Tuesday, August 31, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As the Vietnam War began to lose momentum for American troops, Sen. George Aiken suggested, “Let’s just declare victory and get out.” This is the way modern wars end.
President Obama noted the 4,400 troops that died in combat over seven and a half years in Iraq. He also made mention of American valor on Iwo Jima during World War Two. What he did not mention were the 26,000 troops that died taking Iwo Jima. Later, it was even worse during the invasion of Okinawa.
Historians noted that “Okinawa was the largest amphibious invasion of the Pacific campaign and the last major campaign of the Pacific War. More ships were used, more troops put ashore, more supplies transported, more bombs dropped, more naval guns fired against shore targets than any other operation in the Pacific.
More people died during the Battle of Okinawa than all those killed during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Casualties totaled more than 38,000 Americans wounded and 12,000 killed or missing, more than 107,000 Japanese and Okinawan conscripts killed, and perhaps 100,000 Okinawan civilians who perished in the battle.”
That should put our mission in Iraq in some wider perspective as the Commander-in-Chief assured Americans on the evening of August 31, 2010 that “All U.S. troops will leave by next year.”
This is in stark contrast to the fact that U.S. combat troops remain in Europe since 1945, in South Korea since 1953, and on land, sea and in the air, can be found representing U.S. interests on bases throughout the world. We shall be in Iraq when our grandchildren and great grandchildren are born.
In 2008, a majority of Americans seeking “hope and change” elected the most reluctant Commander-in-Chief in modern history and, as he changed the focus of his speech from our military missions to the nation’s economic crisis, the most incompetent Economist-in-Chief.
The speech was intended to clear Iraq and Afghanistan off the President’s very clean desktop in the Oval Office so his campaign for reelection can focus on the economy. Obama knows he can no longer blame it on George W. Bush.
Indeed, at one point he tried to tie the costs of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the reason for the economic crisis, but they are not. The crisis was based entirely in the collapse of the U.S. housing market, preceded by a curious electronic “run on the banks” during the 2008 election campaign that led to Obama’s election.
At one point he made brief mention of “A new push for peace in the Middle East” referring obliquely to the forthcoming Israeli-Palestinian talks. They will fail. The Palestinian Authority has already offered so many unrealistic demands that these talks like all that preceded them are pure theatre.
Unknown to Americans was another White House event earlier on Tuesday, August 31st. The Islamic Society of North America had announced it in its August 27 newsletter. Long associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the ISNA was an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial.
The Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations organized leaders of twenty national Muslim groups to attend “a special workshop” presented by the White House and U.S. government agencies (Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, etc) in order to provide these groups “special access” that would “cut through red tape” to facilitate federal funding.
Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamist political movement dedicated to imposing Sharia law on all nations and institutions. Their credo is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leaders. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
So, while the President marked the end of the combat mission in Iraq, it is folly to think that the Islamists have anything else in mind than total victory over the West.
After 9/11 George W. Bush did not send troops to Afghanistan and later to Iraq in order to ensure that Muslim groups in America could receive special attention to secure federal funds, but the White House of Barack Obama was tending to this while the President was putting the finishing touches on his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq that evening.
It makes you wonder what Obama’s priorities really are. It makes you wonder if you can trust anything he says.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
By Alan Caruba
The headlines report the way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been lying and some, myself included, are calling for an end to this snakes’ nest of global deception.
I keep waiting for some environmental group to announce that the Earth is running out of oxygen. It’s the kind of huge lie that environmentalists of every description engage in. There’s plenty of oxygen and, despite the latest lies about carbon dioxide (CO2), the great oceans of the world are not turning into reservoirs of acidity. Together these two gases are the basis for all life on Earth.
If you remember nothing else, remember that any reference by anyone to “greenhouse gas emissions” involves the lie that they influence the weather or the world’s climate.
Since 1988, when the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the vast global warming hoax existed for two purposes, the enrich those involved and to impose a one world government. The effort required mobilizing the leaders of nations to spread the word that the planet was dramatically warming and that carbon dioxide was the cause.
One has to marvel at the audacity of this scam. There were so many parties that had to be involved that it boggles the mind to consider that a mere handful of alleged “climate scientists” who created the computer models and provided the falsified data were able to corrupt so many real scientists into collaborating. The prospect of vast amounts of governmental and foundation funding made the process easier.
The scientists who spoke out against it were labeled “deniers”, but they were the truth-tellers and it took years of effort, culminating in four international conferences to debunk the global warming hoax. It was not, however, until November 2009 with the leak of the conspirator’s emails that the truth became widespread.
This evil scheme was supported and continues to be supported by many world leaders. President Obama traveled to Copenhagen in December 2009 to participate in a UN conference that was intended to impose one-world government and more recently the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made mention of “climate change”, the code words that replaced global warming.
The IPCC was so successful that at its height in 2007 it shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. This prize is now so worthless that future recipients may not wish to be so honored.
Yes, there is climate change. There has, for 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s existence, always been climate change. There have been ice ages, magnetic reversals, volcanic activity, tsunamis, earthquakes and a host of other natural events.
To suggest, however, that climate change is influenced by too much carbon dioxide lacks all scientific merit. There simply isn’t enough CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere to have any impact.
The single most powerful determinant of the Earth’s climate was and is the Sun.
Putting aside the United Nations’ never-ending effort to exert authority over all the nations and all the peoples of the world, global warming was about an audacious scheme to monetize carbon dioxide; to sell “carbon credits” and, by doing so, enrich those who were behind the scheme.
Recently, Patrick Henningsen, the editor of 21st Century Wire, penned a commentary, “The Great Collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange”, an excellent analysis of how the bottom fell out of the scheme to buy, sell, and trade “carbon credits” based on the fraudulent claim that “greenhouse gas emissions” had to be reduced worldwide to avoid global warming.
Henningsen noted that Reuters had reported that the Intercontinental Exchange, Inc, the operating body of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), “will be scaling back major operations (in August), a move that includes massive layoffs. This is likely due to the complete market free-fall of their only product…carbon emissions.” In May and June 2008, the carbon credits were trading at $5.58 and $7.78 respectively” until it finally dawned on investors that they were utterly worthless.
“Unlike most real markets,” wrote Henningsen, “the carbon market was created by banks and governments so that new investment opportunities could seamlessly dovetail with specific government policies. It’s a fantasy casino based on a doctrine of pure science fiction.”
The U.S. has thrown billions at so-called “climate research” since 1988 and has passed laws intended to reduce CO2 emissions. There is no scientific merit, nor any justification for the many limits imposed on the American consumer. The quest, for example, of ever-cleaner automobile exhausts has resulted in more expensive cars and more dangerous ones as their weight had to be successively reduced to meet the mandates.
The current governmental craze for “clean” energy alternatives such as wind and solar power will only serve to drive up the cost of electricity without significantly adding any new sources capable of meeting the nation’s growing needs. Only government subsidies and mandates keep these projects alive as opposed to coal-fired, natural gas, and nuclear plants.
The original investors such as Al Gore have long since gotten out of the carbon credits market, having known in advance about legislation and policy before the general public. What they did not anticipate, however, was the natural cooling of the Earth since 1998 as the Sun entered one of its predictable cycles of low activity.
There is no global warming. What warming occurred was entirely natural, a response to the end of a previous period of cooling that ended around 1850.
A lot of people should be sent to jail for engaging in this fraud, but they will not. The victims remain as does the drumbeat of lies about greenhouse gas emissions or claims of ocean acidification.
Every flood, hurricane, or other natural event will continue to be blamed on “climate change” until eventually even the compliant mainstream media finally stop publishing lies.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
By Alan Caruba
Every time I conclude that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot get crazier, they demonstrate they are not only crazy, but a continued threat to the health, national security, and the right of Americans to be free of incessant governmental intrusion into their lives and choices.
Mind you, they get lots of help from environmental organizations and the latest example was a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity asking the EPA to ban lead shot and bullets under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
There is, of course, no doubt that if you take a bullet to the brainpan, it is very likely to be lethal, but under the TSCA, it is not considered or defined as toxic.
