Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In today's entitlement-crazy Washington, not only do folks believe that about half the country is entitled to other people's money and health insurance policies, they feel they are entitled to their own facts to support their claim to their own entitlement to other people's money and health insurance policies.
-- Tony Blankley
By Alan Caruba
The salvation of America now depends on forcing President Barack Obama to resign, repealing the appalling healthcare bill that is now the law of the land, and renewing a full measure of financial prudence to the conduct of the nation’s public affairs and obligations.
The numbers are now irrefutable. The huge debt the United States faces, along with the collapse of Social Security (now paying out more than it takes in) and Medicare, will sink our ship of state unless reversed and quickly.
The deadly trio of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, along with the brain-dead Democrats in Congress threaten the very existence of the nation. I am concerned that waiting until the November elections will be to wait too long. I no longer believe their agenda to be merely partisan politics. I believe theirs is a deliberate effort to destroy the nation.
The practical actions that must be pursued as soon as possible include a legal challenge to the president’s place of birth, an effort he has reportedly fought with an expenditure exceeding a million dollars. A challenge must be made to the healthcare bill which legal scholars deem to be clearly unconstitutional.
The trio cited is preparing to pass a Cap-and-Trade act, a huge tax on all energy use, and an amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. The result of this will be to create a surge of more illegals and an even greater burden on all public services and welfare programs.
Porter Stanford, publisher of an investment advisory, has issued a frightening analysis. “My concern is the U.S. already has more debt than it can afford, which puts it at an enormous risk of a debt and currency collapse.”
Discussing debt service, the amount of interest that must be paid on borrowed funds, Stanford warned that, “Right now, the federal government takes in roughly $1 trillion in income taxes and a much smaller amount of money in other fees, duties, etc. The government takes in another $1 trillion from Social Security and Medicare taxes, but it spends more currently on these programs than it takes in. So, as a result, this revenue can’t factor into our analysis of debt service.”
Noting that the official number regarding federal debt at the end of 2009 was $11.8 trillion, Stanford predicts that “By the end of Obama’s first presidency (2013), I believe the U.S. will owe roughly $17.8 trillion in federal debt, $2 trillion in GSE debt/guarantees, $500 billion in FDIC obligations, and $500 billion in FHA obligations. My only big assumption is $1.5 trillion in additional deficits each year, which is what the president’s budget also predicts.”
Just to meet the debt service, “That would equal $1 trillion in interest payments due, per year. That’s 100% of all income taxes paid in 2009.”
The vast majority of Americans are already well aware of the financial crisis that is being deliberately brought about at the direction of the president. The results of a USA Today/Gallup poll released on March 30 revealed that “Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far.”
Robert Samuelson, writing on March 29th in The Washington Post, noted that on March 15th Moody’s Investors Service, a bond rating agency, warned that “The exploding U.S. government debt could cause a downgrade of Treasury bonds.” Despite this, the House of Representatives passed the costly health care legislation a week later! “Obama and his allies sowed the seeds (of financial collapse) because they ignored conspicuous warnings.”
“Let’s be clear,” wrote Samuelson, “A ‘budget crisis’ is not some minor accounting exercise. It’s a wrenching political, social and economic upheaval.”
By whatever legal means possible, the president must be required to resign, the healthcare legislation must be repealed, steps must be taken to salvage Social Security and Medicare, and the nation’s debt crisis must be addressed before the U.S. is forced to default.
When that happens, there will be worldwide repercussions that portend a global financial armageddon.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By Alan Caruba
I keep wondering when the world is going to begin to take Islamic terrorism seriously.
The world’s leaders and, in particular, the media could begin by calling it “Islamic” or “Muslim” terrorism. The media were, of course, thrilled to discover that America had a small band of homegrown nut cases, a Christian militia arrested before they did some serious harm. That’s the kind of thing that happens when the president and the government begins to be regarded as the anti-Christ.
I liked Vladimir Putin’s response to the Moscow bombings. He said of those responsible, “We will destroy them.”
The suicide bombers in Moscow will no doubt be identified—there was video of their entering the station—and an efficient national security apparatus will find out who they are, who their family is, who their friends are, and invite them in for some interrogation. They are not likely to be read Miranda rights, nor will their lawyers be present.
The reason for this is that they are potentially all terrorists.
America has been devoted to treating the terrorists we captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as humanely as possible. Those incarcerated at Guantanamo were given copies of the Koran, their dietary laws were observed, ACLU and other lawyers were permitted access to advise them of their “rights.” Under the Geneva Convention, however, they are exempt from the rules of war and have no rights as combatants.
The Attorney General of the United States of America, a former resident of La-La Land, didn’t think it was the least bit odd to suggest trying Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the 9/11 mastermind, in a civil court in the heart of New York City.
Any number of the Gitmo detainees have been returned to their homelands and have since turned up on the battlefield again. This suggests we do not take terrorists seriously. These are, after all, people who cut the heads off of other people.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has an odd notion of who poses a threat to the nation. They identified “right-wing extremists” as their primary concern, particularly those who express concern about the central government’s expansion, opponents of abortion, opponents of illegal immigration, and “disgruntled” veterans returning from the battlefront. No mention of left-wing extremists.
The first rule of war is “know your enemy.” In the space of a decade, they have shown up in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, Mumbai, and in Moscow; all killing civilians indiscriminately on buses, on trains, in subways, in skyscrapers, and at resorts. Before that, they devoted themselves to kidnapping Americans in Lebanon and blowing up two of our embassies in Africa.
From the streets of Paris where Muslims rioted at will to Malmo, Sweden where attacks on local Jews are driving them to leave the country, the story is always the same. Wherever Muslims become a sufficient number of the population, they begin to make demands, harass the locals, and in the Netherlands to murder an outspoken opponent of Islam in broad daylight. The Dutch response has been to put on trial a man who is warning of these dangers.
The British cannot accommodate them enough, while the French have decided it is far better to be French than Muslim, passing several laws to protect their cultural traditions and society.
The impact on Americans has mostly been to turn a trip to the airport into a complete nightmare, but few other restrictions have interfered with their normal activities. Despite valiant efforts by our border patrol, our southern border goes largely unprotected. The insane murder rate from the drug wars in Mexico will arrive any day now in the U.S.A.
The small U.S. Muslim population has been free of harassment, but the organizations claiming to speak for them have all been identified as having links to the Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadist organizations.
Who takes the jihadists, the terrorists seriously? Saudi Arabia where they just rounded up a large ring of al Qaeda conspirators, Pakistan where they have finally begun to hammer the jihadis in Waziristan and other frontier provinces, and just about every nation with a Muslim majority.
The official and rather perfunctory response to the Fort Hood shootings and the “underwear bomber” on Christmas suggests that our government has forgotten the message that arrived on September 11, 2001 or has decided that “right-wing extremists” are the real problem.
That’s unfortunate because the terrorists have an agenda of their own and, unless the global effort is made to find them and kill them, the attacks will be as common as movie listings in the daily newspaper. Or should I say obituaries?
In Cairo, in 2009, President Obama said, “You might say the United States is a Muslim nation.” Some might call this seriously mistaken and some might say it is wishful thinking.
Islamic terrorism remains the great concern of most Americans who probably need to be more watchful of their Muslim neighbors and co-workers. That would have gone a long way toward saving the lives of the Fort Hood victims.
© Alan Caruba
Monday, March 29, 2010
By Alan Caruba
The noted political commentator, David Broder, once wrote that “Anybody who wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.”
