city and to return swiftly to Washington, D.C. because of a record-setting blizzard that hit the northeast.
In Copenhagen, the President continued to betray the will of the American people by blathering about “global warming” and the need to act swiftly to stop it by imposing limits on how much energy Americans could use. He also managed to anger the major environmental organizations by failing in this mission.
The Sierra Club sent a message to its members celebrating 2009 as a year in which they were instrumental in “stopping over 100 dirty coal plants” in a nation that depends on such plants for fifty percent of the electricity we use every day. They also took credit for “the protection of two million acres of natural spaces” that will never be used for timber, for mining, for any of the resources, minerals, oil, or natural gas the nation requires and which will likely be off limits for any form of recreation use as well.
Also returning from Copenhagen was California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who, as the Orange Country Register noted on December 17, “made the astonishing claim that the Golden State is evidence we need not choose between a clean environment and economic growth.” The editorial credited Schwarzenegger in part for the state’s “economic mess, largely thanks to taxes and government regulations. The governor’s pet environmental projects are chief culprits.”
One of those pet projects was “a Kyoto-type regulatory scheme to force California off fossil fuels” that the Small Business roundtable estimated would cost consumers $149.2 billion when it is fully implemented, small businesses $182.6 billion, and to kill about 1.1 million jobs in total.”
Sen. Harry Reid has managed finally to bribe the last Democrat holdout on Obamacare, Sen. Ben Nelson, in order to bring the bill to a vote. The brutal sellout included a White House threat to close a Nebraska Air Force base.
Obamacare is a complete betrayal of the American people, slashing a half trillion dollars from Medicare, a program designed to aid senior citizens respond to the illnesses and other debilitating effects of old age. It enables the federal government to take control of one sixth of the nation’s economy in the same way it has steadily extended its central control over education, energy and all other aspects of life in America.
Despite having beaten back a previous attempt to extend amnesty to the estimated twelve to seventeen million illegal aliens in America, another bill has been introduced in Congress to further undermine the nation’s obligation to protect its borders from millions of illegals who are sapping billions of taxpayer funds due to their use of our education system, our hospital system, and the need to respond to criminality of every description. In addition, illegals send home billions in remittances.
Environmentalism is an attack on the West, the industrialized nations of the world that, according to the Copenhagen conference, were supposed to transfer billions to “developing nations” that have been developing for as long as memory serves. The conference declared that their emissions of carbon dioxide were causing climate change. This is now a totally discredited lie.
Little wonder China and India would have nothing to do with the Copenhagen proposals as they apply themselves to providing more energy in the form of coal and nuclear plants in order to raise the standard of living for their billion-plus populations and bring about real growth and prosperity.
Meanwhile, in Europe, France relies on nuclear energy for 76% of its energy needs. In England, after shutting down its coal mines and nuclear plants, the government is in a frenzy to reinstitute them in order to avoid future energy blackouts after having spent billions on wind farms. The greening of Spain through subsidized wind and solar power has caused a financial crisis and destroyed 2.2 jobs for every alleged “green” job created.
And while this is occurring, the United States of America is being dragged into a Soviet-style centralized government by the most Marxist administration in its entire history; an administration that has no intention of paying heed to the will and the voice of the people.
The Constitution begins with the words, “We the People” but the people are no longer a component of the current government. The people are now the slaves of the Democrat Party.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
By Alan Caruba
When I listen to politicians arguing the merits of some piece of legislation, I am usually 99% sure they have no idea how demography-—population—-will affect the outcome of their grand schemes.
This is particularly true of advocates of fixed and often flawed ideas about the environment. Most “save the Earth” true believers want to see huge reductions in the population of the planet. They don’t much care for human beings.
Demography is the study of population; focusing on things like fertility rates, aging, ethnic identity, and immigration. Knowing the accurate demographics of a nation is central to its governance and this is particularly true for a democracy. It is no accident that both words have the same root, demos as in people.
Knowing the size and distribution of the U.S. population was a serious concern for the Founders and it is part of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states that "[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct." Congress first met in 1789, and the first national census was held in 1790.
