Friday, July 31, 2009

Teaching U.S. Kids the U.N. Way

By Alan Caruba

It’s horrible enough to think of the way school children have been deliberately and unnecessarily frightened by the teaching in American schools about “global warming.” Since the 1980s it has been part of the curriculum in schools throughout the nation, convincing a lot of children that the Earth was doomed.

It was difficult enough to grow up as I did knowing that the Soviet Union could annihilate most of the population with nuclear missiles or that their brand of communism could destroy the liberties Americans take for granted.

Ever since Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education, the nation’s educational systems, once among the best in the world and answering directly to local school boards, have produced a dismal record of general failure to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. It was taken over by the National Education Association, a union, and a curriculum of liberalism has existed ever since.

American children grew up learning that the Founding Fathers were slave owners. They were forced to learn “fuzzy math” and “whole words”, two systems that left them unable to add or subtract sums without a calculator in hand and to read without some difficulty.

Schools became increasingly dangerous places, often requiring the fulltime presence of a police officer. In sum, schools, i.e. administrators and faculty, increasingly sought to place themselves between the student and his parents as the primary authority.

Now we learn that the Obama administration is imposing “education reform efforts” that will adopt “internationally benchmarked education standards.” They will become national standards. The incentive will be federal “stimulus” dollars. There’s more to learn about this at,

It’s worth keeping in mind that “No Child Left Behind” is widely regarded as a failure and that all children do not learn at the same rate. Albert Einstein was deemed a dimwit because, for his first years, he did not speak much to anyone. NCLB became a “teach to the test” monstrosity that eliminated any creativity from the teaching process and produced results that, along with previous “reforms” left American students ranked way behind many other nations.

Instead of expecting children whose first language was Spanish or some other to learn English, bilingual education was introduced at considerable expense that ensures those most in need of learning English would have one more obstacle to overcome. Then schools were saddled with mandates for “special” students with disabilities who often cost local school boards hundreds of thousands of dollars to meet their needs.

What this indoctrination is all about is “a de facto federal curriculum” that will financially reward states that adopt what the DOE wants taught. Here’s where it really gets ugly. As Allen Quist of EdWatch points out, the curriculum will be “internationally benchmarked” which is a way of saying American educational standards will be determined by UNESCO, the United Nations education arm.

In practice this means children will be taught about the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but might not get much or any instruction regarding the U.S. Constitution. As Quist puts it, “American schools used to teach the fundamentals of the United States, including the inalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty and property, as guaranteed by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Not any more. Our children will be taught that they only have those rights the UN says they have.”

Then, for good measure, throw in the UN’s Earth Charter which includes the “promotion of the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.” It also endorses nuclear disarmament, gay marriage, legalized abortion, and a general curriculum of flat out Earth worship.

The UN is unquestionably the most corrupt international institution on the face of the Earth. President Obama has just ensured future generations of American students will be indoctrinated with its belief system instead of the one our Founding Fathers gave us.

Is it any wonder that home schooling has become such a fast-growing trends among parents who do not want to turn their children over to a system that denigrates American values?

If you think this nation is being sabotaged by the White House, add education to the list of its handiwork.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where's Obama's Birth Certificate?

By Alan Caruba

It’s the question and/or controversy that will not go away. Where was President Barack Hussein Obama born and why won’t he produce a birth certificate?

Sometime ago I received an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, by Philip J. Berg, an attorney who briefly gained media attention when he asserted that President Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States and, under the U.S. Constitution, was disqualified from running for or holding the position of President.

The problem Berg presents is that he reportedly was a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democrat nomination and thus had a very political reason to challenge Obama’s citizenship. The courts, however, appear to have been extraordinarily reluctant to address the question.

Among the Berg documents I have seen is an affidavit attesting to a transcribed conversation between Bishop Kwele Shuhudra, Bishop of the Anabaptists Churches of North America, and Sarah Obama, the President’s grandmother or aunt, who confirmed that she was present when he was born in Kenya. Could she be mistaken? There also appears to be some confusion over which hospital in Hawaii Obama was born; if he was born there. No attending physician has ever stepped forth to confirm it.

Democrat spin doctors are, of course, circling the wagons around Obama who is alleged to have spent nearly a million dollars on lawyers to keep his birth and other public records secret.

The obvious question is why.

The problem for his defenders is that no birth certificate has been made available to the public and the Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth that was briefly shown on an Obama website has raised more questions than answers about its authenticity and has been challenged as a forgery.

Obama’s birth father met his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, when they were students at the University of Hawaii. It is entirely possible that she gave birth to Obama in Hawaii though there is some question whether a ceremony occurred generating a marriage certificate. Obama senior was already married to an African wife at the time. What is known is that Obama’s mother later married an Indonesian in 1965 and Obama spent his early years in Jakarta, starting in 1967.

The reason I am a “birther”, i.e., someone who remains skeptical, is fairly simple. I began my career as a journalist. I was trained to be skeptical and to expect to see documentation and proof that whatever is asserted is true.

This means that I am suspicious when a candidate for president has virtually no paper trail of documents. No journalist has seen Obama’s alleged birth certificate because it is “under seal” in Hawaii at the order of its Governor. Why?

Here’s a list of documentation that, as of 2008, was “unavailable”:

1. Occidental College records -- Not released
2. Columbia College records -- Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper -- "Not available"
4. Harvard College records -- Not released
5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released
6. Medical records -- Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule -- "Not available"
8. Law practice client list -- Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published -- None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles -- None

What does anyone REALLY know about Obama? They “know” the life story he put forth in two memoirs, one of which was published before he ever ran for a public office. Even here, his authorship of the books has been challenged because the text to an astonishing extent resembles books and articles written by Bill Ayers, a close friend and best known as having been a domestic terrorist, a member of the Weatherman in the 1960s.

Does it matter? The answer is yes. It matters in the most serious way possible. We cannot have someone holding the power of the presidency that does not qualify under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

It should be a cause for genuine concern that he continues to stonewall all attempts to determine his place of birth, his citizenship, or any of the other major parts of his life leading up to having first served in the Illinois legislature and then as a U.S. Senator.

The mainstream media have been extraordinarily disinterested in any credible documentation of Obama’s life story. Something is very wrong about that.

Something is bizarre that Time Magazine is putting Obama’s picture on the cover for a twelfth time in twelve months!

Obama’s rise to power has been meteoric. His path there remains shrouded in deliberate obscurity.

Obama’s popularity and approval ratings by both the Gallup and Rasmussen polling organizations have been dropping precipitously. All the spin in the world will not reverse this, but one step in the right direction would be to produce his birth certificate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Congress Says NO to Energy

By Alan Caruba

Americans are seriously worried over the rising number of their fellow citizens without jobs.

Americans watch the daily cost of a gallon of gasoline as closely as sports scores.

America has so much untapped oil that it boggles the imagination. Much of it is located offshore of the nation’s coastline.

Some states benefit greatly from the oil and natural gas extracted from the Gulf of Mexico. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas receive revenues collected by the federal government for offshore production and of course there are lots of jobs involved.

July marked a year since the lifting of an 18-year-old presidential moratorium (ban) on offshore exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas, but a de facto ban continues for states from Maine to Florida, Washington to California. In Alaska, a federal ban on extracting oil in ANWR makes a joke out of politicians who call for “energy independence.”

Nine out of ten wells in America’s interior are produced by small, independent producers, not the so-called Big Oil companies. They increase the nation’s energy security and expand domestic energy production. They reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.

The Southeast Energy Alliance recently noted that just one state, North Carolina, could receive up to $577 million annually in revenue sharing payments from offshore energy development if Congress extended its royalty revenue sharing program in the same way it does for Gulf States.

