Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Predictions for 2009

By Alan Caruba

Everybody in the pundit trade likes to make predictions. If they come true, we look smarter than we really are and, if they don’t, no further mention of them is made.

1. A general belief in “global warming” will continue to decrease when winter weather conditions continue beyond March. More scientists will come forth to denounce it as a hoax.

2. Iran will announce it has nuclear weapon capability. Beyond condemnation, no direct action will be taken by the United Nations, United States or Israel.

3. Hezbollah will attack Israel from its base in Lebanon.

4. There will be a growing protest movement against further U.S. troop placements in Afghanistan as losses begin to increase.

5. Both India and Pakistan will to put troops on their border, but no conflict will occur.

6. A major Islamist terrorist plot will be uncovered in the United States.

7. The world economy will continue to slow. U.S. government efforts to restore trust in the banking system and Wall Street will not bring about significant results until shortly before the end of 2009.

8. President Obama will be a party to a major scandal.

9. The drug wars along the U.S. and Mexican border will dramatically spill over into Texas and Arizona. There will be a massacre on U.S. territory between rival drug gangs that will attract widespread public attention and demand for action.

10. Earthquakes! Blizzards! Hurricanes! Tornados! Floods! Fires! Wars and rumors of war!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

People I Don't Want to Hear About in 2009

By Alan Caruba

If I had the power, there are any number of people from whom or about whom I would not want to hear, see, or read anything in 2009. Here’s a short list!

Al Gore. This pusillanimous fraud, a leftover from the Clinton administration who was defeated for president in 2000, has devoted his time to issuing warnings against global warming, the greatest hoax of the modern era. He tends to be most vocal during blizzards.

Dr. James Hansen. Right behind, with his nose deeply buried in Al Gore’s posterior, is the man who started the global warming hoax when, in the 1980s, he testified to Congress that the whole world is doomed. To his name I add the hundreds of other alarmists.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is quite possibly the most stupid person to have ever held that post.

Sen. Harry Reid. The Senate Majority Leader, like his counterpart in the House, holds a lot of idiotic ideas and beliefs. He continues to oppose the opening of Yucca Mountain, a multi-billion dollar repository for spent, but radioactive nuclear fuel.

Bill Clinton. Having cost Hillary a shot at the presidency and failed in so many ways during his own two terms in office, one fervently hopes he will busy himself giving million dollar speeches in Abu Dhabi and other venues far from the U.S. This is the man who once said, “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.” Well, he got his wish; the economy is slowing to a crawl. Happy now?

Jimmy Carter. This friend to every dictator on Earth was once elected President of the United States. Mistakes happen.

Barney Frank. Don’t hold your breath waiting for this House of Representatives’ Elmer Fudd impersonator to take responsibility for the nation’s financial crisis. He spent the last few years defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while both purchased billions in sub-prime mortgage loans.

George W. Bush. I have had to listen to President Bush for eight years and that is quite enough.

John McCain. America has voted, but less than half for you and most of them held their nose when they did.

Keith Olbermann & Chris Matthews. These two alleged political pundits so thoroughly embarrassed themselves and MSNBC during the campaigns that their co-workers refuse to sit at their table in the company cafeteria.

Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson. The next President of the United States of America is an Afro-American. Millions of white people voted for him. Now go away.

Mahmoud Amadinejad. This loony is convinced that millions must die so that a mythical Twelfth Imam can return to bring Islam to all mankind. Meanwhile, Mahmoud and the ayatollahs have been busy destroying Iran when not taking hostages.

Hugo Chavez. This Fidel Castro wannabe has managed to destroy Venezuela’s economy with his communist ranting. I miss the good old days when the CIA was encouraged to rid us of such pests.

Osama bin Laden. With any luck, this sucker is dead.

The United Nations. Anything that comes out of this institution should be treated like toxic waste.

So many annoying, deranged, and stupid people; we can be assured that the mainstream media will hang on their every word.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brilliant Thoughts

By Alan Caruba

In my capacity as a veteran book reviewer—nearly fifty years—I recently received some books in a series called the “Daily Dose of Knowledge.” I must confess I like these bite-sized offerings and one of the series is titled “Brilliant Thoughts.”

Oh? You thought I was going to write about my brilliant thoughts? Well, that would be redundant, wouldn’t it?

For every day of the year, each page offers up brilliant thoughts from thinkers great and minor from the distant and not so distant past. It is an energizing way to start one’s day and since we all live in a universe of our own minds, feeding your mind on a daily basis is always a good idea.

Here are a few excerpts from the book which is published by West Side Publishing, a division of Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, Illinois.

“Technology: The knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it.”
--Max Frisch

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
--Benjamin Franklin

“If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.”
--Thomas Szaz

“He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him great.”
--Samuel Johnson

“The only zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.”
--Robert M. Pirsig

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”
--Edward R. Murrow

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
--Carl Sagan

“Three things cannot be hidden: The sun, the moon, and the truth.”

Did the proverbial light bulb go on over your head when you read one of these thoughts? If so that means your mind is still receptive to insight and understanding. If nothing whatever happened, you need to ask yourself if you have fallen into an intellectual ditch from which you need help to extricate yourself.

We all have people, institutions, governments, media, friends and family telling us what the “truth” is and perhaps the single most difficult and demanding task we have in life is to find our own way to our own truths. And then to be willing to abandon them if they are proven wrong.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Palestinian Answer to Everything is War

By Alan Caruba

Writing in May 2008 on the occasion of Israel’s sixtieth anniversary, Fouad Ajami, a longtime observer and commentator of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said that “The Arab imagination could never reconcile itself to the permanence of the Jewish state…stubbornly refusing to accept the verdict of what happened in 1948.”

“In its short history,” said Ajami, “Israel has held up a mirror for the Arabs, who have not liked what they have seen.”

Now we shall wait again for the inevitable condemnations of Israel for taking military action against the incessant daily attacks from Gaza. It is worth remembering that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, forcing Israelis living there to leave their homes in order to end a 38-year occupation. Their reward for this selfless act was to watch Gaza become a staging ground for attacks.

If, say, the Canadian province of Quebec was shelling nearby cities in the United States, how long do you think it would take the U.S. to retaliate? When Osama bin Laden’s terrorists perpetrated 9/11, America sent troops halfway around the world to attack the Taliban with which al Qaeda was allied. Yet Israel is not supposed to respond to daily provocations, property damage and the deaths of its people?

The Palestinian answer to every effort Israel has undertaken to achieve peace and a two-state resolution to their grievances has been war. They have waged war from Gaza and, in the name of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Palestinian group supported by Iran and aided as well by Syria, they have been threatened from the north.

The disgraceful and morally debased former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, was recently in the Middle East, helping to celebrate the founding of Hamas while in Damascus and, later in Lebanon, lamenting that Hezbollah had no protection from Israeli overflights.
On his blog for the Carter Center, he recently said, “Like the Syrians, they (Hamas) are patient, relatively satisfied with the status quo, and putting all their eggs in Obama’s basket. We had to caution them about expecting too much of an immediate change in U.S. Middle East policy.”

No fans of diplomacy, Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup two years ago, driving Fatah, the arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organization founded by Yassir Arafat, into the West Bank. In response, Israel sealed off Gaza from the outside world to the extent it could.

Two years ago, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report, wrote that “Hamas, in truth, is not a nationalist force. It is part of the global movement of jihad, a Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood founded in Egypt with the goal of eliminating Israel with help from its Syrian and Iranian backers.”

In 2006 Zuckerman reported that the Israel Defense Forces had “found more than a hundred transborder tunnels (into Egypt) through which tons of explosive, tens of thousands of rifles, RPGs, rockets and missiles of all kinds have been shipped.”

Watch now for television news to run endless tape of Gazan burials, of destroyed Hamas headquarter buildings and structures where massive amounts of arms were stored, and of grieving families of civilians, though warned to leave, were killed. Try to recall the last time you saw, heard or read any reports on the losses in Israel’s Sederot, the object of daily rockets for months prior to and since the “hudna” or ceasefire to which Hamas agreed?

