Friday, August 31, 2012

You Just Cannot Make This Stuff Up!


"As sand sculpture firm “Team Sandtastic” put the finishing touches on a 16-foot sculpture of President Barack Obama outside of the EpiCentre in Charlotte, N.C., Sand Obama made a command appearance on Twitter right on schedule."









Cartoon Round Up









Thursday, August 30, 2012

Civility? From the Democratic Party? You Gotta Be Kidding!



By Alan Caruba

We have already begun to hear calls for civility in the remaining ten weeks of the campaigns until Election Day. While I take this for granted from Republicans, I have not seen much evidence of it from Democrats.

Television ads claiming that Mitt Romney caused a woman to die from cancer or portraying Paul Ryan as pushing on old lady in a wheelchair off a cliff are not my idea of civility if the definition of civility also includes telling the truth.

Taking their cue from a President who is currently lying about everything from “our plan worked” to “the private sector is doing fine”, the Democrats are stuck with this blatantly false message.

I want you to watch and listen to the level of Democrat hysteria that will follow Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. It will tell you everything you need to know about the weeks ahead between now and Election Day.

Currently, the Democrats are pushing a claim that there is a Republican “war on women.” Please! On the same night that Paul Ryan gave his acceptance speech, he was preceded by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

Expect more of the same deliberate deceptions as Democrats desperately try to keep the focus on anything other than the economic mess they “inherited” and did not fix. They created the mess with their housing policies that demanded and rewarded banks for making bad mortgage loans. Those chickens came home to roost in 2008 as George W. Bush's second term was coming to an end and they have been blaming him ever since!

Winston Churchill warned that “We must beware of trying to build a society in which nobody counts for anything except a politician or an official, a society where enterprise gains no reward and thrift no privileges.”

That is a description of the last nearly four years of the Obama administration, replete with a shadowy super-class of White House officials dubbed the “czars.”

As any historian or student of history will tell you, presidential campaigns in America have not been distinguished by civility. Vicious attacks between opponents were the order of the day from the earliest days following the precedent-setting two terms held by our first President. For much of the late 18th and throughout the 19th centuries, the name-calling was often virulent.

Writing recently in The Wall Street Journal, Robert Dallek noted that “Character assassination so often trumps policy differences in presidential campaigns for a couple of reasons. Despite all the public hand-wringing about negative advertising, political veterans will tell you that it persists because, more often than not. It works. But tearing down the other guy has another attraction: It can be a substitute for building much of a case for what the mudslinger will do once in office.” The key word here is “substitute.”

Back in 2010 when voters demonstrated their dissatisfaction with Obama’s conduct of national and international affairs by returning control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, political pundit Karl Rove wrote, “If Mr. Obama is serious about his commitment to courtesy and respect, then he will need to demonstrate presidential leadership and rein in the verbal excesses of the leaders of his party.”

One example was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who characterized conservatives as “reptiles” and “fire-breathing tea party nut jobs.”

More recently over at CNN, a reliable platform for Democratic Party spokespersons, both Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer were so appalled by Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s lies about the Romney-Ryan approach to saving Medicare and repealing Obamacare that they were forced to strongly reproach the DNC Chairwoman in ways not frequently seen on television.

In April 2010, the results of the Allegheny College Survey of Civility and Compromise in American Politics revealed that voters were well aware of what they deemed a lack of civility.

“A whopping 95% of Americans believe civility in politics is important for a healthy democracy” while “87% suggest it is possible for people to disagree about politics respectfully” and “nearly 50% of Americans believe there has been a decline in the tone of politics since Barack Obama became President.”

Among the factors that caused Sen. John McCain to lose the 2008 campaign was his unfailing civility; his refusal to focus on Obama’s total lack of preparedness to be President, his hiding of personal records reflecting what little was known of his life beyond his two memoirs, the hollowness of his themes of “hope and change” as well as his promise to “fundamentally transform” America.

With the selection of Paul Ryan, we see that candidate Romney, a man of unfailing civility, has learned the lessons of 2008. Ryan, who knows the problems afflicting the economy as well as Romney, has demonstrated that he is eager to take on and condemn Obama’s appalling record of failure. Happily, Romney has been doing so as well on the campaign trail. They are telling the truth and the Democrats are calling it uncivil.

The Democrats, however, just can’t help themselves. From the President to the Democrat leaders in Congress, along with those leading the Democratic Party, the charges levied against Republicans, the Tea Party movement, and GOP candidates have been replete with claims that they are crackpots, hate women, and are racists have persisted and will be heard again and again between now and November 6th.

Regarding Obama, this writer has been impolite in the past, but this writer is not running for office or receiving a paycheck from the Republican Party. I could have been more polite, but then I would have failed to point out in the strongest possible way the threat of four more years of a President Obama and the failure of the Democratic Party to avoid more than forty months of high unemployment, crony capitalism, the seizure of General Motors and the nation’s healthcare system. Et Cetera!

The President continues to blame his predecessor for his failures while the Democratic Party in 2012 takes the low road to political power over our lives and the future of the nation.

The same sunny optimism that propelled President Reagan into two terms in office and the same steely determination after 9/11 that gave George W. Bush two terms will, I am confident, do the same for Mitt Romney.

I fully expect the Democratic Party convention to be a cesspool of incivility.

© Alan Caruba, 2012.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Proposed GOP Cuts to Spending

By Alan Caruba

No wonder Democrats are sweating bullets over proposed cuts to the spending that has been the hallmark of their party and politics for decades. This list, taken from a recent issue of U.S. News & World Report provides an insight to the many ways fiscal sanity can be restored.

These are some of the programs that the Republican House has proposed cutting.

* Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy -- $445 million annual savings.

* Save America 's Treasures Program -- $25 million annual savings.

* International Fund for Ireland -- $17 million annual savings.

* Legal Services Corporation -- $420 million annual savings.

* National Endowment for the Arts -- $167.5 million annual savings.

* National Endowment for the Humanities -- $167.5 million annual savings.

* Hope VI Program -- $250 million annual savings.

* Amtrak Subsidies -- $1.565 billion annual savings.

* Eliminate duplicating education programs -- H.R. 2274 (in last Congress),

authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 such programs at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.

* U.S. Trade Development Agency -- $55 million annual savings.

* Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy -- $20 million annual savings.

* Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding -- $47 million annual savings.

* John C. Stennis Center Subsidy -- $430,000 annual savings.

* Community Development Fund -- $4.5 billion annual savings.

* Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid -- $24 million annual savings.

* Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half -- $7.5 billion annual savings

* Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20% -- $600 million annual savings.

* Essential Air Service -- $150 million annual savings.

* Technology Innovation Program -- $70 million annual savings.

* Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program -- $125 million annual savings.

* Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization -- $530 million annual savings.

* Beach Replenishment -- $95 million annual savings.

* New Starts Transit -- $2 billion annual savings.

* Exchange Programs for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts -- $9 million annual savings

* Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants -- $2.5 billion annual savings.

* Title X Family Planning -- $318 million annual savings.

* Appalachian Regional Commission -- $76 million annual savings.

* Economic Development Administration -- $293 million annual savings.

* Programs under the National and Community Services Act -- $1.15 billion annual savings.

* Applied Research at Department of Energy -- $1.27 billion annual savings.

* Freedom CAR and Fuel Partnership -- $200 million annual savings.

* Energy Star Program -- $52 million annual savings.

* Economic Assistance to Egypt -- $250 million annually.

* U.S. Agency for International Development -- $1.39 billion annual savings.