That may at first glance seem cynical, but there is also a lot of truth in it. The modern presidency, from the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama has had any number of men who wanted to be president more than anything else. In many cases, either swiftly or slowly, they lost the trust of the people.
The polls regarding Barack Obama are almost uniform in results that demonstrate he has lost the approval of at least half or more of Americans responding to them. He accomplished that with extraordinary swiftness.
A Bit of History
FDR wanted to be president (1933-1945) so badly that not even being crippled deterred his ambition. He was greatly aided in his quest by a compliant press and was almost never photographed in his wheelchair or being picked up like a sack of potatoes to be placed or removed from a car.
He maintained a totally false façade; driving a specially engineered auto or filmed swimming where he did not need the use of his legs. Required to wear heavy metal braces, he did not so much walk as shift his weight back and forth to give the semblance of walking. His marriage to Eleanor, despite five children, was a charade as well.
Roosevelt exuded confidence, but he was an extraordinarily devious man and even those closest to him concluded he was poorly suited to the task of getting the nation out of the Great Depression. Only the onset of World War II ended the Depression and gave him credit for the war's conduct. He was elected to an astonishing four terms, the last ending 82 days into it with his death in office.
Though few had any idea who Harry Truman (1945-1953) was, the nation grew to like and to trust him. He was in many ways the very opposite of FDR and he was a man respected for making tough decisions. He had an approachable, every-man quality to him and he confounded the political experts of his day by winning a term in office on his own merits. The voters trusted him.
Truman was succeeded in office by perhaps the most trusted man to hold the presidency in the modern era, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and credited with winning the war against Nazi Germany. “I like Ike” was his campaign motto. Eisenhower was literally drafted for the presidency, sought after by both parties!
After Eisenhower’s two terms came a shooting star, a young Senator and his wife that the cameras loved. Articulate and representing a generation that came out of World War II, John F. Kennedy sought the presidency for reasons dealing with his health that were kept hidden from the public. Blessed with a quick wit, television served him well. Kennedy was assassinated barely a thousand days into a dazzling and glamorous first term that was marred by the Cuban Bay of Pigs debacle and saved by the successful Cuban missile crisis face-off with the Soviet Union’s Nikita Krushchev.
Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969) had had to settle for the vice presidency under Kennedy although it was no secret he wanted to be president. He got his wish, but despite a significant election victory over Barry Goldwater, he lost the trust of the voters as the result of the unpopular Vietnam War. His “Great Society” redistribution of wealth in “a war on poverty” is an object lesson, now ignored, on how public funds can be wasted to no good end.
In one of the great ironies of American politics, Eisenhower’s vice president, Richard M. Nixon, (1969-1974), widely derided as “Tricky Dick”, won the presidency and, despite the on-going Vietnam War, won a resounding victory for a second term. Trust, though, was always a problem and it was totally lost in the revelations of the Watergate scandal. He became the first president to resign.
His vice president, Gerald Ford, (1974-1977) never evoked strong support and only completed Nixon’s unfinished term. Ford labored from his association with Nixon and was replaced by Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) whose extremely liberal policies, along with his failure to demand and get the release of American diplomats seized by the Iranian revolutionaries, left him with zero trust among voters.
Despite Irangate, Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) would be one of the most popular and most trusted presidents to serve in the office in the modern era. His vice president, George H.W. Bush managed only one term as president after his pledge of “No new taxes” was not kept. Despite a brief, successful campaign to restore Kuwait after an Iraq invasion, the public abandoned Bush
In what appears to be a pattern in modern American politics, Bush too was replaced by a much younger seeker of that office, Bill Clinton (1993-2001). Despite a lackluster first term in which control of the Congress passed to Republicans for the first time in forty years, he was reelected. He would become only the second president in U.S. history to be impeached, but not removed. His presidency would be forever disgraced by a sexual liaison with a White House intern and much speculation of other extra-marital affairs. Clinton was and remains a favorite among the mainstream media.
U.S. history has recorded only one other son, John Quincy Adams, who became president, but George W. Bush took office in 2001, serving during a tumultuous period following the 9/11 attack. His decision to invade Iraq, largely to depose Saddam Hussein, turned into a drawn out military action reminiscent of Vietnam and, as it dragged on into his second term (2001-2008), the voters again became infatuated with a young, articulate Senator, Barack Hussein Obama.
Beginning barely one year into his six-year term, Senator Obama began to campaign on a vague promise of “hope and change” without saying more than he intended to “transform” the nation. It is clear the transformation includes greater debt than in the entire history of the nation and a European-style socialism.
Elected in 2008 and taking office in 2009, it has taken just over a year in which to lose the trust so vital to a successful presidency.
This brief review of the presidency since the end of the last Great Depression brings us now to a present-day Depression if judged by the growing numbers of unemployed and to a president who has forced a health care “reform” of Medicare on Americans, more than half of whom manifestly opposed it.
The tripling of the national debt generated the spontaneous creation of Tea Party organizations to oppose him and a growing wave of derision for his arrogance, his dependence on TelePrompters, and his treatment of the nation’s traditional allies, England, France, and Israel.
The book of history is written one day at a time, but it is clear that Obama has already run out of time, having lost the vital component of trust for the remaining 1,000-plus days of his term. Ignoring the public will, he can still do a great deal more damage to the republic.
© Alan Caruba
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Don't let the mainstream media lie to you and say that only a few folks showed up at the Tea Party event, Saturday, March 28. Watch out, Obama! Watch out, Democrats in Congress! You have pissed off a lot of Americans and that is never a good thing to do.
By Alan Caruba
Passover 2010 will occur on Tuesday, March 30. It is an ancient Jewish holy day, the first to be mentioned in the Old Testament (Torah). It will last until April 5th and is most associated with the “Seder” or family dinner composed of a number of symbolic items and the reading of the Haggadah, a book of prayers that explains the symbolism of each. The Passover Seder will be celebrated on Monday evening prior to the date of the holy day as per Jewish tradition.
The significance of Passover (Pesach) is the retelling of the story of how God, working through Moses, freed the Jews from Egyptian slavery and set them on their journey to Israel.
Biblical scholars note that Moses had not only murdered an Egyptian guard, but was not a particularly articulate man, so God in effect did not select a saint, but rather a flawed individual. Moses had been spared death as an infant when his mother saved his life by giving him up to fate. Found by an Egyptian princess, he was raised in the house of the pharaoh.
It has been a very long journey for the Jews ever since, finding, building, and losing their homeland, and millennia later, after a deliberate effort to kill the Jews of Europe, reclaiming their homeland to establish a new Jewish state in 1948. They were not welcome.
It is a sad commentary on the rest of mankind that an irrational hatred for Jews has not abated and the lies about them have never ceased.
There has been some consternation of late regarding the signals coming out of the Obama White House concerning its policy toward Israel and such things are not to be lightly dismissed. Israel is a western outpost, albeit a very tiny one, in the Middle East that is hostile to both Jews and Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.
On Passover, things around the White House may be a tad quieter given that Obama will be missing the company of Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff; David Axelrod his senior advisor; Ronald Klain the chief of staff to the Vice President; Larry Summers his an economic advisor along with Paul Volcker; Tim Geithner his Secretary of the Treasury; and Peter Orszag his head of Budget.
For those who attribute everything to the Jews, it must surely be even more disquieting that, the evening prior to the rude treatment accorded Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee hosted a dinner attended by more than 7,000 of Israel’s friends in Washington, D.C.
