Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's the Lies About Beef that are the Slime

By Alan Caruba

I am subject to various enthusiasms and, in 2008, I wrote a series about beef and the vast network of phony consumer advocates, vegetarian types, animal rights groups and headline chasing media folks who love a good scare campaign, all trying to convince Americans that beef was bad for them.

Today, it is a smear campaign about a type of meat promoted in the media as “pink slime.” Typically, it is a pack of lies and it’s going to cost some folks their jobs and drive up the cost of beef if allowed to go unchallenged.

What is being demonized in this 21st century reincarnation of the 1989 Alar apple scare is finely textured, 95% lean beef. It is composed of small parts of beef that are still available for use after the cuts with which we are more accustomed, like sirloin, brisket, top round, flank, porterhouse, and some forty other selections, are taken.

This lean beef is routinely added to lower quality hamburger to increase its protein content and its production has long been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It actually improves the nutritional quality of a lot of cheaper hamburger.

While the media may not approve of this beef, plenty of others do. A March 29 article in The Wall Street Journal reported that after being hammered in the media for weeks, the lean beef, “is getting support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the governors of five states, who argue it has been unfairly labeled and is actually a safe, low-cost way to make ground beef leaner.”

Other supporters include food safety activists like Nancy Donley, who lost her son, Alex, to e.coli and now advocates for tougher food safety laws to prevent similar deaths. The founder of Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP), Donley wrote in the March 17 edition of Food Safety News about her experience learning more about the modern American meat industry and her tour of a Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) plant which produces the lean beef now under attack.

“I got to know the owners, Eldon and Regina Roth,” wrote Donley, “and was impressed by their complete commitment to the safety and wholesomeness of the meat products they produced. I was also impressed by the food safety culture they instilled throughout their company.”

The company and its owners were also the subject of a June 12, 2008 Washington Post article titled “Engineering a Safer Burger.” In profiling Eldon Roth, the Post noted that Roth, “discovered his process for separating meat from fat had the unintended effect of making the lean beef more alkaline and therefore less conducive to bacteria.

The Post further reported that Roth and his staff, “began working with ammonium hydroxide, a food additive already approved by federal regulators for use in processing cheese, chocolate and soda. It also exists naturally in beef. By increasing the level of it in beef, Roth hoped to reduce its acidity and create less hospitable conditions for bacteria.”

It worked! Exposing the meat to a tiny amount of ammonium hydroxide gas during processing elevates its pH and increases food safety. There are no reports of illness related to the consumption of the company’s finely textured lean beef.

However, if there is one thing reporters love to use to scare people it is the name of any chemical. Thus, media coverage against this beef hypes ammonium hydroxide, ignoring the fact it that exists naturally in beef. It exists in many of the fruits and vegetables one might harvest from an organic garden. Furthermore, our bodies safely produce ammonia.

That hasn’t stopped media outlets like ABC News and others from reporting scary stories about the product and smearing BPI. In a March 23 opinion posted on the Fox News Forum, Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center, summed up the latest scare campaign, writing “TV news loves a health scare. Think deadly Tylenol. Killer tomatoes. Mad Cow disease. Alar in apples, and lots more.”

Like the Alar apple scare this is a totally invented media scare. It’s the way, as Gainor wrote “Slimy journalists” use these stories as “a path to winning journalistic awards—facts be damned.” It’s also why this card-carrying member of the Society of Professional Journalists since the 1970s keeps exposing this shoddy journalism and the groups that generate it for their own selfish agendas.

Have a hamburger. Have a steak. Eat beef. Don’t run scared every time some so-called journalist exploits your lack of knowledge of where beef comes from, how it is processed, and why millions of pounds of it are eaten with pleasure and the knowledge that it is the safest found anywhere in the world.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Bookview's April Edition is Posted

By Alan Caruba

For those of you who are avid readers, my monthly report on new non-fiction and fiction,, is posted for April and is filled with news about many new books you may not read about in the mainstream media. All manner of topics are covered, from politics to history, cookbooks to those about health, business topics, and some excellent new novels.

Below are "My Picks of the Month"

My Picks of the Month

I love reading history and for anyone trying to figure out the trends occurring worldwide there is no better way of understanding what is occurring now. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson ($30.00, Crown) addresses and answers questions that have stumped the experts for centuries. Acemoglu is the Killian Professor of Economics at MIT and Robinson is a political scientists and economist, an expert on Latin America and Africa, teaches at Harvard. The book is a hefty tome, but reads smoothly as the authors explore why some nations are wealthy and others are poor. One example is the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Some nations have had several revolutions without any real change in the way they are governed. Egypt is such an example. The authors address the question of whether America’s best days are behind it and whether China authoritarian growth machine is sustainable. Without giving away any secrets, the answer to the question of growth and failure is freedom. Put this book on your reading list this year. Charles Goyette has written Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy ($25.95, Sentinel, an imprint of the Penguin Group) takes a look at our present crisis from a libertarian point of view and, not surprisingly concludes that the increasing size of government, crony capitalism, and too much spending has brought us to the brink of a financial crisis even greater than what occurred in 2008. It is a thought-provoking book and very timely. Sometimes you cannot improve on an author’s own description of what he has written. I am a fan of James D. Best’s novels based on the old West and the early days of the American Republic, so I was not surprised that he turned his hand to non-fiction to write Principled Action: Lessons from the Origins of the American Republic ($13.95, Wheatmark, Tucson, AZ, softcover). “Prior to 1776, world history was primarily written about kings and emperors. The American experiment shook the world. Not only did the colonies break away from the biggest and most powerful empire in history, they took the musings of the brightest thinkers of the Enlightenment and implemented them. The Founding of the United States was simultaneously an armed rebellion against tyranny and a revolution of ideas-ideas that changed the course of world history. Principled Action shows how the Founders built this great nation with sacrifice, courage, and steadfast principles.” There is no more important time in our present times to learn the how and why of the founding of our great republic. This highly readable book is a very good place to start.

I keep wondering if it is going to take another 9/11 for Americans to wake up to the threat of Islamo-fascism that exists within our very midst? Peter Feaman has written The Next Nightmare: How Political Correctness Will Destroy America ($14.99, Dunham Books, softcover) with a foreword by Congressman Allan West. It is a short read, but it is one that makes clear how the failure to recognize the spread of Islamic fanaticism within the nation continues to pose a threat to our society, noting how the number of mosques has gone from around fifty after World War II to more than 1,200 today and that many, if not most, are centers for radical Islamism, including recruiting efforts inside America’s prison population. How Americans cannot witness the assault by Muslim communities on European nations and not understand that it can and will happen here is suicidal. Put this one on your reading list! Of course, not all Muslims are plotting terrorism and Irshad Manji’s book, Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom ($16.00, Free Press, softcover) reveals how, within Islam, many of its faithful are yearning for a reformation and greater tolerance of other faiths. The author gained notice with her bestselling book, “The Trouble With Islam Today”, and she makes her case for the need for change. She teaches “moral courage” and that is necessary for change from within and for the willingness to speak out against the imposition of Sharia law by terrorism that intimidates its victims and encourages its perpetrators. The United States has had a long history of dealing with the Middle East dating back to President Thomas Jefferson’s decision to respond to attacks on American ships by Barbary pirates (“to the shores of Tripoli”). In 1866, American missionaries founded a small college in Beirut, Lebanon that would later be renamed the American University of Beirut. Under the leadership of four generations of the Bliss and Dodge families, it became an influential institution of higher learning. It’s story is told in American Sheikhs by Brian VanDeMark ($25.00, Prometheus Books). Far more than just a family saga, it is the story of how the university graduated countless leaders, legislators, ambassadors, educators, scientists, doctors and businessmen whose lives and accomplishments played a significant role in the modern history of the Middle East. Anyone who loves to read history will enjoy this book.