* General Assistance to District of Columbia -- $210 million annual savings.

* Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority -- $150 million annual savings.

* Presidential Campaign Fund -- $775 million savings over ten years.

* No funding for federal office space acquisition -- $864 million annual savings.

* End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.

* Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act -- More than $1 billion annually.

* IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget -- $1.8 billion savings over ten years.

* Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees -- $1 billion total savings.

* Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees -- $1.2 billion savings over ten years.

* Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of -- $15 billion total savings.

* Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.

* Eliminate Mohair Subsidies -- $1 million annual savings.

* Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- $12.5 million annual savings

* Eliminate Market Access Program -- $200 million annual savings.

* USDA Sugar Program -- $14 million annual savings.

* Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- $93 million annual savings.

* Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program -- $56.2 million annual savings.

* Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs -- $900 million savings.

* Ready to Learn TV Program -- $27 million savings.

* HUD Ph.D. Program.

* Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.

TOTAL SAVINGS:
$2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

I would add the elimination of the U.S. contribution to the budget of the United Nations. There is no reason why decisions regarding our national security and sovereignty should be subordinated to the UN. The humanitarian work undertaken by UN agencies can be done just as well, if not better, by independent international organizations.

© Alan Caruba

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Government Gu$her

By Alan Caruba

At a time when the biggest issues are the economy, the reform of entitlement programs, the national debt and deficit, many Americans are blissfully unaware of the machine that keeps their taxpayer dollars flowing from every federal government department and agency. Even with a $16 trillion dollar debt, the money gushes forth.

In a Wall Street Journal column by William McGurn about government spending, he says that “Surely the real issue here is whether people have any meaningful choice. Because government funding tends to crowd out private funding, it leaves fewer and more expensive options in its wake. Generally that means you have to be as rich as Warren Buffett or living in the most inaccessible Ozarks backwoods to be in a position to forego federal dollars.”

Point well taken; older Americans, having paid into the involuntary system, understandably expect to receive Social Security checks every month and the same applies to having Medicare cover escalating healthcare costs. Many younger Americans are going to college on government loans. There is a plethora of government programs that redistribute taxpayer dollars on all manner of worthy or dubious recipients.

The most troubling aspect of government largess is the political factor. I was reminded of this upon receiving a news release from the U.S. Forest Service announcing $3.5 million to support community forests. One might reasonably ask why, at a time when the national debt is $16 trillion dollars why the government is spending money on community forests.

On closer examination, it appears that the grants are going to communities in states that Democrats need in terms of their Electoral College votes. Grants went to communities in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, notable swing states, as well as dependable ones such as Washington, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Then, too, it should be noted that every U.S. State maintains offices in Washington, D.C. to ensure it receives the government grants being handed out for all aspects of their needs, much of which is dependent on federal funding. Collectively, the states are over $4 trillion in debt; much of which is tied to public worker’s pensions and other benefits.

The money gusher also explains the exponential growth in the lobbying industry. A 2005 Washington Post article noted that “The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy.”

Wikipedia says that “By 2011, one estimate of overall lobbying spending nationally was $30+ billion in 2010.” Every industry, profession, enterprise and special interest group in America seeks representation and a piece of the pie.

Federal spending understandably reflects the policies of whichever administration is in power and the Obama administration’s obsession with alternative energy has resulted in some of the most wasteful spending—they call it investment—as it lost billions in loan guarantees to companies such as Solyndra and other solar panel manufacturers. The wind power industry could literally not exist without some form of government funding and mandates.

There isn’t a single federal government department and agency that does not engage fulltime in the redistribution of wealth via grants, some of which would be commendable if the nation was not facing economic collapse.

In August, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a $68 million in grants for HIV/AIDS care for women, infants, children, and youth. It also announced awards up to $4.6 million in youth suicide prevention programs to tribes throughout South Dakota.

In August the Department of Education announced more than $2.5 million for seven student support services projects to help students succeed in high education.

Over at the Department of Transportation the Federal Highway Administration announced more than $363 million in funding for various highway projects. When they invited states and cities to apply for federal funding from twelve different grant programs, they received nearly 1,500 requests totaling almost $2.5 billion. Grants have gone to all fifty states, plus Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

To push its agenda, the Environmental Protection Agency hands out millions in grants for Community Action for Renewed Environment, Education, Environmental Justice, Student Programs, the National Clean Diesel campaign, and other comparable programs.

Every single federal department, Labor, Justice, Interior, et cetera, is engaged in this largess of programs, including the State Department which oversees foreign aid. It is all funded not only by taxes, but by continuous borrowing—forty cents of every dollar spent, millions every day.

Congress is so shy of cutting any spending program it initiated a doomsday program, the automatic sequestration, the results of which are supposed to spread the pain. It is a failure to exercise the oversight Congress is supposed to exercise. It is the abandonment of one of its most important functions.

The hope is that a Republican Congress and White House will seriously reform the nation’s entitlement programs; literally one half of all the money is committed to be spent before Congress arrives in the Capitol Building to do anything else.

The reality is that our huge federal government will continue to disperse all the money it collects and borrows to justify its existence.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

1.8 Million Page Views and Counting!


I am happy to report that Warning Signs just passed 1.8 million page views and is now averaging 100,000 hits per month as word of our daily commentaries and other informative posts reaches out in cyber-land.

I thank everyone who visits and those who take the time to comment, sharing their experience and expertise.

The effort is to reflect on current events, but also to call attention to the major issues of our times, many of which are ignored by the mainstream media.

The enemies of our nation’s future are ignorance and apathy. Together we have an obligation to stay informed and to take what action we can to thwart the efforts of those who would do harm to America.

Right now our primary task is to vote Barack Obama out of office, to get our family, friends, and coworkers to vote, and to ensure the Republican Party takes power in Congress in order to reverse the deliberate ruin of the nation. We owe that to previous generations of Americans, some of whom gave their lives to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for us.

For Warning Signs, it is more important than ever that, if you can, you make a small donation to ensure that iour work continues. Thank you!

-- Alan Caruba

Monday, August 27, 2012

Obama's Half-Brother.

Beware of the Mainstream Media

By Alan Caruba

A recent outburst by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was a near classic example of how some members of the media are so over the moon about Obama that it serves as a reminder that their long knives are out for the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Matthews’ man-crush on Obama is blatant, but I do take some heart from a recent Newsweek cover and article that tore Obama to shreds with facts and figures. It was so unusual, given the usual news magazine adoration accorded Obama that I found it odd, though welcome.

Much depends, of course, on the coverage that will be given by the network news channels, ABC, NBC, CBS, and we should include PBS as well. From my observation, only C-SPAN makes a good faith effort to provide balanced coverage of both parties and political viewpoints.

And, of course, there’s Fox News. “Fair, balanced and unafraid” is their motto, but Fox has been afraid to get anywhere close to the issues involving Obama’s blatantly false birth certificate, the fact that his closest advisors in the White House are committed Marxists, along with his long association with friends who fit that description such as Bill Ayers.

Moreover, Fox has liberal commentators such as Juan Williams on staff and invites liberals to share their views on air as well. That said, its conservative tilt makes it about the only TV news channel a conservative can watch without wanting to throw up.

Matthews became incensed with GOP Chairman Reince Priebus during a recent discussion prior to the convention, riding his hobby horse that any criticism of Obama is racist. This charge is used to inoculate Obama against a reasoned examination of his policies, all of which have brought the nation to the brink of financial collapse, along with massive unemployment and other ills. In the area of foreign affairs, he has thoroughly weakened America’s capacity to influence the world.