The Gazan people have been victimized, but by Palestinians, by Fatah, and now by Hamas, who teach their children to become suicide bombers, by the Hamas leaders who prosper why the ordinary people must depend on UNRWA aid to find enough food. Since the founding of Israel sixty years ago, the United Nations has been the enabler of Palestinian resistance while passing a hundred resolutions condemning Israel.

In about a month the Palestinians, not the Israelis, become yet another problem on President-elect Obama’s agenda. Assuming that Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, they may be very surprised to find they do not have a friend in the White House.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Barack Obama: Oratory Versus Action

By Alan Caruba

Perhaps it is because I make my living with words that I am more attuned to their meaning and power, but what has struck me most forcefully during the Obama campaign and in these days leading up to his inauguration is his powerful grasp of the utterly vague phrase.

“Yes, we can” means anything the listener wants it to be. “Hope” is also subject to all manner of interpretation. Maybe I’m just cynical—and I have earned it—but this kind of oratory is the politician’s stock in trade. That and, of course, promises.

When President-elect Obama says that he wants to restore the world’s respect for the United States I think he is talking more to the sense of weariness that Americans feel having to carry the burden of protecting the world from communist and Islamofascist predators. If that sounds like right-wing nut talk, think about Russia’s invasion this year of neighboring Georgia or the pirates plying their trade out of Somalia, the recent attacks in Mumbai, the continuing bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

I think, too, that most of us have grown tired of President Bush’s fairly clownish behavior. His lack of oratorical skills has become the fodder for Saturday Night Live and many topical comedians who I suspect are going to miss him for that reason alone.

Obama stands in stark contrast to Bush in much the same way his calm presence and command of the language made John McCain look fairly pathetic during the few debates they held. There is, of course, the age factor. Obama attracted tons of younger people to his campaign and that should strike no one as odd.

In the end, Republicans were more resigned to McCain than enthusiastic, even if he did turn out to be their choice through the primaries. Imagine for a moment a younger, more articulate Mitt Romney as the candidate? Only the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin breathed any life into the McCain campaign.

Much as was the case in the 1960s when a young, vigorous John F. Kennedy was sworn into office and inspired people with his oratory, I think Obama’s inaugural speech will repeat that performance.

What we tend to forget is that JFK did not impress Nikita Krushchev when they met, blundered badly with the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco, and set the stage for the U.S. involvement in Vietnam with a mission creep that began with U.S. military advisors.

Oratory is a powerful weapon. Winston Churchill kept the British people’s spirits up during the darkest days of the Blitz over London and he inspired them to fight on when the United States at last joined the war. Certainly, Franklin D. Roosevelt used his skills brilliantly as well. His “fireside chats” surely made Americans feel they could get through the Great Depression.

However the Depression was not overcome by anything the government did. It was World War Two that energized American industry to meet the test in two theatres of war.

Oratory has its limits. Not too soon after Obama delivers his inaugural speech, Americans are going to be expecting some kind of action to address the sputtering economy and, if it turns out that his administration wants to throw millions at so-called “green jobs” and ignore the failure of banking institutions to begin lending again, the tide of unhappiness will rise and all the inspirational catch phrases will not make it recede.

If his supporters conclude that he, like the Wizard of Oz, is really "the man behind the curtain” creating an illusion, his rhetorical skills will not be able to hide the fact that the federal government that created the present ills is unable to end them.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My New Boots and the Economy

By Alan Caruba

I bought a new pair of boots today. This particular pair is made from soft leather that is casual in appearance and extremely comfortable. Though born and bred in New Jersey, I have worn cowboy boots since the 1960s. I attribute it to spending too many Saturday matinees watching cowboy movies.

Truth is, I had been looking to buy a new pair the replace the rather beat-up pair I have worn for a while, but the catalog just a few months ago was asking about $125.00 for the particular ones I wanted. Then, a few weeks ago it was asking $70.00 for them. And this morning the email offer cited a price of $50.00.

The economy is playing sheer havoc with folks who make things for a living. The news this morning is that holiday retail sales have been as bad as they have been in decades. You have to go back to 1959 to equal the low level of sales.

When I graduated from the University of Miami (FL) in 1959 and completed my military service two years later, jobs were plentiful and, as a journalist, I covered a lot of civil rights marches and such. Then the Vietnam War began to require a lot more young soldiers. History is messy and filled with wars that get young men killed because old men make serious errors of judgment.

People with a little spare cash are picking up some real bargains these days, but mostly consumers are beginning to do something they have not done in a very long time. They are either not buying stuff or buying a lot less stuff. That’s what people do when it occurs to them that the economy is in the toilet.

In a consumer society that is bad news for people who make and sell real stuff for a living. The flip side is that you can now buy a home for something approximating its actual value instead of the inflated prices of the last few years. .And you can get some very good terms on your mortgage. Time was you couldn’t get one unless you could put down at least twenty percent of a home’s price, but when those prudent mortgage loan standards went out the window so did the economy.

It didn’t help that the federal government via some truly bad “social justice” legislation was putting intense pressure on banks and mortgage loan firms to lend money to people who could not ever afford to pay them back. Now foreclosures are going to play social havoc in the same places the government thought it was helping.

I have a friend my age who has been on Wall Street for a very long time. I asked him this morning if all those people who were “bundling mortgage-backed assets” and other fancy securities knew that it was all a scam that had to go bad at some point. He said yes. He avoided them and advised his clients to avoid them.

There’s a very real difference between a new pair of boots and some gussied-up security whose value is going to disappear in thin air. You can put on a pair of boots and wear them for years. You cannot recover the value of something that never really had a value except for the folks trading them as fast as they could. Those folks made a lot of money, but they never made anything real like a pair of boots.

The new administration, we’re told, is ready to let loose a huge “stimulus package” to “jumpstart” the economy. The level of U.S. indebtedness is going to skyrocket, but the folks in Congress don’t seem to understand that the government cannot just keep printing money without turning the U.S. dollar into a Zimbabwe note for one billion dollars that won’t even buy a loaf of bread.

The level of lobbying to get a piece of this new government pie is going to be intense. In time we will learn of a slew of idiotic projects that skimmed off the federal largess. It always happens. As I recall, the last stimulus package did nothing at all for the economy.

It never seems to occur to Congress to dump the ponderous U.S. Tax Code and write a new, fairer one.

It never seems to occur to Congress to pare back the monstrous tangle of regulations that drive up the cost of doing business or anything else in America.

And it surely will not occur to Congress to not raise taxes at the very time when people need to hold onto every dollar they earn.

I expect Congress and state governments to start taxing everything. I mean everything! Tolls will go up. The price of public transit will rise. The poor will get poorer. The middle class will shrink. The number of bank heists will increase.

Cutting programs, laying off civil servants, and renegotiating pension plans, et cetera, just never occurs to most governors and legislators.

I’m pleased that I waited for the price of my new boots to decrease, but I feel sorry for the boot manufacturer and for his employees. It’s not their fault the U.S. economy is in trouble. We know whose fault it is, don’t we?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunshine is Free Energy, Right?

By Alan Caruba

I cringe every time I hear President-elect Obama and the group of global warming maniacs he has assembled to run the nation talk about creating millions of “green jobs” based on solar and wind energy.

These are two of the least practical and most expensive ways to generate electricity for a nation whose population exceeds three hundred million people requiring billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity. Still don’t get it? Just look at a satellite photo of the United States at night!

But solar and wind energy is virtually free, right? You don’t have to pay anything for sunshine and wind, right? Wrong! If it was free or even affordable, there would be no need for huge government subsidies—your tax money—and mandates on utilities to include solar and wind energy. Without them neither solar nor wind power industries could exist.