To the everlasting confusion of my conservative friends and colleagues, the question of why American Jews are overwhelmingly Democrats and were big donors to the Obama campaign remains a mystery. Obama has given clear evidence of “leaning” toward Muslims in general and favoring the Palestinians in particular.
Raised a Muslim in Indonesia and a parishioner for many years at a Chicago church led by a preacher unsympathetic to America, yet surrounded by Jewish advisors, the phrase “blind faith” comes to mind for those Jews who continue to support Barack Obama.
On January 12th, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that “Jews are a famously accomplished group. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates, and 31 percent of the medicine laureates.”
“Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, (and) 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction.”
It would be a great thing for the world if everyone, Jew, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and atheist, sat down to celebrate Passover because a “chosen” people has given so much to the world and received so little thanks in return. You will note I did not include Muslims. Their track record is slim, their animosity to all other faiths is well known, and their current behavior worldwide is drenched in blood.
I leave you with a bit of “Jewish Zen.”
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment
will be the least of your problems.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As the sun begins to set on an America whose dollar set the standard and whose capacity for manufacturing was unchallenged, a new superpower is emerging and it is China.
Many of the economists and China-watchers have been quick to seize on any bad news coming out of the Asian giant, but for the most part they have marveled how, since the new century began, China has proven adept at maintaining a fast growing economy. Indeed, so fast, it is beginning to show signs of protectionism.
In July 2007, an article in The Washington Times noted that “China, this year for the first time, has dislodged the United States from its long reign as the main engine of global economic growth, with its more than 11 percent growth eclipsing sputtering U.S. growth of about 2 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund’s 2007 projections…”
Further down in the article, the IMF’s deputy director of research, Charles Collyns, was quoted saying, “if you add together Russia and India as well, you get over half of global growth coming from the emerging-market countries.”
C-Span recently aired a segment in which John and Doris Naisbitt answered questions from a group of students at Tenafly High School (NJ) when they launched a tour to promote their book, “China’s Megatrends: The 8 Pillars of a New Society.”
Why, I wondered, start a book tour in a school, but it later occurred to me that these students will grow up and live in a very different world than either their parents or grandparents. It will be a world in which China will be a superpower and American may be in decline if current trends continue.
Up until the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, China had suffered grievously from the communist takeover he had led, beginning with the founding of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. Prior to that from the 1930s on through World War Two, the Chinese had suffered from Japanese occupation. Mao, a dedicated Communist, was clueless regarding how to create a successful economy.
The story of how China embraced capitalism while retaining its communist government is quite remarkable, if for no other reason, than the progress it has made. John Naisbitt authored “Megatrends” in 1982, a book that was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, was published in 57 countries, and sold more than eight million copies. Many of those copies were bought by an emerging generation of leaders in China after Mao had decimated much of the nation’s educated classes.
Naisbitt, long before most others, knew that China was embracing change on a scale that most Americans and others could barely comprehend. He and his wife began to spend a lot of time there. Today, his wife Doris is the director of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin and is a professor at the prestigious Nankai University where John is also affiliated.
My generation enjoyed all the fruits of the post-WWII bounty that accrued to an America that had no real economic rivals. Along with the Soviet Union, China was regarded as a threat because it was communist, but to his credit President Richard Nixon understood China should not be ignored and began the process that has led to an extraordinary economic partnership.
The Naisbitt’s book focuses on how China rose from the ashes of Mao’s horror show, asking “Why has ‘autocratic’ China succeeded while many other, democratically governed states have failed to make economic progress? Why is it that despite all efforts by westerners to push China toward western-style democratization, there is no similar outcry for such a shift in China?’
They conclude that “the constancy of the Communist Party has worked not against but for the well-being of the Chinese people. Long-term strategic planning could be carried out without the distractions and disruptions of elections that characterize western democracies.”
That transformation has been overseen by Deng Xiaping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao, three remarkable CEOs who created “an entirely new social and economic society with a ‘company culture’ that serves the needs of the enterprise and its people on its own path to modernity and prosperity.”
In the process, the Communist Party itself changed, adapting a “top-down, bottom-up” approach to governance that set the objectives at the top and allowed the people to introduce their “bottom-up” answers. As a result, “China, often thought as a monolith, is actually decentralizing power more than any other country in the world.” It has unleashed a torrent of entrepreneurial activity.
When one considers how the battle over healthcare “reform” has torn apart Americans in the struggle to avoid turning the nation into a European-style socialist economy and society, China’s “highest goal is a harmonious society and governance that is based on trust.”
This has worked in China because “Chinese gain power and self-confidence in the family, in a group, in the network in which they are integrated.” Not surprisingly, “The first reforms took place in agriculture, where today 40 percent of the Chinese still work…” What is often overlooked, however, is that by 2008 two-thirds of China’s economy was in the private sector!
Some of the results are remarkable. With a population of more than a billion people, “China has a literacy rate of 90.9 percent; life expectancy at birth is 73 years; and the per capita GDP is $5,962.” India, often noted as the other emerging economy, still has a lot of catching up to do. Its literacy rate is 6l percent, life expectancy is 69 years, and a per capita GDP income of $2,762.
It is not my purpose to load you down with statistics. It is to say that, while America suffers from a surfeit of too much government spending and borrowing—debt—the Chinese are forging ahead and doing so, ironically, with an economic system that has to be considered western in origin.
It is folly to not recognize the economic and societal miracle that has allowed the Chinese to move from a rigid system to one in which its people had a GDP in 1980 of $209.3 billion to about $1.2 trillion by 2000. A decade later, it continues to show growth.
Some time ago my nephew asked me what language his little girl should begin to study. I told him it should be Chinese.
(c) Alan Caruba, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
With a hat tip to Don Holtzinger, editor of a great website, Thought You Should Know News, the photo above is the X-47B, a new drone by Northrup Grumman, designed specifically as a carrier-based unmanned aircraft.
It is, for all intents and purposes, a "secret" that is known to the Russians and the Chinese whose media have carried news of it, but not to Americans whose media has failed to take any public notice of it. Despite a Google search, Don was unable to find any U.S.-based reporting on this remarkable new weapon.
My friend, Howard Hayden, editor of The Energy Advocate, emailed me earlier and at the bottom of the email as a signoff was a great quote:
"People will do anything to save the world...except take a course in science."
As of today, I am happy to welcome the 300th "follower" to Warning Signs. I am very pleased that so many people enjoy my daily blog sufficiently to self-identify themselves, but I prefer to think of them as friends, not followers.
-- Alan Caruba
Friday, March 26, 2010
For all those Green morons calling on us to turn off our lights Saturday evening from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM to celebrate "Earth Hour", this is what it looks like every night in North and South Korea. The North is in the grip of a Stalinist dictator and the South is a thriving democracy.
Like fire, electricity is truly a gift of the gods. It is the difference between the Dark Age and the present age...but not for everyone. Much of Africa is in darkness. too. People who hate civilization and the humans who created it are welcome to live out in the wilderness or in some primitive backward country where they burn dung to cook their meals.
If America doesn't start building more coal-fired plants, nuclear plants, and other generators of electricity, we too shall live in darkness when the sun goes down. Be warned, the present administration is doing everything possible to make that future happen.
-- Alan Caruba
By Alan Caruba
Week began, March 21, with a “March for America” by several thousand illegal immigrants and their supporters in Washington, D.C.
Congress passes massive, costly healthcare “reform” against the will of the people.
Nancy Pelosi turns 70 years old, Friday, March 26.
President Obama announces major reduction in U.S. nuclear missile arsenal; new treaty with the former Soviet Union.
