Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Obscene Wealth of the Saudis

By Alan Caruba

Some facts: Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserve of 263 billion barrels making it the largest producer and exporter of oil, 11.6% of the world’s supply. Oil represents 90% of its exports and 75% of its revenue. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have had strong relations dating back to World War II and yet much of the funding for al Qaeda came from there until it became a threat to its benefactors. Individual Saudis reportedly still provide funding.

Of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks fifteen were Saudis..Others were from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of the Wahhabi sect, the most orthodox of all Islamic factions. Though the Saudis are Sunnis, the majority sect of Islam and Iran is Shiite, the two nations resemble each other in their indifference to human rights and the general suppression of rights that Americans and other Western nations take for granted.

I have been a book reviewer for more than fifty years and I keep a watchful eye for the occasional book that says more about its topic than a stack of academic or geo-political books by scholars. Such is the case with Jayne Amelia Larson’s “Driving the Saudis: A Chauffeur’s Tale of the World’s Richest Princesses (plus their servants, nannies, and one royal hairdresser).”

Larson has degrees from Cornell University and Harvard University’s American Repertory Theatre Institute. Like so many with aspirations to act in films and television, she headed for Los Angeles, but show business is a tough life to pursue and only a handful find great success. The rest often have to moonlight as Larson did, chauffering to pay the bills.

When members of the Saudi royal family arrive, they require all manner of security and a caravan of limosines to take them where they want to go. Larson would be the only woman driver for one such trip, chosen to drive the princesses, their children, the children’s friends and their nannies, but the full cast included secretaries, tutors, trainers, cooks, doctors, servants, a message therapist, and a royal hairdresser, among others. The logistics required to cater to their every whim is extraordinary.

They also brought with them some of their own furniture despite staying at LA’s most luxurious hotels as well as fine silk rugs, silver serving trays, ornate gilded and ceramic semovars, and “extraordinary coffees, teas, dried fruits, rice, beans, grains, spices, cand, and a rich chocolate that you can get only in the Middle East.”

They arrived with a chest of cash. The Saudis paid for everything with cash and one estimate put the amount at $20 million; $1 million in stacks of hundred-dollar bills weighed about twenty pounds and fits into a five-inch Halliburton attache case. Twenty such cases fit into the chest that was large enough to fit a human body.

America has its billionaires and millionaires, but they would look like busboys beside the Saudi family’s princes and princesses.

Larson, an acute observer, quickly discovered “an elaborate hierarchy and pecking order opervading the royal family’s and accompanying entourage’s behavior at all times. I noticed that no matter the position in even the detail’s hierarchy, everybody wanted to have one beneath them to order around. It was insidious and endless.”

What the princesses were here to do was to shop. They did not shop like Americans. They did not buy one purse, but many purses. “All the booty would be thrown into the back of a waiting van that would make periodic runs back to the hotel to dump the goods. I watched as every week, hundreds of huge moving crates were filled and shipped out to Saudi Arabia to be opened and sorted by the servents back at the palaces of the Kingdom.”

“There was absolutely no regard for what something cost, no inquiry whatever. If they wanted it, they bought it, then bought some more, then bought some more, then bought some more.”

When her seven weeks with the visiting Saudis were finished, Larson figured out she had driven more than 10,000 miles on an average day that could run to eighteen hours, seven days a week. She had heard that the Saudis always tipped handsomely when they left, but because she was a woman, she received a mere pittance.

What Larson got, however, was a closeup look at the obscene wealth of the Saudi royals and a look at a life that some women might envy, but which was a velvet prison, especially for the favored wives whose entire purpose in life was to produce more royal progeny. None of them, unlike Larson, would ever be allowed to drive a car or to go anywhere in the Kingdom without a male relative to supervise. They were segregated in that society and would wear Islamic garb that covered them from head to toe.

It wasn’t just the amount of money that was obscene. It was a lifestyle out of the seventh century. It was a look at what life would be like if these people are ever able to impose their values and restrictions on the world. We got a glimpse at that when Barack Obama bowed to the Saudi king.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Obama's Tyrannical Executive Orders

By Alan Caruba

A September 24 a Wall Street Journal editorial warned that President Obama is moving to control the Internet by executive order. “Any day now, the White House will issue an executive order on cyber security, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who said last week that the measure ‘is close to completion.’”

It noted that “the White House intends to go ahead with its order in the face of vociferous opposition on Capitol Hill.”

“According to leaked versions of the draft, the executive order would impose security standards for 16 critical industries” and that “private companies have innovated and invested heavily to protect themselves without regulatory prodding. What they need from the government is an information-sharing program and liability protection.”

This is just one more executive order that would, along with others, impose a totalitarian control over every aspect of life in America on the pretext of a national emergency. We had a national emergency on 9/11 and no laws were abrogated, no Constitutional freedoms denied.

A Homeland Security Department study, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970-2008”, listed Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic”, “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty” as potential terrorists.

Jeffery T. Kuhmer, writing in The Washington Times in March, noted that “On March 15, the White House released an executive order, ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution.”

To understand how extensive this is, the Western Center for Journalism published a list of “Obama’s Worst Executive Orders” asserting that some 900 Obama executive orders had been initiated when in fact Obama has signed 139. However, added to active EOs from previous administrations, the Center is correct in its fears that he is "creating a martial law ‘Disney Land’ of control covering everything imaginable.”

Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.

Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.

Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.

Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.

Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issues over a fifteen-year period.

Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

These executive orders are a blueprint for the takeover by the government by White House fiat, by-passing Congress.

By declaring that “international tensions and economic or financial crisis” or a “national emergency” exists, it puts all powers of governance in the hands of one man, Barack Hussein Obama.

Do you want to live in such a nation?

(c) Alan Caruba, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

From Haile Selassie to Bibi Netanyahu

By Alan Caruba

On June 20, 1936, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia addressed the League of Nations following the annexation of his nation by Italy the previous year, after Mussolini’s army had invaded. Both nations were members of the League. It condemned the invasion and had imposed economic sanctions that were weak and ignored by its members.

In the wake of having been driven from Ethiopia, Selassie warned the League’s assembled diplomats “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.”

World War II would begin three years later when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

There are lessons to be drawn from history if one is inclined to learn history. On Thursday, September 27, just as he has for the last few years, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Natanyahu again addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations and again warned that time was running out for a confrontation with an Iran intent on producing its own nuclear weapons to fulfill its repeated threats to destroy Israel.

The fact that Netanyahu was back again in front of the General Assembly, essentially giving the same warning tells you how weak the United Nations is, much like its predecessor, the League of Nations. Stalin once asked how many divisions does the Pope of Rome have, mocking his moral authority, and Iran is doing the same, but it is mocking the entire world.