Citing the TSCA as to when the EPA can regulate “chemical substances”, the National Rifle Association, in a letter to the EPA administration noted that “Congress explicitly excluded from this definition ‘any article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986’” or as we call them, bullets!
Not being a lawyer, but being a longtime gun owner, my question to the EPA is this: How CRAZY do you have to be to even consider banning the manufacture, sale, and use of AMMUNITION?
By 2005, three out of ten Americans were gun owners. Since the election of Barack Obama, there has been a noticeable increase in gun sales.
Among gun owners, some are hunters, some are into sport shooting, and some are homeowners or apartment dwellers who want the kind of protection a gun provides while waiting for the police to show up. There are lots of perfectly legitimate reasons to own a gun and the last time I checked the Second Amendment said you could.
In its letter to the EPA, the NRA pointed out that “This appears to be the first time since TSCA’s inception in 1976 that anyone has suggested that EPA may regulate projectiles used in firearms under the Act”, adding that it was manifestly clear that it was “congressional intent that TSCA not be a vehicle to implement gun control.”
The good news is that the EPA abandoned any further action regarding this perfectly insane effort to backdoor an effort to thwart our Second Amendment rights.
The EPA has already determined how much water can be used in your toilet bowl and wants to control how much water you use to shower. It has been instrumental in getting the incandescent light bulb banned from future sales and use. And it wants to legally define puddles after a rainstorm as navigable waters that boats and ships can sail upon.
Perhaps, however, you did not heard that the EPA is considering cracking down on DUST? Specifically farm dust.
On July 23, a number of farm state senators sent a letter to the EPA to indicate just how stupid and detrimental any additional regulation of dust would be. They called the proposal “the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history.” Suffice it to say that livestock kick up dust, the use of combines to harvest crops on a dry day kicks up dust, or just driving a truck down a gravel road will kick up dust.
The EPA is about one thing and one thing only, CONTROL.
Toward that end they are perfectly happy to put their snout into any aspect of life in America to see if they can extend their authority. No one is arguing that America should not have clean air and clean water, but the extent to which the EPA has taken its original mandates is galactic and Orwellian.
The EPA is the very definition of BIG GOVERNMENT run amok.
I am still looking for the word “environment” in the U.S. Constitution.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As the nation’s children return to elementary and secondary schools, it is increasingly essential that their parents and communities coast to coast realize how poorly served they are and how their learning environment is increasingly tainted by a socialist agenda.
Our nation’s schools have long been factories of boredom, centers of academic incompetence. High school graduation rates have been in a fairly steady decline. At its peak in 1969, the rate was 77 percent. By 2007 it was 68.8 percent.
In mid-August, The Wall Street Journal reported that “New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S. high school students in the last few years.”
What caught my eye was a quote from Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, who said that “if our kids aren’t dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally.”
The subject of education is important because they are the generation to which the future of the nation must be entrusted and “A recent study found the U.S. ranks only 12th in the percentage of adults aged 25 to 34 who hold college degrees.”
The failure of our nation’s schools, to my mind, coincides with the creation of the U.S. Department of Education in 1979, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, and which began operating on May 16, 1980.
The word “education” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution and, until the Department of Education came along, it was the responsibility of States and local communities. A government that has managed Conrail since 1976 without once making a profit should not have been trusted with the nation’s educational system.
I opposed No Child Left Behind when former President Bush proposed it and, like former President Reagan, I have long believed the Department of Education should be ended and that responsibility be returned to the States and local communities. The DOE exists today as little more than an obstacle to learning in the classroom and a giant funding machine.
The DOE is pretty much owned by the National Education Association which is not an “association”, but a powerful union, the largest with an estimated 3.2 members. The Democrat Party is heavily indebted to it for funds and campaign workers.
It is doubtful that most Americans know that, for the past several months, the NEA’s website has recommended that its members read “Rules for Radicals” by the late Saul Alinsky, a dedicated communist. If NEA members adopt its political agenda, the enemy will literally be in our nation’s classrooms.
It has not gone unnoticed that Obama’s “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”, otherwise known as the “Stimulus Act” enabled the education lobby to suck up billions more from taxpayers.
The Act allocated $5 billion to early learning programs, including the failed Head Start and Early Head Start, child care and programs for children with special needs. It also allocated $77 billion for “reforms” to allegedly strengthen elementary and secondary education, including $48.6 billion to “stabilize” state education budgets. It was a Full Employment Act for teachers and school administrators.
Apparently those billions were not enough because on August 11, President Obama signed a bill authorizing an additional $10 billion to states for education salaries. The Senate was so concerned the money might be spent for other purposes it included a provision that the money could not be used for anything else.
It apparently was not enough because in July the NEA president, Dennis Van Roekel, was calling for a complete overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act, one that is entirely test-based without any notice of the fact that individual children learn at different rates. He didn’t much like the Obama Race to the Top program where schools competed for grants if they demonstrated any improvement in learning and graduation rates. Another $3.4 billion in grants is at yet unspent. Roekel didn’t like the idea of competition.
Clearly, schools that are graduating students ill-prepared to go onto college and that continue to experience high dropout rates are doing something wrong. Putting kids into teach-to-the-test straight jackets is not working.
In a new book by Dr. Tim Elmore, “Generation iY: Our Last Change to Save Their Future”, the author who founded a non-profit organization, Growing Leaders, writes that “I have spoken to employers who told me they will never hire another new graduate. I have heard teachers say they can hardly wait for retirement since they can’t do a thing about kids today. I’ve had parents confide in me that they don’t know what to do with their kids except scream at them.”
Statistics published by UNESCO and the CIA reveal that, while American students spend twelve years in school, ranking them first out of a hundred, they rank fifteenth out of twenty-seven in terms of literacy. Their math and science scores are poor. They poll at 35%, fifth out of seventeen, for their dislike of school, and 61%, second out of seventeen, find school boring.
The schools are failing, the students are being cheated of the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to become productive adults, and the U.S. government thinks that, if it just spends a few more billions, this will change. It won’t.
The federal government must get out of the education business, must devolve responsibility back to the states and local communities, and they in turn should refuse to deal with teachers unions in order to regain control over the education of the nation’s most precious resource, its children.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
In case the mainstream media tries to tell you otherwise, here's a photo of several hundred thousand people who attended the Restore Honor rally. The "elites" who vacation on Martha's Vineyard will discover that these people and others like them are a force to contend with.
August 28, 2010, the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. The dream lives on!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As a child in the 1950s, I learned how to “duck and cover” in order to protect myself from an atomic bomb explosion. Little did I know that the instruction should have been “Kiss your asterisk goodbye.”
The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the Soviets wanted to put nuclear-tipped long range missiles there, led to a confrontation between President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev that had both sides changing their underwear after it was over.
What do the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea in common? They all have nuclear weapons and, of course, Iran has been working toward that goal and is now very close to achieving it.
Some will argue that Israel should not be on the list because it has never acknowledged its nuclear capabilities, but everyone knows they have them. Presumably the Iranian mullahs do as well, but they are a bunch of nuts waiting for the mythical Twelfth Imam to come out of a well and smite the enemies of Islam.
It is instructive that both Pakistan and India acquired their nuclear weapons without anyone being aware of it until after the fact. At CIA headquarters, when India announced its successful test, it came as a very big surprise. These days, the U.S. is busy reassuring Israel that Iran is “at least a year away” from nuclear status and you can imagine how relieved they are to hear that.
North Korea is a wild card and, given the lack of success the U.S. and anyone else has had to get them to abandon their nukes, the same can be assumed for Iran when they make their announcement. Meanwhile they have to content themselves with announcing new missiles, the latest of which they dubbed “the ambassador of death.”
The Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization has designated Sunday, August 29, as “The International Day against Nuclear Tests.” Given the total lack of success in thwarting any nation that wants a nuke, my confidence in the United Nations’ treaty is zero.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN component, has been kicked out of North Korea, Iraq and Iran on several occasions, so one might rationally assume it is useless when it comes to stopping the manufacture of A-bombs.