For the world in general, fertility rates have been falling as more women receive education and become part of the workplace. Higher standards of living and education reduce birth rates. It makes it easier for women to be part of the workforce and households have more money for savings as well as the consumption of goods. As nations like India and China improve their economic status, their populations will stabilize and population growth will slow. The odious one-child policy in China will, in time, pass into history.
Thus, industrialization, the increased spread of electrical power, a global economy with fewer trade restrictions, all will favorably impact population growth by slowing it. In contrast, the objectives of the environmental movement such as the reduction of energy use based on the false assertion that it produces carbon dioxide that, in turn, will heat the Earth, are in direct conflict with population stabilization and reduction.
In the United States, government policies have been in direct contradiction of what native-born and naturalized citizens want. If the latter had there way, there would not have been a sharp increase in the population. Instead, the government has pursued policies that increase, largely through legal and illegal immigration, the number of people in the nation.
In 1970, the U.S. population was about 203 million. This followed the unprecedented “Baby Boom” years,1946-1964. Today the population has surpassed 293 million. These numbers come from the Census Bureau. At no other time in U.S. history have recent immigrants and their children dominated population growth.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s official estimate is that there are eight million illegal immigrants currently in the nation. Most observers of illegal immigrant believe that the actual number range from twelve to seventeen million.
So, since 1970, each Congress and each President has adopted policies not only allowing, but encouraging, legal, and in particular, illegal immigration far above traditional levels and setting the stage for increasing economic and social problems.
As reported by USA Today, the U.S. population is expected to “soar to 438 million by 2050 and the Hispanic population will triple according to projections…by the Pew Reseach Center.
Moreover, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that “the future age structure of the population will be older than it is now. Very nearly 40% will be senior citizens, over 65, by 2050. The last members of the Baby Boom will reach 65 by 2029. All will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare if, in fact, these two entitlement programs have not become insolvent by then.
Here, again, we see government policy ignoring or just ignorant of population changes as the Congress moves toward passing a healthcare reform package that 80% of the voters disapprove; one that will slash a trillion dollars from Medicare funds and institute rationing of care as the number of older Americans increase. The harm to the current healthcare system is incalculable.
In addition, yet another amnesty bill has been introduced in Congress at a time when it is obvious that a growth in the genera population will only exacerbate and increase the costs of educating the children of the newly enfranchised, formerly illegal immigrants, along with the cost providing medical care to those who cannot afford it, and incarcerating those who break the law. These costs will add billions at all levels of society.
So, demographics do matter, even if politicians and other special interests ignore them. They have local, national, and international ramifications as populations either stabilize or increase worldwide.
A lesson for the United States can be drawn from the decline of the Roman Empire. It was a combination of the cost of far-flung military commitments and the invasions of populations from outside of the empire that ultimately caused its collapse through an inability to impose Pax Romana or stop the depredations of northern European tribes and threats from the Huns.
Policies that deliberately deny the benefits of the provision of widespread energy availability and of education to increase literary; policies that deny protection against the scurge of malaria and other diseases; discourage the use of genetically modified crops to avoid deforestation and to provide ample food supplies; policies that impose foolish mandates such as ethanol or even attempt to regulate carbon dioxide with the false claim that it is a harmful gas, all contribute to the waste of the Earth’s greatest resource, its human population.
There are, of course, events beyond our imagination, though not necessarily our control. As the great physicist Albert Einstein warned, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Friday, December 18, 2009
By Alan Caruba
If the United Nations cannot run a conference in Copenhagen without riots in the streets, why would anyone want to turn over the governance of the world to these people?
For old “skeptics” like myself, watching the chaos in Copenhagen was sheer joy. It’s always a mistake for liars to gather in one place to trumpet their lies because it always attracts people who believe that the truth is the best antidote.
And for believers in the universal God of mankind and the universe, how lovely to see four inches of snow fall on Copenhagen in the midst of speeches and panels claiming that the Earth is warming. Even atheists who understand that global warming was and is a fraud could take some pleasure in that. In German, it’s called “schadenfreude.”
What became abundantly clear was that the Climate Change Conference was not about climate at all. It was about getting the developed nations to send billions to the undeveloped nations that have, as in the case of Africa, lived off of this largess while loudly criticizing the donors for being horrid capitalists.