Netanyahu said, “If the Western nations had set red lines in the 1930s, I believe World War II would have been avoided.” He said that a clearly stated “red line” forbidding the enrichment of uranium to weapons grade levels would induce Iran to stop. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say, he hopes for that outcome.

“Today a great battle is being waged between modernity and the medieval,” said Netanyahu in the opening minutes of his address, warning that what was at stake was “not just the future of my country, but the future of the world.”

He asked of a nuclear Iran, “who would be safe in the Middle East, in Europe, in America, anywhere?” Just as Selassie had told the League of Nations, Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly a blunt truth, but it has not stirred many, including the U.S., to action except to park warships in the Persian Gulf, a familiar warning.

Netanyahu produced a simple chart in the familiar shape of an old-fashioned bomb and discussed the role and outcome of enriched uranium, noting that seven years of diplomacy has not deterred Iran from its continued, relentless program. “Sanctions have not stopped Iran ever.”

And then he said something that I suspect many in the Assembly and those watching on television probably missed. He talked of the plants in which the enrichment process is taking place and said, “These plants are visible and vulnerable.”

“The relevant question,” said Netanyahu, “is not at what point Iran will get the bomb, but when they can be stopped from getting it.”

This observer thinks Israel is on its own and knows it. There may be cooperation from other nations who take the Iranian threat seriously, but whatever steps Israel must take to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon, it will largely have to do while the diplomats and leaders of Western and other nations cower in their embassies, chancelleries, consulates, and seats of government in storied capitol cities.

Israel will be tasked to save the West because the West, once again, cannot find the courage to save itself, just like in 1936.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

1.9 Million Page Views--100,000 Hits a Month

By Alan Caruba

"Warning Signs" has passed 1.9 million page views this month and a check of the records indicate we crossed 1.8 a month ago and 1.7 the previous month, each within a 30-day period. That's 100,000 visitors a month these days.

It's great to know that a lot of folks enjoy my daily commentaries and, if I may, it helps around here to receive donations to underwrite the research and IT costs involved.

In the remaining time between now and Election Day, November 6, we are all going to need to separate the truth from the massive manipulation by the mainstream media. That's the job of "Warning Signs" and we also keep an eye on international events. The world is on fire these days from Islamic terrorism to the European Union's economic crisis.

And then there is the threat of economic collapse here in the USA. No nation can sustain a $16 trillion debt and $1 trillion a year deficits. Real change, not the socialist transformation Obama has delivered, is needed. Voters need to step up and make that change!

Keep coming back, tell your family, friends, and co-workers about "Warning Signs" and, by the end of October it will cross the $2 million mark.

Did I mention that your donation is needed?  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Celebrities and Politics

By Alan Caruba

America seems to produce more celebrities than anywhere other than Great Britain with its royal family and its musical and theatrical performers. Here, movies and televisions produce celebrities by the bushel and it comes as no surprise that some fancy themselves political pundits as well.

The most egregious among them of late is Madonna, possibly the world’s worst role model. At a recent concert in Washington, D.C. she endorsed Obama as a “black Muslim” amidst an expletive-filled burst of inane thoughts regarding the President.

The transcript reads: “Y'all better vote for f--king Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that's some amazing s--t," she said. "It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit."

I fully expect the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to announce she will be receiving one any day now.

Lady Gaga—Madonna 2.0—has not been given to political pronouncements but remains a permanent embarrassment to all except adolescents.

Roseanne Barr was on with Sean Hannity recently as the candidate for president of the Peace and Freedom Party, a thin stand-in for the Socialist pretenders. She managed to embarrass herself by being unable to answer his question when they required more than five brain cells working in tandem. Like most of her ilk, she thinks that taking all the money away from billionaires will solve the nation’s fiscal woes even if it would only cover a few days of what the government spends to function.

Far be it for me to say celebrities don’t have a right to express themselves on political issues or, as Hollywood does, give gobs of money to Obama and other liberal causes. It is, I’m told, still a free country. Well, at least until Obama’s executive orders kick in and he declares himself president-for-life.

The Huffington Post has a slew of celebrities whose liberal views are published on the site. Alec Baldwin—who has been known to have anger management problems—is a regular contributor as is Marlo Thomas who holds forth on feminist issues. Russell Simmons writes about racial issues.

Political personalities and events have been the life blood of Saturday Night Live for decades, providing oodles of entertainment. I am still convinced that Chevy Chase was personally responsible for the defeat of former President Gerald Ford because of his portrayals of him falling down all the time. In his place we got Jimmy Carter who gives thanks nightly that someone worse than him is in the White House. These days Chevy occasionally erupts with a burst of liberal gibberish that is swiftly forgotten.

We can thank a former SNL comedian, Al Franken, for the passage of Obamacare. Franken, now a U.S. Senator, won by 243 votes out of nearly three million cast and those last votes were found at the bottom of a well or in a decaying tree stump somewhere in Minnesota. His was a critical vote. One of his books was devoted to slandering Rush Limbaugh.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the likes of the late Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, along with Jay Leno and even Jon Stewart for their lampooning of political figures and events. David Letterman is so in love with Obama that he is a general embarrassment and HBO’s Bill Maher should be broadcasting from the dark side of the Moon.

The current batch of Hollywood and television celebrities offering their political advice and endorsements of Obama is cringe-worthy. Oprah’s career nose-dived after endorsing him. Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a GOP-star until he served as California’s Governor and turned out to be an environmental nutcase. Jane Fonda is a pariah among veterans. And among Sean Penn’s heroes is Venezuela’s dictator, Hugo Chavez.

Clint Eastwood, by contrast, created an indelible image of Obama by talking to an empty chair at the Republican national convention.

That the entertainment industry is predominantly liberal is no secret and, if you don’t believe it, the fall season of television shows has its share of homosexual couples with one show called The New Normal. No, it’s not normal and it’s not new. If you are heavily addicted to sexual innuendo and bathroom humor then just tune in CBS, NBC, and ABC.

The recent Emmy award show opened with a comedy sketch that included a naked actress (naughty parts blurred out) on the potty. The awards were so politically correct millions of viewers were constipated the following morning.

We can expect to hear from more celebrities opining why we should vote for Obama over the next few weeks. Remember, these are people who get paid to pretend to be someone else or musicians who just might be enabled by dubious medications or booze.

The attention they get and the obscene amounts of money they’re paid tends to warp whatever common sense their parents tried to impart.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Voter ID Thing

By Alan Caruba

On September 25th, according to Congressional Black Caucus Chairman, Emmanuel Cleaver, “we cannot even find an instance of voter fraud” but the NAACP would disagree as it strives to keep Voter ID laws from being passed.

