Sunday, September 29, 2013

Are Americans Stupid?

By Alan Caruba

On the conservative side of the political spectrum, we frequently refer to liberals as “low information voters”, a nice way of saying they are stupid. From their point of view, however, we are the stupid ones. And not merely stupid, but evil.

The divide between conservatives and liberals can be seen in the outcomes of the many polls and surveys that are announced on a daily basis. The numbers are depressingly the same; ranging from 40-40% or 50-50%, depending on how many respond that they don’t have an opinion. There is, moreover, what I call the “thirty percent syndrome” of reliable liberal responses no matter what the issue may be. They are the hard core.

There is, however, a critical difference between stupidity and ignorance. All of us are ignorant about something or many things. I surely am. I am in awe of people who can make things or fix things. I appreciate it when someone demonstrates expertise that informs me about a topic.

If you Google “Americans + stupid” you will discover that the subject of whether Americans are stupid generates a significant number of news items and articles. For example, in late February, Reuters reported on a speech Secretary of State John Kerry gave to students when he was visiting Berlin. While discussing America’s virtues, such as tolerance of other points of view, he said, “The reason is, that’s freedom, in America you have a right to be stupid.”

Kerry, who I have always regarded as a dim bulb, inadvertently spoke a truth about the way those currently in high office, the President, his Cabinet members, and staff regard Americans. Those who oppose their policies and legislative agenda are “stupid” and, if the President is to be taken at his word these days, Republicans are “extremists” and other pejoratives. He is a master of the propaganda technique of repeating a lie often enough until it becomes “truth.”

I find it depressing to find that so many of our elected representatives display their ignorance on a daily basis. It is depressing to know that officials appointed to positions of great responsibility in our government see it only has an opportunity to impose some ideology or agenda that is disconnected from science or from any facts that support their machinations.

Let me say that I have long regarded Barack Obama as stupid. His incompetence manifests itself daily. He cannot speak without the assistance of a Tele-Prompter. He has zero experience with the way people make a living or run a business. He has zero experience regarding military affairs and appears to have no knowledge of history. His lack of knowledge about economics has left the nation with the highest debt and deficit in its history, and millions unemployed.

Obama is currently campaigning to make the low information voters believe that Republicans in Congress want to “shut down the government” and this is patently untrue. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, now daily repeats that Republicans in the House do not want to shut down the government, but are addressing whether to defund Obamacare. There’s a difference, but Obama and his minions will repeat and repeat and repeat the lie. In truth, most Republican leaders in Congress know that defunding is a fool’s dream.

The single greatest example of stupidity in America today is the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—a law that is increasing unemployment, forcing others into part-time, unemployment, and denying physicians the right to practice medicine while stripping patients of their privacy, and will ultimately deny care to some judged ineligible due to age or a previous condition.

On September 17, Jonathan Jacobs, the director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was published in The Wall Street Journal. “As Education Declines, So Does Civic Culture.”

Noting the “laments from graduates” that emerge with student loan debt and “wondering if their studies have prepared them for jobs and careers” Jacobs expressed the opinion that “A less familiar but even more troubling problem is that their education did not prepare them for responsible civic life.”

That is a very nice way of saying that, by the time many reach college, they are poorly prepared for that level of “higher” education and too often pick up a diploma because colleges and universities these days are frequently just giant sausage factories that exist to process students through while squeezing every dollar out of them. The problem begins, however, in kindergarten with a thoroughly dumbed-down educational system.

Jacobs acknowledges this saying, “The trouble begins before college. Large numbers of high school students have faced so few challenges and demands that they are badly unprepared for college.”

“Even after three or four years of undergraduate education, many students,” said Jacobs, “still cannot recognize reasoning when they encounter it.”

Reasoning is a cognitive function that employs facts and analysis. Much of what passes for political discourse from the White House and Democratic politicians these days is based on emotion no matter what the issue may be; whether it is gun control or invading Syria.

Conservatives are denigrated for actually pointing to the Constitution and suggesting that what is being proposed is forbidden by it. If, however, the intended audience has never read the Constitution and has a warped or inadequate understanding of American history, that kind of demagoguery works.

“A great many graduating students have little idea of what genuine intellectual exploration involves,” said Jacobs. They have passed through all phases of the educational system lacking the capacity to think through, not just the issues of the day, but have failed to acquire the most basic skills. He noted that employers frequently discover that “many college graduates can barely construct a coherent paragraph and many have precious little knowledge of the world—the natural world, the social world, the historical world, or the cultural world.”

These college graduates are often the sons and daughters of a generation of college graduates who likewise were regurgitated into the world with a comparable lack of knowledge and skills.

How many times has Jay Leno gone onto the street to ask people questions about events and personalities, only to demonstrate how abysmally ignorant they are? This kind of street theatre is repeated all the time in YouTube videos. A recent one asked people to sign a petition to have Karl Marx run for office!

“The cost to America of failing to reverse the trend toward trivializing education will be more than just economic,” said Jacobs. “It will be reflected in social friction, coarsened politics, failed and foolish policies, and a steady decline in the concern to do anything to reverse the rot.”

The late comedian, George Carlin, once said, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” I thought of that when I heard that Barack Obama had been reelected.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Very Angry America

By Alan Caruba

I have been trying to remember when there was so much anger between the Democrats and Republicans. Or maybe I should say between liberals and conservatives? Or maybe I should say between the Tea Party and the Republican Party? Or maybe I should say those who find the President of the United States a contemptible liar who has diminished a once great superpower to an object of disrespect?

