Wednesday, April 30, 2008


By Alan Caruba

A new supermarket opened in my town. The Garden of Eden is part of a chain that specializes in providing every kind of fresh and exotic food one could want to satisfy a discriminating palate.

On opening day shoppers were wandering from aisle to aisle examining all manner of spices, mustards, vegetables, fruits, breads, and selections of prepared foods from all around the Earth. I came upon a canister of Café du Monde, a special blend of coffee that I formerly could not purchase except from New Orleans, its home.

I stopped in front of a display of freshly cooked brisket; its red center suggesting it had been done to perfection. Would I like a taste? Yes, indeed! And then I ordered two slices, cut to just the width I wanted. The display of cheeses was dazzling. I bought a wedge of Jarlsberg and made a mental note to get some brie the next time. In the end I just wandered around the place in a happy daze.

My late Mother, Rebecca, was a famed teacher of haute cuisine, a gourmet who authored several cookbooks. Every night my late Father, Robert, and I would sit down to meals that rivaled the best restaurants in the world. An expert on wines, she was the first woman to become a member of the board of the Sommelier Society of America. We drank wine like most Americans drink soda. When she passed away, those freshly baked breads and other gastronomic delights passed with her.

Here then is the incongruity.

In the midst of this splendorous, ostentatious display of foods of every description, I had a thought about the one billion people who share this planet with me who live on a dollar a day. Then I thought about the speculation concerning wheat, soy, rice and other grains that has caused prices, from 2005 to today, to rise 80% according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

To date, at least fourteen nations have had food-related riots and violence.

Now, weather has had, as always, some role in shortages, but all this is happening mostly because some idiots decided to require that billions of gallons of ethanol be added to gasoline.

Since ethanol is made from corn, soy and other food products, it started a cascade of shortages. Even wheat farmers planted less in order to grow corn to cash in on the subsidized bonanza of ethanol. Without this legislated environmental “solution” to the reduction of “greenhouse gases” there would not be rising food prices worldwide.

The irony is that the Earth is cooling these days, not warming. It has warmed quite naturally from the end of the last mini-ice age around 1850 to the tune of one degree Fahrenheit. Since 1998, scientists say there is a perceptible cooling occurring worldwide, including the oceans that trap and hold 80-90% of the world’s heat.

What kind of idiots would buy into the junk-science of global warming? The answer is almost the entire Congress of the U.S. with the exception of a few who have courageously and vociferously spoken against it, the House and Senate Majority leaders, all three of the candidates currently hoping to be the next President, and the idiot we have currently in the Oval Office.

A lot of people colluded to create this mess. Beyond Congress and the White House has been an international and national grotesquery of environmental organizations that have fought against the introduction and use of genetically modified food crops to feed the six billion-plus people of the world. They continue to do everything they can to thwart the access and use of all manner of energy sources from coal to natural gas and oil.

Population and consumption are the targets of the Green movement. The odds are that a large part of the world’s population will be victimized and die from their efforts to bring about these imbalances and shortages of food. The speculators are no less to blame.

A classroom of fifth graders could have told you that burning food crops to make a useless fuel additive was a stupid thing to do.

Meanwhile, I will wander the aisles of the Garden of Eden and, because I can afford to, ask myself if I want to purchase that tray of pork tenderloin in a rice wrap? Yes, I think I do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ten Simple Truths About Oil

By Alan Caruba

Having written about the energy industry and issues now for a long time, I hope I can be forgiven for being enraged by the comments by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) in response to President Bush’s press conference Tuesday morning. There is simply no way to describe them other than false.

The Democrat Party has long made “Big Oil” their favorite punching bag, confident that the public has no idea what influences the price and supply of oil. Saying anything favorable to Big Oil is immediately deemed evidence that one is in their pay and whatever facts are offered are therefore invalid.

There are, however, some simple truths about Big Oil that cannot and should not be ignored. To do so leaves everyone at the mercy of energy policies that have created the situation in which the United States finds itself today.

Fact #1. The combined ownership of oil reserves by the independent, investor-owned oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Conoco-Phillips, BP, Chevron and others is barely 4% of the total known oil reserves in the world. By itself, ExxonMobil’s share is 1.08%.

Fact #2. Oil is a global commodity sold on mercantile exchanges for whatever price it can command. Speculation in oil prices is the primary reason they have been driven to utterly insane costs per barrel. It has nothing to do with actually supply and demand.

Fact #3. No nation on Earth is or can be “energy independent.” The geopolitics of oil is complex, but as nations such as China and India have seen their economies grow, their need for oil grows with it and thus they compete with long established industrialized nations for existing oil supplies. This competition has an impact on prices.

Fact #4. The OPEC nations, those in the Middle East and including Venezuela, control 77% of the world’s known oil reserves. Like Russia and Mexico, where the oil industry is controlled by the state, it is generally poorly managed. Several Big Oil companies that were induced to undertake exploration and development in Russia and Venezuela actually had their assets nationalized or stolen at prices well below their investment and value.

Fact #5. Energy is the master resource. All nations with any hope of growing their economies require it, mostly in the form of electricity, but also for oil’s role in transportation. The failure to have a national long-range energy policy that is based in reality can severely impact energy prices.

Fact #6. The United States has, for years, pursued an energy policy based on environmental myths such as “biofuels” in which corn is turned into ethanol to reduce the import of oil, but it costs as much to produce ethanol as to refine oil and it provides less mileage per gallon, thus negating any reason for this additive. Likewise, suggesting that wind or solar energy can generate anything more than its current 1% of the nation’s electricity needs ignores their unreliability and the fact they are heavily subsidized, a form of hidden consumer tax.

Fact #7. It costs billions to explore, discover, extract and transport oil. It takes lots of lead-time as well. The United States Congress has, for decades, refused to permit the extraction of vast oil reserves in ANWR despite the fact it would have little or no impact on the Alaskan wildlife reserve. In addition, Congress has declared 85% percent of the nation’s coastal, offshore areas off-limits to any exploration for oil or natural gas.

Fact #8. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the mandate of Congress, requires Big Oil to refine oil into some seventeen different formulations in the name of clean air. With three grades of gasoline, that means that refiners must produce some 45 different blends. The quality of air in America is excellent, but the cost of gasoline at the pump continues to rise as the result of these mandates.

Fact #9. America imports two-thirds of the oil it uses. All of its transportation runs on oil. The population continues to grow. Failure to encourage the construction of a single new refinery since the 1970s puts a further strain on the ability of Big Oil to provide the nation’s oil and diesel fuel needs.

Fact #10. Democrats continue to demand that Big Oil’s profits be confiscated in some fashion and some of the inducements offered to explore for more oil be ended. Because the costs of exploration, extraction, refining, and transporting of oil represents billions, the actual profit margin of a company like ExxonMobil is about 10%, well below what industries such as pharmaceuticals and banking enjoy.

For these and many other reasons, Americans are being impoverished at the gas pump because Congress has dithered and failed in one of its most important responsibilities.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reverend Who?

By Alan Caruba

Until Sen. Barack Obama began his run for the presidency who, other than some folks in Chicago, ever heard of Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

The pastor who Obama called his spiritual mentor, who married him and Michelle, who baptized their children, has emerged as one of the most extraordinary characters in the passion play that is the American political drama.

Others around the world look at us and think we’re nuts. This primary season is now into its fourteenth month and has involved what sometimes seems like a cast of thousands, all wanting to be President.

Frankly, I would go nuts having to listen to “Hail to the Chief” every time I entered a room. I suspect the bathroom just off the Oval Office is equipped to play the tune when the toilet seat is raised or lowered.

Let's quickly review some of the candidates and what people focused upon with each. Mitt Romney’s Mormanism. Mike Huckabee’s evangelism—he’s an ordained minister. Obama’s pastor. The most consistent theme has been religion, religion, religion.

This has been leavened by Hillary's Bosnia b00-boo and Dennis Kusinich's admission that he's seen a UFO.

For pure entertainment it doesn’t get much better, but then Rev. Wright comes along with an ego that so dwarfs the candidates that they all end up looking like those circus clowns that spill out of a tiny car while the audience applauds at the sheer wonder of how they all got in there.

As a preacher he is so over the top that you just watch in amazement at the sheer audacity of the man. I have a friend who is a black Baptist minister and, let me tell you, she has two master’s degrees, a wonderful, sweet personality, and is in no way anything like Rev. Wright. She’s about theology, not theatrics.

As for Rev. Wright’s claim that anything negative said about him is an attack on "the black church", well, that’s just sophistry. He’s not fooling anyone.

I loved it most of all when, during his appearance with Bill Moyers, and in his talk at the National Press Club Monday morning, he said that he speaks "as a pastor" and Sen. Obama speaks “as a politician.”

If anyone could make it any more clear that he is calling his most famous communicant a boldfaced liar, doing what politicians are famed for doing, I have not heard it expressed more clearly beyond the accepted acknowledgement—old by now—that both Hillary and Bill Clinton are “accomplished liars.”

All of which brings us to a very big problem for Democrats. They just don’t seem to care! Which liar do you prefer? Rev. Wright’s? Or those who find the Clintons the answer to all their problems?