Olli Heinonen, the former chief of UN nuclear inspections worldwide, told Le Monde, a French newspaper, that Iran has stockpiled enough low-enriched uranium for 1-2 nuclear arms, but he thought doing so made no sense. Betting on the rationality of the Iranian ayatollahs is not a good idea.
Who doesn’t want a ban on nuclear weapons testing? The United States Senate for one.
While the U.S. has “signed” a number of the test ban treaties that have been around since the 1960s, the Senate has not ratified any of them, thus avoiding having to commit the nation to no longer testing new nuclear weapons. For some reason, the U.S. Senate does not trust Russia or the other nuke nations.
In April, our ever-hopeful President Barack Obama journeyed to Russia to sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Dmitry Medvedev dubbed “New Start.” For Obama it was another empty photo opportunity on a par with accepting the Nobel Peace Prize (soon to be available everywhere in boxes of Cracker Jack). For the Russians it was a reason to break out the vodka.
Robert R. Monroe, a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency from 1977-1980 explains why. “The treaty has many problems from being unverifiable to giving Russia virtual veto power over U.S. missile defense, and more.” That’s bad enough, but it’s worse than that.
Two days before meeting with the Russians, the Obama administration released its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Monroe says, “The NPR is joined at the hip with New Start, and together they take this country down a dangerous path. For 65 years, the very existence of our nation has depended upon a strong nuclear deterrent. The new NPR wipes out this proven policy, substituting one of weakness in its place.”
Liberals love test ban treaties. They love the idea of unilaterally disarming the United States in a world where there are nations who may not love us.
Not surprisingly, the nations with nukes have not signed onto anything that would take away their deterrent factor and, of course, Iran is hell-bent on getting them for itself.
Not a single conflict since the U.S. dropped two A-bombs on Japan in 1945 to end a war they started has used nuclear weapons. Rational people, even if they have nuclear weapons know that using them is probably suicidal. Irrational people like the Iranian ayatollahs are probably the exception.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
By Alan Caruba
The older you get the faster time seems to speed by. One minute you’re talking about the Baby Boom generation, 1946 to 1964, and the next it’s Generation X, 1965-1983. If the Boomers thought the world owed them a living, the Gen X’rs were all about “relationships” and the “environment.”
Before you knew it, it was the Generation Y, often referred to as the Millennials, 1984-2002, that everyone was talking about and trying to sell crap to. The oldest of these are age 26 and the youngest age 8. Most young people think the world exists for them, but Generation Y has more reason to believe this than their parents and grandparents.
Their parents doted upon them, insisting on every safety device known to man be used to protect them from scraped knees or concussions. Television networks have entire channels devoted to them such as Disney, Nickelodeon, or Discovery Kids. Their parents had to get by with MTV. Like their parents, they have been demographically targeted as a consumer group.
The federal government is so concerned for them that it came up with No Child Left Behind. Never mind that most earlier programs like Head Start and other social inventions have a record of failure. Whatever is gained in Head Start is rapidly lost when they enter our dreadful school systems.
I have been reading one of the scariest books (remember books, printed on paper, between two covers?) I have received in a while. It’s Dr. Tim Elmore’s “Generation iY: Our Last Change to Save Their Future.” (www.SaveTheirFutureNow.com).
In February 2010, The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that kids between eight and eighteen were spending seven-and-a-half hours each day in front of a computer screen. This is the MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter generation, sending and receiving an average of 1,742 texts per month!
For all this communication, I suspect they are as clueless as their parents who, after all, probably voted for Barack Obama in the name of “diversity” and “multiculturalism.” Generation iY is even less prepared to be adults than their parents. “These kids have been online since preschool,” writes Dr. Elmore, “and can’t imagine life any other way.”
There is some good news about those born between 1983 and 2003. Early statistics indicate that teen pregnancy rates are down, drug abuse was lower than their parents, violent crime among this age group is its lowest in twenty years, education and civic involvement was at a record high, and as students they are optimistic about their prospects of changing the world.
Most of the news about this newest generation, however, is not good. They are overwhelmed. According to an American College Health Association random sample study released in 2007, 94% reported feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyles; 44% said they felt so depressed it was almost difficult to function; and almost 10% said they had considered suicide in the past year.
Generation Y is, despite the stereotype, quite competitive and wants to be the best, having been told they are the best from their earliest years. Trying to live up to that is very stressful. They are, no surprise, over-connected. They often cope by escaping into the world of online fantasy video games or the social world of texting, Facebook, and Twitter. Or they push themselves to be a “super kid.”
Dr. Elmore says that, either way, they end up with very poor relationship skills and low emotional intelligence. They are short on patience, listening skills, and conflict resolution; all essential if one is to progress toward being an adult.
In the latter years of Generation Y when they are entering the adult world as college students or job-holders, they are also stuck in an adolescence that goes on for too long. They tend to find both challenging in ways earlier generations did not. They often do not make good employees, changing jobs rapidly either because they quit or were fired while in search of a unified sense of self.
It is, I suppose, the lament of every generation that those born after them are inadequate to the task of running the world. Having seven decades under my belt, I tend to look at the generation that came of age in the 1960s, the Baby Boomers, as responsible for a lot of the problems we have today in the nation. The Clintons, for example, are quintessential Boomers.
Whoever thought we would end up with a Democrat-controlled Congress that spent billions of dollars on “stimulus” or “reformed” Medicare without even reading any of the legislation before voting?
Whoever thought we’d end up with a very young, narcissistic President who is so disconnected from the American people that he probably has no idea how quickly they have concluded he is a danger to the future of the nation? Surrounded by academics with no experience in “the real world”, he probably thinks he is the smartest one in the room. He’s not.
Generation X and Generation Y had better “grow up” or they will be the ones to watch America’s economic, military, and cultural dominance disappear in their lifetimes.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
By Alan Caruba
For a long time the world’s attention to an increasing degree was on Vietnam. A war was fought there from 1954 until 1975, but the U.S. didn’t get seriously involved until August 7, 1964 with the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the arrival of the first combat troops in March 1965. It would take ten years to extricate ourselves from that mess.
The U.S. would remain shy of such conflicts until the 1990s.
In the August 23 Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens provided a short history of the U.S. involvement in Iraq in an article titled “The Twenty Year’s War.” He traced Saddam Hussein’s malevolent trail of death inflicted on Iraqis, Kurds, and, in 1990, the Kuwaitis when he invaded.
Stephens believes Bush41 could have avoided the necessity of Bush43 having to invade a second time to find Saddam and let his people hang him.
I agree with Stephens’ view and recall how appalled Bush41 and Colin Powell were at the efficient and brutal destruction of the Iraqi army in 1990. At the time Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The result was a hasty Iraqi surrender agreement that nullified what had been a victory for U.S. forces.
Later, as Secretary of State to Bush43, Powell tried to talk him out of the second invasion. War is hell, but history teaches that it is frequently necessary. Powell was a very reluctant warrior. The result, said Stephens, was a war that lasted nineteen years longer than it should have.
That got me thinking about the way Israel, from the day it was founded in May 1948 to the present, has never ceased to be in a state of war with its “neighbors” although both Jordan and Egypt concluded peace, the absence of active war, was a good idea. Both got severely mauled in earlier attempts to destroy Israel and peace had included the return of the Sinai to Egypt.
So, here we are, over sixty years later, still concerned for Israel’s fate and especially so now that Iran will have the nuclear plant to which the U.S. and Europe objected and Russia built. At a billion bucks each, Russia understandably thinks this is a good idea.
Back in the 1930s when it was the Soviet Union, Stalin thought it was a good idea to sign a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in order to divide Poland between them. Twenty million dead Russians later, Stalin no doubt regretted dealing with Hitler. I’m guessing that Putin will have cause to regret the deal with Iran.
Iran’s Brushehr nuclear plant is built on a fault line, one of several that cover some ninety percent of the nation’s land mass. Moreover, it has a long history of earthquakes that since 1900 have killed an estimated 126,000 Iranians. The most recent was on September 10, 2008 and prior to that there were earthquakes every year from 2003 to 2006.