There is plenty of anger to go around. The mood of the nation is one of anger from one end of the political spectrum to the other.

What is one to make of a White House senior advisor, Dan Pfeiffer, who compared Republicans to arsonists, hostage-takers, and suicide bombers? The Majority Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, told Republicans that “There’s no need for conversations” telling them to send over a continuing resolution without defunding Obamacare. He has called Tea Party members of the House “anarchists.”

Meanwhile, Republicans who do not want to see the government shut down are labeled “RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only). Instead of keeping the spotlight on the Democrats who foisted Obamacare on us, we have been watching the Republican Party tear itself apart.

As the Wall Street Journal columnist, Kimberly Strassel put it, “The tragic reality is that this vote isn't shaping up to be all that perilous for the owners of the law. Nobody is even talking about Democrats. Nobody has put an iota of pressure on them for months. Every camera, every microphone has been trained on the GOP.”

Her colleague, Daniel Henniger, described the fratricide arising from the dispute over defunding Obamacare, saying, “This effort has not, for some time now, been about victory. It has become as RedState’s Erick Erickson put it with his usual eloquences, about shining a light on the ‘cockroaches’ in the GOP. Ted Cruz has spent months berating his own side as ‘appeasers’ who care only about ‘being invited to all the right cocktail parties in town.”

The result has been a GOP in meltdown while the President happily joined in on Friday calling the Tea Party members in Congress—though not by name-- “extremists.”

All this has brought to mind Barry Goldwater’s declaration to the Republican Party when he accepted their nomination to run for President in 1964. “Let me remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” He lost by a landslide to the incumbent, President Lyndon B. Johnson.

I understood what Goldwater meant, but extremism has never played well in American politics. Indeed, the Constitution is constructed so that any form of extremism can be thwarted by the checks and balances that slow any rush toward ill-considered legislation. That, however, did not work when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and imposed Obamacare on everyone.

Those who believe that, even with a Republican majority after the 2014 midterm elections, President Obama would not veto a bill to repeal Obamacare are deluding themselves.
Hating Obama is not enough. Understanding how our republic works is essential.

Tea Party came about initially as a protest against Obamacare and then grew has a grassroots political movement that elected a number of those it supported to the House. It is this bloc of votes that Speaker John Boehner has struggled to work with. In the Senate, Tea Party members include Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, Marco Rubio, and Pat Toomey.

Obama has many faults, but he has proven himself a master manipulator. The current struggle over Obamacare has played into his hands. That is unfortunate because what the GOP must do between now and the 2014 midterm elections is to focus on defeating those Democrats up for election who have supported Obama.

The general anger against Obamacare will gain in momentum, but if the GOP is seen as a bunch of crazies, it will affect the outcome. That’s the way it played out in 1964.

At this writing the possibility of a government shutdown is fifty-fifty. It will be over quickly, but by then the GOP will have dealt itself a disservice.

Until the GOP secures control of the Senate, the House, and the White House Obamacare will remain the law of the land. That is very bad news for all Americans and the future of America. Meanwhile, it is a good idea to remember that many bad laws have been reversed and repealed.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cartoon Round Up

More Global Warming Lies

By Alan Caruba

The release today of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control’s Fifth Assessment reveals how the IPCC has been wrong on every prediction and claim it has made over the years in which it has waged a war on the use of the primary sources of energy on which the entire world depends, coal, oil and natural gas.
It is an insidious war on the development of better living standards and on economic growth at home and around the world.

A combination of environmental and political entities has joined together to advance the bogus claims of “global warming” since its establishment in 1988 by the United Nations.
The new Fifth “Assessment”, based as always on flawed and false computer models, is another attempt to deceive people into believing that the world is at risk from rising temperatures, but the reality is that for at least sixteen years, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle and is likely to continue to cool for decades to come.

Claims that “global warming” is responsible for major weather events are baseless when one understands that, during the time the IPCC has been in existence, the Earth has had a record low in the number of tornadoes, the number of hurricanes, and no change in the rate of sea level rise, despite its claims to the contrary. Moreover, there have been record gains in the amount of Arctic and Antarctic ice.

The “science” the IPCC cites is without merit and it does not take a degree in meteorology to understand that it is the amount of solar radiation that determines the Earth’s overall temperature and that the Sun has been experiencing a natural, cyclical decrease as the result of less sunspot activity. Moreover, the other primary factor is the amount of water vapor, not carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a minimal element of the atmosphere and plays no role in either heating or cooling.

It is time to end the propagandistic and nefarious activities of the IPCC and end the greatest hoax of the modern era.

(c) Alan Caruba, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Government's Endless Orgy of Spending

By Alan Caruba

I frequently marvel that a loon like Nancy Pelosi could have become Speaker of the House and is currently the House minority leader. Recently she said, “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that. We cannot have cuts just for the sake of cuts.”

This is dishonesty on a galactic scale. It also provides an insight into why, short of the mandatory sequestration that went into effect last year when Congress could not come to any agreement on any cuts, the government continues to spend money in ways that are just short of criminal.

In July, a Rasmussen poll determined that 62% of likely voters thought the government should cut spending in response to the nation’s economic problems. That percentage was actually down from the previous month’s 65% and was the lowest support for reduced spending since August 2012.