Just out this month is the second edition of a terrific compendium of facts, The Handy Religion Answer Book by John Renard, PhD, ($21.95, Visible Ink, softcover) that provides a world of facts about the different faiths; what people believe and how their faith profoundly influences the way they act. It provides descriptions of major beliefs and rituals worldwide. This publisher also offers The Handy Science Answer Book ($21.95) now in its fourth edition. These books are treasuries of knowledge that will make you the smartest, best informed person in the room! For folks who like to find a lot of information in one spot, there’s International Affairs by Davis K. Thanjan ($22.95, Bookstand Publishing, Morgan Hill, CA, softcover). Nation by nation, the author has accumulated the most recent information with an emphasis of U.S. foreign policy and foreign relations. The result is a quick, short analysis of each nation’s economic and strategic importance in relationship to U.S. interests. It is a prodigious piece of research that puts the data at your fingertips and for anyone who wants to understand America’s position in the world today, it is filled with insights that would require tons of research that, happily, the author has done for you..

This is a political year and there are some 600,000 public offices up for election throughout the nation. Though it is not widely known, the majority of Americans self-identify as politically conservative. For them Craig Copland has written the 2012 Conservative Election Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Elect Conservatives from Dog Catcher to President ($14.95, available in various e-reader formats at and elsewhere). This is an excellent book that covers all aspects of planning, running, and winning an election. (It’s even available for free if you are a conservative running for office.) While its purpose is to elect conservatives, this book is so thorough that, it must be said, a liberal candidate would benefit just as much from it. I have seen a number of such books over the years and this qualifies as one of the best.

Animal lovers, particularly of horses, will love The Rescue of Belle & Sundance: One Town’s Incredible Race to Save Two Abandoned Horses by Birgit Stutz and Lawrence Scanlan ($22.00,Da Capo Press.) The horses had been abandoned on Mount Renshaw in Canada’s British Columbia province. Everything was fine until winter set in at which point a four-person effort to save them turned into a village-wide, week-long mission to dig a path off the mountain through six feet or more of snow to create an 18-mile descent to safety. It is a delightful story that is well worth reading. In December of last year I recommended The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray. It was rather pricey in its hardcover edition, but now for those who love science and learning, it is available in softcover for $19.95 (Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers) offering gorgeous photos of the 118 elements in the periodic table, packed with information about the building blocks of the universe. This is the kind of book that, in the hands of a young or old exploring mind, opens entire new vistas to our world, stimulating one’s sense of wonder.

Like everyone else, I like to dress fashionably and, frankly, have not given it much thought. Jessica Wolfendale and Jeanette Kennett have and the result is an interesting book, Fashion—Philosophy for Everyone ($19.95, Wiley-Blackwell, softcover). This is not one of your usual fashion books on what’s hot and what’s not. It is a serious look at the subject by two scholars, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at West Virginia University and a Professor of Moral Psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Together they explore the strong connection between fashion and the aesthetic of an era, the difference between the servile and sensible fashionista, the politics of individual style and fashion choices, and much more. It is a book for the intellectual fashionista and, believe it or not, a lot of fun to read. What I know about woman’s fashion you could put in a bug’s ear, but fortunately Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, a practicing clinical psychologist and wardrobe consultant has written a book to help the fashion-challenged in time for the new spring line. You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You ($16.00, Da Capo Press, softcover) provides insights into the way your choices reflect inner struggles, fears, desires and dream. Her book’s nine chapters diagnose nine distinct shopping complaints and wardrobe mistakes from failing to dress one’s age to being a slave to labels. For anyone who approaches the purchase of new clothes either buying and spending too much or with a certain sense of dread, this is definitely the book to read!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cartoon Round Up

click on Hope'n Change to see it larger format

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Earth Hour's" Global Propaganda Campaign

By Alan Caruba

On Saturday, 8:30 PM local time, everyone will be invited to turn off all their electrical devices and presumably sit in the dark. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is intended to “encourage American cities to prepare for the costly impacts of climate-related extreme weather and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Earth Hour is an example of the enormous funding available to the Greens and of their continued assault on the world’s population to encourage and maintain its message that the Earth is imperiled by mankind’s activities, i.e., the use of energy. Earth Hour is a huge piece of international propaganda. Millions of dollars and man-hours have been expended to get the lights turned off from the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa to Australia’s Opera House.

You may have noticed there is no longer any reference to “global warming.” That’s because a growing percentage of Americans have concluded that global warming is a hoax. The same charlatans behind Earth Hour and the forthcoming Earth Day on April 22nd have mostly abandoned any reference to global warming and are now lying to you about “climate change” and, soon enough, will shift their message to “sustainability.”

On December 21, 2012, you will find the same people who have drunk deeply of the global warming Kool-Aid sitting on mountaintops waiting for the end of the world as predicted by a Mayan calendar. You will not find any Mayans there because that civilization is long gone.

More recently, Pastor Harold Camping predicted the end of the world in 1994 and then revised his prediction to May 21, 2011. People have been predicting the end of the world for a very long time. They have all been wrong.

Earth Hour fits into this pattern, but its insidious purpose to maintain the same levels of anxiety and fear that has driven the environmental movement since it began in earnest back in the 1970s when it was predicting an ice age would arrive. A decade later they switched gears and began predicting global warming, projecting the end over periods of time from a decade to fifty years or so.

Global warming—a dramatic rise in the Earth’s temperatures—did not occur for two reasons; (1) it was a hoax based on computer models created by charlatans and, (2) largely due to a natural cooling cycle that set in around 1998 as the Sun’s sunspot activity began its own natural cycle in which fewer such magnetic storms occurred. Scientists have long known that a reduction of sunspots has always been accompanied by cooling on Earth.

The Green’s claim that a build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) would plunge the Earth into a period of warming is the greatest lie of the modern era. The Earth has had periods in which the level of CO2 was much higher. Vital to all life on Earth, CO2 is to all vegetation what oxygen is to all animal life.

The notion that “man made” CO2 portends disaster is false and is directed at forcing the reduction of the use of all “fossil fuels” for industrial and all other uses. It is the greatest scam ever perpetrated because the Greens use it to sell “carbon credits”, worthless pieces of paper that could be sold or traded in the same way as the “indulgences” that were sold as a way to buy a ticket into heaven.

I recommend that you read a short book that explains how and why the environmental movement is a huge scam and a hideous attack on mankind. “Roosters of the Apocalypse” by Rael Jean Isaac ($8.95) is published by The Heartland Institute and can be purchased from its website. In less time than it takes to watch “Dancing with the Stars”, you will learn everything you need to know about the global warming scam and all the ways you and everyone else are being robbed by the schemes tied to it, to “climate change”, and to “sustainability.”

Ms. Isaac tells the story of how, in today’s South Africa, the Xhosa tribe destroyed its economy in 1856. Based on a prophecy of a 15-year-old orphan girl, they killed an estimated half-million of their own cattle, ceased planting crops, and destroyed their grain stores. “By the end of 1857 between thirty and fifty thousand of them had starved to death—a third to a half of their population.”