Now multiply that revenue by all the other coastal states that will not permit exploration and extraction. Those same states mercilessly raise taxes on their citizens to meet their budget shortfalls.

In North Carolina alone, offshore continental shelf exploration and extraction would generate more than 6,700 jobs, increase the state’s gross domestic product by $659 million annually by 2030, and generate approximately $148 billion in federal, state, and local revenues.

A Monmouth University poll in June revealed that a clear majority of Americans in five coastal states support offshore domestic energy exploration and production. The states polled were that New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Now, while all that oil and natural gas goes untapped and essentially banned from use, Congress is considering a “Cap-and-Trade” act that would increase the cost of all energy, raising the cost to all Americans in the name of limiting “greenhouse gas emissions” said to be causing “global warming.” This especially hits the coal industry, responsible for 50% of all the electricity generated nationwide.

Only there is NO global warming. Thousands of previous records regarding cooler weather are being broken throughout the United States (and worldwide) because the Earth has been cooling for a decade and is predicted to continue cooling for decades.

The “Stimulus” bill passed by Congress allocates billions to “green energy” in the form of wind and solar production which represents just over 1% of the electricity Americans require daily. It is more expensive and less reliable than any other form of energy.

The total disconnect between what Congress says and what it does marks its failure to support the generation of more jobs, more revenue, and greater energy security for the nation.

The answer to America’s energy needs, however, is obvious. Rid Congress of those members who will not permit thousands of energy-related jobs, nor allow Americans access to the energy they require to run their businesses, heat or cool their homes, or operate cars, trucks, trains and planes.

Find out if your Representative in the House voted for “Cap-and-Trade” and vote them out! Tell your Senators today that they are next to go if they vote for it.

Then demand that exploration and drilling in America’s offshore continental shelf and in ANWR must be permitted. Tell the lying Greens wailing about “dirty” coal to take a hike.

It’s not complicated. It’s common sense and it’s about the survival of the nation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Getting Colder Everywhere

By Alan Caruba

There’s an ancient Scandinavian legend that says, “A long time ago, the universe was made of ice. Then one day the ice began to melt and a mist rose into the sky. Out of the mist came a giant made of frost and the earth and the heavens were made from his body. This is how the world began and this is how the world will end, not by fire, but by ice. The seas will freeze and winters will never end.”

Thus begins “Not by Fire, but by Ice”, a book by my friend, Robert W. Felix, published initially in 2005. You can pick up a copy from While you’re there, pick up “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps” as well. Taken together, both books explain why the Earth, now at the end of an interglacial cycle, is heading into its next ice age and why Darwin got it wrong with his theory of slow, evolutionary mutations accounting for various species being different from one another.

The Earth is some 4.5 billion years old. Homo sapiens, the human race as we know it, have been around for about 40,000 years. We date our modern ancestry back to the Cro-Magnon man who superseded the Neanderthals. The development of agriculture, growing food rather than hunting it, dates back some 7,000 years and civilization in the form of city-states and nations is relatively new; only about 5,000 years.

For all that time, tribes tried very hard to appease the gods of sun and rain to ensure a good harvest. They would sacrifice the spare virgin or offer the hearts of captives. There were elaborate dances and prayers created by the shamans and priests, but humans never quite got the knack of actually controlling the weather or climate because they can’t and never could.

That is until Greenus Homo Sapian came along. This creature who emerged out of the conservation movement hit its stride around the 1970s. Greenus is the Bigfoot of climate, the Satchquatch of weather.

After devoting a decade in the 1970s to correctly predicting that a new ice age was on the way, Greenus, also known as Greens, discovered that they could scare a lot more people by claiming that the Earth was suddenly and dramatically warming.

It turned out to be a fabulous fund-raiser and allowed them to pursue an agenda intended to rid the Earth of as many nasty Homo sapiens as possible. This would be accomplished by getting all kinds of beneficial chemicals banned from use; pesticides, herbicides, anything made from plastic, as well as genetically modified crops that could feed the billions of Homo sapiens.

Mostly, though, the Greens’ enemy were “fossil” or “dirty” fuels that just happened to generate the energy required for all modern society everywhere; coal, oil and natural gas.

The instrument of this “global warming”, according to the Greens, was carbon dioxide, a gas that is vital to all life on Earth. Without carbon dioxide (CO2) not a single bit of vegetation would grow. Remember agriculture? No crops, no food. And, if CO2 was forcibly limited by crazy “Cap-and-Trade” schemes, the Greens could depress the economies of nations.

Carbon dioxide was especially abundant in the atmosphere during the Jurassic period and the vegetation was so thick that lizard-like creatures became giants called dinosaurs. They were the masters of the Earth until something happened and they disappeared. Did a giant meteor wipe them out or was it a cyclical magnetic reversal that corresponds time and again with species extinction and the sudden appearance of entirely new species?

The “global warming” myth originated in the United Nations, an organization seeking to be the single, unelected governing institution for the entire Earth. A conspiracy of alleged scientists was brought together as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. Ever since, we have been assailed with claims that “global warming” was such a threat to the Earth and mankind that radical changes were required to avoid it.

The Greens, however, are running smack into a brick wall called reality.

All over the Earth, temperatures have been steadily falling. It is getting cooler and colder everywhere.

In a recent, desperate effort, the Union of Concerned Scientists announced that “Global warming made it less cool.” That’s right. It’s getting cooler because it’s getting warmer.

Newborn babes arrive fresh from the womb laughing at this absurdity.

At sites like and over at the most excellent anyone with access to the Internet can learn about how weather records are being broken daily around the Earth as it cools. In Al Gore’s hometown of Nashville, cold temperatures broke a record set in 1877 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president.

Chicago, Cincinnati, Peoria, California, the Arctic—everywhere!

So, who are you going to believe? The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The Union of Concerned Scientists? The Sierra Club? Friends of the Earth? U.S. government agencies like NOAA? The National Geographic? Newsweek? Time? President Obama? His cabinet Secretaries? The endless succession of “czars” he keeps appointing?

Congress? You better not believe Congress because they are getting ready to pass the “Cap-and-Trade” bill, incongruously named the American Clean Energy and Security Act. It will crush what’s left of the U.S. economy by imposing taxes on all energy use while dolling out billions to the least effective form of energy, wind and solar energy.

As America and the rest of the globe grow colder, do you really want to pay more for the energy to heat your home? All in the name of avoiding a “global warming” that is not happening?

Or will you cast out the liars in Congress who keep telling you that it’s getting warmer when it’s obviously getting colder?

Will you rebuke a President who is lying to you by returning the Republican Party to power in 2010?

It's getting colder everywhere.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why Some PhDs are Jerks

By Alan Caruba

I was talking with a friend about the latest hot topic involving Prof. Henry Lewis Gates of Harvard and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department.

We both agreed that some of the stupidest people we have ever known were PhDs who too frequently turned out to be over-educated fools.

In this country, we have been taught to revere anyone with the title of doctor, starting with physicians and working our way through the maze of doctors of law, education, music, library science, and the long list of fields of a study that grant these degrees.

These days physicians leave medical school owing about $100,000 on the average and, if the president’s healthcare reform passes, they will never be able to pay it back no matter how long they are in practice. Having to pay $200,000 for insurance against malpractice every year has done more to drive up the cost of medical care than anything else.

I used to work for an institution of higher knowledge, a well-respected institute of technology and, while I came to respect the technical achievements of those pursuing engineering or architecture degrees, I also learned that many of those teaching these ancient skills and modern technologies often displayed all the personal failures of judgment and deportment of those far less educated than they.

The one thing one learns in a college or university is that the admiration which its faculty and deans feel toward themselves. It is their bulwark against the real world where people are actually growing, inventing, making, and selling things.

