Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Bad Future for Everyone

By Alan Caruba

Every so often it’s a good idea to take stock of the threats facing the modern world. Any student of history will know that this analysis is going to be grim. Take a deep breath and read this for a few minutes. After that, you may need a stiff drink!

I have this theory that the world goes mad every twenty to fifty years, forgets what the devastation of war does to nations and the lives of those who want nothing to do with war.

It has been sixty-five years since the end of the last world war, fought in Europe, Russia, and in the Far East, China, the Philippines, Pacific islands, and against Japan. Much of the world lay in wreckage, millions were dead.

After that the U.S. spent a total of twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, in Vietnam, followed now by nine years in Afghanistan, and seven years in Iraq, not counting an earlier invasion to drive Saddam out of Kuwait.

Though the scale was small, war came to the American homeland with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York at a cost of nearly 3,000 lives along with the attack on the Pentagon. There have been smaller terrorist attacks since.

In the combined military services, the U.S. has over 1.4 million men and women under arms. The United States of America maintains some 700 bases around the world. We are the sole guarantor of any measure of peace, of any resistance to tyranny.

The single greatest threat to freedom worldwide is the resurgence of militant Islam. More than a billion people are Muslims, but the locus of the attack on industrialized, modern nations has been the Middle East, a region of the world that remains trapped in this seventh century retrograde religion. If successful, it could drag the world back to a new version of the Dark Ages when humanity will be oppressed by a faith based on the hatred of all other faiths.

Trying to accommodate Islam is an invitation for conquest. It has a history of building mosques over or near the holiest sites of older faiths.

The environmental movement took shape in the late 1960s and, from around the late 1980s, the greatest “scientific” fraud ever perpetrated, global warming, was launched by the United Nations and maintained through a huge propaganda program and, as often as not, by various national leaders, including our own.

Billions were allocated to research and other responses to this non-event. The planet was not in the throes of a sudden and dramatic warming, nor is there any need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For the past decade, the planet has been steadily cooling.

The rise of the United Nations following World War Two has been a ceaseless quest for control over the world’s population. The UN has never successfully deterred any war, large or small. It seeks to undermine the individual sovereignty of nations. It is a cesspool of corruption and deception.

The other major threat has been the specter of communism that gained momentum at the beginning of the last century, primarily in the former Soviet Union, thereafter spreading to China and other nations. It takes the form of socialism in many nations, including our own. As an economic system, it is a total failure. It engenders huge governmental apparatus, centralized planning, and attacks on the ownership of private property. It destroys innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.

There is, too, the prospect of the growth of the Earth’s population to eight billion by 2050. It will be coupled with the demand for more sources of energy, oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear. The Earth’s resources may or may not be finite, but the stresses this will put on nations as they compete for what does exist are seen in the bizarre refusal of successive U.S. administrations to open its own huge reserves of coal and oil for extraction and use.

Yet another factor is the stress on the global banking community. The potential failure of nations like Greece, Spain, Italy and others have put huge strains on other nations that are, in one way or another, invested in them. These troubled nations have two things in common, aggressive unions and socialism. The huge debt of the United States, now at $13 trillion, surpassing our annual gross domestic product, poses a threat to the entire world’s financial stability.

Population, financial stability, a militant religion, and energy all will place stress on the nations of the world in ways that have historically erupted in warfare.

Finally, there is something called the Grand Solar Minimum, a diminution of radiation from the Sun that is likely to precede a new ice age. Since the period between ice ages is generally 11,500 years we are at the very end of the current interglacial period.

To put that in context, we and the rest of humanity are living in the period in which the human race created what we call civilizations.

Dennis Avery. a scientist with the Hudson Institute, notes that “Humans have known for 400 years—since Galileo—that sunspots correlate with climate changes on earth. A startling lack of sunspots predicted both the coldest periods of the Little Ice Age, the Sporer Minimum that begin in 1460, and the Maunder Minimum which began in 1645. More recently the Dalton Minimum predicted the severe cold of the early 1800s.”

These factors all portend a very bad future for the whole of the Earth’s population no matter where they live, what they believe, or how they behave.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

The Protest the Media Ignored

On June 16th in downtown New York, close to "Ground Zero" where the Twin Towers once stood, a protest attended by an estimated 5,000 people went virtually unreported by the New York and national media.

Here are just two photos from the event.

The proposal to build a huge mosque within walking distance of Ground Zero is an insult to all Americans.

Some things cannot and should not be tolerated.

-- Alan Caruba

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Old Girl's Club

By Alan Caruba

I would be more depressed regarding the nomination of Elena Kagan to be a Supreme Court Justice were it not for George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Myers. That caused such a firestorm of rebuke that she withdrew herself from consideration. The same should be done for the ideologue that Obama has nominated, but it won’t.

Kagan, like Obama, salivates over having the power to change the history of the nation, tilting it toward the same failed socialism that collapsed the former Soviet Union, has been abandoned by the People’s Republic of China, and has brought a number of European nations to the doorstep of bankruptcy and default. No matter what form or modification of socialism has been tried, it has failed.

Watching the dumpy Ms. Kagan lie through her teeth saying her personal politics won’t influence her decisions is nauseating. Her rise through the ranks of academia and public service has all been due to how she politically positioned herself through life to get to this point.

It is a confluence of events and personalities such as history always throws up—-usually at the worst possible time.

America was blessed by some of the finest minds of their time when the Founders gathered in Philadelphia to write a Constitution. We were blessed by men of determination and vision like Lincoln and Reagan as just the right time in our history. In between those times, the tendency was to fall back into bad habits of thinking and doing things.

Kagan has a rather pedantic resume. There are surely a hundred or a thousand more attorneys who have demonstrated their knowledge and mastery of the law in a fashion superior to her. She has never been a judge. She has no substantial trial experience though, as Soliciter General, she has argued before the Supreme Court.

Little wonder, the former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago thinks she should be on the Supreme Court. They share a similar lack of real achievement in life by comparison with those who have built or managed companies, fought in wars, or excelled in the sciences or arts.

What they do share is an extreme, progressive outlook, filled with a hatred for guns, corporations, Wall Street, a bizarre desire to let homosexuals marry, and an admiration for all things that are not American. She will join Justice Sonia Sotomayor, another Obama choice, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a Clinton choice, as the Supreme Court begins to looks increasingly like an old girl’s club.

Americans know they have literally trapped themselves into this situation and, until control of the Congress can pass from the Democrats to the Republicans, they are helpless to influence or to stop these egregious “changes” in our nation’s affairs.

Short of some damaging revelation, the Senate will confirm Ms. Kagan and she will serve on the Supreme Court for decades. Contrary to popular myth, the Court has made some horrendously bad decisions in the past. One would hope that the Senate Republicans would mount a filibuster to save the nation from this, but that too is not likely to happen.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Global Warming: Summer Edition Only

Bryd, Blago and Barack

By Alan Caruba

The long history of the nation is filled with examples of stupid and greedy politicians. The very profession seems to be a magnet for those who are, too often, ill equipped to function well in any other capacity. There are, of course, exceptions.

The death of Robert C. Byrd will be concluded with the ceremonies attendant to someone who should have left the Senate decades ago due to extreme age. Would any State trust its care to a man who, by the time he died, was so impaired that watching him in his final days in the Senate was an embarrassment of befuddlement. The answer is yes.

Byrd will be hailed a great statesmen, the embodiment of the Senate, and other encomiums, but the fact is that he mastered the rules of the Senate and achieved his stature by being reelected enough to have seniority over everyone and everything there including the chamber’s furniture.