There’s another kind of earthquake that is also developing in Iran and it is a human one because the vast bulk of the population, born since the 1979 revolution, really hates the Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. They shout “Death to the dictator” at public gatherings. Mamoud Ahmadinejad is just as unpopular. Events, both natural and social, are likely to overtake the current regime.
The Iranians are Persians. They have funded Hezbollah and Hamas, two Arab groups bent on Israel’s annihilation. The threat to Israel is very real, but it is a diversion, a way to keep Iranian and Arab masses focused on that little nation instead of their own oppressive regimes.
The nations and groups currently trying to spread terror worldwide are Arab. Nobody likes or trusts the Arabs and that includes the Arabs. Thanks to its nuclear capabilities, the Arabs distrust Iran’s Persians, too.
The seemingly endless suicide bombings, usually of mosques, are beginning to make Arab Muslims as well as Muslims in non-Arab nations regard this expression of fanaticism as counter-productive.
In Europe where large Arab Muslim populations exist, there are signs that the Europeans have grown tired of their demands and wary of their ghettos, tiny nations within nations, where they live and threaten the social fabric of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and elsewhere on the continent.
It’s not that the Middle East won’t remain a tinderbox of conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. It will, but even in Muslim nations there are forces at work to strike back against al Qaeda and the Taliban as was the case when Pakistan sent troops to the Swat Valley before the recent floods inflicted an even greater threat to its population.
Decades of Islamic oppression within Arab nations is slowly creating a blowback.
If Allah is so great, the world is demonstrating time and again that jihad usually means getting attacked at great cost whether it is Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Somalia. Even Turkey, the one nation that had thrived by imposing a secular government after World War One, is feeling the heat for having drifted into the Arab orbit.
In America, where freedom of religion is part of our DNA, the threat of an Arab-inspired Islamic jihad has worn thin our traditional tolerance. The current debate over the audacity of building a mosque within sight of Ground Zero is evidence that enough is enough.
Al Qaeda will worsen life for American Muslims as it continues to recruit them. As reported in Israpundit.com, “It’s under new American management. No fewer than four U.S. citizens and a permanent U.S. resident have risen to senior leadership posts”, warning that “By remaking itself into an American enterprise, al Qaeda is now more lethal than ever.”
How ironic is it that Americans, in a burst of enthusiasm for “cultural diversity”, elected a president who was raised in a Muslim nation, Indonesia, and returned to the U.S. to be raised by grandparents enthralled with communism.
The conflict that some in the Middle East want to export will take its toll on that region of the world until it is exorcised and it will threaten Americans until they root it out from within their society. Being politically correct only gets people killed.
A twenty year’s war? No, much longer than that.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
By Alan Caruba
Since his election, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has been remarkably successful in dealing with the Democrat controlled state legislature and has rocketed to national fame for simply being the real deal when it comes to conservative politics and policies.
That is, until he signed a bill on August 19 that one columnist described as touting “the idea of raising your electric rates to place windmills in the ocean off New Jersey.” In this case the windmill would be 75 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty! None of the residents of Union Beach want a windmill no matter how far out in the Atlantic it’s built.
So-called alternative or renewable energy is always far more expensive than the kind generated by nuclear or coal-fired plants.
It is always more unreliable insofar as the wind does not blow all the time, thus requiring a traditional plant to be online to back up those ugly insults to the natural beauty of land and sea when they fail to feed the grid.
Few people know that, even without wind, the windmills must be kept turning, using electricity to avoid mechanical failures.
Gov. Christie signed a bill that would put the windmill so far out at sea it could not be seen from the land, but that ignores the fact that it will cost taxpayers $7 million to construct it, half of which will be paid by a federal grant, and the result will be an increase in consumer rates. Why would any sensible person want to spend that kind of money on a single windmill?
Part of the answer is something called the Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) that the U.S. Senate is contemplating. As Dr. S. Fred Singer noted in an August American Thinker.com commentary, “It would force electric utilities to generate a large and increasing percentage of their power from wind and solar—rising to 15% by 2021.” In other words, the U.S. Senate is about to select winners and losers in the energy marketplace by requiring utilities to use expensive and inefficient wind and solar power.
If wind and solar were so wonderful, why can’t either of these energy producers even exist without a federal mandate?
Even worse, these two bogus forms of energy exist on the basis of a complete lie; that they reduce carbon dioxide emissions and thus will save the planet from global warming. Only there never was a threat of global warming and the planet has been in a natural cooling cycle for a decade!
The whole wind and solar business is a gigantic rip-off and will inevitably cause consumer rates to rise for all the reasons cited above. Just as Obamacare is already causing insurance rates to skyrocket, so will the implementation of Renewable Electricity Standards.
In France, Germany and Italy they are already in the process of backing away from subsidizing this idiotic form of energy production.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), only 700 MW (megawatts) were added to the nation’s electricity grid in the second quarter of 2010 and wind power installation to date this year has dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels.
Little wonder AWEA is “calling on Congress with an urgent appeal to put in place a strong national renewable electricity standard to spur demand for renewable energy...”
Spur demand? That’s not going to happen without the coercion of federal intervention.
No one except the manufacturers and owners of the windmills like windmills. This includes environmentalists! In June environmental and watchdog groups filed a lawsuit in Boston to stop a windmill farm off Cape Cod charging that it would violate federal law by endangering protected migratory birds. The suit says that “science was manipulated and suppressed for political reasons.”
The entire alternative, renewable, and green energy scam is based on “science” that is utterly false, beginning with the claim that CO2 has any effect on the climate and that emissions must be reduced.
I do not know how long it will take to ultimately return this nation to the sanity of producing electricity with cheap, abundant coal, with natural gas or, best of all, with nuclear plants, but unless we do that the nation can look forward to rolling brownouts and blackouts because the population keeps growing and the need for more electricity increases with them.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
By Alan Caruba
(Sunday, August 22) As this is being written, two rallies are being held in the pouring rain in New York, just outside the proposed site of the Ground Zero mosque. One represents people opposed to it and one with people who see no problem whatever in an Islamic house of worship a few steps from where Muslims, in the name of Islam, destroyed the Twin Towers and killed some 3,000 people.
That pretty much tells you how a particular mindset can either resist evil or fall victim to it. Some might say that “evil” is too strong a word with which to describe Islam, but let me take you back to 1830 and quote John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.
Referring to Muhammad, he wrote: “Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent god; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle.
Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion.
He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust; to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature.
Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant...While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon the earth, and good will towards men.”
Liberals can never see evil no matter how it manifests itself or how many times it does so. They are drawn to it and the men who personify it.
Here is Maureen Dowd writing in The New York Times on Sunday:
“The dispute over the Islamic center has tripped some deep national lunacy. The unbottled anger and suspicion concerning ground zero show that many Americans haven’t flushed the trauma of 9/11 out of their systems—making them easy prey for fearmongers.”
According to Dowd, Americans are foolish, even stupid, to remain angry about 9/11.
As far as Dowd is concerned, “Obama is the head of the dysfunctional family of America—-a rational man running a most irrational nation, a high-minded man in a low-minded age.”
How far from reality has Dowd wandered? The nation is irrational? Obama is high-minded? Being angry regarding the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor is wrong? And surely the fearmongers she has in mind include Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.
In psychology, the term “projection” is used to describe imputing one’s own emotions to others. “The country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown, with the right spreading fear and disinformation that is amplified by the poisonous echo chamber that is the modern media environment.”
The echo chamber to which she refers has been and is the liberal news media that sold us on Barack Obama, equating him with Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Engaging in what media pundit, Bernie Goldberg, called a “slobbering love affair.” Dowd is looking in the mirror.
This isn’t punditry or even rational analysis of the current political scene. This is ill-concealed contempt for the vast majority of Americans who either were already conservative or who have been moving into the ranks of conservatives as they witnessed the abomination of Obamacare, the massive bailouts of unions and banks while ordinary Americans saw their jobs disappear and homes foreclosed.
They are the Americans who voted Republicans into the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, and replaced Teddy Kennedy, the ultimate liberal, with a Republican Senator. They are the Americans who compose the Tea Party movement.