As improbable as it is that a black man and a white woman are running for the Democrat nomination to be the next president of the United States, no Hollywood screenwriter could have possibly dreamed up a character as self-absorbed and creepy as Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I personally hope the Democrat race goes down to the wire in Denver. I am having too much fun to want it to end.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coincidences About Life and Death

By Alan Caruba

If you’re a writer, you begin to notice how various pieces of information come at you in what appears to be a random fashion, but which have a curious way of connecting. That’s because everything human connects in some fashion. Nothing human happens in a vacuum.

On Sunday evening, the famed “60 Minutes” had a segment on the Israeli Air Force, interviews with its commander and with some of its pilots, including one girl who was small enough to be asked if they made uniforms in her size. She flew a U.S. made Apache helicopter, the kind the Israelis use to kill the leaders of Hamas if they can find them driving around Gaza. They use them to suppress the daily rocketing. She was only one of forty in her class who earned the right to kill Israel’s enemies in this fashion.

Others flew large fighter planes, acknowledging that Israel rules the skies. That’s a good thing because the field from which they fly is only fifteen minutes from Beirut or Damascus. Everyone, young men and women, in Israel must serve in its defense force, but the Air Force has the right to choose the best among them to fly. It is not a choice for those called to this duty and, even then, only the best among them will have the responsibility.

Israel cannot lose a single war. So far, as it makes ready to celebrate its sixtieth year, it has not. Against impossible odds, the Jews fought, triumphed, and survived. It is not a coincidence. They have no intention of being killed like sheep as occurred to six million European Jews during World War II. Some of the survivors made it to Israel to reclaim their lives and to resurrect their nation.

Later Sunday evening, I turned to the National Geographic Channel and it had a program that showed extremely rare photos of the commandant and staff of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where, astoundingly, a million Jews were systematically killed between 1944 and the end of the war in the following year. The work for the staff was very demanding, trainloads of Jews would arrive and as many as 8,000 at a time had to be sent to the gas chambers, their bodies burned in the crematoriums.

The photos of the staff showed them relaxing from their task. In one, maybe twenty women are shown being given blueberries, all young, smiling. In others, the men seemed in good spirits, including a smiling Dr. Mengele who, by age 32, had both a medical degree and one in philosophy. They were happy in their work and their work was not war, but murder, genocide.

The photos of a trainload of Hungarian Jews showed men, women, and children of all ages, including a mother holding her baby. With the exception of those separated to become workers, all were killed within hours of arrival. The mind cannot comprehend murder on such a scale.

The Israeli Air Force general put it this way, when Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly says he wants to wipe Israel off the map, you have to take him at his word.

The world did not believe what the Nazis were saying until it was too late to realize they were telling the truth when the said that Europe must be “judenfrei”; that all the Jews must be killed. Not surprisingly, Ahmadinejad also denies that the Holocaust ever happened.

About seven months ago, the Israeli Air Force blew up a nuclear facility in Syria that we are now told was being built under the supervision of North Koreans whose chief export is death. It is only a matter of time before the Israelis will have to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities being built, we’re told, for “peaceful” purposes. One hopes that American bombers will be flying with them.

As the war clouds gathered, the British tried to negotiate peace with the Nazis. The Russians signed a peace pact. In 1939 the Nazis attacked Poland and, as they say, the rest is history. History teaches that you cannot negotiate with murderers, with people who have a history of taking hostages, with men obsessed with the belief that their god commands them to do monstrous evil. You must kill them before they kill you.

The Israelis know this.

One hopes the rest of the world and, especially, America, does as well.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Useless "Leaders"

By Alan Caruba

In a democracy you have to try to elect leaders who will not lie to you. Unfortunately, that eliminates most of the members of Congress and a succession of recent Presidents. I find it nothing less than astonishing that “everyone knows” that both Bill and Hillary Clinton are accomplished liars, but that she is actually running to be the next president.

If you can just stand back a moment from that total absurdity, knowing that millions of dollars are being sent to her and that voters have actually chosen her over her opponent, and that her chief qualification for the job is that she is the wife of a former president, you can begin to grasp that too many Americans are horribly removed from reality, common sense or anything that passes for serious judgment.

The other absurdity, of course, is a young, Black Senator who hasn’t even made it through half of his first six-year term in office running for the highest office in the land. It’s fascinating to watch all the “Obamamania” fade away as people discover what a raving Leftist he is. All that blather about change may dazzle younger voters, but they don’t show up at the polls in the numbers older ones do. By the time the Republicans get through slicing and dicing this lad, he’s going to wish he’d stayed in Chicago.

It is no surprise to see Bush’s popularity numbers plunge lower and lower these days. He has been such an incredible disappointment to Republicans and everyone else that historians are already writing him off based on his performance in office.

He will leave a nation in desperate financial straits and I get the feeling he just doesn’t care. If he did, why would he have signed that bill mandating billions of gallons of ethanol, the effect of which has been food riots around the world and skyrocketing costs here at home? For the first four years of his time in office, he signed every spending bill that crossed his desk. Not one single veto. In nearly eight year’s time, he hasn’t been able to find one very tall Saudi in the mountains of Waziristan or anywhere else. We have satellites that can read a license plate in Red Square, but we can't find Osama bin Laden.

If the two Democrat candidates weren’t so pathetic, John McCain wouldn’t have a chance following an unpopular President into office during bad economic times, and with an unpopular war still in progress. That has never happened in the history of the presidency, but McCain has proven to be so dumb lucky that he might pull it off.

When you look around at the rest of the world, you see the same horrid collection of despots, dictators, and kleptomaniacs running nations as existed in former times. Then add in the farce of the United Nations and you have the latest loser, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who, on the first world Malaria Day said that what Africans need is 500 million bed nets. That’s right, bed nets!

This assumes that mosquitoes don’t bite Africans during the day and kill a million of them every year from Malaria. What Africa and the rest of the world needs is DDT. But the United States banned it some years back because of the usual stinking pile of environmental lies about it.

I’ll finish up this rant noting that, back when its use was permitted, the same DDT had virtually eliminated the problem of bed bugs in America. Can you name the number one pest problem in the nation today? Bed bugs!

Editor's Note: It has been suggested that DDT was not effective against bed bugs when it was used during the 1950s, but this is not true.

This is what Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, has written:

"Most householders of this generation have never seen a bed bug. Until recently, they also were a rarity among pest control professionals. Bed bug infestations were common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and '50s, the bugs all but vanished."

I have worked closely with the pest management industry since the 1980s. My sources tell me that DDT was an effective pesticide against bed bugs.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Defending America on the BBC!

By Alan Caruba

When you’re internationally famous or, in my case, just available to do an hour of radio, occasionally the BBC, Great Britain’s famed radio outlet, calls you and asks that you be interviewed or participate in an on-air discussion.

This happened today and, by 1 PM Eastern time and 6 PM London time, I found myself on the air with someone described as “an Iranian blogger”, someone with—I think—the Foreign Relations Council or some such distinguished diplomatic group, and a few others who called in from India, Somalia, and one of the Gulf oil states.

The point of discussion was whether every nation had a right to nuclear power for electricity as well as for the manufacturer of weapons capable of obliterating thousands of people in the name of Allah or Mohamed, peace be upon him.

Everyone agreed that electricity was a good thing and blowing up people with nukes was a bad thing. So far, so good, but of course the fellow defending Iran was so full of crap that it quickly became apparent to everyone that letting the ayatollahs get their hands on these weapons of mass destruction was a very bad idea.

What ensued for an hour was a discussion focused on two themes. The ayatollahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, should be taken at their word when they keep saying they want to blow Israel off the map and nuke anyone else they don’t like. Ignoring such threats always leads to worse things.

Dragged into the conversation was poor Syria whose secret nuclear facility was destroyed by the Israelis some seven months ago and the Syrians not only denied it was a nuclear facility, but astonishingly had nothing to say about what Israel did. They actually seemed surprised even though the Israelis had blown up a similar facility in Iraq back in the 1980s. Turns out those wonderful kids from North Korea were helping them build it.

It was left to me to remind everyone that Syria is a dictatorship and a bunch of thugs who go around assassinating Lebanese and supporting Hezbollah for the purpose of attacking Israel because they lack the guts to do so themselves.

The other main thrust of the discussion apparently was to determine how many callers and emailers could blame (1) America and (2) Israel for all the problems of the world. Apparently the mayhem that passes for intergovernmental relations in the Middle East, nor the fact that there isn’t a single functioning democracy (except Israel) to be found in the region hadn’t occurred to anyone but me.

Anyway, I pointed out that Pakistan and India had acquired nuclear weapons years ago and did so without mentioning it to the United Nations or anyone else until it came time to test them. I reminded listeners that when these two enemies reached a point in a fairly recent shouting match that threatened the use of nukes, both became so frightened they immediately started peace talks!

It turned out that I was pretty much the only participant who was both willing and happy to defend America and didn’t much care what the others thought. We’re not perfect, but we don’t go around threatening to blow up other nations…unless, of course, they are practically begging to be blown up.

This was the case of Japan in 1945. The Arab and Persian participants kept saying that the U.S. was the only nation to have used atomic weapons and I rather aggressively reminded them that it was Japan that had attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and after getting its ass kicked from one end of the Pacific to the other, still refused to surrender. After we obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki they reconsidered their position. Now we are the best of pals.