Over the years Byrd managed to transfer an estimated $3 billion to the State of West Virginia. It is filled with some fifty highways, bridges, and every other manner of public structure, all named for Robert C. Byrd and even a few for his wife, Emma. For keeping him in office, West Virginia got back $1.75 for every $1 it sent to the U.S. treasury.

There will be brief references to his former membership in the KKK, but little mention of a voting record that resisted equal rights and justice for black Americans. For as long as he could, Byrd held out until the tide turned. To the end, he was a racist, the only senator to vote against the confirmations of both Justice Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

Byrd, however, was not intellectually deficient, a common factor among too many elected to high office. It is one thing to be able to raise campaign funds and make promises and quite another to have actually read a book since having left high school or college. He could quote the ancient Romans and classic literature. His greatest redeeming factor was, we’re told, his devotion to the U.S. Constitution.

In Chicago, a trial is unfolding in which the former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is alleged to have improperly used his office to benefit himself from the appointment of a replacement for Barack Obama, formerly a Senator and, at the time, President-elect of the United States.

Illinois has put several former Governors in jail for various crimes, but I am inclined to believe that Blago is guilty mostly of stupidity and cupidity. As far as I can discern, putting a public official in jail for that is a stretch. Were that the case, Nancy Pelosi and most of the California delegation in Congress would be wearing stripes.

As Jeff Coen and Bob Secter, reporters for the Chicago Tribune, wrote on June 27, “At times, there’s a kid-in-the-candy-store flavor to the wish lists that Rod Blagojevich rattles off in the wiretaps played at his corruption trial. A very frustrated kid in a store with shelves that leave things mostly out of his reach.”

“Blagojevich wants to be ambassador to India, ore maybe Indonesia. Or how about the United Nations? The list goes on: a cabinet post such as health and human services secretary or commerce secretary, university professor, political action committee director, advocacy group head, leader of a nonprofit. Maybe, he said, he would just appoint himself to the vacancy in the U.S. Senate that he’s now accused of essentially trying to sell to the highest bidder.”

Blago even tossed out Oprah Winfrey’s name at one point. His political advisor, now a state’s witness, tried to steer him toward any kind of rational, reasonable choice, even in the context of Chicago’s and Illinois’ Byzantine political circus.

The White House, through Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, is implicated insofar as various candidates for the vacancy were run by those most seriously involved in the selection process. The president was kept informed. There is nothing unusual in this.

Indeed, unless someone can be proved to have delivered a suitcase of cash to Blago, what is unfolding in the course of the trial is the sheer banality of the process. No one, including the federal prosecutor looks particularly angelic and free of sin.

What is most striking is that Blago actually believed he was capable of performing the duties of the positions he yearned for. He is a totally vacuous, foul-mouthed egotist with few redeeming qualities, but that is not a crime.

It is, however, an indictment of the voters who elected him and the Chicago machine that exploited their indifference to Blago’s obvious deficiencies. This reflects the growing apprehension regarding Chicago’s gift to America, Barack Obama.

If Blago was a big frog in a small pond, Obama is the biggest frog in the biggest pond there is. It has taken barely a year and a half in office for voters to realize they have voted a man into the White House who has no real capacity, nor competence to be President.

Byrd, Blago and Barack. They offer us the ugliest aspect of politics in America and each was elected by people who should have known better, but didn’t care enough, voting robotically as Democrats or for whatever other reason they had for pulling the lever.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oh, Happy Graduate!

By Alan Caruba

Life was much simpler for a young man graduating in the late 1950s. If he was classified 1-A in the Draft, he could look forward to two years in the military before even contemplating a career.

I had acquired a head full of Arts and Sciences mush over four wonderful years at the University of Miami (FL). It was still a comparatively young institution at the time and, if you had a pulse, you were guaranteed acceptance. There were lots of palm trees, dinner dances, a colorful collection of faculty, and even classes to attend if you were actually inclined to learn anything.

I noticed that almost nothing I had learned had any application to the real world beyond the edges of the campus. The U.S. Army did not care. They found in me a splendid specimen of young manhood they could fashion into a fearsome warrior. But first I had to learn how to make my bed, fold my t-shirts, march, and, best of all, to shoot an M-1, handheld, gas-operated, clip-fed, semi-automatic rifle.

It never crossed my mind that I might actually have to go to war somewhere and, lucky me, I never did. My departure from the U.S. Army was delayed by an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between President Kennedy and Russian Premier Nikita Krushchev over some missiles in Cuba. As soon as they were removed I was informed I could go home.

My first job was with a human relations organization that sent me back to my beloved Miami, but by the time Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, I concluded that I had no interest in such matters. Returning home I was fortunate enough to be employed by a weekly newspaper, whereupon my real education began.

Suffice to say that jobs were plentiful in the 1960s. The nation was going to send a man to the Moon, the music was great, few had even heard of Vietnam until Lyndon B. Johnson decided to ratchet up a full-blown war there. He was also busy with a “War on Poverty” that did nothing to relieve poverty, but put a lot of lazy people on the dole, ensuring Democrat votes. That’s how it was done then. That’s how it’s done now.

I can’t imagine what it is like to be a twenty-year-old graduating from a college or university these days. They are emerging into the Great Recession and the job scene is grim.

According to a recent ABC News report, “The unemployment rate among young Americans, age 16 to 24, now stands at 18.9 percent. And while that number includes workers with only high school diplomas—-who have a hard time finding work even in good times-—there’s no getting around the mountainous challenge it represents.”

CNN reports that “This year has been extremely rough. New college graduates had forty percent fewer job prospects, a new report shows. And the outlook for 2010, while better, is still not promising.”

This is reporter-talk for ‘I have no idea what I am writing about and thank heavens for anonymous reports!’ He dutifully noted that, “Overall, hiring of grads with any degree will decline by two percent, compared to 2009.” Blah, blah, blah.

Truth be told, those with accounting, business administration, management or—-better yet—-computer-related and engineering degrees, are going to be in a stronger position to grab that first job. If you’ve graduated with a degree in statistics, you are golden!

The word on the street is that, if the newly minted graduate has had any kind of working experience, he or she is one up on those who have none. Employers are also seeking good communication and writing skills. The theory, it seems, is that you pretty much can be trained to do anything.

Also expect to be rejected. A lot! Be wary, too, of internships. Remember, everyone else in the office is getting PAID. If you get offered a JOB, take it. A better one is probably not waiting despite your extraordinary resume or unless you graduated summa cum laude.

No doubt recent graduates will get gobs of advice on how to dress, what to say, and how to make a good first impression. They’re not hiring your attire. Employers want to know you really, really, really want to work hard for them!

Lastly, start reading The Wall Street Journal and watching Fox Business News or some comparable business channel. Soon enough you will begin to connect the dots.

You may even figure out that the great leaders of our nation and the world haven’t a clue what they are doing, are in charge of hopelessly bloated engines of government, and are reluctant to get out of the way so that people who actually work for a living can get the economy going again.

That’s why so many nations are broke. That’s why there’s a Great Recession.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Addicted to Spending

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barack Obama: A Bill of Indictment

By Alan Caruba

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All those with business before the court of public opinion will draw near. A bill of indictment has been issued for Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America. It is a call for justice from the people of the United States who allege that he is engaged in the destruction of their nation.

