Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Israel v. Iran: A War of Words

By Alan Caruba

The debate over when or if Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities has been raging of late and I am beginning to suspect that much of what passes for news represents a charade being orchestrated between Israel and the United States to ratchet up pressure on Iran’s leaders.

President Obama will address the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday and no doubt his speech will be closely parsed for any indication of an official U.S. position regarding Iran’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. The address by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will likewise be analyzed. Suffice to say, both oppose a nuclear Iran.

One fact stands out. U.S. efforts, in concert with other Western nations and aided by some Middle Eastern nations, have put tremendous pressure on Iran’s ability to sell its oil and to collect the revenues. It is having some success.

Another fact that is often overlooked is that Iran has avoided war since its conflict with Iraq from September 1980 to August 1988. It was costly in lives and treasure for Iran and ended in a stalemate. Later Saddam Hussein would attack Kuwait an act that played a role in the decision to put together a coalition to drive the Iraqis out and to later invade Iraq and depose Saddam.

Iran has preferred to use proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza to pursue its attacks on Israel. It supports terrorist activity. Its alliance with Syria is going to be affected by the outcome of the internal attacks on the Assad dictatorship. The bulk of the Middle Eastern nations are united in their condemnation of the Syrian leader. Except for pro-forma support from Russia and China in the United Nations, Iran is increasingly isolated.

As Prof. Barry Rubin recently wrote in The Jerusalem Post, credible observers and analysts of the Middle East believe that Iran wants nuclear weapons because “Iran’s main goal, like that of Pakistan, is to make itself immune to any reprisals for terrorism and subversion by having nuclear weapons.” Prof. Rubin asserted that “In part, the rationale for the nuclear program is outdated, though that certainly won’t stop Tehran from pursuing it.” Prof. Rubin is an Israeli scholar, a research director, and a member of the editorial board of the Middle East Quarterly.

Prof. Rubin noted that, “After 32 years in power the Islamist regime in Tehran has yet to do something really adventurous abroad.”

Then there is the belief by military experts that Israel may, in fact, lack the capability to effectively neutralize Iran’s nuclear program. Richard Russell, a professor at the U.S. National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., has said that “The Israelis actually have limited means of attacking Iran’s nuclear program. This is a very, very difficult problem for the Israelis, and it’s getting more and more acute.”

While acknowledging that Israel’s air force is “capable of launching an attack on Iran and causing damage”, Yifah Shaper, director of the Military Balance Program at Tel Aviv’s University for National Security Studies, has said that “It is far from capable of disabling the Iran nuclear program. That would take at least a month of sustained bombing, That’s not something Israel can carry out alone.”

Retired U.S. Air Force General, Charles ‘Chuck’ Wald, calculates that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would require in excess of one thousand sorties. None of this is lost on the Israelis.

While Israel has previously destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq in 1981 and again in Syria in 2007, the logistics of disabling Iran’s extensive nuclear facilities would be daunting. Israel would simultaneously have to invade southern Lebanon to deter Hezbollah’s use of thousands of missiles there.

While I have previously expressed the view that Israel would, if it lacked any other option, attack Iran, a closer examination of the many factors involved in such an operation suggests that it would only occur if there was credible evidence that Iran was preparing to launch nuclear-armed missiles. Current intelligence analysis suggests that Iran is still far from manufacturing the nuclear warheads for its missiles.

The question remains whether the ayatollahs running Iran would risk any attack by Israel and while, in general, that option exists, the economic weakening of Iran by current sanctions, they would likely exacerbate Iran’s leadership facing problem a restive, unhappy population that wants them out of power. An attack might serve to unite Iranians..

Finally, Iran’s military is far from capable of dealing with an Israeli air attack that might conceivably trigger support by the U.S. and allied nations. None of the Gulf nations has any love for Iran. There are lots of U.S. military assets in the region.

As the rhetoric heats up, Iran has been making a show of its military strength holding military exercises and by sending elements of its limited naval capability through the Suez canal and meaningless trips in the Mediterranean. It continues to threaten to close the Strait of Harmuz. Its Air Force is nothing to write home about either. It is composed of aged U.S.aircraft and Russian aircraft.

While a war of words will continue between Israel, the United States, and Iran, a cold calculation argues against an Israeli attack and against U.S. involvement after more than a decade of U.S. conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither nation wants a shooting war with Iran.

The odds, in this observer’s view, are against an Israeli attack despite my earlier concerns that it could or would occur in the near term.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's the Economy, Stupid!

By Alan Caruba

It is interesting to see how intently foreigners are watching the run-up to the 2012 national elections, particularly as regards whether President Obama could be reelected. Hardly a day goes by that I do not receive inquiries from places like South Africa, Israel, or England. Some offer comments on my Facebook page, but the concern is the same, can Obama be defeated?

To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton’s 1992 race, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That will be the deciding factor as Democrats , Republicans, and independents go to the polls in November. The news for Obama is bad. Unfortunately, the news for millions of out-of-work Americans it is even worse.

On February 28, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a coalition of business groups were in the D.C. Court of Appeals to argue their challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The fact that there is no correlation between such gases—mainly carbon dioxide—and a non-existent global warming probably won’t even be discussed. A spokesperson for the NFIB said, “For the small business community, the constant churn of costly and carelessly promulgated regulations has become too great a burden to bear.” Guess who all those small business owners will be voting against in November?

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) keeps doing something that is unexpected from most government agencies; it keeps telling the truth. In mid-February it issued a report which said that, after three years of Obamanomics, the nation has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Trust a Democrat President to repeat all the errors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who prolonged the Depression for ten years while he held office.

The “official” unemployment rate has hovered around or exceeded 8 percent and this is expected to continue through 2014. The CBO noted that the level of long-term unemployment—those looking for work for more than six months—is over 40 percent! That is the highest since 1948 when the data was first collected.

Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently noted that “The official unemployment rate is going down, but that’s partly because many long-term unemployed people went into Social Security Disability, citing ailments such as depression. Now they have a monthly government check, they are never, ever going back to work, and they are no longer treated by the government as unemployed.” This is governmental slight-of-hand to lower the rate of unemployment while contributing to it.

Writing in in February, Bader noted that a good part of the unemployment problem in the nation is a severe shortage of skilled factory workers. “In recent years, government officials have depicted white-collar jobs for college graduates as the way to go,” said Bader who noted that, while seeking to increase spending on colleges, the administration has been “slashing spending on more useful vocational education that could lead to work in manufacturing.”

An indication of how poorly the government solution to the need for skilled manufacturing employees has been is the fact that the private sector has stepped up to solve the problem. The National Association of Manufacturers has endorsed a National Manufacturers Skills Certification System to fill the gap. In partnership with community colleges and trade schools, the program offers “a relatively inexpensive path to meeting the human capital demands of U.S. advanced manufacturers.”

It has not gone unnoticed that Obama’s stimulus billions did not produce any “shovel ready” jobs and wasted public funds on a range of “green” industries, many of whom, like Solyndra, have gone belly up. Overall, the “green” industries involving solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars have proven to be sinkholes of money that generate few jobs compared to the rest of the nation’s manufacturing sector.

Finally, after three years of the most anti-energy administration since Jimmy Carter, the rising price of gas is going to have a devastating affect for Democrats and Obama on public perceptions on Election Day.

To those foreign correspondents asking whether Obama will be reelected, I keep saying that the present economy with its slow “recovery” and the high rate of unemployed, combined with the government’s crushing load of irrelevant and odious regulations, is as good an indicator as any regarding the outcome of the November general elections.

If foreigners are as much concerned with U.S. elections as Americans, all the debates, daily silliness of political news coverage, and largely irrelevant social issues suggest that November will represent, like the 2010 elections, a massive voter movement away from “hope and change” to a Republican candidate that offers an alternative economic policy to four more years of the disaster called Barack Hussein Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Abominable Apologies

By Alan Caruba

I will leave it to the historians to pinpoint when President Obama began to lose the 2012 election, but I think it occurred on June 4, 2009 when he gave a speech at Cairo University as part of his now-famed “apology tour” of the Middle East.

