Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama Counts on Supreme Court to Okay Healthcare Act

By Alan Caruba

There’s a reason conservatives dislike activist judges and that is their record for rendering judgments that ignore the Constitution and impose their personal views on the rest of us.

Some like the 9th Circuit Court are famous for this and, in my home state of New Jersey, its supreme court imposed a law that required the state to spend billions on “Abbott” districts in some cities to supposedly improve the quality of education.

The New Jersey court ignored the state constitution that, like all others, only empowers the legislature to authorize such funding, but instead the legislature rolled over adding to the debt level of the Garden State. Need it be said it is controlled by Democrats?

Now we learn that the Obama administration is eager to have the Supreme Court rule on Obamacare. The announcement of whether they will or not will come on November 14. Let it be said that the judges read the newspapers too. They know who’s in the White House and where the political power exists in Congress.

While there are a number of reliable conservative interpreters of the Constitution on the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Samuel Alito Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, what makes this particularly worrisome are the two recent Obama appointments, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The two women are liberals and Kagan in particular should recuse herself from the case because she was an advocate of Obamacare, arguing for it when she was the Solicitor General of the U.S., the position she held before being confirmed by a Democrat controlled Senate on August 4, 2010.

Obamacare should and must be repealed NOW. Restore America’s Voice Foundation recently delivered 1.6 petitions calling for this action, the largest such petition drive of its kind in history. We should all contact our Senator’s offices and demand this as well.

The House of Representatives has already voted to repeal Obamacare, a bill that distorts the “commerce clause” of the Constitution. Its passage would place more power in Congress than it was ever intended to have. Were the Supreme Court to rule that it is constitutional, nothing would stand in the way of this and future congresses from passing laws requiring you to purchase goods and services you do not want and cannot afford.

Obamacare must be defeated for the same reason that Barack Obama must be defeated in 2012. It is a wonder to me that he remains in office given the fact that:

He has refused to show a valid birth certificate.

He has a suspicious Social Security number from a state in which he never lived.

He defied a court order to cease implementing the Health Care Act.

He defied a court order to stop implementing the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling moratorium.

He has filed lawsuits against states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN, etc.)

He has appointed 45 “czars” who are unaccountable to Congress.

Under the Constitution, he is ineligible to be President because he is not a “natural born” citizen. His father was a citizen of Kenya.

There are so many reasons why he should be shorn of office that it is only the level of political corruption in Congress, the compliance of the American press, and the astonishing patience of the American people that has allowed him to be President.

America cannot afford to permit Obamacare to become the law of the land. It will not survive four more years of Barack Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Fly on the Wall of the Oval Office

Satire by Alan Caruba

It is not widely known, but security specialists have developed listening devices that resemble an ordinary house fly and one of them was installed in the Oval Office just before Barack Obama walked in on his first day on the job. Here are selections of conversations overheard.

Obama: “Where’s the bathroom. I have to take a wicked wee-wee.”

Obama to Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff: “Chicago rules!”

Obama to Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary: “You’ve got them eating out of your hand. They’re kissing our shoes. Good thing they’re such idiots.”

Obama to Vice President Joe Biden: “Just to go out there and say any damned stupid thing you want to, but stay on the daily storyline so we’re both lying about the same thing.”

Obama to Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State: “We’re going to tilt toward all the Muslim countries. Show them we’re their friend. As for Europe and just about everywhere else, tell them anything they want to hear.”

Obama to Tim Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury: “Tell Bernanke to keep printing money and borrowing a lot. We’re going to be bailing out all our friends on Wall Street, over at General Motors, and giving loans to every cockeyed green energy scheme that walks in the door.”

Obama to Bob Gates, Secretary of Defense: “Thanks for sticking around from the Bush days. Now let’s get the heck out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else we can. War is so yesterday.”

Obama to Eric Holder, Attorney General: “It’s time to even the score with whitey.”

Obama to Kathleen Sebellius, Secretary of Health: “Wait until they see Obamacare! It’s a socialist dream come true.”

Obama to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior: “According to Agenda 21, we have hardly made a dent in grabbing up more land for the federal government to control. Also, do whatever you can to slow down all that permitting for coal, oil and natural gas exploration.”

Obama to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture: “Just keep the farmer’s happy, Tom. We’ll push ethanol for the corn growers and keep doing all the old FDR stuff.”

Obama to Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor: “Hilda, this is going to be an administration the unions love, so keep in close touch with the guys from SEIU, the NEA, and the AFL-CIO. Whatever they want, they get.”

Obama to Gary F. Locke, Secretary of Commerce: “Frankly, Gary, I don’t know a damn thing about business, er…commerce…whatever.”

Obama (on the phone): “No I don’t want to talk to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”

Obama to Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation: “Ray, think electric cars, high speed trains, you know, stuff people don’t want and don’t need.”

Obama to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of National Security: “Janet, you were Governor of Arizona and now the state is full of illegal Mexicans. Keep up the good work.”

Obama to Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy: “No more coal, Steven. It’s dirty. So is oil. Fact is I think we need a lot less energy to get people used to how bad things are going to get.”

Obama to Lisa Jackson, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency: “Regulate! Regulate! Regulate! Do not hesitate to regulate!”

Obama to Michelle Obama: (On the phone) “Yes, Michelle. Yes, Michelle. Yes, Michelle.”

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Killing Energy, Killing Jobs, Killing America

By Alan Caruba

America has been under attack since Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. The primary target has been the nation’s ability to generate energy for electricity and transportation, without which this nation will slide into Third World status and economic decline.

This appears to be the goal of this administration from the President to his Secretaries of Energy and Interior, to his Director of the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no other rational explanation for what they are doing.

We are days away from the latest Environmental Protection Agency assault in the form of the “MACT” rule allegedly to reduce mercury and other emissions that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says will reduce electricity generation in America by about 81 gigawatts in the years ahead. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial said “this could compromise the reliability of the electric system if as much as 8% of generating capacity is subtracted from the grid.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that eleven Governors have written the EPA to ask that it delay the final rule in November. Twenty-five state Attorneys Generals have filed suit “to lift a legal document known as a consent decree that the EPA is using as a fig leaf for its political goals.”

As but one example, in Illinois, Ameron announced the planned shutdown of its Meredosia and Hutsonville energy centers, The Meredosia center generates 369 megawatts. The Hutsonville center has a generating capacity of 151 megawatts.

The EPA, even before the Obama administration, has been using the 1970 Clean Air Act to bludgeon the nation’s ability to access the energy resources required to generate electricity, primarily coal that provides 50% of such generation, and oil that fuels our transportation capability.

In late October, James J. Mulva, the CEO of Conoco-Phillips, addressed the subject of the growing discoveries of natural gas being found throughout the nation. “More than 600,000 Americans already explore, produce, store and produce natural gas, according to consultancy IHS Global Insight.”

At least 15 states now produce shale gas and others may join them,” noting that the largest shale area, the Marcellus which covers much of the Northeast” “already supports 140,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.”

The Obama administration, beginning with the president’s admitted goal of shutting down as much of the coal industry as possible, has demonstrated his intention of deterring the provision of energy. When the BP Oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration imposed a moratorium on all drilling. The decreased production cost 360,000 barrels a day in addition to lost jobs related to oil drilling in the Gulf. Rigs that are needed to drill have since been moved to other sites around the world.

The U.S. is home to more than 150 billion barrels of conventional oil that has the capability of generating thousands of new jobs if access to it was permitted. The most immediate result has been the rise in the cost of gasoline at the pump. Two courts ordered that the moratorium be lifted.

Oil companies currently pay more than $30 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Meanwhile the Obama administration has been wasting billions in loan guarantees to essentially useless solar and wind power companies, the latest of which, Solyandra, will cost taxpayers millions when the solar panel producer went belly-up. Others will follow.