The New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, sharpened her knives in a predictable attack on Romney in the Sunday edition, but anyone other than a brain-dead liberal knows about this newspaper’s antipathy toward any conservative seeking or serving in public office. Referencing Romney’s little joke about not having to produce a birth certificate to prove he was born in Michigan—to a Michigan audience, Dowd opined that “Already suspicious conservatives pounced on the remark as proof that Mitt would say anything to get elected.” As if Obama isn’t already famous for that.

This is not to say that many conservatives spend a lot of time reading The New York Times. They don’t. It’s the other daily newspapers, primarily written by liberal journalists, that should be of concern. I stopped reading my own state’s largest circulation newspaper for just that reason. While it devotes its columns to tearing down Governor Chris Christie, the rest of the nation has embraced his Jersey-style straight talk and guess who will be the GOP convention keynote speaker?

While most people get their general news from television, conservatives prefer sources such as Fox News, along with The Wall Street Journal, the National Standard, and the many conservative news and opinion sites available on the Internet. I am inclined to believe that conservatives are, in general, better informed and, frankly, more intelligent than liberals.

That said, the conservatives I fear most are those who say they will vote for a third party candidate like the Libertarians. When you consider how narrow the margin was in the George W. Bush v. Al Gore election literally EVERY vote matters, especially in the forthcoming one.

So this is a reminder that a massive amount of distortion about everything the Romney-Ryan ticket says in the weeks ahead will be written and said. The mere fact that the mainstream press is so reluctant to cover the biggest story of all, the dangerous state of the nation’s economy, tells you everything you need to know about their preference, once again, for the worst President to ever serve in the Oval Office.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Grand Old Party: 1854 to 2012

By Alan Caruba

I grew up thinking that the only political party was the Democratic Party. Born a few years after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, he would be the only President of whom I was aware until he died in 1945, thirteen years later! A Constitutional amendment was passed to avoid that ever happening again.

Considering how much damage Obama has done in just under four years that seems like a very good idea. Defeating him for a second term is an even better one.

Lincoln was the then-new Republican Party’s first to be elected President in 1860. A much older Democratic Party had held the presidency from Martin Van Buren, with time out for Republicans William Henry Harrison and John Tyler, until Democrats James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

After Lincoln there was a succession of Republican Presidents until the election of Grover Cleveland in 1885. Democrats would have to wait until Woodrow Wilson to regain executive power in 1913, but he would be followed by Republicans Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

During my lifetime, the New Deal coalition forged by FDR in the 1930s fell apart in the 1960s, largely over the issue of civil rights which is a kind of poetic justice when you consider that the Democrats had sought to expand slavery in all the years leading up to the Civil War.

There have been five Republican Presidents since Lyndon Johnson declined to run for office in 1969; six if you count Eisenhower who served two terms (1953-1961) prior to the young, charismatic JFK.

I am not sure when the nation became so divided politically with the Democrats representing the liberal-progressive agenda that created Social Security and Medicare and Republicans who have always been identified with a conservative, pro-business, pro-military platform, mixed with a social outlook that still finds issues such as abortion an offense to religious and moral values. In essence they were always divided.

It is an interesting coincidence of history that today’s Republican Party candidate for President was born in Michigan where, on July 6, 1854, the first statewide convention was held near Jackson. Its Vice President candidate comes from Wisconsin where the name “Republican” was first suggested for the party in a Ripon, Wisconsin schoolhouse on March 20, 1854.

At this point in our nation’s history, the Democrat President, Barack Obama, and Democrats who regained power in Congress in 2009 has run up more national debt than all the previous presidents combined. He has brought the nation to the edge of economic collapse and, naturally, that is the last thing he wants to talk about.

The issues regarding the solvency of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid have long been thought the province of the Democratic Party that would always tell voters that the Republicans intended to end these programs. Politics is rife with irony and they are now a primary issue of the Republican campaign based on trying to save them!

The contrast could not be greater. In my mind, the Republican Party is composed of grown-ups and the Democratic Party is run by children. I like the way the Romney-Ryan ticket has elevated the tone of their campaign while the Democrats appear to be so desperate they are engaging in vile accusations against Romney. Ryan was instantly labeled “radical.” That’s laughable.

Like many of today’s Republicans, I began as a Democrat. Ronald Reagan changed all that for me. In fact, even before changing my registration I had been a conservative and a Republican without realizing it. We should not be surprised that there were a lot of “Reagan Democrats” who voted for him.

Reagan, like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln before him, dwarfs the presidents that followed in his wake. In the latter half of the last century and first decade of this one, the Democrats sought to increase the welfare state from Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” to Obama’s obscene “food stamp” America with 23 million Americans out of work. They are not likely to vote for more of the same.

The 2008 financial crisis was the direct result of the absurd Democratic Party promise that all Americans would be able to own their own home and the machinery of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bundling dubious mortgages as “assets” facilitated the failures of major banks, investment firms, and a huge insurance company. The American taxpayer had to bail them out, a punishment of sorts for believing all those Democrat lies.

I admit my bias. I cannot conceive that Americans will return Obama to a second term in office. I will not let myself think that they will be duped again by a combination of the media and the Democratic Party. I know that there is a solid base of liberals constituting some 30% of the voters. I know too that many Democrats will pull the level for whoever are their party’s candidates.

I also think we are reliving the first and last term of Jimmy Carter, a failure as President in so many ways. He was replaced by Ronald Reagan and for eight years America enjoyed economic prosperity that included a subsequent term by George H.W. Bush who was savaged by the media. The successes claimed by Bill Clinton are the programs that a Republican return to control of Congress in 1994 produced.

It says something about the values of Democrat voters that Clinton was essentially forgiven for disgracing the office of President and is now regarded as an elder statesman while his wife is a Secretary of State for Obama whose foreign policies have weakened the nation in the eyes of the world.

The Republican Party, if it can return to power in the Senate and hold it in the House, and put Romney and Ryan in the White House, will have earned once more its nickname, the Grand Old Party. I think it will!

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Destroying Our Military from Within


By Alan Caruba

“Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.” --  Ronald Reagan

The U.S. military has been systematically weakened from within by a combination of idiotic and duplicitous decisions that suggest how far the nation has come from the fundamental understanding that an enemy must be destroyed with sufficient devastation as to never contemplate attacking us or our allies again.

World War Two was a success because both Germany and Japan were required to sign instruments of unconditional surrender. Both nations are now our allies. Even Vietnam where the U.S. blundered into a civil war and was ultimately forced to withdraw now has normalized diplomatic relations and welcomes U.S. investment.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain inconclusive due to a combination of timid rules of engagement and the transformation of our military’s mission into "nation-building" that have yielded unsatisfactory results.

The military force that distinguished America as a super power at the mid-point of the last century now is facing draconian funding reductions from a Congress unwilling to make hard decisions about our historic debt.

A July Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Coming Defense Crack-Up”, warned the automatic sequestration, “If implemented, the Pentagon budget would be cut by another 9% (or $492 billion) over the next decade, on top of the $487 billion in cuts that are already planned. Defense accounts for the largest share of total sequestration, or 42.6%m according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

“The sequestration cuts would leave the defense budget some 30% smaller in 10 years.” Does anyone believe that the world will be any safer in two years or ten years? Or that weakening our defense will make us safer in a world bristling with nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction?