Osama bin Laden announced that, if Khalid Sheik Muhammad, mastermind of the 9./11 attack, is given the death penalty, al Qaeda will kill every American it takes captive.
A South Korean naval vessel sinks off the coast near the border of North Korea; it is believed to have been torpedoed.
Death toll from Mexican drug wars goes up. U.S. couple, wife pregnant, staff at U.S. consulate in Mexico, are murdered.
Democrats and Republicans trade death threat accusations following Medicare vote.
President Obama holds closed-door meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu. Demands Israel stop building housing development in its own capitol.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that President Obama’s 2011budget will generate $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next ten years, $1.2 more than the administration projected, raising the federal debt to 90 PERCENT OF THE NATION’S ECONOMIC OUTPUT BY 2020.
Week ends, March 27, with “Earth Hour”, an event sponsored by environmental organizations involving turning off all lights between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM. It is a tribute to the good old days before electricity.
By Alan Caruba
Ah, Spring! The days grow longer and warmer. Trees begin to sprout leaves again. Early flowers like crocuses begin to appear. Birds return to serenade each other and build nests. It is a time of renewal, an annual reminder of the Earth’s capacity to shake off the hibernation of winter and regenerate itself.
What I have also noticed since the revelations in November 2009 that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data had been deliberately falsified to justify claims of “global warming” is the return in the media of the usual idiotic claims that “global warming” is causing this and that.
The Economist, an otherwise respected news magazine, had a recent issue in which it essentially said it didn’t care how much evidence there was that no global warming was or is occurring.
The media doesn't care that Gallup’s annual poll of environmental issues shows global warming is at the bottom of Americans’ concerns. Of the eight environmental issues listed, global warming finished last.
The Earth entered a definitive cooling cycle around 1998 when weather satellites all recorded decreases in average global temperatures. The temperatures reported by the IPCC had been deliberately falsified by the placement of weather stations in or near “heat islands” such as cities or had been ignored when their data contradicted the fraud.
In February, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the lone voice of sanity in Congress regarding “global warming”, asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation.” Sen. Inhofe asked that Al Gore be called back before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee to defend his claims that “the Earth has a fever” and that drastic measures must be taken to avoid “global warming.”
Having passed the healthcare “reform” bill, the Obama administration will turn toward the passage of Cap-and-Trade legislation that is entirely based on the IPCC’s phony “science.” It is a scheme to sell and trade “carbon credits” intended to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has already threatened to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) and other minor atmospheric gases, none of which have anything to do with the non-existent “global warming.”
This would strangle the nation’s economy because the use of most energy sources except nuclear and hydroelectric generates CO2. Cap-and-Trade has been characterized as the greatest tax on energy use in the history of the nation.
Briefly, the EPA’s threat is based on IPCC “science” regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC is an international organization that is not subject to U.S. data quality and transparency standards. Moreover, U.S. agencies, NOAA and NASA, have participated in the provision of dubious “global warming” data, politicizing a scientific process to the point of rendering it useless and invalid.
The EPA is clinging to the lie that humans are causing climate change and continues to engage in practices that propagate the fraud and thwart economic growth. There is no threat to public health from CO2, a gas that is vital to all life on Earth because it is to plants what oxygen is to humans.
You are not likely to read about any of this in the MSM. In the same way they are studiously avoiding the full story of the collapse of the “global warming” fraud, they will continue to propagandize Cap-and-Trade and other measures.
Spring officially arrived on Saturday, March 20.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
By Alan Caruba
Despite a significant majority of Americans who opposed the healthcare bill, despite protests heard by members of Congress starting in the summer of 2009, despite a huge protest rally in Washington, D.C. in September, despite having the phones and faxes of Congress jammed with protests, the bill passed the House on March 21 by a margin of five votes.
Five votes! The final count was 220 for it and 215 against it. The story of how those votes were secured is a sordid and ugly chapter in the governance of this republic. Americans are still reeling from the catalog of bribes and backroom deals involved. Healthcare represents an assault on the Constitution, on the nation’s economic future, and on the belief that the will of the people should be the guiding factor regarding legislation.
The vote portends, however, legislation that is intended to completely and utterly destroy the economic foundations of the nation.
Waiting in the Senate is a Cap-and-Trade bill that would impose the largest tax on the use of energy the nation has ever seen. It lacks any scientific justification, based as it is on the fraud known as “global warming.”
The nation will not survive Cap-and-Trade and James M. Taylor, a Senior Fellow specializing in environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based, non-profit, free market think tank has authored “The Cap & Trade Handbook” that explains why. It is a slim six pages. (On May 16-18, the Institute will sponsor the Fourth International Conference on Climate change.)
Cap-and-Trade seeks to impose restrictions on greenhouse gases in general and carbon dioxide (CO2) in particular. Taylor notes that “The portion of the Earth’s greenhouse gas envelope contributed by mankind is negligible, barely one-tenth of one percent of the total. Carbon dioxide is no more than four percent of the total greenhouse gas envelope. (Water is more than 90 percent, followed by methane and nitrous and sulfur oxides.) Of that four percent, mankind contributes a little more than three percent. Three percent of four percent is 0.12 percent.”
There is no proof whatever that CO2 or human activity plays any role in “global warming” and there is no proof whatever that “global warming” exists except a natural cycle based on the actions of the sun, the oceans, cloud cover, and other factors over which humans have no control, nor influence.
Moreover, the Earth has entered a new, natural cycle of cooling and its average temperatures have been declining since around 1995. Weather satellites all confirm this and it began to cause consternation among a small group of scientists who, under the aegis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deliberately perverted climate data in order to foist the “global warming” fraud on the world.
Since “global warming” is a fraud, Cap-and-Trade is a fraud.
The Obama administration, however, took power vowing to make war on the sources of energy on which the nation depends for its electrical power and transportation needs. Coal, which provides just over fifty percent of all electrical power, is high on their list. Huge national reserves of oil which provide gasoline and diesel for our transportation needs continue to be restricted despite talk of “energy independence.” Even natural gas is being subjected to efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency efforts to thwart extraction.
The Obama administration is five votes or less away from destroying the nation. As President Obama has said, “Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
This is tantamount to treason.
As Taylor points out, “a 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions would cause gasoline prices to rise 145%, electricity prices would rise 129%, and more than four million jobs would disappear. Average household income would fall by nearly $7,000 each and every year” if Cap-and-Trade is enacted. The bill calls for an 83% cut in emissions!
These projections are based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and from the Congressional Budget office.
A mere five votes or less could plunge the nation into poverty beyond even the estimates of costs attributed to the unconstitutional Healthcare bill. Our worst external enemies could not bring about such a collapse.
Cap-and-Trade is a nation killer.
Editor’s Note: You can secure more information by visiting the following websites:
www.heartland.org, www.climatedepot.com, www.sepp.org, www.globalwarming.org, www.climatechangefraud.com, www.icecap.us, www.iceagenow.com, and www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com to name just a few science-based sources.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Alan Caruba
“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.” -- John Adams (1835-1826)
There is no question in my mind that I have lived long enough to see everything the nation once stood for in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world begin to disintegrate and fail.
John Adams, for those who slept through history class, was America’s second president, and one of the Founders who participated in the writing of our Constitution. If you worry about deals made behind closed doors, you are herewith reminded that the Constitution was written behind closed doors. Though the room in Philadelphia had its share of lawyers, the man who presided over the process was a soldier and farmer called George Washington. Others included farmers, physicians, and even clergymen.