The NAACP is so concerned about voter rights that it has taken its case to the United Nations, claiming that “Millions of United States citizens are denied the right to vote because they have been previously convicted to a felony offense.

At a NAACP-sponsored panel, a member of its board of directors, Lorraine Miller, called upon the UN Special Rappateour “to investigate racially discriminatory elections laws” given that many felons are black and many states deny voting rights to convicted felons. The NAACP is on a tear to defeat Voter ID laws, claiming they are racially based.

At this point, between thirty-one and thirty-three States have enacted laws that require all voters to show an ID at the polls in November, depending on whether the laws are declared strict or not.

Rep. Cleaver is, shall we say, misinformed. According to a Justice Department fact sheet dated July 2, 2008, more than 140 individuals have been charged with election fraud offenses and more than a hundred have been convicted since the Attorney General’s Ballot Access and Voting initiative was launched in 2002. This is, in actuality, a fairly pathetic enforcement record.

On September 19, one day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, said there were an estimated 4,000 non-citizens on its voter rolls of the estimated 305,000 non-citizens that live there. This is why Ms. Johnson is insisting that Michigan’s 7.34 million registered voters be asked to confirm they are citizens on Election Day in November.

The election outcome in 2000 had to be decided by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore and this initiated efforts to avoid a repeat by tightening voter laws to avoid all manner of fraud.

In their book, “Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”, authors John Fund and Hans Von Spakovsky, say that “Election fraud, whether it’s phony voter registrations, illegal absentee ballots, vote-buying, shady recounts, or old-fashioned ballot-box stuffing, can be found in every part of the United States, although it is probably spreading because of the ever-so-close tight red state/blue state divisions that have polarized the country and created so many close elections of late.”

“In 2012, the voter rolls in many American cities include more names than the U.S. Census listed as the total number of residents over age 18. Philadelphia’s voter rolls, for instance, have increased dramatically as the city’s population has declined.”

In 2008, following the election of Barack Obama, ACORN which engaged in widespread voter fraud had its operatives indicted in fifteen States. “At least 54 individuals who worked for ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud or related activities,” noted Fund and Von Spakovsky. It did not go unnoticed that ACORN had earlier hired Obama as a “community organizer.”

But Benjamin Jealous, the president of the NAACP asserts that blacks are the victims of “the greatest assault on voting rights…since the days of Jim Crow.” As noted, the NAACP has gone to the United Nations claiming Voter ID laws are a violation of human rights.” This is absurd. The former civil rights organization has devolved into little more than a stooge for the Democratic Party.

As Fund and Vop Spakovsky point out, “The evidence from academic studies and actual turnout in elections is overwhelming that—contrary to the shrill claims of opponents—voter ID does not suppress turnout, including among the ranks of minority, poor, and elderly voters.”

It has broad implications for the passage of laws such as Obamacare that was imposed by the slimmest majority in the Senate in 2009. In August 2009, Bill Frezza, writing in Forbes, noted that “The latest revelations that illegal votes may have given Al Franken (D-Minn) his 312-vote margin of victory in his 2008 Senate race—out of the nearly 3 million votes cast—gives one pause.” Franken’s vote was critical to its passage.

“Despite this,” noted Frezza, “Eric Holder’s Justice Department is pulling out all the stops to defeat the passage of voter ID laws, arguing that they place an undue burden that could result in some eligible voters being disenfranchised.”

How absurd is this? Valid ID’s are required by the DMV, airports, hospitals, pharmacies, when donating blood, by banks, gun shops, adoption agencies, the Social Security Office, pawn shops, courts, union elections and, yes, when voting in local, state, and national elections.

Voter fraud is not a racial issue. It is the central issue of the republic to ensure the accuracy and credibility of the election process and is crucial to the outcome of the forthcoming elections that will determine which party controls Congress and who will be President in the coming four years.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Distrusting the Press

By Alan Caruba

Some of the happiest years of my youth, after college and the U.S. Army, were spent as a journalist. My first job was as a reporter for a weekly newspaper and, after the editor left to join a daily six months later I became the editor. That was my first insight into the quality of journalism in the late 1960s. Suffice to say I had no training in journalism beyond what I learned on the job.

What journalism didn’t do is provide a living wage even in those halcyon years and to borrow a phrase from Mae West, a 1930s sexpot, “Like Snow White, I drifted.” In my case it was a natural transition into public relations. What that taught me was that newspapers and other news media could not exist without PR practitioners.

We developed the stories and we fed them to editors and reporters. Very little of what one reads in the news media represents anything generated by individual journalists with the exception of sports, crime reports, and obituaries. What we did then and do now is not unlike the legion of “public information officers" for government agencies and those hired to keep politicians in the news and hopefully out of jail.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, the first thing one learns in PR is to tell the truth because anything else will inevitably come back to bite the client. There are, of course, exceptions. PR undertaken for environmental, consumer, and other advocacy groups skew the information they provide. The Greens and consumer groups thrive on creating scare campaigns.

For the vast bulk of PR, whatever “spin” is involved is devoted to providing facts to reporters who lack the time or expertise to develop them on their own. For example, the details of how any particular industry functions are known to the ubiquitous trade associations, but rarely to a reporter. Unless they grew up or worked in a farm state, anything involving agriculture is a total mystery to them. Most news involving chemistry is likewise terra incognita to most reporters. News about health issues is frequently devoted to some disease guaranteed to kill you. Or not.

When on September 20th the Gallup polling organization announced that distrust, if not outright disdain, of the news media “hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly” it became news.

This is, however, not a new phenomenon. In 2005, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard released a study that indicated a rising mistrust of the press. The confidence that existed in the 1970s and 1980s turned into a deep slide in the 1990s. As that decade began, 74% expressed a great deal or some confidence in the press. A decade later that number had fallen to 58% while confidence in other institutions had remained stable.

The press, however, has long been in denial and I chalk that up to human nature. Those who still have jobs after a decade of newspapers folding, cost-cutting, and the growth of the Internet as a source of information not controlled by the media, are aware of the loss of confidence but tend to regard it as a “shoot the messenger” response to what they are reporting

Another factor that is rarely addressed is the way a generation or two of journalism school graduates were exhorted to be “change agents”, literally manipulating the news to advance various social and political goals. In a very real sense they engage in PR more than PR professionals!

The media that fell in love with Obama in 2008 and attacked the McCain-Palin ticket are still heavily invested in “the messiah.” Their problem is 23 million unemployed Americans with an official unemployment rate of over 8% for 43 straight months that is closer to 15% in reality, dismal economic growth, inflation, and other factors that individual voters feel directly. Many who voted for Obama in 2008 will stay home in 2012. Others will vote for Romney simply to be rid of him.