Within the liberal enclave of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, there is bewilderment that Americans would object to a mosque near Ground Zero.
The nation is not having a nervous breakdown. It is Maureen Dowd and all the fellow travelers who cannot believe that Americans will not roll over for Obama’s socialist agenda, who are angry at a profligate Congress that has amassed more debt in a year and a half than the days when the U.S. spent its treasure to win World War Two.
In 1830 John Quincy Adams understood exactly the threat Islam posed to the modern world. In 2010, Maureen Dowd and the readers of The New York Times remain utterly clueless.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
In a commentary earlier this week I said Bush was right to invade Iraq. It has taken seven years to "stabilize" the nation, but it will likely take a generation to get it to function like a nation in which its various components work together. Failing that, it will break into separate entities of Kurds, Sunni and Shiites. No one knows. In the meantime, we still have 50,000 troops there and are likely to keep them there a very long time for the sake of the entire region.
By Alan Caruba
It is increasingly obvious that the Obama administration is more interested in protecting Mexicans than Americans.
Case in point; Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has eleven suspects accused of murdering law enforcement officers in his maximum security county jail in downtown Phoenix. As reported in the August 18 Washington Post, “Justice Department officials in Washington have issued a rare threat to sue (Arpaio) if he does not cooperate with their investigation of whether he discriminates against Hispanics.”
“The standoff comes just weeks after the Justice Department sued Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer because of the state’s new immigration law,” the Post noted. The latest word from Americans for Legal Immigration is that twenty-two States now have lawmakers developing versions of Arizona’s illegal immigration crackdown bill SB 1070.
So nearly half the States are aligning themselves with Arizona. Why?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, according to Mexican figures released recently, the toll of the drug wars was said to be 28,000. It includes growing numbers of “civilian victims” ranging from toddlers caught in the cross fire to students massacred at parties. Mexico’s disintegration as a civil society is so severe its government is considering legalizing drugs to reduce the intercine battles between the cartels.
Little wonder that Mexicans are fleeing their war-torn nation to the safety of the United States. Earlier this year at least thirty residents of El Porvenir, located about four miles from the Texas border town of Fort Hancock, crossed into the U.S. and asked for political asylum, telling authorities they fear for their lives. The chief deputy sheriff of Hudspeth County reported that a cartel had threatened to kill children in schools across the border unless the parents paid $5,000 pesos.
Mexico has a slim hold on anything resembling a civil society where the law enforcement authorities can stem the violence or journalists can report it.
Support for building a Mexican border fence is up to 68% according to Rasmussen Reports in late July. Other surveys indicate that 56% of voters nationwide oppose the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the Arizona law and 61% favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own State.
Why would anyone would consider vacationing in Mexico when, according to State Department figures, 79 U.S. citizens were killed there in 2009, up from 35 in 2007. In Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, 23 Americans were killed in 2009, compared with two in 2007. Earlier this year, in April, three people linked to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez were ambushed and murdered. As many as half of the 2,660 killings in that city are attributed to paid assassins from the Barrio Azteca gang.
The most widely reported murder was that of Robert Krentz on his southern Arizona ranch in March. An illegal alien is the primary suspect in the killing. Meanwhile, La Raza (the “Race”) an immigration advocacy group in the U.S. is supporting driver’s licenses and in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens. They are, of course, opposed to a secure fence and cooperative immigration enforcement efforts between local, state, and federal authorities.
The worst of all this data is the further fact that Congress continues to progress toward “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, another way of saying mass amnesty for illegal aliens. In 2007, as a Senator, Obama voted to double legal immigration from 1.2 million annually to 2.4 million.
The costs to the United States, already experiencing the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, are extraordinary. With millions of unemployed Americans, two new studies of the impact on the U.S. labor force revealed that, of the jobs we’re told Americans won’t take, the majority of job-holders are in fact native-born. This includes maids and housekeepers, taxi drivers, meat processors, grounds maintenance workers, construction laborers, porters, bellhops and concierges, and janitors.
Beyond the labor market, U.S. taxpayers are spending $52 billion annually to educate the children of illegal aliens with local governments taking the biggest hit of nearly $50 billion.
The pressures on the U.S. healthcare system and on the law enforcement system are comparable and the irony is that the U.S. has spent billions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of nation building, but is doing little comparatively here at home to cope with the flood of illegal immigration.
Instead, the U.S. Department of Justice is doing whatever it can to punish States like Arizona for taking even the most minimal steps to protect Americans. As for the Department of Homeland Security, its preference is to ignore the problem. We are being ill-served by the Obama administration and are likely to be stabbed in the back by a lame-duck Congress.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
By Alan Caruba
The Iranians and the Syrians are on heightened military alert as the Russians fuel the Iranian nuclear reactor at Brushehr today and everyone has an opinion about when and who will attack it. If the world wanted to stop the plant from functioning, it could and would have done so long ago.
The military alert is understandable. Israel destroyed an Iraqi reactor that Saddam Hussein was building and a clandestine one being built by Syria. As anyone who has a World Almanac with its map of the world from the United Kingdom to a tip of Australia can determine, it is a very long way from tiny Israel to Iran. Distance increases the risk along with what is surely a ring of missile defense around the reactor.
While the Israelis have conducted some exercises to demonstrate their bombers could make the trip, they have been rather quiet about the Iranian reactor. A very real part of that involves Hezbollah in Lebanon which is armed to the teeth and Hamas in the Gaza strip, both of which are Iranian proxies in any conflict.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the occasion on Friday to announce that the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA) had agreed to once again sit down and discuss peace. This is kabuki theatre, a charade, a farce. It’s the old land-for-peace swap that has not resulted in a day of peace for Israel since it was founded in 1948.
Mamoud Abbas, the head of the PA, was the right-hand man to Yassir Arafat, famed Nobel Peace Prize winner (thus rendering that award one of the great farces on the international scene) and he has no more power than that which the Israelis grant him. As for the rest of the Arab community, the Palestinians have been completely abandoned.
Writing in The New York Times on August 2, Efraim Karsh cited a recent Al Arabiya television network survey that demonstrated that Arabs have no interest in the fate of the so-called Palestinians. It is a fact of history that there never was a Palestine beyond the name the Romans applied to Israel in order to make people forget its existence.
History also shows that Israel’s neighbors have attacked it since its founding and Arabs repeatedly attacked its Jewish population in the decades preceding it. The notion that Abbas can negotiate anything that would last longer than a day or so is idiotic. The Israelis know this and I suspect so have U.S. administrations since the days of Jimmy Carter.
In Tehran, the hated leaders of the regime have put their Revolutionary Guards “in full readiness to encounter firmly with the stupidity of the U.S. and Zionist regime.” As for Abbas, DEBKAfile, an Israeli news agency is reporting that “sources close to the Palestinian Authority quoted him saying that direct talks with Israel were not in the offing because ‘a big military surprise awaits the Middle East.’”
The surprise will come when Israel decides to act and not a minute before. I seriously doubt it will be today, tomorrow, or any time the Iranian ayatollahs expect it. When it comes, if it comes, the Saudis will have opened their air space to facilitate it. With the exception of Syria and now Turkey, few in the Middle East have any love for the Iranian regime.
The same can be said for the regard in which the United States is held. The U.S. has been militarily active in the Middle East since the days of Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary pirates, but more recently since 9/11. It has 50,000 combat (training?) troops in Iraq and comparable troop strength in Afghanistan.
The U.S. also has a Commander-in-Chief who has never served in the military, is getting advice from a National Security moron who thinks “jihad” means something other than war, has been openly mocked and insulted by the Iranian leadership, and has demonstrated a hostility to Israel the likes of which has not been seen before and since its founding.
There will be no peace between the PA and Israel. Both sides know it. The so-called Palestinians have not only refused peace, but have conducted Intifadas, terrorist campaigns, against Israel. The one in 2000 killed a thousand Israelis.
Nobody really wants a war in the Middle East except the Iranian ayatollahs and, in the fullness of time, unless they are overthrown, it will come, but just not now.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
By Alan Caruba
As I watched the last of the U.S. active military force pull out of Iraq on August 19, I could not help but notice the famed “Indianhead” patch that unit was wearing on their uniforms because long, long ago, I wore that patch, the emblem of the Second Infantry Division.