I lived in little Maplewood, New Jersey for more than sixty years until a raise in my property taxes rendered my home unaffordable for an aging retiree. I moved to an apartment complex one town over. Other than the rent, my utility bills for electricity and heat are laughable compared to the upkeep of my former home. I don’t shovel the snow. I don’t mow the lawns. I have access to a large pool, a well-equipped fitness center, and even a business center equipped with computers.

The local weekly covers the news of my former hometown and the one in which I presently reside. On the front page of the December 24 edition was an article, “Solar panels on library vetoed.”

“Maplewood officials shelved plans to install solar panels or slates on top of Memorial Library. Harvesting solar power was seen as a way to save electricity and earn the township a little money by selling renewable energy certificates.”

Anyone buying “renewable energy” or “carbon credit” certificates is just throwing their money away. In the real world, they aren’t worth the paper they are printed upon, but utilities in New Jersey and nearby States are required by law to spend millions on them instead of being able to invest that money in upgrading their electrical grid and other maintenance.

“But the cost of the solar technology would have added $200,000 or more to the cost of replacing the facility’s roof. They also found they could save more by better conserving energy inside the building.”

I have read estimates of the cost of putting solar panels on one’s home that conclude you’d have to live there thirty years or more to ultimately earn a savings in energy use comparable to the initial cost of installation.

Financial analysts, Raymond James & Associates, released a report estimating that solar power in residential applications costs $0.37 per kilowatt-hour, nearly four times as much as electricity from conventional sources.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released an estimate that, by 2030, solar power might be providing about 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year to American consumers. By contrast, the agency expects that conventional coal-fired plants will produce 3,351 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. By any comparison available, solar is possibly the most idiotic way to produce electricity. With the exception, that is, of wind power.

Solar energy, except in limited uses, is one of the great scams of the environmental movement. It is also one of the cornerstones of the incoming administration’s plans to combat a global warming that hasn’t been happening for a decade.

Our economy is going to hell at the same time the incoming administration is laboring under the delusion that it can create millions of “green jobs” plus throw billions at various environmental projects to prevent a Depression.

You are looking at a serious act of madness and deception at the worst possible time.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No Peace in Bethlehem

By Alan Caruba

Not only has there been no sense of outrage over the Islamofascist attacks in Mumbai, India that began on November 26 and lasted until the 29th; the event that took the lives of 170 people and wounded hundreds of others has quickly receded to being just one more atrocity in the name of Allah.

As the world looked on, the perpetrators were referred to as “gunmen”, “militants”, and “extremists”, but rarely as the jihad terrorists that they were.

If you cannot name your enemy, you can never really defend yourself against them or go on the offense against them.

One specific target in Mumbai, a city that is home to thirteen million Hindus and Muslims, was the Chabad Center, a gathering place for Jews where Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka, and others were slain. Only the bravery of their child’s Indian nanny saved their infant son, Moshe, now orphaned as one of the Jews that far too many Muslims want to exterminate.

In a personal post on the Carter Center website, former President Jimmy Carter reported on a meeting in Damascus, Syria, with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, one of the two factions claiming to represent Palestinians. The occasion was the anniversary of the founding of Hamas. Carter noted that Hamas was “putting all their eggs in Obama’s basket” to secure their objectives, while failing to note that the destruction of Israel is its primary objective.

Carter also took time to lament that Hezbollah, another Palestinian terrorist organization, lacks missiles to “defend” itself from Israeli aircraft after a visit to Lebanon. You may recall that Hezbollah initiated a war in 2006 against Israel by capturing an Israeli soldier and then by raining down hundreds of rockets on the northern region of Israel. These days, the Israeli overflights provide UNIFIL, a United Nations “peace keeping force”, with ample evidence of the weaponry being smuggled into Lebanon from Syria. UNIFIL has done nothing to stop the traffic and, at the first shot fired, will withdraw its forces.

That’s because, since 1947 when the Jewish state was declared and immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors, the United Nations has passed more than a hundred resolutions concerning the Palestinian refugees that resulted from that war. Not one resolution has been passed regarding Jewish refugees that were forced to flee from Arab nations, often where their families had lived for generations.

Bethlehem, the site of the birth of Jesus, is an active center for the other Palestinian faction, Fatah, which was driven out of Gaza at gunpoint by Hamas. This occurred after the Israelis had unilaterally withdrawn, forcing its Jewish residents to leave. It has been the launch ground for hundreds of rockets against Israel ever since.

Writing in a recent issue of U.S. News & World Report, contributing editor, Harold Evans, took note of how Fatah’s television station and in its schools, Palestinian children are taught that suicide bombing is much to be desired. “Martyrdom is bliss.” As Evans points out, “Children being taught murder by rote is child abuse, a mental deformation more damaging than physical injury,” adding that “This endlessly fraudulent education has had devastating effects on the prospect for peace.”

These “refugees” are now into their fourth generation because none of the Arab nations surrounding Israel would accept them as citizens, confining them for sixty years in slums called camps. Who oversees these camps? The United Nations. Who funds much of UNRWA’s efforts? American taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars thus far.

By contrast, since 1948 Israel has taken in more than 850,000 Jews driven from Arab nations. The Palestinian refugees have swelled from approximately 650,000 to some five million, all seething with hatred toward Israel, pawns of Arab nations, and providing a reservoir of terrorists.

If you want peace in Bethlehem this year, next year and beyond, the United States has to stop funding UNRWA. It has to stop funding Fatah as a “partner for peace.” It has to insist that true peace requires a renunciation of stated goals of extermination and destruction.

The United States and its allies must name terrorists anywhere and everywhere for who they are. They’re not militants or extremists. They are the cold-blooded Muslim killers of innocent people in Mumbai, in Bali, in Haifa, in London, in Beslan, Russia, to name just a few places, and, on September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Into the Afghan Slaughterhouse

By Alan Caruba

It seems like hardly a week goes by without news of more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. This is going to prove to be a great U.S. military blunder, made worse by the failure to consider that the former Russian regime, the Soviet Union, tried this and failed.

The lesson the Russians took from this apparently was to only invade small, defenseless nations on their border. The Afghanistan fiasco brought down the Soviet regime, but invading Georgia managed to make all of Europe shudder and look for somewhere to hide.

A wonderful Tom Hanks movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War”, relates Hollywood-style how covert assistance to the Afghan tribes neutralized Russian air power and resulted in ultimately driving them out. It can be counted a CIA success story. Wilson was a U.S. Congressman who took up the cause and pushed to fund it.

In November, on my website for The National Anxiety Center, I posted a fairly detailed analysis of why putting more troops into Afghanistan is a bad idea.

I come back to the subject because the situation there and the solution—more military—is such a truly bad idea. It is one which was put forth as a key element of President-Elect Obama’s campaign and which remains a priority for his new administration. Obama, who based much of his campaign on his opposition to the Iraq war has since selected Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State even though she voted to fund it. He has retained Secretary of Defense Bob Gates who took over from the disastrous post-invasion conduct of the war by Don Rumsfeld. We’re all still waiting for the “change” Obama promised.

Since then Pakistan’s government continues to founder as various elements within that nation battle for power. All seem to be in agreement that the U.S. is to be resisted for its involvement with the former regime. The Pakis are not thrilled about our present policies regarding the Middle East. Pakistan is critical to any U.S. military effort in Afghanistan because two of the key routes to re-supply our troops there pass through Pakistan. Those supply lines are now being attacked on an almost daily basis. Most close observers of Pakistan regard it as a failed state. It has almost always been run by its military since it was established in the late 1940s.

Reports are that local warlords are charging $1,000 per military supply truck to allow them through and even then they are still under attack along the long route that passes through various tribal fiefdoms.

I don’t even pretend to understand Afghanistan’s strategic value to Middle East policy, but I do know that every single nation that invaded Afghanistan, dating back to Alexander the Great, has been defeated, often to the tune of thousands of soldiers. Alexander was desperate to get out of the place and, after a while, so were the Russians.