Events like the post-9/11 anniversary that sparked a huge anti-American Muslim explosion from Morocco to Indonesia anger Americans in deep, often unexpressed ways. We have been a superpower since the end of World War II and now that status has been jeopardized by nearly four years of Obama’s performance internationally and domestically. He hasn’t solved problems, he has exacerbated them.

In political terms, there is still a long time until November 6, Election Day, but the killing of an American ambassador in Libya, the siege of the Cairo embassy, and other events will play a large role in the collective consciousness of voters. The fact that the administration tried to pass it off as due to an amateur film that no one saw until finally admitting they were terrorist attacks will linger in voter’s memories. People do not like being lied to and the mainstream press was carrying water for the administration.

Nothing that the press has thrown at Mitt Romney has stuck. He may not be a rock star, but he is seen as a very decent man. The press doesn’t get it. They thrive on celebrity news, not on a serious analysis of Obamacare or economic issues. Their liberal bias is eating their credibility like termites.

It is likely to get worse for them in the run-up to the election and afterward. If Obama gets elected—an unlikely outcome—they will get the blame. If he is defeated, attacks on a President Romney will anger readers and viewers eager and anxious for some real change.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Courts and the EPA

EPA headquarters in DC
By Alan Caruba

A bit of news that slipped beneath the radar on September 11th was the announcement by the Competitive Enterprise Institute that it had filed a legal suit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to shield a senior official’s practice of hiding public service communications on private email accounts that only he controls and can access.

The EPA official is EPA Regional Director 8 Administrator James Martin, a former senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. This and many other Freedom of Information requests have been ignored by the EPA and other branches of government. On Monday, the CEI also filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department that has been stonewalling inquiries regarding internal documents related to a “possible effort” to enact a carbon tax during Congress’ forthcoming lame-duck session.

The last thing America needs is an utterly bogus tax on so-called greenhouse gas emissions. A similar law is wreaking havoc on Australia’s economy. And, since there is no “global warming” and carbon dioxide does not cause warming, such a tax is just one more way to grab more revenue.

Because of the hundreds of thousands of regulations the EPA has promulgated, the agency is constantly in court responding to law suits brought by states, by trade associations, and by corporations, but mostly by environmental organizations.

The EPA actually encourages environmental groups to sue in order to enter into consent decrees to “settle” the case in a manner they prefer. For decades, environmental groups have reaped millions in taxpayer dollars by accommodating the agency in this fashion. A case in point is the Environmental Defense Fund that received $2.76 million in grants over the last decade while at the same time suing the EPA over various issues.

The Wyoming-based Budd-Falen law office has documented more than 3,000 law suits against the EPA by a dozen environmental organizations over the past decade! During the same time period, the Environmental Law Institute that created a citizen’s guide to suing the EPA has received $9.9 million in grants!

It is especially ironic that the courts have often become the only protection Americans have against the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the EPA’s inflated bogus claims that it is saving lives, the reality is that—particularly during both the Clinton and Obama administrations—it has existed to destroy many elements of the nation’s economy, with a special emphasis on the provision of the energy upon which everything depends.

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, “EPA Smack-Down Number Six”, we learned that a decision by the D.C. Circuit court “marks the 15th time that a federal court has struck down an Obama regulation and the sixth smack-down for the Obama EPA. This tally counts legally flawed rules as well as misguided EPA disapprovals of actions by particular states.”

The court ruling “saved Texas from an arbitrary and capricious EPA rejection of its permitting process for utilities and industrial plants” and asked “Why do federal judges constantly have to remind EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson” of the basic principle that even regulators must follow the laws of the United States?

Obama and Carol Browner
 Ms. Jackson is an acolyte of Carol Browner who served as EPA Administrator during the Clinton years. These days Ms. Browner is one of the many shadowy, behind the scenes, “czars” of the Obama administration, accountable to no one except the President. Many were surprised to learn that she was also a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society for the Socialist International. When that was revealed her biography was taken off its website.

In war you target a nation’s energy facilities. This explains why the Obama administration has targeted coal-fired plants that generate nearly half of the nation’s electricity.

Courts, however, are composed of judges trained in the law, but often ignorant of science. In an egregiously bad judicial decision the Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases” were deemed “pollutants” under the Clean Air Act.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is vital to all life on Earth because no vegetation can exist without it. Moreover, there is no need to limit so-called greenhouse gases to fend off global warming—now called climate change—because there is no global warming. It was a huge hoax, but that doesn’t deter the EPA from basing its regulations on it.

In a recent case, a D.C. Circuit Court decision was based on a Clean Air Act that empowers the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in “upwind” states “without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text” thus vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces reductions from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the nation. It was challenged by several states including Texas, Alabama, and Georgia.

An illustration of how the EPA justifies its insane attack on the generation of electricity can be seen in its estimates that the rule would have prevented up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually. Such figures are simply plucked from thin air, having no relationship to reality than a ruling that a child story’s fairy dust can kill you.

Indeed, in 2011, the House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at ensuring that the EPA cannot regulate “farm dust.” H.R. 1633 would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule in 2012 that regulates coarse particulate matter. It passed on a vote of 268-150. Thirty-three Democrats joined with Republicans.

The EPA has become a major threat to property rights nationwide in addition to its relentless attacks on the energy sector. It is a very costly agency in terms of what Congress calls “major rules” that are defined as costing the private economy more than $100 million annually. In August 2010 Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sent President Obama a letter pointing out that the administration had been creating regulations that cost ten times more.

Of the seven rules that broke the $1 billion barrier, four of them were from the EPA. The total cost of EPA regulations hit $104.5 billion versus $5 billion for the entire rest of the government!

If the Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, the nation’s energy sector will be permitted to help turn around the nation’s lagging economy, avoiding the needless shut-downs of plants that generate the electricity that is the lifeblood of the economy, ending the attacks on coal and opening up exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas that will contribute billions in addition to the jobs that will be created.

With the departure of Ms. Browner and Ms. Jackson, the EPA can then be administered by someone less crazed with the intent to destroy the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Many Efforts to Alter Presidential Eligibility Requirement

Obama is Hope-Less

By Alan Caruba
On October 9, 2009, barely nine months after his inauguration on January 20th, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama. At the time, the committee said it was being awarded “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

Only a fool would say that Obama’s international diplomacy has worked. The siege of our Cairo embassy hoisted the flag of al Qaeda. Our Ambassador to Libya has been killed. Syria’s dictator kills his own people with abandon. The Iranians have not stopped working toward being able to make their own nuclear weapons and from Morocco to Indonesia, in a large swath of the world there are rallies whose slogan is “Death to America.”