The problem, as my friend noted, is that PhDs may know a great deal about a particular thing, they are often totally out of their league when it comes to extrapolating that niche of knowledge to practical matters or the great issues of the world.

The recent passing of Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense for Lyndon B. Johnson is a case in point. A good and decent man, McNamara was a wunderkind of the Ford Motor Company who had previously taught at Harvard. He was one of “the best and the brightest” brought into government by John F. Kennedy.

The re-airing of a C-Span interview with him made clear that he went to his grave knowing that he, President Johnson, and his colleagues had been quite thoroughly wrong about expanding the Vietnam War beyond the provision of U.S. military advisors. One can be very gifted in an area of expertise, but that does not necessarily transfer to real world, real time situations.

Moving forward in time to the present, President Obama has surrounded himself with lots of PhDs and each one is just weirder than the next. Dr. John Holdren, his science advisor, once advocated putting stuff in the food supply that would reduce the fertility rate. His Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu, is a Nobel Laureate who thinks painting all our roofs white will stave off global warming. His Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is hell bent on ensuring that not a drop of oil is sucked out of the vast U.S. reserves, nor a single new ton of coal if he has anything to say about it.

Barely a day goes by when one of these loons says something so stupid that you have cause to fear for the future of the republic.

The reason “Joe the Plumber” made all those headlines during the campaign was that he was not a PhD. He was a working man with a very useful skill and he was smart enough to know that Obama was a…how can I say this nicely? Someone not telling the truth and a Marxist.

Prof. Gates suffers from the hubris that goes with being a Harvard professor. He has made his reputation on the basis of his research about the Negro race in America. Any ghetto homeboy could have told him to be polite to the police officer, but Prof. Gates flew into a rage when asked to identify himself and continued to hurl the racism charge at a police officer who was immediately defended by his Black and Hispanic colleagues.

President Obama, despite saying he was unfamiliar with the details of the incident, could not resist visiting the theme of racial profiling. We are now decades passed the great achievements of the Civil Rights movement but the beat goes on.

America used to be a meritocracy. Now the nation is so heavily into “diversity” that we are dumbing down the standards for everyone from firemen to surgeons.

It’s a good idea to proceed with caution when some PhD advises you on anything more complex than your digital camera. It is said that a little education can be a dangerous thing, but too much education can actually blind those chosen to lead the nation and teach its youth to the lessons of history and to plain old common sense.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Brat: It's ALL about Him

By Alan Caruba

Ten minutes into the answer to the first question asked at President Obama’s latest press conference, I had a kind of epiphany. This guy should be called the First Brat.

He has all the attributes of a brat. He wants all the attention he can get. He doesn’t take criticism well. He is full of bravado and false promises.

He keeps reminding everyone that he is the President as if the idea surprises even himself. Or as a reminder that he does, indeed, hold a great deal of power, ceded to him by the American people.

There’s no real sense of humility about him. Nothing has been more astonishing or annoying than his World Apology Tour. America may not be perfect, but we are better, more just, more generous than most other nations.

Whatever humility Obama expresses is feigned to further endear him. His wife and children are stage props. Anyone seen or heard of them lately? I love the way he says, “This isn’t about me” when it is ALL about him.

He’s a brat. It’s all Obama all the time.

In a lot of ways, Bill Clinton was too. Clinton, however, was no fool. He understood reality as opposed to wild-eyed dreams of a Democrat-induced utopia where everyone is treated “fairly” and there is no “intolerance”, blah, blah, blah. Even someone like myself who loathed him while he was in office has to admit I secretly felt sorry for him because of his choice in wives.

I cannot work up any sympathy for Obama and cannot even take any pleasure in being found right in my judgment of him as I wrote my impressions during the campaign and the first six months of his term. I said he was a moron and I am sticking with it.

Even the public picked up on it as it became evident he couldn’t go to the bathroom without a set of TelePrompters and instructions.

The nation has had young presidents in the past. Kennedy comes to mind. He was charismatic, an emblem of, as he himself expressed it, a new generation, formed in the crucible of World War II and ready to take on the enemies of America and of freedom.
Kennedy had been tested in many ways.

Barack Obama has not been tested. He has been privileged at almost every stage of his road to power. It shows in the way he smarts over every perceived grievance and it showed in that amateurish, off the cuff remark about the “stupidity” of the Cambridge police who arrested his friend.

Obama is acutely conscious of race, ignoring the obvious fact that a majority of white people voted for him. In this regard, he will be the eternal victim, another aspect of being a brat. Worse yet, he speaks disdainfully of the “rich” and of “profit”, the keystone of a free marketplace.

The need for immediate satisfaction of every whim and, in his case, every policy, is another reason he’s a brat. As one political sage put it, “It took Obama six months to pick a dog, but he wants a Healthcare Bill by next week?”

I am not one for making predictions because they tend to come back to bite you, but I will predict that Obama’s is already a failed presidency. He’s already a lame duck. As one of the Blue Dog Democrats in Congress put it, “We’re trying to save the party.”

The Republicans have played their slim hand of cards quite well. They can smell the blood in the water and all they need now are some appealing candidates; some older guys with good resumes. Youth, it turns out, is over-rated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Page after Page of Reasons to Hate Obamacare

Here are just a few very good reasons to hate Obamacare:

• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!

• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!

• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)

• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.

• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.

• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.

• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.

• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)

• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.

• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)

• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens

• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.

• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.

• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.

• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.

• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.

• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.

• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll

• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll

• Page 167: Any individual who doesnt' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.

• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).

• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.

• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."

• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)

• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.

• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.

• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.

• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!

• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.

• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.

• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!

• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.

• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.

• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.

• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.

• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.

• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).

• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?

• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.

• Page 425: Goverment provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.

• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.

• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.

• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.

• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.

• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.

• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.

• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

A tip of my hat to my friend, Ben Cerruti, for providing this look at the Obamanation called Obamacare. Write, email, fax or call your Senators and your Representative and tell them to vote NO!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Jersey, We're Number One (Again)

By Alan Caruba

Having been born in New Jersey and lived here most of my life with time out for college and the U.S. army, I must confess I was a bit out of sorts over all the attention that Illinois and former Governor Rod Blagojevitch was receiving or the constant references in the press to that state’s record of corrupt political officials.

I was upset, too, when South Carolina’s governor grabbed all the headlines because he had a paramour in Argentina and, upon discovery, concluded it was just one of those teaching moments in one’s life to learn from while continuing to be governor.

So, naturally, I was delighted to see that New Jersey has once again reclaimed its title as the most corrupt State in the Union. This is a distinction that our elected and appointed officials do not take lightly.

I am pretty sure that, upon election to any office in the state, the FBI immediately opens up a file and then waits for the first informant to walk in the door, usually in response to having been cheated of his bribe money.

According to news reports, various federal officials participated in the arrest of forty people in early morning raids across New Jersey on Thursday, July 23. What caught my eye, however, was that it took ten years to achieve this coup and all of the cases were held together like a string of pearls by a single “cooperating witness”, a failed real estate developer named Solomon Dwek.

Using taxpayer money, Dwek trawled for politicians as well as some rabbis from Brooklyn, offering bribes for fictitious real estate and money laundering deals, netting the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, among others charged with alleged criminal behavior.

A longtime columnist for the state’s largest daily newspaper, Bob Braun, opined that “if what the prosecutors are charging holds up in court, this case will go down in the crowded annals of New Jersey prosecutions as the moment when our politicians—and others—were proven, not just to be corrupt, but breathtakingly stupid.”