Turning off all electricity during Earth Hour is no different from what the Xhosa tribe did and refusing to allow the drilling for oil and natural gas, or mining coal, all of which the United States has in sufficient abundance to make us energy independent and exporters of these energy reserves, is an act of national suicide; one that this international symbolism portends for any nation that abandons the energy that sustains economic growth and the welfare of millions.

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Human activity, mostly in the past five thousand years that we call civilization, has not had a thing to do with its existence, but some humans are foolish creatures, easily spooked by prophecies that do not come true or claims that they are responsible for its existence and future. Some of them will turn off their electricity on Saturday.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The EPA Wrecking Ball

By Alan Caruba

The Environmental Protection Agency is using its power to advance the objective of the environmental movement to deny Americans access to the energy that sustains the nation’s economy and is using the greatest hoax ever perpetrated, global warming—now called “climate change”—to achieve that goal.

“This standard isn’t the once-and-for-all solution to our environmental challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, “but it is an important commonsense step toward tackling the ongoing and very real threat of climate change and protecting the future for generations to come. It will enhance the lives of our children and our children’s children.”

This is a boldfaced lie. Its newest rule is based on the debasement of science that is characterized and embodied in the global warming hoax. It will deprive America of the energy it requires to function.

Since the 1980s the Greens have been telling everyone that carbon dioxide was causing global warming—now called climate change—and warning that CO2 emissions were going to kill everyone in the world if they weren’t dramatically reduced. The ball was put in motion with the United Nations 1997 Kyoto Protocols when many nations agreed to this absurd idea and carried forward by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ever since.

The Environmental Protection Agency was created to clean the nation’s air and water where it was deemed that a hazard existed. Like most noble ideas and most Congressional mandates, the initial language was vague enough to be interpreted to mean anything those in charge wanted it to mean. Add in the global warming hoax and you have the means to destroy the nation.

Now it means that the source of fifty percent of all the electricity generated in the United States is being systematically put out of business and please do not act surprised; that’s exactly what Barack Obama said he intended to do if elected President.

This is evil writ large.

Shutting down utilities that use coal, an energy source the U.S. has in such abundance that it could provide electricity for the next hundreds of years, and ensuring that no new ones are built fits in perfectly with all the Green pipedreams about "renewable" energy. Solar and wind presently provide about two percent of the nation’s electricity and, without government subsidies and mandates requiring their use, they would not exist at all.

How stupid is it to not build more nuclear power plants when this form of power doesn’t emit anything but energy?

How stupid is it not to use coal when the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal?

How stupid is it to begin to find reasons to regulate and thwart fracking, the technology to access trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that has been in use for decades?

How stupid is it to cover miles of land, far from any urban center, with hundreds of solar panels or huge, ugly wind turbines that kill thousands of birds every year?

The sun does not shine all the time, nor does the wind blow all the time. In the event of overcast skies or a day without wind, traditional plants—those using coal, gas, nuclear or generating hydroelectric power—have to be maintained as a backup. Take away the coal-fired plants and there were be huge gap in the national grid.

Darkness will descend and Americans will begin to live with blackouts and brownouts that will undermine every aspect of our lives. It’s bad enough when a town or even a city briefly loses power because of a storm, but imagine that occurring on a regular basis because there just aren’t enough utilities generating power!

What kind of people stand by idly while its own government conspires to take away the primary source of energy that everything else depends upon? The answer? You. The answer is the many elected politicians that have done little to rein in a rogue government agency intent on undermining the nation by denying it the ability to generate power with the least expensive source of electricity, coal.

The EPA, an unelected bureaucracy, has just ensured that all Americans, industries, small businesses, and individuals will begin pay far more for electrical power.

Richard J. Trzupek, the author of “Regulators Run Wild” and an environment policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, said of the new rule, “With around 50,000 megawatts of coal-fired power set to be forcibly retired in the next few years—thanks to the draconian policies of Obama’s EPA—this rule ensures that no new modern, efficient coal fired power plants will be built to fill the gap.”

In a triumph of crony capitalism, Trzupek notes that “The big winner will be Obama’s good friend, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt. Since solar and wind cannot fill a 50,000 megawatt baseload gap, the only way to ensure continued reliability of the grid is to build a lot of natural gas-fired plants quickly. And who is the biggest supplier of natural gas-fired combustion engines? GE of course.”

If you think that environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, among many others, are seeking to “protect” the Earth, you are seriously mistaken. They have been among the leading opponents of coal and they have had allies in Congress such as the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, (D-NV) who has said “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick.”

NO! Coal provides the engine of our nation’s electrical power and oil provides the energy that fuels our transportation and is the basis for countless products that enhance and improve our lives every day.

We are witnessing the destruction of the nation by the environmental movement and the EPA has just provided you with the most dramatic example of that plan.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

The Spin is In! Putting a Happy Face on Obamacare's Defeat

Sensing that the Supreme Court will declare Obamacare unconstitutional, a leading voice for the Democratic Party is now trying to put a happy face on the prospect. This is the center piece of Obama's first and hopefully last term. Polls indicate that the vast majority hate Obamacare, but its defeat may be a good thing says James Carville.

Just as its passage was achieved through bribery and political thuggery, now we're told that its defeat is somehow a victory for the Obama and the Democratic Party.

Below is a news story on a Tuesday evening interview:

Carville: A Supreme Court loss will help Democrats
Posted by
CNN Political Unit

(CNN) - While the Obama administration fights to protect the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor James Carville said a Supreme Court overruling may not be such a bad thing for the president, politically.

"I think this will be the best thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party," Carville said Tuesday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

He added: "You know, what the Democrats are going to say, and it is completely justified, 'We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority'."

Carville, who gained fame working on Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, predicted health care costs will only increase in the future, in which case Republicans will be to blame for leading the drive to expel a federal program designed to help Americans cover those costs.

"Then the Republican Party will own the healthcare system for the foreseeable future. And I really believe that. That is not spin," Carville said.

Republican and editor Erik Erikson, meanwhile argued that an overruling would represent more mainstream sentiments than not.

"Both sides, not just the Democrat side, even if the laws were upheld or struck down, there is a 5-4 conservative majority, and historically you see Republicans picking justices who have a greater propensity to gravitate to the left than you see Democrat judges propensity to gravitate to the right," Erikson, also a CNN contributor, said. "This will be an undercurrent issue for both sides, though."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Violent Death in America is an Equal Opportunity Crime

By Alan Caruba

I have had an interest in demography, the study of populations and trends within populations, for a long time. Racial animosities in America have been a factor from the moment white colonists stepped off the boat and were greeted by Native Americans and, not that long after, when the first blacks arrived from Africa where slavery had flourished for centuries.

I lived in the South when Jim Crow laws were on the books and public facilities were segregated. I was a young reporter during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and even met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on one occasion. I have seen the best and worst of what race represents in America.

I would count the initial reporting on the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, as among the worst media coverage in a while because, as the facts begin to emerge after a month, it turns out that there was an eye witness to the incident in which George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, suffered a broken nose and injuries to the back of his head consistent with an attack.

The Black Panther Party issued a reward for Zimmerman’s “capture.” In the meantime, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, have been out doing what they always do, stirring up black anger and blaming all whites for what occurred.