For the court’s consideration, it is alleged:

That he secured the office of President by falsely stating he is a natural born citizen of the United States without providing irrefutable documentation and witnesses thereof,

That he associated with persons known and unknown to hold anti-American views antithetical to the conduct of his office, to include a convicted felon, an unrepentant former domestic terrorist, among too many others to innumerate,

That he has created an unaccountable level of governmental policy-making with the largest expansion of presidential advisors, “czars”, in the history of the executive branch,

That, while in his first six months, he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia and Emperor of Japan, an act that contradicts the primacy of the office of the U.S. presidency,

That, in contradiction to his sworn duty to protect the nation, he announced the termination of the U.S. space defense system the day after North Korea launched an ICBM,

That he ordered the release of memos regarding the interrogation of terrorists interned in U.S. facilities at Guantanamo, making known to the Islamist enemies of the nation the manner of their interrogation,

That he appointed as Secretary of Homeland Security, an individual who ordered that the word “terrorism” be replaced by the term, “man made disasters,”

That, during his first six months in office, he doubled the U.S. national debt, currently at an unsustainable level, threatening the value of the U.S. dollar,

That he signed into law a “stimulus” bill, the bulk of whose funds were allocated to government employee unions under the guise of generating millions of new jobs in the private sector,

That he signed into law a “Troubled Asset Relief Program” that, contrary to the Constitution, promoted short term private benefit, rather than the general welfare, while evading the constitutional requirement of equal protection, saving some businesses while letting others expire,

That he by-passed the established legal process of bankruptcy to seize control of General Motors and Chrysler auto manufacturers, benefiting unions to the loss of creditors,

That, in collusion with the majority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate, he initiated and engineered the passage of legislation that nationalized the healthcare industry despite overwhelming opposition by the American People,

That he has participated in national and international conferences to advocate the discredited theory of global warming and continues to advance Cap-and-Trade legislation based on it; a massive tax on energy use that will undermine the recovery of the economy,

That he has failed to protect the United States by failing to secure its southern border with Mexico and is threatening to take legal action against Arizona, a sovereign State that has passed legislation in lieu of that failure,

That he has consistently advocated “global government” over the sovereignty of the United States,

That he declared his intention to “bankrupt” the coal industry, responsible for one half of the electricity generated to serve the needs of Americans,

That he failed to take immediate and effective action to deter widespread ecological and economic damage to States bordering the Gulf of Mexico following an accident on a BP deepwater oil rig, including a “moratorium” on oil drilling that threw thousands out of work,

That he continues to advocate “a clean energy future” when such energy, solar and wind, exist only because of government subsidies and mandates, are a dangerously unpredictable source of electricity, and produce less than three percent of the electricity generated nationwide,

That two private investigators have asserted he is using a Social Security number set aside for applicants in Connecticut while there is no record he ever had a mailing address in that State and that the number was issued between 1977 and 1979. Obama’s earliest employment reportedly was in 1975 at a Baskin-Robbins in Oahu, Hawaii,

And, for these and other hidden records regarding his birth, his overseas travel to Pakistan, college records, medical records, and other means of verifying a legitimate claim to hold the office of the President,

We, the People of the United States of America demand that impeachment proceedings be initiated or that cases pending before the courts be adjudicated at the earliest possible time to prevent further damage to the economy and security of the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Make a Bad Problem Worse

When Idiots Join Hands

By Alan Caruba

After the June 23 Cabinet meeting, President Obama said:

“We talked about energy. In the context of the oil spill, as I said last week during my Oval Office address, this has to be a wakeup call to the country that we are prepared and ready to move forward on a new energy strategy that the American people desperately want but for which there has been insufficient political will.”

“It is time for us to move to a clean energy future.”

First, let it be said that the American people do not desperately want “a new energy strategy.” They did not want Obamacare. They do not want Cap-and-Trade. They do not want amnesty for an estimated ten to twenty million illegal aliens.

Along with the totally discredited global warming hoax, this has got to be the biggest lie Obama keeps repeating, along with promises of thousands of “green jobs.”

What is Clean Energy?

Obama is referring to solar and wind energy. Neither of these enterprises would last longer than an episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” were it not for the billions of taxpayer’s dollars provided as subsidies to producers who, once the subsidies end, will abandon these most useless of all ways to generate electricity.

When the government mandates that part of the electricity you purchase must be supplied by wind or solar, they are forcing utilities to invest in means of generation that must always be backed up by coal-fired, natural gas, hydroelectric, or nuclear plants. Neither wind, nor solar can be depended upon to produce sufficient electricity, particularly during times of peak uses.

When you see those windmills turning even when there is no wind, there is a plant somewhere providing them with electricity because, unless they constantly turn, their mechanisms famously break down. Solar farms are even less efficient, particularly since the sun does not shine all the time and cloud cover often reduces their capacity.

This, however, will not deter the hoped-for thousands of people who will turn out on Saturday, June 26, to participate in some 700 events across the nation and, we’re told, worldwide in a mega-event called “Hands Across the Sand.” It is intended to encourage more “clean energy.”

“This simple, but powerful human expression of unity will send a clear message to our leaders that more offshore drilling is not the answer and now is the time to create our clean energy future,” said event founder, David Rauschkolb, described as a restaurant owner in Seaside, Florida.

That’s who we want making energy policy, a restaurant owner!

Among the sponsors of the event are Audubon, the Alaska Wilderness League, the Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Day Network, Endangered Species Coalition, Energy Action Coalition, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace,, Ocean Conservancy, Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club.

In other words, the most mendacious environmental groups, all devoted to impeding the development and access to the huge quantities of energy needed to maintain industry, agriculture, and an economy that, despite their constant interference and obstruction, is still the world’s leader in value of goods produced.

To them, the Gulf oil spill is the best thing that ever happened. One well out of hundreds in the Gulf of Mexico has suffered a horrible failure, but these are the people who want to shut down all of them despite a fifty-year history of safety.

No doubt the mainstream media will have a field day showing us coverage of countless idiots holding hands on beaches, near waterways, and wherever else they will gather in the name of not having any gasoline to fill the tanks of the cars that brought them there, not having the electricity to power the air conditioners in their homes, not having anything made from plastic, not even having asphalt on the highways and streets they will drive upon after the event.

It is not likely to occur to any of them that deepwater oil wells are the result of the bans environmental organizations continue to demand as they oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or anywhere along the 85% of U.S. coastal areas where huge amounts of untapped oil and natural gas exist.

This nation faces many hazards, but the greatest hazard of all is a President who wants to pass the biggest tax in U.S. history, Cap-and-Trade, on energy use. It is not a climate bill. It is not a jobs bill.

It is just another scheme based on the fraud of reducing so-called greenhouse gas emissions. The Earth produces 97% of these emissions. They are a part of the atmosphere of the Earth, albeit the atmosphere is almost entirely composed of oxygen and nitrogen. It is best understood as primarily water vapor!

The cartoon character, Pogo, famously said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” You can watch them join hands on Saturday and demand a return to the Dark Ages.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our New, New Strategy in Afghanistan

The UN's New Scams

By Alan Caruba

In “Act of Creation”, a 2003 book by Stephen C. Schlesinger tells the story of how the United Nations was established.. At one point he writes that “The first person of any importance noted was Alger Hiss, the acting secretary general of the United Nations, originally appointed to that post on the recommendation of President Roosevelt and Secretary Stetinius.”

Hiss would later be revealed to be a communist agent of the Soviet Union, one of many in the Roosevelt administration. In 1950 Hiss went to jail for perjury, denying his guilt to the end.

All this and more became known with the publication of the Venona documents, a record of secret communications with Soviet spymasters that had been intercepted by U.S. counterintelligence during World War Two.