Meanwhile, the President crisscrosses the nations demanding higher taxes on companies engaged in coal, oil and natural gas. When Jimmy Carter imposed a windfall tax on oil companies many ceased to explore for new sources here, moving their efforts to other nations. Today, by withholding the necessary permits to produce energy in Alaska, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System is operating at one third of its capacity.

A proposed pipeline from Canada still awaits approval and, on November 6th, led by the Sierra Club, the largest protest against its tar sands is expected to draw thousands to Washington, D.C. to join hands and circle the White House to ensure the Keystone XL pipeline is kept from providing the U.S. with the oil extracted. The proposed pipeline would reduce the U.S. dependence on Middle East oil. The U.S. already has more than 50,000 safely operating oil pipelines to support our transportation and other needs.

In January 2010, Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, warned that the Obama administration “continues to embrace Washington-dominated, command-and-control energy policies focused on mandates, subsidies, and political favors—not market forces.” He criticized “subsidizing one form of energy,” wind and solar, “while restricting the exploration of another,” warning that it “will lead to several measurable outcomes, increasing energy prices across the board, fewer jobs, and a weaker footing in the global economy..”

Nearly two years later, that warning has come true with a vengeance.

Oil, coal, or natural gas, it doesn’t matter to an administration and a president determined to restrict the amount of energy Americans need for their present and future needs. The result, in part, has been a stalled energy sector and a contributing factor in an economy with an estimated 20 million unemployed or under-employed.

The losses in income taxes and the taxes paid by this industry sector, in addition to the hideous borrowing and spending by the Obama administration is doing enormous harm to America and yet Barack Obama wants a second term in office.

Little wonder that Americans fear for the future of the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

October Snow Storm

It is snowing heavily in New Jersey where I live. I keep wondering how long it will take some Warmist to announce that it is due to "global warming." This is a measure of how stupid they think we are. For the record, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998.

If the meteorologists are correct, this snow storm may set a few new records, not the least of which is its early arrival.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cartoon Round Up (Halloween Edition)

The Circle of Life

By Alan Caruba

Much that occurs in life is happenstance, being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time.

So it is with birth. This was on my mind today because yesterday, October 27th, around 7 P.M., Zachary Caruba, the new son of my nephew and his wife, came into this world. He has by early report ten fingers and ten toes. One presumes he has a healthy pair of lungs with which to demand food and other care.

This harks back to the earliest beginning of humankind when a baby’s cry could be heard from one end of the savanna to another. More recently, a baby in Turkey, trapped by an earthquake there, was heard among the rubble, was rescued and emerged to safety precisely because of this inherent human trait.

This morning I called my older brother, Zachary’s grandfather, to wish him happy birthday on the beginning of his 81st year. Young Zachary can now compete with him for the biggest slice of the cake. Zachary has, as well, an older sister of eight years and an aunt and cousins.

The birth reminds us that, even in bad times; in the midst of war and economic collapse, life goes on. Man, a hairless biped, unable to outrun most animals, but with a talent for tool-making, dominates the planet. He is a greedy creature, often never satisfied or happy even with great wealth or power. Much of his or her thoughts and pursuits will be devoted to copulation. A great number of men and women are beset with mental illness of one sort or another, foolish addictions, and all of the seven deadly sins.

We are a species that kills our own kind for almost any reason, often coming together for the purpose of killing others who either threaten us or who possess what we covet; land, sources of wealth, trinkets.

I had a university professor once tell me that the most dangerous creature on Earth is a teenager and history bears him out. As this is written, mostly teenagers and those in their early twenties are making a great nuisance of themselves, "occupying" some place to demand that others who work for a living “share” their wealth with them.

They demand "fairness" where fairness has never existed either now or in ancient times.

Allegedly they want jobs, but there are fewer jobs available because earlier generations have ransacked the national treasury in a futile effort to ensure that everyone can buy a home even if they cannot afford one or with programs the government tells us will protect us in illness and old age. There is no more money left and borrowing only increases the debt.

If Zachary Caruba is lucky he will learn at an early age that most of what the government and the mass media tell him is a pack of lies. He will learn that life is not fair and never was. If one is lucky to be born into wealth then he can inherit it. If not, he can acquire it by dint of work, investment or both, but there are legions of charlatans ready to fleece him. Some are called politicians. Others are merely thieves of every description.

By sheer happenstance, I came across a tape recording, a cassette made in 1982. It was my parents talking about our family history. Born here in 1901 and 1903, they spoke of how their parents fled Russia or immigrated from Italy to a still-young America in the late 1890s that offered the promise of freedom and opportunity.

The “old world”, locked into calcified class divisions, in nations ruled by monarchies or nascent democratic movements, could offer neither. Russia would forsake its czar for a Communist “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Italy would descend into fascism. I knew both sets of grandparents and not once did either speak of the homeland they left behind.

That is the difference between the “old world” and the new one that generations of Americans put together and fought to defend; a republic bequeathed to Zachary Caruba, if he can keep it.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

President Kill-Joy

By Alan Caruba

“We have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge,” said President Obama at a recent fundraiser in San Francisco.

Didn’t Obama know that the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam to which he also referred were built in the midst of the 1930s Great Depression? And that, clearly, the people that built them had not lost their ambition or willingness to do great things.

What is the difference between those great construction projects and the building of the Freedom Tower that has now passed a decade in the effort to replace the destroyed Twin Towers? The answer is government at all levels from federal to local makes such projects difficult because of a matrix of laws and regulations, mostly environmental, that slow all enterprises in America today.

Well, let me correct myself. If you are building an utterly useless solar farm, utilizing solar panels made in China because it is too costly to make them here. Ditto for wind farms that even some Greens hate. Or if you are building electric cars that no one wants to buy. Then, yes, you not only get a federal multi-million dollar loan guarantee, but a lot of red tape is cut for you.

One is, of course, reminded of the unlamented Jimmy Carter who also had a low opinion of Americans, particularly those who used energy for any reason…like heating their homes in the winter.

There was a time when Democrat Presidents like Truman and Kennedy actually believed in their fellow Americans and said so. Even Clinton expressed confidence in us, but others like Carter and now Obama have been the great kill- joys, forever blaming their own incompetence on all of us, including those who voted for them.

I have long held the belief that Barack Obama does not like Americans. He spent the first year or so of his term going around the world criticizing America as the source of all the world’s ills.

Increasingly, the only audiences that cheer when the President shows up are largely composed of adolescents and union members. They either don’t know any better or are just happy to have a day off with pay.

And when a President shows up, he’s supposed to lift our spirits and inspire us. Except this one!

“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation.” Says who? We are a long way from becoming an Islamic nation with Sharia law replacing the Constitution. Say amen everybody!

“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world.” Oh, you mean like the way Europe started both World War One and Two? Like the Europe facing a present crisis of sovereign debt that will collapse the European Union like a house of cards?

“We need to internalize this idea of excellence”, adding “Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.” Like you? Did you get your latest polling scores by being excellent? And why have you gone to great length to ensure that no one can see your college grades? Or anything else for that matter.

“I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.” Does that include the Standard & Poors’ downgrade of our credit rating for the first time in the nation’s history? Any more restoration like this and there won’t be enough electricity to keep the lights on.

I could go on but, as they say, the facts speak for themselves and, unfortunately, President Obama just keeps speaking and speaking and speaking about himself.

The one thing we are willing—eager—to do is go to the polls in November 2012 and send this retard back to Chicago.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Barocky Road

In honor of the 44th President of the United States , Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: Barocky Road .

Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.

The cost is $82.84 per out of a hundred dollar bill you are at least promised some CHANGE..!

When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but after you pay for it, the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you at no charge.

You are left with an empty wallet, staring at an empty cone and wondering what just happened.