Along with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the sharpest mind among them was that of John Adams. After the ratification of the Constitution, he warned that “a Constitution of government once changed from freedom can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
The healthcare bill is freedom lost forever. I hope I am wrong, but I now doubt it will be repealed, nullified by the states, or reversed by the Supreme Court. While it is true that most constitutional scholars believe it is unconstitutional, taking and twisting the Commerce clause beyond recognition, I believe the damage has been done.
I freely admit that, before the vote, I remained hopeful that, even if enacted and signed, it could be overturned, but I am now less confident of that. In retrospect, the entitlement society that began in the depths of 1930s Great Depression and has been expanded ever since has proven to be the slow poison that will undo our constitutional system of government.
Conservatives have long warned against the excesses and delusions of liberals, but we have also seen self-identified conservatives like former President George W. Bush preside over the expansion of Medicare with a prescription program that defied any manner of funding at a time when Medicare and Social Security was known to be going broke.
In 2005, Bush did try to mend the system for the vast redistribution of wealth by campaigning to allow workers to divert some of their Social Security into private accounts as a hedge against old age and illness. When Nancy Pelosi said this was a plan to unravel public pensions, the voters decided they didn’t like that idea.
I confess I have tried in my mind to dismiss the Speaker of the House as just some lunatic, fringe advocate for liberalism run amuck, but like a lot of Republicans today, it is clear that she was underestimated (along with the Senate’s Harry Reid) for her political skills.
She engineered a political victory that has not only restored President Obama’s reputation as a leader on the domestic front, but has set in motion the destruction of America’s frail financial foundations.
Few believe that the U.S. can continue to borrow the billions necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. The alternative, of course, is to tax all Americans to such an extent that it destroys the middle class and drives more corporations offshore.
Speaker Pelosi ate, drank, and breathed Democrat politics from birth. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro was a congressman and mayor of Baltimore. Her brother was also a mayor of Baltimore. She made her first public speech at age seven at her father’s swearing in ceremony.
I opened with a quote by John Adams and will close with one by Thomas Jefferson:
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
Americans, however, have long since abandoned the principles of the Constitution, a small and limited central government, for a behemoth that now controls our very lives through a bill that vastly expands the federal government and gives it the power to intervene between our physicians and ourselves.
We have been betrayed by an insurance industry that will be happy to rid itself of the high risk and costly need to provide health insurance while continuing to prosper from life, property, and other forms. We have been betrayed by the pharmaceutical companies now salivating at the prospect of future profits funded by the taxpayers. The American Medical Association supported healthcare reform; a betrayal.
Even the States, many of which now want to protect themselves from even greater unfunded mandates, have long since abandoned their sovereignty by allowing the federal government to control education, highways, environment, and a myriad of other local responsibilities.
None of the institutions of government, not the executive, not the Congress, and probably not the courts will uphold a Constitution now distorted beyond recognition. Despite the usual talk of a new revolution, of midterm elections to return power to the Republican Party, the People are essentially defenseless.
Tell me I am wrong. Then tell me why.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By Alan Caruba
On Tuesday, March 23rd, when Benyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the Jewish state of Israel, meets with President Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim, he will not be able to rely on a compact of support that has existed since President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the new state of Israel in 1947.
The meeting will occur at a time when Americans of all political persuasions are calling for the impeachment of the President; when anger against Congress seethes over the passage of a widely opposed healthcare plan intended to impose socialism and debt on a nation facing a financial crisis that threatens its existence.
It will occur at a time when Israel is threatened with annihilation by Iran and attack by Hezbollah from the north and Hamas from the south, both proxies of Iran.
The previous evening, Netanyahu addressed the largest conference in the history of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). An audience of 8,000 gathered in Washington to hear him address the issues that are critical to both Israel and the United States of America.
“America has no better friend in the community of nations than Israel,” said Netanyahu. Led now by Obama, the unspoken question is whether Israel has a friend in America?
It is the President who sets foreign policy and it is this President who began his first term in office with an address on Al Jazeera, a television channel that serves the Middle East. It is this President who traveled to Cairo to assure Muslims there and around the world that America is not their enemy. It is this President who held out the olive branch to Iran only to have it slapped away.
Israel knows something about negotiating with Muslims. For more than six decades, despite continued attacks by its Arab neighbor states and terror campaigns in its streets, Israel has striven to find peace with them. The Palestinians, an invention of Yassir Arafat, have been maintained as the longest existing group of refugees anywhere in the world by the United Nations.
Imagine, then, the audacity of this administration to demand that the Israelis stop building housing developments in their own capitol city of Jerusalem, backed up by threats to withhold the military means with which Israel can defend itself against Iran and its other enemies in the region.
In his AIPAC address Netanyahu pointed out that the “fanatic hatred of Western civilization predates Israel’s establishment by over one thousand years. Militant Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because of the West; because it sees Israel as an outpost of freedom that prevents them from overrunning the Middle East.”
“When Israel stands against its enemies, it stands against America’s enemies.”
The United States, through several administrations, has pressured Israel into a series of concessions to achieve peace. The latest such effort was Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the result was the armed conflict between Fatah and Hamas that drove the former from the area to sanctuary in the West Bank. Following that, Israel suffered thousands of rockets directed against it until it undertook a brief military campaign to suppress them.
“Nothing is rarer in the Middle East than tolerance for the beliefs of others. Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem has ensured that the religious sites of all faiths have been protected. While we cherish our homeland, we also recognize that Palestinians live there as well. We don’t want to govern them. We don’t want to rule them. We want them as neighbors, living in security, dignity and peace.”
I do not know how more clearly the Israeli Prime Minister could have expressed his nation’s policy and aspirations. Twice, however, he said, “Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.”
When America was attacked on September 11, 2001 by Muslim terrorists, it sent its troops to Afghanistan to drive out al Qaeda and the Taliban. It sent its troops to Iraq, a nation that had previously waged war on Iran and then had invaded Kuwait to depose its dictator and provide its citizens the opportunity for democratic self-rule.
“The founding of Israel did not stop the attacks against the Jews,” said Netanyahu. “It gave the Jews the power to defend themselves against those attacks.”
The continued support of Israel now lies in the hands of President Obama, a Muslim who would have you believe he is a Christian; a man who attended a Chicago church led by an anti-American pastor; a man who Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam called “the messiah.”
Jews and Christians alike in America face a common peril, the march of Islam toward the destruction of their faiths in the West.
Netanyahu’s address to AIPAC was an affirmation of our common beliefs, our common values, and a warning about our common enemy.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
By Alan Caruba
There are tipping points in people’s lives and in the life of a nation. More and more I am inclined to believe that America has hit a tipping point and that its decline has been in progress now since the end of World War II. How can that be? We were and are a superpower.
While it is true that we have the greatest military power in the world, it is equally true that many of the planes being flown were brought on line in the 1950s, despite the extraordinary aircraft such as the stealth bombers. When Russia can put in a $40 billion bid to build refueling tankers after a major U.S. aircraft firm dropped out of the process, you have to ask yourself whether something is terribly wrong.
Militarily, we have worn out our forces, many of which are National Guard units, with six years of conflict in Iraq and renewed conflict in Afghanistan. All the hardware needed to maintain our troops in conflict zones need replacing. And the President of the United States wants to sign a treaty to reduce our nuclear arsenal.
It goes even deeper, however, than the capacity to wage war, let alone the will to face off with our enemies. Since around the 1960s the nation’s education system has grown steadily more costly and steadily worse in its capacity to produce students with fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. American students consistently score behind students in other nations. An educated workforce is essential to maintain excellence, let alone parity with other nations.
