Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Syrian Scenario

By Alan Caruba

Arabs are particularly fond of dates with historical or religious significance. Recall the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the fourth Arab-Israeli war led by a coalition of Egypt and Syria. Like earlier wars, it ended in defeat for the Arabs.

It happens that sundown on Wednesday, September 4, marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It will be followed ten days later by Yom Kippur. The temptation to attack Israel must have many in the Middle East salivating.

Arabs have not shown any reluctance to blow each other up during their own holy month of Ramadan, nor from attacking people in mosques or even those attending funerals, so the coming week would be one of watchfulness even if events in Syria were not spiraling toward an expansion of its civil war that would include an attack on Israel.

Behind all of this is Iran. They are the puppet-masters, controlling Hezbollah in Lebanon and directing the civil war in their client-state, Syria, as the Assad regime seeks to hold onto power. Syria is supported by the Russians as well. The result so far has been 100,000 dead civilians and combatants, the latest of whom were gassed to death.

After Secretary of State John Kerry’s melodramatic speech on Friday, August 30, it is clear that it was intended to prepare Americans for an attack on Syria by U.S. forces, presumably missiles and excluding the use of troops. The navy would take the lead, but what Americans are likely unaware of is the fact that Russian-made surface-to-ship missiles could retaliate and, if U.S. aircraft are also involved, surface-to-air missiles would come into play.

Following Secretary Kerry’s speech, reported that “President Barack Obama called Syria's chemical weapons attack ‘a challenge to the world’ and said he is considering a "limited, narrow act" against the county's regime. We're not considering any open-ended commitment," Obama said. "We're not considering any boots on the ground approach."

"I have not made any decisions," Obama said. "We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress."

“Consulting” with Congress is not the same as getting authorization—a vote—as the Constitution requires, to launch an attack against Syria. It is, after all, an act of war. Even the War Powers Act, as squishy as it is, assumes a response to an attack on the homeland.

Meanwhile, the Syrians have had plenty of time to move much of their arsenal and armaments to relative safety.

The Iranians want to know what the U.S. response will be. Perhaps they recall the relative silence of the U.S. when Saddam Hussein was using gas against their troops during the eight-year war he waged against them. Perhaps they recall the muted response when Hussein gassed Kurds in the northwestern region of Iraq.

President Obama has left himself with few options because he cannot go to the United Nations Security Council where any effort to condemn Syria or give its blessings to an attack would be vetoed by Russia. After members of Congress saw the British parliament vote against participation in an attack, they are not likely to want to cast votes authorizing one. There’s no coalition of nations supporting Obama though France has said it would be willing. Even the War Powers Act, as squishy as it is, assumes a response to an attack on the homeland.

This observer thinks Obama will launch an attack on Syria and it might well come on Sunday. I also think that a Syrian attack on Israel in retaliation will get little U.S. support because nothing Obama has said (his word is dirt) or done demonstrates any fondness for Israel.

A President who can turn his back on a longtime ally like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is not likely to feel any concern about Bibi Netanyahu’s little nation. Israel, however, is the only ally in the region with the capability of attacking Iran and damaging its nuclear capabilities.

The U.S. missile attack will be symbolic. If it lasts more than a day, maybe two, I would be surprised. Only the killing of Assad would change the game on the ground and he’s likely to be in a secret bunker somewhere.

If a Syrian missile should hit one of our ships, the U.S. will be “all in” whether we want to be or not. Our “allies” in Syria would be a variety of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Conducting a war in such a manner is idiotic, but Obama does not want to go to the up-coming G-20 meeting in Europe looking like a wimp who will not back up his earlier warnings to Assad and will do nothing given the use of poison gas. The “message” he is sending will be for Iran, not Syria.

Iran has been at war with America since 1979 when American diplomats were seized and held hostage. We are the “great Satan” and Israel is the “little Satan.”  As Iran moves closer to acquiring nuclear capabilities, its leaders feel emboldened.

That’s how big wars begin.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Long, Long Labor Day Weekend

By Alan Caruba

It’s going to be a long weekend and I am not referring to Labor Day. Depending on how events unfold, the President may order an attack on Syria in the wake of the use of poison gas. Not one military expert interviewed on Fox News Channel has said that the use of Tomahawk missiles will achieve anything likely to deter the Syrians from using poison gas again and—worse—possibly using it against Israel as an act of defiance.

Or he may not. There has been considerable pushback from Congress, specifically a letter to the President signed by both Republican and Democratic members warning that he must consult with Congress, as the Constitution requires (as well as the War Powers Act) before taking any action. Internationally, Germany’s Angela Markel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin joined together to advise against a U.S. attack. As this is being written, the British are having a debate in Parliament. They and the French may likely conclude an attack is a bad idea.