If the sequestration cuts are pure folly, then the use of our defense forces as a means to avoid “global warming” is sheer insanity. There is no global warming insofar as the Earth entered a natural cooling cycle in 1998 and the claim that carbon dioxide is “causing” global warming is completely baseless. A tiny element of the Earth’s atmosphere—0.038%--carbon dioxide (CO2) has been the excuse environmentalists have used to attack our manufacturing and energy sectors. Now it is being used to render our military weaker through a requirement to use biofuels.

On October 8, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, ordering the Defense Department and other agencies to reduce CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gas emissions. He set a goal of having the ships that defend our nuclear carriers powered by biofuels.

How stupid is this? First of all, America sits atop enough oil reserves to make us energy independent if the Obama administration would permit exploration and extraction domestically and offshore. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the U.S. possesses 26% of the world’s oil supply. The Obama administration assertion that the U.S. has only 2% of the world’s supply is a lie.

There is zero need for biofuels. By 2020, the Navy has been instructed to use alternative fuel for half of its consumption. A recent naval exercise cost the Navy $27 per gallon of biofuel, versus $3.50 to $4.00 for standard petroleum fuel. As this is being written, Americans are required to use ethanol, a biofuel, in every gallon of gas they put in their cars, needlessly increasing the cost with no benefit in mileage and at the risk of damaging their car engines.

The Air Force is also subject to these mandates for biofuels that cost more than $26 per gallon, compared with standard jet fuel at $4 per gallon. Both the Navy and Air Force face the prospect of having to refuel ships and planes in potential battle zones where every gallon of biofuel would have to be transported from the U.S. for lack of biofuel refineries in Asian, Mideast or Mediterranean ports. Can you spell d-e-f-e-a-t?

These biofuel mandates are part of the Obama administration’s crony capitalism that has seen “alternative energy” lose billions in loan guarantees to solar companies and the government mandates that maintain the wind power industry that, like ethanol, would not exist without federal government support.

Phil Dunmire, the national president of the Navy League of the United States, on July 18, warned that “The defense and maritime industries are being jeopardized from within” noting that “programs related to our nation’s defense will absorb half of the sequestration costs despite being just 19% of the national spending budget.” These cuts go into effect in January!

The sequestration and other budget cuts, and the global warming biofuel mandates will leave the U.S. more vulnerable to attack and defeat since the end of World War Two. Our Navy has shrunk. Our combat air fleet is old. The manpower of military forces has been reduced and subjected to restrictions that leave every soldier and marine subject to investigation for every enemy they kill.

The exception to the long engagement in the Middle East was the successful killing of Osama bin Laden, but even that was tarnished by a President who took full credit for it and released information about it that runs contrary to the safety of all comparable future missions. Within days, the White House provided a briefing on it to a Hollywood producer and writer in order to facilitate a film lauding the mission.

The greatest force for the defense of the nation and for freedom in the world is being reduced by a Congress and a White House who refuse to recognize the threats that exist in a dangerous world.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On NOT Understanding Muslims


By Alan Caruba

What if Christmas was a traditional time for Christians to set about bombing one another? We might find that strange, but the recent “holy” month of Ramadan in Iraq was celebrated with bombings and shootings that killed 409 people and wounded 975 according to an August 20 Agence France Press report from Baghdad.

Apparently if you are an observant Muslim, abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sex during the day of the “holy” month, the best way to work out your stress is to kill fellow Muslims. This was the case of Ramadan which ended on August 18 this year or a day later depending on whether you were a Shiite or a Sunni.

It wasn’t just Iraq. There was a spike in killings of both Muslims and infidels in other countries where Muslims are either the dominant population or a major part of one. In Nigeria Boko Haram, a Muslim group, claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in Kaduna state and a number of cities. Terrorizing the non-Muslim population has always been considered the best way to gain converts.

This bloodbath, not restricted to Ramadan, is so bizarre to infidels—Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other faiths—that Raymond Ibrahim, writing in Jihad Watch in October 2011, said that “Islam’s nonstop aggression around the globe” is routinely passed off in the West as “a byproduct of ‘grievances’, of ‘Zionism’, of U.S. ‘foreign policy’, of anything and everything but Islam.”

In a brilliant commentary in AmericanThinker.com on May 21, 2011, David Bukay offered five keys to understanding Islam and why the Middle East is the planet’s version of an insane asylum.

The first is the West’s illusion that democracy can take root there. It “is weak and ineffective compared to the indigenous Middle Eastern social institutions: the clan, the tribe, and the religious community.” This explains why the only form of “government” that has existed there prior to and since Western colonization and the discovery of oil there, has been monarchies and the worst collection of despots since Ivan the Terrible, Hitler and Stalin.

It explains, for example, why Egyptians, after decades of military dictatorship gathered to overthrow Hosni Mubarack, a trustworthy friend of the West, and ended up with Mohamed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. He will be attending a meeting with the Iranian dictators on August 30 at a meeting of the Nonaligned Movement meeting. This is said to end to end the years of enmity between the two nations since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

It explains, too, the insurgency in Syria, essentially a fight between the Alawite minority that ran the nation since the Assad family, father and son, established its dictatorship. Lined up against them are a variety of the usual clans and others that want to establish their own dictatorship.

We are not witnessing an outbreak of democracy in the Middle East, dubbed the “Arab Spring”, but simply a desire to rid themselves of their former dictators in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. It has made the rulers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar very nervous, both of whom have been lavishing all manner of goodies on their respective populations to keep them from rising up against them.

Bukay’s second key to understanding the Middle East is amply demonstrated by the turmoil occurring there. “All Arab states comprise violent, hostile tribes and rival religious communities that stick together only by coercion from an oppressive authoritarian regime.” The third key is “the central role of the army, being the regime’s principal power and political supporter.”

The fourth key is the masses who have never had any influence in the political life of their nations, many of which are the result of the Treaty of Versailles after World War One in which England and France carved up the Middle East to create Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq between them. England was named the protectorate of “Palestine” which lasted until the Jews returned to create the state of Israel in 1948. After the Holocaust, many had no place else to go.

Bukay’s fifth key was the fact that, having overthrown the various dictatorships. The U.S. deposed Saddam Hussein by invading Iraq. This has resulted in the election of Mohammed Alawi Maliki who has since been forging ties to Iran where he had found sanctuary from Saddam during his brutal dictatorship.

“The Islamic phenomenon,” wrote Bukay, “is not defensive and passive; it is an aggressive onslaught against modernism and secularism led by urban, educated, secular middle class groups. Western permissiveness and materialism are the forces leading to these groups’ return to Islam and motivating them to bring the Islamic religion back to hegemony.”

So the West looks on in horror at the beheadings, the hangings, the bombings, the increasing killing of Christians trapped in these nations, and does its best not to be dragged into the vortex of insanity that is the Middle East and parts of Africa.

This has been going on since the rise of Islam in the seventh century. It is not likely to end until the world’s billion-plus Muslims begin to tire of the madness around them, the insanity of a “religion” that requires them to wage war on the rest of the world that tries fitfully to contain them.

Our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be dealing with Islam until it tires of its murderous ways, if ever. Our ancestors in the West staved off a Europe enslaved by Islam by killing Muslims and driving them from the continent. They have since returned and will likely control Europe by sheer force of numbers.

The Israelis have fought several wars against them since its founding and are likely to rid us of the Iranian nuclear threat even as the West continues to cower in fear.

And, in November, Americans will decide to either defeat Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Muslim Kenyan, stepson of an Indonesia Muslim, a man who in 2009 traveled to the Middle East to apologize for the sins of America, and a man who has said he will “side with the Muslims”, or we will elect Mitt Romney who does not share his worldview.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

What the Fiscal Cliff Looks Like

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arming the Government Against Americans


By Alan Caruba

The push to disarm Americans has been around a long time. An estimated ninety million Americans own guns legally and in states that permit concealed carry the crime rate drops precipitously by comparison with others that do everything they can to make the purchase and carry of firearms difficult.