That same month, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that 83% of Americans disapproved of the job performance of Congress. Approval of President Obama’s job performance was closely divided between 45% approval and 50% disapproval.

There are any number of think tanks and citizen’s organizations that keep tabs on government spending, but their periodic reports and news release seem to have no impact whatever. That’s something that members of Congress and others inside the Beltway know.

At a time when Republicans and Democrats will lock horns over raising the debt ceiling and the President thinks that any effort to defund the Affordable Care Act is the result of the Republicans “messing with me” and not a reflection of how widely disliked Obamacare is, it is instructive to look at just a few of the ways public funding is being regularly and routinely squandered in ways that are obscene.

As just one small example, one good way to save taxpayer dollars would be to shut down the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is spending $5.7 million on a project to develop card games, videos and other “educational” programs “to engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.” The Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) was established by Congress in 2009 and, to date, it has already spent $46 million on the “threat” of something that doesn’t even exist, global warming.

One of the NSF’s grants went to a study of what motivates workers, love or money? It cost $179,784. Another NSF grant, $2.25 on Tasmanian Devil facial tumors. This is an animal native to an island off the coast of Australia nowhere else. Part of another a half-million dollar grant was used to develop a video game the stimulated a high school prom. The NSF funded $350,000 to Purdue University to study how golfers could improve their game.

The NSF may take top honors for insanely wasteful programs and projects, but there is hardly a single department of the government that does not do the same thing. All that whining and wailing about sequestration was really about having fewer dollars to waste and fewer people with which to waste it.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration lets 5,700 pieces of unused security equipment sit in storage in a Dallas, Texas warehouse. Worth $184 million, it costs the TSA $3.5 million annually to lease the space.

As Obamacare expands the role of the Internal Revenue Service and we learn how some of its administrators targeted, denying or delaying, a common tax-exempt status to conservative groups routinely granted to all manner of other kinds of organizations, let us not forget the $4.1 million the IRS spent in 2010 on a lavish conference for employees.

The Department of Agriculture awarded a $149,000 grant to researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey to study how to eliminate the “freshman 15” extra weight that these students pack on when they can eat anything and as much as they want.

Morocco must have one heck of a good lobbyist because the Labor Department spent $1 million there to improve “gender equality” in the workforce there. The State Department spent $450,000 to develop “green jobs.”

Dave Ramsey, who advises people on radio, TV and in print on how to manage their personal finances, has said, “The fact is that government can get out of debt the same way you get out of debt. You quit borrowing money. You quit spending. You balance the budget. But to do all of that, you’ll need to make some sacrifices.”

The only reason sequestration went into effect was because a blue-ribbon panel of members of Congress could not agree to any reductions in spending.

Now we must endure a few weeks of meaningless political haggling to increase the debt ceiling while the government continues its orgy of senseless spending on projects and programs like those noted above.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Cruz Crusade

By Alan Caruba

Back in May, in a commentary titled “Ted Cruz for President”, I took note of the reasons why he would be eligible to run for President in 2016, citing the opinions of legal scholars and others. The odds have just gone up that he will not only make a run for the office, but can win. He will have to do it, at this point, by overcoming the opposition of the elites in the Republican Party who have managed to lose the last two elections for that office.

I wrote, “As Solicitor General (for Texas), Cruz authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued before it 43 times, securing a number of landmark national victories defending U.S. sovereignty against the U.N. and the World Court, the Second Amendment, the constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument, the words ‘under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and other key decisions.”

In the early years of the American government, what was high on the list of priorities for the job of President was leadership. From Washington to Grant to Eisenhower, Americans voted for men who had demonstrated that quality in combat. They saw it in Ronald Reagan and they saw it in George W. Bush’s response to 9/11 and stuck with him when he took us to war in Iraq.

Ted Cruz, a freshman Senator, demonstrated that with extraordinary endurance as he gave voice to the many reasons the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—is an attack on the lives and the livelihood of all Americans.

He has been attacked by the Republican establishment and even by some in the media you might consider friendly to his crusade in order to get Americans to understand how deleterious Obamacare is to our nation’s economy, to the free market—free enterprise system, to the relationship we take for granted with our personal physicians, and to the right to privacy that lies very much at the heart of our healthcare and political system.

I am not a legal scholar, but is obvious to me from my reading in American history that the Founders never envisioned that the Constitution would be misconstrued to say that the government has the right to tell us what we MUST PURCHASE and that, of course is what Obamacare does. When you take away the fundamental right to purchase or NOT purchase under penalty of a fine, you take away a fundamental freedom, you take away liberty.

Ted Cruz understands that and it is a wonder to me that everyone else does not understand it as well. It is true that the House of Representatives, controlled by the Republican Party, has passed a multitude of laws to repeal Obamacare. The most recent law would defund Obamacare while funding the government.

Because the Senate is controlled by Democrats, however, those laws die there. Indeed, the former greatest deliberative body in the world does not deliberate much anymore. It takes its marching offers from an offensive clique of men led by Harry Reid (D-NV). The widespread public rejection of Obamacare has a number of Democratic Party Senators, up for election soon, breaking with the Party to vote with Republicans on some bills.

Ted Cruz has given them a lesson in true leadership and in true courage.