The other aspect of the conference was the way the handful of global warming entrepreneurs like Al Gore (a) journeyed there in their private jets, (b) drove around town in their rented limousines, and (c) desperately repeated all the worn-out and discredited global warming claptrap about melting glaciers and ice caps, the die-off of every species known to man, including man, and the fact that this would occur in five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty or fifty years. Take your pick.
Who do you think is heavily invested in and dependent on the sale of bogus “carbon credits” for the use of “dirty” fuel such as coal, oil, and natural gas? Answer: Al Gore and the other scoundrels who have spent years creating the mechanisms to cash in on this. When the Russians sold their oil or natural gas in Europe, they were delighted to also sell the carbon credits necessary to use it under European Union (Kyoto Protocol) rules.
The other melt-down involved the totally specious “science” that carbon dioxide has anything to do with the Earth’s climate. Or that man-made CO2 can or does change the climate. The carefully constructed spider’s web of lies put forth by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were destroyed by the release of thousands of emails by the “scientists” who, it turns out, were deliberately falsifying the data.
The new addition to the Big Lie of global warming is that the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University had its computers “hacked” when it is abundantly obvious all the emails and other data were on a CD in the event that it was demanded under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act. It was leaked, not hacked. Similarly, the U.S. Act is being used to secure the data behind NASA’s claims supporting global warming.
Naturally, Al Gore claimed that the CRU emails were at least ten years old. NOT! He also managed to claim that all the ice at the polar caps was melting. NOT! And that the center of the Earth is millions of degrees hot. NOT!
And, of course, like a moth drawn to a candle, President Obama had to make an appearance and repeat all the global warming lies that no one believes any more except for the 20% of the U.S. population that thinks he is the Second Coming. NOT! Take note, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was also there telling lies.
In the weeks, months and years ahead is the slow unraveling of the past twenty years of unrelenting lies about global warming. It will be slow because the mainstream media will be the last to acknowledge that they were wrong.
What lessons can we draw from this huge fraud? Given control or the collusion of the mass media, it is possible to fool a lot of people a lot of the time.
Given the backing of the government, billions in taxpayer’s money can be given to organizations and individuals who are delighted to cash in on the fraud.
Those entrusted with teaching our children the truth about the real world betrayed them.
Those perpetrating the global warming fraud are among the worst liars and hypocrites to walk the Earth.
There is no end to the evil of Marxist socialism. It must be fought every day and all through the night. It takes many forms, but it is always about enriching an elite few at the expense of freedom for the rest.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
By Alan Caruba
I am frequently asked how I come up with something new to write about every day, but in fact I write about the same things, the Constitution, energy issues, the global warming fraud, education, immigration, et cetera. There is, however, always something new to address within these and other ongoing topics.
As another weekend beckons, I have any number of questions rambling around in my brain about current events.
Is 2010 the year in which global warming will be officially declared dead?
How is it that the Obama administration can announce it is ready to give $10 BILLION DOLLARS a year to developing nations to help them cope with climate change? First of all, the U.S. is for all intents and purposes broke. We exist off of the billions we have to BORROW DAILY just to function and meet enormous obligations such as Medicare and Social Security payments, pensions, the entire U.S. military, and countless pork projects. We don’t have the money to give and climate change has been around 4.5 billion years.
Why can’t these so-called developing nations—which have been developing since I was born over seventy years ago—start developing a few things themselves, like water purification programs, supporting agriculture through the use of genetically modified seeds so crops can resist drought or insect depredation, or just ensuring that, in some cases, the riches from oil royalties actually gets used to build some schools, health clinics, et cetera?
Friends of the Earth put out a letter to their members saying, “Since day one of the Copenhagen climate summit, our Friends of the Earth delegation has stood with people from African nations, small island states, and other poor countries in demanding climate justice.” What exactly is “climate justice”? The climate is the climate. It has nothing to do with justice. Unless, of course, you think rich countries are responsible for the reason poor countries are poor. In which case, you’re just nuts.
Is it possible that the Democrat Party and its leadership, President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are either stark raving mad or just such dedicated Marxists that they believe the U.S. must be bankrupted with a bizarre healthcare “reform”, taxes on all forms of energy use, and the regulation of the second most vital gas on planet Earth, carbon dioxide, as a “pollutant” that is “harmful” to public health?