If Obama decides not to proceed he will confirm what everyone in diplomatic and military circles worldwide already knows. He is a moron. Because only a moron would do nothing for two years while 100,000 Syrians are killed and then have a snit when a few hundred more die by another means.

The secrecy surrounding U.S. policy regarding the Syrian civil war produced the Benghazi scandal in which our ambassador to Libya and three others were killed. Not just killed, but dying for lack of any effort whatever to dispatch any assets to defend or extract them. This week the President awarded a Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ty Carter who displayed the kind of courage no one expects from Obama, the Commander-in-Chief.

The President has participated in a very cautious PBS interview that leaves everyone wondering what he will do. Welcome to the last Labor Day weekend before World War Three breaks out. That could happen because history is filled with such monumental miscalculations. The First World War broke out over the assassination of an Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand.

Other than the moral outrage regarding Assad’s use of poison gas, there is no compelling reason for the U.S. or any other nation to get involved in actual combat in or against Syria. That civil war could drag on for years and, assuming that Assad eventually gets assassinated or retreats to an Alawite stronghold, those who replace him might be just as bad.

What worries me as the Labor Day weekend beckons is that Barack Obama has demonstrated (excuse the mixed metaphor) a genius for bad judgment and bad policies.

Obamacare looms for most Americans, requiring them to purchase health insurance whether they want or need it; fining them if they do not. The Supreme Court deemed it a tax. It is much more than that. It marks an era in which Americans can be compelled to buy anything the government tells them to. It marks an era in which the world’s best health system will be destroyed.

As children return to school, it is worth keeping in mind that the liberal establishment that Obama leads has ruined the nation’s educational system and recently imposed a “common core” program that essentially is one-size-fits-all when any teacher will tell you that children learn at different rates and teaching-to-the-test is an educational straight jacket.

Labor Day will also be a good time to contemplate that Americans are still in the midst of the slowest recovery from a recession in our history, one that is replete with millions out of work, who have given up looking for work, or are barely earning enough to meet their family’s needs. One in five families is signed up for food stamps. Recent college grads are moving back in with the parents and many are burdened with thousands in federal loans to repay. Obama just proposed higher education reforms tied to federal rules for receiving funding. It is a version of Obamacare for the nation’s diverse 4,495 degree-granting institutions.

Rasmussen reports that “Voters think America’s a better place since Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech 50 years ago this week, but nearly nine-out-of-10 say race relations have gotten worse or remained about the same since the election of the nation’s first black president.” And those suffering the most over the past five years have been African-Americans. They voted twice (96%) for Obama.

After five years in the White House, the national debt is over $17 trillion! The Treasury Department has run out of accounting tricks to keep the national deficit at its current level. When Congress returns, it will plead to raise the borrowing limits so the nation can pay what it owes, plus interest, and borrow more. Under Obama, the nation had its credit rating lowered for the first time in its history.

And this is the President who was given a Nobel Peace Prize before he had demonstrated anything to earn it. Since then he has yielded to Iraq’s demand that our military be removed, plunging that nation into a chaos of daily bombings. In 2011 Obama announced he was putting additional military into Afghanistan and in the next breath he announced we would be leaving in 2014.

So, this Labor Day weekend, we wait to hear what he will do in Syria. You can be pretty sure that whatever he does will make the situation worse.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

An Unconstitutional Military Strike

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know why the White House doesn’t just send Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a map of where it intends to attack with Tomahawk and other missiles. The bottom line, however, is that this much heralded military adventure is unconstitutional. The President has no authority to initiate the use of the military against Syria.

This has not stopped presidents from engaging the nation in wars, but the last declaration of war, as specified in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11, occurred on December 11, 1941 against Germany as a response to its formal declaration of war against the United States. Three days earlier Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor initiating a state of war.

As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, “Unless fending off a physical invasion or attack, the president is required to get a Congressional declaration of war before engaging in military hostilities in another country.”

Let us be clear about this. Syria has not declared war on the United States and, while the use of gas goes against an international convention against it, the Assad regime has already killed 100,000 Syrians in a civil war. Nor is Syria the only nation in the Middle East known to have used gas. Saddam Hussein gassed several thousand Kurds in Halabja, Iraq in 1988 and used it in his eight-year war against Iran. The West’s response was to do nothing except to condemn it.

As Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, points out, “Warfare is a very serious business whose first imperative is to deploy forces to win—rather than to punish, make a statement, establish a symbolic point, or preen about one’s morality.”

President Obama’s first mode of governance is to make a speech and then to assume the problem is solved. From his very first speech in Cairo in 2009, those in charge in the Middle East interpreted his policies as weakness.

When President Clinton lobbed a few missiles by way of retaliation for al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, Osama bin Laden concluded the U.S. was weak and set about planning the two attacks on the Twin Towers.