At the time he said, “We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world—tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate…More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a cold war in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

Apparently, to Obama, those tensions had nothing to do with a dastardly attack on September 11, 2001 that killed nearly three thousand non-combatant civilians and those working at their desks in the Pentagon. It had nothing to do with the earlier attack on the Twin Towers, the attack on U.S. embassies in Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, or, going back to 1983, the suicide bomb attack on Marine barracks in Beirut. And that’s just the short list.

To Obama the “tensions” were the result of “colonialism” despite the fact that most Arab nations in World War II sided with the Nazi regime or that they have always been ruled by a succession of despots, several of whom were deposed in 2011. According to Obama, “the Cold War” with the then-Soviet Union that began shortly after World War II and subsequently aided its downfall was another reason why Muslims hate America.

In Cairo that day, Obama thrice referred to the “holy Koran” while referring to “civilization’s debt to Islam”, saying “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Those “stereotypes” were reinforced in Afghanistan after riots broke out after the perfectly reasonable destruction of Korans that that been damaged, a practice common to Islam. This was followed by rioting in the streets of Kabul, the shooting of an American colonel and major inside the Afghan Ministry of Interior and, as the Feb 27 edition of The Wall Street Journal noted, “Ten of the 58 U.S.-led coalition soldiers who died this year have been killed by their Afghan comrades in arms.”

In June 2009, Obama said, “In Ankara (Turkey), I made clear that America is not—and never will be—at war with Islam.” This clueless president who claimed to be “a student of history” is deliberately ignorant of the fact that Islam, since its inception, has been at war with all other nations and religions. When it swept through the Middle East in its earliest years, it all but destroyed Christianity there and, when it conquered Jerusalem, it built a mosque over one of the most sacred places of Judaism, the Temple Mount.

He promised to “invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistan to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses…that’s why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on.”

In that Cairo speech he said, “I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.” His administration wanted to afford the man who planned 9/11 a civil trial in the heart of Manhattan, replete with all the protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution. He did not close Gitmo and the trial was not held after its prospect evoked widespread protest.

Obama said, “No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other” and, in 2011 the citizens of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen rose up to overthrown their own governments—dictatorships—while the citizens of Syria are doing that today. When Iranians filled the streets of Tehran in 2009 to protest their own dictatorship, he said that the United States “should not meddle” in their affairs, depriving them of even a word of encouragement.

Three years ago, Obama was convinced that America’s reputation had been harmed by its vigorous response to 9/11 in Afghanistan and the decision to depose Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein.

His apology to the government of Afghanistan is an abomination.

The fact is that Islam, particularly in the Middle East, is the enemy of democracy in the West and everywhere else it exists. It is tyranny personified. It is the reason why the Middle East has lagged so far behind the rest of the world. It is the reason why military forces are massed around an Iran that threatens to set off a cataclysm when it acquires nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and NATO forces will leave Afghanistan and it will return to its barbaric, seventh century roots. The U.S. and coalition forces have left Iraq and it will return to its ancient schism and conflict between Sunni and Shiite populations everywhere. We tried to drag these nations into the twenty-first century and we failed, but at least we tried.

We are standing aside while Syria’s dictator slaughters his own people. We will likely see the Jordanian king overthrown and we have witnessed 64 years of unrelenting assaults by the so-called Palestinians on Israel, our only true ally in the Middle East.

This President, however, knows nothing of history and has signaled in many ways his partiality to the “religion of peace” that has attacked America and is filling the streets of Muslim-majority nations with the blood of innocent victims.

He will be rejected by Americans in November 2012 just as he has been rejected by the leaders of most of the free world, the leaders of the Soviet Union and China, virtually all of the members of the United Nations, and all the nations of the Muslim world.

America does not need his apologies. America needs to regain the leadership it has earned by opposing despotism throughout its history.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Iranian Countdown

By Alan Caruba

How many times does Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have to publicly and loudly say that they intend to “wipe Israel off the map” and otherwise annihilate its Jewish population before the world takes seriously the murderous intent of Iran?

How many negotiations between United Nations Atomic Agency personnel and how much deliberate obfuscation and refusal to cooperate will it take before the world admits it is dealing with raving lunatics when it comes to the leaders of Iran?

In late February Ayatollah Khamenei, at meeting with Iran’s nuclear scientists, said “Pressures, sanctions, and assassinations will bear no fruit. No obstacles can stop Iran’s nuclear work.”

The widow of one assassinated nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Rochan Behdast, was quoted in the Iranian Fars News Agency article saying, “Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel.”

In the lead-up to World War Two, numerous meetings with the Nazi leadership (plus a secret agreement with the Soviets to divide Poland) did nothing to stop its annexation of Austria and its invasion of Poland, the trigger for the conflagration.

Let us understand something. All the sanctions in the world will not deter the Iranian ayatollahs from a mission that began in 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini led the Islamic revolution that ousted the Shah and turned Iran into a prison nation. Among their earliest acts was to take U.S. diplomats hostage and hold them for 444 days.

International law and international sanctions mean nothing to the ayatollahs.

To the Iranian leadership—but not to its citizens who went into the streets of Tehran in 2009 to protest Ahmadinjad’s re-election—the whole world revolves around them. Their purpose is to bring back the Twelfth Imam, a mythical Shiite deity, to impose their brand of Islam on the world. Unknown to most is the fact that this can only be accomplished with a worldwide cataclysm of wars and massive death.

To the ever-lasting shame of the great powers, America, England, France, Russia, and China, they are all waiting for tiny Israel to preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and thus remove or at least delay the inevitable. It is a repeat of the 1930s run-up to World War II. They are running scared. They fear a war, but are failing to take the military action to avoid it a twenty-first century apocalypse..

An Israeli news agency DebkaFile report on February 22 was titled “Iran cuts down to six weeks timeline for weapons-grade uranium.” It reported that “Western and Israeli intelligence experts have concluded that the transfer of 20 percent uranium enrichment to the underground Fordo site near Qom has shortened Iran’s race for the 90 percent (weapons) grade product to six weeks.”

“The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said Tuesday night, Feb 21, ‘It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin.’ This is the site where Iran conducts experiments in nuclear explosives and triggers.”

Disappointing?! Despite saying it was ready to resume talks with the great powers this is just one more example out of hundreds over the years in which Iran has purposefully stalled its way to still more time to achieve nuclear weapons.

When they get them, they will use them. The first target is going to be Israel and the next will be the United States of America, the Little Satan and the Great Satan, and time is running out.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, on February 17, released a report on a forthcoming March 3-4 Harvard Kennedy School of Government conference devoted to the dismantling of the state of Israel. A “One State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution.” The last “solution” Jews faced was the Nazi’s “final solution” that became the Holocaust.

President Obama, busy apologizing to and withdrawing from Afghanistan has been famously hostile to Israel, a signal to the ayatollahs who have rejected every effort he has made to open a dialogue. Harvard’s conference sends the same signal.

The Israelis have twice destroyed nuclear reactors under construction, first in Iraq, and later in Syria.

The Jews will save the world because they have to defend themselves. And they will receive only condemnation for it.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lower Than Pond Scum

By Alan Caruba

Between 1955 and 1959 I was a student at the University of Miami. It was perhaps the best four years of my life and remembered fondly for its combination of fun and learning. On Thursday, February 23, President Barack Obama was on the UM campus to tell the biggest bunch of lies about energy in America I have heard compressed into a single speech.

This President has already set records wasting taxpayer’s money on a range of so-called clean energy and renewable energy “investments”. Solyndra, the solar panel company that went bust and stuck taxpayers with a half-billion in loan guarantees is just one of those “investments” and I keep waiting for someone to ask why public funds are being flushed down the toilet when, if the companies involved were viable, they could not raise private venture capital?

“And we’re making investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance known as algae,” said the President. “Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17% of the oil we important for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.”

All politicians put the best face on their pet projects, but to flat-out lie about one of the most idiotic ideas to replace oil when this nation has enough oil, domestically and offshore, known and estimated to exist, defies the imagination. It is an insult to every one of us. And Obama wants to pump $14 million into algae, otherwise known as pond scum.