This raises the question of whether being stupid hasn’t become a de rigueur part of the resume of anyone running for office in New Jersey or anywhere else in the nation these days?

Corruption, greed, I can understand, but let it be said that the Mafia functioned quite well in its earliest days (and probably still) by spotting the kind of talent that avoided calling attention to themselves while reaping fortunes in ill-gotten gains. It wasn’t until flashy characters decided that the money wasn’t enough that they began to attract unwanted attention. This begot mobsters like “the dapper don”, John Gotti, who died in jail as the result of too much publicity and a pal who ratted on him. That’s what happens when you hang out with people of poor character.

The equation is reversed for politicians who thrive on publicity and then use their office to line their pockets.

Braun may have been a bit hasty in pronouncing the guilt of stupidity because, as we all know, people are presumed innocent until sent directly to jail without passing “Go” and picking up $200. That said, he's probably right.

A headline of one sidebar article on the arrests declared New Jersey “The Most Politically Corrupt Place on Earth.” That is pure hyperbole. There are nations in Africa, not to mention, Russia, and much of Asia and South America, that are far more corrupt than the Garden State.

Still, as states go, New Jersey has at last reclaimed its title as probably the most corrupt in the nation. The Republican candidate running for governor, Chris Christie, made his reputation as a district attorney who sent dozens of New Jersey politicians to jail. His opponent, Jon Corzine, the present governor is so rich he had no need to be corrupt although some observers think his former employer, Goldman Sachs, operates in a fashion that Don Corleone and Tony Soprano would admire.

Let me close by saying that New Jersey is home to millions of law-abiding citizens. It is, however, one of the great mysteries why they keep electing people of such poor character, judgment, and probity.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green Desperation

By Alan Caruba

The environmental movement and, in particular, “global warming”, has become a joke. That is always a sign of decline. Unless you’re a comedian, when people start laughing at you it’s never a good thing.

There are often defining moments in the death of a movement and I think I may have spotted one when the Australian July issue of Rolling Stone featured a naked Miranda Kerr on its “Green Issue” cover, chained to a tree while demurely covering her naughty parts to advance the cause of koala bears. Ms. Kerr is described as a “super model” and terribly concerned that there are only 100,000 koalas left. Apparently, “global warming” has something to do with that.

If you have to use nudity to sell your nonsense, you are scrapping bottom; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals does it all the time.

Back in the U.S. one of the biggest idiots in the U.S. Senate, a former candidate for President, John Kerry, had convened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which predicted that “massive crop devastation, melting glaciers, water shortages, (and) millions of displaced people…will drag the U.S. military into conflict if global climate change goes unchecked.”

Observers may have noticed that Greens no longer refer to “global warming” much anymore as opposed to “climate change.” This is because (a) there is NO global warming and (b) the climate has always been in a process of change over the past 4.5 billion years. If you wanted to ensure that the U.S. military continued to receive billions for defense, claiming that “rising sea levels” will lead to conflicts is a pretty silly way of justifying it, given the threats to peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

My friend, John Brignell, a British emeritus professor and expert on statistics, maintains a website that features a page devoted to the endless events, trends, and predictions attributed to “global warming.” It is a hoot.

Among the things attributed to “global warming” are acne, a saltier Atlantic Ocean, a decline in the duck and goose population, and, my favorite, why “global warming” is responsible for blizzards and colder winters.

A recent story on claimed that the dark-colored sheep of the Scottish St. Kilda islands may fall victim to “rising temperatures”, replacing them with lighter ones. The whole of the British Isles has been experiencing colder weather thanks to a cooling cycle that has been occurring for the past ten years. It’s worse than mere twaddle, a story like this is just one of thousands desperately trying to advance and keep alive the absurd “global warming” theory.

$79 Billion Spent on Climate Change "Science"!

Here in the United States, the Science and Public Policy Institute just announced the publication of “Climate Money”, a study by Joanne Nova that reveals the federal government has a near-monopoly on climate science funding and has spent “more than $79 billion of taxpayer’s money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks.”

The study concludes, understandably, that “Most of this spending was unnecessary.”

The entire bogus “Cap-and-Trade” Act languishing in Congress is about selling “carbon credits.” This is just one degree more disingenuous than selling bottled water when the H2O that comes out of your kitchen faucet is as clean and safe as any you will find from an artesian well. Meanwhile, worldwide, the trading reached $126 billion in 2008.

This is why everything about environmentalism is a scam. Can you think of a single good reason to spend $126 billion for the right to emit carbon dioxide when 97% of it comes from nature? The Earth emits CO2 all the time in the form of volcanic activity, the action of the oceans, storing and releasing it. When you exhale six pounds of it every day?

The desperation you’re seeing and hearing represents Green organizations whose entire agenda is devoted to keeping Americans from having access to any form of energy, destroying our economy, and from the bankers like Goldman Sacks who figure to make billions trading carbon credits.

Americans, many of whom are increasingly out of work, losing their homes and cars, putting off vacations, college for their kids, and any prospect of ever being able to retire are growing tired of this insanity. They have more important things to worry about.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Too Much Obama

By Alan Caruba

Even after his first four years in office, the voters still preferred George W. Bush to the effete John Kerry. By the end of the second four years, during which our attention was focused on the war in Iraq, Americans were just plain tired of George W. Bush.

Those not suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome had simply succumbed to the fact that eight years of the same person in the White House, no matter who it was, had worn out his welcome. That’s the genius of the Founding Fathers who established a four-year term and the lesson which led to the 22nd Amendment in 1951 that limited all presidents to two terms only.

The sudden financial crisis just before Bush left office exacerbated the feeling because Americans were told that it would take $700 billion to get us out of the mess. Never mind that Bush had warned against the huge exposure that Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae represented, it was a death blow to the lackluster campaign of John McCain.

It is significant, therefore, that six months into the first year of his term, President Barack Obama has already managed to wear out his welcome. It’s too much Obama. It’s a television commercial played over and over again until the only recourse is to pick up the remote control and hit the mute button.

On Wednesday evening, the President will hold another prime time press conference. He has become the incessant pitchman of Obamacare and the ratings are likely to reveal that almost any other program playing opposite him will garner better ratings.

Americans are increasingly wary of bills in excess of a thousand pages that members of Congress do not read before passing. They have reason to be. The deficit and the debt are predicted to reach astronomical levels unseen in the entire history of the nation. They will be nation-killers if the brakes are not applied, revisions made, and repeals undertaken.

As a longtime practitioner of the arts of public relations it is no surprise to me that the profession is taking notice of the Too-Much-Obama Syndrome. The Ragan Daily News Feed, directed to PR folk, called attention to the July 22 edition of The Daily Beast in which former newsman Sam Donaldson addressed “Obama’s Misguided Media Blitz.”

Having obviously not paid attention to recent polls, Donaldson asserted that “The public wants a health-care overhaul.” No, it doesn’t. It wants to see what can be done to reduce costs, but it likes the present system which is widely seen as the best in the world.

In a post on Rasmussen Reports, Tony Blankley, formerly an editor and columnist with The Washington Times and now a vice president in the Washington, D.C. office of Edelman Public Relations, warned that “All we can know for sure is that the Democrats’ comprehensive health care reform legislation will empower bureaucrats comprehensively to make all decisions, vital and trivial, regarding your health care coverage or non-coverage. The comprehensive power of the federal government will completely and totally extinguish your control over your health treatment.”

Meanwhile, Donaldson is advising Obama saying, “He should insist on ramming through a bill as long as it truly accomplishes the overall goals…” The problem is that is no one knows its goal beyond a government takeover of twenty percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

What the public knows is that the President lies. A lot. You may have disagreed with George W. Bush and I frequently did, but I never felt he was deliberately and knowingly lying to me. Liberals, of course, kept repeating the mantra that “Bush lied, people died” but the only people that died in America from the threat of Islamo-fascism did so on September 11, 2001.