Dr. Pipes warns that “Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States.”

The Wall Street Journal opined that “there is no good outcome in Syria until Assad and his regime are gone. Military strikes that advance that goal—either by targeting Assad directly or crippling his army’s ability to fight—deserve the support of the American people and our international partners. That’s not what the Administration has in mind.”

What Obama has in mind is a symbolic attack in much the same way killing bin Laden was both necessary and symbolic. In making the announcement Obama declared “Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad,” adding that ”As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.”

Islam, however, is at war with the United States and the West. That is the declared aim of both al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The war in Syria is a civil war. There is no good outcome no matter whether the Assad regime wins or is overthrown. There is no strategic or tactical victory to be achieved by the United States in either case. Simply punishing the regime for using gas achieves nothing except to expend several million dollars’ worth of missiles.

The Tenth Amendment Center points out that “As they did in the war against Libya, those violating these strict constitutional limitations will like refer to an attack on Syria as something other than ‘war.’ But, changing the words they use to describe their actions doesn’t change the constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, a war is a war whether you call it a war or something else.”

The time is long past when America must address whether our military interventions in the Middle East have demonstrated any success. To date, they have not. The majority of Americans are opposed to an attack on Syria and both the Constitution and the collected wisdom of the public argue strongly against it.

We are, however, too far down the road thanks to the administration’s declared intention to do so. War it has been said is to be an extension of politics. We will witness a political gesture and one that is intended to demonstrate Obama is a leader internationally and domestically. He is neither.

It will be an attack on the constitutional powers of Congress as much as an attack on Syria.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cold War Lessons

By Alan Caruba

Some very interesting realignments are taking place in the world, often between nations one would think have little in common. The threat of fanatical Islam in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda related groups has produced unexpected outcomes.

Russia, China and Iran are supporting Syria which is under attack from Islamist forces while the Saudis are eager to see the regime overthrown, apparently for the same reason. The United States is likely to use its military assets to demonstrate it is no paper tiger, having largely been in retreat in the Middle East since Obama took office.

At age 75 I lived much of my life during the Cold War from 1946 until 1989, some 43 years which culminated two years later in 1991 with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Throughout that era it was, in the words of Ronald Reagan, the “evil empire.” Presidents from Harry Truman to George H.W. Bush had to base their decisions on what the Soviets and their satellite states were doing. At times it turned hot as in Korea and Vietnam.

It was the U.S. development of the atomic bomb and later the hydrogen bomb that dictated what occurred because neither nation wanted to engage in a nuclear war. Having stolen our nuclear secrets, the Soviets were able to develop their own and, later, Red China had the bomb as well. Other nations, too, would acquire their own. What emerged was the fear of “mutually assured destruction.”

This fear worked, but now the world is facing the prospect of an Islamic nation, Iran, having nuclear weapons (as does Pakistan) and, at that point, all bets are off. Islam embraces death as martyrdom and the gateway to paradise. In Iran, its leaders believe that massive human death and destruction is necessary to secure the return of the Twelfth Imam, a mythical figure, but one that is real to them.

In an excellent history, “The Cold War”, by John Lewis Gaddis, published originally in 2005, the reader is taken on a journey back to that era, but a goodly portion of the present U.S. population has little or no recall of it. Anyone age 24 or younger has no experience with the Cold War and likely no knowledge of it. The Korean War was fought in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

The single lesson of the Cold War was that Communism could only exist if the governments that embraced it were led by despots and the full power of the state was used to maintain it. In the case of Russia and China, literally hundreds of millions died as a result. The closest example of Communism is Cuba, just ninety miles off the shore of Florida.

Other nations such as Venezuela and Nicaragua are essentially Communist, but the good news is that, during the course of the Cold War and in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union, many new democracies have emerged. What occurred was the “globalization of democratization.” Gaddis notes that “By one count, the number of democracies quintupled during the last half of the 20th century, something that would never have been expected at the end of the first half.”

What Americans are witnessing, however, is the effort of the Obama administration to “transform” America into a close approximation of a Communist nation as more and more of its structure has come under the control of the federal government. It has been a long process that began at the beginning of the last century, ushered in with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 and manifested here with a vastly expanded federal government and the creation of various “entitlement” programs that comprise some 60% of our annual budget.

Americans have become accustomed to a government that has extensive control over many sectors of its economy and other aspects of our lives. The educational system has been transformed into a form of politically correct indoctrination and one that consistently fails to teach the most fundamental skills, least of all the ability to think independently. The emphasis has gone from self-reliance to self-esteem.

These days, one in five households in America is on food stamps. Despite four years of failure to reverse the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, the nation remains mired in the longest non-recovery in its history since the Great Depression.