Where is the Constitution at work these days except for the extension of its Bill of Rights to foreign combatants who are self-admitted Islamic terrorists that engaged in an act of war called 9/11? Since when do we try war criminals in anything other than military tribunals? The answer is and was never.
How long will it take Iran to launch a missile at Israel after it has put together a nuclear warhead? My guess is about five minutes because the ayatollahs who have been in charge since 1979 see such an act as possibly the sole reason for their Islamic Revolution.
Here’s another random thought. If the Constitution expressly says “No person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” And just what is the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize and how much money comes with the shiny medal, if not a present and emolument? If Congress passed a resolution of consent, I didn’t hear about it.
Monday marks the beginning of winter. For all those global warming enthusiasts, it is a period of deep denial about the fact that the Earth gets particularly cold for several months. To make it worse, having been in a cooling cycle since 1998 winter may stick around longer in the coming decade or two. During the last Little Ice Age, the Thames froze over regularly from 1300 to 1850. Here in America, soldiers billeted at Valley Forge had to endure bitter cold.
By the way, four inches of snow fell on Copenhagen in the last few days. This is considered a blizzard by the Danes because it is an unusual amount for that city.
Santa will arrive next week. I have been a very good little boy.
By Alan Caruba
When President Obama shows up in Copenhagen to take part in the greatest fraud perpetrated worldwide in the modern era, there is only one thing you need to know. It is all a lie.
It was a lie from the first moment a scientist like James Hansen told Congress on June 23, 1988 that the planet was going to be roasted by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and it was a lie when Al Gore wrote “Earth in the Balance” and there were still more lies in his Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
A British court banned the documentary from being shown in their schools unless a long list of disclaimers was read to the students before his lies were inflicted on them. American students were not so fortunate. Indeed, as I have said many times before, global warming has been a form of child abuse, causing needless anxiety and fear for countless children on whom it was inflicted.
But how could such a lie be perpetrated on such a vast stage and for so long? My answer to you is “the Soviet Union.” From its inception in 1917 when the czarist monarchy was overthrown and Marxist theory, Communism, was imposed on Russia, whole generations were forced to suffer under this huge lie that the state would provide everything for everybody.
It is such a popular lie that it has been resurrected in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. It returned the Sandinistas to power in Nicaragua. In the last century, millions died under the Communist banner, but that lie never seems to die.
Little wonder then that, when Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s communist dictator addressed the conference, Andrew Bolt of Australia’s Herald-Sun reported that he received “a rousing round of applause.” He was followed by Zimbabwe’s despicable president, Robert Mugabe, who decried “these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions.”
A conference that celebrates such communist blather betrays its true intent. No American President should participate in such a naked display of contempt for capitalism unless of course he shares it
A really Big Lie told often enough acquires the verisimilitude of truth. Global warming, however, was dependent on a different kind of truth, one subject to vigorous review and challenge; it is scientific truth and no matter how many lies were told by the global warming scientists, there were others who stood their ground and challenged them.
By itself, the Big Lie cannot exist solely in a political framework like the United Nations or any one of the nations, including our own, that wasted billions based on it. It has to have the support of the media, both our own and those around the world.
Journalists are not scientists and they are subject to what scientists tell them unless they do some fairly easy investigation of their own. They didn’t! Instead, journalists at influential newspapers like The New York Times repeated and amplified every global warming lie and they continue to this day.
The true science, not the stuff conjured up on computer models, always refuted the global warming theory. That’s because it was widely known to honest climatologists, meteorologists, and others. It was always known that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a miniscule part of the Earth’s atmosphere, barely 0.038 percent. Of that amount, man-made CO2 emissions constitute less than 0.00022 percent! Some will argue these figures, but they always remain within these very tiny parameters.
Carbon dioxide has nothing to do with global warming or as it is now called, climate change.
Nor has the Earth been rapidly warming. The last warming cycle began around 1850 as a response to a Little Ice Age that began in 1300. The Earth warmed about one degree Fahrenheit. By 1998, it began to cool again!
So, when President Obama shows up in Copenhagen to attend the liar’s competition called the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP-15, anything and everything he says about global warming, fossil fuels, CO2, et cetera, will be a lie.