I also pointed out that the U.S. having engaged in any number of wars since then, Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq, has never used nuclear weapons, ever. And we have a lot of them.

The difference between the former Soviet Union and the lunatics running Iran these days is that the Soviets were not suicidal. When it collapsed in 1991, they were greatly relieved they didn’t have to keep pretending that communism actually works. Even the Chinese, except for their government, are fervent capitalists.

Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed kicking butt on international radio and can’t wait to do it again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Ultimate Powerless Palestinian

By Alan Caruba

There’s a small news item in today’s local daily about “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas” and his visit to the White House where he appealed to the Bush administration “for more support in peace talks with Israel.”

I strongly suspect that President Abba cannot take a piss in Ramallah without having several heavily armed bodyguards to make sure Hamas doesn’t try to kill him as he relieves himself.

By way of background, Abbas was the right-hand man to Yassir Arafat, the father of Middle East terrorism who anointed himself the spokesman for the Palestinians. For years, no matter what peace deal was offered to him and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Arafat could not quite find a way to say yes.

The late Abba Eden, an Israeli scholar and diplomat, once said that the Palestinians never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity.

One Israeli prime minister after another had to put up with his intransigence and, after he had been chased out of his headquarters in Lebanon, setting up camp in Tunis, the Israelis sent him a message. They went there and killed several of his trusted aides. In time, though, Arafat would make it back to the disputed Palestinian territories and find new ways to kill more Israelis.

At least Hamas doesn’t make any pretense of wanting peace with Israel. They want that thriving jewel in the dung heap of the Middle East to return to its original 1967 borders and that ain’t going to happen. Actually, they want to entirely destroy Israel.

The only thing that will happen is another war on Israel, this time coordinated by the Iranians using Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip. There is no knowing how many rockets they have warehoused.

For sixty years the Arab nations in the area have tried to vanquish Israel and failed. Egypt made a peace of sort and, while it is widely known the Israelis have high walls to protect them from the Palestinians in Gaza, it is less well known that the Egyptians have their own high walls, too.

Jordan never wanted to make war, but felt obliged to join in, thus losing the West Bank and ultimately all of Jerusalem. The Syrians lost the Golan Heights and, when they recently tried to secretly build a nuclear reactor with the help of the North Koreans, the Israelis blew it off the face of the map. So far, there’s not been a peep out of the heroic Syrians.

The Arabs never learn anything from history. In the 1980s the Israelis had destroyed a nuclear facility in Iraq. The Iranians are next.

President Abbas is unhappy that the Israelis continue to build settlements to house those people who actually want to live there. Trying to understand Jews is almost as impossible as trying to understand Arabs, still they do have claim to Israel. I read about it in the Old Testament and in history books.

It is an oddity of history that the Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel “Palestine” in the belief that the ancient name would be forgotten. It wasn’t. After World War One when the British were given the Palestine Protectorate, those pesky Jews in Europe, Russia and elsewhere were still praying, “If I forget thee, oh Israel…” They didn’t forget. In the late 1800s many who were tired of persecution began to move there to lay the foundation of a resurrected Israel. They bought land.

In May Israel will celebrate sixty years of sovereignty. The White House and Prime Minister Abbas apparently think they can tell the Israelis what to do about settlements and other issues of contention, but they can’t. Maybe they should both read the Old Testament?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harsh Realities

By Alan Caruba

Sooner or later reality catches up with all kinds of really bad ideas.

I was thinking about this in the midst of the breathless news coverage of Hillary Clinton’s win in Pennsylvania. The Democrats have managed to paint themselves into a corner with two candidates, neither of whom has a hope in hell of winning the White House in November. Since the 1960s Americans have rid themselves of the uglier aspects of racism and have opened doors for women who want careers. The result is a Black candidate and a woman candidate.

Here’s where reality steps in. Raising children is a fulltime job if you want to do it right. There’s much to be said for utilizing the talents of half the population, but life in America has become so expensive that now both parents must work just to have the basics and a few extras. To put it another way, we consume a lot because we have to. Two cars for starters, child care, and the list just gets longer after that.

Being Black is turning out to be a greater liability than Sen. Obama or any other Democrat has wanted to admit. Being Black and belonging to a church with a pastor who says bad things about America is a bigger liability, but being Black and being a crazed liberal for whom government is the answer to all our problems and needs is popular only with a younger generation.

Young voters buy that nonsense because they don’t know any better. Most don’t even know why America fought a Cold War from 1945 until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, followed not long after by the collapse of the Soviet Union from its own dead weight. Today Russia is making a comeback, due almost entirely to oil and natural gas, but has essentially opted for a new form of czarist government.

Another harsh reality is that America has been going down the Socialist path now since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. All manner of “safety net” programs were put in place and added to, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. These “entitlement” programs are just flat running out of money and the flood of illegal aliens, many with “anchor babies” born here, are going to suck them dry even faster than anticipated. America is aging.

Worse to come will be the complete collapse of our public and private pension funds. The government is obligated to make up any losses and there isn’t enough money to do that. What money that’s still in circulation is rapidly losing its value against the Euro and other currencies. I wonder why? Could profligate spending and a huge deficit have anything to do with it?

More reality intrudes as a worldwide food shortage is occurring thanks to the bonehead notion that America should turn corn and soy into fuel instead of eating it, feeding it to livestock, or exporting it to help the economy. What do you expect from a nation that pays farmers not to plant crops?

Our wheat stocks are at the lowest ebb in years, so a loaf of bread or a pizza is going to become a luxury item pretty soon. Don’t look to the rest of the world because it’s suffering shortages of rice and other grains too. It’s not that there isn’t arable land in places like Africa, but when it’s too costly to buy seeds, fertilizer and the pesticides and herbicides to protect crops, farming is a losing proposition in such places.

The population die-off is going to be horrendous. A billion people live on $1.00 a day or less. The level of corruption worldwide will insure that the warehouses will run out of food. Remember, even if the wealthy nations send money, you can’t eat money.

You can thank the environmentalists for trying to get every pesticide and herbicide banned from use. They have also fought genetically modified seeds whose crops are protected against insect predation, the use of herbicides to rid the field of weeds, and even drought. This accounts for why the Earth has been able to feed over six billion human beings.

The whole world runs on oil in case you haven’t noticed. Aside from the obvious use as fuel, oil is the basis for all plastics and we all use lots of plastic. The uses of oil are too vast to number, but suffice it to say that all machinery requires it in some fashion or other. The speculators have bid up the “oil futures” out of pure human greed and now the price of a barrel is going to the moon.

Meanwhile, the world is not running out of oil. It’s not a supply problem. There are enormous amounts of known reserves and more to be discovered. Part of the problem is that there are not enough refineries worldwide. None have been built in the U.S. since the 1970s. They cost over a billion and, in the meantime, environmental groups and the EPA will amuse themselves suing to protect the environment.

A nation that requires 45 different blends of gasoline in the name of clean air increases the cost of each gallon. Then it requires that the laws of thermodynamics be ignored as it demands more mileage from each gallon while requiring an ethanol additive that reduces mileage.

Meanwhile Congress is contemplating implementing a “cap and trade” program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight a global warming that isn’t happening. The sun’s radiation has decreased now for several years. The oceans that normally retain 80% to 90% of the Earth’s heat are cooling too. Bundle up!

These are a few harsh realities that all coming due in unpleasant ways. You can thank to a lot of liberal policies and beliefs that just don’t work in the real world or, when implemented, make life in the real world very expensive and even dangerous.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

None of The Above in 2008

By Alan Caruba

“I don’t want to vote for any one of them,” is something I keep hearing over and over again from friends and acquaintances. In my memory, I frankly cannot recall when people seemed so indifferent to the outcome of a national election.

Usually elections are viewed as critical turning points and moments on which the entire future depends, but this year people (and I am speaking in a broad generalization here) seem to have concluded that no matter who gets elected, they will screw up a bad situation and make it worse.

Pennsylvania will, by the time you have read this, likely have decided the outcome of that party’s convention in Denver. For my part, I would love to watch the party tear itself apart in August, but my guess is that, if Obama is the choice, it will be McGovern, Dukakis, and Kerry all over again, a political déjà vu.

Even then, it doesn’t matter. In November, those who do vote will not likely do so with a happy heart. Many of the current Clinton supporters may stay home having rightly concluded they were robbed of yet another glorious Clintonian term with Hillary at the helm this time.

Anyone who thinks Obama has a chance is dreaming. Few WHITE MEN will pull the level for a candidate who is as racist as any dues-paying member of the KKK.

That leaves John McCain and, yes, it is Bush 2.0 because he has no intention of slowing down any of the Mexicans and “others” coming across the southern border and, since he is likely to be dealing with a Democrat Congress, he will be signing off on a host of horrid “environmental” laws to save us all from a global warming that is not happening and which, in fact, stopped around 1998. The Earth has been cooling since then.

As for the war, McCain will leave enough troops in Iraq to keep that debacle from looking like another Vietnam. If he tries to put more troops in, he will be impeached. We have members of state National Guards that haven’t seen their families in months, if not years.

And what the hell is the National Guard doing in Iraq anyway? Aren’t they supposed to guard the homeland? Just asking. Now that the volunteer military is accepting convicted felons, you get the creepy feeling that the Draft wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Back then it was considered a patriotic duty. It still is.