Let’s look at the demographic facts. In 2007 the Associated Press reported that “Nearly half of the nation’s murder victims were black and the number of black men who were slain is on the rise.” The other half were murdered white victims.

Murder in America is an equal opportunity crime.

The article went on to note that black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data then available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other nonfatal violent crimes nationwide.”

The U.S. Justice Department study found that “Most of the black murder victims—93 percent—were killed by other black people.”

The study also found that 85 percent of white victims were slain by other white people. Of the black victims, 51 percent were in their late teens and twenties.

More recent statistics from 2009, posted on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice show pretty much the same trend. That year, 2,604 blacks were killed by blacks, along with 454 whites, but whites managed to kill each other to the tune of 2,963 victims, while killing 209 black victims.

Nationally by 2010, homicide was the leading cause of death for black young men ages 10-24 and the second leading cause of death for black women ages 15-24.

Overall, between 1974 and 2004, 52 percent of murderers were black, 48 percent were white, while 51 percent of the victims were white and 47 percent were black. If one can spin these statistics to suggest that the killing of Trayvon Martin was racial, be my guest.

Appearing on the Sean Hannity program Monday evening, Zimmerman’s friend, Joe Oliver, calmly defended him saying “he is not a racist.” Oliver is black.

Why Barack Obama felt it necessary to insert himself into the situation before the facts are established was a reminder of an earlier situation in 2009 when he took issue with an incident between Cambridge, Massachusetts police and a black professor who was hauled off to jail for failing to cooperate with them. Always assuming the police are to blame or inferring that Trayvon Martin was killed because he could have looked like Obama’s son, if he had one, is a serious breach of judgment. To say it out loud is even worse.

Finally, lost in all the hasty assumptions and accusations is the fact that Zimmerman was, as previously noted, a neighborhood watch volunteer and this suggests the Sanford, Florida neighborhood had crime problems. Trayvon, we’re learning, had some earlier experiences with the local police, so he was on that evening a subject of concern to Zimmerman who reported his presence to the police and was returning to his car when the shooting occurred.

No one takes any pleasure in the death of Trayvon Martin or any other young black man. It is a tragedy, but it is also one that is repeated far too many times in too many American cities for reasons that cannot be passed off as racism. His death reflects the pathologies that plague too many of America’s black population.

We should be celebrating the black men and women that escape their cultural bondage, embrace middle class values, and ennoble their lives through their personal achievements.

Exploiting his death is a disservice to both America’s black and white population.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Obama's Oily Pipeline Lies

By Alan Caruba

The President’s trip last week to Cushing, Oklahoma, was nothing more than the opportunity to stand in front of a stack of oil pipeline sections and lie some more about the Keystone pipeline. His contempt for the intelligences of Americans was on full display.

A pipeline section that did not require his approval or involvement was touted as “a priority.” His delay of the Keystone pipeline from Canada was passed off as based on his concern for “the health and safety of the American people.”

The safety of oil pipelines is well established. There is an extensive network; 55,000 miles of crude oil trunk lines in the U.S. and another estimated 40,000 miles of small gathering lines located mostly in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming that gather oil from wells both online and offshore and connect to the larger trunk lines.

Obama thinks most Americans are so dumb that a photo and a short televised news report in front of pipeline sections will convince them he and his administration have been leading the effort to ensure domestic oil is available.

He is wrong. He is the stupid one.

By the end of the week, Rasmussen Reports released the results of a poll in which “Voters continue to believe the United States is not doing enough to develop its gas and oil resources, and strongly support offshore drilling. Most also still think going ahead with offshore drilling is likely to bring down the price of gasoline at the pump.” Of those polled, 62% favored offshore drilling.

The Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, when asked about Obama’s speech, said, “President Obama’s rhetoric is matched with a policy record that is aggressively anti-energy and continues to stifle economic growth in Oklahoma and throughout the nation.” Gov. Fallin said Obama should “reexamine his polices, not deliver more speeches taking credit for the accomplishments of others.”

That, however, is standard operating procedure for Obama. Either he blames anything and everything that goes wrong on someone or something else, or he takes credit where none is due. What is one to expect from a President he was given a Nobel Peace Prize within months of taking office in order to pump up a virtually invisible resume? No doubt the Nobel committee will be giving out free pizzas to all who attend future ceremonies.

In January, when Obama announced the delay of permits to the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada—a major trading partner and ally—Tom Pyle, the president of the Institute on Energy Research, called the decision “unconscionable.”

“With more than 1.7 trillion barrels of recoverable oil under our soil,” said Pyle, “we have enough oil to fuel our present needs for the next 250 years.” The addition of the Canadian oil will further ensure future energy requirements will be met.

It isn’t just the President who lies. Members of his administration do so all the time. During a White House press conference in March Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that oil and gas production had increased on federal lands.

It has declined and increases in oil production have come primarily from privately owned land. On federally controlled lands, oil production since 2010 has dropped by eleven percent and gas by six percent. Revenue from lease sales for exploration and extraction is 250 times less than during the last year of the Bush administration.

This is an administration that re-authorized a moratorium on offshore drilling and imposed an embargo on oilshale development while at the same time wasting billions on so-called green energy “investments.” The Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, gave himself an “A” for the job he’s done thus far even as the cost of gasoline at the pump climbs toward $4 and higher.

Secretary Chu’s own department’s Energy Information Administration recently reported that the oil industry paid some $35.7 billion in corporate income taxes in 2009, the latest year for which data are available. According to The Wall Street Journal that is about 10% of non-defense discretionary spending. “All told, the government rakes in $86 million from oil and gas every day—far more than any other business.”

Voters would, indeed, have to be as stupid as Obama thinks they are if they reelect him in November.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Obamacare Versus the U.S. Constitution

By Alan Caruba

In a nation where Congress has already determined how much water your toilet tank can hold and whether you can purchase a 100-watt incandescent light bulb, the assertion of federal power is now so great and so unbounded that a case concerning the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), brought by 26 states will decide whether, in fact, there are any rights or powers left to the states.

What many Americans do not know is that the United States of America is composed of separate and sovereign republics, each with its own constitution. What has occurred, however, has been the erosion of states’ rights and with that, the gradual distortion of the nation’s central instrument of governance, the Constitution, to mean anything Congress wants it to say.

At the very heart of the Obamacare case the Supreme Court will hear Monday through Wednesday, March 26 through March 28, is the question of whether the federal government can coerce the states under the threat of withholding funds—in this case for Medicaid.

Obamacare vastly expands Medicaid, but it should also be noted that Medicaid has been expanded over the years without evoking this kind of organized resistance. Over a million Americans descended on Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2010 to demand that it not be passed. They were dismissed by the White House that bribed and pressured members of Congress who, it turns out, never even read the law before voting on it.

Created in 1965, Medicaid was intended to ensure that low-income individuals and families secure medical care. Obamacare represents that largest expansion in its history. As the largest federal-state funding program, in 2010 it represented some $401.4 billion. Predictions of what Obamacare will cost are over the moon.

At present, some 60 million Medicaid beneficiaries include one in four children, severely disabled people, many nursing home residents, and low-income pregnant women. Children’s and trauma hospitals heavily rely on Medicaid funding. Under Obamacare, if ruled constitutional, more than 30 million more people are expected to gain health coverage through Medicaid.

The likelihood is that a federally administered health care system will destroy what is widely regarded as the best private sector health system in the world. It will put the government squarely between the physician and his patient, determining who receives treatment and the amount and cost of that treatment.