I cite this so you will understand that Roosevelt’s pet project, the founding of a new international organization, was largely shaped by communists within his administration. A previous effort, the League of Nations, advocated by President Woodrow Wilson after World War One, failed to deter World War Two.

The UN, through its International Atomic Energy Agency, has provided cover and time for Iran to create nuclear weapons, thus setting in motion a war that defies imagination.

A Global Government

Since its beginning, the United Nations has been all about establishing a global government. The inroads against individual national sovereignty have never ceased, pieced together in a fabric of international treaties that, in the case of the U.S., supercede our Constitution when signed.

Since its creation, it has vastly increased its authority through a whole series of agencies devoted to the environment, health, refugees, the seas, urbanization, and a host of other issues. A treaty about the world’s seas limits military action, mining rights, and other aspects of international law that Americans take for granted. It is waiting on approval in the U.S. Senate.

The U.N.’s Small Arms Treaty would nullify the Constitution’s Second Amendment right of citizens to bear arms while prohibiting firearm and ammunition manufacturers from selling to the public, any transfer of firearm ownership, and require U.S. citizens to deliver any firearm they own to the local government for collection and destruction.

In the last century governments worldwide have been responsible for the murder of an estimated 262 million of their citizens even when some had small arms. Most, however, were defenseless.

Most Americans are by now familiar with the UN’s Environmental Program that has been at the heart of the “global warming” hoax. It was based entirely on falsified computer models whose primary source was the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain and even U.S. government agencies such as NOAA.

In November 2009, thousands of leaked emails between the CRU and fellow conspirators in the U.S. revealed that they were doing everything in their power to prevent the release of their data bases while also denying the publication of data that debunked their machinations in formerly respected science journals.

Biodiversity, the New Scare

Seeing the collapse of “global warming” as an instrument to destroy industrialization by claiming the Earth was threatened by carbon dioxide emissions (a gas that is essential to the growth of all vegetation on the planet), the environmental conspirators in the UN have come up with a new global scare campaign; the claim that species and forests, et cetera, are disappearing so fast that the case for saving them is “more powerful than climate change.”

Elements of the UN report were made known on its annual International Day for Biodiversity in May. In a Washington Times commentary, E. Calvin Beisner identified this as a “familiar green tactic known as ‘science by press release.’” The thrust of this new global scam is an attack on the global economic system in order to put it under the control of the United Nations.

Get ready to hear from every direction that the rate of species extinction is now anywhere from one thousand to ten thousand times faster than ever before and, like “climate change” it is going to be blamed on human beings and their evil economic system. It will, of course, be based on computer models!

The United States has already fallen prey to the bogus “endangered species” racket, having passed a law in 1973 to protect them. Its true purpose is to stop any development, any agricultural activity, and any access to energy resources.

The Endangered Species Act is the reason the federal government now routinely shuts off irrigation water to farmers, ruining their farms and lives while driving up the cost of the crops they would otherwise be providing.

It is a splendid way for environmentalists to undermine the nation’s economy and security.

The United Nations has proven to be, not merely a huge failure regarding its mission to end war, but an international institution that has long since metastasized into a relentless quest for global government and, with it, the subjugation of humanity.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Rolling Stone subscribers

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Democrats Attack the First Amendment with the Disclose Act

By Alan Caruba

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lately taken to saying that the failure to pass the Cap-and-Trade Act would be “immoral.”

I suggest that the White House and the Democrat congressional leadership and members haven’t a clue when it comes to determining the morality of anything. They are so politically corrupt that they are oblivious to what everyone sees in their behavior. Only such people could pass the Healthcare Act in the face of massive opposition by the American people.

Only Speaker Pelosi could actually say that it was okay to pass the bill first and then find out what it contained. This is so utterly contemptuous of the American people that I cannot think offhand of anything comparable. No, wait, the so-called Stimulus Act, more than a thousand pages of pure political pork, was comparable.

As this is written, the Associated Press is reporting that “Sales of new homes collapsed in May, sinking 33 percent to the lowest level on record as potential buyers stopped shopping for homes once they could no longer receive government tax credits.” Unemployment officially remains around 9.7%, but the reality is more likely closer to 12% or 14%.

Given the personalities involved, the moral rot in the White House arrived with the President and metastasized as he added an entire layer of “advisors”, quickly dubbed “czars”, to the official stooges he had selected as the Secretaries of various departments. Even to the casual observer it was obvious that they were mostly academics, people with no experience relative to the nation’s economic realities.

Those realities had included a financial crisis that had been set in motion by the government’s increasing intrusion into the home mortgage market. At no time since, however, has there been any notice taken of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac except to seize them in order to staunch some of the financial bleeding.

On Thursday, June 24, the “Disclose Act” (H.R. 5175) is likely to be voted upon despite the fact that it is manifestly unconstitutional on its face. Its purpose is to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in January, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that made it clear that corporations, unions, and non-profits like the Tea Party groups, free market advocates, and conservative groups are free to use their funds to express themselves in the run-up to the November elections.

It’s called freedom of speech!

The intent is to saddle groups likely to oppose Democrat Party candidates and issues with so much paperwork that it in effect silences them and deprives them of their First Amendment rights.

In the same fashion that votes were bought for the passage of the Healthcare Act, groups like the National Rifle Association were offered exemption from the Disclose Act in exchange for not opposing it. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “There are 100,000…organizations who as a result of that negotiation hve just been tossed overboard and silence.”

The Disclose Act is unconstitutional, immoral, and testimony to the corruption of the Capitol Hill Democrat politicians setting the national agenda while selling out Americans in their quest to stay in power.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

New Jersey Rocks!

By Alan Caruba

Years ago when I was planning to sell my home in Maplewood, New Jersey, my older brother invited me down to Boynton Beach, Florida. In the latter part of the 1950s I had spent four years in Florida attending and graduating from the University of Miami.

Florida’s a nice State, but when I walked out of the Palm Beach Airport, I was hit by a wall of heat and for three brutal days big brother shlepped me around to various places until I could at last escape back to my beloved Garden State.

I moved one town over to a fancy new apartment complex that has a concierge, a business center, a fitness and health club, a big outdoor pool, and I can walk three minutes to the railroad station for a thirty-minute ride into downtown New York. That was six years ago.

I cite all this to say that I have roots in New Jersey. My parents were born here. The seasons come and go without any signs of a hurricane, a tornado, mud slides or giant forest fires. We have, in some spots, the occasional flood, but they are rare. Blizzards are of little concern because the snow in cleared from the highways and streets within twenty minutes because we know how to do blizzards here.

New Jersey is attracting a lot of attention lately thanks to our new Governor, Chris Christie, a Republican and a conservative. He has become an instant media star for telling people the truth. He has flummoxed one of the worst, Democrat-controlled legislatures to be found anywhere other than California. He’s a tax-cutter and loves to fight with the teacher’s union. Best of all, Christie’s fat and he doesn’t count calories.

This testimonial for New Jersey is occasioned by all the buzz about the television show, “The Shore”, featuring some of the dumbest youngsters to be found anywhere. Before that, there was “The Sopranos” with its ode to the Mafia.

Years ago, when I used to actually get paid to write, Public Service Electric and Gas hired me to write a promotional booklet about New Jersey. Though I had been a journalist, having been the editor of two weeklies, a reporter and columnist for a daily, I was astonished at the information I gathered to sing New Jersey’s praises.

Let me share a few facts. New Jersey was settled by the Dutch in 1618. By 1702 it was a British colony. Perhaps as an insight to the combativeness that is indigenous to New Jersey, more than a hundred Revolutionary War battles were fought here! It was the third State to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University before becoming a U.S. President.