Gun ownership in America is the highest since 1993 with estimates of 300 million guns owned by citizens. Ownership crosses political party lines and other demographic cohorts. From its earliest days as a nation, the Founding Fathers were united in the need for an armed citizenry as a response to the potential tyranny of a government that might seek to impose its will on Americans through force.

The notion that one can keep criminals from acquiring firearms is idiotic. In cities like Chicago with laws that all but deny gun ownership, the murder rate is off the charts. By June, 228 residents of Chicago had been killed, compared to 44 troops in Afghanistan’s combat zones.

There’s a reason gun sales in America soared after the election of Barack Obama. Nobody except his brainwashed minions trust him. Over the past three and a half years he has issued more than 900 Executive Orders, many of which grant him and the federal government extraordinary control over all aspects of life for Americans. The hallmark of every totalitarian regime is gun control, the disarming of citizens.

This is, after all, a President who disparaged Americans who he said, “cling to their religion and their guns.”

As columnist, Chuck Baldwin wrote in 2007, “One thing the national news media will always ignore is the practice of lawful self-defense. For example, most people are probably not aware of the fact that American citizens use a firearm to defend themselves more than 2.4 million times every year. That is more than 6,500 times every day.”

“This means that, each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. Furthermore, of the 2.4 million self-defense cases, more than 192,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual assault. And in less than eight percent of those occasions is a shot actually fired. The vast majority of the time (92%), the mere presence of a firearm helps to avert a major crime from occurring.”

Why then is the Obama administration in the process of purchasing millions of bullets for agencies, some of whom have nothing to do with national defense?

In May I wrote about an Ashville, North Carolina citizen who wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency inquiring about the address of an employee who gained overnight fame when it was reported he wanted to “crucify” oil companies. Two EPA agents, fully armed, showed up without notice at his front door.

Why does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration need to purchase ammunition? NOAA is devoted to studying the weather and providing notice of events such as hurricanes. Why would meteorologists need to be armed?

Why does the Social Security Administration need to purchase ammunition? A spokesman for the SSA compared its investigators to state or local police officers who are armed while on “official duty.”

Why would the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) specifically purchase 750 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition in March and follow up with an additional 750 million? In a recent article in AmericanThinker.com, retired Major General Jerry Curry noted in The Daily Caller, “This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen.” The article asked whether Obama would seek to hold onto power “by any means possible.”

Granted that DHS is charged with protecting the homeland, but is there any indication that the nation is under threat of an invasion and, if so, isn’t it the job of the U.S. military to respond to such a threat?

Or perhaps the answer is the belief within the Obama administration that it might face a massive insurrection if it tried to take over the nation by delaying the November elections or imposing martial law as the result of a contrived national threat?

A recent issue of Small Arms Journal contained an article titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” It game-played in full operational detail how the Army would put down a local Tea Party insurrection. Does anyone except those inside the Obama administration believe that the Tea Party would ever engage in such an effort?

This is the same administration actively trying to suppress a Congressional investigation into operation “Fast and Furious” that encouraged the transmittal of firearms to Mexican drug cartels, allegedly to track them, but instead some were used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent. So guns for the cartels are okay, but guns for law-abiding Americans are not. The Attorney General has been held in contempt of Congress for his failure to be forthcoming in the investigation.

The massive purchase of ammunition by agencies that have little or no relationship to the nation’s security raises questions and concerns that cannot be dismissed or ignored. They are apiece with a variety of all actions the Obama administration has taken that suggest the suppression by force of any response Americans might take if they believed it intended to impose a dictatorship.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Tourist's Iranian Surprises

By Alan Caruba

Jamie Maslin is a British travel writer, but when he told friends that he intended to hitch-hike the Silk Road route of Marco Polo, one that would take him through Iran, they warned him against it, fearing he would be arrested as a spy and likely killed. Instead, he ended up writing an amusing and revealing book, “Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn” ($16.95, Skyhorse Publishing, softcover).

Maslin writes mostly of the various sites he visited in that ancient nation, but his interaction with Iranians, rich and poor, reveals that the regime that has been in control since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the hated Shah and his despotic rule is just as hated by ordinary Iranians. The mullahs that support the regime are routinely subject to verbal abuse in the streets and, in Tehran and other cities, taxi drivers refuse to pick them up.

There is little doubt in my mind that Iran’s nuclear facilities will be militarily attacked at some point. There is much reporting of late that Israel will mount such an attack to defend against the almost daily speeches by the regime’s leaders that they intend to destroy Israel. Less reported is the fact that the United States is regarded as Iran’s enemy. There have been many Iranian-sponsored attacks against our military in Lebanon and Iraq since the 1980s.

In turns frightening and hilarious Maslin tells of his travels through Turkey to reach Iran and his anticipation of a less than welcome greeting when he reached it. “Instead the official brought me to the front of the line, handed his colleague my passport and said happily, even excitedly, ‘Tourist!’ His colleague smiled back, stamping my passport in the process, and said in a similar manner, ‘Welcome to Iran!’”

That was the first of a series of encounters as Maslin discovered that ordinary Iranians, especially if they spoke English—as many apparently do—would seek him out on the street and anywhere else he paused to eat or to stay.

What he discovered as well as that photos of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution’s leader, were displayed everywhere and that every city and town had squares and streets named after him.

The current supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei’s picture can also be found everywhere as well and not because Iranians revere him, but because it is unwise not to display it. Maslin notes that he met only one person “who openly expressed a liking for Khomeini.”

Reports about Iran suggest that Iranians are fanatically Islamic, but this, he discovered, as not the case. One Iranian friend said, “Look at the mosques on Fridays; they are all nearly empty.”

When Maslin asked an Iranian friend why Iranians did not rebel against the state that is widely dispised, she noted that the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s had resulted in half a million deaths and Iranians wanted no more of such losses. Moreover, “if you stepped out of line politically, you didn’t just get reprimanded, you got killed or worse—which, of course, is a pretty effective deterrent.”

In effect, Iranians are prisoners in their own nation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love their country. They just hate their oppressors, having traded the Shah for the ayatollahs.

Both the British and Americans played a major role in overthrowing the former government of Iran in order to put the Shah on the throne and it was all about retaining control of the nation’s oil reserves. It was a sordid chapter in both nation’s history involving MI16 and the CIA in a coup. Even so, today’s Iranians, especially its youth, yearn for the freedoms that exist in the West.

For now, the sanctions imposed on Iran to deter its quest for nuclear weapons have caused economic hardship, but there is no indication that the ayatollahs have any intention of stopping, nor has there been any reduction in their threats to Israel and America..

For one British tourist, however, his travels revealed a rich underground life—one that includes booze and other forbidden pleasures—exists in Iran and a cultural generosity that was exhibited by the Iranians he met. Few would allow him to pay for dinner, taxis or other purchases.

As much as I want an end to the regime in power in Iran, I also want ordinary Iranians to be spared harm from what is an inevitable war on its nuclear facilities.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why Israel Must Attack Iran's Nuclear Facilities

By Alan Caruba

I have often wondered why so many of the Jews of Germany took so long to realize that Hitler and the Nazi regime intended to kill them, along with all the Jews of Europe and what they hoped would be the conquest of Russia. They need only have read "Mein Kampf", Hitler’s book that blamed Jews for all the ills of Germany.