The issue of contention for many Constitutional scholars and others is Obamacare’s demand that everyone either purchase a health insurance program or pay a fine for not doing so. Congress asserts this under the Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, that says it shall have the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes.”

The early Supreme Court led by the fourth Chief Justice John Marshall (serving from 1801 to 1835) broadly interpreted these powers, extending federal jurisdiction over a number of aspects of intrastate and interstate commerce. In more recent times, under Justice William Rehnquist, (serving 1986 to 2005) the Court restricted interpretation of the Clause to allow states more control over business conducted within its borders.

The tensions between the states and the central government have always been part of the life of the nation and the Civil War was the ultimate test of whether states can secede from the Union if they feel their rights are being trampled upon. Under the many progressive social justice programs instituted since the 1930s, federal programs have acquired the power to coerce states to do its bidding simply by threatening to withhold billions in funding.

One need hardly be a constitutional scholar to understand that a federal government that can require you to purchase something you do not want or do not need can require you to do anything it wants. A government that powerful is a government to be feared.

The Tenth Amendment Center is rather sanguine about the Supreme Court’s likely decision. It notes that “In fact, from 1937-1995, the Supreme Court didn’t rule one single congressional act to be outside their constitution limits.” Thus, for sixty years, “they ruled absolutely nothing unconstitutional, and that included much of the new deal and all of the Great Society. Since that time, overruling Congress has been a rare occurrence at best.”

The Center is the leading advocate of the concept of “nullification” by which the states refuse to obey or enforce a federal law they deem a threat to the rights granted by the Constitution “For over 100 years,” says the Center, “federal power has been on one path and one path alone. It doesn’t matter which political party has been in charge. This case is the last exit ramp on the road to unlimited government.”

The Supreme Court is not famous for overturning its own decisions, precedents, and that is why many observers conclude they will rule in favor of Obamacare.

Add to that, the new Associate Justice, Elana Kagan, should have recused herself from hearing the case, having served as a Solicitor General in the Obama administration. The Court, however, defended her participation. As President Obama’s top advocate, Kagan headed the office responsible for formulating the administration’s defense of Obamacare—and oversaw the arguments both on appeal and in the lower courts because of its national importance. If that is not a conflict of interest, nothing is.

That leaves only one option left and that is a Congress elected in 2012 for the purpose of repealing Obamacare and a President other than Obama to sign it into law. The House has already passed legislation to repeal Obamacare.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for President, is on record he would repeal Obamacare. Now he needs a Republican Senate and a Republican House in order to stop the federal government from becoming so powerful that a new revolution would have to be fought to overthrow it.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Closing Ranks, Winning the Election

By Alan Caruba

I am surely not breaking any new ground by suggesting it is time for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to end their primary campaigns and to urge that the Republican Party close ranks behind Mitt Romney.

This needs to be said by anyone and everyone who wants to see Obama defeated in November.

It would be an act of patriotism for both men, Santorum and Gingrich, to end their campaigns. I make no mention of Ron Paul because he was always a sideshow.

In this week’s column, Ann Coulter spells out why Santorum is hardly worthy of support.

“Meanwhile, when he was in Congress, Santorum wouldn't even vote to eliminate federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Santorum supported all sorts of big-government spending plans -- No Child Left Behind, prescription drug coverage for seniors and the "bridge to nowhere."

But you'd think we would at least have Santorum's vote against federal funding for pornographers and deviants. Alas, no.

The NEA, you will recall, uses federal taxpayer money to subsidize crucifixes submerged in urine, photos of bullwhips up a man's derriere, poems celebrating the Central Park jogger's rapists, photos of amputated human genitalia, vomit, mutilated corpses and dead fetuses. (And that was just the children's wing of the museum!)

But Rick Santorum voted against cutting funding for the NEA every time a vote was taken both as a representative and a senator -- in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997 and 1998. These weren't accidental votes. Each one was deemed a key conservative vote on which members of Congress would be graded by the American Conservative Union.”

I have long been on record in my support of Mitt Romney and my view that Newt is unqualified for as long a list of reasons as Coulter offers regarding Santorum.

Because they failed to receive the support of voters and secure funding, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race what seems like an age ago.

Santorum continues and, in doing so, is saying things that make no sense even to those barely paying any attention to him at this point. He has never been in serious contention even in the few states where he has been credited with a win. The 2012 election will be won on the basis of economic, not social issues.

Newt’s percentages have been dismal, but Newt continues because he loves the spotlight and has a single deep-pockets financial backer that allows him to fly around recommending Moon colonies and other fanciful notions.

It is March 2012 and Republicans need to coalesce behind a single candidate, donate to him and the Party, volunteer, and do all the things necessary to defeat Obama. Otherwise, four years from now, if Obama is still President, he will be presiding over a nation whose exceptionalism, economy, and world power status will be a thing of the past.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Attacking Paul Ryan, But Not the National Debt

By Alan Caruba

The White House and Democrats have been attacking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, for having the audacity to put forth budget plans, something the Democrats in the Senate have failed to pass for well over a thousand days at this point.

The first words out of Rep. Steve Israel’s mouth, a Democrat from New York, were the pathetic blather about “billionaires.” Most Americans aren’t billionaires or even millionaires and are more concerned about the rising costs of gasoline, food, and everything else than whether the rich pay more taxes. In point of fact, the rich pay the vast bulk of the income taxes and some forty percent of workers pay none at all. If you earn more than $250,000 a year, Democrats think you’re rich.

Harry Reid
 Never mind that most of us are trying to live within our own budget, the Democrats have resisted passing any kind of a budget to address a looming fiscal crisis of their making. That was why voters in 2010 returned control of the House, where all appropriations are authorized, to Republicans. If they had done the same for the Senate, we might actually have had some budgets, but Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has ensured that every effort to address the fiscal mess fails.

The White House and the Senate, despite the Simpson-Bowles Commission, despite the so-called “super committee”, and despite the plans put forth by Ryan, have utterly failed to do anything but spend, spend, and spend. To do so, they must borrow, borrow, and borrow.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that annual spending over the Obama era had climbed to a projected $3.6 trillion this fiscal year from $2.98 trillion in fiscal 2008; more than 20%. It added up to an increase of about $5 trillion in just four years. This year will mark the highest deficit—the difference between government revenues and government spending—since 1946!

Robotically and moronically, the Democrats keep calling for higher taxes and even the CBO has concluded that the 2012 tax hike (ending the Bush tax cuts) on capital gains, dividends, estates and small businesses would impede economic growth, reducing it 1% the next year and raising the specter of unemployment rising from 8.5% to 9.1%--increasing the jobless to 750,000.

As The Wall Street Journal put it, “the CBO’s facts plainly show that Mr. Obama has the worst fiscal record of any President in modern times. No one else is even close.”

In addition to the tired rhetoric about billionaires and millionaires, the Democrats are also lying about Ryan’s plan as it relates to Medicare, claiming it wants to deprive older Americans of its benefits, but as Ryan points out, “Our budget’s Medicare reforms make no changes for those in or near retirement.” Without reform, Medicare will go broke as will Social Security.

Ryan’s plan “spurs economic growth with bold tax reform—eliminating complexity for individuals and families and boosting competitiveness for American job creators. Led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, our budget consolidates the current six income tax brackets into just two brackets of 10% and 25%”, the latter for corporations in order to permit them to be more competitive with nations that tax their corporations at a far lower rate than ours”, currently near the highest in the world.