Most people are likely unaware that 30,000 of the Division are in South Korea, some sixty years after the truce was declared, ready to repulse the first wave of attack if North Korea is crazy enough to try again.
Let’s just say it. George W. Bush was right!
He was right to invade Iraq and remove a psychopathic dictator from control of that nation, a man who had spent eight years at war with Iran, who had invaded Kuwait, and who, if the Israelis had not blown up a nuclear reactor being built there, would have had a nuclear weapon with which to threaten the entire region.
When Saddam Hussein wasn’t busy gassing hundreds of Kurds to death, his prisons were filled with hundreds of Iraqis and he happily filled mass graves during his thirty years of appalling tyranny. When they held “elections” there, he got 99.9% of the vote. Iraq was as good a definition of Hell as present day Iran.
It’s true that no weapons of mass destruction were found after the 2003 invasion, but even Saddam admitted that he purposely made sure that everyone thought he had them. The intelligence community believed he did and George W. Bush believed he did.
Bush could read a map. Smack dab in the middle of the Middle East is Iraq. It borders Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, and a small part of Turkey. You don’t have to be a general to know that, strategically, Iraq militarily holds the key to the Middle East.
An Iraq in the hands of Saddam Hussein, his two vile sons, and the rest of the criminals around him needed “regime change” and George W. Bush provided it. He held firm and he believed his “surge” would work. He was right.
As wars go, the casualties sustained were modest. You can do comparisons with other modern conflicts and history will bear out that our troops inflicted a lot more hurt on the enemy than they did on us. We lost troops to the lowest form of guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs.
We demonstrated that a robust democracy, set upon the goal of removing a cancerous, threatening regime in an unstable region, could make history the way it has always been made; by sending in the troops.
The troops that left Iraq did so because, during his final years in office, George W. Bush negotiated their withdrawal with the Iraq government, one that had been democratically elected by the people of Iraq. Well before Barack Hussein Obama arrived in the Oval Office, their departure had been put in motion.
All through the 2008 election campaign Obama could not bring himself to admit that George W. Bush was right about the decision to invade, to remain, and to surge troops in to quell the insurgency.
For eighteen months we have had to listen to Obama blame Bush for everything and the voters have concluded that George W. Bush was right.
The only thing Barack Hussein Obama wants to do is run away. He wanted to get out of Iraq. He wants to get out of Afghanistan.
The American military, though, will remain in Iraq for years to come. Some 50,000 troops are there to “train” the Iraqi army and police forces. The American military is still in Europe sixty-five years after the end of World War Two. The American military is still in South Korea. It has missions all over the world and the world is a safer place because of it.
George H.W. Bush who fought in World War II knows that. George W. Bush who served in the Texas National Guard knows that.
Barack Hussein Obama who was a Boy Scout in Indonesia does not.
© Alan Caruba
Thursday, August 19, 2010
By Alan Caruba
"Apres moi le deluge”, “After me, the flood” and though attributed to the French King Louis XV, historians believe it was actually said by Jeanne Poisson, Madame de Pompadour. The last members of the monarchy spent France into the poorhouse until they had their heads separated from their bodies via the guillotine.
People have noticed the same eerie disconnect from the suffering of the populace as Barack and Michelle Obama party on. There has been a succession of vacations topped off by Michelle in Spain on the U.S. dime. Keeping track of the vacations, about seventeen this year, has become a media pastime.
Twenty months into his first and last term, President Obama, has wasted a trillion dollars we didn’t have on a stimulus package that was little more than a wish list of pet projects for Democrat congressmen and bailouts of the teacher’s unions whose members would otherwise have to join the long lines at the unemployment office.
Obama has had notably little success in foreign affairs, failing to draw the line with the Russians on issues of defensive missiles in Europe, managing to insult the British in a dozen ways, and being mocked by the Iranian leaders as they get ready to fire up a nuclear reactor.
When he finally decided what to do in Afghanistan, he made the announcement at West Point, including a date when the new infusion of troops would leave. The cadets slept through the speech and the Taliban circled their calendar for 2011.
Barely in office a day, he was all for closing down Guantanamo until he learned there was no place for the detainees. The states did not want them in their prisons and foreign nations did not want them for any reason. When his Attorney General wanted to try the mastermind of 9/11 in New York City the outcry was deafening.
Many of those he wanted to appoint to his administration turned out to be tax cheats or had to withdraw due to charges of unethical behavior or corruption. Despite a pledge to drive out the lobbyists, a number of appointees were lobbyists. A whole slew of “czars” turned out to include a number of loonies who were either outright communists or who believed weird science theories.
Despite widespread, vocal opposition, Obamacare was forced upon an unwilling America and now we are learning it will increase costs and deny care, just as we knew it would.
Bush had his Katrina, but Obama had the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. His administration mismanaged it beyond belief and then he arbitrarily shut down oil production from other rigs, adding more people to the unemployment lines.
Obama used the occasion of a Ramadan dinner at the White House to wade into the controversy regarding a plan to build a mosque within two blocks of where 3,000 Americans died from an Islamic terrorist attack. Then he had to back off what he said.
Obama appointed two women to the Supreme Court, both of whom think the Constitution was written on silly putty. One had never been a judge.
Muslim murder at Fort Hood, a failed Christmas bomber on a commercial jet, and another failed bomber in Times Square. The response to all three incidents was slow and very, very politically correct, tip-toeing around using the word “Muslim.”
Rather than take dramatic action to stem the flood of illegal aliens along the southern border, the Obama administration brought a suit against Arizona at the same time twenty other states are writing and passing similar legislation to enforce immigration laws. Then they threatened Sheriff Joe Arpaio with a legal suit charging that he was anti-Hispanic!
Along the way the Tea Party movement occurred and Nancy Pelosi called them Nazis. Harry Reid became even creepier than anyone could imagine. The voters elected Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, and a Republican Senator to fill Teddy Kennedy’s vacant seat.
On November 2nd, the voters will go to the polls for a midterm election and the odds are that many Democrats will just stay home while the independents and Republicans will turn out in huge numbers.
The power in Congress will shift, perhaps dramatically, because people noticed.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
By Alan Caruba
“Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help the country pay its bills.” So said Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University, in a commentary on Bloomberg.com, August 10.
His solution was to “radically simplify its tax, health-care, retirement and financial systems, each of which is a complete mess.” Unmentioned is the fact that it has taken since 1913 when the income tax was introduced to reach this point.
Social security and Medicare are “social justice” programs which, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were created to protect people against themselves, encouraging dependency on the federal government instead of expecting personal responsibility. They have managed to drain the national treasury.
Social justice is one of those terms like “progressive” designed to hide the implementation of programs that can literally be found in the Communist Manifesto along with the abolition of property rights and other nasty “solutions” to the fact that life is not fair.
I recommend you get a subscription to The Heartland Institute’s Budget & Tax News monthly publication because it is one of the best ways I know to gain a quick insight to the real state of the economy. The August edition has some revealing headlines.
“Report Fuels Effort to Double Michigan’s Gas Tax”
“Proposed Washington State Income Tax Not Deductible, Attorney General Says”
“Oregon Raises Taxes, But Budget Situation Worsens”
“Illinois Lawmakers OK Budget Billions Out of Balance”
“Is the Pensions Bill Just a Bailout?”
“North Carolina Doubles Tax Reviews of Large Families”
One article, however, explains why most, but not all States are broke. “In Indiana, as Revenue Drops, So Does Spending.” What a novel idea. If you don’t take in enough money, you cut government spending.
Its author, Steve Stanek, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, is the editor of Budget & Tax News. “Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) who took office in 2005, insists on fiscal discipline” and his enforcer is Christopher Ruhl, the Indiana Budget Director.”
While President Obama has complained from the day he took office that it’s all Bush’s fault, when Gov. Daniels took office he inherited a $800 million deficit. By dramatically reducing spending, the State turned a deficit into a $1.8 billion surplus. Unfortunately, Congress, even under the Bush administration, have not followed suit.