It is very likely that, like the solar panel and other “clean energy” scandals that we know about and will learn about as time goes along, the average American is unaware that, by 2008, there were fifteen (15) algae startup companies. When I heard Obama talk about algae, I could practically hear the campaign fund-raising bundlers scurrying like rats from company to company.

To those of you not intimately and well informed about algae, it is that organic stuff that gathers in ponds and swamps and, in aggregate, is politely called “plant-like organisms that are usually photosynthetic and aquatic.” It is scum. It has no roots, stems, or leaves. It is scum.

In a marine environment it is called seaweed. Algae have chlorophyll and can manufacture their own food through photosynthesis. Algae, the scientists tell us, produces more oxygen than all the plants in the world in addition to being an important food source for marine creatures as diverse in size as shrimp and whales.

The notion that millions would be “invested” to turn algae into fuel ranks just above the idiocy of converting thousands of acres of corn into ethanol instead of food.

Barack Obama has been lying about so many things for so long I doubt he even knows when he is lying or even cares. It’s not enough to dismiss this saying that all politicians lie because many do not. Some in Congress right now are desperately trying to get the public in general and voters in particular to understand that America has more debt per capita than Greece. We are on the precipice of financial collapse and Barack Obama just wants to spend more and more and more; some of it on pond scum.

During his UM speech, he derided those who have for decades been saying that America has to allow oil companies access to its vast reserves in order to reduce our dependence on imported oil. “We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years,” he said. He’s right. And administrations and Congress have blocked access for just as long. It’s our oil!

He went further, though. “It means that anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about—or isn’t telling you the truth.” That’s rich, coming from someone who lies almost as often as he exhales. Oil is a global commodity. The more that’s available to the market, the lower its cost. Domestic oil always costs consumers less than imported oil!

The truth is that oil production on federal lands declined last year by eleven percent on lands controlled by the Obama administration and six percent for natural gas in 2011.Oil and natural gas production on federal lands is down by more than forty percent (40%) compared to ten years ago. The Obama administration, in 2010, issued the lowest number of onshore leases since 1984. In 2011, it held exactly one offshore lease sale.

On February 24, one day after the Obama speech, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report on the amount of oil estimated to exist in the North Slope of Alaska. “The amount of oil that is technically recoverable in the United States is more than 1.4 trillion barrels, with the largest deposits located offshore, in portions of Alaska, and in shale in the Rocky Mountain West. When combined with resources from Canada and Mexico, total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels.

In a 2008 Wall Street Journal interview, Obama’s Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu, famously said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” Anyone who does not believe this administration has a deliberate policy of achieving this goal is just not paying attention. Remember that the next time you fill your car’s gas tank.

This is the same President who stopped the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada that would provide more oil for our refineries and not cost the American taxpayer one penny to build. This is the same President who imposed a moratorium on oil from the Gulf of Mexico even after the courts told him to remove it. It caused the loss of an estimated 12,000 jobs while rigs departed for Cuba, Brazil and Mexico.

Between now and November, the President will be out campaigning and telling the same lies. The rise in the cost of oil isn’t just a seasonal thing though prices have usually gone up in the summertime when people travel more for vacations. It’s up because the Iranians are closing in on making their own nuclear weapons and their own missiles to hit, not just Israel, but the U.S. It’s up because it is essential to ensure that the tankers oil-producing nations around the Persian Gulf can enter and exist it via the Strait of Harmuz.

The world isn’t running out of oil and is not about to run out. The Earth floats on an ocean of oil despite the rising demand from Asia and other developing nations. To replace foreign oil with algae-based fuel would require a chemically-controlled tank the size of the State of Colorado, about 69.3 million acres.

In 2010, Obama’s mandated biofuel production was less than ten percent of foreign oil imports. It is impossible for biofuel of any description to replace foreign oil imports; just as it is idiotic to pay $41,000 for an electric car when you can have a gasoline-fueled car for around $16,000.

Pond scum is not a rational substitute for oil and spending $14 million on its production as a fuel is beyond absurd. It is the same confidence game as selling “carbon credits” to avoid the hoax of “global warming.”

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Clinton Years

By Alan Caruba

PBS recently aired a two-part television documentary on Bill Clinton, his life, and his two terms in office from 1993 to 2001.

Following the years of economic growth and optimism from the Reagan-Bush41 era, it may have just been inevitable that the voters wanted to put a younger man in the White House. At the time, few of us realized how seriously demented, Al Gore, Clinton’s choice for his vice president, would turn out to be.

Mostly, though, I think of how deeply flawed Clinton was and how the presidency seemed to exaggerate and exacerbate those flaws of character and judgment. The worst part of it was that, even before he was elected, the voters knew he was a womanizer. The Gennifer Flowers affair erupted during the first campaign and, with Hillary by his side, he just brushed it aside and so did the voters.

A man who will cheat on his wife, will cheat on his partners in business, and just about everyone else. Bill Clinton demonstrated that and yet the voters either ignored or forgave him the long trail of women he exploited with or without their consent including a sordid relationship with a very young White House intern.

What the PBS documentary demonstrated was that Clinton was bitten by the presidential bug early in life, possibly when he met John F. Kennedy as part of a group of boys tagged as having potential for public service. That brief moment seemed to say that he knew he was going to be President one day, no matter what it took.

Clinton was blessed with a high level of intelligence. There is, however, often a disconnection between intellectual skills and moral judgment. We see this repeated and reported day after day when men who have achieved status and wealth just throw it away. In the private sector it is a private tragedy affecting its victims, but in the public sector, it puts everyone’s welfare and future at risk.

Clinton, like Barack Obama, arrived in the White House without any experience in the military. Not only that, he didn’t like or trust the men who protect our liberties and take an oath to protect the Constitution and to obey the Commander-in-Chief. Clinton almost immediately tried to eliminate the ban on homosexuals in the military, having to finally settle for “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.” Obama eliminated even that.

Clinton was fortunate enough to have had no big or small wars on his watch, but there was massive slaughter in Rwanda he later regretted he did nothing to deter or stop, but neither did the United Nations.

What I recall of the 1990s was that it was so different from the previous Reagan years. Ronald Reagan believed Americans could achieve anything if the government would just get out of the way.

Clinton was an old style, liberal Democrat who thought government exists to get involved in everyone’s life in every way possible. Americans used to hate that, but from the 1930s through the 1960s, first Social Security and later Medicare got them used to being on the government dole. Comparable programs exist in every department of the government.

In the 1980s, there were many missed cues as to what was coming on 9/11. The first attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 1993 was treated as a criminal case and not something perpetrated by a shadowy group calling itself al Qaeda. By 1996, however, its leader, Osama bin Laden, had issued a declaration of war against America. In 1998 al Qaeda blew up U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

With the 1979 advent of the Iranian Islamic revolution, anyone paying any attention had to know that a new, very dangerous force had been unleashed in the world. The former Soviet Union discovered that in Afghanistan when al Qaeda and local mujahideen forced them out in 1989 with the covert assistance of the U.S.

My memory of those eight years was that, throughout it all, the Clinton administration seemed to be stepping in post holes, stumbling from one misadventure to another.

When Bill turned the revision of the U.S. healthcare system over to Hillary, the two of them ran into a buzz-saw of popular resistance. Later, Obama would encounter the same response with Obamacare and it spawned the Tea Party movement after it was forced through a Democrat Congress.

What is it about liberals that they cannot learn any lessons from history and remain determined to expand government where it was never intended to go? Education. Healthcare. Energy. The Environment. Try finding any of those words in the Constitution. (Yes, Republican presidents have done this too.)

Bill Clinton became only the second President in U.S. history to be impeached. He had lied to a grand jury and a federal judge, demeaned the office of President with a sex scandal, and he got away with it! Congress voted against impeachment.

By virtue of a 1994 Republican victory that reclaimed power in Congress after some forty years, Clinton would later lay claim to the biggest budget surplus in a very long time.

The parallels between the Clinton and Obama administrations are those of inexperience, arrogance, and poor judgment. Clinton, however, loved his nation while it is doubtful one can say that of Obama.