At the heart of the Medicare reform battle was a very simple fact. The current Medicare program is broke. The current Social Security program is broke. Most of the States in the nation are broke. America must borrow a billion dollars a day to maintain its huge entitlement programs. The interest on treasury notes alone is daunting. Expanding Medicare under such conditions is sheer folly.
The nation and the States have become slaves of civil service unions and their government employees now make more than those in comparable private sector positions. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees now represent 1.6 million workers. There are two million federal workers. The benefits that have been negotiated for these workers are extraordinary, particularly in the area of pensions. Many of the services they provide, other than police and fire, could be contracted to the private sector.
Unemployment continues to rise and the billions in “stimulus” programs are having no effect. The Federal Reserve continues to print money that will invariably have less value.
The exodus from States now famed for heavy taxation, California, New York, New Jersey, continues apace. The value of the nation’s housing stock continues to decline. Other States are becoming manufacturing wastelands as this essential factor of prosperity leaves the nation for others with less taxation and friendlier regulatory environments.
The other problem America has not addressed or solved is that of illegal aliens. There are differing estimates of how many reside in the nation ranging from twelve to over fifteen million. They represent a drain on education systems, medical facilities, receive a variety of social services, and crowd our prisons. Previous amnesties have only served to swell the numbers of those crossing illegally into the nation in hopes of more amnesties. The Obama administration is known to want yet another amnesty enacted.
Increasingly, parts of the nation’s economy have been absorbed into the government, the most outstanding example being the takeover of General Motors and Chrysler, and control of the financial sector through bailouts.
Huge tracts of land, often with significant natural resources, continue to fall under the control of the federal government while others ban any extraction of oil, coal or natural gas. In the energy sector, more than nine million jobs exist and millions more could if the government would permit further exploration and extraction. Meanwhile, offshore of Florida in Cuba, Russians and Chinese are beginning to develop oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Obama administration is totally devoted to the global warming fraud and the baseless assertion that human beings are influencing climate change through the generation of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide. The next major legislative initiation it proposes is the passage of Cap-and-Trade, a measure to impose the largest tax on the use of energy in the history of the nation.
At the same time, the electrical grid that is responsible for the distribution of energy has been aging and is in need of expansion. No new nuclear plants have been built since the 1970s and several are scheduled to be decommissioned. Nuclear represents twenty percent of the electricity used daily in the nation. The site in Nevada for the deposit of nuclear waste, built at the cost of billions, is still not open though it is ready to provide this necessary service.
The nation’s infrastructure of highways and bridges is in near desperate need of upgrade and continues to be neglected.
Nor should we ignore clear signs of moral decline as well. The abortion issue reflects the murder of millions of unborn babies. The push for same-sex marriage is a rejection of the ancient recognition that social stability depends on the marriage of a man and a woman. Pornography and violence permeate entertainment venues. Reality TV reflects the worst excesses of behavior. Illegal drugs are available anywhere in the nation.
The list of the indicators of decline is longer, but those cited are sufficient to suggest that an implosion is only a matter of time.
The truth that there is no free lunch remains in effect.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
By Alan Caruba
Comrade Obama will learn the truth of the warning, “Be careful what you wish for.”
The passage of Obamacare has sealed his fate with Americans of all political persuasions. When the deep blue citizens of Massachusetts put a Republican into office to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, the message is that Obama will lose much of the base that elected him. Previously, the citizens of Virginia and New Jersey elected Republicans in their governors.
I hope that no one is hurt when a mob of lawyers go bounding up the steps of the Supreme Court and every other district court in the nation on Monday. State legislatures will pulsate from the initiatives being passed to nullify Obamacare in order to protect their citizens against its unfunded mandates, the threat to their senior citizens from Medicare cutbacks, the increased taxes, and measures that will drive businesses to foreign shores.
When the Gallup, Rasmussen, and every other polling company in the nation come up with the same results, that the overwhelming majority of Americans did not want Obamacare passed and despise the president, Obama and every Democrat in Congress have invited a political bloodbath in November.
Trying to rally the Democrat members of the House, President Obama called for “courage” which, to some must have sounded hollow considering that he voted “present” much of the time while serving in the Illinois legislature and the straight party line during the few months he served in the U.S. Senate before embarking on his campaign for the presidency.
The fate of demagogues and dictators is well known. In the last century, Herr Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker, Italy’s Mussolini was captured by partisans, shot, and hung by his ankles in a public square. It took an American invasion to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein who ended up on the hangman’s block.
I’m guessing the Secret Service has doubled their manpower around the White House.
Obama is going to discover that his determination to “reform” and ruin Medicare will turn out to be a curse. It will surely prove to be one for Americans, the majority of whom have health insurance and will see their premiums soar.
The Democrat Party may have to rename itself something else or just acknowledge it is now an arm of the Communist Party USA.
When Obama was elected the American people wanted the White House and Congress to do what was necessary to get the economy going again and, despite small gains, it isn’t happening. Had FDR lived in the age of the Internet, he’d have been a one-term president.
The passage of Obamacare will so discourage businesses large and small as the primary victims of its mandates the economy is likely to stagnate as they wait to see just how bad things will get.
Obamacare will get a lot more people laid off and a lot less people being hired. Why do I think the president knows this?
A friend of mine who has run a business for a quarter century in the shadow of the nation’s capitol building just laid off his entire staff except for one. A drive around my hometown is one long succession of for-sale signs on houses people used to live in for generations, not just a few years.
In eight months Americans will go to the polls and render judgment.
Obama better hope voters patiently wait out the two last years of his term. As they say in Las Vegas, he just cashed in all his popularity chips and crapped out.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
By Alan Caruba
There are certain laws of nature that no one can amend or avoid. In the classic Greek tale of Icarus, despite warnings Icarus flew too close to the sun, melted the wax that held the feathers that had given him the gift of flight, and falls to his death. The law of gravity contributed to his end because what goes up must come down.
These days I think of the nation in general and the Democrats in Congress in particular as Icarus. They have ignored all the warnings about Obamacare and now have the political trajectory of a rock tossed too high in the air.
The voters reaction to the excesses of the Bush administration—-which now seem minor in comparison to those of the Democrats—-catapulted a virtually unknown and literally unvetted, minor first-term senator from Illinois into the Oval Office. The voters had first expressed their unhappiness in 2006 when control of Congress passed from the Republicans.
It seems to me that Americans have been unhappy for a very long time, but I can recall few decades when they were happy. With World War Two behind them, Americans launched themselves into the 1950s with enthusiasm, getting married, having babies, and building an economy that was unrivaled. America became the lone superpower.
By the 1960s, though, things began to sour. A generation of young people began to question all the values that had served their parents and grandparents well. The civil rights movement emerged and by the end of the decade the nation was mired in a war in Vietnam most people did not support. It would result in the death of more than 50,000 of our youth. A drug culture began to take root.
The signal political change during the 1960s was the implementation of Medicare in 1965, a significant expansion of Social Security. It quickly exceeded its projected costs.
By the 1970s, despite the inspiration of having begun to explore space, putting men on the Moon in 1969, and an abundance of material goods, America’s mood was growing dark. Between 1972 and 1974, the Watergate scandal dragged on until the first and only resignation of a president ended it.
In 1973 abortion was legalized. The feminist movement gained momentum. As the decade ended in 1979 Iranians seized U.S. diplomats, holding them hostage for 444 days.