Stimulating isn't it?

Editor's Note: Source Unknown

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Save Us from Joe Biden

By Alan Caruba

There is, I swear, an entire category on Google titled “Joe Biden is an idiot.” As further proof, there are collections of Joe Biden quotes.

Addressing a gathering of the House Democratic Caucus on February 6, 2009, shortly after he and the President were sworn into office, Biden said, “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s a 30% change we’re going to get it wrong.”

A growing majority of Americans has concluded that they got closer to 90% wrong, no matter what they did. The Obama administration is going to go into the history books as one of the worst the nation has ever endured.

That says a lot about Obama’s judgment because it was he who chose Biden to be his Vice President. Biden has turned out to be Obama’s alter ego and, we’re told, one of his most trusted advisors.

On October 12th, in Flint, Michigan, Biden actually said that there would be more rapes and murders if the current iteration of Obama’s jobs bill, yet another multi-billion dollar blunder, was not passed. Even a Democrat-controlled Senate would not pass it. In Flint this year, with no stimulus spending and 19 less stimulus police officers there are projected decreases in homicides of 42% and rapes of 52%.

It is worth pausing to keep in mind that, if Obama was to cease being President for any reason, Biden would become President. It is mind-boggling to think that this idiot could ascend to the office. If there was no other reason to defeat Obama in 2012, Joe Biden stands head and shoulders above all others.

How stupid is Joe Biden? Let me count the ways.

On October 23rd, in the course of a CNN interview, Biden said that nobody can say “that the stimulus did not create jobs.” Putting aside the fact that government does not create any other kind of jobs other than government jobs or make-work, temporary jobs, the most recent report on the stimulus by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculated that the stimulus did create a maximum of two million jobs by the fourth quarter of 2011, but that at a cost of $412,500 per job!

The CNN interview draw attention from some elements of the mainstream media when, according to a CBS political analyst noted that Biden “left the door open to running for president in 2016, saying he would “make up my mind on that later” adding that he was physically and mentally prepared for the challenge. Physically maybe, but mentally he is one of the most clueless vice presidents since the days of Al Gore.

“When the stock market crashed,” Biden told Katie Couric, “Franklin D. Roosevelt got on television an didn’t just talk about, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’” For the record, the market crashed in 1929 before Roosevelt was president and television did not exist except for a few experimental sets at the time.

Biden is famous for his gaffs, most famously for his comment, caught by the microphones, about the passage of Obamacare. “This is a big fuc*ing deal” during the signing ceremony on March 23, 2010. Since then, the House has voted to repeal the bill and it is headed to the Supreme Court after 26 States attorney generals challenged its constitutionality.

Biden is a buffoon, but worse than that, he has zero command of the facts and an alarming characteristic which he shares with Obama; he lies about everything all the time.

We can count on Biden, now that he and the president have hit the campaign trail, to say a lot of other stupid and false things, but we can also count on him putting audiences to sleep with his famed long-winded answers.

We must save America from Joe Biden for the same reason we must rid the nation of the worst president in its history.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Global Warming: An Obituary

By Alan Caruba

I used to write obituaries when I was a young journalist and I daresay they are one of the best read sections of any newspaper. We have arrived at a time when the obituaries for global warming (now falsely called climate change) are increasing.

The October 25th edition of The Wall Street Journal sports an editorial titled “The Post-Global Warming World” commenting on the fact that the 17th annual United Nations-sponsored climate change conference in November is likely to be an even greater flop than recent ones. Few, if any, nations will sign on to the huge hoax of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) to save the world from burning to a crisp.

Considering the long years of media-driven drivel about global warming, the hoax should have been over by now, given the exposure in 2009 of thousands of emails between the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conspirators and growing body of evidence that everything they asserted was a great steaming pile of horse manure.

If there was ever a reason for the U.S. to stop funding the U.N., this is it.

I have predicted the death of global warming several times, but like a Hollywood zombie global warming is kept alive by its massive propaganda machine and useful idiots in the media.

Since the late 1980s The New York Times has engaged in the most horrid effort to convince its readers and the world that the IPCC should be taken seriously even though its successive reports have proven to be an offense to real science and the truth. No opportunity was ignored to advance the hoax even in the face of incontrovertible facts of every description.

Global warming has become a green religion to be taken on faith, but its claim to legitimacy was the “science” it put forth. That science began to come into question when a natural cooling cycle began in 1998. Glaciers began to noticeably grow along with the ice shelves of the Arctic and Antarctica. Snow arrived earlier and in greater abundance than previous decades.

Global tropical cyclone activity has been at historic lows and the frequency of U.S. hurricanes has declined. The latest, Irene, was rapidly downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it made landfall.

So, naturally, when Elisabeth Rosenthal, a blogger on “Green” topics for The New York Times wondered out loud “Where Did Global Warming Go?” I was curious to know her answer. Turns out that, despite being heralded on the covers of Newsweek, Time, The Economist, and countless other “news” magazines, in TV documentaries, et cetera, it hasn’t gone anywhere

After lamenting that, since his visit to the 2009 Copenhagen UN conference on climate change, President Obama has failed to mention global warming every day, Rosenthal wrote “But two years later, now that nearly every other nation accepts climate change as a pressing problem, America has turned agnostic on the issue.”

No, nearly every other nation has concluded it was a massive and very expensive fraud. That is why the forthcoming UN conference is going to implode. Policy makers are trying to extricate themselves from the useless solar and wind projects to which billions were committed. As soon as Obama is out of office and the Environmental Protection Agency is scaled back to its original 1970 objectives we can begin to attend to the rebuilding of the nation’s economy.

Note Rosenthal’s use of the term “climate change” rather than “global warming.” Note, too, that the 2009 Copenhagen conference was a huge failure with none of the nations in attendance agreeing to do much more than get together again, preferably in Cancun, Mexico, 2010, where the weather, unlike Copenhagen’s was not at risk of the huge blizzard that forced Obama to leave early lest he be trapped there until the snow melted.

“Though the evidence of climate change has, if anything, solidified,” Ms. Rosenthal lamented that “Mr. Obama now talks about ‘green jobs’ mostly as a strategy for improving the economy, but not the planet.”

People who worry about “the planet” and not about real problems such as how to feed seven billion of its human inhabitants or how to provide enough electricity to keep the lights on in the world’s cities or who think “improving the economy” is a poor choice to make when more than 14 million Americans are out of work are seriously out of touch with reality.

“He did not mention climate in his last State of the Union address,” said Rosenthal, pouting over something about which neither Obama, nor anyone else on planet Earth can do anything except to clean up the mess left behind by hurricanes, floods, and other forces of nature..

The climate, measured in hundreds of years, as opposed to the weather which is unpredictable more than a week from now, is the result of the activity of the Sun, the oceans, volcanoes, clouds, and cosmic rays. It is determined by the immutable laws of physics.

“The fading of global warming from the political agenda is a mostly American phenomenon,” wrote Rosenthal, apparently unaware that the European Union is about to collapse because several of its member nations are so deeply in debt that makes the U.S. look like a paragon of prudent fiscal policy. Rosenthal appears to be unaware of the rapid political changes occurring across the northern tier of African nations called the Maghreb and elsewhere throughout the Middle East.

Like the urchins “occupying Wall Street”, Rosenthal chides Americans who “prefer bigger cars and bigger homes. We value personal freedom, are suspicious of scientists, and tend to distrust the kind of sweeping government intervention required to confront rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

Since when is valuing personal freedoms, many of which are protected by the Constitution, and being suspicious of those scientists who have been claiming we’re all going to die, or questioning sweeping government intervention anything other than a deeply embedded American tradition and a very good idea under any circumstance?