What the documentary also demonstrated was that Democrats have a very different moral system than Republicans. The fact that so many people of faith find a home in the Republican Party suggests the difference is very real.

They are the people President Obama derides as those “who cling to their guns and their religion.”

Looking back at the Clinton years and waiting for the Obama years to end, that’s probably a good thing.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grand Funk GOP

By Alan Caruba

“In negotiation, ‘yes’ is the worst word. It just betrays a fear of failure and a fear of losing this deal, and it primes you to please the other side, to rush ahead, to compromise early and often to come to a deal, any deal. ‘No’ is the best word. It’s what you want to be prepared to say and to hear. ‘No’ will liberate you and protect you.”

The above is the opening paragraph of the introduction to a book by my friend, Jim Camp, “No, The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home” and, for the forthcoming election, Americans or at least a majority of the voters have to say “no” to four more years of Barack Obama.

Camp, the creator of the Camp Negotiation Institute, has more than twenty years of experience and these days is coaching people from America to Brazil, China to Italy, Argentina to England, France to Russia, Sweden to Iraq; all of whom are seeking to become certified negotiators using his system.

Camp emphasizes the role of emotion in negotiations and what I am witnessing these days is a totally dispirited and depressed Republican and conservative voter community when, in fact, it should be energized by the dreadful prospect of a reelected Obama.

Regarding the conduct of negotiation Camp says, “’No’ will liberate you and protect you.”

Part of it the Grand Funk GOP that is occurring is unquestionably tied to the lengthy primary process, the fluctuations between the rising and falling fortunes of the candidates, and the horse race coverage by the mainstream media.

Camp emphasizes that “’No’ requires a solid, ironclad mission and purpose.” Can there be a single purpose greater than ridding the nation of the worst President in its history?

And isn’t every election a negotiation between the candidate and the voter?

Last week’s results of the polling by the Rasmussen organization found the following:

# 60% say that the U.S. economy is in Recession.

# 52% favor candidates who would raise taxes on the rich.

#46% say it’s possible for any American to find a job.

#46% say America’s best days are in the past.

In short, Republicans and other voters are all over the place trying to figure out what is happening and what may happen in the future. They are bouncing back and forth between emotions that are either pessimistic or unrealistic.

“Before you make a decision,” says Camp, “your emotions rage all over the place. Then when you make a decision, you set about rationalizing it.” This is a perfect description of what I hear from people trying to make up their minds about who the Republican nominee should be to lead the party.

The fear in the hearts of too many Republicans is driving them to seek the perfect candidate, something that never was and never will be. All politicians seeking the nomination arrive with all manner of baggage from their years in office. Some are conservative and some are too conservative.

After what was arguably the best President of the modern era, Ronald Reagan, Republicans failed to support George H.W. Bush, allowing him to be defeated by Bill Clinton. In 1996, they supported a lackluster Bob Dole and Clinton won again. Then George W. Bush came along and Republicans had their man in the Oval Office for eight years.

By any rational standard, a completely unknown candidate should not have defeated John McCain, but Barack Obama offered not policies, but pure emotion based on “hope and change.” In the midst of a financial crisis, it worked.

The same fear that drove the 2008 campaign is now driving the 2012 campaign, but Obama has little to campaign upon. Rationally, we know he has mired the nation in debt that threatens an economic collapse.

We know his “stimulus” program and its promise of higher employment has been a total failure. We know that millions are still unemployed. Millions are on food stamps.

We know that Obamacare is now less popular than when it was passed against much vocal opposition; the first time that has ever happened to a piece of social legislation.

So why are Republicans in such disarray, in such a great funk over the process by which we pick nominees? EMOTION.

Republicans need to ask themselves who will say “no” to Obama and “no” to the nation-crushing changes he and his administration have imposed on us. Republicans, independents, and all conservatives have to get over their funk and get into the fight to save America.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Chevy Volt Post Removed

Due to an error in calculation, the post by an unknown author and source, about the Chevy Volt has been removed. This is why I never post others on this blog. I remain solely responsible for everything I write, but cannot do so for others. For information regarding the basis for the post, visit the Fox Business News website.

-- Alan Caruba

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Fakegate" Blows Up in Warmist Faces

By Alan Caruba

On February 16, I published “Anatomy of a Global Warming Hoax” concerning the theft of the private records of The Heartland Institute’s board meeting  and the creation of an alleged forged document intended to harm its reputation as a long time advocate of the real, not fake, science that has been the basis of the global warming—now called “climate change”—hoax.

The Feb 21 issue of The Wall Street Journal published an editorial, “The Not-So-Vast Conspiracy” noting that “As for ‘the largest international science conference of skeptics’ Heartland will, according to the documents, spend all of $380,000 this year on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. That’s against the $6.5 million that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) costs Western taxpayers annually, and the $2.6 billion the White House wants to spend next year on research into ‘global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels.’” (Emphasis added)

The global warming hoax has cost taxpayers billions since it was initiated and earned the purveyors of “carbon credits” millions as industry and others paid for the privilege of emitting “greenhouse gas”—primarily carbon dioxide—as part of doing business. Currently the European Union is trying to shake down the airline industry by charging them a surtax on their emissions as they fly tourists and businessmen to that benighted continent. Most of the exchanges that sold the credits have since closed.

The infamous “Cap-and-Trade” legislation that thankfully died in Congress was part of this scam.

We now know that the document theft was either perpetrated or abetted by Dr. Peter E. Gleick, a water and climate analyst, and founder of the Pacific Institute. A contributor to Huffington Post and prolific castigator of global warming “skeptics” and “deniers”, Dr. Gleick has admitted his part in the effort to depict The Heartland Institute, its board and its donors as part of the worldwide conspiracy to debunk the hoax.

Since 2008 Heartland  has sponsored six conferences that brought together scientists and others who presented ample evidence of the absurdity that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” was causing the Earth to heat up. Unfortunately for the real IPCC conspirators, the Earth entered a natural cooling cycle in 1998 and, in 2009, thousands of email exchanges between the IPCC scientists were posted to the Internet revealing their growing panic over the failure of Mother Nature to cooperate with their lies, most if not all of which were based on bogus computer models.

Even The New York Times that had trumpeted the false allegations based on the purloined documents, published a Feb. 20 article, “Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers” reporting that “Dr. Gleick distributed the documents to several well-known bloggers and activists who support the work of mainstream climate scientists and who have documented the Heartland Institute as a center of climate change denial.”

The Times is incapable to not slandering organizations and individuals who have fought long and hard to rip the mask of respectability from the perpetrators of the hoax. The “mainstream scientists” to whom it refers are, of course, the IPCC scientists behind the hoax. “Climate change denial” is nothing less than the propagation of the truth about the hoax.

For me, the most interesting aspect of all this has been the way The Heartland Institute has responded to Dr. Glieck’s chicanery. From the moment that documents, real, altered and fake, were posted on sites like and others, Heartland’s president, Joe Bast, went after the then-unknown identity of the person who secured the documents threatening legal action.

When Dr. Glieck publicly admitted his part in a Huffington Post statement, Bast released a statement saying, “Gleick’s crime was a serious one. The documents he admits stealing contained personal information about Heartland’s staff members, donors, and allies, the release of which has violated their privacy and endangered their personal safety.”

The key word in Bast’s statement is “crime.” As John Sullivan, a British-based attorney and an active “denier”, author and blogger, noted, Bast said “A mere apology is not enough to undo the damage”, adding that Dr. Gleick faces being financially ruined by a civil prosecution and “is also liable to a criminal investigation as such falsification of documents is a well-known brand of white collar crime.”

Some time ago I wrote a commentary saying that some of the global warming conspirators needed to go to jail for their crimes. As events unfold, that yet may occur insofar as they were the recipients of public funding and United Nations support as the IPCC published their false “science” amidst alarmist global warming claims.

Perhaps their greatest crime was the debasement of meteorological and climate science. Beyond that, their attacks on the reputation of the brave scientists who stepped forward to refute them is the very definition of slander and libel. The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, the National Geographic, and other “mainstream” news publications will unfortunately be given a pass for advancing their lies even to this day.