“We reject calls to raise taxes,” says Ryan, preferring to close tax loopholes.

In brief, the Ryan budget would produce savings in federal spending of $5.3 trillion over ten years and reduce the deficit by $3.3 trillion. It proposes a 10% reduction of the federal work force over three years through attrition and it offers reforms to Medicaid, among others to pull the nation back from the brink of catastrophic collapse and default.

You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to know what is wrong with the way Obama and his Democrat trolls are running the government, despite Republican efforts to apply the brakes. They have increased spending to $3.8 trillion despite the fact that the government only takes in about $2.1 in revenue.

In just one term, Obama is on pace to borrow $6.2 trillion. The debt rises by $4.2 billion every day, $175 million per hour, nearly $3 million per minute.

Without a Republican in the White House and Republican control of both the House and Senate, the United States of America—you and I—are headed off a cliff. All the lies Obama tells between now and November 6, 2012 will not change that.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Destroy all the Churches"

By Alan Caruba

News Report, March 19, 2012: “Four people, including three children, have been killed after a man opened fire outside a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse Monday. Police say the bullets came from the same gun that was used last week in the murder of three soldiers.”

Recently, according to several Arabic news sources, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufi of Saudi Arabia, declared that is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” By “region” one assumes he was referring to the Middle East, but he might as well have been referring to the entire world.

There are no churches in Saudi Arabia and no bibles either. No evidence of or access to any other religion is permitted and one has to pause to ask whether Islam is a “religion” in any other than its outward appearance. It has mosques for “religious” worship. It has clerics in the form of imams and ayatollahs. It has a holy book, the Quran. And it has more than a billion people who identify themselves as Muslims.

As Raymond Ibrahim noted in a recent article, “Likewise, consider the significance of the Grant Mufti’s rationale for destroying churches; it is simply based on a Hadith. But when non-Muslims evoke hadiths—this one or the countless others that incite violence and intolerance against the ‘infidel’—they are accused of being ‘Islamophobes’, of intentionally slandering and misrepresenting Islam, of being obstacles on the road to ‘dialogue’, and so forth.”

Islam translates as “submission” and it is a common human trait to let someone or some institution do all one’s thinking as opposed to personally having to grapple with ethical, social, moral, and academic issues. Authoritarian regimes exist to stamp out all independent thought or action.

Reviewing a book by Robert R. Reilly, “The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern islamist Crisis”, Imbrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowtiz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, notes that, in Islam, “Reilly chronicles how the giants of Muslim philosophy, such as Ghazali and Ashari, concluded that knowledge was unknowable, that moral truths can only be ascertained through revelation. Accordingly, all knowledge—the very bounds of reality—came to be limited to the words of the Quran and its pronouncer, Islam's prophet Muhammad.”

This explains why the burning of some Qurans in Afghanistan brought scores of Afghanis into the streets in protest and resulted in the killing of American soldiers, but the massacre of Afghanis by an American soldier has not produced the same response. They are regarded merely as “martyrs.” Indeed, what the West has witnessed countless times, the killing of infidels does not result in any calls for an end to the murders.

Mosques are hotbeds of violence planned and perpetrated against “infidels”, unbelievers.

There is, from a Western, Judeo-Christian point of view a total incomprehension of Islam’s utter contempt for any other system of faith or governance.

This is why Christians and those of other faiths are fleeing the whole of the Middle East if they can because they have no protection from either Islam or from their respective governments against the violence that has been preached and practiced against them since the rise of Islam. Christianity literally has no future in the Middle East and anywhere else where Islam is the dominant force.

This is why, if Iran acquires the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, it will use them against Israel first, America second, and the rest of the West unless it is stopped.

In Dr. Peter Hammond's book: “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat”, he describes Islam, saying that it “is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a ‘beard’ for all of the other components.”

“Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.”

What current generations in the West and around the non-Islamic world are witnessing is the absolute evil that lies at the heart of Islam, repeated on a daily basis. It is most evident in the Middle East from where the threat emanates, but it is a part of the daily life of Europe where an increasing Muslim population will reverse many of the advances of civilization and democracy the West takes for granted.

This accounts for Islam’s intense hatred of Judaism for its ethical philosophy, its spirit of intellectual inquiry and the way this was eventually adopted with the rise of Christianity in the West after it was largely driven from its Middle Eastern origins.

It is the greatest folly to dismiss a call to “destroy all the churches” as just the uttering of some Muslim madman. The call lies at the very heart of Islam’s total contempt for any other faith—Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai—and its determination to rule the whole of the world’s population through terror and intimidation.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ah, Spring! Oh-Oh, Pests!

Yikes! Termites!
By Alan Caruba

Poets never seem to run out of words to describe spring. Alfred Lord Tennyson said a young man’s thoughts turn to love when spring arrives. Gardeners especially welcome it to put their little part of the world in perfect order, and many thrill to the sound of “Play ball!”

Spring, for me, is an annual reminder of the sheer power of nature to regenerate itself. Wherever you live, the trees burst into bloom along with the fecund life cycles of every species. In a world shaking loose the icy grip of winter, spring is full of the promise of warmer days, blue skies, and the real greening that nature provides.

Along with other species, spring signals the emergence of insect and rodent pests. America has been suffering a plague of bed bugs these days because there is only one pesticide registered to kill them and the Environmental Protection Agency has been notoriously slow to permit its use. All manner of other non-chemical techniques are used, but the bed bugs survive and thrive.

I know a lot about pests because in the 1980s I began to provide public relations services for my home state’s pest control association. These days both the national and state associations have renamed themselves “pest management” groups, but the only thing you want to “manage” with insect and rodent pests is to kill them as fast as possible.

So, yes, when spring arrives, I know that a lot of pest control professionals are gearing up to do battle with cockroaches, termites, ants, spiders, ticks, bed bugs, wasps, and the many permutations of their various species. The profession had its beginnings in the Middle Ages when men called “ratcatchers” plied their trade. Even English royalty employed them to keep their castles rat-free.

At the time, few made any connection between rats, fleas, and the Bubonic plague that raged through Europe from 1347 for the next five years, but that didn’t stop the plague from killing off a quarter of the population of Europe, some 25 million! Try to imagine what life would be like without pest control professionals today?

Spring, for example, marks the arrival of Lyme disease in many parts of the nation where there are large deer populations. The northeast is particularly vulnerable to this disease that is spread by the black-legged deer tick.

For homeowners and others with property, spring signals the presence of termites when their winged alates show up on window panes, attracted by the sunlight. What most do not know is that their home has likely been infested for several years until the colony reaches a point of sending the alates out to establish new colonies. Annually termites do more damage to homes throughout the United States than the combined effects of storms, fires, and earthquakes. Termite damage is frequently not covered by homeowner’s insurance. It is estimated they cause $5 billion in damage every year.

Termites aren’t the only insect that can inflict property damage, a colony of Carpenter ants, often several thousands in numbers, can enter a home overnight and begin to dine on its wooden elements.

Pest management professionals always urge consumers to have their homes and workplaces regularly inspected for signs of insect or rodent pests. The tendency, however, is to wait until there are signs of an infestation before people call for help. I’d rather know my home or business was pest-free.