The voters don’t have much to vote for this year. None of the nation’s real problems are about to go away and most are going to get worse. The financial sector is in deep, deep trouble. When Americans begin to discover the horrid mess involving public and private pensions, it will make today’s mortgage and credit crunch seem like a picnic.

The only good news I can think of is that America has survived more bad presidents than the few good ones we’ve had. I like to be hopeful. It helps.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day 2008. Get Over It!

By Alan Caruba

Of the many things most people do not know about Earth Day is that it is also the anniversary of the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. Coincidence? I doubt it.

These days most people know little of history. We are witnessing a new generation who know little or nothing about the Soviet Union and the Cold War it waged against America and the world for the supremacy of Communism in the latter half of the last century. These are kids who don't even known when we fought our Civil War and for whom Korea and Vietnam are just names of places where there were wars, the latter of which we lost.

When we finally left Vietnam, we lost something else too. We lost the willingness to wage war the only way it can be waged, by killing as many of the enemy as possible to make them lose the will to continue. That includes destroying as much of the enemy’s homeland too. It involves overwhelming force and that involves a massive military presence. You can't do that with just volunteers.

The actual financial cost of the war in Iraq has been small compared to the size of our gross domestic product that is measured in trillions of dollars. It’s small, too, in terms of the casualties of the war. In World War Two, we lost more than 4,000 men taking a single Pacific island. Truman dropped two atom bombs on Japan because it was estimated we’d lose a million men to take the main island. He was right to do it.

Americans have grown soft. That’s one of the reasons Osama bin Laden thought he could destroy the Twin Towers, drain a trillion dollars out of our economy, and disappear into the hills of the border country between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He expected the U.S. to respond, but he also knew he had time on his side. We would grow tired of chasing Taliban around. Our allies would grow tired, too.

So we come to Earth Day 2008 and, despite the many good things to be said of America, we have let ourselves be trapped by the many lies of the Greens, incrementally allowing them to decide everything from how much water we can have in our toilet tanks to whether we can buy an incandescent light bulb. Like bin Laden, they knew they could wait us out.

They also know how pliable our politicians are. All three of the candidates for president believe global warming is happening even though a kid in Meteorology 101 can cite the data since 1998 that documents a cooling trend. It’s going to get a lot colder because we are all on the forward edge of a new Ice Age. We’re due one. Any climatologist will tell you that.

So Americans will blindly go along, not understanding why the food costs more and the cost of gasoline and other energy like natural gas keep climbing even though common sense says that if the government does not permit access to our own reserves—for all the blather about energy independence—the price will go up in ways beyond our control.

Americans will blame Big Oil whose combined ownership of worldwide oil reserves represents a scant 4% of the world’s known reserves. That’s right, ExxonMobil, Shell, Conoco Phillips, BP and the rest own very little of the world’s oil.

One of the many nations who does own oil is Russia, our former adversary in the Cold War. Now they have so many oil billions they want to buy American businesses with the surplus. There's something very wrong with that! Under Putin, they have returned to a dictatorship. The Russians seem to prefer that.

Americans will blame our farmers—the 2% of the population that feeds the rest of us and whose exports represent a significant part of economy—but why blame people who the government literally pays to not plant crops? Why blame people whose own costs of planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and transporting their crops to the market cost more thanks to a crazed government mandate to turn 40% to 60% of the corn crop into moonshine and then requires oil refineries to add that moonshine to every gallon of gasoline you buy? And then taxes us for every gallon of that inefficient blend!

Earth Day. What an absolutely idiotic notion.

Anyone who has ever traveled around the planet will tell you that it’s filled with forests, jungles, deserts, mountains,and mostly oceans. We have pretty much used every bit of arable land we can to feed the population. Only the Green Revolution of genetically modified seeds has made it possible to get greater yields per acre of farmland. Otherwise people would have died off in the millions in recent times.

They are likely to do so now if this artificial food shortage created by an idiotic “biofuels” program isn’t junked as fast as possible.

The Greens will just have to be content with killing millions of Africans by denying them DDT to protect against malaria or millions more around the world from dengue fever. Add to that the third of the world’s food supplies that are lost every year to insect and rodent predation because the Greens cannot ban pesticides fast enough.

Then there's that problem of refrigeration to preserve foodstuffs since the Greens got Freon, the cheapest and best refrigerant every invented, banned.

Earth Day makes me want to puke.

Everyone who runs around complaining about plastic supermarket bags makes me want to puke.

Everyone who thinks we should all crowd onto trains and buses and not drive when we want and where we want makes me want to puke.

Everyone who cries about endangered species when 95% of all the species that ever existed on Earth are extinct make me want to puke.

People who don’t care that a billion people on Earth live on about $1 a day or that a billion people do not have electricity make me want to puke.

People that won’t let Americans build more coal-fired or nuclear plants to generate the electricity we need make me want to puke.

A government that throws billions at studies of climate change makes me want to puke.

The climate is changing. The climate has always changed. The climate will continue to change. Get over it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green Masters of Propaganda

By Alan Caruba

Have you ever wondered why a former vice president and failed candidate for the presidency merited a Nobel Prize for “peace” which was, in fact, shared by a United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? What does claiming that global warming will destroy the world have to do with peace?

Why do Greens say that the science that they claim supports this hoax is “settled” and not subject to examination? Even Darwin’s Theory of Evolution continues to be challenged to this day. Science has confirmed that the Earth’s average temperature has, since 1998, turned demonstrably cooler. What does that say about Gore’s and other’s cooling claims? It says they are wrong.

Have you wondered why, the same year he garnered a Nobel, Al Gore also received an Oscar for his documentary about global warming and why schools across America required students to watch it? If you think these two events are coincidental, read on.

Have you noticed that Time magazine and other weekly periodicals have their cover stories devoted to Earth Day? Or that, leading up to it, weekly and daily newspaper sections have been suffused with stories about living Green or about Green events in your town or city?

Does it strike you as a coincidence that many television channels are filled with Earth Day related programs or have been airing apocalyptic programs for some time now?

What we have been witnessing is the mastery of propaganda, not just on a national scale, but globally, because Earth Day will evoke an eruption of media-driven stories about all aspects of the Green agenda.

Through a combination of fear, coercion, infiltration of the education system, the acquiescence of politicians, and the supine surrender of the mass media, the environmental movement, tapping billions of dollars from foundations and other sources of funding, has overwhelmed our society and others with the message that we must “save the Earth.”

Implicit and often quite openly, the message is that humans are the Earth’s greatest enemies and despoilers, laying waste to its forests and jungles, poisoning its air and water, causing the extinction of every species, responsible for “urban sprawl”, and, in general consuming too much food, too much energy, to much of everything.

The Greens want to save the Earth from us!

This is why causing global food shortages by the passage of “energy” legislation mandating that 60% of the nation’s corn crop be turned into ethanol, a useless gasoline additive, is nothing less than brilliant…if you want people to die from artificially induced famines.

There’s good propaganda and there’s bad propaganda. The good propaganda encourages people to eat properly, drive safely, and support worthy causes such as eradicating diseases, and such.

Bad propaganda has at is core a deep contempt for those being propagandized. It almost always advocates something that has a harmful outcome. An example is the campaign that banned DDT, a miracle pesticide that could have and still can save the lives of millions of mostly women and children in Africa and elsewhere. It serves just as well against dengue fever, a scourge of South American nations.

In the United States, propaganda about land use often ends up as the seizing and setting aside of millions of acres of land from any development that might contribute to the need to house an ever-increasing population or even providing recreational opportunities. Significantly, it puts off limit the vast natural resources, coal, oil and natural gas, that would reduce our dependence on other nations for these same vital sources of energy.

The Earth does not need to be saved from us. If humans were not part of the Earth's ecological system, we would not exist.

The Earth’s climate, however, is totally beyond human control. We have no control over the Sun, the oceans, volcanoes, the tectonic plates whose shift create earthquakes, or the cycles of warming and cooling etched into the Earth’s surface.

All the propaganda in the world will not change that.

Our task on Earth Day and every day to follow is to shake loose of the lies, the propaganda of the Greens, to reclaim our dominion over the Earth and to proceed to feed, house, and cloth humankind until it can achieve a kinder, more abundant future.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's About Politics, Not Climate

By Alan Caruba

If you think global warming is about climate, think again.

It’s all about politics and, if you don’t believe me, maybe you will believe Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund. An April 16 news release from the EDF was titled “President’s Remarks Recognize Political Reality of Coming Action on Climate Change.”

This was a response to President Bush throwing seven years of resistance to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change overboard and letting it be Congress’s problem. In fact, since 1997 when the Senate, which must approve all treaties, unanimously refused to consider the Kyoto Protocol, any U.S. involvement in limiting “greenhouse gases” has been entirely voluntary.

Ironically, the U.S., according to a recent study by the Pacific Research Institute, is doing a better job than Europe and any of the other signatories to the treaty. Besides, why should the U.S. wreck its economy with emissions caps while China and India have always been exempt from the Protocol?

The Environmental Defense Fund, however, understands what the global warming scare is all about and it isn’t climate! The EDF news release said the White House announcement “marks a significant political shift in the debate over national climate legislation.”