The Heartland director’s meeting was devoted to a program to deal with the torrent of false teaching in our nation’s schools intended to warp the perceptions and knowledge of students regarding global warming. That, too, is part of the crime committed against a national and worldwide population that was deliberately misled.

The warmists are in retreat and for that everyone owes a great debt of gratitude to The Heartland Institute and all the others who joined in the effort to refute the greatest hoax of the modern era.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Greener Than Thou

By Alan Caruba

The most obnoxious and hypocritical people are those who are always preaching a “greener” way of life, insisting that anything that constitutes our modern lifestyles is destroying the Earth and depleting its natural resources. Never mind that we depend upon oil, natural gas, coal, and a host of minerals and chemicals for that lifestyle, the absence of which caused people in earlier eras to live shorter, far more unpleasant lives.

Oil, other than ust an energy source is also a component in countless products, starting with plastic, and is so vital to modern life that its value goes far beyond just being able to drive our cars to visit grandma.

Greener than thou has replaced holier than thou ever since Rachel Carson penned her pernicious and seriously flawed attack on DDT and other chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides in 1962. The result has been the needless deaths of millions from malaria in Africa and subtropical nations after the U.S. banned DDT and other nations followed suit. If there was a comparable pesticide available today, the U.S. would not be suffering a biblical plague of bed bugs.

A bone fide environmentalist, David Owen, has written a book that quite literally filets environmentalism, “The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse.” ($14.00, Riverhead Press, softcover).

Owen, who has authored 14 previous books, examines the way environmentalism frequently makes no sense at all. This is not to be confused with conservation, the earlier movement that led to the preservation of some of the nation’s natural wonders.

To live an environmentally acceptable way of life is the same as striving to be a saint, avoiding “sin” in order to secure a place in heaven. It is not only virtually impossible, but to be human is to consume what Nature provides. If you think about, all of Earth's creatures are consumers, depending on where they are on the food chain.

For example, when environmentalists convinced Congress to reduce the amount of water in toilet tanks, the only thing they accomplished was to require that the newer, smaller tanks had be flushed twice to rid he toilet of feces and urine, i.e., more use of water, not less. The EPA has just issued a ruling they claim is necessary to reduce mercury emissions despite the fact that your average volcanic eruption puts more into the atmosphere than any human imposed restrictions could ever achieve. Congress, however, passed a law banning 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, thus requiring people to purchase mercury-filled ones that, if broken, require a hazmat team to clean up after.

Environmentalism is essentially irrational.

It believes that humans actually have anything to do with “saving the Earth” when the natural forces of the Earth are so far beyond any “control” that it routinely reminds us of this fact. We have zero impact on the climate and, as for carbon dioxide, the villain of all “global warming” claims, humans exhale about six pounds of it every day. And there are seven billion of us. Even so, it constitutes barely 0.033 percent of the atmosphere.

Owen begins by posing the question, “How do we truly begin to think about less—less fossil fuel, less carbon, less water, less waste, less habitat destruction, less population stress—when our sense of economic, cultural, and personal well-being is based on more?”

The real question at the heart of all environmentalism is what do we do when there are seven billion humans using the resources of the Earth and the real answer for environmentalists is how do we reduce the Earth’s population and how do they grow rich in the process? That is what lies at the heart of all the “solutions” put forth by the United Nations environmental program; an enemy of the human race if there ever was one.

What environmentalists want is “a vast, unprecedented transformation of human behavior in our relationship with energy and consumption.” The next time you hear anyone call for a “transformation” know also that they are a charlatan seeking control over your life.

The environmental assumption is that the Earth is running out of the sources of energy and that consumption is bad. Both are equally wrong because the Earth is not running out of the sources of energy and consumption is what humans and all other species on Earth do every day.

Owen believes that humans are “the world’s main emitter of manmade greenhouse gases” and this is utterly false. The so-called greenhouse gases are the ones in the atmosphere that not only keep the Sun from turning the Earth into a desiccated version of Mars or the Moon, but in the case of carbon dioxide, it is responsible for every single element of vegetation upon which all life depends.

Owen and many environmentalists would prefer that all of humanity live packed side-by-side in crowded cities, using mass transit or bicycling to work to save the Earth, but anyone who gives two thoughts to the amount of energy consumed to maintain a city knows this too is yet another idiotic environmental conceit.

Indeed, Owen notes that “There are many downsides to density, including the fact that squeezing people and their destinations close together makes diseases, wars, and natural disasters more efficient, too.”

That, says Owen, is a conundrum. Indeed, his book is filled with environmental conundrums that he tries to resolve while overtly and inadvertently exposing the idiocy of environmentalism.

Simply put, farmers are the world’s natural environmentalists, relying on the weather—which they cannot control—and the stewardship of their land to feed themselves and others. They must, however, have a means to move their crops to places where other humans can acquire them and that requires a massive system of transportation which, in turn, requires the affordable use of energy.

Environmentalism’s goals, clean air and water, are laudable, but a massive governmental bureaucracy to require that people use less energy and consume less is not.

Time and time again we see examples of environmentalism that only manage to kill people, whether it is the banning of beneficial chemicals or the use of the least efficient forms of electrical power, wind and solar energy.

The least reported story out of Europe these days is the extreme cold that is literally killing people because it puts the lie to all the environmental “solutions” advanced since the 1960s. Environmentalism has been decried as a religion and, for those who want to deny a greater power, Nature or God, it remains their holy grail.

© Alan Caruba, 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Pay to Read Lies? Newspapers in Decline

By Alan Caruba

The job I loved most in my long career as a writer was as a journalist, first on weekly newspapers and then on a daily. I loved breaking news, the deadlines, and the thrill of seeing my words in print. Old enough to remember Linotype, I even would set pages with the newly minted metal strips of text.

The day The New York Times Jersey edition published a piece I wrote, I thought I had reached some magical place amongst my fellow journalists. What I had unknowingly reached was being published in a newspaper with a long history of printing lies and doing everything in its power to influence events through its news columns. That’s a no-no.

In a long career as a public relations counselor I have counted many reporters and editors among my friends and still do. I have been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists since the 1970s.

Sadly, journalism never did and probably still doesn’t pay salaries commensurate with the economy. So, in the words of Mae West, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

In 1984, I founded The National Anxiety Center as a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns that were designed to influence public opinion and policy. My primary concern was all the lies being told by self-identified environmentalists. Simply stated, if some Green group tells you something, get a second and third opinion. They are lying.

The worst of it that the media has taken their lies at face value and continue to pass them along to a public that is easily fooled and easily scared. This is especially true of “official” sources such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and others. All governments lie to their citizens and ours is no exception.

The damage that Green lies do can get people killed. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s “The Silent Spring” millions, particularly in Africa and subtropical nations have died from malaria because DDT was banned as the result of her book. Similarly, the least reported, but most current story is the deep freeze that has affected much of Europe and which has caused several hundred deaths.

Like a biblical punishment, newspapers are feeling the brunt of the changes the Internet has brought about. With search engines at our fingertips, anyone can research any topic of interest, often finding that what the daily newspaper or news magazine had to say about it is replete with omissions of critical facts or the deliberate dissemination of falsehoods.

Then there’s the way the newspapers and other news media tend to focus on stories like the death and funeral of Whitney Houston or some local tragedy that briefly attracts national attention. Wars are usually reported in terms of casualties. Political campaigns are reduced to horse races. Religious and moral issues barely tolerated.

Almost anything published about Islam must be read through the thin gauze of political correctness that ignores the menace of Islam to those living in Muslim nations and in nations where they gain a population foothold. It is a religion that sanctions stoning women to death, decapitating “infidels”, and even sending children into mine fields to clear them. It is pure barbarism and has zero tolerance for freedom of speech, the press, other religions, or independent thought.

All of this has much to do with the decline of newspapers nationwide. In January, on the website of Editor& Publisher, Alan D. Mutter, a former editor who blogs at Newsosaur, wrote the “Daily Paper Going the Way of the Milkman.” That caught my eye because I am old enough to remember a horse-drawn milk wagon (it was during WWII) pulling up at the driveway of my home to make deliveries.