New Jersey is home to one of the busiest seaports in the nation and tons of goods are transported by truck to every other State from here. It is a major State for the pharmaceuticals industry and for chemical production. It is home to the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East. The incandescent light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture industry were invented in New Jersey by Thomas Edison.

There are more than fifty resort cities and towns here. Florida is currently advertising to remind tourists of its long coastline and beaches, but New Jersey has more than fifty resort towns. Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.

Talent? New Jersey was home to Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi, Queen Latiffa, Jason Alexander, and a lot of other folks who grew up here.

We also have some of the highest taxes in the nation. And we’re broke. Big deal. So are most of the other States, plus the federal government. But we have suburbs to kill for with beautiful tree-lined streets with homes that are picture-postcard perfect.

I could go on, but I hope that the next time you see or hear something unkind about New Jersey you will also be reminded that it’s a very nice place in which to grow up and grow old.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle, Four Star General

By Alan Caruba

Max Boot, posting on Commentary’s online site, was apoplectic about the Rolling Stone article that has the four-star General Stanley McChrystal on the carpet, mostly for things his aides said.

“What on earth was McChrystal thinking, one wonders,” wrote Boot, “when he decided to grant so much access to an anti-war reporter from an anti-war magazine? Michael Hasting’s animus against the war shines through every inch of his article.”

What, indeed! The Pentagon public relations consultant who arranged for the article, Duncan Boothby, immediately resigned, despite the fact that he was well respected for his work. Boothby served Gen. David Petraeus during the Iraqi surge that ultimately turned the tide of the war there. The writing, however, was on the wall. Boothby made a quick exist.

Just about everyone involved in Afghanistan, the ambassador, et cetera, knows it is a bad assignment. The fact that Gen. McChrystal signed off on the article may be one more way he has tried to convey his frustration. When you have “rules of engagement” that are likely to get soldiers killed, conducting a war is uglier than usual.

Some heads will roll, but there is already a great deal of speculation about the general’s fate. Given a withdrawal date of July 2011, replacing him might prove a worse choice than returning him to the field, chastened and determined to shoot more journalists than Taliban.

Modern wars are conducted as much by maintaining public support as by defeating the enemy. This is a lesson learned in Vietnam. Perhaps the most curious aspect of the war in Afghanistan, now the longest war ever fought by the United States, is the total absence of public protests. This may reflect the fact that it began with the attack on the homeland on 9/11.

Gen. McChrystal was born into a military family in 1954. He graduated from West Point in 1976 and distinguished himself in various conventional and special operations posts. He assumed command of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in September 2003. Under his command, the JSOC forces captured Saddam Hussein and killed the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The military is a meritocracy. You don’t move up through the ranks by failing. That said, it is like all big organizations. You need to function well politically within it and at the highest levels you have to be attuned to the internal and external events, issues, and personalities involved.

I suspect that the leaders of the U.S. military were less than thrilled when Barack Obama replaced a war-time president, George W. Bush, who trusted them and their judgments. Obama has zero experience regarding military affairs.

Unlike most previous presidents, he never served a day in the military. The only uniform he ever wore was that of an Indonesian Boy Scout. He campaigned saying that the war in Iraq was a mistake, but that the war in Afghanistan was the “real” one. He’s spent his first year and a half in office blaming everything on Bush.

When Gen. McChrystal wrote, “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse the insurgent momentum in the new year…risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible,” he was telling the truth, but not one that Obama wanted to hear. “Additional forces are required.” Obama took him to task for his blunt assessment.

The president spent three months consulting with his military advisors before deciding to provide 30,000 additional troops. He did so, however, with a pledge to start withdrawing them in July 2011. This is not how a nation wins wars. Graduates of West Point are not taught how to lose wars.

Gen, McChrystal has since apologized to everyone from the President to the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and anyone else available. Secretary Gates said in a statement that he had exercised “poor judgment”, but it was a Pentagon PR consultant that arranged for a Rolling Stone journalist to spend time with the general. That’s poor judgment.

My guess is that Gen. McChrystal knows that his “real” job in Afghanistan was to wind down the war there with some appearance of success in a no-win situation. He probably shares the view of the top military that Obama was and is a bad choice for the job of Commander-in-Chief, but he is a soldier and his job is to follow orders.

He’s going to take a beating for the Rolling Stones’ article. Max Boot is right. It was a very bad public relations decision. It literally gave aid and comfort to the enemy. What it revealed, though, is less about Gen. McChrystal and more about a president who has demonstrated that an extreme leftist domestic agenda has always had more priority than a shooting war in which real soldiers are wounded and die.

Editor's Note: 6/23/10 -- The White House announced that Gen. McCrystal had been relieved of his command and replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

The Dear Leader

Bring Back Prohibition!

By Alan Caruba

That’s right. Bring back Prohibition. It was such a success, right? Oh sure, it led to the development of organized crime, everyone ignored it, and it took a Constitutional amendment to get rid of it, but it did save so many from the evils of demon rum—not!

Taxes on things people enjoy are generally called “sin” taxes. They are an easy way to raise revenue and politicians who break most of the Ten Commandments love to impose them.

I would love to see Congress try to pass a massive tax on chocolate. How long do you think it would take for a Chocolate Tea Party to get organized, on buses, and down to the Capitol steps wielding pitchforks?

But wait, eating chocolate in any shape, manner or form has health implications. At a time when we are all being hectored for being too fat, chocolate is a major contributor to that trend. It’s said to give the younger set zits and, of course, it runs up their dentist bills like crazy. Never mind that it tastes good! It’s bad for you and should be taxed and taxed and then taxed some more!

This is, of course, the “reasoning” behind the long campaign to stamp out smoking in America. It is, we’re told, “for your own good.” If we had to give up everything we enjoy for our own good, we’d—all together now—bring back Prohibition!

Before I continue, in the interest of full disclosure, I smoke cigars. I have smoked them since I was in my twenties and I am now in my seventies. My father, who passed away in his early nineties, smoked a pipe from his youth. Second-hand smoke had no apparent affect on my mother who passed away at age 98.

The “science” behind second-hand smoke is the typical bogus exaggeration that got DDT banned. Since 1972, malaria has claimed the lives of an estimated forty million people worldwide.

To punish smokers because there are some diseases associated with it is manifestly unfair when one considers that over-eating can be just as hazardous to one’s health and, of course, drinking too much is a major cause of death.

Just about anything one does to excess can be harmful. The real question is whether the government has any mandate to interfere with personal lifestyle decisions. The answer is, it doesn’t.

It is smokers who are routinely punished financially for the enjoyment of cigars, cigarettes or pipe tobacco. It used to cost me around $140 a month for two boxes of Casa Blanca’s, hand-rolled cigars from the Dominican Republic. It now costs over $200 a month. That’s obscene.

Only government could get away with forcing up the price in that matter. These days it is intended to close the gap in bloated state budgets. In New York State, the latest tax proposal on cigarettes would increase the cost to about $10 per pack!

The problem is that neither the federal, nor the state budgets ever seem to get smaller, leaner. The entire nation is on the brink of bankruptcy and, apparently, taxing smokers seems to be one of the preferred solutions.

With the exception of those states whose constitutions require balanced budgets, most of the fifty states are in such deep debt that the federal government must print money and send it to them in box cars to help pay for all the unfunded mandates that have been imposed on them, along with the cost of their contracts with civil service unions whose pensions and health care benefits dwarf those employed in the private sector.

There’s currently a House bill, H.R. 4439, the Tobacco Parity Act of 2010 that would raise taxes on pipe tobacco. It would raise it 775%!!!! The tax would increase from $2.83 per pound to $24.78 per pound! That, too, is obscene.