Since 2008 the Heartland Institute has sponsored six International Climate Change Conferences, the last in Washington, D.C., June 30-July 1. Haven’t heard about them? Maybe that’s because the mainstream media has gone out of its way to ignore them. The conferences, however, have contributed to the growing body of knowledge disputing global warming to the point where, even in the nation’s capitol, the topic has become little more than the slow revelation of the utter mendacity of the hoax and its perpetrators.

Where has global warming gone? Onto the ash heap of the history of the last twenty-plus years of bad policies, wasted billions of the public treasure, and all of it driven by the UN’s mendacious “science.”

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

What the NBA & the 'Super Committee' Have in Common

By Alan Caruba

Considering that the National Basketball Association players individually make millions, it is hard to feel sorry for a bunch of guys who earn their living running back and forth trying to put a ball through a hoop.

Let me confess that I rarely watch any sport these days due to an extreme attention deficit problem brought on the by the endless commercials that interrupt the game. However, I am aware that the NBA and the players have reached an impasse in their negotiations. Their talks ended last Thursday despite or because of federal mediation efforts. Collective bargaining, as we have seen in Wisconsin and elsewhere, is an invitation to mayhem.

Here’s the problem. The league makes about $4 billion annually in revenue and the players who might otherwise be employed flipping hamburgers or washing cars want 52.5% of it. They previously wanted 53%. The league countered with an offer of 50%, up from 47%.

It happens that one of my friends is Jim Camp, an internationally known negotiation coach who has been coaching deals of every description for twenty-five years. He’s currently supervising one such deal that involves nearly a billion dollars. So he's been around the block when it comes to such things.

After reading about the negotiations in Friday's Wall Street Journal, I called him and asked what he thought and his response was that the talks will cost owners, players, and fans the 2011-2012 Season. That got my attention.

“Thanks to the conventional collective bargaining process, both sides are now mad at each other,” said Camp, “and unable to arrive at an agreement because ‘the other side’ is not doing what both parties believe they were supposed to do. Conflict is being created, not solved.”

“Once the season is lost and frustrations are lowered when both sides go home, they will realize that it was stupid, if not crazy, not to arrive at an agreement. Cooler heads will prevail, but under the current circumstances that is not possible,” said Camp.

How can grown men blow an entire NBA season over a few million? Camp put on his coach’s hat. “Based on the science of neuroscience, all negotiations are driven by emotion and not by the popular belief that facts are the driving force. That is the failure of bargaining.”

Warming to the subject, Camp pointed out that both sides hire lawyers to represent them. “How do lawyers get paid?” By the hour I replied. “Lawyers,” said Camp, “are paid to argue.” A light bulb went off in my head. The more they argue, the more they earn.

To those convinced that negotiation is more a game of chess moves than an effort to come to an agreement, that “mindset” dooms the effort.

Then Camp surprised me by comparing the NBA negotiations to those of the Congressional “super committee” that has been given the charge to find a way to cut $1.5 trillion from federal spending. According to some reports, they too are at an impasse. There would be no super committee if Congress took the issue of the budget and national debt seriously. Instead, it opted for automatic cuts to the budget if the committee cannot come up with a variety of cuts through a negotiation process.

“You can put money on the fact they will not find any common ground of agreement,” said Camp, “even though the current national debt exceeds $14 trillion dollars, an amount equal to the entire gross national product.”

It’s one thing for a bunch of basketball players and team owners to disagree over how to split revenue and quite another when the nation’s highest elected legislators are unable to come to grip with an insane amount of spending and debt.

Camp’s system is contrarian and spelled out in his 2007 book, “Start With No.” It is his view that if you arrive at any negotiation feeling needy and emotionally vulnerable, the guy on the other side of the desk is going to wipe the floor with you. If, however, you learn how to say no in a fashion that alters his mindset, conditions will be created for a mutually beneficial outcome.

My money is on Jim Camp!

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Difficulty of Predicting the End of the World

By Alan Caruba

I am beginning to feel sorry for Pastor Harold Camping who predicted the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011 and, when it didn’t, predicted that it would end on October 21 instead. Oops.

The fact is that men of varying theological and astrological inclinations have been predicting the end of the world for a very long time. Predictions can be found in Hindu, Taoist, Scandinavian, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim eschatology—the branch of theology that is devoted to final events.

There is brief mention of it in Jewish literature but the term “messiah” referred to a human leader who would lead the Jews out of bondage and unite the nation. The most famous is Moses in the story of Exodus until Christians adopted the belief that Jesus was, in fact, the messiah and would return. Similarly, the Muslims adapted this to refer to the Twelfth Imam, a mythical figure whose return would be hastened by all manner of earthly death and destruction.

The very fact that all major faith systems have some version of a messiah or an end of the world story suggests that the fear of this event is deeply imbedded in human psychology and no doubt is related to the fact that we all die at some point. Conveniently, most religions have their version of what will occur when that happens and usually have a destination such as heaven or paradise for those who have lived moral lives and hell for those who have not. A Hindu gets to come back, but must dodge doing so as a cockroach.

The most famous prediction is the Mayan one that predicts December 21, 2012 as the end of the world. Technically, the calendar began on August 13, 3114 BC and the cycle it asserted ends in December 2012. Its longevity is testament the fascination that the Mayan calendar has evoked. Need it be said that Mayan civilization is no more, so in that sense it was accurate, but off by several thousand years.

In its most basic terms, the end of the world ends for every one of us when we die. Human vanity, being what it is, most of us can barely conceive of the world without our being in it. Some religions preach that we should embrace death and an afterlife while others, more pragmatic, suggest we make the best of the one we have in the here and now.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the course of his soliloquy about suicide refers to “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” while Macbeth laments, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time” concluding it is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, said we should “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

We are besieged by scientists who keep telling us that a stray asteroid could destroy the Earth by randomly colliding with it out of the great vastness of space. Others content themselves with calculating when the Sun will go supernova billions of years hence. Then there are the known extinctions that coincided with magnetic reversals.

In the1970s the United Nations climate clowns cooked up a huge hoax about global warming which has gone awry thanks to another completely predictable and natural cooling cycle that began in the late 1990s. That has not prevented the UN from trying to assert complete control over the world’s nations and their populations by scaring them into believing yet another end-of-the-world scenario.

For the record, a predictable new Ice Age is on its way, due to begin any day now since the last one ended about 11,500 years ago. When it does arrive, its affect will be swift and play havoc with the northern hemisphere. Meanwhile, winter around the world is becoming harsher in duration and effect.

Lawrence E. Joseph undertook “a scientific investigation into civilization’s end” in “Apocalypse 2012” published by Morgan Road Books in 2007, concluding that the Mayan calendar is a poor guide to the end of the world. “I think doomsday has a profound if unspeakable allure for those who are unhappy with themselves, their society, their Maker. It’s a form of vicarious revenge that anyone can take on life’s unfairness.”

“At any given point in history,” Joseph wrote, “there has always been a chorus of eccentrics predicting the end of the world. If only so much of the information about 2012 did not violate one’s sense of intellectual decorum: prophecies from Mayan shamans, interstellar theories of obscure Siberian geophysics, ruminations of South African psychics, and decrees of kabbalist rabbis.”

“Indeed, no single source, no matter how persuasive, could or should move one to seriously ponder the imponderable of the world tumultuously metamorphosing in 2012.”

With luck, if we are not struck dead by lightning or a sixteen-wheeler whose driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, the victim of an Iranian nuclear bomb, plus a multitude of other ways to shuffle off this mortal coil, we shall be around on December 21, 2012.

Nobody gets out of this world alive.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Muammar, Dead at Last

By Alan Caruba

There were at last count at least 643 ways to spell Muammar Gaddafi and I for one am very happy he is dead for that reason alone. The fact that he was the dictator of Libya for over forty years, funded the Lockerbie bombing of a Pan Am airliner and other terrorist acts also contributes to the good news.