The thought that newspaper delivery will cease in many cities around the nation is disquieting, but circulation is plunging.

The result is that reductions of newsroom staffs, reporters and editors, have been surging, with jobs eliminated in 2011 reaching nearly 30% more than the prior year. There have been five years of revenue declines. One blogger, Erica Smith, who follows the trends, estimated that 3,775+ newspaper jobs were eliminated in 2011.

According to an annual survey by the American Society of News Editors, nearly one in three newsroom jobs have been eliminated since the number of journalists peaked at 56,900 in 1989. By the end of 2010, there were only 41,600 ink-stained wretches left on the industry’s payrolls.

In recent weeks The Wall Street Journal reported “Gannett’s Profit Drops 33%” and “Thompson Reuters Posts Loss.”

Putting aside why advertisers are seeking greener pastures and platforms to sell their goods, let me suggest that an underlying and largely unexplored reason for the declines being felt throughout traditional print journalism outlets is that people simply do not want to pay for lies every day between the horoscope, the crossword puzzle, and the obituary page.

Lies? The print media and its broadcast counterpart fell totally in love with Barack Obama in 2008 and we ended up with a completely unknown and largely unvetted former Senator who hadn’t even served a full term there. People remember stuff like that.

They remember years of unmitigated lies about “global warming” when there wasn’t any threat at all.

They remember being told that coffee was bad for you followed by stories that coffee is good for you.

There are many factors at play in the decline of newspapers, but I think one factor is the general disenchantment with the product—the news—that too often tends to turn out to be false.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Treasury's Geithner: We have no plan, but we don't like yours

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Federal Reserve Rip-Off

By Alan Caruba

I have not been kind to Ron Paul and his participation in the Republican primary campaigns and it has taken me a while to understand why he is doing this. It is clear that he wants to be around to influence the Republican platform and the issue about which he is abundantly correct is the Federal Reserve.

Anyone taking notice of Obama’s latest budget has to conclude that his mission is to crash the nation’s economy and turn America into a Socialist worker’s paradise. The only problem is that Socialism has been a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried.

One only has to look at the collapse of the Soviet Union for confirmation of that, the Chinese abandonment of Communist economic theory, and Obama’s odd notion that a nation can spend itself out of ever-increasing debt.

I am not a fan of Paul’s isolationism, but he is absolutely right about getting rid of the Federal Reserve.

Established in 1913, the same year income taxes were instituted, the Reserve is not part of the federal government. It is, in fact, privately owned by a consortium of banks and that might include foreign banks as well.

In a remarkable essay, “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve” by Michael T. Snyder, it is clear that the Constitution intended to have the U.S. Treasury to be soley responsible to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.”

Snyder points out that the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) is a privately owned banking cartel and one granted the right to create money out of thin air.

It is, says Synder “a perpetual debt machine because “whenever more money is created, more debt is created as well.” On top of its ability to create money, the government then borrows it, increasing the cost to taxpayers by way of the interest that must be paid to the Fed.

The government issues U.S. Treasury bonds with which to secure a loan from the Fed and it, in turn, sells them to others. Money from nothing; interest on that money, and earnings from the U.S. Treasury bonds it then sells!

Synder noted that in fiscal 2011 the U.S. government paid out $454 billion just in interest on the national debt. “The truth is that our current debt-based monetary system was designed by greedy bankers that wanted to make enormous profits by using the Federal Reserve as a tool to create money out of thin air and lend it to the U.S. government at interest.”

“On July 1, 1914 (a few months after the Fed was created) the U.S. national debt was $2.9 billion dollars. Today it is more than 5,000 times larger.”

If Rep. Paul can convince enough people to end the Federal Reserve Americans might actually learn how many trillions it loans to “too big to fail” Wall Street banking institutions as well as to foreign banks, generally without oversight by the Congress.

The previous Chairman of the Fed, Alan Greenspan, confessed to be totally astonished by the housing bubble that led to the 2008 financial crisis, His successor, Ben Bernanke, the current Chairman of the Fed, has been consistently wrong about the economy since taking office. In 2005 Bernanke said that housing prices had never declined on a nationwide basis and predicted full employment as far as the eye could see.

Those mysterious financial instruments, derivatives, were perfectly safe said Bernanke.

In 2008, he was still predicting housing prices would probably keep rising. In 2007 he saw no problem with the subprime mortgages that two “government sponsored entities”, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, kept pressuring banks to make. “A few months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, Bernanke said ‘The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.’”

Any CEO or CFO with a record like that would be out on the street looking for a job. And this man is still in charge of the Federal Reserve.

The latest budget put forth by the Obama administration demonstrates the same level of incompetence and wishful thinking. “All the voters need to do is suspend belief for another nine months. And ignore the first four years,” opined The Wall Street Journal.

The budget essentially says that what a government that is deeply in debt---with the size of it growing daily---has to do is to borrow and spend more! And, oh yes, Obama wants to raise taxes on everyone and everything.

While I would not vote for Rep. Paul to be President, I applaud his lonely campaign to get Americans to think about ridding the nation of the Federal Reserve and to begin exercising fiscal restraint before we become the next Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy or France.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

A Message for our New Members and a Special Donor

It's a good time to pause and welcome our most recent new members.
Warning Signs is now approaching 1,260,000 page views since its inception and the pace is increasing on a daily basis.

And to a special donor, for his generous support of Warning Signs, a very special Thank You!

Despite the claims that I am being bankrolled by Exxon or receiving grants from Big Corporations, the truth is that my own earnings have been and are the primary financial support for the blog. That said, I am pleased to also report that a steady flow of donations has also made it possible to maintain the blog. Many of the donors have returned to help again.

If it looks easy to produce a daily commentary (except for Saturdays when I enjoy posting the week's best cartoons from the Net) it is largely due to more than 50 years as, first, a working journalist and, second, a long career providing editorial/pr services to a wide range of clients, all of whom made me proud.

My readers and donors make me proud, too!

My motivation, frankly, is the daily torrent of lies I read and hear from the mainstream press, environmental and special interest organizations who deliberately create fear campaigns and disseminate lies to advance their agendas.

My motivation is to do what I can to help preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the United States of America. I swore an oath to do that long ago.

Alan Caruba

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cartoon Round Up

Political Absurdities

By Alan Caruba

At various points in any election year, the campaigns achieve moments of total absurdity that are passed off as news, usually with a straight face.

When certain Republicans begin to refer to “vulture capitalism” you know such a moment has arrived because, if Republicans are not all about capitalism, there is not much else for them to discuss. By capitalism I mean the state of the economy, workplace and trade issues, taxes, and everything else involved with paying one’s bills and becoming filthy rich if possible.

Republicans read The Wall Street Journal. Democrats read The New York Times. I rest my case.

The other recent absurdity was President Barack Obama telling NBC’s Matt Laurer that he deserved a second term. As if driving the U.S. debt up to $15 trillion wasn’t enough, apparently Obama wants to stick around so he can cancel another project that could create 20,000 jobs like the Keystone XL pipeline.

It is patently absurd for Obama to claim that his administration has “created” new jobs, but that is his campaign message these days. How many are unemployed? Have given up looking for a job? The only jobs government creates are government jobs and those have exploded in Obama’s first term. The rest of the time government is usually a huge obstacle to the private sector when it wants to do the same thing.

The greatest absurdity of all of the 2008 campaigns was that a totally unknown Senator from Illinois, there for barely two of a six year term, should emerge as the “messiah” of the masses to save America.

From what? Answer: the dreadful financial mess based on the idiotic notion that government should be in the housing and mortgage business.

This genius then proceeded to spend the first two years of his presidency telling everyone that it was all George Bush’s fault, thus ignoring the many times Bush warned Congress against the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implosion. Sadly, Rasmussen Reports says 40% of Americans do think it is Bush’s fault.

Obama’s “solution” to the mess was a multi-billion-dollar “stimulus” that, by now, everyone agrees was a political slush fund and a failure. Then he borrowed more money than any president in U.S. history—including FDR who had to fund World War Two. It’s a long list of blunders, but the bottom line is massive stagnant unemployment and a housing market that’s still in the tank.