For example, there are a variety of cockroach species indigenous to the United States. They include the American, German, and Oriental cockroach. A cockroach infestation can number in the hundreds of thousands. A single, female German cockroach can, statistically, produce more than 400,000 descendents in a single year. The young of German cockroaches mature in 36 days, while American cockroaches take up to 160 days. If you see one, particularly in a restaurant, it means there are thousands you can’t see.

Rodents, mice and rats, breed prodigiously as well. Rats have a life span of approximately nine months and are ready to breed within three months. Their gestation period is 22 days and they have an average litter of eight. A female rat can produce 20 offspring. Statistically, a single pair of rats has the potential, mathematically, of producing 359 million descendents in three year’s time.

I hope this hasn’t reduced all those warm, fuzzy feelings you have about the return of spring to those of dread, but in truth Mother Nature doesn’t care how you feel about spring or bed bugs or any of the many other creatures who are too busy reproducing to be concerned about your welfare and health.

Remember that the next time the EPA bans another pesticide or some environmentalist tells you that the biggest threat to your life is carbon dioxide, a gas you exhale all the time.

Mark Twain put these words in Tom Sawyer’s mouth: “It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want -- oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Fear of Martial Law

By Alan Caruba

The President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has generated so much fear that the most common theme of posted comments and private communications is that he will refuse to relinquish power if defeated in November or that, under some pretext, he will declare a state of martial law.

Many, myself included, did not like the Patriot Act that was enacted following 9/11 but there is little evidence that this law has been abused to deprive Americans of their fundamental rights and freedom, though surely some suspected of being terrorists were detained.

An Executive Order posted on the White House website on Friday, March 16, 2012, has generated a wave of fear. It is officially about “National Defense Resources Preparedness” and its stated policy addresses “national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950.”

Its stated policy is that “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.”  (Emphasis added)

In 1950 the nation was entering a new phase of history following World War II. It would be called the Cold War led by the then-Soviet Union, but 1950 is also important because on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedung had proclaimed the birth of the People’s Republic of China, instituting a Communist regime that continues to this day. With German and Japanese totalitarian threats vanquished, new ones were emerging.

The new EO evokes fear because it is occurring in peacetime and, more specifically, when the United States remains the strongest military power on Earth. There is no indication that an attack by any other nation is anticipated, so the implementation of the EO raises concerns that its purpose is not what it says.

In effect, the EO allows the federal government, directed by the President, to commandeer and control all aspects of the economy and the lives of all Americans. It centralizes control to an astonishing and frightening degree.

As just one example, it parcels out control to “ the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer” and thereafter to:

The Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

The Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

The Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

The Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

The Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

The obvious question is why is this EO necessary in the absence of any threat of an invasion or even an attack?

The obvious question is why should the President of the United States, in the run-up to a national election, feel that this is the time to issue such an EO?

I have frankly been dismissive of widely expressed fears that Obama would or could carry off a coup d’etat to establish himself as an American dictator. The problem, however, is that Obama has surrounded himself with Cabinet Secretaries and a shadow government of “czars” that would likely support him if he were to attempt such an audacious move.

The “legality” of such a move would be rubber-stamped by the Attorney General whose regard for the Constitution and laws of the nation is dubious at best, elastic at worst. The President’s views about the Constitution are well known and he resents the limits it puts on his powers.

Would Congress stand by and allow its powers be usurped? Imagine yourself a Senator or Representative fearful of arrest and detention. Rounding up all 435 members would not be a difficult task.

The nation’s media, with exceptions, has “covered” for this President regarding the legitimacy of his right to hold office, his absurd energy policies, and his takeover of various segments of the nation’s economic base; the auto industry, the insurance industry, and Obamacare’s attempt to takeover the healthcare sector.

That is why this EO has evoked such fear and concern and that is why Congress has to assert its Constitutional powers before this President is permitted to overthrow the legislative branch of government and seize control through an EO that is so broad that it is a breathtaking seizure of power that could only be considered if the nation was, in fact, under attack.

This EO is about “preparedness”, but for whom?

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Obama Will Lose in November

By Alan Caruba

I received a campaign letter from Michelle Obama the other day. This is especially surprising because I am a registered Republican; hardly a likely prospect to contribute to her husband’s reelection efforts.

“Every day I learn about the challenges and the struggles—the doctor bills they can’t pay or the mortgage they can no longer afford,” said the text. The “fairness” theme, a socialist meme, was expressed. “American prospers when we are all in this together, when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, when everyone—from Main Street to Wall Street—does their fair share and plays by the same rules.”

The fact is, however, America has not been prospering for the last four years during which Barack Obama has been President. And everyone knows it. The U.S. sovereign debt rating was downgraded for the first time while he occupied the Oval Office. Federal spending (25% of GDP) is the highest since World War Two. Federal debt (67% of GDP) is the highest since just after the end of World War Two, and the nation has experienced, not only the longest recession, but the highest unemployment since the 1930s.

In the first nineteen months of his time in office, Obama added more federal debt than was amassed by all U.S. Presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.

I have two theories about the November 6 election. (1) That it will be an overwhelming defeat for Obama or (2) that it will be so close we could see a situation comparable to the Bush-Kerry election in 2004. Had Kerry won, the vice president would have been John Edwards who was carrying on an affair during that campaign and who currently faces jail for misuse of campaign funds.

Obama’s Achilles’ heel is, of course, Obamacare. As Robert Bluey of The Heritage Foundation notes, recent polls indicate that 53% of Americans favor repeal and more than half (57%) say that the Supreme Court should strike it down as unconstitutional. Fully 60% of physicians believe the law will have a negative impact on overall patient care.

The Congressional Budget Office revisited Obamacare this past week and concluded that 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health benefits and 49 million more Americans could become dependent on government-sponsored health care. Projecting through 2022, Obamacare could cost as much as $2.134 billion and the employer-mandate penalties could hit $221 billion.

There’s another reason why Michelle Obama was writing to me last week. As Karl Rove noted in a Wall Street Journal March 14 commentary, “Many of Mr. Obama’s 2008 donors are reluctant to give again” to his campaign. “As the Obama campaign itself reported, fewer than 7% of 2008 donors renewed their support in the first quarter of his re-election campaign, well below the typical renewal rate.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee are burning through current donations so fast that the White House has told this year’s congressional candidates that they will not receive any funding support for their campaigns because Obama needs all the money.

While Obama’s 2012 campaign is already showing signs of stress, other issues will impose great pressure. Unemployment affects most American families either directly or because some member of the family or a friend is unemployed. Even the unemployed vote!

The price of gasoline continues to rise and there is nothing the White House can do to reduce it. Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that exists for use only in an emergency will not do it and Americans are well aware that this administration has opposed or thwarted every effort to drill for more oil on federal lands. The failures of “green energy” companies that have cost Americans billions in loan guarantees are well known. A President who hypes “algae” as an energy solution will be seen as a fool and/or a complete charlatan.

Recent polls indicate how close the 2012 election may be. Obama has lost ground among female voters. In a head-to-head match-up with Mitt Romney, women voters back Obama 49%, but that is seven points lower than 2008. A Rasmussen poll found that 59% of likely voters asked whether Obama is more liberal or more conservative than they are answered that he was more liberal. Of these likely voters, 65% who are also union members thought Obama was more liberal than themselves.

Polling firms have been asking Americans to self identify themselves as conservative or liberal for decades. In February 2012, Gallup polling revealed “that in every single state with the exception of Massachusetts” conservatives outnumbered liberals. The Battleground Poll conducted by George Washington University in collaboration with Democrat and Republican polling organizations found that 58% of Americans described themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative”, while only 37% described themselves as “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.”

