Saturday, November 30, 2013

Violence is Very Human

By Alan Caruba
The “knockout game” is in the news these days along with much discussion of bullying. Football is a game of violence with rules in which players frequently sustain injuries. Terrorism has been adopted to advance the Islamic goal of global domination. And the administration just announced an agreement with Iran in a vain effort to slow their intention to join the nuclear club of nations with the capacity to kill thousands, if not millions.

It is impossible not to conclude that violence is not built into the DNA of mankind.

In his 2007 book, “The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War”, David Livingston Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of New England, wrote: “The track record of our species shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are extremely dangerous animals, and the balance of evidence suggests that our taste for killing is not some sort of cultural artifact, but was bred into us over millions of years by natural and sexual selections.”

On the plus side, he wrote “But we have also seen that there is something in human nature that recoils from killing and pulls us in the opposite direction.”

It’s worthwhile to take a moment to contemplate violence. A statistical analysis, Smith noted, reveals the constancy of war. “Looking at forty-one modern nation-states between 1800 and 1945, we find that they average 1.4 wars per generation and 18.5 years of war per generation.”

“Almost 200 million human beings, mostly civilians, have died in wars over the last century, and there is no end of slaughter in sight,” wrote Smith. “The threat hangs over all of us, constant and unrelenting.”

The brief notice of the slaughter occurring in Syria when poison gas was used is instructive. A wider war was avoided when Russia stepped in to negotiate the destruction of this weapon and was occasioned only when President Obama contemplated military strikes. At this writing, 100,000 Syrians and combatants have died. It is no longer an on-going news story.

“The Value of Violence” is a new book by Benjamin Ginsberg. “Honesty would be so frequently damaging that virtually all politicians and public officials become practiced liars,” notes Ginsberg, suggesting that “cynicism should be understood as a reasonable, if mainly intuitive, popular response to the realities of politics.”

The deal with Iran, albeit for only six months, was conducted in such secrecy that none of the members of Congress, including its leadership, were aware of it. The killing of a U.S. ambassador in 2012 on the anniversary of 9/11 was immediately surrounded in lies when Americans were told it was initiated by a video no one had seen, rather than one more episode in the war that Islamic fascists have engaged in since the 1980s. The nation is trying to extract itself from Afghanistan after the 2001 act of war we call 9/11 and has left Iraq after a war whose justification is subject to question. Long wars of attrition sap the strength and will of even a superpower.

The reason the deal with Iran is so suspect is the fact that it is the nexus for much of the terrorism in the world, sponsoring organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. It has engaged in every manner of violence from assassination to kidnapping and hostage-taking.

Ginsberg notes that “In recent decades, for example, armed insurgents have employed violence or the threat of violence to overthrow a number of established regimes. The African continent alone has experienced some eighty-five successful military coups during the past sixty years.” It is Africa that mankind evolved, standing upright, and walking to inhabit all the other continents.

Much is made of violence in America. It is the daily content of news. “In the United States alone, nearly one and a half million individuals become the victims of violence every year—pushed, kicked, pummeled, stabbed, and shot—while tens of thousands of others are the perpetrators of these same acts.”

Indeed, America was born in violence as citizens took up arms against the British to establish the nation. Not that long after, it fought a bloody civil war to retain the union. The right to bear arms, as much to hold the government in check as any other, is part of our Constitution. An estimated eighty million Americans own a gun or rifle or both.

One can argue that violence on the individual, national, and international level is the price that humanity pays for its own inherent, even genetic, inclination to use violence for a wide variety of purposes. It has been used by the great religions and by nations alike.

It will not end. Our best efforts can only restrain it within ourselves, but weakness, too, is an ancient invitation to violence. Appeasement is a trap.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Macy's Parade and Obamacare

By Alan Caruba

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is an extraordinary logistical achievement when you consider how many bands are involved, how long it must take to make the remarkable floats and, of course, the famed balloons. I marveled, too, at the remarkable timing of the parade in which each unit occupied a specific amount of time on camera, either as a band executing a choreography or just marching by.

An America that can produce an extravaganza like the parade should be able to demonstrate comparable skills in other areas of activity and, in fact, it does. Despite the occasional delays because of weather conditions, thousands of flights take off and arrive on time every day. Trains get where they’re going. Things that are scheduled fulfil their schedules with admirable skills. is a miracle of merchandizing. You can purchase anything from the site and be fully confident that you will receive an email confirming the purchase and telling you when it will arrive. Thanks to UPS and Fedex, millions of packages move around the nation. Even the U.S. Postal Service does a good job.

I am confident, too, that the various products I want to purchase at my local supermarket will be on the shelf when I arrive and will be restocked with a precision that goes largely unnoticed.

Even the government seems to do a reliable job of mailing out hundreds of thousands of Social Security checks each month and I am sure there are examples of other ways it demonstrates competence, but….

Obamacare has demonstrated what a socialist power-grab looks like when those seeking to take over one sixth of the nation’s economy attempt to implement a program whose ultimate purpose is to give the government control over your health and, indeed, whether you live or die.

Its technical failures immediately manifested themselves and the stories of people with serious illnesses who have lost their health insurance coverage are already daily news items.
This isn’t just a case of government over-reach, it is Communism and, while Americans have learned to live with less intrusive and even “safety net” programs instituted from the 1930s to the 1960s, they instinctively know that Obamacare constitutes a catastrophic change in their relationship with the government.