At the end of World War Two in 1945, in response to the Soviet Union’s takeover of Eastern Europe and the need to put Western Europe on a firm economic footing, the United States had to remain on a virtual wartime footing. Our troops would remain in Europe where the Marshall Plan was implemented to aid the recovery of our allies as well as West Germany. This was followed by the creation of NATO to provide military support against a possible Soviet invasion.

The U.S. had to lead the effort to force the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel. Later it would attempt to do the same thing to maintain South Vietnam. The former was a stalemate that exists to this day and the latter was a defeat.

During this period, the Soviet Union remained the focus of U.S. attention. The CIA was created by Truman to monitor and respond to Soviet efforts to extend its influence such as the Communist takeover of Cuba in 1959. The expansionist efforts led to a fearful confrontation in 1962 when the U.S. demanded the removal of nuclear missiles that the Russians had placed in Cuba. The Russians backed down.

All during this time, from Stalin to Khrushchev, the real story of the Soviet Union was the continuing failure of Communism. Gaddis noted that “By 1971, the Soviet Union’s economy and those of its East European satellites were stagnating. By 1981, living standards inside the U.S.S.R. had deteriorated to such an extent that life expectancy was declining—an unprecedented phenomenon in an advance industrialized society. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union itself, a model for Communism everywhere else, had ceased to exist.”

After the death of Stalin in 1953, the Soviet Union would be led by a succession of aging dictators until events required that a far younger leader, Mikhial Gorbachev, was installed in 1985, but it was too late and he came on the scene when powerful leaders, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John-Paul were positioned to resist.

Today, we have a President who told his Russian counterpart that he would have more “flexibility” after his reelection and, having imposed the takeover of the nation’s healthcare system, the expansion of federal power over the economy, and the vast expansion of its surveillance system, every American is learning what it was like to live under Communist domination.

Historically, the Cold War is over, but if the chill relationship between Putin’s Russia and Obama’s America is any indication, it still endures.

It doesn’t look to end anytime soon and the destruction of the U.S. dollar and our economy, a communist goal for decades, is well underway.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Drums of War are Being Heard

By Alan Caruba, August 26: “Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday called Syria's use of chemical weapons "undeniable" and said President Barack Obama will "be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons."

Politico went on to report: “Setting the stage for eventual military intervention, Kerry said in a statement from the State Department that what is happening on the ground in Syria "is real and it is compelling" and requires a response from the international community. Attacks on civilians by Bashar al-Assad's regime are, he said, "a moral obscenity" that "should shock the conscience of the world."

"Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny," Kerry said.”

I simply do not believe the White House. I regard the poison attack as a “false flag operation” designed to draw the U.S into the conflict by those who would benefit from that. Assad has no reason to use poison gas. By most reports, his forces were doing well against the rebels. However, it must also be said that usually reliable news sources confirm the Syrian use of poison gas.

Even so, I think Americans are being set up to engage in yet another fruitless Middle East conflict. Worse yet, I think the only beneficiaries of overthrowing the Assad regime will be the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda. This is one reason why Russia is supporting Assad, having had to fight its own wars against Islamic terrorists. And Russia wants to retain its Mediterranean port in Syria, a strategic military asset.

I am not saying that Assad’s Syria is a nation with whom the U.S. should align itself. Indeed, Syria is already aligned with Russia, China and Iran. Do we really want to take them on if a military intervention should escalate?

It is a no-win situation and, so far as the Middle East is concerned, the U.S. has been making some very bad decisions for a very long time. In the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, instead of having a limited objective, we ended up staying on for years.

The Saudis want Assad overthrown, but for their own reasons, and it can be argued that what the Saudis want, the U.S. often finds itself wanting as well. We still import a significant amount of the oil we consume from Saudi Arabia. The last time the Saudis imposed an embargo in the 1970s, Jimmy Carter became a one-term president.

Wars often start out small and then escalate. They are often the result of emotions rather than strategic goals. In the case of the U.S., the decisions made by the Obama administration have reduced America to a level of impotence as a former world power. We look weak because we have been weak, beginning with Obama’s Middle East apology tour.

Obama backed the Muslim Brotherhood when Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally, was overthrown. The failure to protect our consulate in Benghazi got our Libyan ambassador and three others killed. How many bad decisions regarding the Middle East does this administration have to make before we become more skeptical of its judgment and intentions?

The mainstream media will support anything the White House says and restrict access to information that we need to make an informed decision. Most certainly, the drums of war are being beaten.

The great problem that Americans and the West in general have with the Middle East is trying to understand why it acts so inhumanly. The short answer is Islam. The longer answer is the many conflicting tribes, religions, and interests in the region. And ultimately the answer is all about OIL.

Right now, however, is a time for restraint. To engage militarily in another Middle East adventure strikes me as a very bad idea.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Could Syria Spark WWIII?