These are proving to be bad times for dictators and it is easy to suggest that Basher Assad, a second generation dictator of Syria, will likely come to an equally bad end. So far this year the former dictator of Tunisia had to flee. Egypt’s Mubarack had to step aside, and both Syria's and Yemen’s presidents are under seige. Nobody knows who’s in charge of Somalia.

As I watched President Obama take a victory lap when he announced Gaddafi’s death, my thoughts turned to what Ted Belman, a widely-read blogger called the Israpundit, had to say. “Gaddafi wasn’t any worse than the barbarians that killed him and will replace him. There are no freedom-loving democrats in the entire Muslim world which consists of seventh century-minded brutes.”

The Israelis have had the misfortune of having had to fight off Muslims not only for the past sixty-plus years of statehood, but in the decades leading up to it. Unlike those of us in the West, they understand them in terms of the insane, fanatical hatred they have for Jews, Christians, and all other “infidels”, unbelievers.

“The way the jihadist-enabling mainstream media is reporting the death of Gaddafi,” observed Belman, “you would think that Libya will become some sort of western-style democracy rather than a sharia-ruled hell-hole that will become the latest haven for al Qaeda. So why are the same people who condemned Bush’s overthrow of Saddam Hussein celebrating this?”

Good question.

Simply put, Muslims—particularly those in the Middle East—see the world in a way that is totally the reverse of how Westerners do. Ours is a pluralistic society. Theirs is a tribal society. We practice tolerance for other religions. They not only seek to drive out unbelievers, they regard apostasy as a death sentence for anyone who wants to leave Islam. Many have.

As Raymond Ibrahim, an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, noted in a recent book review, “Last week Saudi Arabia’s religious police arrested an Indonesian housemaid for casting a magic spell on a local family and turning its life upside down. The maid ‘confessed’ to using sorcery and commission experts took the magic items to their office and managed to dismantle and stop the spell.” In the West we celebrate Halloween once a year. In the Middle East, it’s every day.

The book by Robert Reilly, “The Closing of the Muslim Mind”, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, makes clear that such beliefs are common; magic spells, jins and genies. Reilly wrote of the different schools of Islam, showing how, by the 10th century, three hundred years after the death of Muhammad, the fatalistic schools had triumphed. The giants of Muslim philosphy, Ghazali and Ashari, “concluded that knowledge was unknowable, that moral truths can only be ascertained through revelation.”

This explains why so much of what occurs in the Middle East seems to defy logic to the Western mind. As Reilly noted about Islam, “All acts are in themselves morally neutral” and “Allah does not command certain behavior because it is good; it is good behavior because he commands it. Likewise, he does not forbid murder because it is bad; it is bad because he forbids it.”

The Ten Commandments forbid murder, adultery, and other acts because the acts themselves are bad, not simply because God instructed Moses that they were. The logic of good and evil is embedded in Judaism and its offshoot, Christianity. In Islam, any act can be justified if one can find a surah in the Koran and there is always one that will. Indeed, the Koran commands Muslims to kill for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to extend Islam and to punish “insults” to it..

Any negative reference to Muhammad is enough to cause riotiing in the streets and acts of retribution. It is very intimidating and the West is easily intimidated, unless, of course, you fly jet airliners into our skyscrapers and the Pentagon. Then, however, within a few years they begin to debate the probity of building a mosque within a block or two of where the Twin Towers once stood.

While the Western world is defined by the spirit of inquiry, Islam is indifferent to it. Reilly notes that, for Muslims, “the only thing worth knowing is whether a specific action is, according to Sharia: obligatory, recommended, permitted, discouraged, or forbidden. The rest is irrelevant.”

This suggests that the last ten years since 9/11 (and all that preceeded it) have had a brief saluatory effect on Middle Eastern and North African Muslims only because they know with some certainty that we shall kill them if we must.

When Arabs took hostages and demanded ransom during the administration of Thomas Jefferson he called on Congress to authorize a Marine Corps and warships. The first Barbary War (1801-5) was also known as the Tripolitan War, as in Tripoli, Libya; the same Libya that just rid itself of the most recent dictator after a long succession of comparable dictators stretching back forever.

At some point an American President is going to have to authorize a major, preemptive attack on Iran, a Shiite nation whose lunatic ayatollahs see themselves as preparing the way for the return of the Twelfth Imam, a mythical figure who lives at the bottom of a well. They will use nuclear weapons, i.e., weapons of mass destruction, to achieve this unless we stop them first.

As the Israelis keep telling us, these people are nuts.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wheat, Bread, Noodles and Global Competition

By Alan Caruba

My late Mother used to bake her own breads, along with cookies, cakes, and pies. I miss the taste of freshly baked bread and I miss the aroma that floated from the kitchen to the rest of the house. The author of several cookbooks, she knew a lot about the history of foods. Much of history was shaped by the development of agriculture, the growing of grains.

In the Middle East, it wasn’t called the Fertile Crescent for nothing. In Rome there were public ovens. The bakers of ancient Greece had a worldwide reputation. Much later when French peasants could not get bread, it sparked a revolution. “Let them eat cake” cost Marie Antoinette her head!

Great famines have marked history as well. There is a reason why bread is called the staff of life and there is a reason to keep an eye on today’s worldwide market for wheat. It reflects the competition between nations for the sale of this vital commodity.

Casting an eye over the world, one learns that Syria, in the midst of the riots to overthrow the Assad dictatorship, the more mundane business of the country goes on including the announcement that it plans to sell 50,000 tons of durum in extra stock bought from farmers last year.

Wheat Life, a publication of the Washington Growers of Wheat Association, monitors the global wheat market for its readers. Suffice to say that wheat is a major export for the U.S., generating billions in revenue every year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. wheat exports will reach 31.3 million metric tons (mmt) in 2011 and 2012.

Farmers, as always, are dependent on the weather and other factors over which they have no control. In the U.S. the environmental movement has often been responsible for shutting off their access to water to “save” some reptile or other species. The EPA is trying to define “dust”, a by-product of farming, as a “pollutant.” This kind of regulation has a serious impact on the availability of all manner of foods at your local supermarket, in restaurants, and bakeries.

Since the growth of all vegetation, including wheat, is dependent on an abundance of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the demand by global warming hucksters that emissions of this vital gas be reduced is idiotic, either domestically or worldwide.

But I digress. The fact that the world is now home to seven billion hungry humans will put a lot of pressure on farmers to produce more wheat, rice and other grains.

In 2007 India banned the export of wheat, but “large crops and inefficient storage centers means large quantities of India’s crop is spoiled every year.” India’s politicians are under a lot of pressure to ensure that the price of wheat remains within reach of its millions of poor people. Recently, however, India announced that it would allow private companies to export two million metric tons from its 86 mmt annual yield. That would make India the world’s second largest wheat producer after China.

China, however, is paying a price for the expansion of its wheat production. The Chinese Academy of Sciences says that the overuse of chemical fertilizers for the past thirty years is causing the deterioration of arable soil. When you have more than a billion people to feed, it poses a problem that could translate into political unrest, so the Chinese leadership pays a lot of attention to such things.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Russia’s export of wheat is expected to quadruple from last year to 16 mmt. In 2010, a hot summer that resulted in poor production led to a ban on wheat exports. The demand for Russian wheat has “outstripped the ability of the ports to handle it.” Former Soviet satellite nations such as Bulgaria and the Ukraine have had a banner year for wheat production.

This in turn has knocked Pakistan’s wheat producers out of the competitive marketplace despite the fact that it is the Middle East’s third largest wheat producer. Its expected exports of 3 mmt have been reduced to 1.8 mmt. Along with all its other problems, the excess wheat is likely to be dumped on the domestic market, driving prices downward.