While President Obama’s performance in office will be dissected by future historians, those of us who have to live through the experience day to day are often left wondering why he chose to pursue various policies.

A big part of the answer is that Obama is a dedicated Marxist. The recent tape of his 1998 discussion of the “redistribution of wealth” is pure Communism. It isn’t garden variety Socialism. A large part of the U.S. population has had some difficulty understanding what Obama was doing because they have never encountered Marxism so directly before.

The U.S. has been adopting “progressive” policies and programs since the days of Teddy Roosevelt and his nephew Franklin D. Roosevelt and it must be said that even Republicans in the White House and Congress embraced them.

The result are “entitlement” programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that have so distorted the economy that it is now impossible for Congress to balance a budget in which more than half is devoted to these programs before a single dollar is spent on defense and other domestic programs..

At the very beginning of the nation, Benjamin Franklin warned that “When the people find they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

The result of Obama’s first term has been the piling up of the kind of debt never seen in the entire history of the nation even during World War II. While it is true that Obama arrived as the wreckage of the 2008 financial crisis lay all about, the actions he took were odd.

The crisis which too conveniently occurred at the very end of George W. Bush’s second term during the 2008 presidential election campaign was the result of government policies reaching back to the days of FDR when the government decided to manipulate the nation’s housing sector by creating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase mortgages issued by the nation’s banks.

When the crisis occurred, these “government sponsored entities” owned fifty percent of all mortgages and had been bundling them into assets sold to banks and investment firms. They would be dubbed “toxic assets” of unknown origin and no real value. They killed Lehman Brothers and required a massive bailout of major banks and investment firms.

Few argue that major banks had to be saved, but Obama had no need to seize control of General Motors and Chrysler. They could have gone through an ordinary bankruptcy procedure and emerged the better for it. Obama, however, was not concerned about the auto companies so much as he was concerned about the auto unions. In the process, the company’s creditors and stockholders were shunted aside. Americans have always opposed the nationalization of its industries. It is Communism.

As the U.S. economy began to fail, unemployment climbed to Great Depression heights, people lost their homes, the food stamps program expanded exponentially, and as unemployment benefits ran out, people signed up for Social Security disability benefits in huge numbers. The Federal Reserve, an independent banking cartel, announced “quantitative easing” that involved printing money out of thin air to infuse it into the economy. This devalued the U.S. Dollar and we are now to be subjected to a third such failed effort.

For the first time in the nation’s history, our credit rating was reduced and that process continues. If Obama is deliberately trying to destroy the economy, he is succeeding. All talk of “redistributing wealth” is pure Communism.

In the area of foreign affairs, Obama took credit for the U.S. withdraw of troops from Iraq that the Bush administration negotiated and then up’d the ante by inserting more troops in Afghanistan while setting a date for withdrawal; a war that the U.S. was losing and continues to lose. Even the troops Obama “surged” into Afghanistan have been withdrawn.

Our NATO partners are all bailing out as swiftly as they can, but Obama will let the Taliban kill our soldiers through 2013 insofar as they know the NATO coalition will be gone and no retribution will be exacted.

Indeed, the only retribution of any sort one can point to was the assassination of Osama bin Laden for which Obama took full credit over and over again. Did this possibly anger Muslims in the Middle East? Unquestionably. But the notion that Obama has an al Qaeda “kill list” that he personally was pursuing with antiseptic drone attacks evokes some very scary thoughts about this President.

The biggest failure is the one filling the front pages of newspapers and the television screens. His outreach to Islamists was greeted with the most predictable response ever. Apologizing for America. Bowing to the Saudi King. They perceived he was weak and it was an invitation to overthrow dictators and replace them with the Muslim Brotherhood. The “Arab Spring” was never about democracy and never about freedom. It was about Sharia law.

The son of a Muslim father, raised in a Muslim nation as a youth, attending mosques with his Muslim step-father, and on record to support Muslims, should surely have known that a holy war had been pursued for over three decades by the time he took office.

Even so, the White House completely failed to heed the inherent danger of the 9/11 anniversary and our Libyan Ambassador paid for it with his life, along with three of his staff. Obama’s policy appears to be one that says if we do nothing, maybe they will leave us alone. They didn’t. They won’t. Instead, as our embassies were under siege, the President was attending fund-raising events and appearing on television with David Letterman.

In line with his intent to destroy the nation, his administration’s target of choice was the energy sector and coal mines and power plants are shutting down across America. The massive amount of federal land has been off-limits to drilling for oil or gas, but fortunately it is occurring on privately owned lands. By deterring the building of the Canadian oil pipeline Obama killed an estimated 20,000 jobs that would have been created and thwarted the oil that would be transported to U.S. refineries.

In addition to the “stimulus” the Obama administration threw billions at the most loony forms of energy, solar, wind, and biofuels. At one point, he even suggested pond scum, algae, as an energy source worth funding. GM’s electric cars cost $49,000 each and have few buyers other than the U.S. government.

In concert with the Departments of Energy and Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency was unleashed to pursue an orgy of regulation-making that has required the House of Representatives to vote to rein it in for fear of the economic destruction that would ensue. This legislation and every budget Obama put forward to Congress has been defeated or stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Obama is counting heavily on the short memory span of most Americans, understandably concerned with their own problems, but their problems are entirely the result of his administration’s policies.

The pundits are wondering for whom distressed Americans will vote. Most assume they will vote for Obama, but Americans do not like being out of work with no prospect of new jobs or living with their parents after four debt-filled years of college.

And, lastly, there are disquieting reports that Obama administration departments and agencies are purchasing massive amounts of ammunition. The only people they would be used against are Americans.

None of this bodes well for the first Communist President of the United States, but with any luck a majority of voters will choose a successful venture capitalist to replace him and to do what Republicans have had to do since the days of FDR, clean up the mess that Democrats have left behind.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hating Fracking

By Alan Caruba

Among the many things that people who identify themselves as environmentalists have in common is a fear of anything that can provide the energy to drive your car, heat or cool your home or apartment, power communications technologies, and the endless other uses that we all take for granted. Say oil, coal or natural gas to these people and they begin a litany of nonsense about how they are destroying the environment or pose a heath hazard.

Whatever you do, don’t mention the name of any chemical because it can bring on trembling or an instant demand that it be banned from use. When I tell people that I ingest selenium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, as well as retinoids, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, egocalciferol and tocopherols, I fully expect the average environmentalist to drop to the floor in a faint.