The 1980s were, for conservatives, a golden age led by Ronald Reagan. The economy improved and, in general, so did the mood of the nation. It was also a time in which Islam began to reassert itself with a series of terrorist acts. Democrats in Congress continued to be in control.
At the end of Reagan’s term, George H.W. Bush, his vice president, was elected in 1988, but despite a military campaign to contain Saddam Hussein, the voters opted for a young Arkansas Governor named Bill Clinton.
What came to be seen as a series of excesses by liberal Democrats led to the defeat of the Clinton Medicare expansion effort and, in 1994, Congressional power was transferred to the Republican Party for the first time in some 40 years!
Clinton, despite being reelected, proved to be a major embarrassment to the nation as the result of his sexual appetites. Popular to the end with most Democrats, he would be replaced by George W. Bush as the new century began in 2000.
If the mood of the nation was one of cautious optimism, that changed dramatically on September 11, 2001. Fear swept the nation and a desire to punish the stateless terror inflicted led also to a decision by Bush to alter the direction of the Middle East by removing Saddam Hussein from power. Despite a brilliant initial dash to Baghdad the Iraq war was plagued with a cascade of bad decisions.
A sudden financial crisis toward the end of the 2008 political campaign returned a Democrat to the White House. It has taken just over a year for Barack Hussein Obama to see his performance ratings plummet from around 70 percent to around 40 percent these days. He is rivaling the worse ratings for any president since such polls began.
The bruising battle over the expansion of Medicare at a time of high unemployment and the imposition of high levels of national debt will likely push the President’s ratings even lower before the year is out.
What has been discussed here is not a rising curve of optimism for the future of the nation, but a declining one made worse and seriously endangered by irrational borrowing and spending.
Like Icarus, the nation has flown too close to its source of life, weakened its economic foundations, gave itself over to the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming, and now has witnessed a Democrat controlled Congress do what most voters opposed.
America has weathered previous crisis, but there is a growing sense that its future is in the hands of people who do not like America, do not like its slow, methodical way of debating and reflecting the will of the people, and who threaten liberties its citizens have taken for granted.
Weighed down by growing debt, threatened by expanded “entitlement” programs that promise to grow that debt while subjecting Americans to higher taxation, the mood of the nation has rarely been at such a critical and dour point.
Gravity is about to have its way with the nation.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
By Alan Caruba
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
-- C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)
Jeffrey T. Kuhner, president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank, and a columnist at The Washington Times, might as well have rolled a grenade down the main aisle of the House of Representatives chamber. On March 19 he wrote a column titled, “Impeach the President?”
It is a bold proposal and would end much of the agony that President Obama has inflicted on Americans. In lesser developed nations a leader as unpopular as Obama would risk being seized by a mob and dragged through the streets before being hung.
Of course, we don’t do that kind of thing and, truth be told, impeachment proceedings have been rare in American history and both have failed.
Only two presidents have faced impeachment. One was Andrew Johnson who became president upon the assassination of Lincoln. Taking power in the wake of the Civil War, he was deemed to be too friendly to the defeated South. His removal from office in 1868 was defeated by a single vote.
The other president to be impeached was Bill Clinton in 1998. The charges brought against him included perjury, obstruction of justice, and malfeasance in office. He was no doubt guilty of all three, but the proceeding was initiated primarily as the result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones.
It was the considered judgment of the Senate that his failure to keep his penis in his pants did not rise to the punishment of losing his job. In hindsight, the senators might have been mindful that they would be installing Al Gore, the vice president, if they removed Clinton.
I cite this to demonstrate that impeaching Barack Obama—while probably the right thing to do—would be an impossibility in a Senate and House controlled by Democrats.
Not to go all legal on you, but Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and, Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Constitutional lawyers deem “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” as acts of criminality in which a law was broken; abuses of power; and something called a “violation of public trust” as defined by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers. The definition of this is, for all intents and purposes, whatever the House of Representatives say it is. These are, after all, folks who can’t even kick Charlie Rangel out on his kiester.
The two acts of impeachment issued in the past cited exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office of president; behavior that is considered grossly incompatible with the function and purpose of the office; and using the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.
Being fellated in the Oval Office by a White House intern did not turn out to be sufficiently grossly incompatible in 1998. Clinton finished his second term, pardoned a lot of felons, and probably had to be restrained from leaving with the White House silver and chinaware.
Kuhner, however, made a very strong case for impeaching Obama. He accused the president of “imposing a leftist revolution” with the de facto nationalization of “key sectors of American life—the big banks, financial institutions, the automakers, large tracts of energy-rich land from Montana to New Mexico” were cited as examples.
The ugliness concerning the healthcare “reform” legislation and the proposed Cap-and-Trade legislation was cited as Obama’s willingness “to devour his presidency, his party’s congressional majority and—most disturbing—our democratic institutional safeguards to enact” both pieces of legislation.
“He is a reckless ideologue who is willing to sacrifice the country’s stability in pursuit of a socialist utopia.”
That is, in fact, what both Stalin did in Russia and Mao did in China. Both inflicted death in the millions and economic ruin on both societies.
The question, however, is whether the process of impeachment can be initiated and, once commenced, whether a case could be made to depose Obama. That is not likely to happen. It has nothing to do with whether a just case can be made, but because of the vast corruption of the political process and the moral decay Americans are witnessing in the Democrat Party.
We are now living in a state of constant crisis in America. That is precisely the way the White House likes it. Such conditions could lead to a complete seizure of power in the name of protecting the Republic.
It worked in Nazi Germany in the last century. It worked in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It worked in Cuba. And it is at work today in Venezuela.
Despotism never sleeps.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Like the song says, "If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring." And today is the first day of spring.
Friday, March 19, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As this is written, we’re just over a week or so away from Palm Sunday, Passover, and Easter in April. I am no expert, but I have found nothing in either the Jewish or Christian Testaments that require Christians or Jews to make war on other religions to convert them. Proselytizing is encouraged, but not with a threat of death.
Islam is not a religion of peace. It never was.
Despite being pre-dated centuries by both Judaism and Christianity (as well as Buddhism and Hindu), from its beginning in the seventh century C.E., Islam made it very clear that it intended to be the only game in town. In predominantly Muslim nations today, practicing any other faith can often get you killed. The decision to leave Islam can also get you killed.
While Islam has had brief periods of tolerance, in the past when Muslims showed up people soon learned that could either convert or be subjected to a very unpleasant social status (Dhimmi) and taxed for their failure to embrace Islam. Wherever Muslims gain in population, they always act to demand that elements of Sharia law be obeyed by non-Muslims. There is no separation of church and state in Islam.
They are easily offended. It can get you killed.
Islam translates as “submission” and even a cursory reading of the Koran reveals a very harsh view of what is moral and what is not. Multiple wives are moral. Concubines are moral. Slavery is moral. Honor killings are moral. It’s a long, unpleasant list.
Converts from Islam continually say they feel like that they have been freed from an insane asylum. You would, too, if you were constantly harangued in the mosque to wage war against everyone who is not a Muslim.
There are more than a billion Muslims in the world, but we tend to think only of Arabs when we think of Islam. It is widespread in Africa and has resulted in rioting and death in many African nations. In the Philippines, the killing of Christians is widespread.
It’s a cliché that not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. Not quite true, but close enough these days. An American convert to Islam calling herself Jihad Jane pled innocent this week to charges of planning to kill a Swedish cartoonist.
I got to thinking about this on news that an American-born Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, currently residing in Sana’a Yemen is in the news calling for a jihad against the United States.