From nation to nation, wheat, whether in abundance or the lack thereof, affects their internal affairs in ways that only rarely make headlines, but it remains as valuable as oil and other commodities that shape policies.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Value of a Single Israeli Soldier

By Alan Caruba

The Talmud, a record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, says “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed the entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved the entire world.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)

Every Israeli soldier knows that, if captured, his nation will move mountains to secure his return. It’s not just a slogan. It’s a reality.

Since 1982 Israel has engaged in eight such swaps, the latest being the release of Gilad Shalit, kidnapped five years ago and denied the most basic rights as defined by international law. Hamas even refused to permit visits by representatives of the Red Cross.

Since 1982, more than 10,000 Palestinians serving prison sentences for terrorist and other hostile actions have been released. In 1983, more than 4,500 Palestinians prisoners were swapped for six Israeli soldiers being held in southern Lebanon. In 1985, 1,150 prisoners were exchanged for three Israelis.

The value that Israeli places on its soldiers includes even casualties of war. In 2008, it released Samir Kuntar, convicted of murdering four Israelis in 1979, plus four Hezbollah fighters in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers seized during a cross-border raid.

The swap for Shalit, also the victim of a cross-border raid, demonstrates a fundamental difference between the Israelis and their enemies. They believe that each of their soldiers is more valuable than those who war against them.

Naturally, the most recent swap evoked a wide range of views. Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum welcomed Shalit’s reunion with his family as did thousands of Israelis, but said that “joy is tempered by the bitter realities of statecraft” calling the Israeli policy “the sentimentalization of strategy.” He thought the swap “poison(ed) the future” for Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu disagreed. “As a leader who sends IDF soldiers every day to defend Israeli citizens, I believe that mutual responsibility is not just a slogan, but one of the foundations of our existence here.”

Netanyahu knows that Arabs have been kidnapping and ransoming people for the whole of Islam’s 1400 years and that it was standard practice among the desert tribes where the religion first took root. Islam is based on the promise of paradise for its adherents when they die; particularly its jihadist warriors.

Hamas and Fatah indoctrinate Palestinian children to want to be suicide bombers, but Judaism is based on the premise that life is God’s greatest gift and is to be valued above all else. Former Prime Minister, Golda Meir, said, “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Bill Levinson, writing about the swap, had perhaps the best interpretation of what occurred. He referred to the famous Chinese tract, Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, suggesting that “Hamas might have played squarely into the hands of the Mossad and/or Shin Bet”, Israel’s highly effective and feared intelligence agencies.

“Israel might have just planted 50, 100, or even more double agents among the Palestinians who will cooperate, for example, in setting up Hamas terrorists to be killed or locating Palestinian rocket batteries for destruction whenever Israel considers this necessary.”

Sun Tzu wrote, “The enemy’s spies who have come to spy upon us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become converted spies and available for our service.”

Had the Israelis merely released one or a few prisoners their return would evoke suspicion, but with more than a thousand such prisoners it will prove impossible for Hamas to know which among them are double agents.

No people survive more than three thousand years against the greatest of odds and a multitude of enemies without learning a few lessons along the way. Hamas will pay the price in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kiss the European Union Goodbye

By Alan Caruba

In Paris on October 15th, a group of finance ministers and central bankers known as the G20, representing major nations, gave the European Union until October 23red to find an answer to the financial crisises that are tearing apart the EU and its monetary structure.

Don’t hold your breath. If not now, at least in the foreseeable future, the EU will collapse for the oldest reason, national sovereignty and national self-interest.

If you visit Wikipedia and enter “European Wars”, it will kick out a list that’s several pages long in small print starting with the Trojan Wars, 1193-1184 BC. The Romans conquered everyone for a while. The Spanish tried to invade England. For a while Napoleon was invading everyone. There were the hundred year wars, thirty year wars, and wars for the hell of it. Suffice to say the Europeans have a long record of going to war with one another.

World War One impoverished its participants and led to World War Two. After the devastation of World War Two and with the threat of the Soviet Union to the East, European leaders concluded that the only option to avoid future wars or being overrun by the Russian bear was to form a kind of United States of Europe.

In a newly published book, “The End of the Euro”, subtitled “The uneasy future of the European Union”, Dr. Johan Van Overtveldt, the editor-in-chief of Trends, Belgium’s leading weekly on business and economics, takes us through the history of the European Union and the creation of a common currency, the euro.

For people like me who thank a merciful God that Internet banking makes it possible to actually know my checking account balance, Overtveldt’s book is both a blessing and a challenge because it deals with some very complex issues of finance. He also provides some very useful history with which to understand the past and predict the future.

My knowledge of history was sufficient to have huge doubts about the formation of the European Union and it looks like I am about to be borne out in my pessimism. “While efforts at European integration have without question contributed to peace on the continent,” Overtveldt points out, “at least three other factors are also at play.”

“First, broader international cooperation and consultation” have been the order of the day since the end of World War Two. “Second, the presence of American troops throughout Europe, and certainly in Germany, helped maintain the military status quo. Third, the sense during the Cold War of “a common, non-democratic enemy increased cooperation and cohesion among Western European nations.”

Then Overtveldt identifies the central weakness of the European Union. “History teaches us that, in particular, the lack of real political union is a major barrier to the durability of a monetary union and its single currency.”

The problem of the EU and the euro “is the loss of an independent monetary policy” because what works for Germany does not necessarily work for France, Spain, Italy, and the other EU members.

This has become abundantly evident as Greece totters on default of its debts and the contagion of a sovereign debt crisis threatens to spread. Simply said, the Germans are not inclined to want to “bail out” the Greeks because the Germans have a wide conservative streak when it comes to the conduct of their financial affairs while the Greeks were inclined to fudge the books and run up a huge debt.

In addition to Greece, Portugal and Ireland are likely to find that they have no choice except to leave the EU and Spain, Italy, and Belgium have their problems, too. For that matter, add France to the list.

The U.S. financial crisis no doubt sped up the process, but our government bailed out the banks for the simple reason there never was a choice not to. One or two big investment banks were allowed to fail, others were forcibly merged, but a nation without a functioning banking system is nothing but lines on a map.

In a recent column by Patrick J. Buchanan, titled “Is the New World Order unraveling?” he notes the rise of “economic nationalism” in Europe as well as warning against the foolish American trend of signing away our sovereign rights by joining globalist organizations from the United Nations to the World Trade Organization, along with a slew of treaties and agreements.

The export of whole U.S. industries has been one result “while emerging powers like China, India, and Brazil are demanding to be exempt from restrictions developed countries seek to impose.” The world is a nasty place in which to live. The Moon and other planets, however, are less habitable and do not have cable TV.

As Americans vainly look to their Congress to redress its own authorization of the spending excesses of present and past administrations, the rest of the world, protected by our military strength and moral values, has decided it no longer has to pay us the attention it did in former times.

So we shall surely witness the end of the euro and the European Union as that continent returns to its normal levels of national self-interest that one might argue are not a bad thing in a competitive world. So long, of course, as those nations do not decide to declare war on one another.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Obama's First Thousand Days

By Alan Caruba

After the brief period of intoxication with candidate Obama’s rhetorical skills, the promise of “hope and change” became the business of governing a nation still reeling from a major financial crisis and issues of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the euphoria subsided, reality in the form of growing numbers of unemployed, the homes that continued to be foreclosed, and the growing realization that Obama’s attitudes toward America and his view of the world were antithetical to our well-being and completely out of touch with what was actually occurring.

John F. Kennedy’s first thousand days in office included continuing and expanding the nation’s space program. Obama has, in effect, shut it down. The Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba was sobering and the expansion of U.S. participation in Vietnam’s civil war became a national tragedy, but Kennedy’s assassination, his martyrdom, as well as the myth of Camelot that included his beautiful wife, Jackie, lives on.