Though Osama bin Laden is said to be hiding out in Afghanistan or the border area of Pakistan, we have notably not heard much from him and the multi-million dollar reward to anyone willing to tell us where he is hasn’t worked.

Afghanistan is incredibly mountainous, has few roads, and if you want to know what life was like in the seventh century AD, all you have to do is plan your next vacation there. British and French generals have gone on record saying it is a terrible place in which to wage any kind of war.

Former National Security advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinksi, is of the opinion that all we really have to do is pay off the local tribal leaders and let them get rid of the Taliban. The same goes for weaning Afghan farmers off of growing poppies for the production of heroin. Europe is a big market for the drug and the Europeans might be induced to kick in a few dollars to rid themselves of this problem. The crop accounts for most of Afghanistan’s economy.

Sending twenty or thirty thousand more U.S. troops to Afghanistan when the most modest assessment of troop strength for any hope of success is around 140 thousand will only feed the Afghan slaughterhouse.

It’s bad enough the Pentagon and White House are hell bent to ignore what happened to the Russians, but they seem to also be repeating all the errors of the Vietnam War. It took some seven years to extricate us from that Cold War blunder. We’re now five years into stabilizing Iraq. So far I have been hard pressed to find an explanation why we should continue efforts in Afghanistan.

If “change” is the theme of the Obama administration, extricating ourselves from Afghanistan would be a very good place to begin.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Several Reasons to Hate the Sierra Club

By Alan Caruba

Now I know that everyone thinks the Sierra Club is all about saving the American bison or some remote forested area, but the truth is that the Sierra Club, along with a number of other major environmental groups, is all about making life as difficult and expensive for Americans as possible.

For example, here is what the Sierra Club told its members in a December 23 email that was titled “On President Obama’s First Day…”

They want him to start 2009 with a “clean slate” of energy policies that “would have an immediate impact on cutting global-warming pollution and spurring a clean-energy economy.”

First of all, there is NO global warming, so all of their suggestions are based on what is essentially A LIE. As for a so-called clean-energy economy, if you think you are going to light and heat your home or business based on the one percent of electricity generated by heavily subsidized wind turbines and solar farms, you are whistling in the dark!

Nevertheless, the Sierra Club wants Obama to:

“Reduce global warming emissions quickly by making it possible for over a dozen states to implement their clean car requirements.” Don’t think you’re paying enough for gasoline and other auto-related costs? Just wait until these and other States want to inspect your car like a NASA shuttle.

“Require new and existing coal power plants to limit their global warming emissions.” Again, there is NO global warming. The emissions the Sierra Club refers to have NO affect at all on climate. The Earth absorbs some 98% of all carbon dioxide before releasing it again into the atmosphere. That’s what the world’s oceans do.

“End destructive mountaintop removal mining by stopping coal companies from being allowed to dump rock and waste into valleys and streams.” The Sierra Club really, really, really hates coal. Mining companies are heavily inspected and regulated by state and federal authorities for safety and countless other requirements.

“Restore America’s international leadership in the fight to end global warming by publicly committing the U.S. to cut its CO2 emissions at least 35 percent by 2020.” Again, there is NO global warming. CO2 is the other most vital gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. There have been past eras when the CO2 concentrations were three times higher than present. Nothing grows without CO2. Reducing CO2 both limits the amount of energy that must be produced for a population that exceeds 300 million at present and would cripple the economy in the process.

Moreover, the U.S. has never ratified the Kyoto Protocol to reduce "emissions." Clinton never submitted it to the Senate because they went on record opposing it. It exempts China which is building a new coal-fired plant every week! Enough said!

Are you beginning to hate the Sierra Club yet? I certainly hope so!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hanukah, Miracles, and Victories

By Alan Caruba

Hanukah began at sundown Sunday evening. A friend of mine points out that all Jewish holidays begin at sundown because the ancient Jews didn’t have watches or clocks; just the sun that rose reliably in the morning and set in the evening. That’s how time was told for centuries.

By watching the heavens, the ancients got pretty good at developing calendars to know when each of the seasons began.

Hanukah celebrates the reclaiming of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem from the Assyrians and its reconsecration in the second century BCE. Oil was burned for light and, as the story goes, there was only enough for one night, but it lasted for eight. As miracles go, it’s not an especially big one.

The real miracle, of course, is that a people—the Jews—can trace their history back 3,500 years and that their religion was re-written as the basis of two of the world’s major religions. At the heart of Christianity is the story of a Jew named Jesus, his disciples, and the virtual creation of the faith by a Jew named Saul—later called Paul—who enjoyed Roman citizenship. He was educated in both cultures. The longing for a messiah had been around a long time by then.

Historians attribute the stubborn refusal of Jews to yield to Roman rule as a key factor for the downfall of the empire. Some nasty work by barbarians finished it off. In 70 AD, the Romans disbursed the Jews and many found sanctuary in Babylon. The mutual history of the Persians and the Jews goes back to those times and was always one of tolerance and friendship until Islam was introduced there. Some Jews still reside in Iran today though I would not want to trade places with them or the Baha’is, another persecuted minority. If you want to visit a beautiful Baha’i temple, you will find one in Haifa , Israel.

At the heart of Islam is a profound hatred of Jews and, not surprisingly, of Christians. Mohammad warned Muslims not to take either as friends saying, “they are only friends to each other.” Well, Christians do not have a very good record of friendship as far as Jews are concerned. In one of the most Christian of nations, Germany, at the midpoint of the last century, they tried to round up every Jew in Europe and kill them.

If you want a miracle, I suggest the reestablishment of Israel sixty years ago after centuries of life in the Diaspora was as great a miracle as one can imagine in modern times. Jesus was one Jew sacrificed for his faith in his day (the story that the Sanhedrin gave him over to the Romans must be taken with some skepticism. Jews would not have turned their co-religionist over to pagans.) But then, the New Testament was written decades after the actual events.

Today’s Israel came into being only after the sacrifice of six million innocent souls. Surely the religious scholars can find a miracle in that if they look hard enough.

And, of course, the Muslims were and are the most opposed. If the Jews could reconstitute Israel after two thousand years, what does that say of an Islam that wasn’t invented until a thousand years after Judaism and seven hundred years after the advent of Christianity?

It was during the Maccabean Revolt that the temple in Jerusalem was recaptured. The Jews were not a passive people. They knew how to put up a good fight. So Hanukah, a relatively minor celebration in Judaism, is really about a military victory as much as the story of the oil lasting longer than expected. That’s not unusual in history which is mostly about battles won and lost.

A new war has been declared against Christians and Jews by a fundamentalist element of Islam. It’s not a war that should be taken casually. It well may be, however, that the war will transform or reform Islam in significant ways. That, too, would be a miracle.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Being a Republican

By Alan Caruba

It has been hard to be a Republican this past year and those leading up to the last elections. If Democrats found their voice in their bitter hatred of George W. Bush, his actions over the past four and previous years in office left Republicans breathless as both he and the Republican-held Congress engaged in an orgy of bewildering spending.

As power passed from the Party in 2006, one would have hoped for a more chastened, more sober Republican Party, but the momentum had shifted and the Democrats found a charismatic candidate in Barack Obama.

The choice of John McCain, though opposed in many Republican and conservative circles for his inclination to vote with Democrats, his pro-immigration position, his espousal of global warming falsehoods, left us with a choice between two candidates for whom no Republican could vote for without distaste and disdain. The introduction to the political scene of Gov. Palin was too little, too late. Her family problems just keep growing.

It is no accident that America is mired in a financial disaster that mirrors an era when “irrational exuberance” reined. The sins of George W. Bush are too numerous, but the legacy of No Child Left Behind was to cede control of the schools—always a local priority—to the federal government. All the statistics in the world will not hide the fact that we are graduating students ill-prepared for the workplace and those who want to acquire a higher education must accept a level of debt that is obscene. In my home State of New Jersey, the loan defaults are reaching a billion dollars.