As for legislating the climate, why not get Congress to pass a law against hurricanes like Katrina? Just make it illegal for a hurricane to make landfall anywhere in America. Sound nuts? That’s because legislating anything regarding the climate is nuts.

What EDF wants to know is whether the Bush administration will support “a bill that puts a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions, like the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191), which is expected to come to a vote in the Senate in early June.”

“The bill would cap and reduce emissions roughly 19 percent below today’s levels by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050, putting the U.S. on the path to reduce emissions far enough and fast enough to help avoid the worst consequences of unchecked global warming.”

This is insane babbling. If you want to return to a level of GHG emissions comparable to just after the Civil War, that’s what this bill proposes.

The Earth is cooling and has been doing so noticeably since around 1998. The Sun’s radiation has been reduced for several years as the result of a lack of sunspot activity. According to NOAA, the oceans are growing cooler, not warmer. The ice caps of the poles have been growing, as have glaciers.

As for greenhouse gases, they are a miniscule part (0.038%) of the Earth’s atmosphere, but the EDF doesn’t want anyone to know that. “The only thing we’re lacking now is political will. The American public wants action, the business community wants action. It’s time for Congress to act,” Krupp said.

Does Fred Krupp speak for you? Is he, in effect, saying that global warming is a political issue, not a climate issue? Make up your own mind about that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Losing Our Grip on Reality

By Alan Caruba

As one approaches Earth Day, April 22, my fear increases that as a nation we have lost our grip on reality. The Greens have substituted their “truth” for what anyone can see with their own eyes.

Is the world warming? No, it is now into a cooling cycle. This passed winter included record-breaking blizzards in China and elsewhere, along with snow showing up in the Middle East and in places in the southern hemisphere where it has not been seen, often in living memory. Glaciers are advancing. Both the Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves have been expanding.

Can America be “energy independent”? No. In fact, no nation can be energy independent. Even Iran imports gasoline for lack of refining capacity. Meanwhile, the Congress of the United States refuses to permit exploration and extraction of vast known national oil reserves while individual States thwart efforts to build coal-fired plants to generate the electricity we need.

How insane do we have to be to permit Congress to ban the purchase of incandescent light bulbs by 2014?

How insane do we have to be to insist that so-called “endangered species” take precedence over access to energy, the building of hospitals, schools, housing, and other elements of our national infrastructure?

For reasons known only to him, President Bush has reversed seven years of sensible policy to advocate reducing “greenhouse gas” emissions.

How out of touch with reality do we have to be to believe that 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide, determines the Earth’s climate when a child can look up and see the Sun, intuitively understanding that it is the primary driver?

How can we ignore the food riots occurring around the world and not understand that is a Congressional mandate to turn corn, soy, and palm oil into a fuel additive that is causing these shortages? Unless repealed, the situation, aggravated by weather-related crop losses, will only grow worse.

How bizarre is it to believe that man “controls” the climate when it is and always has been manifestly evident that mankind’s success has been the adaptations we have made to survive the challenges the climate poses? How we heat and cool our homes is just one of these adaptations and, without oil, coal, and natural gas, without electricity, we will be at the mercy of nature once again.

Why would any people turn to the two least efficient and reliable forms of energy, solar and wind, when there are ample reserves of fossil fuels to meet our present and future needs?

A nation that began with a protest against “taxation without representation” now submits to all forms of visible and invisible taxation of all goods and services, on all means of transportation, on investments and savings. We are being systematically impoverished as individuals in order to fund a profligate government system based on the redistribution of income.

The tyranny of demography, the demands of an aging population, hold forth serious challenges to our pension and entitlement systems. The funding will not be available no matter how successful our economy may be.

While all this occurs, a warrior cult called Islam threatens to drag us all back to the culture and values of a seventh century Bedouin tribe. No efforts to compromise will succeed and elements of Islam have nuclear weapons or soon will. The most repressive societies on Earth want to impose their religion on the most successful.

Until and unless the nation can regain a grip on the realities of the world in which we live, we risk losing our nation to the lies environmentalists tell, the laws a blind Congress passes in the name of the environment, an economy transformed from capitalism to socialism, and perhaps the very freedoms embedded in our Constitution.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Bush Betrayal After Another

By Alan Caruba

George W. Bush will remain President until January 20, 2009 and the only question remaining is how many more betrayals does he have in store for the trust Republicans and other Americans granted him over his two terms?

On Wednesday, April 16, Reuters reports that he plans to announce “an intermediate goal to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States”, adding that he “will not make specific proposals.”

Let us understand the fundamentals. There is no global warming. What warming that has occurred has been since the last mini-ice age ended around 1850. It is perfectly natural. The net global warming since 1940 is a miniscule 0.2 degrees C., even after 70 years of unprecedented human CO2 emissions.

I repeat. There is no global warming. There is, in fact, a global cooling occurring. Sunspot activity has been unusually low for several years and is directly related to the cooling trend that is likely to continue in the years ahead. NASA reports that the oceans have "stopped warming" about 4-5 years ago.

The primary greenhouse gas to which the Greens are always referring is carbon dioxide (CO2) and it represents a bare 0.038 percent of the entire atmosphere of the Earth. Most of that atmosphere is water vapor, good old H2O. Without CO2, however, not one single blade of grass grows on planet Earth and that includes no forests, no jungles, and no crops.

On Wednesday, President Bush will put one more nail in the coffin of his legacy by selling out to the Greens and endorsing schemes to reduce emissions that do not need reducing and schemes to buy and sell “carbon credits” through exchanges set up to prosper based entirely on a lie.

I repeat. There is no global warming.

I don’t care if President Bush says so; if Sen. John McCain says so; if Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say so. The science says there isn’t.

We now are burdened with a President who signed every spending bill Congress sent to him until just after re-election to his second term.

He signed a Medicare Prescription Plan to add to an entitlement program that is rapidly running out of funding.

He signed Teddy Kennedy’s “No Child Left Behind” program to transfer control of the nation’s education system to the federal government despite a total lack of Constitutional authority.

He has ignored our nation’s porous southern border with Mexico that allows a million more illegal immigrants to enter America every year. He won’t even pardon two border guards jailed by a zealous U.S. district attorney for the alleged crime of shooting an admitted drug smuggler.

He signed a misnamed “energy bill” that mandates the use of corn to produce thousands of gallons of ethanol, a fuel additive that actually reduces mileage while adding to the cost of gasoline. This has started a cascade of food shortages worldwide, needlessly driving up the cost.

He misled the nation to involve it in a war in Iraq and then sat back as it was disastrously mismanaged for years. He will pass it along to whoever replaces him.

And now he proposes that the U.S. burden its economy with a program that has failed throughout Europe to curb emissions and which exempts both China and India. Even if CO2 was a problem—which it is not—why would any rational person expect that limiting our emissions would have any effect on the atmosphere? Why add billions to the cost of doing business in America?

There is a reason the President’s approval ratings are at a new low and may yet surpass those of the unlamented Jimmy Carter. He cannot be trusted and he likely to do more harm before he leaves office.

Running Out of Food and Time

By Alan Caruba

In my weekly commentary on The National Anxiety Center’s website, “Global Food Fights”, I take a look at the reasons why U.S. prices of food are rising and why there are food riots breaking out around the world. The world’s news media are taking notice as well.

Articles are flooding news outlets such as The New York Times “news analysis” that “Fuel Choices, Food Crises and Finger-Pointing” and the Associated Press report that “Food Costs Rising Fastest in 17 Years.”

Meanwhile, over at Canada Free Press, Dr. Tim Ball, a noted meteorologist, had the temerity of saying that, “Commitment of 40% of U.S. agriculture to biofuels has created a crisis in world food supplies and increasing costs for poor people everywhere”, adding that, “Environmental extremists and alarmists have exploited people’s fears and lack of knowledge about climate and climate change.” Simply stated, the Earth is cooling, not warming.

We are living in an era defined by an avalanche of lies by environmentalists whose agenda has always been a reduction of the world’s population and a crippling of the economies of industrialized nations in order to rid the world of capitalism and its benefits.

The food shortages, other than those resulting from drought or other weather conditions, are wholly man-made and deliberate. They are the result of ignorant politicians passing laws based on the lies the Greens have been telling for decades.

Ironically, the very same nexus for these lies, the United Nations, whose Environmental Program includes the duplicitous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and which has been responsible for the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change demanding a reduction in “greenhouse gas” (carbon dioxide) reductions, as well as bans on Freon, a refrigerant, and on DDT, a pesticide that used to protection millions from Malarial death, is calling for $500 million in aid to feed the hungry.

The World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, urged immediate action, calling on governments to provide the U.N. World Food Program with emergency aid for places like Haiti where recent food riots forced its prime minister out of his job.

Those of us derided as “skeptics”, “deniers”, or paid lackeys of energy or chemical industries whose products provide electricity, fuel for transportation, and other life-enhancing benefits, have had to struggle to get our message before the public that the Greens are their enemies and not, as one group calls itself, “Friends of the Earth.”

Next week the entire world will be assaulted by messages about Earth Day and the need to conserve, to change our driving habits, to save endangered species, to switch to solar and wind energy, and all because of “global warming” when there is NO global warming.