Prohibition demonstrated that, if you raise the price of a certain good or service beyond a certain point, people will find a way to procure it more cheaply. They will cross state lines, purchase over the Internet, or seek a black market outlet. One of the favorite ways of financing domestic terrorism that Islamists found has been trafficking in out-of-state cigarettes.

This is so manifestly nuts that it can only hasten the day when a Fair Tax, one based on purchases as opposed to income, must become the law of the land. Making life expensive for everyone who wants to smoke, drink or fill up their gas tank is surely going to reach a point of a massive blowback from taxpayers because it is manifestly unfair and unjust.

Here’s how irrational raising taxes on tobacco use is. The increased tax is supposed to reduce the number of smokers. Thus, we’re told, the raising of taxes is intended to reduce the number of people from whom the higher taxes can be squeezed. This is the same insane illogical thinking that justifies raising gasoline taxes in order, we’re told, to force people to use public transit.

It never happens. It is a fantasy. It is a modern form of the inquisition.

The only thing this deliberate injustice achieves is the destruction of any motivation to earn more or to invest one’s earnings. It exists to secure more revenue for government programs, giveaways, of which there is no end. It is a formula for the destruction of the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wheat is more than just a crop

By Alan Caruba

Long ago I was in a class studying history and a professor said something I never forgot. He said that no nation is more than two weeks away from revolution if it cannot feed its people.

We know, however, that dictatorships like the former Soviet Union used famine as a political weapon against the Ukraine, that China has experienced famines, and that North Korea barely manages to feed its people. Food is so essential to political control that all nations pay attention to its provision.

Perhaps no single crop is more essential than wheat. In the 1980s I traveled everywhere in the U.S. as a writer and often visited farmers, learning about what new techniques and products they were using to enhance crop yield. It gave me a lesson regarding the role of agriculture that this suburban New Jersey boy could never have acquired.

With a tip of the hat to Wheat Life, a publication of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, here’s a quick look at the role of wheat around the world. Though farmers represent only about two percent of America’s population, they produce an abundance of wheat and other crops, enough to feed all of us and to export internationally. They are a major contributor to the nation’s economy.

The share of the world’s wheat market in 2008 showed America’s dominance with 29%. This was followed by 14% from Russia and 12% from Australia.

A word of caution about any foods coming out of China; there have been too many cases of adulterated foods whether it was pet food, milk, or flour. One firm, Yuzhong Food Additive Company, has occasioned a flurry of warnings against doing business with it.

For years, self-anointed environmentalists have warned against the greatest advance in crop growth of modern times, those that have been genetically modified to withstand drought, fend off various insect pests, and increase vitamin A so children in nations where it is not naturally available can benefit. The Canada Wheat Board led the fight against GMO wheat, but has now recognized that a zero tolerance policy makes no sense.

Iceland was in the news when its unpronounceable volcano, Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, but scientists worry that another volcano, Katla, could erupt. It is considerably larger and could affect northern hemisphere farming. It erupted in 1918 and is estimated to be a hundred times larger than Katla. Scientists say it is overdue to erupt.

Saudi Arabia is a big importer of wheat because it does not have much arable land to grow it. It has announced that it plans to stop growing wheat in the spring of 2016 and that means US, Argentine, European, and Australian growers will benefit. In 2010-11, it is expected to import two million metric tons.

Iran, when it isn’t secretly trying to produce nuclear weapons and rule the entire Middle East, is a wheat producer and is expected to export two million metric tons to Oman, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates this year. Its wheat crop is expected to reach nine to twelve million tons. Connect the dots and you will see why its wheat crop influences the decisions of Gulf states.

Despite diplomatic and other differences we may have with Russia these days, Deere & Company, the iconic tractor and implement manufacturer, plans to expand its investment and operations there. Russia has nearly 9% of the world’s arable land, 20% of its forested land, and 8% of its fresh water. The Chairman of Deere says it has the potential of being one of the world’s major food-producing areas.

It doesn’t matter where you look on the globe of the world, wheat, the stuff of bread, cakes, pizzas, pasta, and just about anything you will eat today plays a significant and subtle role in the economies of nations. That means you can count on the governments of the world and its international institutions to always pay it close attention while meddling as much as they can.

With a population of more than six billion people, keeping them fed is fundamental to maintaining peace no matter what other threats exist.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Good Question

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BP and the Unmitigated Disaster

By Alan Caruba

The Gulf of Mexico could turn into a giant dead zone if some means cannot be found to staunch the flow of oil and toxic gases emerging from the damaged well beneath the Deepwater Horizon. Industry insiders who understand the engineering of wells are beginning to speak openly among themselves of an unmitigated disaster.

It is essential to understand that the oil business is like no other. Oil companies that drill too many dry holes go out of business. Oil is too often in places run by despots and gangsters that would make Hollywood villains seem tame by comparison. Oil companies must deal with them even at the risk they will renege on their promises; something they do a lot.

The oil business depends on technology that attempts to give geologists an idea of what is hidden way below the surface of the land or water. It often means having to team up with your competitors to finance an operation such as building a pipeline so both can move their crude oil to refineries.

Beyond that, oil companies do not set the price of oil. OPEC does not set the price of oil. Traders do that and they do it 24/7. You can lose money by not having enough oil and you can lose money from having too much oil that has to be stored until the price improves.

With the exception of a tanker spill in the 1980s, among the major oil companies ExxonMobil has an extraordinary record of safety. Its company ethos is such that decisions are made only after serious consideration and its emphasis has always been on managing to achieve the best results with the least amount of risk, primarily by paying attention to good practices. Its management is not flashy and does not seek the spotlight.

In contrast, British Petroleum has always been about risk and about cutting corners. Prior to CEO Tony Hayward who was pushed aside by its board of directors after two months of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP was largely a reflection of John Browne, an egotist who was driven to build the company through mergers and buy-outs. His interest in the engineering and technological aspects of the business was minimal.

As Tom Bowers, the author of “Oil: Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century”, put it, Browne’s “mantra of ‘more for less’ to boost BP’s share price was a poisoned chalice.”

The result was that BP routinely paid multi-million dollar fines for breaking U.S. environmental and safety laws, including admitting to outright fraud. No other oil company has a comparable record of safety violations. In two separate incidents prior to the Gulf oil rig explosion, 30 BP workers had been killed and more than 200 were seriously injured.

By skimping on safety a Texas City refinery explosion not only dealt a blow to BP’s reputation, but the estimated minimum cost in lost profits and compensation was calculated to be $4 billion. BP had decided to save money by not insuring the facility against the possibility of such an accident. By extension, it increased the public’s distrust of the oil industry.

In an article about its safety record, it was noted that Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics showed that BP “ran up 760 ‘egregious, willful’ safety violations,” while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and ExxonMobil had only one such citation.

Oil companies run their own trading operations and BP ran afoul of the law when it conspired to manipulate the propane gas market, ripping off $53 million from consumers who depended on it to heat their homes.

BP through its lobbyists and corporate representatives worked to influence Congress and reportedly played “a major role in drafting the Kerry-Lieberman bill”, the Cap-and-Trade Act currently waiting for a vote in the Senate. It is based on blatantly false "global warming science" and is a tax on energy use.

Under the leadership of John Browne, BP more than any other oil company, actively sought to re-brand itself from being an oil company to being an advocate for the environment, using an advertising motto, “Beyond petroleum” and supporting the fraudulent “global warming” hoax. With Browne at the helm, he promised that BP would invest $1 billion in solar energy by 2010 and invest $8 billion in alternative energies over ten years.