By contrast, Obama’s first thousand days, a marker in time he recently passed, has been one long series of astonishingly bad judgments that have his polling numbers heading south. There is a widespread and persistent view that he has taken America in the wrong direction.

As the 2012 campaign begins to gain momentum it is worth taking a moment to briefly review the record.

He has overseen the tripling if the national debt. It stretches to the Moon and back. For the first time in the nation's history its Triple-A credit rating has been reduced.

Billions spent as a “stimulus” to the economy have done little more than waste taxpayer’s money. It was and is a political slush fund, not much different from similar programs during the New Deal era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is distinguished by its emphasis on “green jobs” that are best symbolized by the Solyndra scandal; jobs created that are each measured in millions “invested.”

Obama’s focus from the beginning, however, was the imposition of universal health care in the form of a 2,000 page piece of legislation dubbed “Obamacare” which has already been repealed by the House and will be the subject of a Supreme Court case to determine its constitutionality or lack of it. Americans hate it.

All administrations have their scandals and Obama’s is no exemption. Still festering is the ATF program, “Fast and Furious”, that actually facilitated the sale and transfer of guns to the drug cartels operating out of Mexico. The Attorney General appears to have been caught in a lie regarding his knowledge of it. It cost the life of at least one Border Patrol officer and who knows how many victims of the cartels.

In addition to the many “czars” Obama appointed to oversee public policy---many of whom not vetted by Congress---his cabinet appointees have proven to be ideologues more interested in advancing the global warming hoax and restrictions on America’s access to its vast energy reserves than facilitating a greater degree of energy independence and job creation.

The Environmental Protection Agency has literally gone rogue, requiring Congress to constantly pass legislation to restrain it from further damage to the economy.

Obama’s greatest contribution to life in America has been to make Americans so jaded that they no longer even ask if he was or is eligible to be President. He has boldly hidden virtually all of the paper trail of his life from public examination and the “birth certificates” he has offered have been, according to experts, forgeries.

Throughout his first thousand days, he has expressed contempt and disdain for almost every aspect of American society; its “millionaires and billionaires”, for the “corporate jets” used to facilitate travel in the pursuit of business expansion, for Wall Street "fat cats", for the entire medical profession who he suspects of recommending expensive treatments to patients when a cough drop will do. But oh how he loves those unionized teachers!

More recently his support of thuggish union behavior has been on display along with support of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters that mock American values in favor of vague demands for “social justice.”

In pursuit of a second term, he is using class warfare and the race card. He is claiming falsely that Republicans have never offered him a jobs program when it is perfectly obvious they have.

He has gone from having a Democrat-controlled Congress from 2009-to-2010 that had to be bribed and threatened to pass his Obamacare law to the loss of the House of Representatives, largely due to the spontaneous rise of the Tea Party movement. His latest “jobs” legislation, introduced in an unprecedented joint session of Congress, was unable to secure even the support of Democrats.

There is a word to describe his first thousand days. It is “failure.” As this is being written, he has some 460 days left of what is surely his first and last term in office.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Middle East Goes South

By Alan Caruba

They’re rioting in Yemen and have been for eight months, trying to get rid of their president who, it appears, cannot take a hint. It shares a border with Saudi Arabia.

They’re rioting in Syria. Its president says he is going to have a new constitution drafted, presumably to meet the demands of the crowds in the street, but in the meantime his forces will just shoot as many of them as possible.

The troubles in Syria have caused Turkey to park a large number of its troops on its border and Jordan has done the same. Turkey already has lots of Syrian refugees who wisely fled when they could. Turkey, once one of the more rational nations in the region and an ally of the U.S., has been tilting toward Islamism in recent years and that has got to be bad news for everything, but especially Israel.

They’re rioting again in Egypt. Having gotten president Mubarack removed, the problem now seems to be the military that—surprise—have no intention of giving up power. They have also made it clear that any peace treaties with Israel are kaput; the first thing to go, a demilitarized Sinai between them and Israel.

In Tunisia they are preparing for an election after having rid themselves of a long time dictator. And that may be the only good news from the region.

There are attacks on government buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan, but that’s a headline going back decades. The Taliban are the problem, but particularly since they come in over the border from Pakistan.

Pakistan was, is, and will always be a tinderbox and basket-case. Formerly home to the late Osama bin Laden, only the military represent any hope of stability and, if that means shooting a bunch of Taliban every so often, they will do so.

The occasional bombs go off in Baghdad, Iraq, but since President Obama is pulling out all by a relative handful of troops, what could possibly go wrong there, eh? Hint: It shares a long border with Iran.

Oh, did I mention that there is still fierce fighting in Libya and no one knows where Col. Gadhafi is, but a provisional government is going to see if it can keep the northern and southern parts of the nation, highly tribal, together.

There is a reason that the people of these nations have a difficult time getting their arms around democracy and that’s because Islam has a stranglehold on their brains. That’s why the formal name of these nations is usually “the Islamic Republic of” wherever.

The worst of these alleged republics is, of course, Iran. It had a spate of riots in 2009, but Iran is the poster child for a complete dictatorship and, after killing and jailing anyone who even looked like they were protesting something, quiet has returned to the street of Tehran. This has permitted their military to plan operations like assassinating the Saudi ambassador to America in America.

The Supreme Leader of Iran and the lunatics who surround him hate the Great Satan (us) and the Little Satan (Israel) with such passion that, at some point, they will have to be killed to avoid World War Three. Most Iranians love the U.S. and will be greatly relieved if we free them from their bondage.

In Israel, in order to secure the return of a single Israeli soldier, kidnapped five years ago by Hamas, the government has decided to swap a couple of hundred murderers of Israeli citizens that have been in their jails. It’s symbolic, but it is also very, very dangerous. The Israelis value the life of every one of their soldiers. Hamas values no one’s life including Palestinians. They hide behind women and children whenever the Israelis show up to dispense some justice. Then they go back to firing rockets into Israel.

Now, as the rest of us go about our lives, trying to get our heads around why a bunch of spoiled brats and leftover Sixties potheads are protesting against Wall Street in New York and elsewhere, a sizeable portion of the planet, the Middle East, is in a life-and-death turmoil that is, I suggest, going to get a lot worse.

None of this, coming as it does in disparate reports from places many find hard to find on a map, bodes well for the second decade of the 21st century or possibly also the next one.

The so-called “Arab Spring” is rapidly turning into yet another Arab nightmare (and, yes, the Iranians are Persians, but they are doing what they can to influence events to their advantage.)

Complicating the immediate future is the question of whether the European Union will come apart over monetary issues. As for the U.S., we have to get to the 2012 elections and put right the worst mistake this nation has ever made by ridding ourselves of Barack Hussein Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Passing One Million Visits to "Warning Signs"

In late 2007 I began my blog, “Warning Signs”, as a place for what had become daily commentaries. Sometime on October 15th it passed one million individual page views.

Every professional writer dreams of reaching millions of people with his work. It is part vanity and part pride in one’s endeavors. I am a bit of a polymath, someone who is interested in many things and whose studies range across history, science, economics, demography, energy, education, religion, and of course current events…to name a few.

Crossing beyond a million total individual page views means, of course, that quite a few of those views represent people who visit daily or weekly to read the commentaries, so it is likely not a million people who have visited the blog, but a significantly large number of regulars. Still, the fact that they come back is a great compliment.

My commentaries are disseminated to a variety of news and opinion websites beyond the blog, so they do reach a very large audience. I hear from people as far away as Australia and Russia, with all points in between where English is the lingua franca.

So! A million thank you’s to all who have visited and my hope that you continue to visit. And tell friends, family, and co-workers to visit as well. The world is a very big and complex place. There's a lot to know about it.