Under Obamacare people who are ill will die and we know this from the socialist healthcare programs that exist in Canada and Great Britain.

Politically, we’re told that the passage of Obamacare will determine whether Obama can exert “leadership” within his own party while it controls Congress. Obama recently said, “This isn’t about me”, but it is all about Obama. The dizzying, frightening first six months of his term have been all about Obama. The mainstream media have seen to that.

Now, however, Americans are gathering in greater numbers to protest Obama and his horrid intention to raise taxes in the midst of a recession, to overthrow the Second Amendment, to take control of the auto industry, banks, insurance companies, healthcare, ad infinitum. They did so on July 4th at thousands of “Tea Parties” and they will do so again on September 12 in Washington, D.C.

The televised press conference, a manipulation of the White House press corps which is demonstrating resistance to his charms, is not proof that Obama is succeeding in this quest to control the most intimate and essential element of our lives, our health, but proof that he is failing.

The Senate is beginning to assert its purpose, the slow deliberative final say on proposed legislation. It is controlled by a Democrat majority, but that majority is beginning to read the polling numbers, react to the thousands of emails in opposition to Obamacare, and retreating to a position in which they can avoid the same rejection they are seeing occur for the President.

As of July 22nd, Obama had 1278 days to go in his term. He is visibly aging.

Americans are stirring from their media-induced stupor.

ADDENDUM: After the Press Conference

This was the fifth press conference President Obama has held in six months and the fourth in prime time. The man has a lot to say to America!

It took him eight minutes to reply to the first question. He received eleven questions in all and he lied a lot during the course of the hour. The biggest came early when he said he wanted to "keep government out of healthcare decisions."

The whole purpose is to make government part of all healthcare decisions. In order to do that, it must have all your medical records and, with "reform", it will. Goodbye patient-doctor privacy.

One theme that crept into the answers that followed his Obama's distaste for the wealthy in America; people who through hard work, better, more advance skills, wiser investments, simply earn more than most people. He's also not keen on banks and financial institutions giving bonuses to their highest producers of profit even though that is a standard process and one built into contracts.

Another theme was the "inefficiencies" of the present Medicare and Medicare programs which, he said, can be solved in order to save money. All government programs have inefficiencies and always have. They rarely get fixed. The so-called Stimulus Bill is a perfect example of inefficiency when most of it is directed to help states reduce the amount of money they owe for federally mandated programs. As for creating new jobs, well, forget about it.

President Obama is no fan of Wall Street, yet much of the problem that occurred was due to the failure of federal oversight agencies to do their job. That's how Bernard Madoff was able to defraud people and institutions of billions for years. There's plenty of regulatory law on the books regarding Wall Street. It is not sufficiently and effectively enforced.

I don't know how many people watched, but I doubt they can call on decades of watching government function as I can. What they saw was yet another slick performance by the President, but what they didn't see was the slight of hand that will add trillions more to the national debt and require the rationing of treatment. It means your parents or grandparents, when they get ill, will be denied treatment because it is old people who require the most care. They will be sent home to die. I have seen it happen.

Can Obama pull it off? His own Party is in retreat because they cannot find the money to pay for these "reforms" and they are hearing from too many constituents who don't want any more reform of an already costly "entitlement."

The Nielson Ratings:
Draws 4.1 Million Fewer Viewers Than Third Press Conference

In a continued push for congressional support of health care reform President Obama held his fourth prime time press conference on Wednesday July 22, 2009. The conference was carried live from 8:00PM to approximately 9:00PM on 11 networks. The sum of average audience for those networks was 24,682,519 viewers and had a combined household rating of 16.3. The networks carrying the press conference were ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision*, Telemundo*, BBC-A, BET, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC.

Viewing to last night’s press conference was down 14% from his April 29 press conference and down 50% from his first primetime conference on February 9.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama Shows His Muslim Hand

By Alan Caruba

When candidate Obama was courting the “Jewish vote” he donned a yarmulke, went to the Wailing Wall in Israel, and said all the right things. He needn’t have bothered because the American Jewish community, estimated to be approximately 5.5 million, was largely in his pocket. They have voted overwhelmingly Democrat since the days of FDR.

This is, if you think about it, fairly astonishing because his middle name is Hussein, his birth father was a Muslim, and so was his Indonesian step-father who reportedly would take him on occasion to the mosque. It is even more astonishing because he was a member for twenty years in a church whose pastor was close friends with the notorious anti-Semite, the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.

Any American Jew paying any attention should surely have harbored some doubts and, six months into his presidency, a lot of American Jews are asking themselves what they were thinking when they voted for Obama.

In an article in The Jerusalem Post, Anne Bayefsky wrote, “President Barack Obama last Monday met for the first time with leaders of selected Jewish organizations and leaks from the meeting now make one thing very clear. The only free country in the Middle East no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world. Obama is the most hostile sitting American President in the history of the state of Israel.”

Surprise, surprise. Among the leaders of major Jewish organizations not invited to the July 13 meeting was one from the Zionist Organization of America. As Bayefsky noted, “The oldest pro-Israel group in the United States, with a Washington office second in size only to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was not a voice Obama wanted to hear. This leaves the President willing to engage Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but not ZOA President Mort Klein.”

In a July 21 editorial, The Washington Times criticized the U.S. State Department noting that, in the previous week, it had “delivered a demarche (a protest) to Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, to hold construction on twenty residential units on the site of the Shepherd Hotel, which stands on the edge of an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.”

Does it strike anyone as odd that the State Department whose policies are set by the Oval Office is upset over a bit of housing in Jerusalem? It was, of course, the kind of Kabuki theatre in which diplomats engage to make a larger point. If the point was that the U.S. has the right to tell the sovereign nation of Israel where it can and cannot build housing it is an entirely absurd notion.

There is some further irony in that Ambassador Oren is the author of a remarkable book, “Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present.” Had anyone in the State Department read it, they would have learned that “A full fifteen years after declaring its independence, the United States still faced a devastating threat from the Barbary pirates”, Arabs who preyed on our merchant sea trade and who ultimately were responsible for the creation of the U.S. Navy and Marines to defeat them.

In the early years of America, there was an active movement to send missionaries to the Middle East to convert them to Christianity. Now we just send troops to rid the region of psychopathic depots like Saddam Hussein and fanatical Islamo-fascists like Osama bin Laden.
So complaining about twenty new apartment units in East Jerusalem is just another way Obama is showing his Muslim bona fides.

He has been on a “get tough” agenda since taking office in late January. The message has not been lost on the so-called Palestinians. The PLO chief, Mahmoud Abbas, has gone back to demanding idiotic concessions from Israel despite the fact that he and his ragged little bunch of Arafat wannabes are literally propped up by Israel as an alternative to Hamas.

Middle East expert, Daniel Pipes, recently noted that Zionists had founded the Shimon Hatzadick neighborhood in 1891 by purchasing land from Arabs. It changed hands as the Arab/Jewish conflicts occurred over the years. The pro-Nazi Amin al Husseini, Jerusalem’s mufti, put up a building in the 1930s that later served as the Shepherd Hotel. In 1985 an American businessman, Irving Moskowitz, bought the land and rented the building to the Israeli border police until 2002.

What does any of this have to do with the United States? Nothing. It is sheer hubris to say that Israel hasn’t the right to build housing for its growing population in Jerusalem or anywhere else. As for the West Bank, it was captured in 1967 after Arab nations, including Jordan, again attacked Israel.