Why does every national election always seem to produce at least one candidate who uses the process to advocate ideas that most voters regard as absurd and, of course, I refer to Ron Paul’s view that we should pull back all our military from their foreign missions. While I agree we should stop getting into wars without Congressional consent—something the Constitution requires—that rule has been ignored since World War Two.
Since then the U.S. has engaged in wars of every description while the members of Congress could be found whistling in the hallways of the Capital in the hope people wouldn’t notice. The United Nations has offered cover some of the time, but we went into Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq with only the flimsiest pretense that they were not military actions.

Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich opined that the U.S. should put a colony on the Moon. This was so absurd that even Saturday Night Live lampooned it. What is absurd, however, is the way Obama has ended the U.S. space program to the point we have to hitch a ride with the Russians. Worse, however, was Rick Santorum’s recent assertion that Mitt Romney “rigged” the outcome of the CPAC straw vote. The last candidate who ran on moral issues was Jimmy Carter. Consider yourself warned.

I personally regard the term “flip-flopper” an absurdity because I have never known of any politician who has not changed his mind and, frankly, would not want to vote for one so inflexible he or she could not change with the times.

What’s really absurd have been the directions various presidents have taken the nation in the recent times. Lyndon B. Johnson not only expanded the war in Vietnam, but he threw in the War on Poverty for good measure. In retrospect, it was a total failure. Richard Nixon ended his presidency with the Watergate scandal. Jimmy Carter drove the oil industry out of the U.S., reduced our military strength, and was such a dismal failure he only lasted one term.

I’m thinking that Obama will follow in Carter’s footsteps and we shall look back on “cash for clunkers”, Solyndra, and, of course, Obamacare, and ask ourselves, what were we thinking? The answer is that a majority of the voters were not thinking!

Neither Carter, nor Obama are aberrations. They were the result of the hardcore twenty-five to thirty percent of the voters who are irredeemably liberal, vote Democrat, and for whom reality and facts are of no importance.

Then there are another percentile who identify themselves as Democrats without realizing that our current financial crisis was created by Democrats! Republicans will reliably vote for their party’s candidate and that means a thin sliver of self-identified independents will decide the November elections.

All elections bring out the absurd in everyone, candidates and voters alike. We fall in love with one, experience the rapture of supporting them, and then wake up the day after the election and spend the next four years feeling like a recovering junky.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Anatomy of a Global Warming Smear

By Alan Caruba

Full disclosure: Years ago I received a small stipend from The Heartland Institute to help cover the costs of writing articles regarding the global warming hoax, well before it was exposed in 2009 when emails between its perpetrators—the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—revealed the total lack of real science involved. I have continued to expose the hoax without any support from Heartland or any other entity.

A total of six conferences on climate change have been sponsored by The Heartland Institute. I attended the first conference in New York City in 2008 and my initial observation was that virtually no one from the press was there and the meager coverage it received disparaged it.

This week, a major smear campaign against the Institute erupted as the result of an act of deception and thievery that may well result in criminal charges against its as yet unknown perpetrator.

The President of the Institute, Joe Bast, immediately informed its supporters, directors, donors and friends that someone pretending to be a board member had sent Heartland an email claiming to be a director and asking that documents regarding a January board meeting be re-sent.

A clever ruse, but the result was that elements of the confidential documents were then posted on a number of so-called climate blogs and from there to various members of the media who, with the exception of The Guardian, took no steps whatever to verify the authenticity of the documents, some of which Heartland says were either a concoction of lies or altered to convey inaccurate information.

The leading disseminator of the global warming hoax, The New York Times, published its version on Wednesday, February 15th, titled “Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science.”

Suffice to say, the “climate science” served up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been a pack of lies from the day it first convened. Its “science” was based on computer models rigged by co-conspirators that include Michael Mann of Penn State University and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia.

The original leak of their emails in November 2009 instantly revealed the extent of their efforts to spread the hoax and to suppress any expression of doubt regarding it. A second release in 2011 confirmed what anyone paying any attention already knew.

The “warmists”, a name applied to global warming hoaxers, launched into a paroxysm of denial that has not stopped to this day. Their respective universities have since engaged in every possible way to hide the documentation they claimed supported their claims. Suffice to say, the global warming hoax was the golden goose for everyone who received literally billions in public and private funding.

We have reached the point where the warmists have been claiming that global warming causes global cooling! Along the way the bogus warming has been blamed for thousands of utterly absurd events and trends. What really worried the perpetrators was the fact that the planet had entered a cooling cycle in 1998.

At the heart of the hoax was the claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) was causing the Earth to heat and that CO2 emissions must be reduced to save the Earth. Next to oxygen, CO2 is vital to all life on Earth as it sustains all vegetation which in turn sustains every creature that depends on it as a source of food. It represents a mere 0.033% of the Earth’s atmosphere and is referred to by warmists as a “greenhouse gas.” It is, as any meteorologist or climatologist will tell you, the atmosphere that protects the Earth from becoming a dissociated planet like Mars.

The New York Times article is a case study in bad journalism and bias on a scale for which this failing newspaper is renowned. The Times reported that “Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming part of the nation’s culture wars.”

Wrong, so wrong. Polls have demonstrated that global warming is last on a list of concerns by the public. It barely registers because the public has concluded that it is either a hoax or just not happening. Teaching global warming in the nation’s schools constitutes a crime against the truth and the students.

The Times article makes much of the amounts some donors to Heartland have contributed, but in each cited case, with one exception, the donations had nothing to do with its rebuttal of global warming science.

“It is in fact not a scientific controversy”, said the Times article. “The majority of climate scientists say that emissions generated by human beings are changing the climate and putting the planet at long-term risk, although they are uncertain about the exact magnitude of that risk.”

The exact magnitude is zero. Thousands of scientists have signed petitions denouncing global warming as a hoax. The Times lies.

A post at The Daily Bayonet on February 14th said it well, “What the Heartland documents show is how badly warmists have been beaten by those with a fraction of the resources they’ve enjoyed. Al Gore spent $300 million advertising the global warming hoax. Greenpeace, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, NASA, NOAA, the UN and nation states have collectively poured billions into climate research, alternative energies, and propaganda, supported along the way by most of the broadcast and print media.

The Times will continue to publish lies about global warming, as will others like Time and Newsweek magazines. The attacks on Heartland and the many scientists and others like myself who debunk this fraud will continue, but their efforts are just the dying gasp of the greatest hoax of the modern era.

There’s a reason the theme of Heartland’s sixth conference in 2011 was “Restoring the Scientific Method.” Real science does not depend on declaring “a consensus” before the hypothesis has been thoroughly tested, a process that often involves years of effort. Meanwhile, the planet continues to cool.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

U.S. Hostages Abroad and High Gas Prices at Home--It's Jimmy Carter Redux

By Alan Caruba

A lot of things that a President cannot control can gravely affect his chances of being reelected. In 1979, the combination of an oil embargo and the Iranians taking U.S. diplomats hostage ended any hope of a second term for Jimmy Carter.

As this is written, there are 19 U.S. citizens being held hostage in Egypt, but you are hearing little to nothing about that in the mainstream media.

The economy is going to affect President Obama’s odds of being reelected this year and Americans who are notorious for gaging the impact of inflation by watching the cost of gasoline at the pump rise are going to blame Obama. An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and a possible conflict will drive prices through the roof.

When Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.61.Averaging $3.50 at present, the price of a gallon of gas is predicted to rise to $4 and even $5 by summertime.

If the U.S. was not dependent on imported oil, we could control our own fate, but for decades every effort possible has been made to drive up the cost of automobiles and gasoline, led by environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, two notorious anti-energy foes, in combination with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Little wonder they are in a full war against the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada or that the Obama administration has been trying to convince Americans it favors opening access to existing and new oil reserves.

Dan Kish, vice president of the American Energy Alliance, recently took note of the political maneuverings over the American Energy and Infrastructure Act of 2012, saying “At the end of the day, the American people don’t care whether federal lands are opened in one large piece of legislation or in separate smaller pieces.”