On November 9-10, 1938, there was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews in Germany and Austria that became known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, during which 91 Jews were killed and an estimated 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. More than 1,000 synagogues were burned. What followed was the Holocaust, the deliberate killing of Jewish men, women and children. Its victims numbered between five and six million.

Kristallnacht had been preceded by years of vicious propaganda against all Jews. Those who intend to kill Jews do not hide their plans, they tell the world.

The Iranian regime has been doing this since it seized control in 1979. On August 17, Agence Press France reported on a speech given by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he called Israel a “cancerous tumor.” He ranted on claiming that “Zionists” had triggered World War I and II and had “taken control over world affairs since the moment they became dominant over the U.S. government.”

The day before, a prominent Saudi Arabian cleric declared that Jews drink the blood of children during religious ceremonies, a notorious “blood libel.” People living in the Middle East have been hearing such things for decades. The nation of Israel has, since its founding in 1948, had to fight a succession of wars for its survival.

Just as the nations in the 1930s tried to ignore the threat of Nazi Germany and sought to appease it, we are living through a similar process as Iran continues its relentless quest for nuclear weapons.

In a recent opinion in The Wall Street Journal, “What Obama Isn’t Saying About Iran”, David Feith, its features editor, wrote “The United States doesn’t want Israel taking military action against Iran’s nuclear program, and top officials have been traveling to Jerusalem this summer to make their case in person.” The claim  is that sanctions are working. They are not, nor is there any united front to deter Iran.

Just as the world of the 1930s knew what was coming, the world today knows that Iran intends to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons and Americans should know, if they do not already, America is the other hated nation, slated for destruction by Iran’s leaders.

In 2009, Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, 1997-1999, and diplomatic envoy to Middle Eastern nations, currently the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, authored “The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West.” It laid out all the facts regarding Iran’s nuclear program, warming that “it is not too late to prevent their becoming a nuclear power.”

The previous year, Americans had elected not just the first black President, but one who had made clear in his memoir, “Audacity of Hope” that “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

DEBKA file, an Israeli news organization with contacts throughout the Netanyahu administration, reported on August 18 that Israel, in return for not attacking Iran soon, has been seeking guarantees that the U.S. will not stand aside as Iran closes in on possessing nuclear weapons that can be put on its missiles. Assurances from the Obama administration should be regarded as both politically motivated so that it can reach Election Day without having to respond to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and as essentially worthless.

The Holocaust taught the Israelis that Jews are essentially on their own when threatened anywhere in the world. They have twice destroyed nuclear reactors, first in Iraq in 1981 and second in Syria in 2007. They are not going to stand aside and permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. They are not going to wait on U.S. assurances, particularly from Barack Obama.

They will risk everything because they will lose everything if that do not act. Inasmuch as Iran has engaged in numerous acts of war against the U.S. since 1979; most notably the 1983 Iranian truck-bomb attack against our embassy and a marine barracks in Lebanon it is clear that a state of war has existed now for decades.. A thwarted 2011 plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a Washington, D.C. restaurant is only the latest of such outrages.

The United States is at war with Iran even if a succession of administrations from Reagan to today has refused to admit it. It is not a war of our choosing, but of Iran’s. We can wait for them to destroy Israel and than attack us or we can take the action necessary to stop it before it happens. As in the 1930s, we can wait to suffer the consequences of doing nothing.

In the end, it appears that only Israel is prepared to do what neither the U.S. nor any other nation will do.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Obama's Communist Mentor

By Alan Caruba

I have been reading about Frank Marshall Davis since Dr. Jerome Corsi tried to warn Americans about Barack Obama in his 2008 book, “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality.”

Dr. Corsi noted that “On December 5, 1956, Frank Marshall Davis appeared in executive session before the U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating ‘the scope of Soviet activity in the United States. It was one of the McCarthy-era committees seeking to expose communist considered to be a security threat. A year earlier, in 1955, the Commission on Subversive Activities organized by the government of the territory of Hawaii identified Davis as a member of the Communist Party USA.”

In the 1970s, when Obama was an adolescent growing up in the care of his grandparents in Hawaii, among their circle of friends was Davis. His grandparents wanted to provide a black man as a role model for the young mixed-race child, the result of a short marriage between their daughter and Barack Obama Sr., a Kenyan she had met while both were studying Russian at the University of Hawaii.

Obama came of age in a household devoted to leftist ideologies so it was no surprise that Davis was among their circle of friends. He had moved to Hawaii from Chicago in the late 1940s, continuing a lifetime of work as a journalist editing and writing for newspapers advocating the communist ideology and the party line set forth by the Soviet Comintern, short for the Communist International whose aim was to extend communism worldwide. It directed the work of the Communist Party USA whose members were devoted to the Soviet Union. Most members like Davis, when questioned, denied membership, taking the Fifth Amendment.

While today’s leftists have successfully smeared Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the work of the congressional committees to expose Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government as “McCarthyite” historians have since revealed the depth of penetration by Soviet spies in the administrations of FDR and Truman. Later declassified intercepts of messages to them, known as the Venona Papers, reveal how vast the Soviet espionage program was.

Presently the leading historian on communism in America is Dr. Paul Kengor, the author of “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries have Manipulated Progressive for a Century.” His latest book is “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis—The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”

“There were hundreds of thousands of American communists like Frank,” writes Dr. Kengor, “who agitated throughout the twentieth century. They chose the wrong side of history, a horrendously bloody side that left a wake of over 100 million corpses from the streets of the Bolshevik Revolution to the base of the Berlin Wall—double the combined dead of the century’s two world wars.”

Davis’ influence over Obama is carefully documented by Dr. Kengor who says, “The people who influence our presidents matter.”

Americans have learned this truth, starting with Obama’s 2008 campaign and over the course of his term in office. In his memoir, “Dreams from my Father”, written before his rise to fame, Obama provides a trail of hints as to his long history of association with leftists. Primary among them was Frank Marshall Davis who came into his life in the 1970s.

Not once in his memoir does Obama identify him, referring to him only as Frank, neglecting to mention that Davis was “a pro-Soviet, pro-Red China, card-carrying member of Communist Party USA” whose card number as 47544. It should come as no surprise that Davis found Chicago a favorable place to live. It was where he founded and edited the Chicago Star, “known among the locals as the ‘Red Star.’” He would repeat this later in Honolulu.

“Frank Marshall Davis’s political antics were so radical,” writes Dr. Kengor, “that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and the USSR.”

I grew up during the early years of the Cold War that commenced following the end of World War Two and I vividly recall the fear that the Soviet Union would wage war, particularly after it had acquired the atomic bomb, the result in part from Soviet spies that provided vital information about our bomb.

Americans have lived through nearly four years of what can only be described as an attempt to take over our government and “fundamentally transform” it away from the limits of the Constitution to a nation in which the government, under Obama, seized General Motors to nationalize it, imposed Obamacare to take control of our healthcare system, and attacked “millionaires and billionaires” as greedy capitalists. His slogans have been “change” and “forward”, longtime favorites of communists.

On November 6, 2012, Americans will have just one chance to rid the nation of Barack Obama, an acolyte of Frank Marshall Davis and a friend of many who scorn America.