A new generation of Americans is being required to learn the lessons of those first Americans who distrusted the tendency of power to become tyranny. In a book by Timothy Sandefur that will be published in January by the Cato Institute, “The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty”, he writes that “A government that enables a single tyrant or a powerful group of influential insiders to exploit power to benefit themselves would expose citizens to the same dangers of violence and oppression that would exist in a country ruled only by warlords and strongmen.”

We have been witnessing the tyrannical misuse of power by President Barack Obama through the instrument of Executive Orders, through the revision of the provisions of Obamacare that bypass the role of Congress, and, it can be argued, by the party-line vote that passed—unread—a 2,700 page act that has since ballooned to 27,000 pages of regulation, strangling and destroying one sixth of the nation’s economy, healthcare, as it destroys jobs and business growth in other sectors.

The reason the Tea Party movement came into being was a protest against Obamacare before it was enacted and resistance to it since. It is the Tea Party movement, as seen in those elected to office in the Senate and the House in 2010 that has been leading the fight to defund and repeal Obamacare.

Ted Cruz is leading a crusade that is composed of patriots.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Useless Obama Addresses the Useless United Nations

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know who looked more pathetic when President Obama addressed the United Nations Assembly on Tuesday; him or the assembled ambassadors, many from nations where human rights, justice, and liberty don’t exist. Like the League of Nations before it, the United Nations has long since demonstrated how useless it is.

Founded in 1945, by 2003 just before the U.S. received the UN blessing to invade Iraq there had been 291 wars resulting in 22 million deaths at that point. We would stay in Iraq until 2011.

Since 2003, there have been conflicts in the Central African Republic, Yemen, an insurgency in South Thailand, a civil war in Chad from 2005 to 2010, a conflict between the Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas, a war in Somalia from 2006-2009, and in 2008 Russia invaded Georgia, seizing part of its territory. In 2010-11 there was an Ivorian civil war. Et cetera!

In the years since 2003, the largest war of all has been the effort to eradicate the global Islamic jihad.

The U.S., while not engaged militarily, has been in a technical state of war with Iran since our diplomats were seized in 1979 and there has been no formal resolution to the war between North and South Korea, only a ceasefire. The Israelis have fought several wars since its founding in 1948 and remains in a state of war with Gaza; territory it ceded to the Palestinians in a fruitless quest called “land for peace.”

Listening to the President request that the UN Security Council pass a resolution threatening “consequences” against the Syrian regime if it does not give up its chemical weapons, I was struck by how weak the once greatest superpower, America, has become. To his credit, Obama said, “If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic international laws.”

True. But the UN has a long history of not enforcing its own Charter or its Declaration of Human Rights.

As 2013 began, fifty UN member states had yet to have paid their dues for its 2012 budget. The United States, the largest contributor, had been assessed $568 million. Nine nations contribute about 70% of the budget. They include Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, and China.

There is nothing the UN does that cannot be done by individual and independent international organizations. In so many ways, the UN either does not solve problems or is an integral part of them. For example the UN has maintained the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), created in 1949 exclusively for Palestinian refugees. Several generations later, the support it provides does not take into account the refusal of the Palestinians to cease from demanding the destruction of the Israeli state.

When not ignoring various conflicts, the UN keeps busy creating various treaties whose purpose is to centralize power in the UN. It is hard to say which one is the worst, but the Convention of the Seas deserves to be high on the list as an attack on national sovereignty. There’s a treaty that would take away everyone’s guns—like that’s going to happen—and one intended to get people to stop smoking.

The UN has been a congenial gathering place for many of the world’s dictators and some of their nations have served on its Human Rights Council, turning it into a complete mockery of human rights. Its Middle East clique of nations wants to make it an international crime to say anything critical about Islam.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming, was directed from the UN via its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One cannot even begin to calculate the billions wasted since the 1980s, nor the man-hours of serious scientific research that was diverted to it since then.

In addition to the President’s devotion to the lies about “climate change”, Obama’s address to the General Assembly only demonstrated how delusional about international affairs he has been before and since assuming office in 2009.

“Together we’ve also worked to end a decade of war. Five years ago nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in harm’s way, and the war in Iraq was the dominant issue in our relationship with the rest of the world,” Obama said. “Today, all of our troops have left Iraq. Next year, an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of Al Qaida that attacked us on 9/11.” Both nations are in the process of imploding.

Given the past week’s events in Nairobi, Kenya, the church bombing in Pakistan, and the continuing attacks on U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, does anyone believe that the mission of dismantling the core of al Qaeda has been achieved?

This is, after all, a President who could only manage to get France to support his original intention to bomb Syria by way of achieving regime change. None of our traditional allies expressed any support and the UN remains stranded on the sidelines.

No one wants to follow the Commander-in-Chief into battle and with good reason. He has a record of retreating from combat. He still wants to close Guantanamo.

“We’re no longer in a Cold War”, he told the delegates, but what we have learned over the past five years is that, just because he believes his own delusions, that doesn’t mean they’re reflect reality. We are in Cold War 2.0 with Russia even if he doesn’t think so. Putin went out of his way to mock him. Prospects for any successful negotiations with Iran don’t exist, but don’t tell Obama that.

Thanks to his speech writers, Obama always manages to say the “right things.” What we know, however, is that while he can talk-the-talk, he cannot walk-the-walk.
What we know about the United Nations is that it should be told to leave the U.S. and its headquarters turned into condominiums. We are surely not getting any value for the money we have pumped into the UN.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Obama's Beached Whale

By Alan Caruba

Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act—will not be defunded and the government will not be shut down.