There is, however, plenty of oil. A huge new reserve of oil was found off the coast of San Paulo, Brazil, as much as 33 billion barrels. Another oil pool in North Dakota, the Bakken Formation, is estimated to have up 4 billion barrels of light, sweet crude. In Alaska, ANWR has millions of untapped barrels of oil.

So who shall we blame for the food shortages and the high price of oil? The politicians who have banned access to our own national resources. The politicians who keep introducing legislation based on a global warming that is not happening. The politicians who have banned the purchase of incandescent light bulbs by 2014. The politicians who mandated that thousands of bushels of corn be turned into ethanol.

All three of the candidates in the running for the U.S. presidency believe the global warming lies and are ready to impose still more idiotic legislation, including an utterly bogus “cap-and-trade” scheme for the sale of “carbon credits” based wholly on the lies about greenhouse gas emissions.

We are running out of time before the politicians bring about utter ruin.

We need to yell loudly at Congress and the candidates to stop this madness before more Americans go broke trying to feed their families and still more around the world die of starvation because of the Greens.

Monday, April 14, 2008

George W. Gore

By Alan Caruba

Having betrayed Republicans on all other key issues from education to immigration, the announcement that George W. Bush intends to introduce global warming legislation should come as no surprise.

The Washington Times on Monday reports that, “President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include.”

So, having defeated Al Gore in what the Democrats still insist was a stolen election, we have come full circle to George W. introducing legislation to lock into place the bogus theory of global warming, insuring that, as the Earth gives every sign of entering a cooling cycle, we shall continue to destroy the economy by reducing “greenhouse gas” emissions.

Republican members of Congress, briefed last week, told the administration that they thought the White House was making a mistake. You think?

The reason given for the proposed legislation is to head off what the White House and a lot of others believe will be “a regulatory disaster” as the environmentalists pursue a policy of limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.

Never mind that CO2 constitutes barely 0.038 percent of the atmosphere and that CO2 does not precede a climate change, but follows it, the actual science is of no concern to either the White House or the Greens.

Apparently, the science meant nothing to the Supreme Court that ruled last year that CO2 was a form of “pollution” that should be controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency. That “pollution” is responsible for every blade of grass, every tree, and every form of vegetation on the Earth. This isn’t just stupidity, it’s suicidal.

This announcement comes one week before Earth Day on April 22 and we are all going to be awash in environmental propaganda. An army of Greens will hold all manner of Earth Day events and the mainstream media will inundate us all with the usual lies about everything from global warming to endangered species. Being politicians, the White House sees an opportunity to “position” itself on the side of the movement that has been doing everything in its power to undermine the economy.

In addition, whatever the legislation may be, it ignores the fact that neither China with its billion-plus population, India with its billion-plus population, and all other developing nations are exempt from any limits on CO2. There is no logical way to limit CO2 unless all the other nations of the world join in and even Europe, whose nations all signed the Kyoto Protocol, has never met the limits set. And never will.

George W. Bush has finally mutated into George W. Gore, surrendering to the environmental movement’s lies instead of fighting the avalanche of current legislation and that which will follow if the Democrats take control of the White House and increases their control of Congress after the next elections.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Send More Money Says the United Nations

By Alan Caruba

There was a Washington Post news report in late March that the United Nations had “presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds over the next two years—boosting current U.N. expenses by 25 percent and marking the global body’s highest-ever administrative budget, according to internal U.N. memos.”

Since I am no fan of the United Nations, my first thought was to ask why the U.S. and other “top donors” would toss more money at this bloated and morally corrupt international bureaucracy when it is manifestly unable to prevent wars—its primary mission—and remains a platform for belligerence, bigotry, and intolerance?

According to the report, the request for more money is blamed on the Bush administration’s “demands for a more ambitious U.N. role around the world.” That seems a rather convenient explanation given the poor performance of most of the U.N.’s so-called peace-keeping missions, some of which degraded into the rape of the women it was supposed to be protecting; its 60-year support of the Palestinians, making them the oldest refugee group in history; and its deplorable environmental program, a platform for the most appalling lies about the climate.

We have the final years of the Roosevelt administration for the creation of the United Nations as World War Two wound down. The failure of the League of Nations to prevent the war should have been sufficient reason not to go down that path again, but perhaps it was seen as the very reason to create a new, international organization to prevent wars?

If that was the thought, they were wrong. Shortly after the end of WWII, the Korean War began with the blessing of Joseph Stalin. Begun on June 25, 1950, it lasted until July 27, 1953. It was a classic Cold War proxy fight. At the end of World War II, Korea had been divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. Fought under the umbrella of the United Nations so as not to turn it into a new war between the Soviet Union and the United States, it managed to draw the Red Chinese into it as well.

So much for peace-loving Communists versus the forces of democracy.

And, of course, the United States fought a similar conflict in Vietnam for the same Cold War reasons. The United Nations stayed out of that one. We should have as well, but there was a “domino theory” current at the time that postulated that the loss of one Asian nation to communism would doom the rest. Considering that China was resolutely communist, it’s easy to see the reasoning at work. After more than 50,000 of our troops died in Vietnam, Americans became more circumspect about going off to war.

It took 9/11 to get us in the mood to kill someone, anyone, to restore our national honor. Here are two headlines from then. “Public stands firmly behind war” said a November 29, 2001 USA Today headline, followed on December 18, 2001 with “Poll finds strong support for expanding terror war.” It seems so long ago.

It is instructive that the Republican nominee for President this year is a hero from the Vietnam War and the two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination cannot get out of Iraq fast enough. Most wars are popular when they begin. We tend to forget that. Vietnam was an exception, but Congress gave it the green light anyway. They always do.

So, the United Nations now wants $1.1 billion more and the U.S. is to blame for it. Those “elections” in Afghanistan and Iraq were largely organized by U.N. personnel. In the process, al Qaeda demonstrated its regard for the U.N. by blowing up its compound in Baghdad. The U.N., in addition, has nearly 110,000 peacekeepers in twenty missions around the world at a 2008 cost of “about $7 billion.”

I do not know and cannot judge if those peacekeepers are worth the cost. One presumes they are and one wonders just how long they will have to be kept on duty. My guess is forever or until one of the missions turns hot. At which point they will run away and the phones at the White House and Pentagon will light up.

The failure of the United States to rein in the United Nations budget is the real story here. It simply doesn’t do much well. Its bureaucrats have been known to prosper from programs like the oil-for-food deal when Saddam was in charge.

It holds costly meetings in places like Bali, a famed vacation destination, to demand that so-called greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to pre-industrial levels or meetings devoted to tolerance where Israel is the sole object of scorn. Its Council on Human Rights is the worst joke on the face of the earth.

So, no, let’s not give the United Nations any more money. In fact, let’s cut our contribution—easily a quarter of the entire operation—and let these miscreants sink of their own dead weight.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My New Driver's License

By Alan Caruba

I can’t remember the last time I visited a motor vehicle agency to renew my driver’s license. Here in New Jersey, whenever it came due, I would get a notice, mail them a check, and a new license would come in the mail a few days later.

On Friday, however, I had to report in person and bring several documents to demonstrate I am who I say I am and live where I say I live. I can thank Osama bin Laden for this because the State now requires that you have your photo taken to appear on the license. It is a reminder that we are locked into a battle, some would say a clash of civilizations, with the Islamists who want to declare a new caliphate.

The last caliphate was the Ottoman Empire and it bit the dust in 1918 when the allies, America, England, and France won World War One. The Ottoman Empire had bet on the loser, Germany. Having learned nothing from the experience, Germany lost again in 1945 after having laid waste to most of Europe and much of Russia. They made it two-for-two in the 20th century. When you consistently lose wars, it’s probably a good idea to avoid going to war.

These days, a Boy Scout troop could probably invade Germany or France and take over either country. This also explains why the United States has had troops in England and Europe since the end of World War Two where it knows how to fight, but does not explain why it kept sending troops to places like Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq where it does not.

The result of World War One was that two of the winners divvied up the Middle East between them. This so pissed off the Arabs who were not consulted that they are waging terrorism to lay claim to the region. After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, Woodrow Wilson came home with a plan for the U.S. to join the League of Nations. The U.S. Senate wisely rejected joining this bunch of losers in the interest of retaining and protecting our national sovereignty.

Less than a generation later, the United States failed to exercise such good sense following WWII, not merely joining the United Nations, but having created it from scratch. This explains why the winners of WWII are still the big dogs on the Security Council. This does not explain why wars have continued unceasingly with most of the important ones being led and fought by, you guess it, the United States.

What does this have to do with getting a driver’s license renewed? You may recall everything was going along merrily here up to 9/11/2001. Then, on one day, al Qaeda caused us to lose the Twin Towers and an estimated trillion dollars got sucked out of the economy.

The result, seven years later, is that I had to get a photo-ID driver’s license. Let me be honest. Based solely on the photo on the license, I would not let that man anywhere near my home, my children, or my pets. The man in that photo is either a dangerous psychopath or the sad shell of a reformed alcoholic. Okay, so I don’t photograph well.

I can, however, go to any airport in America and show both my New Jersey auto license and my passport and theoretically get on a plane to Disneyland or La-La Land. Yes, you need two photo ID documents. Feel safer now?