Al Gore has been at the conference and managed to stumble around like a punch-drunk boxer saying really stupid things like the Arctic will completely melt away any day now or that the center of the Earth is millions of degrees hot. But Gore is a stranger to the truth because, as you may recall, he’s a politician who served in Congress and as Vice President.
If George W. Bush is remembered for anything, it will be that he saved the nation from a “President Gore.” Despite Bush’s poll numbers when he left office, President Obama has accomplished one extraordinary thing; he has made people think more kindly of Bush.
At the heart of the Big Lie is, of course, MONEY! There are millions to be made selling bogus “carbon credits” for the use of energy. That’s what Obama’s “Cap-and-Trade” scam is all about.
Billions were wasted on “climate research” over the past twenty years and now they are being wasted on “clean energy” research which we’re told is needed to replace “dirty” fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. It too is all a lie.
Solar and wind power can never and will never replace or even rival the power that so-called fossil fuels provide. Combined, solar and wind provide barely one percent of all the electricity used daily in the nation. Biofuels are another bad idea.
Listen, if you can, to Obama delivering yet another of his speeches in Copenhagen, barely getting his breath back after his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, and remember, he is lying.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Alan Caruba
While it is incontestably true that a lot of people took out mortgage loans they could not afford to replay, it is just as true that they were encouraged to do so because banks were required by federal law to make these bad loans. Bankers even gave them an acronym, “Ninja” loans as in “No Income, No Job, No Assets.”
The result was the government created “housing bubble” that was coupled with the Federal Reserves’ policy of keeping interest rates so low that many were tempted to borrow beyond their means. When the financial crisis struck, these loans were called “toxic assets” requiring billions in taxpayer money to bail out the same banks forced to make them. Mortgage loan companies were not so fortunate.
Consistent with that government inspired economic disaster, however, has been the many ways federal and state governments have found to tax Americans directly and indirectly. A new book, “Bankrupting Joe the Taxpayer”, by D.J. Golio ($24.95/$16.95, Authorhouse, hard and softcover) reveals how taxation and irrational government spending has reached the present point and offers suggestions how to correct it.
A classic example of hidden taxes can be found in your telephone bill. This month mine was $63.00, but $14.00 of it was taxes, so my actual cost was less than $50. This occurs again every time I fill up my gas tank or pay my utility bill. For example, in 2007 the estimated take by states alone in gasoline taxes exceeded $50 billion.
The combined average of all taxes loaded into the price per gallon is approximately 56.4 cents. Fill up with twenty gallons and you’ve paid average federal and state taxes of more than $11.00! And the government has the nerve to call oil companies “greedy.”
One might be inclined to say that this money, if applied to highway and bridge repairs, was worth it, except that these repairs are often ignored by politicians who find that such expenditures are not sexy enough to garner reelection, so we end up with roads filled with potholes and, as occurred not long ago, a bridge collapse. Civil engineers have been warning about these failures for decades.
The gasoline tax is known as an excise tax and Golio points out that they have been around for more than 200 years and are older than income, estate, and gift taxes. They were initially imposed to finance wars.
In 1913, the income tax was introduced and, if the politicians could restrain themselves from spending every cent collected, government might not now be borrowing and, at the same time, raising its debt ceiling. Moreover, the nation might not be on the verge of losing its triple-A rating!
Federal and state governments have found ingenious ways to apply excise taxes. They include, in addition to gasoline and utility taxes, telephone services such as pre-paid phone cards, subscriber line charges, directory listings, WATS services, and long-distance toll charges, among others.
There are taxes on domestic and international air travel, wagering, occupation taxes covering importers and manufactures, firearms and ammunition, oil and chemicals, vaccines, and coal production sales.
As Americans are learning, the definition of “rich” now includes approximately 117 million households. In 2007, one group representing 28% of households that earned between $0 and $25,000 paid no income taxes, but received tax refunds in the form of credits such as earned income and child care. The federal government considers you to be wealthy if you earned $53,000 this year. About 25% of all tax filers fall into this category.
Golio is a Certified Public Accountant with an Masters degree in taxation. He has taught at the college level and knows the present tax system inside and out. He also knows that federal and state governments have long been spending beyond their means and places much of the blame for today’s high rates on the public employee unions that have negotiated huge pension programs well beyond those in the private sector.