By Alan Caruba

Who recalls that one of the reasons Americans approved the invasions of Iraq was the fact that Saddam Hussein had used poison gas to kill Kurds?

Now we are told that Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s strongman, has used poison gas to defeat the rebels trying to overthrow him, but the attack killed civilians and came in the wake of news that Assad has been steadily gaining ground over the rebels.

The war has seen the slaughter of an estimated 100,000 Syrians. Why use poison gas at this point? 

The U.S. was drawn into the Vietnam War with the false assertion that forces of the north had fired on U.S. naval ships, but it later came out that the attack was minor and hardly constituted a reason to make the huge commitment that led to the long war; one that it lost. Lyndon B. Johnson got the nation into that war with what is widely acknowledged to have been, at best, an exaggeration of the incident.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, while America was still engaged in Afghanistan, was yet another ill-fated decision. Indeed, it can be argued that after driving al Qaeda out of Afghanistan following 9/11 there was no reason for American military to remain. The U.S. began to depart Iraq in 2011 and it has returned to chaos as the Sunni-Shiite conflict grinds on.

Was the poison attack a “false flag” incident intended to draw the U.S. into yet another Middle East war?

Is there any reason to believe that U.S. military involvement in Syria would have a better outcome than Iraq or Afghanistan?

Naturally, though, observers will speculate who might have initiated the attack, but most certainly one can rule out Russia and Iran, allies of Assad. The Israelis have no reason to want to see an expanded war in Syria. Israel has had a de facto peace with the Assad father and son dictators since the 1967 war.

Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, would surely want to see a quick end to the Syrian civil war because all are trying to deal with a humanitarian disaster involving over a million refugees that have fled the conflict, but there is little reason to attribute a false flag operation to them.

Would the rebels—an assortment of Syrian freedom fighters augmented by al Qaeda groups—use poison gas to draw the U.S. and the West into the conflict? The answer to that is yes.

The most striking attribute of the Obama administration has been its failure to make any good judgments about the Middle East other than to get out or “lead from behind.” Much of this is attributable to the foreign policy advisors he has gathered around him; high level appointees of his national security council and in the CIA have a very Islam-friendly attitude that led them to believe that the U.S. could encourage democracy in a region that has no democratic history to build upon. His latest appointment, the new United Nations ambassador is missing in action; no one seems to know where she is.

The fact is that U.S. presidents have been making bad judgments when it comes to war since LBJ. Clearly, the decisions by Bush41 and Bush43 have not been met with success and, just as clearly, Americans do not want to see our military committed to another conflict in the Middle East.

Obama’s decision to support the ouster of Mubarak, the former Egyptian dictator, led to a short term in office by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood that, in turn, led to massive demonstrations against him and his removal by the Egyptian military. By then the nation was suffering an economic breakdown with hundreds of thousands facing starvation. Only humanitarian support from Saudi Arabia has prevented this. The U.S. continues to dither over aid to the Egyptian military that has been a reliable ally for decades.

Even Turkey that has had a secular government elected an Islamist who has become unhinged by events. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went from being Obama’s touted friend and partner to an offensive anti-Semite claiming Israel was behind Syria’s civil war. Obama has consistently misjudged who to support in the region.

As this is being written, American naval assets are being moved closer to Syria and American military have set up a command post in Jordan in the event an intervention is deemed necessary.
Writing in The Washington Times, Judson Phillips says, “This is Obama’s perfect war. It is perfect because there are no American interests involved, no reason for America to be involved, and no matter who wins the Syrian civil war, America loses.”
Most certainly, whether he decides to get in or stay out, it would come at a time when the Obama administration has forfeited any claim to leadership in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world. At this point, that is likely to be seen as Obama’s greatest legacy.

A century ago in 1913, neither Europeans, nor Americans could have imagined that World War I would begin the following year. The situation in Syria reeks of the same uncertainties and outcome.

Editor's note:’s-155th-Brigade---were-followed-by-rockets-on-Israel-and-car-bombings-in-Lebanon-

Debka File confirms that gas attack was by Syrian forces.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Why the GOP Lost and How it Can Win

By Alan Caruba

Throughout the 2012 political campaign, I was nagged by the feeling that Mitt Romney was “too nice” and said so, despite having supported him during the primaries. I kept waiting for him to wage an aggressive campaign, but it never happened. For the second time in a row, the GOP had selected a “me too” Republican more eager to demonstrate that he had much in common with Obama and the Democrats than with the core values of the party; smaller government, lower taxes, reducing the debt, and less regulation.