Obamacare is a putrefying beached whale, even if it is “the law of the land” as the Democrats keep telling us. Well, Prohibition was once the law of the land until it was repealed. Slavery, too, was the law of the land at one time. Even the Supreme Court said so.

The vast majority of Americans already hate Obamacare and not a day goes by that it does not demonstrate that it is unaffordable, unworkable, and a cancerous law that kills jobs. Eventually it will kill people.

Obamacare, passed without a single Republican vote, will become a Democratic Party poison pill. It was passed when the party controlled both houses of Congress and, by the following midterm election in 2010, the Democrats lost the House.

If the Republicans can manage to avoid doing something really stupid, the 2014 midterms will give them control of both houses. For now, though, the efforts of Sen. Ted Cruz and others are misguided and mistaken.

We are watching the Congress of the United States engage in a political charade. The House has sent the Senate a continuing resolution to fund the operation of the government for a few months. The Senate will strip out the defunding element. In the end, “in the best interest of the nation”, they will agree to raise the debt ceiling and agree on some minor spending cuts.

No one wants to shut down the government more the Barack Obama. He and the Democrats would use that to hammer the Republicans in 2014.

If you think all this is bizarre, can you imagine what people in other nations must think?

The nation has a debt that is larger than its gross domestic product, the sum total of everything we sell to each other and the world. The deficit, the different between what the government takes in and what it spends is another problem. Obama managed to double the debt during his first term. He should be called the Terminator.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, two things are known. The huge, multibillion dollar bailout of the banks and investment houses worked. They were part of the crisis when they lent mortgage money to people who could not repay it because two government entities, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, told them to do that, making the critical second element of the crisis. For reasons that defy understanding, both entities are still in business. They should have been shut down; particularly in light of the billions the government had to pump into them to avoid massive defaults.

General Motors was on the way to the bankruptcy court and was bailed out as well, but its creditors were screwed while its union ended up part owners. The second known thing is that Obama’s multi-billion dollar “stimulus” did not work. There were no “shovel ready jobs.” Now there are even fewer jobs.

Then there is the Federal Reserve, an independent part of the international banking cartel, but granted the right to print money, has been doing so to the tune of $85 billion a month in order to buy U.S. debt issues. At the same time it has kept interest rates at near zero, thus providing the banks with free money. It is a shell game with everyone pretending they do not know what either the left or right hand is doing. It is bound to implode at some point.

To understand the gravity of the situation, by January of this year the Federal Reserve revealed that its holdings of U.S. government debt had increased to an all-time record of $1,696,691,000,000. Its holdings had increased 257% since Obama first took office in 2009. In the months since then it has, of course, increased.

To put it another way, we are Greece. Or Spain or any of the old world nations that embraced the dream of a socialist paradise providing cradle to grave support. The European Union was saved only because their central banks moved money around to prevent it and “austerity” programs were enacted.

The America in which I was born in the 1930s was struggling to come out of the Great Depression. America today is in the midst of a comparable economic disaster. For example, households on food stamps now outnumber all households in northeast America. A record 23,116,928 American households were enrolled during the month of June.

Unemployment is another Obama disaster. In the four and a half years he has been President, millions have given up looking for work, wages are stagnating, and America is becoming a nation of part-time workers.

The last “fiscal cliff” agreement resulted in a payroll tax increase from 4.2% to 6.2% siphoning off earnings from workers to the ever-expanding government. In 2012, the last full year of Obama’s first term, median household income was $51,017. That has since dropped to $51,100, a loss of 4.89% from 2008 to 2012. Less money circulating in the marketplace has stagnant economy written all of it.

As Obamacare goes into effect on October 1st America will become a nation in which everyone’s health records and privacy will end. There will be fewer physicians, fewer hospitals and clinics, and there will be skyrocketing health insurance premiums. We have Medicare and Medicaid. We don’t need, nor ever needed, Obamacare.

Given the events of recent weeks, it is understandable if people living in other nations begin to think that the United States is no longer a dependable ally, financial model or is giving any indication of functioning in a rational fashion.

As the stink from Obamacare’s rotting carcass continues to rise it will be clear to everyone that America’s credit, America’s credibility, and America’s future is circling the drain. Be patient. It will be repealed.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Global Warming: The BIGGEST LIE Exposed

By Alan Caruba

I will never understand the kind of thinking behind a lie so big that it became an international fraud and swindle. I cannot understand why an international organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) operating under the umbrella of the United Nations, was permitted to issue reports of an imminent threat to the Earth, to mankind, that a freshman student of meteorology would know were false.

At long last the Big Lie of Global Warming has been totally exposed and we can thank The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank that has organized and hosted eight international Conferences on Climate Change since 2008 to expose the lies behind global warming—now called “climate change”—as it became clear that seventeen years of continuous cooling has put a Big Chill on this Big Lie.

I suspect that the Heartland team, led by Joe Bast and including some remarkable, dedicated people, will only get a line or two in some future historian’s account of the deception that began in 1988 before a congressional committee. Thereafter the global warming hoax was given momentum by former Vice President Al Gore who, along with the IPCC, would receive a Nobel Peace Prize!

It helps to have a sense of humor when you are doing battle with hucksters who have the entire world’s media to defend them. The climate “skeptics”—some of the world’s most renowned meteorologists—dubbed their effort the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and, working with the Heartland Institute, have just released a new edition of “Climate Change Reconsidered II.”