These are the same people who give no thought to the hundreds of thousands of birds that are hacked to death by wind turbines or the acres of panels on solar farms that destroy the natural habitat of various species. They don’t even favor protecting our forest areas against catastrophic fires by the managed removal of dead or diseased trees and clearing out undergrowth.

What environmentalists have in common is a sense of superiority over all the people who they see as insisting on driving anywhere, flying anywhere, using plastic bags, or polluting the air at tailgate parties. They fear that carbon dioxide is going to destroy the Earth when all life on Earth depends on this gas (0.038% of the atmosphere) for all vegetation growth and on oxygen that keeps all living creatures alive.

Stoking all the fears environmentalists have are the environmental organizations that make millions off of these fools and the Environmental Protection Agency that exists to ban every beneficial chemical that actually protects people against pest-borne diseases and every form of energy that powers the technological advances the former generations could only read about in the earliest science fiction novels. Dick Tracy had a two-way radio-wristwatch. Today, everyone has a cell phone. When I was born television didn’t even exist, let alone computers.

The latest environmental battleground is fracking. The EPA is busy trying to convince everyone that this long-established technology “indicates likely impact to ground water”, but fracking takes place well below groundwater levels and is separated from them by layers of rock and sediment.

Fracking is slang for hydraulic fracturing. It refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the well from where it can be extracted

As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted in December 2011, “More than one-third of all natural gas drilling now uses fracking, and that percentage is rising.” Even the EPA says of one study, “detections in drinking water well are generally below (i.e., in compliance with) established health and safety standards.”

“Most fracking today,” the editorial noted, “occurs 10,000 feet deep or more, far below drinking water wells, which are normally less than 500 feet.”

More to the point, “Natural gas carries a smaller carbon footprint than coal or oil, and greens once endorsed it as an alternative to coal and nuclear power. But as the shale gas revolution has advanced, greens are worried that plentiful natural gas will price wind and solar even further out of the market.”

So, naturally, the EPA is conjuring up more stringent regulations to slow this advance, along with ever deeper drilling for oil that has the potential of making American energy independent within a decade or two.

The Greens are now holding rallies and assailing legislators in individual communities and in various States to get fracking banned. In New York State, the favorite public relations agency for environmental scares, Fenton Communications, got a bunch of celebrities, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Lady Gaga, and actor Mark Ruffalo to support Artists Against Fracking to issue warnings that any sensible person would ignore. In North Carolina, the legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Bev Perdue (D) making gas production through fracking legal.

Fracking and accessing other sources of energy will generate, not just lower cost energy for consumers, but produce hundreds of thousands of jobs the nation needs to get out of this horrible lagging economy.

Town by town, state by state, the Greens will wage this new war on energy with the same enthusiasm and stupidity they embraced the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming. Shun them. Defeat them. They want to keep you shivering in the dark.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Prepping the US for Martial Law

By Alan Caruba

This blog is not called "Warning Signs" for nothing. It would appear that the obama administration is prepping Americans for martial law by floating a story that Iran may attack the U.S. homeland. This suggests a "false flag" operation intended to panic Americans with an attack engineered by the administration.

Combined with massive purchases of ammunition by various U.S. agencies, this bodes ill for the weeks between now and the November elections.

A Washington Times article is a possible early indication of this. You can read it at

Considering that the U.S. and allied nations have a huge armada of ships in the Persian Gulf and that Israel will likely attack Iran soon, the notion that Iran would attack the U.S. homeland is small, if not suicidal.

Any such declaration of martial law should be cause for Americans to descend on Washington, D.C. to demand the removal of Obama and his administration.

(c) Alan Caruba, 2012

Obama Press Conference

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The BPA Wars: Junk Science and Junk Journalism

By Alan Caruba

On Tuesday, September 18, posted an article by Alex Crees, a health news reporter, “Chemical BPA linked to obesity in children, teens.” If Ms. Crees had done any research to verify the facts she recounted in “a new study”, she would have known it was yet another bogus effort to correlate eating food with BPA.

Bisphenol-A, more commonly called BPA, is a chemical that has been in wide, safe use for over 50 years. It is used to coat the insides of aluminum cans and plastic bottles and protects them against food pathogens such as botulism and has the added value of protecting plastic bottles against breakage.

As I noted in my six-part series, The BPA File, In 2011 “the German Society of Toxicology released a review of more than five thousand previous studies of BPA exposure that concluded that BPA ‘exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies.’” Researchers concluded that BPA is neither mutagenic nor likely to be a carcinogen.’”

Let me repeat that, “more than five thousand previous studies.” At what point can one expect a Fox News journalist to actually check her facts?

A graduate of New York University, Ms. Crees studied journalism, psychology, and Spanish. There is no indication she studied chemistry. If “journalism” is defined as mindlessly repeating some news release that says BPA “may increase the risk of obesity in children and teens”, permit me to suggest that eating lots of snacks, ice cream and candy “may” also increase that probability!

Anyone who wants to learn the truth about BPA is advised to visit, the website of Steve Milloy who has gained a solid reputation for debunking so-called “science based” fear campaigns. His data on BPA reveals that there is no scientific evidence that BPA:

• Has ever harmed anyone despite 50 years of use;

• Acts as an endocrine disruptor; and

• Has any health effects at low doses;

Furthermore, the data debunks some of the most oft-cited and false claims about BPA.

• BPA is not carcinogenic or mutagenic;

• BPA does not adversely affect reproduction or development at any realistic dose;

• BPA is efficiently “metabolized” and rapidly excreted after oral exposure

My series on BPA confirms Milloy’s findings, but Ms. Crees has written an article intended to add to the multitude of similar distortions while questioning the facts offered by authoritative sources.

The effect of this avalanche of articles has triggered a number of governments to ban some uses of BPA despite more than a half century of its use without any evidence of alleged harm, but governments are famous for acting on the bogus “precautionary principle” that essentially says that anything that might cause harm should be banned.

Going back centuries, it has been known that it is the amount of any given chemical that represents harm. Let’s understand a fundamental determination of what is toxic or not. As Paracelsus (1492-1541) said long ago, “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison.”

Ms. Crees’ article noted that “the study’s lead investigator Dr. Leonardo Trasanda, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, told, ‘This study raises concerns about the need to reconsider that stance (the presence of BPA).”

Excuse me, but what the heck is “environmental medicine” other than an excuse to scare people with studies about every chemical known to man and God? As for Dr. Trasanda’s study, it set out to correlate extremely low amounts of BPA in the urine of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 years old.