I had to drive over to East Orange to get my license. In the 1970s I was the city editor of the East Orange Record, the weekly newspaper. An old Irish politician was the mayor and ran a good, tight ship.

A lot of white people took pride in living there, just as they had from the early part of the century. My Mother had grown up there as a young girl in a big house with her parents, three sisters and a brother. Today, East Orange has a shop-worn look from the spillover of former Newark residents, the city it borders. Seeking to escape the drug scene and other urban failures, blacks moved to East Orange and, to no one’s surprise, brought those problems with them. The Whites fled.

It’s surprising how the many crossroads of one’s own and the nation’s history can come together in the crowded office of a motor vehicle agency.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Obama is Toast

By Alan Caruba

We already know that only a Democrat Party suicide pact to give the nomination to Hillary will keep Barack Hussein Obama from heading the ticket.

The great thing about this agonizingly long primary season is that it has provided plenty of time to identify, once again, Hillary’s (and Bill’s) penchant for lying. They lie, I think, in the belief that no one will actually remember their lies. They have lied so often and with such success, they may not even be able to discern between the truth and a lie any more.

Short of a huge victory in Pennsylvania (and even then) Hillary can only get the nomination if the super-delegates form a circle around Obama and become a firing squad, thereby eliminating him and themselves at the same time.

What impresses me at this point, however, is how, despite the fawning and prostration of the mainstream media, people are already well aware that the young Senator from Illinois, barely even halfway through his first term and the product of what is widely perceived as the most corrupt political machine in America, has some serious problems with the truth. He is beginning to make the Clintons look like amateurs.

The obvious example is his inability to remember anything anti-American or anti-Semitic after having belonged to an Afro-Centric church for twenty years. The pastor is a man Obama has declared a mentor and family friend, someone who’s tight with Minister Farrakhan of the Black Muslims.

Then there’s his association with a Chicago real estate magnate that allowed him to buy a million-dollar home some regard as well beyond his and his wife’s means at the time. It probably helped that his wife received a whopping big raise from the non-profit hospital that had benefited from some Obama earmarks in Congress.

Indeed, I have seen long lists of his purported lies and there is even a website, that offers more fodder, but I don’t need such things to convince me that Obama is a stranger to the truth.

He has the con man’s charm, a master manipulator of all with whom he came in contact.

His message is vague. His actual positions are few except to say he has voted consistently as a Liberal, offering little evidence of bipartisanship. He talks of change and hope, but what politician does not? He is, in Joe Biden’s words, “articulate and clean.” And he has a terrible memory for anything he needs to explain away, coupled with a skill for deflecting criticism.

In the end, I don’t think he likes white people very much. Not even his grandmother.

If he is his party’s nominee, I think we will see Democrats melt away from giving him the support he needs from them. I think Republicans will go to the polls in droves to vote for John McCain. I think he’s toast.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Environmentally, We're Number One

By Alan Caruba

As we approach the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union…oops, I meant Earth Day…it’s so easy to confuse the two because they occur, quite by coincidence I’m sure, on the same day. Anyway April 22 will bring forth an avalanche of the usual accusations that America is a sinkhole of pollution, et cetera.

We are all supposed to feel guilty or angry or both for living in a nation that we are told is the largest “consumer” of, well, everything and, at the same time, a terrible steward of the land and such. There are two things that environmentalists hate, one is consumption and the other is the human beings doing it.

The only problem with these accusations is that they are, like virtually everything environmentalists tell us, wrong.

The Pacific Research Institute (PRI) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) just released the “2008 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators”, an annual report highlighting the significant environmental developments and milestones in the United States and worldwide.

As Steven F. Howard, a co-author of the Index and a PRI senior fellow, is pleased to note, “The U.S. remains the world’s environmental leader and will likely be so in the future.” For example, between 1997 and 2004, the last year in which comparative data are available, emissions from Kyoto Protocol participants increased 21.1 percent.

The U.S. refused to sign this United Nations inspired idiocy, but its emissions increased only 6.6 percent during the same time period, considerably less than the participants.

The Protocol is based on the lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing the Earth to warm, but the Earth is actually beginning to cool and CO2 constitutes a minuscule 0.038 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The odds are that the United States is the only industrialized nation in which a decrease occurred in 2006. Europe, which is always wailing away about greenhouse gases (GHG) and is making progress toward eliminating anything that generates electricity other than the occasional lightning strike, has never been able to meet the Protocol’s limits.

As the Index points out, the United States last emitted CO2 at this level in 1910 when the population was only 92 million. All of which suggests that we are doing one hell of a better job at limiting GHG emissions than say, China or India. Oh, wait! They aren’t even Kyoto Protocol signatories. In fact, the Protocol exempts them. Which raises the question, if two of the world’s largest and fastest growing industrializing nations don’t have to limit GHG emissions, what’s the point of having a Protocol in the first place?

These days, crazed environmentals are calling for an 80 percent reduction of GHG by 2050. What they don’t tell you is that the only nations with emissions levels that low are appallingly poor. Don’t like GHG emissions? Move to Haiti or Somalia.

So, come Earth Day, if you are a dedicated environmentalist, don’t forget to get out there and wave your red flag with the Hammer and Sickle on it. I keep forgetting. I mean the green flag. Tell people that you are trying to save the Earth from horrible consumers of stuff like, ah, food.

Editor’s note: To download the 2008 Index, visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dropping the Olympic Torch

By Alan Caruba

I confess I have been enjoying scenes of mayhem as the Olympic torch, destination China, gets doused and various runners find themselves in the middle of bedlam.

Given the seizure and annexation of Tibet, a quite separate and ancient nation, the trouble that China is encountering as it prepares to host the games is entirely appropriate. China literally had to ditch Communism as an economic system in order to survive. There are more people fluent in English in China than in America. Why? Because if you want to get rich, you have to learn how from us!

Holding the Olympics there is just wrong for a lot of obvious reasons.

On Tuesday, a friend and fellow blogger put it this way, “Those ‘non-political’ Olympic Games are SO political they are a hot potato which has become nothing but a gigantic soap box from which the hosting nation publicizes it’s brand of despotism! It has become a humongous propaganda engine… and very little else.””I lost interest in the Olympic Games along about the time Mark Spitz won all those metals (seven) at the Munich Games in 1972. Oh… yes… that was the year the “Black September” took the Israeli athletes hostage, inside the Olympic Village, and murdered eleven of them before the incident was brought to a bloody close. That was 36 years ago. Nothing much has changed, except that we, as a country, are at war against the terrorists.”

His suggestion is that the games be played permanently in Greece where they originated. It’s a very good idea.

An earlier Munich games in the 1930s had permitted the Nazi regime to show its whitewashed Hitlerian face to the world and, after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, probably one of the few intelligent things Jimmy Carter ever did was to disallow American athletes from participating in the Moscow Olympics. The latter Munich games were an equal abomination for their determination to continue while the bodies of dead Israelis were being shipped home.

These days the primary concern for any of the games is security, security, security. For this we can thank the Palestinian terrorists whose memory and remorseless hatred of Israel continues.

The Olympic games have been plagued, too, with problems of corruption, bribery and judges more attuned to their nation’s politics than the merits of the athletes.

Granted that it is hard to ignore China and its billion-plus citizens, but why should this nation, famed for its on-going oppression of Tibetans, the Fulong Gong religious group, and just about anyone it wants to oppress, be given a pass?

Shouldn’t games aimed at increasing international friendship begin by requiring the host nation to not throw dissidents into ghulags or engage in public executions of criminals and the like?

As things are now, why not just drop the farce of soaring Olympic rhetoric and hold the next games in the Sudan, Myanmar, North Korea, any place where intolerance and repression is the national sport?

Pultizer Puke

By Alan Caruba

Isn’t it about time we all just admit that the Pulitzer Prizes are a sham? Let’s see who the winners are this year. There’s The Washington Post that took six of the 14 journalism categories. Six! It’s the most ever for the newspaper and second only in history to The New York Times which won seven Pulitzers in 2002, mostly for its 9/11 coverage.

They’re gnashing their teeth at The Times this year because it only picked up two Pulitzers and tied with the Chicago Tribune for the “Explanatory Reporting” category, whatever the hell that is?

Perhaps it’s time to start giving awards for firing or laying off the least amount of editors and reporters? The real story about journalism this year is the way traditional print journalism is taking a nosedive as people turn to the Internet to get news and opinion from sources they trust. Or tune into the 24/7 news channels like Fox and MSNBC.

The real story in the world of journalism is the rise of Cybercast News Service (, Canada Free, World Net Daily, New Media Journal or any of the many other Internet providers of news and views that resonate with people who are concerned about things like reducing the size of government, Second Amendment, sovereignty, immigration, education, and other issues of concern to conservatives.

How can a handful of politically correct, carefully selected letters to the editor compare or compete with the many lively forums in which anyone can participate? Little wonder that most newspapers have added forums and blogs to their websites in a desperate effort to entice readers.

The problem with the Pulitzers is that they are so blatantly elitist. And the winners are! Always The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Constitution-Journal, The Wall Street Journal. Yawn.

Dailies in smaller cities west or south of the Hudson River have to pray that something newsworthy occurs such as the award to the Idaho Statesman for its coverage of the juicy Larry Craig scandal or a rarity like a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter for stories on—God help us—tax laws and pension misuse. Hats off to the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune and Denver Post reporters as well.