A nation based on a document, one of whose purposes was to limit the size of the central government—the Constitution-- is still largely populated with people who prefer as little government involvement in their lives as possible. That view runs from the local motor vehicle agency to Congress.

When government at all levels begins to rival private commerce in terms of the number of people it employs and ends up with more pension and other debt than it can pay, we get cities like Detroit or Stockton, California. We end up with bankruptcies and defaults that tell us that the interests of the government employees have taken precedence over those who pay their salaries and other benefits.

In the private sector, if a business does not compete effectively or provides a product or service that has been overtaken by new technology, it is allowed and even expected to fail. Government, however, is forever.

I doubt that Obamacare will be forever though there is a risk of that if too many people do not tell their Congressmen and women they want it repealed.

Ours is a participatory democracy. Obamacare is going to need a lot of push-back. We are going to need a Congress cleaned of those spineless Democratic Party apparatchiks who voted for a bill they had not read. They must be replaced and the year ahead will be one in which the Tea Party movement and Republican Party are going to devote themselves to that effort.

America has had its first brush with its first Marxist President and the evil of his ideology is beginning to hit home. He has become the greatest threat to our future and one who has put our right to privacy, our belief in the freedom of religion, and our national security at high risk. He has put liberal shibboleths on full display.

We are citizens who are equal before the law. We are not citizens who are in all other respects equal. The liberal paradise does not exist, never has, and never will.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade should remind us of our capability to stage such extraordinary events and return home to enjoy a traditional dinner surrounded by family and friends. We do not return to a government feeding station with a chit in our hand to receive the exact same amount of food as everyone else.

Obamacare is a government health clinic and, if you do not pay a fine or do not pay the many taxes hidden within it, you will not be allowed to get it line. You will be told to go home and die.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


 By Alan Caruba

On Thanksgiving 2013, it may seem that the nation has little to be thankful for, but if you pull back from the headlines and other news, it is clear that Obama’s presidency is seriously damaged and will remain so until and after he is gone. That’s worth celebrating.

I must confess I am luxuriating in the knowledge of Obama’s present misery. I am enjoying it as someone who predicted he would fail—and fail spectacularly—and yet I know, despite his present unhappiness, he has no idea why it is happening.

The German word for taking pleasure in another’s failure or ill fortune is “schadenfreude.” Since this is generally regarded as unseemly, one usually keeps it to himself, but there is no need for that in Obama’s case. A small legion of conservative pundits has been warning about the consequences of Obamacare since Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010.

The bill is so badly flawed that, even with three years to prepare for its rollout, the administration made a mess of that. Those who know more about it than I predict that it will simply implode for lack of people—mostly the young and healthy—who will not participate in the exchanges. The horror stories will begin to mount as we learn of those who lost their insurance coverage, were unable to pay huge, increased premiums, and die as a result.

In October, Daniel Henniger, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, described it this way: “Let us try to understand what is happening now with the Obama presidency. On display to everyone watching this week is not merely the failure of a federal website or a software program or Ms. Sebelius’s management skills. This is the failure of the very idea of progressive government. Not liberal government. Progressive government.”

That’s an important difference. Henniger is talking about communism because “progressive” is the term that has been adopted to disguise communism. In the 1950s, when I was growing up, communism was called communism because people knew the Soviet Union was communist and that it was the enemy,  It is still the enemy, most particularly of freedom and, beyond that, of free market capitalism that facilitates better lives for those who live in nations that exercise it.

The problem for America has been the way it has moved to the left since the dawn of the last century, adopting all manner of “entitlement” programs, but both Social Security and Medicare will be insolvent soon unless they are reformed to reflect the changing demographics of a growing, aging population. The move to the left increased the size and scope of the federal government in ways the Founders would never have imagined or wanted.

Our present miseries are rooted in the failure of communism aka progressive government. In perfect synch with the failure of his “signature” legislation is its living embodiment, the failed presidency of Barack Obama. He is an example of those people who, despite their limited skills, continue to be hired for jobs higher up on the ladder until their failures are catastrophic.

This is now commonly called “the Peter Principle”, formulated by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in a 1969 book of the same name. They postulated that the members of an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit will eventually be promoted to positions beyond their abilities; what they identified as “their level of incompetence.”

It’s worth noting that Obama’s college records have been sealed, so we only know that he attended Occidental College from the fall of 1979 through the spring of 1981. He then transferred to Columbia University. He graduated in 1983, spent about a year in Chicago as a “community organizer” before attending Harvard Law School. There is no need to examine his “career” after that except to note that he surrounded himself with radical friends and made his way up the Chicago political ladder until becoming a junior Senator from Illinois, He served from January 2005 until he was elected President in 2008. None of this demonstrates much preparation to be President and none of this suggests a level of competence for the job.

In 2012, a Washington Times editorial noted that “Since Mr. Obama took office, the opinion of the United States generally has declined in every country surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, according to a report released in June.” Especially in Middle Eastern nations, his favorability ratings were below what they were when he took office. The Times concluded that “There’s a reason Mr. Obama has not been a strong leader internationally. He never set out to be one because he never believed in the exceptional mission of the United States…He would rather bow to foreign leaders than stand up for America.”