These and other compensation, such as healthcare, cost taxpayers millions of dollars in the form of property and other local taxes as states and communities bludgeon homeowners to pay for generous contracts. Despite a failing educational system, teachers and administrators continue to enjoy exceptional terms.
That is why states also impose alcohol taxes, inheritance and estate (death) taxes, tobacco taxes, parking taxes, hotel occupancy taxes, leased vehicle gross receipts taxes, severance taxes in states fortunate enough to have natural resources, in addition to the aforementioned telecommunications and utilities taxes.
In 2008, forty-six states and the District of Columbia collected corporate income taxes and forty-four states and Washington, D.C., collected individual personal income taxes for the privilege of living there.
Entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, both of which could be addressed by private savings and insurance programs, are rapidly reaching insolvency which one might suppose was a strong argument against allowing the government to engage in their provision; particularly since Congress has dipped into the Social Security fund to pay for its endless pork-ridden spending programs.
And, of course, the Obama administration is currently engaged in trying to strip a trillion dollars out of Medicare and to sign up millions more so-called uninsured persons, many of whom are younger citizens, 20 to 40, who see no need to self-insure. If the Medicare “reform” passes, they will be hit up for thousands from their personal income.
It is, however, a matter of law that no one can be turned away and denied medical care at any hospital in the nation.
Americans are vaguely aware that illegal immigration adds enormous costs to the nation’s healthcare, education, and law enforcement functions, but right now in Congress, yet another “amnesty” bill has been introduced, virtually ensuring that millions more will enter the nation illegally in anticipation of a swift path to citizenship. It is a very bad idea.
Current costs associated with illegal immigration range upward to more than $636 billion. Meanwhile, some $235.8 billion is wired to Mexico and Latin America every year by those who have illegally entered the nation. There are 389,000 illegals incarcerated in our prisons and approximately 699,000 who are fugitives!
The real problem, however, in addition to federal spending, are the state legislatures that have abandoned all reason when it comes to spending. There are states like California and New Jersey that are, simply stated, broke.
The fact that the Obama administration has increased the national debt and appears indifferent to public protests against its Medicare “reform” and proposed new taxes on all energy use in the form of “Cap-and-Trade” suggests that it is either infantile or determined to bankrupt the entire nation.
The sad part is that Golio and many others are well aware of what must be done to correct and avoid the horror of America becoming another Zimbabwe, but many Americans have concluded they are powerless to stop it.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The National Anxiety Center Lists Top Ten Fears
Founded in 1990, The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy, has periodically issued a list of the top anxieties Americans will experience in the coming year.
“The list,” says founder Alan Caruba, “is subjective; based on an analysis of the past year’s headlines and anticipated events. It incorporates on-going, often long term concerns that Americans have expressed.”
1. Out of Control Government Spending. It is evident to everyone except the White House and Congress that America cannot spend its way out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but both have embraced programs that will increase the level of taxation facing Americans, while engaging in “stimulus” programs that only stimulate more anxiety. The lack of job creation in the private sector will be the major anxiety Americans encounter in 2010.
2. Iran. It is evident to Americans and the world that Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons that can be used in a missile attack on Israel and which can reach Europe and other nations throughout the Middle East. The only option available is an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and there is considerable anxiety regarding its timing and outcome.
3. Afghanistan War. Eight years after the initial effort to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, Americans are war weary and increasingly wondering about the benefit of further involvement, its costs, and the possibility that leaving would embolden Islamist enemies there, in Iraq, and worldwide. The Middle East remains a powder keg of instability.
4. The Economy. There is anxiety concerning how long it will take for the American economy to recover from the housing and credit bubble created by Congressional programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No steps have been taken to eliminate these programs and, indeed, other federal programs have been introduced to assist imprudent mortgage holders already in default.
5. Inflation. The raising of the nation’s debt limit, the printing of vast amounts of paper currency by the Federal Reserve, and other comparable actions portend an inflation of prices and a possible default. Moody’s Investor Service has warned both the U.S. and British governments they are in peril of losing their triple-A ratings.