In the event no one has pointed it out to Dr. Trasanda and Ms. Crees, urine is excreted by the body, but Dr. Trasanda said, “We are especially concerned that children who ate too many calories might also ingest BPA.”

The operative word here is “might” and the likelihood that eating “too many calories” might play a far larger role in obesity than any other factor!

To her credit, at the very end of the article, Ms. Crees quoted Steven Hentges of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council, who she identifies as a representative of “chemical manufacturers”, as saying that “Attempts to link our national obesity problem to minute exposures to chemicals found in common, everyday products are a distraction from the real efforts underway to address this important health issue.”

“Due to inherent fundamental limitations in this study, it is incapable of establishing any meaningful connection between BPA and obesity.”

Ms. Crees is guilty of both junk science and junk journalism. The Steven Hentges quote should have been the lead paragraph, not the last.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oil Forever!

By Alan Caruba

I suspect that most people think the Earth is running out of oil or that the U.S. and the rest of the world are “addicted” to its use.

Both beliefs are wrong, but in different ways. First because the Earth produces oil in abundance deep within its mantel in ways that have nothing to do with dead dinosaurs and gives no indication of ever stopping this natural process and, second, because the use of oil for fuel and for thousands of other applications, not the least of which is plastics, is one of the great blessings of modern technology and life.

All this is made dazzlingly clear in Dr. Jerome R. Corsi’s new book, “The Great Oil Conspiracy” ($22.95, Skyhorse Publishing). By way of explaining why there is so much oil within the planet Dr. Corsi tells the story of the Nazi regimes development of synthetic oil after German scientists “cracked the code God built into the heart of chemistry to form hydrocarbons in the first place.” Known as the “Fischer-Tropsch” process, it permitted the Nazis to pursue war even though Germany had no oil fields of its own.

The widespread use of the term “fossil fuels” is a deception created by anti-energy propagandists and earlier theorists to make people believe that oil is the result of countless dead dinosaurs and decaying vegetation. Oil, however, is “abiotic”, a term that means it is a natural product of the earth itself “manufactured at deep levels where there never were any plants or animals.”

Corsi writes of Thomas Gold, a professor of astronomy who taught at Cornell University. In 1998 he published a controversial book entitled “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” in which he applied his knowledge of the solar system, noting that carbon is the fourth more abundant element in the universe, right after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Gold pointed out that “carbon is found mostly in compounds with hydrogen—hydrocarbons—which, at different temperatures and pressures, may be gaseous, liquid, or solid.”

Gold, who passed away in 2004, was way ahead of most other scientists with his assertion that the earth produces oil at very deep levels. While telling the story of how the U.S. went to great lengths to acquire the data regarding synthetic oil production as our military overran Germany and then took care not to let the public know about. It was, after all, our own oil industry that had provided the fuel that aided the war effort in both theatres.

Correspondingly, the oil industry had no reason to develop “relatively expensive synthetic oil when billions of dollars in profits could be made annually bringing to market naturally produced and reasonably priced hydrocarbon fuels, including crude oil and natural gas.”

This mirrors the efforts of “renewable” energy producers, wind, solar, and biofuels like ethanol, to profit at the cost of billions of dollars in subsidies and loan guarantees paid for by taxpayers along with higher electricity and gasoline bills paid for by consumers; all of which are mandated by the federal government. It is pure crony capitalism to enrich a few at the expense of all the rest of us. None of these alternative forms of power could exist or even compete without such government mandated support.

As Dr. Corsi points out, “Eliminating the fear that the world is running out of oil eliminates an urgency to experiment with or to implement alternative fuels including biofuels, wind energy, and solar energy as long as these energies remain less energy-efficient, less reliable, and more costly than using oil and natural gas.”

There are, in fact, “more proven petroleum reserves than ever before, despite the increasing rate at which we are consuming petroleum products worldwide” says Dr. Corsi, noting that the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, in on record that “there are more proven crude oil reserves worldwide than ever in recorded history, despite the fact that worldwide consumption of crude oil has doubled since the 1970s.”

So tell me why, since the Obama administration took over, have gas prices per gallon risen from $1.84 to $3.80 now, a rise of 105%? The American Energy Alliance compared costs between 2009 and 2012, publishing them to reveal that we are all paying more for energy. The average monthly residential electricity bill has increased 6% and annual household energy expenses have increased 31%.

At the same time, the Obama Department of Energy increased new rules whose implementation cost more than $100 million each 141%! The Environmental Protection Agency increase of such regulations increased 40%, the Department of the Interior, 13%.

Total regulatory costs (all sectors) went from $1,172 trillion in 2009 to $1,752 trillion today! If you were trying to bankrupt the energy sector and its consumers, this is a great way to do it.

You can access the AEA chart at

The Obama administration came into office declaring a war on coal, further restricting oil and natural gas exploration on federal lands and offshore, and wasting billions on solar, wind, and biofuel companies. That in itself would be reason enough to turn them out of office.

The Earth is not running out of oil and likely never will.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Israel's Pre-War Planning

By Alan Caruba

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”
William Shakespeare – Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1

The Iranian threats to destroy Israel are not an “existential threat” as they are often described. As Iran draws closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, it is a very real threat and the Israelis have spent many years planning for an inevitable and unavoidable attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and its military machine. It will not be a war of occupation though surely Iranians would welcome the end to its tyrannical regime.

Open sources of information about Israel’s capabilities reveal some surprising and encouraging facts, not the least of which has been the support Israel has received and is likely to receive from many nations when the attack on Iran occurs.

Already known—and revealed by the White House—has been the development of the Stuxnet digital electronic capabilities that slowed Iran’s uranium enrichment program, but its capabilities for electronic warfare by jamming, blinding, and rendering an enemy’s ability to anticipate or operate are not widely known.

In its 2007 destruction of a suspected nuclear site at al-Kibar, the Syrian military were taken by surprise when Israeli planes “spoofed” its air defense radars, at first making it appear there were no jets in the sky and then making the radar believe the sky was filled with hundreds of airplanes.

Over the years, Israel has become a major developer of computer and other technologies. Much of the communications technology that is found in our products was developed there. Israeli companies endow Cisco with new core router designs and real-time programmable network processors for its next-generation systems. Apple has benefited from miniaturized solid state memory systems for its iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Microsoft, Motorola, and other companies have likewise benefited.

As just one example, Israel has developed a weapon capable of mimicking a maintenance cell phone signal that can effectively stop transmissions and it has jammers capable of creating interference with Iran’s emergency frequencies for first responders.