In sum, Obama has displayed a talent for campaigning for office, but has proven to lack all the attributes necessary to act effectively in office. This wouldn’t be a problem if he had remained an obscure junior Senator from Illinois, but has failed to solve the problems that come with any presidency.

Fouad Adjami, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, recently noted that “Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire healthcare system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention.”

He has taken notice of the debacle. He began by lying about it and has progressed to lying about his lies. With three years to go, we are witnessing and being victimized by the election of a man who, in the parlance of Washington, D.C., has been “failing up” his whole life. He is the ultimate example of an “empty suit.”

Democrats up for election and re-election in 2014 will not want to be seen on the same stage with Obama. Those in Congress are already voting for any kind of band-aide to “fix” Obamacare, but no one is fooled by that.  It can’t be fixed. It can only be repealed.

I am surprised that it took this long for the voters to realize the mistake they made, but America has a Constitution that enables them to overcome such errors and the economy is robust enough to resist much of the damage he has inflicted on it. We’ve had presidents in the past that were not up to the job. They were replaced. The nation moved on. It will do so again.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Prospect of World War Three

By Alan Caruba

Let me begin by saying that the deal the U.S. struck with Iran on November 24 is so criminally stupid that mobs with torches and pitchforks should be surrounding the White House and Department of State demanding that the President and Secretary of State resign.

How many times does the United States have to make really bad deals with really bad nations? And then call it progress!

In 1994, former President Clinton announced that a deal with North Korea had agreed to “freeze the major elements of its nuclear program.” A new round of talks was scheduled—in Geneva—to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Virtually the same language was used by President Obama in his late evening announcement of a fundamentally useless, but extremely dangerous agreement with Iran.

Worse than accepting Iran’s deception, it is as if Obama knew nothing of the North Korean deal that subsequently resulted in its development of a nuclear weapon despite some costly bribery exacted for promises it never intended to keep. The worst part of this is Obama’s deception of Congress and the American people. Efforts to grant Iran the status of a new nuclear power had been secretly going on for a year behind the back of Congress.

On hearing of the deal, Rep. Mike Rogers said “That’s the one thing the whole world was trying to stop them from doing,” referring to the permission granted to continue enriching uranium. “We made this mistake in Pakistan. We made this mistake in North Korea. History is a great judge here and great teacher. Why would you make the same mistake to a nation that will proliferate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if they are successful at getting a nuclear weapon?”

It is important to keep in mind that not just the U.S. is a signatory to this agreement, but also the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China. It was facilitated by the European Union. The lessons of history were totally ignored. The sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iran were ignored.

For years many have taken comfort in the knowledge that, in the past, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactors that were being built in Iraq and more recently in Syria. An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities was assumed to have the support of U.S. military power in the event that Iran would retaliate either directly or through its terrorist proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

It is clear now that Obama has abandoned Israel as well as Saudi Arabia which also regards Iran as its enemy. Obama has embraced America’s enemy since the Islamic revolution in 1979. He has not brought us closer to peace. He has brought the world closer to World War Three.

I am not a military strategist, but one need not be to understand Israel’s peril or the limits on its ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, many of which are underground or heavily defended.

Here are some comparisons:

Iran has a population of 78,868,711. Israel has a population of 7,765,700.

Of these, those fit for military service are 39,556,497 in Iran and 2,511,190 in Israel.

Comparing active military personnel, Iran has 545,000 and Israel has 187,000.

Iran has 650,000 in military reserves. Israel has 565,000.

Iran’s annual defense budget (in USD) is $10,687,000,000 and Israel’s is $15,209,000,000.

The comparison of their military capabilities is equally daunting. A sobering analysis is offered on the website of the Jewish Virtual Library.

Even if Israel were to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it would also have to fend off massive rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas.

What defies Obama’s reasoning is Iran’s long history of attacks on the West. It has specialized in taking hostages, initially in Lebanon from 1984 through 1992. It seized the American embassy in 1979 and held American diplomats for 444 days. It holds an American cleric as this is being written.

In 2011, the U.S. discovered that Iran had conceived and funded a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. At the time, the State Department said that the thwarted plot “underscored anew Iran’s interest in using international terrorism—including the United States—to further its foreign policy goals.”

Obama’s ability to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its intent to become a Middle East hegemon through diplomacy does not exist.

A race to acquire nuclear arms has begun in the region where Israel and Pakistan already have them, as does India and China. Saudi Arabia has announced its intent to secure nuclear weapons.

One can only conclude that this interim agreement is a repeat of the appeasement that occurred in Munich when European nations sought a similar agreement with the Nazi regime. The lessons of history are unforgiving.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

The UN Global Warming Hoax is Slowly Dying

By Alan Caruba
In 2007 Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner was interviewed on the subject of sea levels. He is the head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project. Dr. Mörner has been studying the sea level and its effects on coastal areas for some 35 years.

“You have Vanuatu, and also in the Pacific, north of New Zealand and Fiji— there is the island Tegua. They said they had to evacuate it, because the sea level was rising. But again, you look at the tide-gauge record: There is absolutely no signal that the sea level is rising. If anything, you could say that maybe the tide is lowering a little bit, but absolutely no rising.”

The most recent edition of Bloomberg Businessweek features a cover that says “This entire country is about to be wiped out by climate change. It won’t be the last.”  It is devoted to Kribati, a Pacific island chain, and it is a total lie.