6. Medicare. Medicare, like Social Security, will be insolvent within a few years and Americans of all ages are worried, not only about solutions to this prospect, but about proposals to vastly expand Medicare at the most inopportune time.
7. Illegal Immigration and Amnesty. The drain on the nation’s economy and problems associated with illegal immigration, now estimated to number more than 12 million, as well as yet recently proposed amnesty program continue to worry Americans.
8. Education. The continued failure of the nation’s school systems to meet international standards of scholastic achievement has resulted in the decline in the ability of American’s children’s to acquire basic skills and the knowledge required to compete in a global economy.
9. Diet and Health. The growing number of overweight and obese Americans is a personal and national concern for the overall health of everyone struggling with weight problems and their potential for diabetes and other diseases.
10. American Culture. The increasing vulgarity found in films, on television, in music, fashion, and other elements of American culture remains a concern for many, particularly as it affects the younger generation.
“The good news is that more Americans are no longer concerned about global warming and carbon dioxide as they become aware that the claims justifying these fears are based on deliberately falsified computer models and the fact that the nation and the planet are now a decade into a natural cooling cycle,” says Caruba.
“2010, the end of the first decade of the 21st century, is likely to be seen in retrospect as a tipping point that will determine either a return to traditional standards of fiscal prudence,” says Caruba, “or will plunge the nation and the world into a Depression of cataclysmic proportions.”
The National Anxiety Center maintains a website at www.anxietycenter.com. Caruba blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.
Monday, December 14, 2009
By Alan Caruba
“Accenture takes very seriously its business ethics, corporate governance and transparency of operations. Our board of directors authorized the creation of our Ethics and Compliance program. Led by our general counsel, the program is designed to:
# Foster the highest ethical standards amongst Accenture personnel.
# Be effective in preventing, detecting and appropriately reporting and addressing any allegation of misconduct and violations of law by Accenture personnel.”
You can find this statement on the website of Accenture, a management consulting firm for whom Tiger Woods was its celebrity avatar. His image is no longer on their website because Accenture announced it has severed its relationship with the sports star.
No doubt Accenture’s general counsel reviewed the contract it has with Tiger Woods as regards his personal behavior, otherwise known as “the moral clause.” As we are learning, Tiger’s morals off the greens weren’t just a lapse of judgment, but a serious breach of appropriate behavior before and during his marriage.
Off the greens, Tiger’s life was truly the stuff of tabloids. In time, however, he will find forgiveness or just the fatigue people will have with the story. In the short term, however, those corporations and other enterprises associated with his name will want to sever relations or distance themselves.
Regrettably Tiger’s scandal is all-too-familiar. He has joined the ranks of former President Clinton, Governor Mark Sanford, former Senator John Edwards, former Governor Elliot Spitzer, and talk show host, David Letterman.
We live in one of the most sex-drenched cultures on the face of planet Earth. Sex is used to sell everything. It suffuses fashion, music, films, and sports. One can hardly watch television without commercials promising improved sexual performance and warning against the hazards of four-hour erections.
Tiger Wood’s performance on the greens has always been spectacular. That’s not Tiger's problem. His problem is the moral clause and it’s there because few suspected Tiger Woods had an appetite for porn stars and Nordic beauties, but just in case he did.
It can be argued that, until it was made public, it was none of our business, but no highly public figure can or should ask for our approval at the same time they are breaking one or more of the Ten Commandments.
Having spent my life as a public relations counselor, I can tell you that whoever is advising him is now engaged in a full scale review of every single thing written or said about him. This is being done in an effort to assess when the media feeding frenzy will peak and then begin to loose its ability to inflict further damage. That’s not likely to occur for months.
At some point Tiger will return to the tournaments that made him a millionaire, but he is not likely to return to the commercial affiliations that made him a billionaire.
By then his wife will have divorced him and moved back to Sweden, taking the children with her. Nothing can heal that marriage.
In time the public will grow tired of his apologies and be content just to watch him play. But they will never look at him quite the same again.
The morals clause will preclude the big endorsement contracts; the major paydays are over. Instead, he will have to win tournaments and, if he does, the current sordid mess will eventually fade sufficiently to let him live a more modest and, hopefully, a more moral life.
We all have a morality clause in the contract we call life. It's there for a very good reason.