When we give back Texas, California, and much of the U.S. Southwest to Mexico, the State Department can issue such idiotic demands.

This isn’t just about U.S.-Israeli relations. It’s about the very Muslim Barack Hussein Obama.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Call Him Irresponsible

By Alan Caruba

Is it just me or does President Obama look and sound more desperate with every passing day? He thought he could fool all of the people all of the time and it turns out that he can’t.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 12, 2009. That’s when a Washington, D.C. protest march is planned. Led by FreedomWorks, their website says they will be joined by many other national co-sponsors such as the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Young America’s Foundation, and Tea Party Patriots, to name just a few.

This is why the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I doubt that President Obama will be among the speakers that day, although he has been out on the stump of late trying to convince Americans that things will improve if the government is given control over the nation’s health system. He’s already nationalized part of the auto industry, a major insurance company, banks, and probably little Bobby’s lemonade stand in front of his home.

Obama’s relentless assault on the private sector of the nation’s economy can be seen in the following percentages of the Gross Domestic Product: Healthcare represents 17%, energy is 9.8%, and financial services are 8% of GDP. These are the sectors that have been targeted for takeover by the Obama administration. It adds up to 35% of GDP!

In May, columnist Robert Samuelson, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, asked “Just how much government debt does a president have to endorse before he’s labeled ‘irresponsible’?”

“From 2010 to 2019,” wrote Samuelson, “Obama projects annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion; that’s atop the $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009”, adding that “By various estimates, Obama’s health plan might cost $1.2 trillion over a decade; he has budgeted only $635 billion.”

Deficits are the annual gap between government’s spending and its tax revenues. The debt is the total borrowing caused by past deficits. As confidence in the U.S. dollar and the credit of the United States decreases, the amount of interest on borrowing will increase.

While it is true that the federal government has run deficits in all but five years, the debt has always remained below fifty percent of GDP.

I submit that NOTHING Obama says about deficits or debt can be trusted and his pet project, the horrid “Cap-and-Trade” program, a tax on energy use—electricity—that will drive up utility rates for all Americans. It will reduce the amount of money consumers will have for their other needs. It will drive manufacturing to other nations.

Cap-and-Trade, a carbon tax, is based on the utterly FALSE assertion that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions contribute to a “global warming” this is NOT happening.

Obama’s proposed healthcare reform is a nightmare. There is no such thing as free healthcare. It is financially unsustainable. This has already been demonstrated in Massachusetts. Utah has just passed a program to institute rationing of healthcare options.

The “entitlement” programs the government instituted in the last century are already facing major financial stress. Social Security will grow by between one and two million new beneficiaries from 2008 to 2032, up from 500,000 a year in the 1990s. The government taxes its benefits. It is not, as originally planned, a “voluntary” program.

More than one million people a year will join Medicare as of 2011 when the first Baby Boomer turns 65.

Nor has the government set aside money to pay military and civil servant pensions or health care for retirees. These unfunded obligations have increased an average of $300 billion since 2003 and now amount to $5.3 trillion.

Because of President Obama’s budgets and the Democrat-controlled Congress, the nation will be faced with trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. It will destroy jobs that will move to other nations and leave future generations with huge financial burdens.

As the Associated Press reported on July 14, “The federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time ever and could grow to nearly $2 trillion by this fall, intensifying fears about higher interest rates, inflation and the strength of the U.S. dollar.”

The GOVERNMENT has done this to us. Obama has exponentially increased the problem.

Only a major reduction in the size of the federal government can provide any remedy. I suggest it begin by ending the Education and Energy Departments, along with the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a start.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Memories of Apollo and the Moon

By Alan Caruba

It tells us something about our limitations that the latest effort to send a new batch of nameless, faceless astronauts to the International Space Station was delayed several times by nothing more than some inclement weather bearing down on Cape Kennedy.

Oh yes, you can go to the Moon, but only if it isn’t raining.

I recall the excitement that President Kennedy’s announcement created when he said the U.S. would go to the Moon, but the real reason we went was to get there before the Soviet Union. It was about two empires butting heads and, of course, the U.S. won and the Soviet Union is no more.

So there is some irony to be had in the fact that, with the retirement of the current fleet of space shuttles, the only way to get to the Space Station will be via the Russian vehicle, the Soyuz.

There was even more excitement when Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Apollo lunar module onto the Sea of Tranquility. “One great leap for mankind,” said Armstrong who thereafter leaped into anonymity, rarely granting interviews because this courageous test pilot is painfully shy. It was left to the ebullient Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step foot on the Moon, to keep the memory alive.

The U.S. has never returned to the Moon. Why?

Because, other than the demonstration of American technological superiority, there simply is no good reason to return. There isn’t a damned thing on the Moon worth the bother. The Moon, it seems, is best left to the poets.

In truth, NASA’s unmanned probes have visited all of the solar system’s planets and the agency has most certainly engaged in a lot of serious science, but it is also true that there is not much reason for humans, so utterly dependent on Earth, to leave.

If a few rain clouds can delay a shuttle, travel to planets where water doesn’t even exist seems an odd, exorbitant, and futile project.

There is a scene in Tom Wolfe’s book, “The Right Stuff”, in which the initial Apollo crew demands that the lunar module have windows. They were all test pilots and they all understood the need to be able to visually orient the craft if anything went wrong. As it turned out, Armstrong had to manually fly the module to its landing on the Moon because its instruments went a bit cockeyed on him.

Another manned flight is estimated to cost somewhere in the area of $100 billion and, considering the way the present administration is running up the national debt, that’s still a lot of money. Strip away the romance of manned flight and the truth is that space probes have long since sent back more information about our little galaxy than putting some human space puppet in jeopardy.

What does the fortieth anniversary of Apollo II tell us?

It says we had more guts, more smarts, more need to prove ourselves to the world in 1969 than we do today.

It says we have an illusive, asymmetrical, new enemy on Earth who’s more interested in blowing up office buildings in lower Manhattan, trains in Spain, and hotels in Indonesia than reaching for the Moon.

In 2009, America needs to prove it will outlast a desert cult, keep pace with the rise of Asian nations, prop up a dying Europe, and get its own people back to work as soon as possible.

The Moon’s not going anywhere.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Empires Die

By Alan Caruba

I recently read an interesting book by Christopher Kelly, “The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and The Fall of Rome.” Our popular image of Attila is that of a barbaric pagan, but Priscus of Panium set off to meet Attila in 449 AD and, as Kelly relates, “Attila turned out to be surprisingly civilized and a dangerously shrewd player of international politics.”

It’s always a good idea to review one’s assumptions about the world in which one lives, such as the current politically correct view that Islam is “a religion of peace” and that the barbarity of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Arab groups is an anomaly, the result of their incorrect interpretation of the Koran. Their interpretation, however, is quite accurate and the Koran is a call to arms and battle plan for the conquest of the world.

From America’s earliest years, it has had to deal with marauding Arabs and in modern times we have put our troops in harm’s way in the Middle East in Beirut in the 1980s and to drive Saddam Hussein's Iraq out of Kuwait in August 1990.

Following 9/11 we returned in 2001 to drive Al Qaeda and the Taliban out of Afghanistan. They took refuge in the frontier provinces of Pakistan and have since returned to the killing fields of our choosing…if killing one’s sworn enemies can be called a choice.

On March 20, 2003, the Second Gulf War was launched against Iraq and we are now beginning to withdraw troops from Iraq’s cities. A large contingent of U.S. military will remain in Iraq. At the same time, there has been a buildup of troops in Afghanistan. Historically, no empire has ever successfully conquered or subdued the Afghani tribes and, in modern times, the most recent effort brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is generally agreed that the real threat to Mideast stability is Iran and that the shakiest nation in the region is Pakistan.