It arrives just as the IPCC will release its 5th Assessment Report. The IPCC’s lies will get lots of news coverage. Heartland's NIPCC report was fortunate to have notice taken by Fox News, but beyond that most of the intransigent U.S. news media ignored it.

As often as not one has to look to foreign newspapers to get the truth. In Great Britain’s The Mail, the headline on September 14 was “Global warming just HALF what we said: World’s top climate scientists admit computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong.” A leaked copy of the IPCC report revealed “scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.”

Well, of course, they were wrong. The so-called “science” on which they were based was idiotic. It focused primarily on carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called “greenhouse gases”, claiming they were trapping heat while being produced by all manner of human activity related to generating energy with coal, oil, and natural gas.

Dr. Martin Hertzberg, Ph,D, co-author of “Slaying the Sky Dragon—Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory”, summed it up neatly, pointing out that water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere is a primary factor affecting climate long term and weather short term.

“The determinant of weather is mainly water in all its forms,” said Dr. Herzberg, “as vapor in the atmosphere, in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation, as the enormous circulating mass of liquid ocean whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport dominate the motions of our atmosphere and the precipitation from it, and finally as cloud, snow, and ice cover which influence the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free Space.” 

As you try to wrap your mind around that explanation, just think about the way the Earth goes through regular seasons as well as predictable cycles of warming and cooling. It has done this now for some 4.5 billion years.

To read "Climate Change Reconsidered II", visit its website. Among its findings, the report notes that “no close correlation exists between temperature variation over the past 150 years and human related CO2 emissions.” Blaming the climate or even the weather on humans is insane. You might as well blame the floods in Colorado on humans instead of the downpours of rain, comparable to 1894 and 1969.

Indeed, the U.S. gives ample evidence of greatly reduced events associated with the weather. There have been fewer tornadoes over recent decades.  It’s been eight years since a Category 3 hurricane hit the U.S. Droughts have been shorter and less extreme than the 1930s and 1950s. And sea levels are predicted to increase barely four to eight inches per century and that may be on the high side. There will be dramatic weather events, but there have always been dramatic weather events!

The Heartland’s new report is welcome, but both they and I know that the same deceitful charlatans are still at work in the United Nations, in the United States, and around the world to keep this greatest of hoaxes alive.

The harm the global warming hoax has done and continues to do is best seen in the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to wipe out the coal industry based entirely on the lie that CO2 is a “pollutant.” When the House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing on the Obama administration’s climate policies thirteen agencies were invited to testify, but the administration provided only EPA administrator Gina McCarty and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The latter read a prepared statement that was one long lie about global warming. Presumably he was under oath!

Ms. McCarty, the latest in a long line of environmental fanatics to run the agency, was forced under questioning to admit that current and proposed greenhouse gas regulations are not there to protect the public but to influence “the international community” to reduce their CO2 and other alleged emissions. Not only do the regulations have no basis in science, but they exist to keep the environmental war on energy use going and to pressure developing nations such as China and India. Within the past month, the citizens of Australia rose up and threw out the politicians who imposed a “carbon” tax on them. The new prime minister has shut down the “climate ministry” that existed to enforce it.

And while most of the world wasn’t watching, the United Nations was seeking to impose, once again, an international agreement similar to the failed and defunct Kyoto Protocol to limit CO2 and other greenhouse emissions, based on the BIG LIE! The 44th Pacific Islands Forum, held in the Marshall Islands, was intent on “an ambitious future climate regime to be finalized in 2015.”

That is what must be understood. These people will not give up until they have no other option. They will continue to exploit the ignorance of people regarding the actual science, penalizing them by driving up the cost of energy use, by closing down energy industries, prospective projects, and the jobs they provide,

They sustain the malignant ethanol scam that is ruining engines as this is being written. They are behind the useless solar panel and wind turbine industries that produce so little actual electricity they are a negative drag on the national grid. You, however, are picking up the tab for their mandated use. They practice a form of child abuse to tell children the Earth is doomed if their mother uses a plastic bag to bring groceries home from the supermarket.

The world’s BIGGEST LIE has been exposed and it will have to be exposed again and again until a stake is driven into the evil heart of the “global warming” hoax.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turning Smokers Into Criminals

By Alan Caruba

America is filled with groups of people clamoring for their “rights” or claiming they are being discriminated against. One group, however, has been successfully silenced and, broadly speaking, turned into criminals. They are people who enjoy a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe. There is no one left to speak for them, so I will.

A bit of background; my Father smoked a pipe as long as I knew him and, before him, his father smoked cigarettes. Both died well into their 90s. My Mother did not smoke but in the lingo of the attack on smokers, she presumably was a “victim” of secondary-smoke. She died at age 98. I have smoked since my days in college, some six decades. I became a cigar smoker while in the army and have thoroughly enjoyed them ever since.

In 2010 I received a book by Michael J. McFadden titled “Dissecting Antismoker’s Brains”, a privately-published examination of the movement to ban smoking. He wrote at the time “If by some chance they eventually succeeded in eliminating smoking from the face of the earth there would be virtually no time lapse before they sank their fangs into Big Auto, Big Meat, Big Soda, or whatever supposedly idealistic cause was out there that would promise them Big Money and Big Power.”