The media has been a co-conspirator to the global warming hoax and I take this latest example as one that reveals its utter desperation to maintain the greatest hoax of the modern era. The facts mean nothing to them. Real science means nothing to them. But reality is intruding on theirs and the United Nations environmental program just wrapped up Conference of Parties-19 in Warsaw, where more nations are now in open revolt.

Writing from the conference was Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a think tank that has helped organize the Poles to protest this travesty. “Poland has been bullied for decades and they are not about to cede their energy independence to Russia, the UN or anyone. Nor should they.”

On November 21, Rucker reported that “COP-19 was shocked when China led a block of 132 nations in a walkout over ‘loss and damage.’ Loss and damage is a completely bogus concept that developed nations should be legally liable when natural disasters strike developing nations. There is of course no meaningful scientific or historical link that Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda was abnormal and with no global warming link.”

We owe a debt of gratitude as well to The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, that has sponsored eight international conferences on global warming since 2008 and recently released a report,“Global Warming Reconsidered II.” Like CFACT it has been on the forefront of those seeking to educate the public regarding the phony science claims put forth.

COP-19 was one more UN conference leading up to a new version of the Kyoto Protocol that required nations that signed onto it to reduce their so-called greenhouse gas emissions. The final push will come in 2015 in Paris.

Nations that did sign on—the U.S. Senate unanimously refused to ratify the treaty when the Protocol was initially introduced in 1997—are realizing the economic harm that it imposed on them. The same afternoon of the China-led walkout, Poland announced that it had fired its environmental minister who is also the president of the UN conference, two days before the conference was supposed to end!

The Protocol, as is the entire global warming aka climate change hoax, is based on the lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere is causing it to warm. In recent years CO2 has increased in the atmosphere and the Earth, some fifteen or more years ago, entered a cooling cycle. It is getting colder.

“Never underestimate what a gathering of bureaucrats and carbon profiteers might accomplish when after your money”, warned Rucker.

A November 20 article in The Daily Caller reported that “It’s worth noting that U.S. diplomats were specifically instructed by the Obama administration to oppose any attempts to create an independent fund for climate reparations from rich countries to poor countries.” Three days later the administration announced that it now supports all nations declaring their targets for reducing CO2 emissions before 2015. Rucker warns that this now clears “the path for the UN to adopt a full climate treaty and successor to the Kyoto Protocol in 2015.” If the Senate is not controlled by Republicans at that point, it would permit the administration to sign onto a treaty. The harm to the economy would be incalculable.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected recently to undo the damage of a carbon tax, told the Washington Post “Despite a carbon tax of $37 a ton by 2020, Australia’s domestic emissions were going up, not down. The carbon tax was basically socialism masquerading as environmentalism and that’s why it’s going to get abolished.” Australia did not send a representative to COP-19. Canada dropped out of the Protocol in recent years. Japan is abandoning the UN’s greenhouse gas emission reduction levels by allowing them to grow by three percent.

Nation by nation the UN global warming hoax is being abandoned for the obvious reason that it is a lie perpetrated to transfer wealth from the developed nations to those less developed. It was never about saving the Earth from a global warming; that was a lie from start to finish.

Some journalists are trying to tell the truth, but magazines like BusinessWeek and newspapers like The New York Times continue to keep the hoax alive. An informed population, not just in the United States, but increasingly worldwide, will ensure that it dies a long overdue death.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

China! China! China!

By Alan Caruba

“Doom is one of the oldest stories of mankind,” says Josef Joffe in his excellent new book, “The Myth of America’s Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophesies.”

As long as I can remember I have read and heard that America is in decline beginning when Sputnik was launched in the 1950s. We were all told that the Soviet Union was to be the next great superpower. It collapsed in 1991. The Federation that replaced it was the shrunken loss of many of its former captive satellite states. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, we were told a resurgent Europe would overtake the U.S. and in the 1980s that Japan would become an economic superpower.

Now we are being told that the future belongs to China and the emerging economies there and in India. Joffe, a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, publisher-editor of Die Ziet, and frequent contributor to Foreign Affairs, has gathered together the facts of America’s economic ups and downs to present a realistic and optimistic view of the future.

The news is filled with reports on China’s 18th Central Committee’s Third Plenum, citing promises of expanded property rights, transparent market regulation, and prices set by the market. The Wall Street Journal, however, noted that “China’s new leaders are tightening political repression”, the mark of every Communist state. There was also news of China’s loosening of its “one-child” policy that restricted couples from adding too much to its population of 1.3 billion.

Joffe demonstrates why China has many problems that will keep it from overtaking America’s economic dynamism and before you fall the latest version of America’s decline, you should definitely read his book. He asks, “Who would actually want to live in a world dominated by China, India, Japan, Russia, or even Europe, which for all its enormous appeal, cannot take care of its own backyard? Not even those who have been trading in glee and gloom decade after decade would prefer…to take over as housekeeper of the world.”

As for China, Joffe notes that it “has the largest population on earth, half of which is still living in the countryside.” Half the population “remains poised to go urban and sell its labor at low wages”, but he also points out that, in terms of its demographics, “China is getting older and America is getting younger.” Its fertility rate has dropped and “Aging is not good for growth and so China will inevitably slow down, with rapid aging adding pressure to all the other growth brakes embedded in an economy that remains resolutely statist.”