History teaches us that the emperors of the Roman Empire had to make choices about where they too would place their troops throughout the vast expanse under their control; it surrounded the Mediterranean which they called Mare Nostrum, our sea.

At the end of his book, Kelly asks “What makes great empires endure or collapse? How do governments defend their actions? What causes the breakup of a leviathan superstate? When is it right to go to war, or purchase peace, or pay off an enemy? These are issues of enduring importance.”

When an empire gets too large for its military and financial resources to maintain, it becomes highly vulnerable. An empire, too, depends on its alliances. When they go bad, the empire—any empire—is in trouble.

The Roman Empire fell for many reasons, but chief among them was the relentless arithmetic of demography, the movement of populations of people.

The Romans regarded the Goths and Vandals as “barbarians”, but the Goth tribes were people who were just as challenged by the Huns as the Romans and they were on the move to find more land for their growing population. In doing so, they crossed the Danube to trespass on Roman lands in France, in Spain, and down into Northern Africa.

By contrast, “the Huns seemingly offered no moral or religious justification, however thin or unconvincing. They sought neither to find a new homeland on Roman territory nor to glorify themselves as heroic freedom fighters warring down a harsh imperial regime.”

“The Huns appear more brutal precisely because they had no known motive for their raids beyond the acquisition of booty and captives.” This last observation is particularly important because the rise of Islam can be traced directly to the same purpose. It was, however, masked by Mohammed’s promise of paradise for anyone who fell in battle and servitude for those conquered.

Here’s where the similarities between America and the ancient Romans get really interesting. At the same time the nation engages Islamic terrorism, our national sovereignty—the integrity of our borders—is being challenged as not just thousands, but millions have invaded to take up residence among us. This repeats the pattern that brought down the Roman Empire.

Having forsaken universal conscription, the U.S. depends on an all-voluntary military to project our power. The Romans, toward the end, often allied with the Goths to fight the Huns and, on occasion, allied with the Huns as well. With the exception of the British, Canadians and Australians, our military allies are mostly for show.

Not only is our financial stability at risk, but since the 1960s, the level of decadence in our society has risen, reflected in popular culture and media. Our primary and secondary educational system has become an abject failure.

Recently, while in Russia, President Obama said, “The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground.”

This ignores the entire history of civilization. It is criminally naïve. The future, just as in the past, will belong to whoever has the greatest military with the financial power and the willingness to use it.

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

And as John Adams warned, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

Of Mice and Men (and Pest Control)

By Alan Caruba

Among the many books in my office is the “Handbook of Pest Control”, seventh edition, edited by Arnold Mallis. Its contributing editors are a who’s who of the leading authorities on pest control and its encyclopedic text includes thousands of references to the diseases that insect and rodent pests routinely spread in the course of their daily lives.

In one fashion or another for some three decades or more, I have provided public relations services to various elements of the pest control industry; manufacturers of pesticides and my own state’s trade association which is affiliated with the National Pest Management Association.

I tell you this so you don’t think I am evading an obvious bias that favors a profession that dates its history back to medieval times when being a “ratcatcher” was so highly regarded that the Queen of England designated one to keep the castle free of the nasty beasties.

Over the years, these men developed formulas for killing off rodent and insect pests. When you contemplate that the Black Death that swept Europe and England killed a third of the entire population and was caused by a combination of fleas and rats spreading the bubonic plague, the need to control such pests is obvious.

These days, America is experiencing a huge comeback of a pest that had been largely eradicated, the common bed bug. After DDT was banned from use worldwide, along with depriving millions of Africans from protection against malaria, the bed bug returned. Other pest related diseases that have emerged in recent years are West Nile Fever, imported from Africa and spread by mosquitoes, and Lyme disease, spread by ticks.

It is common knowledge that cockroaches spread Salmonella and a variety of other diseases, but probably less well known that termites do more property damage nationwide every year than all the floods and fires combined.

I tell you this because the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Environmental Protection Agency in order to get it to evaluate the effects of 74 pesticides on eleven endangered and threatened species in the San Francisco Bay area over the next five years.

America is on the brink of bankruptcy, but this inane environmental group thinks that pesticides are a greater threat to eleven supposedly endangered species than national insolvency.

While people are losing their jobs and their homes, the environmentalists are worrying about pesticides, not pests. In the San Francisco Bay area represented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tucked away in the under-performing $787 billion “stimulus” bill is a provision for as much as $16.1 million to save the habitat of the allegedly endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.

Stay with me just a bit longer. As reported in Pest Control Technology, “As part of the Endangered Species Act, the EPA is required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services—and sometimes the National Marine Fisheries Services—when they make a pesticide regulatory decision to register or re-register a product.”

The suit, settled in favor of the Center for Biological Diversity, will ultimately require the EPA to ban the use of pesticides anywhere in the entire nation if they are found to threaten “endangered species” which are anywhere and everywhere in the entire nation.

At present this means that “As a result of the lawsuit filed in California, pest control operators in Northern California are presented with serious challenges.” All of the pesticides that are the subject of the proposed injunction are used routinely to protect homeowners, apartments, restaurants, hospitals, schools, as well as warehouses where various food products are stored. The affect on the agricultural use of pesticides and herbicides is incalculable.

To put it another way, the Center for Biological Diversity has put the health of everyone living in Northern California and eventually the entire nation at risk of the many diseases insect and rodent pests spread in order to protect some “endangered species.”

For now, the least protected specie will initially be the people living and working in Northern California if pest control operators are deprived of the pesticides they use. The most privileged specie in the Bay Area will be the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Healthcare "Reform" Sanctions Torture, Death

By Alan Caruba

The utter insanity of our leaders in Washington, D.C. is exemplified in Vice President Joe Biden’s statement to a recent meeting of the AARP. “We have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt.”

Just how does one do that? If, as Biden says, the nation is “going to go bankrupt”, how does spending more money achieve solvency? I am not an economist, but I thought one avoided bankruptcy by spending less. It would be more accurate to say that the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress is bent on bankrupting the nation by taxing more and spending more.

The current so-called healthcare reform is a perfect example of how crazed these people are. While on one hand denouncing “torture”, the healthcare bill would institutionalize it.

As Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., an author of several consumer advocacy books, points out, “Water boarding, holding someone’s head underwater until he thinks he’s drowning, is called torture when done to terrorists, but $400 billion in Medicare cuts as part of the new government healthcare ‘reform’ may end up causing a horrible and frightening death for our sickest senior citizens.”

One stated method by which Congress proposes to save money is to deny hospital readmission within 30 days to someone suffering congestive heart failure (CHF). “If not treated rapidly, CHF causes a person to die by drowning in his or her own body fluids. Not okay for terrorists, but okay for our own citizens?”

Dr. Vliet warns that the proposed Medicare cuts will ration surgeries, antibiotics, MRI’s and CAT scans. Canada’s healthcare system already does this and the result is that “patients die because they cannot get treatment.”

Can’t happen here? In the June edition of Health Care News, published by The Heartland Institute, there’s a report that “The Oregon Health Services Commission has drawn up a formal procedure for rationing health care services available to recipients of taxpayer-subsidized coverage.” The commission listed 680 common medical procedures and treatments and ranked them in order of priority. Only the top 503 of the treatments would reimburse physicians.

A June briefing paper from the Cato Institute provides ample warning of what a national healthcare system, based on mandatory health insurance, will hold. Michael Tanner took a look at the Massachusetts reforms passed in 2006. “Health care costs continued to rise much faster than the national average. Since 2006, total state health care spending has increased by 28 percent. Insurance premiums have increased by 8-10 percent per year, nearly double the national average.”