He was prescient because we have all witnessed campaigns against meat and soda consumption, all replete with “scientific studies” which, on close examination are bogus. We have been through three decades of such studies regarding the end-of-the-world claims regarding “global warming” only to learn in 2009 that they represented a cabal of scientists in America and Great Britain who colluded to produce the International Panel on Climate Change reports, based on falsified “science” and manipulated, bogus computer models.

These days the IPCC’s latest assessment reluctantly admits that its claims have failed, given a cooling cycle that began around 1998. Instead of shutting down and disbanding, the IPCC continues its quest to control the use of energy sources, oil, coal, and natural gas, denying it as much as possible to nations and people who depend on them.

McFadden has expanded on his earlier book with a new one, “TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame.” (Aethna Press, $27.95, softcover) The title is a play on Kristallnach, a 1938 event in Nazi Germany that revealed the depths of that regime’s hatred of Jews, leading eventually to the Holocaust. Smokers are not being rounded up and killed, but they are subjected to bans and meritless increases in the cost of smoking; taxes that greatly benefit the states imposing them while using the power of taxation to denigrate smokers.

McFadden, who has a strong knowledge of statistics, examines how they have been used, often falsely, to impose the agenda of the antismoking forces. “Statistics have a real and valid use in science and public health,” he says, “but when it comes to using social engineering techniques toward the end goal of creating a smoke-free world, they have been destructively abused to create fear and resentment far more than they have been constructively used to share information and enlightenment.”

“TobakkoNacht” is filled with information and enlightenment; the kind that the antismoking campaigners do not want the public to know. It is just over 500 pages long and, as McFadden warns, “A democratic republic that allows its policies to be built on the basis of lies, and a citizenry that accepts those lies as being the norm, is a republic and citizenry in very deep and serious trouble.” It’s not just lies about smoking, global warming, or what we should eat and drink. It is the lies that assure us that the government is not reading our mail and monitoring all our phone calls and Internet activity. It is the lies that lure the nation into wars.

The lies pouring out of the White House and repeated in the nation’s mainstream media have achieved a mass that the President has called “phony scandals” and they include the attack in Benghazi, the role of the National Security Agency, the actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service against Tea Party and other conservative groups, and the greatest fountain of lies, the Environmental Protection Agency.

In page after relentless page, McFadden cites the facts that disprove the lies about the connections between smoking and health. Yes, some smokers do develop lung disease, but many people who do not smoke also fall victim. No, there is no epidemic of heart attacks among smokers. The alleged links between “secondary” smoke and health are non-existent. Many of the diseases cited have a genetic component in which even people who do not smoke fall victim.

The war on smokers depends on the same general ignorance of science that other comparable campaigns use. They cite “amounts” of “toxic” substances, so let me end with a short lesson in reality:

1 milligram = 1,000 micrograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000 nanograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000,000 picograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000,000,000 femtograms

The same hucksters and frauds that tell you that 0.039% by volume of the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere poses a huge threat to all life and those claiming that the presence of arsenic in tobacco smoke is a health threat are dependent on public ignorance. What you are not told is that there is arsenic in potatoes and in eggplants. What they are not telling you is that the earth’s active volcanoes are natural sources of carbon dioxide, along with others, including humans that exhale it.

The anti-smoking campaign is about controlling people and, as far as Big Pharma is concerned, making a ton of money selling nicotine patches and gum. The “scientists” in universities will make their money generating false studies.
It’s a scam. It’s a fraud. It has falsely stigmatized everyone who wants to light up and relax.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Gun in Your Hand is Still the Best Protection

By Alan Caruba

Here’s an excerpt from Steven Goddard’s excellent blog, Real Science:

The DC shooter had two gun arrests, including one where he fired a bullet into his neighbor’s apartment and didn’t even bother to check on her. He suffered from delusional paranoia, heard voices, and had a security clearance and a concealed carry license. And the Navy let him slip through security yesterday carrying a rifle.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. law enforcement officials are telling The Associated Press that the Navy contractor identified as the gunman in the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.  Aaron Alexis, 34, had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation in the case was continuing. The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance.”

A gun in your hand is still the best protection against such a random killer or against anyone threatening your life or the lives of others.

On November 11, 2009, in the week following the killings at Fort Hood—still labeled workplace violence, not a terrorist attack—a Washington Times editorial noted that “Among President Clinton’s first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.”

It makes you wonder why we refer to our military as “armed forces.”

Thanks to the usual delusionary liberal claptrap cited to oppose gun ownership, military bases, schools, malls, and even movie theatres remain places where few, unless they live in a state that permits concealed carry, can shoot back when under attack.

On Tuesday, September 17, the nation celebrated Constitution Day, the ratification 226 years ago of the Constitution. When sent to state legislatures many demanded that a Bill of Rights be included and it is significant that the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms guarantees the rights enumerated in the First Amendment.

As Thomas Jefferson noted, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” That was never more true than today!

Michael Savage, the radio talk show personality, is fond of saying that liberalism is a mental disorder, but there is ample proof, given the irrational way they keep demanding more laws to control guns, limit gun ownership, and create other obstacles to a populace that clearly demands to retain the rights spelled out in the Second Amendment.

Before the bodies of Alexis’s victims had been counted and removed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and longtime gun control advocate was denouncing “the litany of massacres” over the past few years, asking “When will enough be enough?” but not answering why Monday’s killings and those at the Newtown, Connecticut school, earlier at Columbine high school, or the movie house killings in a Denver suburb last year all involved perpetrators who were found to have been mentally deranged. Sen. Feinstein ignores this fact.