“We must keep the American people informed of the Democrat’s efforts to impose socialistic, inefficient, and dangerously utopian policies in Washington,” wrote Robert M. “Mike” Duncan, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. What could have been more socialistic than the addition of a prescription entitlement to Medicare? It was a Republican initiative. Same with No Child Left Behind.

“Despite the election’s result, American remains a center-right country,” wrote Duncan. “We will learn from our experience, sharpen our message, and continue to stand for our core principles of low taxation, personal responsibility, and strong national security, and earn victories in elections to come.”

Where were those Republican principles since the year 2000? It is telling that the only success Republicans can point to is that since 2001 the nation has not been attacked again. There is no guarantee that future attacks will not occur. A bulky, oversized bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security has put the CIA in charge while undermining the FBI’s traditional role of counter-intelligence on the domestic front. Are the security agencies working better together? We have no way of knowing.

There is no question that the incoming Democrat Party will tilt toward the unions such as those that undermined Detroit’s competitiveness. There is the possibility of massive tax increases at the worst possible time for such actions, and there is the threat of limits on free speech such as the discredited notion of “balance” in the talk radio and television.

Worse, though, is the fact that the Obama administration will base its most fundamental policies on a global warming that is not happening and which has been proven to be a hoax based on falsified “scientific” data. The corruption of science is a crime against humanity. The imposition of regulations and laws based on global warming will cripple the nation’s economy further and leave us without sufficient energy sources for the future.

So, this Republican will renew his membership in 2009 and pray that the Party regains its courage, its discipline with regard to its core principles, and finds legislators and new candidates to articulate the dangers inherent in Democrat Party control of the nation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

When you're maxed out

By Alan Caruba

When you’ve maxed out all your credit cards, is it really a good idea to keep on spending anyway? Will anyone lend you the money to keep spending?

I am the son of a Certified Public Accountant. My Father worked his way through NYU to earn his degree and was one of the youngest men to secure a CPA. He was the son of immigrants who came here because the old world they left was corrupt and devoid of opportunity.

You absorb lessons from your parents, often by osmosis. A CPA’s son learns to save all the receipts of his expenses in order to have proof of purchase. He learns to hire a good accountant to prepare his tax returns. And he learns not to spend more than he earns.

The United States of America, since the end of World War II, has forgotten the prudent lessons passed to it by earlier generations. Instead, in response to the Great Depression, brought on during the decade called the “Roaring Twenties”, it began to fashion a socialist system filled with “safety nets” such as Social Security, Medicare, and countless other means by which the federal government engaged in what is essentially a huge Ponzi scheme of taking money from gainfully employed people and giving it to others. Taxes rose. Savings diminished.

Social Security was inherently flawed. It assumed that individuals would not or could not be responsible to save for their elder years. It further assumed that most of the people receiving it would be dead by or shortly after reaching 65 years of age. That might have been true in the 1930s when it was conceived, but the average life expectancy today is 78 and many, thanks to improved medical care, live much longer.

Medicare was flawed because it interferes with the free market pricing of medical services. Adding the prescription element to it only deepened its indebtedness. Both systems will be unsustainable within a decade or so.

Does anyone really believe that financial service companies would not have provided affordable retirement plans to those wise enough to secure one? Does anyone believe that the healthcare industry would not have found ways to provide affordable services if Uncle Sam wasn’t picking up the tab?

Under capitalism, auto companies that do not negotiate well with unions or permit Congress to determine what kinds of models and options they must make would be allowed to fail. It could be argued that they deserve to fail.

In its early years, Henry Ford initiated a policy by which his company’s workers were paid more than his competition. His reasoning was that he wanted workers who could afford to drive Ford automobiles. The key word here is “competition.” It is the essence of capitalism, a mechanism that benefits those who can compete well.

Ford also toyed with the notion of using ethanol instead of gasoline to fuel his cars. Ethanol was too corrosive to engines. Gasoline was plentiful and affordable during an era when oil companies were not punished and limited by the government as to where they could explore and extract oil. No one opposed the useful and necessary role of government to protect consumers, but no one anticipated a Federal Register of regulations in excess of 76,000 pages!

Norman Thomas, a candidate for President of the U.S. Socialist Party, once said that, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation.”

That day has arrived and so has the bill.

The U.S. Treasury is tapped out. The nation functions based only on its ability to borrow a billion dollars or more every day.

The United States is just two States away from ratifying a new Constitutional Convention. The one we have has served us well since it was ratified on June 21, 1789. And following the Great Depression and World War Two, it has been systematically abandoned as its limitations on central government and the power it cedes to the States has been aggregated to the Federal government.

The American education system is a wholly owned Federal entity thanks to No Child Left Behind and its ownership of the Department of Education by the teacher’s unions.

Meanwhile, at least twenty States have spent themselves into a level of bankruptcy that will impose financial hardship on the next two unborn generations. This is how nations and empires implode and die.

This is why the federal government has plans to impose martial law. This is why soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsman sworn to uphold the Constitution may well be ordered into the streets of America to protect those who have allowed corrupt elections and illegitimately elected politicians to replace the rule of law.

We are currently waiting to see if a comedian will be the next Senator from Minnesota. We are waiting to see if someone with a famous family name and no government experience will be the next Senator from New York.

The nation is preparing to swear into office a man whose birth certificate is sealed away from view by order of the Governor of Hawaii. His place of birth and right to serve under the U.S. Constitution is being contested in the courts and yet the full power of the presidency may be handed to him.

The Roman Empire is no more. The British Empire is no more. The Ottoman Empire was dismembered after World War I. French, German, and Japanese imperialist dreams came unraveled in the last century at the cost of millions of lives. The former Soviet Union’s ambitions still simmer. China is big enough to be an empire unto itself.

And the American Empire with its far-flung outposts manned by a volunteer military has spent itself into a very bad place. The entire world is holding its breath.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Put him on his shield

By Alan Caruba

Paul Weyrich died early Thursday morning. I knew the man only through his writings as a columnist and I was always a bit envious of how prescient he was.

Two months before the November election he wrote that, “the loser might very well be the lucky one.” I suspect John McCain might agree as he and the rest of us gaze at the chasm of indebtedness into which the alleged “leaders” of our nation have plunged us and future generations.

Back in September, Weyrich was warning that, “The problems include a very weak American dollar; a trade deficit that will come to roughly $700 billion at year-end” along with “a ballooning Federal budget that has gone from $2.1 trillion to $3.6 trillion in just eight years—a whopping growth of 76%; a national debt of $9.6 trillion, closing fast on $10 trillion with a debt ceiling placed at $10.6 trillion and which cost the American taxpayer $230 billion in interest alone last year.”

Weyrich was a Conservative with a capital “C” in a nation whose best years occurred in the 1980s when another Conservative, Ronald Reagan, was in the White House. After that, it has been downhill on a toboggan to the poorhouse. Sadly, the Republicans who took control of Congress in 1994 and began so splendidly fell prey to whatever it is about Washington, D.C., that causes people to lose their minds.

The George W. Bush legacy will ultimately be less about 9/11 and more about the most profligate spending spree in the history of the nation.

Weyrich began his political life as a volunteer for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and, for more than four decades, he rose to become a leader in the conservative movement as chairman of the Free Congress Foundation and as the first president of the Heritage Foundation.

Weyrich stayed true to his conservative principles and was always ready to champion them. That’s why he could write that “successful administrations over the past forty years all bear a share of the responsibility” for the present financial crisis.

“There is no free ride in this world,” wrote Weyrich. “And government at all levels, not only in Washington, has failed to understand this.” Who failed us? WE failed us because ultimately the Constitution identifies us, the People, as responsible for those whom we select and the kind of governance we accept.

Now, like an honored warrior, it is time to put him on his shield and consign him to the God in whom he believed and to history which he distinguished with his life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beware of Experts

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know about you, but I have reached a point where, if someone is introduced as an expert on anything, I am almost automatically skeptical. Our popular media is filled with experts on politics, investing, dieting, and every other topic.