And that is China’s problem. While introducing reforms, China is still a nation where the state owns and operates much of its economy. This is an object lesson and warning to Americans who are now rising up to demand that Obamacare, the takeover of one sixth of the U.S. economy, be repealed. Governments cannot and should not run various elements of a nation’s economy because decisions are based in politics, not the marketplace.

“China’s working-age population will reach its peak at the end of this decade and decades before the People’s Republic is supposed to overtake the United States.” Meanwhile, thanks to our fertility rates and immigration, the U.S. will have a population of younger workers. It has not escaped the attention of observers that, by 2025, China would account for less than a fifth of the world’s population, but almost a fourth of the world’s senior citizens.”

“A burgeoning army of pensioners and infirm will eat up investment funds as a fire will consume oxygen,” says Joffe. Aging populations worldwide, including our own, put enormous strains on growth and, as we have seen here, social programs such as Social Security and Medicare are threatened with insolvency unless reformed. Nothing scares the political class more as the aging citizens who represent a major voting bloc.

“Economic growth could soar or falter tomorrow, but populations change slowly because they are rooted in long-term trends and culture,’ says Joffe.

Joffe also cited China’s educational system that places its emphasis on learning the answers to tests as opposed to the ability to think creatively and question government dictates. This reflects in part our own educational system that has been tending toward “teaching to the test” and a national curriculum such as is being imposed in the current “Common Core” program that the Obama administration has introduced.

“In a one-party state that is China, the government is the ultimate guardian over what students and scholars may read, say, and even write, in schools for the elite.”

Education is the basis of “human capital” because an educated population is a major contributor to economic growth. “One quick, but effective, way is to look at education expenditures as a share of GDP, where the United States beats China and India hands down.” They spend around 3.5 percent while the U.S. spends 7 percent. And this on a population one-quarter the size of China’s and one-third the size of India’s, and with a GDP that dwarf the economies of China and India by factors of 2.5 and 10, respectfully.

Militarily China may pose a problem for Asian nations; it is unlikely to pose a threat to the United States whose military power, though being reduced by expenditures and other factors, is still the greatest in the world.

“In his Rise and Decline of Nations, Mancur Olson argues that closed societies freeze up-victims of rent-seeking elites who capture political power to cement economic privilege and stifle the competition that fuels rejuvenation.”

America’s problem is not so much China as it our out-of-control spending and the dangerous increase in our indebtedness. Until this is gotten under control we will be borrowing too much and, China, that purchases much of our debt will do its best to compete economically with a system that does little for its own and which depends on our financial stability.

All of this argues for an America, for all its current problems from an administration trying to “transform” America into a Communist worker’s paradise, that will replace the backward steps that have been taken and make the changes necessary to remain the world’s only true superpower.

That is the payoff of capitalism and freedom.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Myth and Reality Surround Kennedy

By Alan Caruba

I was in the Miami, Florida office of a human relations organization when someone burst in to say that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. The date was November 22, 1963, fifty years ago.

I was age 26, had graduated from the University of Miami, served in the Army until my discharge in 1962. My first job took me back to Miami, but at the time Kennedy was killed, my enthusiasm for it had departed and I took the occasion to let my boss know that I too was departing. I returned home to New Jersey where I would pursue a career in journalism for several years.

There are moments that mark one’s progress through life. For anyone alive at the time, most can tell you where they were. The Kennedy assassination didn’t just come as a shock to the nation; the world felt the loss as well. He was handsome, articulate, married to a beautiful wife, Jacqueline or Jackie as she was more often called. He had two cute children.

It was a time of considerable turmoil at home and abroad. The civil rights movement was gaining momentum. The women's rights movement began in earnest. Indeed, the entire decade left its mark on history. Just five years later in 1968 Kennedy’s brother, Robert, was assassinated during his campaign to become President. Two months earlier, in April, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis. 

No one wants to live such turmoil, but the 1960s bequeathed its values to our culture—sex, drugs and rock’n roll—and our politics. Without that decade’s civil rights movement, it is unlikely Americans would have elected a black President in 2008. Two generations have been born since the 1960s.

For those of us in our twenties fifty years ago, the optimism we felt with Kennedy in office was replaced with a growing sense of pessimism as the Vietnam War lingered through Johnson’s administration and into Nixon’s. Watergate severed most feelings of confidence in whoever was the nation’s chief executive until Ronald Reagan came on the scene. I am known these days as a conservative commentator, but back then I was a Democrat and a liberal.

Countless books have been written about Kennedy’s life and death. There have been films and television programs devoted to him. He wasn’t in office long, serving from 1961 to 1963, but his youth, his personality, his love of the arts, and other pleasing attributes made him very different from his older predecessors.  

America loves youth. It indulges the young, makes “idols” of some, and devotes most of its entertainment to them. They bring energy to the passing scene, but they are unwittingly and unknowingly the passing scene. Fifty years after the assassination is already “ancient” history to new generations.

Lost in the story of that fateful day is the fact that Kennedy was assassinated by a Communist.

That was my thought as I address the fact that fifty years have passed since JFK was killed. It is my generation who lived through the event. To think that a half-century has gone by since that day takes a moment to contemplate; to ask what I have done with my life since then. It is a question others of my generation will ask as well. In the past fifty years, with the exception of the 1980s, the nation has moved inexorably to the left.