Millions of Americans own guns, mostly for personal protection as opposed to hunting. There are 13.7 million hunters in the United States over age 16 according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As CNS News reported in February, “That means hunters constitute only 15.9 to 18.1 percent of the estimated 70-80 million gun owners in the U.S. in 2001—the last year for which statistics are available.” There are an estimated 300 million firearms in the U.S., about 100 million of which are handguns.

Liberals and gun control advocates would have you believe that the nation has been awash in mass shootings or that our murder rate is soaring. There is no truth in either of these assertions. Indeed, in states that permit concealed carry of handguns the murder rate is lower than those that do not. Chicago, famous for its strict gun laws, has a high rate of murders and is being joined by Newark, NJ and Trenton in my home state of New Jersey where it is virtually impossible to secure a concealed carry permit.

While mass shootings are frightening events, Bloomberg News reported there had been 78 such events over the past thirty years; incidents in which four or more people were killed at random. There were 547 victims and “over the same three decades through 2012, that’s less than a tenth of one percent of the 559,347 people the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates were murdered over that same time period.” According to the World Health Organization, statistically America ranks among nations with the very lowest murder rates per 100,000, many of which have total gun bans.

A May 7, 2013 article in the Los Angeles Times, reported that “Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show. Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.”

Americans are constantly being harangued over the issue of gun ownership. That issue was settled 226 years ago when our Constitution was enacted.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The EPA's War on America

By Alan Caruba

Among the targets to disable an enemy’s ability to wage war is their energy infrastructure. The destruction of the utilities that provide electricity or its ability to refine oil is critical to crippling a nation’s ability to function, based on the universal use of hydrocarbons such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

If an enemy was doing this to America we would go to war against it, but this is being done and the enemy is the government on which we depend to ensure the nation has the energy it needs to function and grow. Leading the war on America has been the Environmental Protection Agency, but it is joined by the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and other agencies.

The Institute for Energy Research has estimated that the much of the government’s oil and gas that is technically recoverable is worth $128 trillion, about eight times our national debt. Our coal resources in the lower 48 states are estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion.

On September 10, The Wall Street Journal reported that “The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal.”  The U.S. has more than 27% of the world’s known coal reserves.

Greenhouse gas emissions are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas vital to all life on Earth, the “food” that vegetation depends upon. It plays no role whatever in a “global warming” that is not occurring. It is emitted by the Earth’s many active volcanoes and hot springs. It is exhaled by humans and land animals. It is the product of the combustion of hydrocarbons. As it increased in the atmosphere, the Earth has entered a cooling—not a warming—spell since the late 1990s. Its atmospheric concentration is a very tiny 0.039 percent by volume.

 It is, however, the justification on which much of the EPA’s enforcement activities are based. “The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon dioxide emissions and stick them underground—a costly process that hasn’t been demonstrated at commercial scale before.”

The idea of “capturing” CO2 and holding it underground is about as idiotic as it gets. More CO2 means more abundant crops to feed humans, livestock, and wildlife. It means healthier forests and jungles. Yet this is what would be required if the EPA gets its way. And even if it were possible, it would drive up the cost of electricity to consumers.

If implemented the proposal would guarantee one thing; fewer coal-fired plants and, as a result, less production of electricity. In 2012, the American Energy Institute warned that “coal’s share of U.S. electricity is expected to fall to below 40 percent this year from 42 percent last year and produce the lowest share since data was collected in 1949. Just five or six years ago, its share of electricity generation was 50 percent.”

The EPA isn’t content stopping the construction of coal-fired plants. In April 2013 a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the EPA’s veto of the Arch Coal Spruce Mine in West Virginia. The decision pushed aside the Army Corps that normally conducts the environmental reviews and which granted approval to the mine in 2007.

The EPA ordered the Corps to withdraw the permit. This transfer of power to the EPA imperils all future coal mining projects. A Wall Street Journal article about the EPA’s project veto noted that “A recent study by Berkeley Professor David Sunding estimates that some $220 billion of annual investment depends on these permits; the fact of an EPA veto will deter new investment." EPA warnings have caused a British mining giant, Anglo-American, to walk away from a proposed Alaskan “Pebble” mine—potentially the largest coal and copper project in North America.

It is not just coal whose use is targeted by the EPA, fracking technology has unleashed a boom in natural gas, but the Obama administration has nominated an enemy of natural gas to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ron Binz regards it as a “dead end” because he too is a believer in carbon capture and storage. His answer to a non-existent global warming is “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind. Solar currently provides 0.01% of the electricity fed to the grid and wind provides just 2%. FERC oversees much of the gas business and could effectively deter the growth of this industry with all of its attendant benefits from jobs to the reduction in the cost of electricity.

A recent report by the Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee exposes the way the EPA has “pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight.” The report noted how the former administration established an alias identify in order to discuss agency business without having to report on it. The report provides a lengthy description of violations of the Freedom of Information Act and other federal laws and regulations intended to encourage transparency in government.

All of this is going on while the nation languishes in the long recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, while creating jobs is vital to that recovery, and while it continues its long history of resisting the provision of energy in any form to Americans.

It is a war being waged on Americans, most of whom are unaware of it, but are being victimized by it.

© Alan Caruba, 2013