The first term of Barack Obama began with the “stimulus” that added trillions to the national debt and had produced no” shovel ready” or permanent jobs. The unemployment rate remained an example of an economy that barely showed signs of improvement. Welfare programs such as food stamps that added one out of every five families to their roles increased dependency on the government, and Obamacare was already proving to be a huge legislative disaster with consequences that killed jobs and was resisted by many states. The term ended with the scandal of the terrorist attack on Benghazi that killed a U.S. ambassador and three others.

If history was a guide, Obama should have been a one-term president just as was Jimmy Carter. What happened, however, as Jerome Corsi, Ph.D. brilliantly demonstrates in “What Went Wrong: The Inside Story of the GOP Debacle of 2012 and How it can be Avoided Next time” ($25.95, WND Books) was the defeat of Mitt Romney when, it turned out, a significant portion of the GOP base of white voters stayed home.

“In 2012, the true enthusiasm gap was a Republican problem,” says Corsi, noting also that “Roughly one-third of the U.S. population now receives aid from at least one means-tested welfare program each month, with average benefits estimated at approximately $9,000 per recipient.” The Democratic Party had successfully bribed large components of the voting population with programs that had also been expanded in previous Republican administrations, most notably George W. Bush’s, a “compassionate conservative”, a me-too Republican.

Sean Trenda, a senior election analyst at Real Clean Politics, estimated that “in 2012, minority voting increased by about 2 million voters from 2008, but white voters disappeared from the polls to the tune of nearly 7 million ‘missing’ voters.”

The campaign that reelected Obama was greatly aided by computer analysis of potential voters that identified who they were, what message would best influence them, where they lived, and a ground game that ensured they got to the polls. The GOP ground game utterly failed on election day in 2012.

In addition to the “African Americans who almost universally vote for Obama” (93%) the Democrats capitalized on a new Democratic majority coalition that included “Hispanics looking for citizenship and economic advancement, single women and radical feminists concerned about advancing against men in the workplace and managing the needs of childbearing without a husband, union workers, and especially government union workers who cling to the Democratic Party fearing the labor movement is fading into irrelevancy; and youths of the Millennial generation coming of voting age, desperately concerned that they will not be able to pay off student loans or find employment equal to their level of education.”

“All these groups look to big government to set the regulatory table unfairly in their advantage and to pay them generously from the public treasury to compensate for their economic plight,” says Corsi

The irony is that that their economic plight is the direct result of the Democratic Party’s an Obama’s policies throughout the years. They have been victimized by these policies, but fearful of losing their government handouts.

“By campaigning on themes of class conflict,” says Corsi, “Obama divided further an already divided nation in which nearly half pay no income tax, yet receive ample government-funded social welfare from a complex of entitlement programs even FDR and LBJ would have found dazzling.”

Obama’s charisma that carried him to victory in 2008 over John McCain had begun to fade, but he became a celebrity president “more comfortable dancing on television with Ellen DeGeneres or trading quips with Jay Leno on late-night television than debating face-to-face with a presidential challenger.”

In 2014 and 2016 Obama will not be on the ticket. In 2010, when he was, Republicans captured a majority in the House of Representatives and, if the Republican elites that control the party can overcome their disdain for the Tea Party and candidates that demonstrate real conservative values and advocate real conservative programs to turn the nation around, they party may well regain political power in Congress and the White House.

If the Republican establishment can draw the proper lessons from their defeats and grasp the changes that have taken place in the nation’s demography. The utter failure of Karl Rove’s waste of more than $300 million in campaign funds shocked major contributors and their ability to change, to support serious conservative candidates, can turn things around.

“Obama’s reelection,” says Corsi, “may well mark a turning point where the majority of American voters realize runaway spending—with entitlement programs now consuming 60 percent of the federal budget and growing—is leading American into fiscal crisis. The Tea Party prefigures the development of a tax revolt and the demand for a return to smaller, constitutional government.”

In other words, if life in America gets worse over the remaining years of Obama’s final term, voters may just conclude that a strong conservative Republican ticket will produce the kind of change that is needed to save the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I am Tired of Being Called a White Racist

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know when it occurred to me that I had gone from having shaken hands with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to being called a white racist, but apparently I was not paying attention.

Neither were a lot of others of my generation who had welcomed and supported the Civil Rights movement only to discover we were not going to hear a word of thanks. Younger generations have suffered the same indignity.

On Saturday, August 24, the NAACP is sponsoring a march in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s famed “I have a dream” speech given on August 28, 1963. One wonders if the first black President of the United States will put in an appearance, but the White House did not have anything scheduled on its website.

The whole nation went through the trial of George Zimmerman, the “white” Hispanic who shot Trayvon Martin, apparently the epitome of the virtues of black youth despite having been suspended from school several times and guilty of infractions that often put others his age in jail. Had Zimmerman not shot him, Trayvon would surely have gone to jail for assaulting him.