History turns on such events. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914 triggered World War One. The assassination of JFK led to the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson who dragged the nation into a distant civil war in Vietnam and included a fruitless domestic “war on poverty”, a liberal program that was doomed to failure in the same way Obamacare is.

As the French say, Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes—the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In retrospect many observers have concluded that Kennedy was in many respects a conservative. He was a religious man. He opposed Communism. He increased spending to the military. He cut taxes. One can go on, but it is obvious now that he was not the liberal many would have us believe. That is a myth.

As I think back, I realize how little I knew of the politics of the years in which I was attending university, serving in the Army, or working that first job in Miami. My political education began when I was a young journalist, but my political maturity did not begin until the 1980s when Ronald Reagan served his two terms.

It was nice being young when Kennedy was President. Being old as Barack Obama, a Marxist, uses the presidency to destroy the nation, is a nightmare.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Obamacare is Making Me Crazy

By Alan Caruba

The late William F. Buckley, Jr., the founder of the National Review and advocate of conservatism, once said, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

The truth of this is being acted out as Democrat leaders blame Republicans for the failures of Obamacare, no doubt because no Republican in Congress voted for the Affordable Care Act, one of the great misnomers of recent times. There is nothing affordable about Obamacare for the millions who have had their health care policies cancelled, only to learn that the government-approved policies now come with far higher premiums.

Obamacare is an example of the great failure of liberalism; the belief that the solution to all problems can be provided by the government. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the U.S. Constitution knows that it was it was written to limit the federal government’s powers. It mostly says to Congress and the President, “no, you can’t do that.” It most certainly doesn’t say they have the power to compel people to buy something they don’t want by calling it a tax.

At this point, Obamacare is driving me crazy as I dial around the radio or the television trying to find any news of anything else. It is a non-stop orgy of talking heads all saying the same thing depending on whether they are defending or attacking it.

My own health plan with AARP was altered and I have had to find a new physician who is part of its HMO plan. I liked my former physician and like many people I find this mandate one more way Obamacare has taken away my free choice in such matters.

Government should not be doing this and, if any good comes out of this, it is that millions of Americans sleep-walking through life have discovered how hideous it is when government eliminates any “real” choice. Offering you a bunch of healthcare insurance policies you don’t want or which are too costly is not a definition of choice.

Politically, this is a Republican wet dream. The November 18 Rasmussen Report poll found that 58% of the likely voters they surveyed view Obamacare “unfavorably.” That’s up five points from the previous survey and “the highest finding in regular surveying since early January.” The report noted that 62% believe that increased free market competition will do more to reduce health care costs than more government regulation.

Many Republican pundits are advising that the Party do nothing to delay the implementation of Obamacare. Larry Kudlow reminds people of the old political adage, “If your opponent is determined to hang himself, for Heaven’s sake, don’t take away the rope.”

There are a dozen Democratic Senators who are up for reelection in the 2014 midterm elections: They are Mark Begich (Alaska), Dick Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Kay Hagan, (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Pryor (ARK), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Udall (CO), Tom Udall (NM), and Mark Warner (VA).

All voted for Obamacare, as did every other Democrat in Congress. If they are defeated and replaced by Republicans, the Senate and the House will have sufficient votes to repeal Obamacare. It just doesn’t get less complicated than that. A presidential veto would be over-ridden.

Meanwhile, there are still a slew of cases making their way through the court system that would overturn Obamacare as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court might welcome a second whack at it in order to clean their hands of the mess to which they contributed.

My own educated guess is that Obama will continue to lie and lie and lie some more. At some people, many brain-dead zombie liberals will rise from their ideological graves and walk to the voting booths to register they anger and displeasure.

At some point Obamacare is doomed. It’s just that awful.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

John Kerry: A World Class Doofus

By Alan Caruba

Recently, in the wake of another diplomatic disaster for the Obama regime, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We are not blind and I don’t think we’re stupid.”  He and the President may not think they’re stupid, but the leaders of nations around the world most certainly do.

In a recent Wall Street Journal commentary by Brett Stephens, titled the “Axis of Fantasy vs. Axis of Reality”, he cited the French rejection of the negotiations with the Iranians, saying “the French also understand that the sole reason Iran has a nuclear program is to build a nuclear weapon…This now puts the French at the head of a de facto Axis of Reality, the other prominent members of which are Saudi Arabia and Israel. In this Axis, strategy is not a game of World of Warcraft conducted via avatars in a virtual reality.”

Stephens said of Kerry’s remark on Meet the Press, “When you’ve reached the ‘don’t call me stupid’ stage of diplomacy, it means the rest of the world has your number.”

The Secretary of State carries out the President’s foreign policies, but when both are ideologically blind to reality and both harbor a deep disdain for an American history of global leadership since the end of World War Two, they are going to initiate and stumble around in ways that convince other nations to seek leadership elsewhere or to pursue they own interests without looking to the U.S. for support.

John Kerry has one of the worst records imaginable to be our Secretary of State. I have always regarded him as a moron with strong anti-American beliefs. I shudder to think he was the Democratic Party’s candidate for President in 2004, losing to George W. Bush who thankfully had previously defeated Al Gore. Two worse candidates for the presidency are hard to imagine.

Kerry first came to my attention and that of most Americans when he testified on April 22, 1971 before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, claiming that American veterans of the Vietnam War had committed war crimes that were “not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels.” Kerry had, at that point, become a spokesman and organizer for the group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Towards that end, he was working closely with people, many of whom could only be described as revolutionary Communists.