The Keynesian notion that a government can spend its way out of a deficit is, one hopes, now dead. The Roosevelt administration embraced Keynes, a British economist, throughout the 1930s and the result was the Great Depression.
One reason Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (R) is now a rock star is because, on taking office, he confronted the state’s power teacher’s union and began to cut the budget to reduce an $8 billion deficit. What many Americans are only now realizing is that it has been the civil service unions that have been draining state and local budgets thanks to unrealistic salaries along with healthcare and pension benefits.
The Democrat Party has successfully portrayed the Republican Party as wanting nothing more than to put widows, orphans, and all others out on the street. It is pure demagoguery and it reflects the torrent of lies President Obama told throughout his campaign and since his election.
Kotlikoff explained why most Americans have been unaware of how bad the situation was. “Based on the Congressional Budget Office’s data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the official debt.“
“This gargantuan discrepancy between our ‘official’ debt and our actual net indebtedness isn’t surprising. It reflects what economists call the labeling problem. Congress has been very careful over the years to label most of its liabilities ‘unofficial’ to keep them off the books and far into the future.”
Well, guess what? The future has arrived and, for a generation or two of Americans, unless the debt is dramatically reduced, they will be little more than slaves of the federal government who exist to pay off all the borrowing and all the imploding social justice programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
I frankly have zero faith that either the Democrats or Republicans, whoever is in Congress after the midterm elections, will do much more than nibble around the edges of the fiscal crisis.
As for the States, they are more likely to take some action, but even then you will have to cross your fingers. A good start would be the forced renegotiation of civil service contracts.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
By Alan Caruba
Having written for a decade that the Earth has been cooling, it was rather disconcerting to receive a news release from Accuweather reporting that “The year 2010 is on track to become the hottest year on record since modern record keeping began, according to climate researchers at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”
It turns out there is an explanation for the unusual levels of heat from Russia to Pakistan to Japan. It is a meteorological phenomenon called “blocking events” and they are related to the jet stream.
An August 10 article by Michael Moore in New Scientist explained, “According to meteorologists monitoring the atmosphere above the northern hemisphere, unusual holding patterns in the jet stream are to blame. As a result, weather systems sat still. Temperatures rocketed and rainfall reached extremes.”
The public has been buffeted for decades as the global warming fraud produced reams of reports that the Earth was heating dramatically. It wasn’t. In November 2009, the “Climategate” scandal broke, revealing that the data put forth by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was rigged, false, a scam.
A handful of rogue climatologists working together from East Anglia, England, to Penn State University provided deliberately false information. At the time their private emails were leaked they were seriously worried because a natural cooling cycle had begun in the late 1990s.
Thus, while news of 2010 being potentially one of the hottest years since 1880 seems to give new life to the discredited global warming claims, it doesn’t.
The New Scientist article further explained that, “Renowned for its influence on European and Asian weather, the jet stream flows between 7 and 12 kilometers above ground. In its basic form it is a current of fast-moving air that bobs north and south as it rushes around the globe from west to east.”
Climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball, took note, writing on August 16 that, “Finally, a weather person has mentioned the word ‘blocking’ when talking about the heat and fires in Moscow. It’s a natural event as the world shifts from the warming trend of the 1990s to a cooling trend since 2000.”
The IPCC assaults on valid and verifiable measurements of the Earth’s actual climate were difficult for people with no knowledge of meteorology to debunk, but NOAA has been engaged in similar chicanery. Its report, “State of the Earth’s Climate 2009”, prepared under the direction of the U.S. National Climate Data Center, was equally flawed and deceptive.
Unreported in both the IPCC and NOAA reports is the fact that countless faulty weather stations, often placed near heat sources, and malfunctioning weather satellites make it virtually impossible to make any kind of accurate evaluation of short or long term climate trends.
Moreover, whether the Earth is warming or cooling, all manner of unusual weather events always occur. They are, in themselves, literally meaningless when it comes to forecasting trends.
That is why, in the midst of a new and natural cooling cycle based on reduced solar sunspot activity, we are having a very warm summer and possibly even a very warm year thanks to a jet stream experiencing “blocking events.”
We all need to get passed the notion that humans have anything to do with the weather. It is too vast, too chaotic, and too unpredictable to rationally suggest that a little bit of carbon dioxide is driving the whole thing. It has virtually nothing to do with the climate whereas the Sun has everything to do with it.
There are rumors that the Senate will attempt to take up yet another version of the Cap-and-Trade bill passed in the House during a lame duck session. Based on the bogus global warming, it is a total fraud, a scheme to sell “carbon credits” and make a few people rich while the rest of us are fleeced by rising energy costs. If it passes, those that vote for it will truly be traitors because they will have doomed any economic recovery. It is a nation-killer.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
I recall the outrage with which this cover was greeted, but it has turned out to be quite prescient, to the great distress of many New Yorkers and, of course, the rest of the nation.
By Alan Caruba
Why do so many Jews, located primarily in New York City, Los Angeles, and in Florida, mindlessly vote the Democrat Party line and thus support the Democrat destruction of the nation remains a mystery to me, but the same can be also said of Afro-Americans. Perhaps it is because both share a history of persecution and both are drawn to any message of hope and change.
Despite being a tiny minority, 0.2 of the world’s population, the Jews have produced some of the greatest minds of the modern era. They dominate the Nobel Prizes in science, medicine and physics. They have played a major role in American culture on Broadway, Hollywood, radio and television.
Politically, however, too many Jews who are seen as shapers of public opinion often appear to be blind to evil in the world. They cannot seem to recognize those who would kill them and their fellow countrymen. Unfairly, we expect Jews to be more moral, more just, more resistant to evil, but they are just like the rest of us, easily seduced by power, fearful of rejection.
Nine years after 9/11, less than a year since a Muslim major shot thirteen soldiers to death in Fort Hood, eight months past the failed Christmas bomber, and barely weeks after a failed attempt in Times Square to kill more innocent Americans, the former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, writing in the Huffington Post, lauds Mayor Mike Bloomberg for taking up “the fight to protect the legitimate rights of American Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero.”
Koch cites George Washington’s letter in 1790 to the Jews of the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island. It is a virtual poem to tolerance and a condemnation of bigotry, but the opposition to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero is not bigotry. It is the common, ancient recognition that some places are hallowed by the deaths of soldiers or by the innocent victims of evil.
The field at Gettysburg is hallowed ground. The former Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, is hallowed ground. In Sudan’s Darfur region today where genocide against Christians and animists continues will be hallowed ground.
So eager is Mayor Koch to defend the obscenity of a mosque rising where Muslims killed 2,700 people in the name of Allah, he writes, “We Jews also have our share of thieves, predators, child molesters, Ponzi-schemers, traitors and profiteers. Muslims have their share of great world accomplishments…”
This is so pathetic words cannot describe his surrender of any sense of moral outrage or the pretense of moral equivalency.
At least Mayor Koch was able to acknowledge that Muslims “also have their share of crazies, tyrants, homophobes, those holding hostile and irrational attitudes toward women, vilification of Jews, Christians, Hindus and other so-called infidels.”
It was not Jews who beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl for the crime of being a Jew. The Jews do not murder Christian missionaries providing medical services as Afghan Taliban did a week ago.
Violations of the most fundamental human rights are simply not in the Jewish DNA. Having been slaves in Egypt, they celebrate freedom on Passover every year. Having reclaimed a synagogue from the Assyrians, they celebrate Hanukah every year. They
celebrate Purim to remember how Queen Esther saved her fellow Jews.
Koch mimics the Muslims who slander Israelis with being Nazis when they defend themselves against suicide bombers and thousands of rockets from Gaza. If the Muslims do bad things, Koch believes he must cite Jews as capable of the same, but self-defense is understood worldwide as a duty.
It is the Israelis who have protected the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, built over one of the most sacred sites of Judaism, the Temple Mount. Christian Arabs and Bahai adherents from Iran found sanctuary in Israel, having had to flee Middle Eastern nations as their Jewish neighbors did.