Israel has developed an Arrow missile defense system specifically designed for Iran’s Shahab-3 threat. The United States has deployed a high-powered, long-range X-band radar facility in Israel to boost Arrow’s sensor capability and to supply data to the Pentagon’s own missile defense network. In addition, the U.S. Navy has its Aegis system, originally designed to protect naval task forces from missile attacks and, of course, an armada of ships, U.S. and others, are positioned in the Persian Gulf.

It is worth noting that Israel has its own long-range, 1,500 km nuclear capable Jericho IIB missiles, heavy-payload F151s and F16s.

Israel has conducted a number of exercises in concert with other nations, many designed to ensure its long-range aerial capabilities. For example, Russia delivered its S-300 ground-to-air radar systems in 2008, capable of simultaneously tracking hundreds of semi-stealth cruise and long-range missiles and aircraft. But Greece has the same Russian S-300 system, purchased in 1998 and based in Crete. In June 2008, Israel staged a widely-reported exercise over Crete in concert with the Greek Air Force. More than a hundred F-16 and F-15 fighter jets, including mid-air refueling planes participated and Israel was able to secure invaluable information about jamming and circumventing the S-300 system

That and other exercises established that Israel has the capacity to negotiate a 1,400 km distance, the same distance as Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility. It is worth recalling that in 1976 Israel carried out an operation to rescue its hijacked citizens from Uganda, more than 2,000 miles away. In 1981, Israel flew a precision strike that disabled Saddam Hussein’s Osirek nuclear reactor. In 1985 the Israeli Air Force attacked Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organizations headquarters in Tunis, more than 4,800 km away.

At a time when the Middle East and northern African nations are in turmoil, attacking U.S. embassies, an attack by Israel with the support of the U.S. would send a message that none of these nations is safe from reprisal. It could slow or deter Islamist ambitions to drive the U.S. out of these strategic areas of concern.

In sum, Israel has been planning and preparing for the attack on Iran that is critical to its survival and likely missions against Hezbollah in Lebanon and/or Syria, as well as Hamas in Gaza should they join the fight.

In the 1930s, the Nazi regime gave repeated cause to fear its ambitions. That generated appeasement efforts and it did nothing to deter them. The Empire of Japan had already attacked China. War put an end to both these threats to civilization, to humanity. War again is required to end Iran’s comparable threats and to damp down the turmoil sweeping through Muslim nations.

Should President Obama fear to engage Iran in support of Israel he would increase the odds of a World War III and put his campaign for reelection in jeopardy. His pusillanimous excuses for inaction have not gone unnoticed by American voters. The attack on Iran will come shortly.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Useless, Costly Teacher's Unions

By Alan Caruba

As I close in on age 75 I can still tell you the names of most of my teachers from elementary school on up through senior high. Miss Kenniston was my first grade teacher. I was madly in love with Miss Ward in fourth grade. It was the 1940s and 50s. Women had been the predominant gender of the teaching profession since the early 1900s.

Historically, the teacher’s union movement began in Chicago in 1897 and Chicago was the site of the nation’s first teachers strike in 1902. The latest reports indicate that the strike this past week has been settled and all that really means is that Chicago’s school children will once again receive a poor, but very expensive education.

The Heartland Institute, a 28-year-old, national, non-profit research organization is headquartered in Chicago and I have served in an advisory capacity. One of its areas of interest is education.

Robert C. Holland, a Senior Fellow, points out that “Thanks to Chicago’s independently managed charter schools remaining open…50,000 of Chicago’s 400,000 public school children will not be shortchanged. That reality could strongly reinforce in parent’s minds the desirability of school choice for all children.”

Heartland’s S.T. Karnick, Director of Research, noted that “The average teacher salary in Chicago is $74,839, plus benefits far better than those available in the private sector. Yet Chicago Public Schools are among the nation’s worst, which is saying a lot.” According their own data, Chicago’s public schools “failed to make adequate yearly progress in student achievement last year. Children in the city’s private and charter schools do much better at a fraction of the cost.”

Are you thinking what I am thinking? Given the cost of public schools and the fact that the teachers union have negotiated some of the best salaries and perks, all while providing decades of poor performance, why would any city want to continue with this system?

To put it another way, as Heartland’s John Nothdurft, Director of Government Relations, noted, “Chicago Public Schools have offered teachers a four-year package worth $400 million despite the fact that the city is already expected to face a $369 million deficit in 2013.” If you or I conducted our financial affairs in this manner, we would soon be living in a cardboard box on a sidewalk somewhere.

Maureen Martin, Heartland’s Senior Fellow for legal affairs, weighed in with a politically incorrect appraisal of today’s generation of women teachers. “In the 1960s, most high-achieving female college graduates became teachers, largely because they had few other career choices. By 2000, almost none of them became teachers, largely because they had many other career choices.”

“The fact is that female teachers nowadays are not as smart as they used to be. And the fact is that’s why students nowadays are not learning as much as they need to learn in order to succeed.”

So, since Chicago teachers are well paid, the strike is clearly not about money. For the union, says Martin, “Teacher evaluations and potential dismissal of incompetent teachers are front and center in the negotiations, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”

A Washington Post article, “Five Myths about Teachers Unions” noted that a 2009 report by the New Teacher Project “found that 94 percent of teachers in Chicago received ‘superior’ or ‘excellent’ ratings, and just four in 1,000 were rated ‘unsatisfactory’. Clearly , the evaluation system is broken.”

Karen Lewis, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, when speaking at a teachers’ conference last year was caught on video. She told them “I am the only black woman in the class of 1974 from Dartmouth College. Woo, people are impressed. Let me tell you, I spent those years smoking lots of weed, self-medicating, thank you.” When the audience laughed, she added, “Sounds like you all did too.”

Chicago will yield to the union. Syndicated columnist, Michelle Malkin, explained why:

“The Chicago Teachers Union rakes in nearly $30 million in forced dues from rank and file teachers every year. CTU is an affiliate of the behemoth AFL-CIO, which dropped an estimated $100 million in forced dues to support Democratic candidates and causes during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.”

I have been hearing and reading about how bad our nation’s schools are since Bill Bennett, the U.S. Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988, named the Chicago school system the worst in the nation twenty-five years ago!

The reason there has been no improvement in reading scores and other indices, along with a disgraceful drop-out rate of 56% who never make it to graduation, is the teachers’ union. Yes, there are cultural and economic factors, but in a decent school system, even poor children can learn. It should come as no surprise that the highest achievers academically nationwide are those who are home-schooled!

What Illinois and every other State in the nation needs is a right-to-work law. The only way to restore fiscal sanity to their budgets and see real reforms occur is to end the grip of the teachers and other public service unions.

Editor's Note: For those who would like to read my four-part series, The Subversion of Education in America, it will provide further insight and information.

© Alan Caruba, 2012