A lot of my generation opposed the Vietnam War in the belief it was the wrong war in the wrong place, mostly the result of Lyndon Johnson’s bad judgment. It would cost our nation more than 50,000 lives of those who were sent into that grinder. We did not see it as an excuse to lie about their participation, comparing them to barbarian hordes. Kerry said at the time, “We cannot fight Communism all over the world and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.” The U.S., however, did not stop resisting Communism and, in 1991, the Soviet Union would collapse as just one result of the resolve.

Like most liberals, Kerry has a long record of embracing the worst dictators of the modern era. As early as May 1970 Kerry met with North Vietnamese/Viet Cong delegations at the Paris Peace talks to discuss various proposals, an action even Kerry acknowledged was “on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, etc.” It was, in fact, conduct prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Now, as Secretary of State he gets to negotiate for the U.S.; most recently with the Iranians.

In a commentary, “Kerry: Stay Home”, Prof. Israel Hayom, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a fellow at the Middle East Forum, wrote “the prism of the Obama administration on the Middle East and global affairs is fundamentally flawed. An American policy that supports the Muslim Brotherhood, estranges its traditional Arab allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, allows Iran to get closer to the bomb, sees in Turkey’s Erdogan a great friend of the West, and insists that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be ended in nine months is dangerous and does more damage than good. Similar complaints about poor U.S. political judgment are abundantly voiced by America’s friends in Asian and Eastern European capitols.”

“It is the enemies of the U.S. who rejoice in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and who relish in America’s perceived decline in world affairs.”

A recent example of the fumbling that passes for foreign policy by the President and the Secretary of State was seen in Obama’s threat to attack Syria in the wake of its use of poison gas. It is useful to know that Kerry had met with Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, on more than one occasion and, as a Senator, had worked to undermine the Bush administration’s efforts to isolate Assad.

In February 2009, days after Obama’s inauguration, Kerry was sent to Syria to establish a new relationship. He would make five trips there between 2009 and 2011. After a passionate speech on August 30 advocating the President’s proposed military action against Syria, Obama decided to seek congressional approval before taking any action. Kerry looked every bit the fool he was and is. As it turned out, it was the Russians that saved their bacon, stepping in to expedite the destruction of the Syrian poison gas arsenal.

Suffice to say, Kerry and Obama are wrong on virtually every aspect of foreign relations currently confronting the nation. One cannot finish this brief review, however, without noting Kerry’s view that “climate change” is “as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about.” He has been a longtime advocate of “cap-and-trade” programs to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions. There is no “global warming” and the Earth has been a cooling cycle since around 1998.

This capacity to ignore the facts, whether it is about the idiotic belief that humans can or should do anything about the climate or that the Iranians will say anything to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons that makes Kerry a very dangerous, world class doofus in charge of implementing Obama’s equally foolish foreign policies.

Smarter men than the obsequious John Kerry have abandoned their allies and even started wars. He is in a position to do a great deal of harm, not just to the U.S., but worldwide.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Free Pass Has Expired

By Alan Caruba

A news report about Oprah Winfrey said she “is going around the world telling everyone that Americans are racist while she promotes her new film.”

She “has been a prominent supporter of Barack Obama. She thinks that both he and the office of President have been treated with contempt because of the color of his skin quoting her saying “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking.”

So how is it that a racist America elected an African American in 2008 and reelected him in 2012? How did Oprah become an American success story if most Americans are racists?

The free pass given to African Americans has expired and many do not realize it.

The civil rights era of the 1960s made significant strides, removing many of the barriers to achievement that had existed since the end of the Civil War. It is worth noting that it was the early Republicans who led the fight against slavery in America and a Republican President, Lincoln, who restored the union. It was Democrats who, for a century afterword, created a matrix of “Jim Crow” laws and fought desegregation.

In my youth, living in Florida and while in the Army in Georgia, I saw many instances of the indignities blacks endured. It was still a time when they literally had to sit in the back of the bus. I can recall separate drinking fountains. They were not welcome in hotels and restaurants.

I have no idea why blacks in America continue to support the Democratic Party. Certainly I can understand why, in two elections, they almost unanimously supported Barack Obama. Indeed, it can be argued that white Americans voted for him to demonstrate to the world that America had passed some invisible threshold of bigotry to elect a black President.

I suspect that, thanks to Obama, it will be a long time before an African American can be nominated or elected President. That’s too bad because I happen to think that Allen West, the former Congressman from Florida, would make a terrific President.

A generation of African Americans has grown up without being subjected to the obstacles and ills of the past, but from my observation many still cling to the belief that the doors to success have been closed to them. The doors have been opened by virtue of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to ensure access that had been previously denied.

There are African Americans who have not fallen into the trap of blaming racism for the problems that plague the black community. Too many drop out of school. There are too many in our jails. There are too many who have fathered and abandoned their children. There are too many who “game” the welfare system, food stamps, etc.

Even today, the extent of black-on-white crime—assaults and even murders—is still largely hidden from the public by the media. The numbers reveal that blacks are far more likely to be the victims of crimes by other blacks. By contrast the recent trail of George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense attracted a great deal of attention, but instantly disappeared from public notice after the verdict was rendered.