A conservative campaign message will win in 2012 and this explains why the Republican primaries are all about candidates striving to describe themselves as a “true conservative.”

Even the mainstream media show indications of less Obama support. When even The Washington Post rejects Obama’s lies about U.S. oil reserves, as it did on March 15th, it suggests there may be a growing, wider level of disenchantment with the man they embraced in 2008.

Obama will lose in November. It may be a very close election or it may be an overwhelming rejection, but the polling numbers and the state of the economy will be the deciding factors.

Memo to Michelle Obama: The “fairness” message is not working. The appalling failures—“stimulus” anyone?—of Obama’s first term will ensure that there will be no second term.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Primary Marathon

By Alan Caruba

I have a suspicion that most people have lost interest in the Republican primaries beyond getting a quick update of who won, who came in second, third, and the usual question of why Ron Paul is running at all.

The primaries are a marathon that requires the men who want to be president to endure physical and emotional challenges that would likely kill anyone who lacked the will power and stamina to travel from state to state, give the essentially same speech over and over again, and be interviewed from early morning to late evening, responding to the same questions ad infinitum.

Running a primary campaign is a major business enterprise and, at this point, the only man with experience in the world of business and finance appears to be winning the delegate count needed to challenge the President.

If you’re sick of hearing about the outcome of primary elections, here’s what lies ahead:

March 17 – Missouri
March 18 – Puerto Rico
March 20 – Illinois
March 24 – Louisiana

April 3 – Washington, D.C., Maryland, Wisconsin
April 24 – Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

May 8 – Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia
May 15 – Nebraska, Oregon
May 22 – Arkansas, Kentucky
May 29 – Texas

June 5 – California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota
June 26 – Utah

And then! There’s the Republican National Convention August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida.

All this provides employment to everyone involved in the campaigns, everyone in the media who provides news coverage, and scores of vendors who will produce all the paraphernalia we associate with elections.

At the center of the vortex will be the candidates and surrounding them will be the endless questions of who’s ahead and who may drop out, et cetera, et cetera.

I do not know why we select our candidates in this fashion. I assume the process has evolved over the many years of the republic. No one seems to have come up with a better way of doing it, but in the end we are selecting a man to lead the nation (and the world) who will wield more power—for good or ill—than can be imagined.

It is a cliché to say that this will be the most important election of our lifetimes, but it is true.

If Barack Obama remains in office the financial destruction of the nation will be completed, the reduction of our military power will continue, the government takeover of critical elements of our economy will continue, and the America that lives in our hearts and imagination will cease to be.

There is no mystery to ending the recession we entered after the 2008 financial crisis; the longest since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Any economist will tell you how to do it. Anyone who runs a business, large or small, will tell you.

There is no mystery to reducing the flow of regulations that throttle innovation and expansion. Entire government departments and agencies need to be eliminated and Congress must be “encouraged” to stop passing massive bills it has not read! Show them the door!

There is no mystery to getting Barack Obama reelected. Republicans and independent voters just need to stay home.

The primary elections are a test of the resolve of American voters to get the real change they need and want.

It is a political IQ test.

They are the marathon we all must run if we are to reclaim and renew the America we love.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oil, Gas and Lies

By Alan Caruba

Why some people are having difficulty identifying the cause of the present high cost of gasoline at the pump as the direct result of the last three years of Barack Obama’s energy policies is one of those great mysteries.

By “energy policies” I mean his administration’s opposition to access to the billions of barrels of oil on federal lands.

I mean his Energy Secretary’s earlier opinion that high gas prices are good for the economy, abandoned as they climb to and passed $4.

I mean Obama’s lies about the recent increase in oil production when he knows it is occurring on private and state owned land, not federal land.

I mean his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

I mean the waste of billions of taxpayer’s dollars on “renewable energy” firms, many of which have already failed, along with the sales of the Chevy Volt, whose production has been discontinued.

I mean two amendments to the Senate transportation bill that would have created new taxpayer-funded subsidies for natural gas vehicles, extended the production tax credit to underwrite wind energy, and revived the Treasury grant program that gives taxpayer money for the installation of solar panels and other renewable technologies.

I mean the impact his policies are having on everyone’s wallet and its drag on the economy as his policies drive up the cost of gasoline and everything dependent on transporting goods anywhere…and that is everything!

Just how dumb do you have to be not to grasp that when Obama took office on January 20, 2009, oil was selling at $38.74 a barrel and the average retail price of gasoline was around $1.90 a gallon. Today, oil is trading at more than $108 a barrel and gasoline is closing in on $4.00 a gallon. As they say, do the math.

In early March, speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire, Barack Obama said, “Let’s put every single member of Congress on record. You can stand with oil companies or you can stand up for the American people.” This consummate liar is using the same pathetic message and damage done by Jimmy Carter---who got voted out of office after a single term as president.

In his 2005 book, “Why Your Gasoline Prices are High”, Seldon B. Graham, Jr, a graduate of West Point, used his fifty years of experience in the oil industry described what happened when, in 1981, Congress passed a windfall profits tax. “It was a death notice for USA oil. Many U.S. oil and gas companies went bankrupt…and those which survived were forced to go overseas to explore and drill in foreign countries.”

At the very time when the Middle East is in turmoil, the Democrats want to repeat the same blunder of 1981.

In a nation that sits atop billions of barrels of untapped oil in federal lands such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, domestic oil reserves in the lower 48 states, the Gulf of Mexico, and the vast untapped reserves off the nation’s continental coasts, the Obama administration has restricted oil companies from exploring and drilling in areas where new reserves of oil and gas are known to exist, shortened lease terms, and has slowed down permit approvals.

That is the equivalent of declaring an energy war on the nation. Moreover, in a virtual secret, the Obama State Department is involved in a deal to turn over seven Alaskan islands to Russia. One of them is the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined and who knows how much oil lies beneath them?

Oil prices are set by the market principles of supply and demand. By aggressively thwarting access to America’s abundant oil reserves, the Obama administration is deliberately keeping prices high and forcing them higher.

As Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a press conference on March 8, “When crude prices are high, the price at the pump is also high. With a 42-gallon barrel of crude oil topping $106, refiners pay more than $2.50 for each gallon of crude they must purchase. Add in the almost 50 cents per gallon on average in gasoline taxes and you have over $3.00 of what consumers are now paying at the pump.”

Simply by announcing his intent to open new areas for exploration and production, President Obama could signal the market and put downward pressure on today’s and tomorrow’s gasoline prices. This is exactly what happened when President Bush lifted the moratorium on the East and West Outer Continental Shelf back in July 2008. It resulted in a 12% decline in the price per barrel.

Why are we paying more? Why are U.S. dollars going to oil-producing nations that do not like America? Why are we competing for oil with China, India and other emerging economies when we have enough oil, gas, and coal to be energy independent for the next century or longer?

The reason is the policies of the present and past administrations going back to the days of Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. The answer given by the White House is greedy oil companies and Wall Street “speculators.” It is a lie.

The worst of it, as a recent Wall Street Journal article explained, “Oil can’t go much higher without derailing the economy…at some point, oil prices overwhelm everyone,” wrote Liam Denning. Keeping them artificially high can have no other purpose than to continue the destruction of the nation and the President knows it.

© Alan Caruba, 2012