“With the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims,” said al-Awlaki, “I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim, and I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding on myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim.”
Al-Awlaki is afflicted with a very selective memory as is frequently the case with his version of being a good Muslim. He seems to have forgotten all the bombings, kidnappings, and killings of Americans from around the 1980s onwards until, of course, 9/11 in which a group of Muslims killed nearly 3,000 Americans in attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a flight that was diverted from a target in the nation’s capital.
He seems to not recall that Iraq’s dictator for thirty years, Saddam Hussein, waged war against the very Muslim nation of Iran for eight years to a stalemate and then invaded Kuwait, he gassed Kurds to death in his own nation. You could find yourself fed live into a wood chopper in his glory days. If ever a dictator needed removal, Saddam was the poster boy.
In more recent days, Awlaki had been in communication with U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan who thought it was a really good idea to yell “Allah akbar” while murdering thirteen unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood.
To Muslims in America, al-Awlaki said, “How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful coexistence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brothers and sisters?” In short, he is saying that an American Muslim’s first and only allegiance is to Islam, not the United States.
He’s wrong. Muslims have lived and thrived and served America with honor. Their problem, however, is a religion that directly threatens America and all other non-Muslim nations; a religion lacking tolerance, lacking mercy, and lacking the very conscience that permits al-Awlaki to urge treason.
It’s not going to be easy to be a Muslim in America for a very long time to come. Loyal Muslim Americans have an obligation to identify those who are not.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
By Alan Caruba
On the eve before Daylight Savings Time, I managed to break a wall clock in the process of trying to grasp it to “spring ahead.” It crashed to a counter top and gave up the ghost. I then went online to Staples and 24 hours later I had a new wall clock. We take such efficiency for granted these days.
In the midst of the heated debate over healthcare “reform”, we need to remind ourselves of how superior the private sector is to our now bloated, wasteful, and inefficient government. The bill that the Democrats and the president are desperately trying to foist on Americans is a nightmare to be avoided at all costs.
Recently I received a comparison between Wal-Mart and the U.S. government. Candidly, I do not know the source of the information provided, but I am inclined to believe it.
“Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart every hour of every day. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco, and K-Mart combined. It employs 1.6 million people and is the nation’s largest private employer. It is the largest company in the history of the world.”
“Wal-Mart has approximately 3,906 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are super centers. This is more than 1,000 than it had a scant five years ago.”
If the economy is in trouble, maybe the people who run Wal-Mart should be consulted instead of the 535 members of Congress who appear to not only be utterly clueless, but who have assisted Obama in running up the largest budget deficit in American history.
This is not a Democrat, Republican or independent problem. It is a government problem starting with the federal government and mimicked by state governments who have also spent themselves into penury.
Consider the following examples.
The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. It had 234 years to get it right, but it is broke.
Social Security was established in 1935. It has had 74 years to get it right, but it is broke.
Fannie Mae was established in 1938 to underwrite the provision of mortgages so that everyone could own a home. It has had 71 years to get it right and it is broke. As the result of the financial meltdown, the government had to seize control of it.
The War on Poverty started in 1964 and has 45 years to presumably eliminate poverty. $1 trillion in public funds is allocated to “the poor” every year and there is no evidence they are any less poor.
The Department of Energy was created in 1977 allegedly to lesson the nation’s dependence on foreign, imported oil. It has since ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year. The U.S. imports more oil than ever before because the U.S. government forbids exploration and extraction on 85% of the nation’s continental shelf. It forbids the same in ANWR. It has had 32 years to address the need and it is an abysmal failure.
Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. They have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
There aren’t that many things that the government does well or does right. Meanwhile, the private sector, corporations and small business enterprises continue to innovate and provide products and services with remarkable efficiency. Both are heavily taxed. U.S. taxes on corporations are the second highest in the world.
Right now, Americans have to ensure that a Democrat-controlled Congress does not pass a 2,700 page Medicare “reform” because our lives are literally on the line if they do.
After that, the government has to stop wasting billions to create jobs because the only jobs it creates are government jobs.
It’s not like we the People can escape responsibility for this. A majority of voters elected these morons.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By Alan Caruba
If Barack Obama had been engaged in an ordinary job interview on Wednesday evening, he would not have been hired. Any experienced interviewer would have instantly picked up on his avoidance of straight answers and body language that revealed deceptive behavior.
During the course of his interview with Fox News reporter and anchor, Brett Baier, the President did more damage to himself and to his alleged health care "reform" than in the entire period of time leading up to now.
Inaugurated in January 2009, Obama has largely ignored the financial crisis he inherited from the very end of George W. Bush’s last term. After an “apology tour” and media blitz lasting several months, most of his energy has been devoted to taking over the nation’s healthcare system.
Early on he paused to throw billions at the failed General Motors and Chrysler. He made the American people their owners instead of letting an ordinary bankruptcy proceeding restructure the companies. At the same time, his Secretary of the Treasury continued his predecessor’s policy of parceling out billions in bailouts to the very Wall Street firms that had caused the financial meltdown.
While that was occurring, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (an independent central bank, not really part of the federal government) was busy running the printing presses night and day to create fiat money.
During his first year, as millions of Americans found themselves unemployed, instead of concentrating on measures that would jump-start economic growth such as tax cuts and other incentives, Obama’s sole domestic policy concern was healthcare “reform.”
Desperate to get a vote on it, despite Democrat majorities in both the Senate and the House, Obama turned finally to Fox News in yet another effort to make his case. What he did not anticipate was the relentless questioning of a reporter who wanted real answers about the ugly process by which the Senate and House bills have reached this point.
The President’s body language said as much as his efforts to filibuster his answers to Baier. The obvious effort was to run out the clock and end the hammering he took.
His hands were always gesticulating a plea that Baier stop asking why the bill was filled with horrendous provisions such as the “Louisiana purchase” or the gift of a $100 million hospital in Connecticut.
What Obama wanted to do was repeat his stale talking points for the Fox audience of viewers, stressing his attack on insurance company’s profits. Those profits, however, are a mere 6% at most, far less than other industries. For both the insurance companies and consumers, the lack of free market competition is the real problem.
Following the interview, Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer called Obama’s answers “a very clever rope-a-dope”, noting that “He did not have a lot of answers.” His colleague, commentator Steve Hayes, called the president “simply dishonest."
Anyone watching and listening would have come to the same conclusion.
The interview showed a man who discovered that the sheer power of the office of president and the automatic respect it engenders was not enough to protect him from an intense and long overdue grilling.
The particulars of a plan—-which he refused to discuss—-would dramatically change the relationship of every American to their physician and the ability of their physician to prescribe the procedures necessary to overcome an illness or injury.
To casually explain a vote on Obamacare as “the right thing to do” looked and sounded lame.
The vast majority of Americans of all political persuasions want this bill killed. Obama is spectacularly indifferent to public opinion.
Even Fox commentator, Juan Williams, a liberal voice, noted that the failure to get his healthcare “reform” bill passed would leave Obama “mortally damaged” as the leader of the Democrat Party and as president in general.
The simple fact is that, from the day he entered the office, Obama has damaged his credibility and confidence in his judgment. In just over a year he has gone from polling around 70% approval of his performance in office to the mid-40% percentile and it just keeps getting worse.
The interview may, indeed, turn out to be a turning point because, if I was a member of the House of Representatives, a Democrat, and up for reelection in November, I would conclude that this president was not worth following off the cliff.
© Alan Caruba, 2010