Although the rate of juvenile incarceration has dropped 41% from its peak in 1995 and is down among all racial groups, black youth are nearly five times more likely to be incarcerated as their white peers. Latino and American Indian youth are two to three times more likely to find themselves behind bars as white boys and girls.

I have heard all the sociological explanations about blacks and the criminal justice system. I am concerned that too many within the nation’s “African-American” population simply do not grow up with or absorb “white” attitudes about staying in school, getting a job, and raising a family; not all, but not enough.

To all the blacks who stayed in school, went to college, married and are raising a family in the suburbs, my apologies for seeming to lump you in with those who did not and thank you for not adopting victimhood as your mantra.

There is good news about blacks in America. U.S. Census statistics as of 2010 counted 2.4 million black military veterans that year. In 2010, 82% of blacks 25 and older had a high school diploma or higher degree. Indeed, 18% of that cohort had a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 1.5 million had an advanced degree. In 2010, there were 2.9 million blacks enrolled in college, an increase of 1.7 million since 1990.

And then there is the bad news. Blacks represent 13% of the population, but according to a fact sheet of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, blacks “now constitute nearly one million of the total 2.3 million” Americans behind bars.

In New York City, the successful “stop and frisk” police procedure has been deemed prejudicial by a judge who ordered that it be stopped. It is prejudicial if you parse the word and find it means to “pre-judge” an individual or situation that you may deem a potential danger.

Everyone profiles everyone else all the time.

The NAACP’s super sensitivity about the one HALF of the President’s racial identity that is black was recently demonstrated when a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask as part of entertaining the crowd. This device, using presidential masks, has been commonplace for decades, but the particular incident had the Missouri NAACP demanding that the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies investigate it as a “hate crime.” The President hasn’t spoken a word about this absurd charge.

Indeed, in 2008 when Obama was first elected, we were all assured that the nation was entering a “post racial” period in which whites and blacks would join hands and put the past behind them. Despite the growth of the black middle class and other examples of the benefits that flowed from the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other protections, the ugly truth is that too many blacks seem trapped in a 1960’s time warp with the same accusations and resentments still being expressed.

How much progress has been made?

Since the Zimmerman trial it is now common knowledge that 97% of the murders of blacks are by other blacks. Less known are the many black-on-white attacks that occur routinely throughout the nation. Colin Flaherty has been making news ever since he published “White Girl Bleed a Lot.” He continues to document this vastly under-reported problem. Thomas Sowell, writing in the National Review, said ”Reading Colin Flaherty’s book made painfully clear to me that the magnitude of this problem is greater than I had discovered from my own research. He documents both the race riots and the media and political evasions in dozens of cities.”

Speaking solely for myself I am extremely disappointed by the failure of too many black Americans to simply admit that there is something terribly wrong in a community that has too many abortions, too many fatherless children, too much exploitation of welfare systems, too much drug use and trafficking, and too much blame on white racism for these and other ills.

Instead of seeing evidence that the black community in America is mounting an effort to address its problems what I and others see and hear are the same tired race hustlers, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others, spewing the same “blame whitey” rhetoric.

It needs to be said that racism cuts both ways, but too much black racism gets a pass. Whites are not to blame at this point. One hopes the Saturday march in D.C. will reflect Dr. King’s generous and hopeful speech of fifty years ago. I doubt that will happen.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Climate Reductio ad Absurdum

By Alan Caruba

Recently, three researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, had a study published that claimed that a “substantial” correlation between violence and climate change could be made.

They cited sixty studies from around the world that, according to a BBC World Service article, demonstrated that “even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes, and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.”

Apparently they missed the data on World War II’s Battle of the Bulge or the siege of Stalingrad, both of which were fought in freezing weather. Earlier, Napoleon ran into a similar problem when he wanted to conquer Russia.

We have now reached a point in the Great Global Warming Hoax where pure absurdity is the norm for claims made on behalf of a warming cycle that ended around 1996.

In a Washington Times January 17 commentary, Patrick J. Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, wrote, “My greener friends are increasingly troubled by the lack of a rise in recent global surface temperatures. Using monthly data measured as the departure from long-term averages, there’s been no significant warming trend since the fall of 1996. In other words, we are now in our 17th year of flat temperatures.”

Citing the usual scientific data involved, Michaels wrote, “It’s a pretty good bet that we are going to go nearly a quarter of a century without warming.”

Much of the kind of idiotic “scientific research” with which the public has been inundated for decades has been the result of the pursuit of funding that involves “professional advancement”, noted Michaels, and which is “particularly dependent upon a certain view”—proving that global warming is real despite all the evidence to the contrary. Claiming that it is causing a rise of violence around the world is idiotic.

Commenting on the Cal-Berkeley study, James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s editor of Environment & Climate News, noted that the three researchers “claim to apply expert principles of ‘archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology’ in their paper” despite the fact that they ”share the same limited background in economics” to claim such expertise.