“The bottom line is that the Federal government currently leases approximately 2.4 percent of the land owned by U.S. citizens, while lands equaling ten times the State of Texas are kept off limits by Federal regulators. With reports coming out that gasoline could approach five dollars a gallon by this summer, we cannot wait any longer to begin tapping these resources.”

If the Obama administration really wanted to create jobs and improve the economy, it would “lift the embargo on American energy,” said Kish, “and open our onshore and offshore resources for robust exploration and development.”

“The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the nation has six times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia”

In 2010, while oil, natural gas and coal accounted for 78 percent of U.S. energy production, its producers received 11 percent of all federal energy subsidies. By contrast, subsidies to the wind industry increased 10-fold, from $467 million in 2007 to $4.9 billion in 2010.

Closer to the pump for Americans was the deal the Obama administration struck with thirteen auto manufacturers in July 2011 to boost new car fuel economy standards from 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2016 to 54.5 mpg in 2025.

The claim made was that it would save Americans $1.7 trillion over the lifetime of vehicles and $8,000 per vehicle by 2025. Higher gas prices as the result of increased costs of imported oil and higher automobile prices that will result from this deal will cancel out any alleged savings.

Who wants to be fooled again by this administration?

And what business is it of the federal government how much mileage an auto gets?

The U.S. government has been messing around with the fuel economy program—believe it or not—for forty years. The result was the rise in sales of Japanese auto companies and European imports while Detroit saw General Motors and Chrysler come so close to collapse they had to be bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars.

The culprit has been the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program and Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute calls it “a case study of unintended consequences. If the fuel-saving technologies requisite to meet the new standards are such a great bargain, why do we need a law forcing automakers to adopt them?” Good question!

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation crowed that “Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congressional Republicans to act.” That’s right, they blamed by-passing Congress and the deal on Republicans!

Meanwhile, the only thing CAFE standards accomplish is an increase in the cost of automobiles and a decrease in the safety of their occupants as cars are forced to be lighter and more vulnerable in a crash.

In a February 2nd opinion published in The Wall Street Journal, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell welcomed news that Congress might finally be moving in the direction to permit Americans benefit from access to their own oil.

Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) to oil exploration and production would have obvious benefits. “This legislation opens 400,000 acres of the ANWR coastal plain’s 1.5 million acres” that represent “less than three percent of ANWR’s 19 million total acres.”

The other way Americans have been forced to pay more at the pump have been the mandates for the mix of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline. Why? Because its advocates claimed that this would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but in fact ethanol increases CO2 emissions while at the same time reducing the mileage of every gallon of gasoline. And there is absolutely no scientific justification for reducing CO2 emissions because the mandate is based on the totally debunked global warming hoax.

The cost of building new oil refineries in America was increased exponentially by the Clean Air Act of 1970. There have been no new refineries since 1976. There are currently 149 refineries in the U.S. Requiring them to make different blends for different regions of the nation has done little more than to drive up the cost at the pump. The taxes on gasoline have been a bonanza for the federal government and the states.

The good news is that two new refineries are being developed, one in Yuma, Arizona, and one in Union County, South Dakota. The bad news is that Sunoco Inc has just announced it will continue to exit the refining business due to the lack of profitability. In business for 117 years, Sunoco has been gradually shifting out of refining, reducing its capacity 43 percent since 2009.

Come November, if drivers of cars are shelling out $5 a gallon at the pump, a lot of voters are going to be very unhappy. If our citizens are still being held hostage in Egypt they will be even less happy.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Man Up, Republicans!

By Alan Caruba

“I’m beginning to think Obama will be reelected”, writes a friend, a conservative and a Republican who is having grave thoughts about the narrowing GOP field of candidates. He is not alone as I hear similar thoughts from others.

As he put it, “Approximately 45% of the people think this idiot is doing a good job.”

There is a solid 30% of voters (and those who do not bother to vote) who are hardcore liberals, immune to facts and the reality of the destruction of both the Constitution and the economy being perpetrated by Barack Obama.

Republicans appear to have lost the fire in their political belly, the willingness to go to war over political principles of limited government, lower taxes, national security, and greater opportunity for the upward mobility that has always marked our society.

A case in point was the selection of John McCain as the party’s candidate in 2008. Famous for reaching across the aisle to seek accommodation and agreement with Democrats, McCain—whose personal courage cannot be impugned—waged a tepid campaign against a virtually unknown Illinois Senator offering a vague promise of “hope and change” combined with the “redistribution of wealth.”

My friend is wise to worry about the reelection of Obama. A recent Rasmussen poll found that “voter confidence in President Obama’s handling of the economy is at its highest level in a year’s time. Forty percent (40%) of likely U.S. voters now rate the President’s performance in the economic area as good or excellent.”

This President presided over the first historic downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, has driven the national debt to more than $15 trillion, has seen millions of jobs disappear during his term, and squandered billions on failed “stimulus” programs and failed green energy companies all rapidly going bankrupt. And some people still think he’s doing a dandy job.

Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, has pointed to the low turnout of Republican voters in the Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri primary caucuses and races that gave Rick Santorum a boost when he had been all but written off, along with the bloviating Newt Gingrich.

Casting around for reason, Noonan wondered “maybe it’s the increasing negativity of the campaign, maybe it’s the widespread dissatisfaction with the field. Maybe it’s that, and more.” Perhaps she is thinking of the way the mainstream media continues to cover-up and spin Obama’s blunders starting with Obamacare, a widely unpopular bill being challenged soon in the Supreme Court.

Noonan also noted the falloff of interest in the President, citing his State of the Union speeches that, “in February 2009, drew 52 million viewers. A year later the State of the Union had an understandable falloff to about 48 million. In 2011, another fall; 43 million watched. A few weeks ago his 2012 State of the Union drew just 38 million.”

“Maybe the story is that people are tuning out altogether. Maybe they’re bored with politics, and most especially with politicians. Maybe they think our government can’t solve anything.” We're in a Depression. It's normal to be depressed!

To those who do not think Obama can and will be defeated, I would remind you that, by November, Americans will have been paying $4, maybe $5 a gallon for gasoline and much more for everything they purchase at the supermarket and everywhere else. They will be tired of talk about “fairness” and tired of his endless lies about how the economy is improving and unemployment is decreasing. They will be worried about his attack on the nation’s health care system, on freedom of religion, and his shredding of the Constitution. .

Here’s what I worry about. Not if, but when Israel launches an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, an intervention on its side by the United States would be widely applauded by the American public and it would put Obama in the position of being a President during a shooting war; an event in which voters would be reluctant to “change horses in midstream.” Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, even predicted when the conflict would occur—sometime this spring.

Obama won the 2008 election in part because of the timing of a too-convenient financial crisis that he blamed on President Bush, banks, and everyone other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A war just prior to the November elections would be equally helpful.

Many Republicans have concluded that Mitt Romney will be the party’s nominee, but are unenthusiastic about him. Noonan lamented that he brings little passion to his campaign. He brings “maturity, serenity and a jolly spirit” but he is also being criticized for waging a strong campaign against his primary opponents. What is Romney expected to do when Rick Santorum suggests that he “rigged” the CPAC straw vote and while Newt Gingrich attacks him for “vulture capitalism” and fellow Republicans for “right-wing social engineering”?

Republicans paying attention to their party’s races are beginning to fear an Obama reelection and right now many are running scared at the prospect. Most modern elections have been won with narrow margins. All Republicans have to do is to turn out and vote!

In the Gallup and Battleline polls, for years, Americans have self-identified themselves overwhelmingly as “conservative.” They are yearning for a strong conservative voice from a strong conservative leader. Romney’s primary victories, though slim, reflect the judgment by Republicans that he can defeat Obama.

On the facts alone, Obama can and should be soundly defeated.

Republicans will field a ticket that puts an end to the regime’s reign of terror. For now, however, their spirits are flagging. The long primary process is daunting. Only the Tea Party movement and serious-minded conservatives seem to understand what is at stake.

What Republicans need now is a lot more courage and a readiness to go to war with a President who is destroying America and the future for our children.

© Alan Caruba, 2012