Stop the presses. Bob Dylan received a special “citation” for his contribution to music. If you like listening to a guy that sounds like a cat being slowly sawed in half, run out and pick up a CD. Dylan is so 60s that it’s a surprise to learn he still draws breath.

I am happy to know that good journalism exists, but the Pulitzers, like the Oscars, are so politicized they no longer signify much. The world of the working journalist these days is a tenuous one at best. They are over-worked and under-paid, but I was too when I was a reporter in the 1970s. It was fun then when I didn’t have to think about paying a mortgage or any grown-up stuff.

If you want to know what today’s journalists are thinking, just visit It is riotous stuff, a seething cauldron of vanity, hubris, bias, and most of the sins of the heart we know and despite so well.

Meanwhile, the winning reporters and editors will renegotiate their salaries and perks. Others will call their agents and tell them to start hustling a book deal. After an alarmingly short period of preening and strutting the job cuts will continue.

Newspapers aren’t exactly dead yet, mostly due to the soft sections on health, home, and entertainment. Most people I know read the obits every day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

How Not to Lay Siege to a Religious Cult

By Alan Caruba

The year was 1993 and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (three of my favorite things) arrived at the door of Mount Carmel, the property of the Branch Davidians, a religious cult with a compound outside of Waco, Texas. By most reports they were not regarded as some satanic group by the local residents.

The BATF was there to investigate reports of huge caches of firearms, but as anyone from Texas will tell you, most folks there think you’re not right in the head if you don’t have a couple of handguns, rifles and shotguns somewhere on the premises. The Branch Davidians told the BATF to go away and the resulting raid would cost four BATF agents their lives along with six Davidians.

That began a siege that would last 51 days. It’s useful to bear in mind that the Davidians believed in an End of Days, apocalyptic theology and had been around since the 1930s when the group began as a breakaway from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. So, having the full force of the government show up was seen as a sure sign the End was near.

By the time the government was through, some 76 Branch Davidians, including 21 of whom were children, were killed in a blaze ignited after the ATF and FBI used pyrotechnic tear gas. The fire was blamed on the Davidians, but somehow I doubt that.

A corollary to this story was the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. One of the onlookers at the Waco siege was Timothy McVeigh and, during his trial, he cited the event as the trigger for what he did.

The whole Waco debacle was undertaken with the blessing of Janet Reno, the first woman Attorney General, an appointee of then-President Bill Clinton. She also oversaw the return of Elian Gonzales, a 5-year-old Cuban boy whose mother had drowned in the effort to bring him to America. Elian had family in Miami, but that didn’t matter. He was forcibly seized and returned.

I was thinking about this as I watched the news about the polygamist cult in Eldorado, Texas whose compound was entered after a search warrant was issued based on a call from within the compound from a 16-year-old girl alleging sexual abuse. At last report, authorities were looking for the girl, her baby, and Dale Barlow, her 50-year-old husband.

Texas law enforcement authorities and state welfare agents made quick, non-violent work of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints as they searched for evidence. By Friday, 52 girls had been removed. No one got killed. The place wasn’t burnt to the ground. And the last time I checked, polygamy and sex with underage girls was against the law in Texas and elsewhere.

When you contrast the two events, you get a vivid insight to the lawlessness of the Clinton Administration and the way sensible law enforcement officials conducted themselves over the weekend.

I don’t know what Janet Reno is doing these days, but maybe she’s amusing herself replaying the Waco tape. Word on the street is that Clinton’s wife is running to be the next President of the United States, but that is so absurd, even I can’t believe it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Weekend Musings

By Alan Caruba

Assassination Time

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. I remember when it happened and I remember the assassinations of both John and Robert Kennedy. Like some spasm resulting from the resistance to the Civil Rights movement and whatever other causes the murderers of the Kennedy’s had in mind, one must wonder why there have been no similar assassinations since?

The 60’s seemed to fill the nation’s television screens with scenes of rioting and marches, but the final decades of the last century did not evoke much public disorder. I briefly met Dr. King once, after he had delivered a speech at Drew University. It was a pleasant encounter, but if you had told me there would be a national holiday in his honor I would found that hard to believe at the time. That’s the problem with living through history. You have to look back at it from a distance to understand what happened.

I thought living through the Watergate scandals in the 1970's and the 1990’s disgrace that Clinton brought to the Oval Office was bad, but at least the former produced satisfactory Congressional action that led to Nixon’s resignation and jail for several of the participants, while the latter has given us a bad-boy political rock star and the absurdity of his wife running for the same office. Can you imagine the response if Bess Truman had announced she was running for the presidency?

Gore’s Gall

People tend to forget that Al Gore went from being an undistinguished Senator from Tennessee to Vice President thanks to Bill Clinton. Now he’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner, an Oscar winner, and the very image of a bloated man of wealth bent on getting everyone to do what he says, not what he does. The contempt he must feel for us "little people" must know no bounds.

In many ways Gore and the Clintons are some kind of grotesque cartoon version of what used to be people whom we respected for having served in high office. Truman went back to Independence, Missouri, and stayed out of the spotlight. Other Presidents like Eisenhower, Ford, and Reagan did the same, but this newer generation craves the spotlight. Perhaps Jimmy Carter started the trend, forever pontificating on everything after an utterly failed, single term in office. Carter, in turned out, was more stupid than anyone could have imagined.

Now Gore has launched a $300 million, three-year effort to use mass media to convince people that "global warming" is just around the corner. Meanwhile, reputable scientists are telling us that the Earth has tipped into a cooling period since 1998 according to all those satellites that measure such things. There is a cyclical weather event called the "La Nina" that is helping to cool things down.

Obama’s Lies

On a forum where I am one of the moderators there is a list of Barack Obama’s lies on the campaign trail. I think the list was imported from It is a long and very specific list.

We all know the Clinton’s lie all the time, but there was some hope that Obama would bring a fresh, untainted personality to the race for the presidency, but we all initially and briefly forgot that he comes straight out of one of the most corrupt political machines in the nation, Cook County’s Chicago where the dead vote with regularity.

I can’t prove it, but I think that Obama is still a Muslim despite his attendance at an Afro-centric church. In the Sunni Muslim tradition, taqiyyah is dissembling to give a favorable impression of Islam or in situations where being a Muslim or the wrong sect might be dangerous. He may have learned of this in his youth. I think he has been telling everyone anything they wanted to hear in his climb up the political ladder. No doubt he absorbed and learned this well before he got into politics.

If Dr. King was alive, I suspect he would be seriously conflicted over Obama as the presumptive Democrat candidate.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It Is Time to Leave Iraq

By Alan Caruba

Sometime last year I wrote a commentary to the effect that it was time for the U.S. occupation of Iraq to end. Since I am mostly read by those of a conservative point of view, I heard back from many who were convinced that the U.S. had to remain and who thought I had completely misread the situation.

Even at this distance, however, it was no feat of intellectual brilliance to know that, while the initial invasion was a success, the entire aftermath has been a demonstration of what not to do after deposing a dictator.

I recall, right after Baghdad fell, scenes of widespread looting in the city with American troops standing by because there were too few to police the situation. The failure to impose martial law on the city and make it stick was the first hint that any occupation was going to prove more difficult than anyone suspected.

What followed was a succession of blunders of staggering stupidity. It became apparent the United States had invaded a nation without knowing anything about it.

Since those days I have read many books about the situation there. I would recommend Ali A. Allawi’s “The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace”, John Agresto’s “Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions”, Charles H. Ferguson’s “No End in Sight: Iraq’s Descent into Chaos”, and a brilliant overview of America’s decades of troubles in the region, Lawrence Freedman’s “A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East” to be published in May.

History teaches that the United States has been to the Middle East on many occasions since the end of World War Two. We went as a peacekeeper during the civil war in Lebanon. Several presidents have proven to be hopelessly naïve brokers trying to get the Palestinians to cease being the world’s oldest and largest group of refugees.

Our two invasions of Iraq were swift textbook victories, a triumph of technology and finely trained warriors. What followed after got ugly only because the Middle East defies the logic of Western culture. Arabs operate in a different emotional landscape. Books have been written to explain the differences, but I suspect that no one in the Pentagon had read any of them.

After 9/11, the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA had to scramble to find anyone in their ranks that could read Arabic!

Every time we put troops in the field we have suffered what the majority of Americans have considered too many casualties. To put it another way, losing anyone on the battlefield was pretty much too much. Americans prefer live heroes. Since the debacle of Vietnam, our taste for battle has diminished to a point where just bombing the hell out of the enemy is considered sufficient.

I resisted calling for withdrawal because my conservative instincts kept hoping that Iraqis would somehow magically learn how to get along with one another and find a reason to build a nation that did not need a dictator to run it.

Five years into the occupation it pains me to say that both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are right to call for an expeditious withdrawal. Sen. McCain’s metaphorical “hundred years” of occupation is just terribly wrong. If we know anything, it is that the United States no longer does occupations well.

In the final run-up to the November election, I hope Sen. McCain will find a way to tilt away from staying the course. The “course” has been a sadistic carnival funhouse filled with improvised explosives and snipers.