If he is reelected, he will do what communists have always done when the opportunity arose. He will seize complete control of the machinery of government to enslave Americans who were duped into voting for a man whose true past was and continues to be carefully hidden by the mainstream media, a man mentored by a notorious communist.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Pursuit of Happiness


By Alan Caruba

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”

Countless Americans and others have read this sentence from Declaration of Independence and no doubt most have simply nodded in agreement, but I always wondered where its author, Thomas Jefferson, came up with the unique concept that the pursuit of happiness was a self-evident truth.

That phrase from the Declaration reveals Jefferson’s philosophical turn of mind while the rest of the document is a legal argument for severing relations with England in order to establish a separate and sovereign nation.

It was not until I read a new softcover edition of Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” ($16.95, W.W. Norton) that I finally found the answer to my question.

Greenblatt’s book is devoted to the discovery in 1417 of a book thought to have been lost, De rerum natura, On the Nature of Things, a philosophical epic written around 50 BCE by the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus, believed to have been born around 99 BCE and died around 55 BCE.

The man who discovered the book in a remote German monastery was Poggio Bracciolini, the apostolic secretary to Pope John XXIII, the highest position someone who was not a prelate could hold in the Church. He was famed in his time for his extraordinary handwriting skills as well as his knowledge of Latin, the official language of the Church.

Poggio was the quintessential intellectual and like the relative handful of others, he was a book-collecting enthusiast in an era when books where all copied out by hand, highly prized among the literate wealthy when few were either literate or wealthy. Books were kept in the libraries of monasteries or the homes of the ruling classes.

It would not be until Johannes Gutenberg’a invention of the printing press in the 1440s that books became more widely accessible. In addition to the Bible, it also made available Lucretius lengthy philosophical, thoroughly atheistic, and remarkably ahead of its time for its views about atoms and the universe.

The extraordinary thing about Lucretius’ long poem was how radical it was for its own time when the world in which he lived was filled with pagan gods. His poem promoted the teachings of Epicurus (341 to 270 BCE) a Greek philosopher who had died two centuries earlier. Both advocated the pursuit of all forms of pleasure as the highest goal of life.

Picking up where Epicurus left off, Lucretius said that everything is composed of atoms, ceaselessly moving, combining, and separating. The result of this was an evolving natural order rather than the decrees of the gods. In Poggio’s time the Church had an iron grip on the minds of men whose lives were to be devoted to work, prayer, and the fear of an afterlife in which punishment for sin awaited.

It is noteworthy that the notion that everything was made of invisible particles, that the universe is not the product of a divine creator, and that there was no afterlife had been in circulation among philosophers for centuries. It is a reminder that many in our “modern” world still subscribe to much different interpretations.

Lucretius’ book would have a great influence on the great minds that initiated the Renaissance.

That life should be lived in a pursuit of happiness is thus a very ancient philosophy, but there in America’s Declaration of Independence it resurfaces as the belief is an unalienable right.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Climate Lies in Iowa's Supreme Court


By Alan Caruba

Since the climate liars cannot make their case on the basis of the known science, taking it into a court of law with a passionate appeal to emotion in order to impose restrictions on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has long been a Green goal.

The claim that CO2 causes “climate change” which is the new spin on “global warming” is utterly false, but it may be argued if the Iowa Supreme Court takes the case.

When a similar case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the esteemed justices ruled that CO2 was a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act and not the second most vital atmospheric gas after oxygen, the “food” for all vegetation on Earth.

The Greens have understandably concluded they can get what they want, restrictions on all energy use, in the courts of justice if not in the court of public opinion.

The defendant filing the case is a 14-year-old girl, Glori Dei Filippone. Exploiting minors is old hat to climate liars. They have filled our schools with global warming garbage for decades. The brief filed in her name is joined by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who ia asking the State Supreme Court to rule on “whether the State of Iowa has an obligation to protect the atmosphere under the Iowa Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine.”

Federal laws have made it clear that the nation’s air and water must be protected from manmade pollution, but how does a state go about protecting the entire, ever changing atmosphere above it? Can Iowa be sued for allowing the heat wave that roasted its populace and crops? If there is so much rain a flood ensues, is it the state’s fault? Can the state stop dust from other states from blowing in?

In a news release from OurChildrensTrust.org, the green organization behind the request for a hearing, says the case is critical to determine “whether the people of Iowa have a right to a healthy atmosphere.” This is so absurd that it defies belief.

The last time I checked the Constitution it spelled out a Bill of Rights and none of them make any reference to the atmosphere!

A spokesperson for OurChildrensTrust.org said the case needs to be argued because “the atmosphere is imperiled and must be protected by State officials.” The Latin phrase to describe this argument is reductio ad absurdum.

The atmosphere is not “imperiled.” It is what it is and the State of Iowa, the United States of America, or all the nations of Earth can do nothing about it. Just as the temperature of the Earth is determined in large measure by the Sun and its cycles, the Earth and its atmosphere has been through many ice ages of greater or lesser intensity and length, as well as warmer periods like the one in which we presently find ourselves. It even has a name—the Holocene.

To put it another way, Mother Nature's message to humans is frequently “Get out of the way. Here comes a flood, a blizzard, a hurricane, a tornado, or a forest fire ignited by lightning. For good measure I will throw in a volcanic eruption and an earthquake.”

Climate changes all the time and has done so for the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s existence. Or just keep in mind something called “the seasons” from winter to spring, summer to autumn, and back to winter. This is not rocket science. This is funamental climate science and meteorology.

The Iowa Supreme Court should throw out the petition for this case for a very simple reason. As Hans Schreuder explains on www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com, “Carbon dioxide is not a warming gas at all, it is a cooling gas.” Moreover, “In our open-to-space atmosphere, the excellent radiating properties of all so-called greenhouse gases serve to cool the atmosphere, never to warm it.” Schreuder is a retired analytical chemist and a co-author of “Slaying the Sky Dragon”, a collection of scientific papers that debunk global warming.

In the brief before the Iowa Supreme Court, Glori Dei Fillippone argues that “Iowa has a moral obligation to provide my generation, and future generations, with a liveable state. Climate change is the most important moral issue of our time and I hope our Court will also protect our rights.”

Well, no, climate change is not, nor ever was a moral issue and it is most certainly not the most important issue of our time. Like Paul said, “When I was a child I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians, 13/11)

Using the courts to require states to impose coercive laws on people and businesses using bogus “science” and where no atmospheric “health threat” can be affected by any action of the State is immoral. Using a child to advance that objective is immoral.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Undecideds

By Alan Caruba

We are now into the seemingly endless countdown until the November 6 elections and the agony of waiting is already wearing upon a vast portion of those people who know for whom the will vote. They have already made up their minds, leaving the outcome to a slim margin of those identified as either “undecideds” or “independents.”

These are the people who tend to forget your birthday and send a “belated” card to make amends, but it is always too late. They are likely the ones who file their income tax late despite months in which to prepare it. These are people who ignore parking tickets. They are not studiously studying the candidate’s positions on issues. They haven’t been paying any attention to them.

This election, like all elections, is deemed the most important one in the history of the nation, but despite electing some genuinely bad previous choices for President, there is an ominous quality to this election because the nation is dead broke and, curiously, arguing over whether to let Social Security and Medicare become insolvent in a few years or whether to keep the latest destruction of our health system, Obamacare. It is a piece of legislation that literally takes $700 billion from Medicare and includes some twenty hidden taxes.

So, yes, it really does matter who gets elected or reelected.

How America has managed to split so dramatically along partisan lines of division is something that I will leave to future historians to determine. We have spent the second part of the last century and first decade of this one swinging wildly back and forth between conservatives and liberals. The conservatives like Ronald Reagan were usually elected to clean up the mess left behind by liberals like Jimmy Carter.