For all the ills within the black community, there is also a generation or two of African Americans striving to be a part of the American dream, succeeding as entrepreneurs and professionals, serving their nation in the military.

Is there racism in America? Yes. Is there racism throughout the nations of the world? Yes. For African Americans the free pass of “racism” no longer has power with the majority white community and other racial groups.  America has changed and for the better.

It is a society that elected Barack Obama President—twice. His failures should not attributed to his race.

In his famed 1963 speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The criticisms being leveled against President Obama today are not about the color of his skin. They are about the content of his character.

Oprah is wrong. It is not racism. It is realism.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is Obama Brilliant or Stupid?

By Alan Caruba

The debate that is constantly swirling around the Internet’s many websites and blogs is whether Barack Obama is brilliant or stupid? Like most of the nation, opinions are fairly divided between those who think he is an evil genius and others who think he is an imbecile.

When people start to defend themselves by saying out loud that they are not stupid, there’s a better than average chance they are stupid and, like most stupid people, are denying it. At his Friday press conference in which he declared another illegal change to the Affordable Care Act (one made without going to Congress and requesting that the Obamacare “law of the land” be changed), the President said, “I don’t think I’m stupid enough to say this is going to be as easy as shopping around on Amazon or Travelocity.” 

Northwestern University’s Prof. Eugene Kontorovitch, a legal affairs policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, responded to Obama’s press conference saying, “President Obama did not specify what statutory authority, if any, he thinks authorizes him to make such dictats and, given the gargantuan length of the Obamacare statute, he might still be looking.”

After the President’s press conference, the president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignagni released a statement saying that Obama’s administrative fix to the health plan cancellation problem “could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” pointing out that “Premiums have already been set for next year based on the assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace.” There is a solution to this; repeal Obamacare entirely.

The facts reveal that he was stupid enough to believe Obamacare would work. He let the law go into effect knowing that was not ready to sign up people and that millions were going to lose the insurance plans they had. Some argue that that was brilliant; evil but brilliant.

Wayne Allyn Root, the author of “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide” and commentator, wrote that, as far as Obamacare is concerned, “This is a serious, purposeful attempt to hijack American and destroy capitalism. This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism.’

Playing devil’s advocate, I would argue that Obamacare is the ultimate example of how utterly stupid liberal programs to alter the nation’s economy are. Why would anyone think that the government could possibly take charge of one sixth of the nation’s economy and arguably the finest healthcare system in the world, and not completely ruin it?

The government took over the nation’s educational system and it has been failing students for decades, producing graduates who have to take remedial programs in college just to keep up with the expectations of higher education. The government took over the environment and, instead of being responsible for removing pollution from the air and waters, now have an agency that is undermining all aspects of the economy, from access to energy reserves to increased costs of manufacturing.

Obama’s handling of the nation’s foreign affairs has been a dismal failure. Either he is stupid or his advisers are dumber than he is. His first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, utterly failed to respond to the U.S. ambassador’s calls for help from the Benghazi consulate when it was under attack and both she and the President lied about it, claiming a video no one had seen was the cause of an event that occurred on the anniversary of 9/11. After the latest negotiations with Iran that would give that rogue nation more time to construct a nuclear weapon fell through, the current Secretary of State, John Kerry, said, “We are not blind and I don’t think we’re stupid.” He was wrong on both counts.

As noted, the voters are divided but one wonders why liberals never ask themselves why Obama feels it is necessary to lie about everything before and after it has been put in action.

A November 13 Rasmussen poll found that “Voters are evenly divided when asked whether President Obama deliberately lied about the impact of the health care law before it was passed by Congress. But they strongly believe Americans should be able to keep their existing health insurance policies.”  The survey found that 46% of likely U.S. voters believe the president purposely misled Americans about the potential impact of the health care law. Forty-five percent (45%) disagreed and think Obama honestly expected the law to work out the way he said it would. Ten percent (10%) were undecided.”

You don’t have to be a political pundit to know that millions of Americans, by November 2014 when the midterm elections occur, are going to be very angry about the disruption to their lives associated with Obamacare; higher premiums, loss of their personal physician, and the concurrent effect on the economy as many are forced into part-time status or lose their jobs.

Americans have always worshipped success and, conversely, fled from failure in whatever form it took. Obamacare is a legislative abortion, a failure of stupendous legislative over-reach and hubris.

If Obama is brilliant, one might conclude that he would have been able to set the economy on a path of growth in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but the data reflects the millions of Americans who are out of work five years after he took office and the slow growth of the economy. Previous presidents, faced with similar circumstances were able to turn the economy around, but not Obama.

It is not sufficient to say that Obama is a significantly flawed individual. We are all flawed in some regard, but I think it is safe to say that he is stupid in a very profound way.

The reality of the healthcare plan that he and his fellow Democrats in Congress inflicted on the nation is such that only their liberal view of that the greatest economic engine the world needed a vast revision—a fundamental transformation—is now revealed as breathtakingly stupid.

That leaves half the nation hostage to the other half that believes he is not a liar and not responsible for the degradation of a great nation still capable of achieving great progress and growth. Much will depend on how angry and unhappy the stupid half of the voters are in November of next year. They might just rouse themselves to rid Congress of the Democrats in power in the Senate and reduce their numbers further in the House.

At least, we can hope so.

© Alan Caruba, 2013