The problem is in knowing which one of these people really knows what they’re talking about or are just promoting themselves? Odds are, they’ve got something to sell you.

For example, there’s the phenomenon of “group think” where everyone coalesces around the most popular “truth” and puts in their two cents worth of advice on the topic. Did anyone foresee the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market? Yes, a few people did and they were ignored by Congress.

Even Alan Greenspan spoke cryptically of “irrational exuberance” a dozen years back, but no one ever claimed to know what he was saying with regard to the economy. The last thing I heard from him was an apology for getting things wrong.

I saw Henry Kissinger on PBS television with Charlie Rose the other night. For the life of me, I have no idea whether his views, always cryptic, are any more valid than mine. The man gets paid for representing the interests of clients like the People’s Republic of China these days. Should I be wary? Yes; especially since I don’t know who his other clients are.

I am a long time book reviewer and I could build a stack several stories high of books on how to get rich. They’re published by the dozens every year. Their authors, we’re told, got rich and are sharing their secrets with the reader, but how many of those readers ever get rich? Or even try? Not many I suspect. And why would the author want to share his secret unless it was to get you to invest in his company?

Today I received a news release from “the Internet’s fastest-growing career site” purporting to identify the “job sectors and key professions that are most likely to grow as the result of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus politics.”

For one thing, Obama says he wants to throw billions at our present crisis to create “green jobs” and rebuild America’s infrastructure. Where is he going to get those billions when the U.S. is already billions in hock? As of October 1st, the budget deficit for the previous fiscal year was a record $438 billion. That was $25 billion more that the previous high in 2004.

Meanwhile, the news release says the new hot jobs will be all kinds of engineers. Good news for engineers, but it is so costly to get those degrees (and any other kind) in the United States that companies here have to import engineers from other nations. That’s why so many of our government laboratories and university faculty are populated with foreigners.

The “experts” we all sent to Congress and the “experts” over at the Securities and Exchange Commission all managed to miss the signs of an imploding economy or the massive $50 billion Ponzi scheme run by some Wall Street mobster. And he snookered people like Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), an octogenarian who will be in his 90s if he lives to see the end of his new term. And he gets to vote!

The point of this is to be skeptical of those introduced to you as an expert on anything. They may well be, but in areas of personal finance and investment, do your own research. Want to diet? Do your own research. Raising kids? If you think your parents did an okay job with you, ask them, or do your own research.

The classic example is the person who tries to do his or her own pest control when they discover they have ants, cockroaches, or a rodent problem. It can’t be done even if you can buy pesticides at the local Home Depot. That’s why pest control firms nationwide stay in business. It’s a profession that dates back to the Middle Ages!

We are all conditioned to listen to other people. Sometimes they’re called experts, but other people have their own agenda, so do your own research.

Lastly, if you believe you possess a reasonable amount of common sense then trust your own judgment. You can actually be in charge of your own life if you exercise some personal discipline and question the wisdom being handed you by some expert.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Chicago Tar Baby

By Alan Caruba

The media is working overtime to put distance between President-elect Barack Obama and the festering dung heap of Chicago politics that has produced yet another Illinois Governor-Headed-To-Jail.

On December 12, the Associated Press was reporting that “President-elect Barack Obama insists he didn't have any contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or anyone else who might have been scheming to sell the president-elect's U.S. Senate seat. But he has not yet given his transition staff the same clean bill of health -- perhaps with good reason.” The Obama team, however, will reportedly provide data to support their claim none of them were involved with the Blago mess.

Considering that the media for the two years that freshman Senator Obama spent campaigning to become President made virtually no mention whatever of the sinkhole of corruption that the Chicago Democrat machine has been for decades, they surely don’t want him to enter the Oval Office under a cloud.

So we are hearing that Obama didn’t like Blago, rarely spoke to him, et cetera. In the same way the press danced around all of Obama’s questionable friendships, alliances, and associations while he sought the highest office in the land, you can put good money on their determination to protect him when he takes office.

It won’t work.

It’s the same principle at work as when the neighbors call the police to complain of a bad smell coming from the apartment or house next door. There is always a dead body waiting to be found.

Watching Obama dance around his answer to the question of whether he had spoken with Blago regarding the vacancy he was leaving behind was great fun as he picked his way through the landmines inherit in the words “I” and “we.” It reminded me of the unlamented former President Clinton’s interpretation of “is.” It didn’t make Monica Lewinski go away. And it’s not likely to make Blago or Rezko go away either any time soon.

The most ethical Congress in history, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised, and now the most ethical White House is already beginning, as they say, to stink like a fish from the head down.
After damning Republican miscreants as “a culture of corruption”, it turns out Democrats too have their own ethical problems.

Politics in America, never pretty to begin with, has become a criminal enterprise in which the public treasury is now laid bare to the use of anyone with a vote in Congress.

Obama has promised “change”, but by the time the Blago saga plays itself out, it will be just more of the same bad news. The problem will be finding the truth about it anywhere in the mainstream press.

Welcome "Followers"

It makes me a tad nervous to have "followers" because I am not leading a crusade, nor promising to do anything other than offer a combination of information and opinion intended to cut through the lies and blather of environmentalists and others.

That said, I am very pleased to welcome those who have associated themselves with this blog as official "followers" of my daily posts. I think of this as a community of like-minded friends and I appreciate your support.
Alan Caruba

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Liar-elect and the Death of America

By Alan Caruba

Let’s understand something fundamental to everyone’s life in America and the entire economy. We are not “addicted” to oil. Like all developed, modern nations we use oil as a valuable resource for transportation, as the basis of plastics, and for a thousand uses from asphalt to Vaseline. We are not “addicted” to oil because it is essential to modern civilization everywhere.

Just because President Bush, whose family fortune was built on the oil industry, and now Barack Obama, President-elect, says we are addicted does not make that true, but Obama goes way beyond that statement to claim as he did in naming his energy and environmental team, that the world is running out of oil. That, too, is a lie.

The reason America must import oil is that, starting with President Jimmy Carter and in league with the U.S. Congress, access to our own billions of barrels have been forbidden by our lawmakers. We have the oil. Our oil industry is not allowed to explore for it or extract it.

Similarly, to suggest that somehow a nation that depends on its own abundant resources of coal for half of all the electricity generated should abandon that source of power in favor of solar or wind borders on either madness or a deliberate duplicity or both.

In all of the world, solar and wind accounts, as it does in the U.S., for barely one percent of all the electricity generated. Together or individually, they represent the single most inefficient, unpredictable, and unaffordable “energy alternatives” that exist today. They rank with ethanol as yet another bogus solution to “sustainability.”

As Obama introduced his energy and environmental team, all I saw was a lethal combination of ideologues and academics, all dedicated to a program of national suicide based on decades of lies about the actual science of climate change and energy use.

The notion that the United States should sign onto and accept the limitations on energy use incorporated in the Kyoto Protocols is yet another lie. On July 25, 1997 the U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution refusing to accept it and even the Clinton-Gore team, when in office, never offered it to the Senate for consideration.

But the Obama administration will send it and a Congress dominated by environmental loonies such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, a host of California lawmakers, along with the utterly deluded John McCain and others, will ratify it.

The United Nations Kyoto Protocol is based on the global warming hoax. The fate of the United States will be tied to something that is not happening!

There is no need to limit “greenhouse gas emissions” because Carbon Dioxide plays virtually no role whatever in climate change. Fully 98% of CO2 is absorbed by the Earth.

The cost of our use of every form of energy will rise based on climate claims that are lies. A nation that is already wounded by the collapse of our financial system will be pushed further into the grave by such a measure. And Obama must surely know this.

That the President-elect could stand before Americans and claim that we are seeing increased famines, face rising oceans, and fiercer storms, and not be challenged is obscene.