It did not, apparently, invest in the kind of engineering and inspection of rig construction that might have prevented the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. The event and previous explosions at its refineries were the result of years of an internal BP philosophy that focused on profits before safety. Whether it was accident prone refineries or corrosion in the Alaska pipeline, BP cut corners.

Even when Browne reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2008, he did everything in his power to avoid it. He had run out of support in the company he had built through his quest to be among the largest, if not the largest, oil company in the world. By then, however, it was too late to save BP from what, in hindsight, was an inevitable disaster.

Suffice it to say that everything that could go wrong following the Deepwater Horizon explosion has gone wrong. The oil industry has never been faced with an engineering failure of this magnitude.

For the creatures of the Gulf, it is an ecological disaster of biblical proportions. For the coastal states affected, it is an economic disaster that will rapidly eat through the $20 billion BP has pledged to set aside for remediation over the next five years. The losses to the nation as a whole are probably incalculable at this point.

Industry insiders believe that neither BP, nor the Obama administration, are telling the public the truth, nor the full ramifications of what will occur if the blowout preventer, all 450 tons of it, literally tips over deep below the waters of the Gulf.

“It won’t be long after that the entire system fails,” predicted a writer in Oil “BP must be aware of this. They are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our government must be aware too, but they are just not telling us.”

It is essential to keep in mind that this is a BP problem. It is not something for which the entire oil industry should be blamed. America runs on oil and, if the politicians will just get out of the way, we shall have it.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Putting a Cap on Obama's Blather

Friday, June 18, 2010

Saving a Sorry Congressman's A**

Here's an item from one of my favorite blogs, Stormbringer.


This post by Nathan Hodge showed up on - February 25, 2010

During yesterday’s Senate hearing on government oversight of security contractors, an interesting tidbit emerged. In his prepared testimony, Fred Roitz, executive vice president of contracts and chief sales officer for Xe (a.k.a. Blackwater), disclosed that his company, through its subsidiary Presidential Airways, evacuated a congressman from Niger during a recent military coup.

Turns out it was none other than Rep. Alan Grayson, the Florida Democrat who has made his reputation by going after military contractors. Irony alert! Grayson spokesman Todd Jurkowski confirmed that Grayson was spirited out of the country on a Xe helicopter, and offered this statement to Schulman: “The flight was arranged through the State Department...The congressman did not know, and frankly did not care, who owned the plane.”

How's that for gratitude? Isn't that the way it always is? You're a thug, a mercenary, a baby killer; to be spat on, hauled before Congress and grilled, then told to turn around and march to the sound of the guns all over again. But when they need you to save their sorry ass; you're the best thing they've seen since their wedding night - S.L.

Obama is Shrinking Before Our Eyes

The Afghanistan Quagmire

By Alan Caruba

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for more than eight years as of this writing. Over that period of time I have been against it, for it, against it, for it, and now I return to what my instincts and experience told me all along. It’s over.

That war is lost. Once the Taliban acquired surface-to-air missiles, the primarily advantage our military had was removed. In the past month, the Taliban have shot down two of our helicopters. Any low-flying aircraft will be vulnerable along with all our front-line forces.

This is a repeat of how the Soviets lost their war in Afghanistan. The Stinger missles the CIA began to provide the Afghan insurgents and the many Arabs that joined the battle---including Osama bin Laden---the war was over. Not many years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.

You cannot win a counterinsurgency with local forces if (1) you don’t have a significant portion of the population on your side and (2) those forces do not want to fight.

Afghans don’t like anyone who is not an Afghan and, in many cases, they do not like other Afghans from other tribes. They didn’t even like the Arabs that joined them in the fight against the Soviets. They want to be left alone to raise poppies and make money the only way they can, via the drug trade.

The other factor that is a key to the situation is our “ally”, Pakistan. The U.S. has poured billions into Pakistan and they have been supporting the Taliban the whole time; more specifically, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

Let it be said that George W. Bush was right to chase al Qaeda out of Afghanistan after 9/11. Failure to take military action would have been seen as weakness and made the U.S. vulnerable to more attacks on the homeland. For eight years while he was in the White House, there were no further attacks.

Then Barack Hussein Obama got elected. He did so in part by claiming that Afghanistan was the “real” war to be won and that our war in Iraq was a mistake. Then, when he had to decide what to do there, he spent three months making up his mind, agreed to send 40,000 more troops, and announced the date when we would leave. You don’t win wars by telling the enemy when you’re going to leave.

While he’s been in office there have been two unsuccessful attacks, the Christmas underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber. The Fort Hood murders were swept under the rug after Obama took three days to think of something to say about them. He said we should not “jump to conclusions” about Major Hassan who shouted “Allahu akbar” while murdering his fellow soldiers.

Debka File, an Israeli news agency is saying what the U.S. press is disinclined to say. “America’s longest war is about to end.” Drawing on its military and intelligence sources, it said the US-led NATO forces will have no victory and must settle “at best in a draw or at worst in a win for the Taliban, al Qaeda’s extremist partner.”

An article in the UK’s Times was picked up by the Washington Post on June 14. The Times article was headlined “Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers.” It reported that “Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI, is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council, the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISA agents.”

The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Salah, recently resigned. He concluded that Afghan forces of the government under Hamid Karzai, the US hand-picked president of Afghanistan, would not and could not prevail. Afghanistan has never been a nation by any standard definition. It has always been a nation of tribes.

The Afghanistan conflict has cost the West billions and hundreds of lives. NATO, an institution put together during the long Cold War with the then-Soviet Union, has never had much support among its European members, none of whom have had much heart for a fight following World War Two.

The United Kingdom has been our most steadfast partner in NATO and in our two invasions of Iraq, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and in wake of the widespread belief he had weapons of mass destruction. Almost from the day he first stepped into the Oval Office, President Obama has engaged in every way possible to offend the British and his latest fulminations about the BP oil spill have only worsened relations.

When word leaked about Obama’s “rules of engagement” in Afghanistan that essentially put every one of our soldiers and marines at risk, the die was cast.

The combined US-UK force failed to loosen the Taliban’s grip on Marjah, the most recent military engagement. The Afghan forces refused to fight much of the time. The Taliban continue to control the whole of southern Afghanistan.

The Kandahar offensive has been postponed. It was to be waged by American, British, Canadian, and Afghan forces. If that doesn’t tell you that the war in Afghanistan is over, nothing will.

If there is no will to wage war vigorously to bring about victory, nothing can be done for now. This is not to say we will not have to return at some time, but as long as President Obama is in office, that is not an option.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

After Watching the Hearings on Capitol Hill....

Heads Should Roll

By Alan Caruba

The only person who has been fired in the midst of the oil spill fiasco has been the former head of the Minerals Management Service of the Department of the Interior.

According to a June 17 editorial in The Wall Street Journal, it is now clear that both the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and the White House energy “czar”, Carol Browner, both lied to the nation regarding the recommendations by drilling experts, alleging that they had agreed to a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf.

Browner, citing the falsified recommendation to impose a moratorium, inserted after the memorandum had been received, said, “No one’s been deceived or misrepresented.” She lied.

From the beginning of the oil spill, the administration has failed to respond in a timely fashion.

In an article in Human Events the following lack of action by the administration was cited:

It failed to accept help offered by the Netherlands to help with skimming booms and plans to create barriers.

It failed to suspend the Jones Act in order to allow foreign vessels into American waters.

It failed to suspend the Davis-Bacon wage laws to allow rapid deployment of new workers to help the containment efforts.