Immigration, Migration, Politics and Policies

By Alan Caruba

When early humans got the hang of walking upright, the first thing many did was to walk out of Africa and, eventually, to all parts of the Earth from Asia to Europe, to North and South America, proliferating into different races.

Always restless to see what was over the horizon, they populated continents. There will shortly be seven billion of us on planet Earth, an extraordinary number and one with considerable consequences regarding issues of food, water, housing, transportation, trade, and energy.

In terms of our DNA, we are all one big family, closely and uncomfortably related to chimpanzees. A look back at the past five thousand years we call civilization reveals that, in addition to developing agriculture, building cities, and establishing trade, we have never stopped engaging in wars great and small.

In good times we reproduced like rabbits. In bad times, we gathered around the fire and hoped the food would hold out. Many packed up and went someplace else, anywhere else.

America is not called a nation of immigrants for nothing. Aside from the native tribes that were here for centuries, it was waves of immigration, first from Europe and then from everywhere else, that created the most unique citizen on planet Earth, the American. The lure was a fairly scarce commodity in the world, freedom and opportunity.

Anyone who takes an interest in demography, the study of the changes in age, birth and death rates, and racial identity, knows that the pressures of population and events cause people to move from nation to nation or, in our case, state to state. To an extraordinary degree migration has shaped history.

The United States is home to approximately 311 million people, natural born and immigrants, legal and illegal. In 2012, issues surrounding illegal immigration will be a factor in selecting candidates. The decision by Texas Governor Rick Perry to become a Republican candidate for President has required him to explain his state’s policies, but in truth many states are wrestling with growing illegal immigrant populations.

Data released by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are extremely useful in understanding what is occurring now and how it will affect the future of America. It is culled from Census Bureau data.

Knowing how many people reside in the nation is incorporated in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2. “(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.” The composition of the House of Representatives depends on such information.

The CIS reports that “the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached 40 million in 2010, the highest number in American history. Nearly 14 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country from 2000 to 2010, making it the highest decade of immigration in American history.”

“The nation’s immigrant population has doubled since 1990, nearly tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970 when it stood at 9.7 million.”

The following states saw significant increases between 2000 and 2010: Alabama (92%), South Carolina (88%), Tennessee (82%), Arkansas (79%), Kentucky (75%), North Carolina (67%), South Dakota (65%), Georgia (63%), Indiana (61%), Nevada (61%), Delaware (60%), Virginia (60%), and Oklahoma (57%).

States with the largest numerical increase over the last decade were California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Overall, the immigrant population grew by 28% between 2000 and 2010.

The U.S. is going to add “roughly 30 million new residents each decade for the foreseeable future.” Americans in recent times have been struggling with immigration policy in earnest since the 1980s, debating amnesty for those here illegally, struggling to deal with the impact of more children in our schools, the need for more housing, more congestion on our highways, crime, and more competition for jobs.

The CIS estimates that every ten years America will need to build and pay for 8,000 new schools. It will need to develop land to accommodate 11.5 million new housing units and construct enough roads to handle 23.6 million more vehicles.

By mid-century, racial and ethnic minorities will become the majority population in America. More minority babies are being born, outnumbering the white population which is aging. A look back tells us that, in the past, it was the Italians, the Irish, the Russians, the Germans, and others who were the “minority” populations.

Immigration and in particular illegal immigration will force Americans to focus on these changes. As governor of a major border state, Perry is correct when he says “the federal government has failed in its basic duty to protect our borders. States are forced to deal with illegal immigration issues.”

In 2010 Latinos accounted for 65% of Texas’s population growth over the past decade. They are excellent citizens, no less than previous immigrants who came here. There’s a bit of irony insofar as Texas used to belong to Mexico, but so did California and much of the Southwest. .

Predictably, some politicians will demagogue these changes, but the nation must address them in a sensible way recognizing that while we need to stem the illegal flow across our southern border, there is a wealth of brains and talent eager to legally immigrate to the United States from around the world and studies demonstrate they bring innovation and job creation with them when invited to share the American dream.

And then there is the reality of those who are already here. We cannot wish away millions of illegal immigrants. We cannot wish away their children. For now, the states affected are seeking their own solutions in lieu of the failure of a federal government that has not addressed border security in a serious way.

The issues surrounding immigration are as old as the nation and the world. People, as always, are on the move and a lot of them want to live in America.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Too Many Debates?

By Alan Caruba

I had an undemocratic thought recently. Is it possible to have too many political debates? Maybe it’s my age or just impatience with these sound bite marathons, but I think it is impossible for any candidate to sensibly reduce his or her political philosophy into a thirty-second response to a question or a minute’s reply to a follow-up. In fact, I think it is idiotic.

There’s much more to be said for the individual interviews accorded the candidates on various news shows. The extended format, even if it is merely five or ten minutes, provides a candidate the opportunity to more reasonably explain themselves and, at the same time, more time for the viewer to get a sense of their personality, their demeanor when challenged, and to determine if they are making any sense.

Understanding this, Herman Cain came up with a clever “9-9-9” gimmick to offer as an economic plan. It is entirely likely that a lot of people have not even visited his website to find out what it is or even understand it after it has been explained in the debate format.

I like Cain, but I mostly just heard the word “taxes” and had to check further to discover he wants to level them out and add a national sales tax. I live in New Jersey that has more taxes of every description known to man and God than any other state. I don’t want another one.

What I really want to hear from any candidate is a vow to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy, along with the Environmental Protection Agency for starters.

Even President Reagan said he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, but that did not occur.

Now I hear you say, but Alan the last debate on Bloomberg television lasted two hours. And, yes, there was a lot of lively discussion, mostly supplied by Newt Gingrich who has more good ideas in two minutes than are heard from all the others. By contrast, Ron Paul has more nutty notions to fill the void. Neither has any chance of securing the nomination and both knew that going in.

Then there’s Jon Huntsman who nobody had ever heard of and Rick Santorum and Gary Johnson, none of whom has a realistic chance of securing the nomination. Rick Perry has performed so poorly in the debates as to eliminate himself from serious contention. Add to them, Michele Bachmann whose star flashed brightly in an Iowa straw vote and burned out within days. Tim Pawlenty is already long gone.

So, yes, debates are a good thing.

As of November 6th, we shall be a year from the next election and what we are witnessing is an insane scramble among various primary states to be the first in line. If it keeps up, we shall be see the first primary set for just before Halloween.

Debates have been a staple of the election process and in earlier times before there was radio or television they provided entertainment and education for Americans who have always loved the blood sport of politics. The Lincoln-Douglas debates are etched into the nation’s history, but I can barely recall what Obama had to say when he campaigned against Hillary for the nomination. For that matter, it doesn’t matter because he was lying then and about everything ever since.

There is a law of diminishing returns on the value of debates and I doubt that too many people will be tuning in to hear those yet scheduled.

The irony of the debates is best seen in the autopsies performed on them by the various news personalities and political pundits who participate by asking questions or who are enlisted to comment on them. The fact that they may likely have their own biases is rarely calculated, but they all seem to agree at this point that Mitt Romney has the Republican nomination sown up so that voters can just skip the remaining debates.

Despite my opinion regarding the number and manner in which the debates are conducted, the fact remains that they are very useful for those who are actually likely to show up and vote. If a lot of Democrats stay home on Election Day, it will simply confirm that even they have concluded that Obama is a dunce. I have no doubt that Republicans will turn out in record numbers.

The debates between the Democratic nominee, Barack Hussein Obama, and whoever the Republican nominee may be are going to be the ones to watch. Obama will no doubt bring a long list of people and events to be blamed for his failures. The Republican will only need to show up.

© Alan Caruba, 2011