Muddying the problem for conservative voters are men like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush who were nominally Republicans and conservatives, but who just as often left a legacy of a liberal expansion of government. In Nixon’s case, it is the horror of the Environmental Protection Agency and, in Bush43’s case, the failure of No Child Left Behind, the expansion of the federal government into the education sector; one that has been rendering generations of Americans ignorant of history, civics, math and science.

What makes this election so grotesque is the mind-boggling record of failure of the current incumbent, Barack Obama. He has literally imposed more debt on the nation than all the previous presidents combined! His “solutions” have been a string of costly failures. And his campaign is a series of lies and blunders that are setting new records for mendacity and deceit.

The wisest thing Lyndon Johnson did was to announce that he would not run for reelection in1968 after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. He had blundered so badly in escalating the war in Vietnam that he stepped aside. He was arguably the most liberal President, remembered for his “War on Poverty”, until the advent of Barack Obama, a Marxist who is likely to be remembered for his war on America.

The Republican Nixon replaced Johnson, promising that he had a “plan” to end the war, but it did not end until his second term. Then he was forced to end his second term by resigning over an insane effort to influence his reelection, Watergate. Why do I cite such matters of history—because Americans in general seem to have no memory of history even when it has been fairly recent.

So the nation now finds that its future is in the hands of a slim margin of voters who, we’re told by pollsters, are undecided. How can one be undecided about a President who has not solved unemployment for the past forty-two months?

# Who has waged war on Wall Street and Main Street.

# Who has waged war on the energy sector of the economy, coal, oil, and natural gas.

# Who has ignored the advice of his own commission on ways to turn around and save the economy.

# Who has engaged in the worst examples of crony capitalism, all of which resulted in the loss or waste of billions.

# Who now allows his surrogate super pacs to engage in the most scurrilous slanders of his opponents, claiming that they are literally murderers!

# Who lies about their efforts to save Social Security and Medicare, saying they intend to end these programs.

In the 1980s, Americans understood how poor Jimmy Carter’s term in office had been and turned to a sunny, optimistic, and unapologetic patriot, Ronald Reagan. One has to wonder if the current generations of voters—old and young—understand just what a disaster Barack Obama has been?

That is why we must endure more weeks and months until we learn the answer. For most voters, the decision has already been made. Some care deeply about the future. Others care more deeply about their welfare checks and food stamps in an economy driven into the ditch by politicians they have blindly supported.

America teeters on financial collapse and there are people who will vote for a man who is telling them that whatever success they have had in their lives is due entirely to a government that is too large, too intrusive, and a growing threat to their hopes and dreams.

It should be a no-brainer. It isn’t.

At times like this, I am reminded of John Adams, a Founding Father, who said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

It is an apt description of those who will vote to reelect Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Has Obama Been Good for Black Americans?

By Alan Caruba

Please don’t tell me that the first black President of the United States has helped black Americans. Last time I checked, the rate of unemployed blacks, age 18-29, was 22.3 percent in July. Not exactly what they and other blacks were anticipating when they voted en masse for him in 2008.

Indeed, while blacks will likely give Obama their support, many are saying he did not live up to their expectations. Now we hear people like film director Spike Lee saying that blacks’ expectations were "too high." That’s called having it both ways.

In a recent article in The Daily Beast.com, Allison Samuels interviewed comedian D.L. Hughly who has a new book out, “I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes Is Ruining America.” Suffice to say that Hughly has a man-crush on Obama. In a similar fashion, I have had discussions with blacks who regard any criticism of Obama as racism and who ignore his record in office.

I would love to ignore Hughly, but I can’t, nor do I think he speaks for all blacks in the same way I do not speak for all Italian-Americans or all white people. In his book, Hughly compared Obama to the TV character, Carlton Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” He said, “I just meant the president was fortunate enough to grow up in a world early on where he could believe that everything was all good and life was fair and wonderful if you did the right things.”

Hughly needs to read the growing library of books and articles that point out that Obama was abandoned by his father, a Kenyan, who divorced his white wife. Obama never knew his father, yet wrote a memoir “Dreams from my Father” in which he identifies solely with being black.

Obama’s white mother and grandparents were Marxists. After his early years in Indonesia, Obama was sent to live with his grandparents who afforded him an education in one of Hawaii's exclusive schools. In his youth in Hawaii, he was mentored by a family friend, Frank Marshall Davis, a black man and an active member of the Communist Party USA. The FBI has a thick dossier about Davis.

Hughly’s Obama is a work of fiction, no less than the one created by Obama.

“I’m a black man too and I didn’t grow up in that kind of world. I couldn’t grow up thinking everything would be OK because it wasn’t for a lot of people I knew,” said Hughly who apparently thinks Obama was na├»ve and didn’t realize the depth of racism in America, but ignores the fact that a lot of whites voted for Obama because they wanted to demonstrate to the world that a black man could be elected President.

If Obama had been raised by a black father, says Hughly, he would have learned that “you can’t let someone disrespect you but one time.” Hughly mistakes criticism of Obama’s performance in office as racism and, in fact, the half-black, half-white Obama has generally been given a pass his whole life precisely because of his racial mix. All Presidents have been subjected to often harsh criticism.

If anything, Obama has been the “affirmative action” President whose life has been characterized by the special treatment he received growing up. It has been a life whose actual facts Obama has gone out of his way to conceal by having his college and other records hidden from public review, not the least of which has been his birth certificate, deemed by many to be a forgery along with his phony Social Security number..

Ms. Samuels asked Hughly “Do you think Obama will be more forceful in the way you’d like if he is reelected for a second term? Many African Americans feel he’ll fight harder for minority issues during his second term because he won’t have to worry about being reelected?”

“No, I don’t feel that way at all. He’s a diplomatic guy who feels things should be done in a certain way and handled with a certain amount of intelligence and thought.” How Hughly accounts for forty-two months of eight percent unemployment suggests Obama’s intelligence is subject to debate. Wasting billions on a “stimulus” judged to have been a failure and more billions wasted on “green energy” firms that went bankrupt is not, for many people, a sign of intelligence.

Obama’s now famous “You didn’t build that business” more clearly suggests his Marxist belief that government is the source of all success rather than individual hard work.

As far as Hughly is concerned, Obama has “done so many good things for this country” and he is welcome to his opinion. That he regards the Tea Party movement and other conservatives as racist suggests a less than critical examination of the facts of Obama’s performance in office. Or of the Tea Party that has the support and participation of many blacks and Hispanics.

Juan Williams, a black Fox News analyst, wrote in 2007 that “the core group of black people trapped in poverty today is not defined by lack of opportunity as much as by bad choices. Black youth culture is boiling over with nihilism. It embraces failure and frustration…”

But not all blacks are trapped in poverty. Many have benefited from civil rights laws dating back to the 1960s and have become members of the middle class. Others have worked hard to rise to positions of success in business and other endeavors, including Hughly.

What struck me about the Hughly interview was his uncritical embrace of Obama and the view that it is racism that is holding blacks back. Obama has not opened any doors for black Americans that were not already in place.

To the contrary, Obama has offered them more food stamps and has tried via an illegal executive order to gut the successful welfare law that Bill Clinton signed. He has failed the millions, black, white, Asian, and Hispanic, who are unemployed as the result of his Marxist ideology.

I believe Obama has made it nearly impossible for a black American to be elected President for a generation or two. I believe he will be rejected by the voters in November and I believe he will, as he has done throughout his presidency, blame others for it.

© Alan Caruba, 2012