It failed to suspend FEMA contracting and bidding rules.

It failed to allow coastal governors to immediately begin dredging to create barrier islands.

Failure on this scale requires that those involved should lose their jobs. We cannot “fire” the President, but his administration is shot through with people from the highest level to those below that exacerbated the Gulf oil spill.

The Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, has barely been heard from. The Secretary of the Interior has been silenced since his comment that he would keep his “boot on the neck of BP.”

It took nearly two months before the President met with officials from BP.

The President has been soundly criticized for his lack of competence in office while he devoted himself to passing the hated Obamacare legislation and drove the national debt to levels unseen in the history of the nation.

What the President has offered is a “commission” to study the event. He continues to advocate “a clean energy future” filled with solar and wind farms. Neither can even begin to meet the needs of a small city, let alone the nation. All must be backed up by coal-fired, natural gas, and nuclear plants.

Waiting in the Senate for a vote is the infamous “Cap-and-Trade Act”, renamed several times now to mask the fact that it would impose a massive tax on all energy use by Americans and cede to the Environmental Protection Agency powers based on the entirely false assertion that carbon dioxide is responsible for “global warming.” There is no global warming. It is a lie.

A recent vote by the Democrat-controlled Senate opened the door to this eventuality even if the Cap-and-Trade Act is not enacted.

The Secretary of the Interior should be fired. Carol Browner, the President’s energy advisor should be fired. The Secretary of Energy should be fired. They won’t be.

In November the midterm elections will permit Americans to replace every member of the Senate and House up for re-election whose votes have been responsible for the nation’s unsustainable debt level, for the failed “stimulus” bill, for their failure to address the nation’s immigration crisis, for their vote to pass Obamacare and for their failure to extend the Bush administration tax cuts.

In 2012, we can cast out Barack Obama, his endless “czars”, and an administration that has consistently worked to destroy America.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

June 17, 2009: A World Afloat on an Ocean of Oil

By Alan Caruba

Considering how much untapped oil is known to exist, not just in the United States, but worldwide, one would think that its current price was some kind of anomaly and it is. It is more the result of speculation than anything else.

The most fundamental fact about oil worldwide is that there is lots of it. Though frequently overlooked, the ability to refine crude oil plays an essential role in the supply and demand equation. More refining capacity is needed worldwide. Finally, there’s the fact that, in general, oil is very expensive to get at and often found in the most inhospitable places on Earth.

For sheer insanity, however, consider a nation that has an estimated 31 billion barrels of oil offshore of its coasts and 117 billion barrels of oil under land owned or managed by the government, plus 139 billion barrels beneath privately held land.

In just one area, a desolate place designated a wildlife refuge, there’s an estimated 7.7 billion barrels untapped. The nation with this abundance of oil is, of course, the United States of America. Most of the areas where oil is known to exist have been ruled off-limits to any exploration or extraction by the government.

In the areas where it is accessible, drilling for it is hugely encumbered and often denied by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

If, however, you connect the dots, you will have noticed by now that America’s energy problems, namely the price of a gallon of gasoline or heating oil, is making everyone miserable thanks in great part to environmental legislation designed to make it impossible to access oil on both public and privately held lands. Then, just to make matters worse, the government requires that every gallon of gasoline include the additive, ethanol, which reduces its mileage and increases its cost.

Further, we’re told that Sen. Barack Obama, if elected, intends to seize “windfall profits.” This is sufficient reason for American oil companies to decide to drill anywhere else. The last time a windfall profits tax was implemented was at the end of President Carter’s term. It had such a negative impact on U.S. oil companies that drilling for oil domestically dropped dramatically. It has stayed that way since the 1980s. Their actual profits are now less than pharmaceutical, high tech, and other elements of the economy. Imagine how thrilled they were to hear Rep. Maxine Waters’ threat to nationalize them.

No profits. No exploration. No drilling. And no domestic oil with which to correct our dependence on foreign oil and thus provide a measure of security to a nation that runs on oil.

If you wanted to bring the United States to ruin, you could not have designed and implemented a more perfect scheme. Along with too many members of Congress, environmentalists are America’s Fifth Column.

As my friend, Seldon B. Graham, a veteran petroleum engineer and oil industry attorney, and a graduate of West Point says of oil, “If it is worth dying for in the Near East, it is worth drilling for in the United States.”

As to the claim that the Earth is running out of oil, that can be easily dismissed simply by reading information available in respected publications such as Business Week that, “The Saudis have embarked on an ambitious expansion program that should see more than 2 million barrels of new production capacity come onstream by the middle of next year.”

Those of us who follow energy trends read the Energy Tribune because it has some of the best information available on what is really occurring. In its May edition, Matt Pickard wrote about the expansion worldwide of offshore drilling, noting that today’s prices are being driven by increased demand from rapidly developing nations such as China and India. This demand is going to increase over the next two or three decades.

Unless the United States begins to free up its own oil and natural gas reserves, Americans are going to be paying more at the pump and in their homes for a very long time to come.

The good news is that the offshore oil and gas industry, despite the huge risks and costs involved and despite an aging, understaffed workforce, is making strides to meet demand. Whether it’s in the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, the icy waters of the Barents Sea or offshore of Brazil and Africa, massive new reserves of oil are being found.

“Large discoveries offshore Brazil, the continued progress in every region’s major projects, and the ongoing push for Arctic exploration and production point to the industry’s potential for growth over the next 20 to 30 years,” wrote Pickard. Brazil is poised to become a major producer. In its Tupi field, “Petrobas announced an aggressive development plan, with an early production system possible within two or three years,” reports Pickard. The nearby Jupiter field has gas reserves to rival Tupi.

None of this is a secret! Both privately owned U.S. and foreign national oil companies are going to find more oil and gas.

Neither candidate for President is telling the truth these days because both believe global warming is real and both keep blathering on about “alternative” energy. The big problem for the rest of us is that you can’t pour wind or solar energy into a gas tank.

The U.S. mandate for ethanol as a gasoline additive has already significantly put the world’s food supply in jeopardy, but most Americans are blissfully unaware that it requires 1.5 gallons of ethanol to produce the same energy as a gallon of gasoline. It actually emits more carbon dioxide than gasoline. It is an environmental hoax.

The world is afloat an ocean of oil. Meanwhile, the United States continues to rule 85% of its offshore oil off-limits to exploration and extraction. This is occurring while the Chinese prepare to pump oil just offshore of Cuba, a mere 90 miles from Florida. It is occurring while the Russians are looking to plant their flag on potential reserves of subterranean oil in the Arctic.

The next time you hear a politician say we need to be “energy independent”, ask him or her why Americans cannot have access to the oil reserves known to exist in California, in Alaska, and in many of our other States or off the coastlines of Florida and elsewhere.

Ask them why the fate of the condors and little known species is more important than the family budget of Americans forced to make choices between more food and more gasoline.

Ask them why they continue to claim that global warming is a threat when the entire Earth is now in a decade-old cooling cycle.

Ask them why they insist on blaming investor-owned oil companies whose own reserves are barely four percent of the world’s known oil reserves? Ask them how they expect these oil companies to compete in the global marketplace when they threaten to seize their profits.

Energy is the master resource. It determines which nations thrive and which lag behind. For now, America is being ill-served by a Congress that refuses to permit access our own energy resources.

Ask yourself how we have arrived at a point in time when both candidates for President believe in a non-existent global warming and whose proposals offer no practical solution to our current and future energy needs.

(c) Alan Caruba, 2009

Posted on The National Anxiety Center's website.