There is no moral equivalency with Muslim acts of terror. They are part of a campaign to impose Islam on the world. In that quest, Muslims have murdered Muslims as well as unbelievers.
It is a familiar liberal failing to refuse to recognize evil, to name it, and to denounce it.
Americans are right to condemn the insult and the arrogance of claiming to build a mosque dedicated to brotherhood when Islam does not recognize any other religion as valid or of having a right to exist.
And yet, any yet, Mayor Koch ended his convoluted, meandering comments on the prospect of a Ground Zero mosque saying, “I believe we are locked in battle with fanatical Islam and will be for the foreseeable future.” He’s right, but you don’t have to be a fanatic to believe what Muslims believe. You need only read the Koran.
The history of Islam is a history of conquest and a resurgent Islam is on the march everywhere again.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
By Alan Caruba
The world has a new deadline for war. It is August 21, 2010 when the Russians activate Iran’s first nuclear reactor by loading fuel.
Both the Russians and the Iranian regime have concluded that President Obama is weak and they have plenty of reason to think this. They have taken his measure since he was inaugurated in 2009. Obama has been incredibly naïve, eager to accommodate, and clearly reluctant to do anything in the Middle East other than LEAVE.
The United States has been at war with Iran since our diplomats were seized on November 4, 1979 and held hostage for 444 days.
Just because presidents since then have not wanted to say so, a state of war exists. The Iranian regime’s leadership have never lost sight of the fact that they have been at war with us.
Reportedly fearful for the fate of the hostages, President Carter never threatened the full military power of the U.S. if they were not returned and, when they were, it was on January 20, 1981, shortly after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.
Perhaps the presidents were counseled that Iran could, if it wanted, close the straits of Hormuz, effectively cutting much of the flow of oil out of the Middle East. To put it in stark terms, 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments flow through the straits.
In contrast to Carter, Reagan did not hesitate to put the full moral weight of the United States behind regime change when he could. When he called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” it encouraged its satellite captive nations and its internal dissident community. He called for the removal of the Berlin Wall and it fell. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed.
Words, however, are not enough and the absence of words sends a message, too. The failure of President Obama in June 2009 to voice support for the uprising of Iranians when they protested the rigged election of Mamoud Ahmadinejad told the ayatollahs they had nothing to fear from him.
The United States, Israel, Europe and all other Middle East nations have plenty to fear from Iran.
The essential error that administrations have made with Iran was to assume that the regime leaders are rational men who can be influenced by the standard diplomatic practices such as sanctions or inducements to play nice.
The men who lead Iran believe that they must bring about the return of the Twelfth Imam, a figure who lives at the bottom of a well and from which he will emerge on a white winged horse to scourge the world of unbelievers. It is a triumphant Shiite belief and it demands chaos in the world, unrest everywhere, and wars that kill millions to satisfy the blood-lust so central to Islam.
To assume that once they achieve their long-sought goal of being a nuclear power they will not use it will bring about the deaths of millions---starting with the Israelis.
We are dealing with mad men, lunatics, religious fanatics and they will not be dissuaded from their goal.
The Shiites are a minority among Muslims but they are the majority in Iran. The next largest group of Shiites can be found in southern Iraq. Beyond them in the greater Islamic world community are the Sunnis and they regard the Shiites with contempt and always have.
August 21 is the day to fear. The ayatollahs have been looking for signs to ensure that the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, is getting ready to return. The massive flooding in Pakistan, the dislocation of millions there, is surely seen as one such sign. Perhaps, too, the vast forest fires in Russia. The financial destruction of the United States is surely another sign. The Obama administration has run up debt beyond anything in the history of the nation and millions are unemployed.
In an August 15 commentary, “Obama Is Colluding with a New Fascist Imperialism”, James Lewis warns that “Nothing is more like the fascist Axis of the 1930s than Islamist expansionism today. Like the Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini Axis of the 1930s, Islamic fascists are fundamentally imperialistic, with an explicit order from on High to subjugate civilized people or turn them to ashes.”
Stop thinking like rational Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.
The Islamic Nuclear Bomb is about to become a reality and unlike Pakistan that wanted it as a defense against India, the Iranian ayatollahs want to use it against Israel and the West. That’s us!
© Alan Caruba, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
By Alan Caruba
On November 18, 1978 the world was shocked to learn that more than 900 members of the People’s Temple had committed suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. They took their lives at the urging of Jim Jones, the Temple’s founder.
Until 9/11 it was the single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster and the tragedy still ranks high among the largest mass suicides in history. Jones had been a charismatic preacher who founded the Temple in the 1950s in Indiana, later moving it to California.
It is increasingly evident with every passing day that Barack Obama is America’s Jim Jones, undermining the U.S. Constitution while urging Americans to drink his Kool-Aid lies. Need a reminder? Here are a few:
Stimulus Act Kool-Aid
Financial Reform Kool-Aid
Reach out to Muslims Kool-Aid
Mosque at Ground Zero Kool-Aid
Amnesty for illegal Aliens Kool-Aid
Bailout General Motors Kool-Aid
Union Card Check Kool-Aid
Green Jobs Kool-Aid
Close Down Gitmo Kool-Aid
Climate Change Kool-Aid
Regulate Carbon Dioxide Kool-Aid
Gulf Oil Drilling Moratorium Kool-Aid
Americans are resisting the behemoth of the federal government under Obama’s control. The Tea Party movement is evidence that the American spirit is far from spent. Many states are joining together in legal suits to oppose Obamacare and to demand the federal government shut down the border traffic that is breeding crime and other costs.
It is a life or death struggle for America. Niall Ferguson, a British historian and author of “The Ascent of Money”, recently gave a lecture for the Center for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia. He warned that “In the history of empires the end is abrupt and those that rely on them need to be ready.”
I have often referred to America as an empire and so have others, given its global military presence, the global reliance on the U.S. dollar as the standard against which other currencies are measured, its moral stature as a defender of human rights and advocate for freedom, and its vast worldwide cultural impact.
“Alarm bells should therefore be ringing very loudly in Washington,” said Ferguson, “as the United States contemplates a deficit for 2010 of more than $1.47 trillion, about ten percent of GDP for the second year running.” He further warned that “half the U.S. federal debt in public hands is in the hands of foreign creditors. Of that, a fifth (22%) is held by the monetary authorities of the People’s Republic of China, down from 27% in July last year.”
“The United States is on a completely unsustainable fiscal course with no apparent political means of self-correcting,” said Ferguson.
The indicators are, however, that on November 2nd, the midterm elections will provide a self-correction IF the power in Congress changes from the Democrats to the Republican Party. It’s a very big IF because, short of anything less, the damage that President Obama can inflict is still significant. Even so, some of his more noxious programs can be defunded.
The President and the Democrats in Congress are possibly the most anti-energy administration in the history of the nation. Everything in our economy and our lives is dependent on access to plentiful and affordable energy whether it comes from oil, coal, natural gas or hydroelectricity.
The Obama administration has blandished billions on “alternative”, “clean” or “green” energy in the form of solar, wind, and biofuels. Nothing about any of these options represents a reliable and viable power source to replace or provide the nation’s huge energy requirements.
The most rogue federal agency in U.S. history, the Environmental Protection Agency, is pursuing the power to regulate “greenhouse gases” despite having no authorization to do so. The justification offered is the totally discredited “global warming” theory. Other nations that have invested in solar or wind power only to discover that neither provides sufficient energy and both eliminate jobs in the process.
That, I suggest, is the very reason why the Obama administration wants to impose them on the nation while at the same time gutting the oil and coal industries.
The moratoriums imposed on the drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, despite two court injunctions against them, will cost the Gulf Coast states an estimated 8,000 jobs or more, nearly $500 million in wages, more than $2.1 billion in economic activity, and nearly $100 million in state and local tax revenue. Outside of the states immediately affected, the moratorium will cost the nation 12,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion, including almost $200 million in federal tax revenues.
Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire will raise taxes across the board at the worst possible time in the midst of a major recession.
This isn’t delusional, it’s intentional.
It is Barack Obama’s Kool-Aid for America.
© Alan Caruba, 2010