And he will not be challenged by what has formerly been the bulwark of our democracy, the nation’s press. It is the nation’s press that has spread the lies of the environmental movement since the days of Rachel Carson’s screed against the use of any and all chemicals.

Those who witnessed the introduction of the Obama energy and environmental team witnessed the beginning of the most aggressive attack on the nation’s coal industry, oil and gas industry, and nuclear industry. When you control energy use, you control every other aspect of life in the nation.

As the oppression gains, there will be fewer trucks on the nation’s highways to deliver goods as restriction upon restriction piles up. It has already begun in California with literally insane restrictions on trucks using diesel. As goods become difficult to deliver, the nation’s economy will suffer further.

Life in America is going to become very grim.

The nation’s financial troubles will begin to pale as the government enacts more and more restrictions, even as it presently demands to decide what kind of cars Detroit auto manufacturers must make to receive an ill-conceived bailout. New industries and those seeking to expand will encounter obstacles. Already, multinational industries such as Foster-Wheeler, Tyco, and Transocean International, formerly with headquarters in America have left. Others will follow.

That is the “change” the Liar-elect will bring. It is the slow death of the most powerful nation, economically and militarily, on Earth and only our enemies will cheer it on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Obama: A Red Diaper Baby

By Alan Caruba

Books have been written by and about Barack Obama, pro and con, and millions of words in the course of the campaign. Curiously, those who supported him the most, the far left, now feel “betrayed” by what is portrayed as his centrist or pragmatic choices for his cabinet and other administrative positions.

What has been a source of concern to me from the beginning is perhaps rooted in my profession as a public relations counselor. I am for the most part retired, but decades of shaping public images and influencing public opinion—and this after a career as a fulltime journalist—makes one especially conscious of how politicians who learn the craft can turn themselves into the apotheosis of voter’s dreams and, yes, of their hopes.

By way of example, that’s why we never saw Obama smoke in public or anywhere else. For someone who is conscientious about maintaining good health, smoking sends a message that he is less than perfect. He has a “bad” habit. To most people that would be seen as being “human”, but Obama wants to be perceived as both a regular guy and at the same time as possessing special spiritual or supernatural powers beyond the rest of us.

This is why Obama could talk of introducing a new era in politics that oddly reflected almost biblical themes such as taming the oceans, reducing the wrath of nature. The last man, however, who reportedly was able to make the waters part was Moses.

This is image making and one can only hope Obama does not himself believe that he has been singled out to transform America into something more, something other than what its Founders intended.

For one thing, the Founders wanted, indeed, designed a limited central or federal government. They wanted most power to reside in the States. They created a bi-cameral Congress that would slow down the process of lawmaking so that it would not fall prey to rash or suddenly popular fads. The last time that occurred it required a Constitutional amendment to repeal Prohibition.

Most Americans are quite unaware of the fact that we are just two States away from having a new constitutional convention. My friend Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center is trying to warn people of the danger this represents.

Thirty-two other States have called for a convention, allegedly to add a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, but if 34 States call for a convention, Congress must convene one. You do not need a convention to pass an amendment! The real purpose is unknown, but it could undo the long history of our nation and the rights derived from the people.

Such a convention in the hands of a President who has expressed some strong questions and doubts about elements of the Constitution could bring about cataclysmic changes.

From everything I have read about Barack Hussein Obama I have concluded he is a classic example of what used to be called “a red diaper baby”; a person brought up from birth to be dedicated to at best socialism and at worse communism. His mother and grandparents were extremely liberal and, in Hawaii, young Obama’s mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, widely known to be a communist.

I believe Obama has been personally driven from an early age to acquire power and, if possible, to seize power.

This is why it deeply worries me to read that new rules have been published in the Federal Register that would allow, in the words of a recent WorldNetDaily report, “certain civilians to call American soldiers into action inside the U.S. to prevent environmental damage or respond to ‘special events’ and ‘other domestic activities.’”

The proposed rules were published last week for the Department of Defense’s “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” plan. This is a plan to use the military against Americans. Under the Constitution, they exist to repel invasions and, as was the case of the Civil War, to quell insurrections. The DOD plan runs counter the entire history of the military in the life of the nation.

Do you see any insurrections on the horizon? Do believe that the U.S. military should be in the streets of America to enforce the actions of the federal government “to prevent environmental damage”? And I suspect you are also unaware that the Environmental Protection Agency has just unveiled its own version of the FBI Most Wanted list, unveiling a roster of 23 fugitives charged with environmental offenses!

The most environmentally committed President to have ever been elected will be in charge by Noon on January 20, 200 and the rise in gun sales across the nation suggests that a lot of people think the government is about to become the enemy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not So Rare Cold Weather

By Alan Caruba

It’s December, the season of the year in which we in the northern hemisphere are accustomed to hearing about cold weather. It is, after all, winter.

It is, however, also the end of the first decade of a cooling cycle that began in 1998. Every single piece of legislation the in-coming Obama administration bases on the need to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions” to “stop global warming” will be based on a lie.

What Americans, the British, Europeans and others in the northern climes will soon grow accustomed to are longer, harsher winters. At one point during the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850 there literally was no summer!

That’s why we keep seeing journalists report “rare” wintry events. Having wed themselves to the global warming hoax for so long, they cannot conceive that everything they reported was a lie and thus greet each new wintry event as “rare” or “unusual” when, in fact, climatologists and meteorologists keep telling them that a big chunk of the Earth is headed for the deep freeze.

In early December, Californians and others were informed that a “Rare 50 year Arctic Blast Sets Sights on Southern California.” Yes, rare in the past, but not so rare in the years ahead. With temperatures in Siberia plunging, the cold air has to go somewhere and Californians are going to experience the spillover.

That’s the thing about the weather; it just doesn’t care if Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a Nobel Peace Prize. I noticed at the time that no journalist asked what lying about global warming had to do with peace?

On December 10, Houston received a flurry of snow, tying the record for Houston’s earliest snowfall ever. There hadn’t been any snow in Houston since 2004 and it hadn’t snowed that early since December 10, 1944!

In the same region, New Orleans was blanketed with snow on December 11, the first time in nearly four years that snow had fallen, catching Metairie, Kenner and other suburbs off guard. It was soon replaced by freezing rain.

We are accustomed to looking toward various government agencies to announce their findings and this is particularly true of those charged with predicting the weather or analyzing its trends. It is useful to keep in mind that the best weather computer models can at best make a reasonably accurate prediction about five days out from today.

Short term weather trends, such as those tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) often do not reflect the bigger picture of what is actually occurring.

While New Orleans and Houston were getting early snowfalls, NOAA was announcing that the November weather for the U.S. was “warmer than average”, albeit the January to November temperatures were “near average” for the U.S. According to NOAA, the U.S. is a virtual tropical paradise with an average temperature of 54.9 degrees F. Wait a minute, 54.9 degrees F is cold!

To its credit, NOAA announced that “an early November blizzard forced more than 100 businesses and schools, and Interstate 90, to close in western South Dakota on Nov 5 and 6.” And there were “mountain-enhanced snowfalls across the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, and extreme northern Georgia.” Turns out that Banner Elk, N.C., recorded 6.2 inches of snow “making it the snowiest November since 1983.”

Here’s a tip when reading NOAA and other government news releases about the weather. Skip the headline and get into the heart of the text. While November was “warmer than average”, it was still cold and early snowfalls were occurring.

This is not rocket science, nor does it take a lot of brainpower to figure out that colder weather, blizzards and such, are becoming the “average” for the world’s northern hemisphere and there are increasing cold weather events affecting the southern hemisphere as well.

The global warming hoax was and is intended to wreck the economies of the U.S. and other developed, western nations. It’s proposed “carbon taxes” and “cap-and-trade” programs have NOTHING to do with the actual climate or weather.