“Program costs,” noted Tanner, “have skyrocketed. Despite tax increases, the program faces huge deficits.” One of the solutions under consideration in Massachusetts is “rationing.” And, of course, “a shortage of providers, combined with increased demand, is increasing waiting times to see a physician.”

Rationing and waiting times are a polite way of saying torture and death.

A July 15 editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, “It’s Not an Option”, revealed that the healthcare reform bill the House passed contains “a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.”

It is on page 16 of a 1,018-page document. “Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice to Keep Current Coverage”, the “Limitation on New Enrollment” section states, “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

Investors Business Daily points out that, “From the beginning, opponents of the public option have warned that if the government gets into the business of offering subsidized health insurance coverage, the private insurance market will wither. Drawn by a public opinion that will be 30% to 40% cheaper than their current premiums because taxpayers will be funding it, employers will gladly scrap their private plans and go with Washington coverage.”

The so-called healthcare reform will not only torture and kill Americans by rationing medical procedures; it will destroy the insurance industry providing coverage to an estimated 120 million Americans.

When my Mother broke her hip, the local rescue squad was there in minutes, transported her to a nearby hospital, and within a day or two, she received a hip replacement. Back home, she recovered from the surgery and was soon mobile again. She was in her 90s at the time and, under the so-called “reforms” Congress is trying to impose on Americans, she would have had to wait…and wait…and wait.

Torture and death. That’s how Congress and President Obama defines “reform.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Liars and the Global Warming Lies They're Telling

By Alan Caruba

It must be that the believers in “global warming” all live in caves and do not wander out to discover what is really happening on the planet.

The constant and hysterical cries from the global warming crowd claim that we have merely months, weeks and days before we’re toast.

Of course, the “solution” they offer is the appalling “Cap-and-Trade” bill that the Obama gang is trying to rush through Congress. We are supposed to believe that a huge tax on all use of electricity will “solve” the peril of global warming by cutting “greenhouse gas emissions.”

We are supposed to believe it is wise policy to slow or stop the building of coal-fired or nuclear plants to generate electricity.

We are supposed to believe that the vast coal, oil, and natural gas resources throughout the nation are not to be extracted to keep us warm in the coming years of cold weather or to fuel the nation’s vast fleet of cars and trucks.

For many throughout the nation and the world, a walk outside tells them a very different story.

Over at the headlines read: “Baltimore: ‘Record low temp tied, another on the way—a summer without much heat.’” And “Not so peachy: Ohio cold snap takes bite out of local peach crop.” Remember, it’s JULY.

At you will find notices of cold spells in Peru, the coldest May in New Zealand, reports of frost in Canada, and of temperature records shattered in northern Michigan and throughout New England.’s Chief Meteorologist, Joe Bastardi, an expert on long range forecasting, is predicting that “cooler-than-normal weather this summer in the Northeast could point to a cold, snowy winter for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.”

Ironically, Bastardi predicts that the cold weather will be “centered over the area from Boston to Washington, D.C.” On September 8, the “climate bill”, aka “Cap-and-Trade” is scheduled for a vote and who knows, the snow could be several feet thick in the streets outside the Capitol? Last year when protesters gathered to demand the coal-fired plant providing energy to the Capitol Building be shut down did so in a snow storm!

Is the Earth cooling? Yes and it has been for a decade. The cooling is likely to continue for several more decades and you better pray it doesn’t turn into a full-fledged new ice age because the planet is at the end of a 11,500 year interglacial period similar to previous cycles that preceded ice ages.

Bastardi attributes his forecast to factors that include “a combination of El Nino and worldwide volcanic activity over the past six to nine months” which he says “may have played a role in causing this trend.”

Not mentioned is the present inactivity of sunspots, solar storms on the Sun that has been ongoing for quite some while. For an explanation of why this is bad news relative to the planet’s overall climate, click here.

The purpose of this exercise is, of course, to point out the obvious. The climate of the Earth, wherever one happens to be is cooling and is likely to continue.

That is why anyone and everyone citing “global warming” is a liar and deserves the contempt, derision, and acrimony of the Earth’s entire population.

This Blog's "Followers" Hit 120!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Your Easy Guide to Democrat Health Reform

This chart, presented by GOP leaders, identifies at least 31 new federal programs, agencies, and mandates that accompany the unprecedented government takeover of health care in America.

House Republican leader, John Boehner (R-OH) said, "This isn't reform; it's a recipe for disaster that will lead to higher health care costs, lower quality, rationed care, and bureaucrats making medical decisions instead of doctors and patients..."

"This new maze of government bureacracy will be funded by a new small business tax that will cost more American jobs."

If you like Big Government, you will love Democrat health reform.

One last thing. DON'T GET SICK!

Borrowing, Spending and Regulating, Oh my!

By Alan Caruba

It sometimes seems to me that the Congress and the White House are determined to put an end to the nation through a combination of exorbitant borrowing and insane spending.

At the end of May, an article in USA Today reported that “The government took on $6.8 trillion in new obligations in 2008, pushing the total owed to a record $63.8 trillion.”

These trillions reflect various retirement benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the new prescription medicine benefits. Then there are programs to aid Americans who have lost jobs, are behind on their mortgage payments, or just want to buy a new car by declaring their old one a “clunker.” When you add in the so-called “stimulus” bill, the bailout of General Motors, and the TARP bailout to financial and insurance firms, it adds up.

Robert Samuelson, a syndicated columnist, asked in May “Just how much government debt does a president have to endorse before he’s labeled ‘irresponsible’?”

While facing $63.8 trillion in obligations, Samuelson noted that “From 2010 to 2019, Obama projects annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion; that’s atop the $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009.” It doesn’t stop there, however, “Obama’s health plan might cost $1.2 trillion over a decade; he has budgeted only $635 billion.”

Did President Obama and every member of Congress flunk arithmetic in grade school? How can they possibly believe that the actions they have taken and presumably intend to take with regard to an insane healthcare reform and massive tax on all energy use add up to anything than the total financial failure of the United States?

It adds up, according to USA Today, to “an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year…” I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $55,000 to spare. The economy has pretty much wrecked any plans I made to earn enough to cover my present expenses.

According to the Investor’s Business Daily, “American families over the last year already lost 8% of their net worth—in part as a result of inept government meddling, past and present.”

The result will be “Near-record deficits increasing at record rates (that) will push the public debt of the U.S. beyond the economy’s plausible capacity to pay—70% of GDP (Gross Domestic Profit) by 2012, heading quickly to 82% of GDP in 2019 and on pace to be astronomically higher soon thereafter.”

As someone who thanks a merciful God for the ability to check my checking and savings accounts’ balances via the Internet, all these enormous numbers and percentages tend to make my head spin. I understand them in the abstract, but I can barely get a grip on them in terms of the vast amounts of money they represent.

There are, however, still other numbers that are strangling the nation’s capacity to somehow get out of this mess.

For several years, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has taken an annual look at the growth and the cost of federal regulations. He deserves to be beatified for this task. They are published in a report titled “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.” On June 3, the latest report made its debut. Here’s a snapshot of how a nation strangles to death on regulations:

Federal agencies issued 3,380 new rules in 2008. Federal regulations ate practically 10% of what the U.S. economy produced last year. At $1.172 trillion, the cost of regulation is nearly equal with $1.2 trillion in income taxes.

Regulatory costs are a huge hidden tax. The federal government spent $2.98 trillion in 2008 and businesses spent more than a third of that amount on regulatory costs.

Crews points out that, “Rolling back regulations would constitute the deregulatory stimulus that the U.S. economy needs.

We’re all on this roller coaster together and there can be no happy ending to the ride.