If Americans do not PROTEST the Obama administration efforts to limit the ability of energy industries to acquire coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, we will all end up FREEZING IN THE DARK.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Drowning in Green Garbage

By Alan Caruba

We all have one or more of them in our lives. They are the family members, co-workers, or just neighbors who are so convinced that global warming is real and that everything including the choice of a Christmas tree has “environmental” consequences, that any effort to convince them otherwise is a waste of time.

This is why many have come to view environmentalism as a religion despite its trappings as based in science. Scientists do not raise money by selling cuddly toys, dvd’s, and other commercial items.

I have seen an initial stream of books on environmental topics grow from a thin stream in the 1960s, starting with Rachel Carson’s screed against chemicals of all sorts, to the present deluge that is produced every year.

As a book reviewer who began back in the 1960s, I receive lots of catalogs each spring and fall from publishers. Recently “Consortium Book Sales & Distribution” representing just over a hundred smaller publishing houses, sent their spring and summer 2009 catalog. Here are just some of the many titles forthcoming:

Green Politics, Green Economics
Climate Change
The Sustainability Project
Our Planet
The Demise of Diversity
Our Threatened Oceans
The Carbon Charter
Blackout: Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis
Peak Everything: Waking up to the Century of Declines
Bothered by my Green Conscience
Living Green
Green Careers
The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet
Teaching Green: The High School Years
Power from the Wind
The Human-Powered Home
Go Green Rating Scale
Toolbox for Sustainable City Living

Virtually the entire curriculum taught in the nation’s schools these days has an environmental agenda attached to it and this has been going on for a very long time.
If one understands that those attending Catholic parochial schools graduate with a particular view of the world, then one surely understands how entire generations have graduated from our public schools without a single doubt as to the “truths” they have been taught.

When you add in the many “documentaries” on various cable channels like Discovery, National Geographic, and PBS, the thorough indoctrination of an entire population becomes obvious.

It also explains why, translated into federal and state government laws and regulations have inflicted some truly grievous harm to our nation.

The failure of the Detroit auto manufacturers can be traced in part to the environmental mandates imposed on them, the loss of much of our nation’s once-thriving oil industry is due to environmentally-based attacks ranging from windfall profits taxes to outright bans on where they can explore and extract oil. The Endangered Species Act has played havoc with the nation’s farmers and ranchers. The requirement that utilities must get some of their power from wind and solar farms, and purchase bogus “carbon credits” adds to the cost of electricity while reducing their opportunity to generate it from affordable and efficient coal or nuclear.

In Europe, resistance against environmental mandates is growing as the cost of living and the provision of energy and other services skyrockets.

In Africa the ban on DDT has killed millions. Resistance to genetically modified crops has ensured famines.

The refusal of the United States Senate to sign onto the United Nations Kyoto Protocol will be seen as one of the wisest choices made by several administrations.

California’s and other state’s insane devotion to environmentalism has created enormous problems affecting the provision of energy and the maintenance of its economic growth. People and business continue to flee states that make life miserable in the name of the environment.

The ultimate goal of the Greens is to eliminate national sovereignty and impose their anti-energy, anti-growth, and anti-humanity agenda on the entire world. This is why the United Nations has created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the vehicle to foist the vast global warming hoax on the world.

I am not sure if Americans can disenthrall themselves of environmentalism. I do know that just over half of the voters have elected the most environmentally-committed President-elect and Congress in the history of the nation. That can only be bad news.

Note: Booklovers can get news of new fiction and nonfiction at
a monthly report by Alan Caruba

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheerful Remarks at the Funeral

By Alan Caruba

I have been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists for more than twenty-five years. Not long ago they sent me a lapel pin to commemorate my devotion to the organization which has, I must admit, mostly consisted of paying my annual dues. I have long since lost my youthful enthusiasm for the profession, but not for writing.

Like Mark Twain, I drifted into journalism because I was seriously opposed to having to actually work for a living. One of Twain’s classic quotes was “Get your facts first and then you can distort them as much as you please.” A pretty fair definition of journalism in his times and ours.

I began to have early doubts about the rigors of being a journalist when, three months after I joined the staff of a weekly newspaper, the first I had ever worked for, the editor moved on to a daily and I was anointed the editor. That’s right. I went from rookie to head honcho in about 90 days. I virtually wrote that entire newspaper for well over a year or so and probably learned as much as any four-year curriculum at the Newhouse or Columbia School of Journalism. Then I moved on to a daily newspaper.

In the December issue of “Quill”, the SPJ magazine for its members, the new president, Dave Aeikens, used his page for a commentary titled, “Our profession is not dying, it’s just changing.” My thought was that he was making some cheerful remarks at a funeral. The name of the magazine tells you how outdated newspapers have become in a time when the digital version of your favorite source of news can be accessed in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia

Indeed, Aeikens mentioned highly trafficked news websites such as CNN and The New York Times, but managed to neglect mentioning that Fox News was in the top ten. And therein lies the problem. The new media is so wedded to its liberal agenda that it can’t even manage to mention that the newly indicted Governor of Illinois is a Democrat, but on the same day they did not fail to include that Larry Craig, the Senator who got into trouble for unseemly behavior in a men’s room, is a Republican.

The game is up for the mainstream press. The Internet constantly reveals how they distort the news and how they print news that is too often unsubstantiated boldfaced lies such as telling us that global warming is real or that the U.S. can be “energy independent”, or that “biofuels” made from food sources can replace gasoline, or that Barack Obama is a “centrist.”

The problem is that too many people for whom CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and similar liberal news outlets represent an accurate presentation of the world remain blissfully ignorant despite ample evidence that Congress has absolutely no idea what it can or should do as the latest burst economic “bubble” creates fear and panic. Thus, we are now hearing all the failed programs of the previous recessions and depressions being trotted out. Only the Republicans are opposing the most blatant raid on the public treasury in the history of the nation.

While news of failing daily newspapers is now a daily occurrence, permit me to suggest that the problem goes beyond the loss of classified advertising or slashed display advertising budgets. Certainly they play a major role, but the print newspapers have run slap-dash into a generation that has been rendered so ignorant of history, civics, science and other essential knowledge, and is so self-absorbed as to have entire web pages and blogs devoted to themselves and networks of other nitwits, that reading the daily newspaper is just so ”yesterday.”

That is why newspaper circulation and network news viewers are sliding into a black hole where real reporters and real editors are becoming obsolescent.

The question is who do you trust? And why should anyone but a nitwit trust a news media that almost universally bought into and anointed Barack Hussein Obama as the “Messiah”? How can anyone trust news magazines that picture him on their covers as the new Lincoln or the new FDR before he has even served a day in the Oval Office?

“The role journalists play in democracy is far too important to give up on it,” wrote Aeikens. He’s right, of course. Real journalists retain their skepticism. Real journalists do not write news releases. They write the news—what they see and record—and that includes those aspects of the news with which they may personally disagree, but which must be reported anyway.

This is why commentators like myself are finding an audience searching, searching, searching for some facts on which we hang our particular take of what is occurring. We’re the ones who, if we take ourselves seriously, actually document what we write.
Unlike myself who has a pedigree in journalism, most come to what they write based on expertise in many other areas of a very complex world.

I will predict that weekly newspapers will weather the storm breaking over the daily newspapers. The best news is always local news. Some smart fellow will set up a syndicate for news out of the state capital and feed the state’s weeklies.

The dailies will struggle for a while. Not all will die, but those that survive will not look like the present dailies with their endless cautionary tales of everything toxic that will kill you and every member of your family. Events in far-off places will be reduced to a few paragraphs in a single section. There will be some gossip, the movie and television listings. And, always, the obituaries.

The Internet will provide just about everything you need to know. It will do it faster. It will do it better. It will offer what today’s daily newspapers do not, a choice of whom to believe, not a predictable flow of recycled news releases and opinions.

In an era when the Nobel Prize is given to charlatans like Al Gore, people will still thirst for the truth and they are not finding much of it in today’s daily newspapers and news magazines.