Over at, editor Marc Morano said, “Instead of looking at temperature data or other climate metrics to prove or disprove man-made global warming, the global warming activists have now shifted the playing field so rape and murder statistics are now used as some sort of ‘proof’ of man-made global warming. Global warming science has truly morphed to modern witchcraft!”

The only place you will find “proof” of global warming these days is in computer models.

Too often they are those used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and those at NASA, both government entities that are mindful that they better toe the party line if they want their budget requests fulfilled. Despite having the best satellites and computer models available, the National Weather Service would not guarantee its predictions more than three days out and surely not more than a week or two.

It is unfortunate that we have a President who keeps repeating the same false claims about “climate change”—the new name for global warming—despite the fact that they have been disputed and abandoned by thousands of scientists around the world. Worse, claims about “carbon pollution” are being used by the Environmental Protection Agency and other government departments to justify the war on coal in particular and hydrocarbon fuels in general.

Some elements of the press such as the BBC are unwilling to abandon the global warming hoax. This means that the search for new scary headlines with which to sell newspapers and magazines, or increase ratings on the evening news will lead to claims about dramatically rising sea levels or, as Michaels predicts, “acid oceans.”

It is all garbage and the real threat is the billions in taxpayer dollars that are being wasted on so-called “climate change” research or the tons of regulations being written to support the strangulation of the nation’s economy in the name of air and water pollution. We have clean air. We have clean water. We need jobs.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I've Got the Obama Blues

By Alan Caruba

I have a case of the Obama blues, a nagging depression that is exacerbated daily by having to listen to the endless lies he tells about everything when he isn’t blaming Congress, the Republicans, and everyone else for the horrid state of the economy and his rejection of the leadership America demonstrated through both World Wars and since.

Listening to Obama say that he intends to ignore Congress and selectively not enforce the laws it passes is such a serious threat to the Constitution and to our most fundamental freedoms that it is impossible not to be depressed by this grossly incompetent, historically ignorant, and pathologically narcissistic president.

The Republican Party seems to be suffering from the same ailment, but one bit of good news was the recent gathering of Republicans that showed some gumption when they voted to reject CNN and NBC as primary debate hosts, given their announced intention to air dramas whose only intention is to re-write Hillary Clinton’s history of failed policy making.

The old go-along-to-get-along GOP senators and representatives undermine the other elements, chiefly the Tea Party Republicans elected to bring a stop to Obama’s destruction of the economy and their party. They are joined in this by a former, but strangely quiet element, the evangelicals concerned with social issues, and independents who lean toward conservative policies.

The fact that the mainstream media, with a few exceptions, are little more than the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party adds to the general feeling of being up against forces that undermine the well-being of the nation. It is depressing to see how the scandal of the Benghazi attack has been swept under the carpet. It is depressing to know that the “newspaper of record”, The New York Times is just a communist rag, but one that sets the agenda every day for most of the rest of the news media.

Adding to my unhappiness is the knowledge that Obamacare is now the law of the land despite being a complete disaster that is killing jobs, driving physicians to leave the profession, imposing death panels, and increasing the cost of health insurance for everyone. Recall the avalanche of Obama’s lies that we could keep our personal doctor and not have to change our insurance provider. The illegal delay in implementing one element and the many politically inspired waivers are testimony to the way this bill is already a monumental failure.

Knowing that the government can and probably will monitor all my electronic communications—emails and telephone calls—is depressing; particularly since it ignores the Fourth Amendment. Tyranny is just around the corner if limits and oversight are not vigorously applied to the NSA and God knows who else is doing this.

The President has surrounded himself with men and women who demonstrate such contempt for the public that I find that depressing too. Whether it is the new director of the Environmental Protection Agency or the new Secretary of the Interior, the message is the same. If you don’t spout global warming/climate change lies, you are not welcome to work for these and other government agencies. Their attitude says that, if the thousands of new regulations being generated will harm the economy, we don’t care. We are not public servants; we are the President’s appointees.

For someone who has spent most of his life during America’s ascendency as a superpower and seen presidents from both parties demonstrate leadership that brought the former Soviet Union to its knees and encouraged a booming economy, it is particularly galling to watch a man who has said in so many ways that he does not like America, does not like its military, does not care about the ancient tradition of marriage, does not want to take steps to stem the traffic of illegal aliens, would eliminate the Second Amendment in a hot minute, and would far prefer to take another vacation and play along round of golf than shoulder the responsibilities of the presidency.

He knows the news media will protect him. He knows that adding more and more Americans to welfare programs such as food stamps makes them dependent on the government, He knows that Americans are too beset with their own problems, paying their mortgage or rent, raising children, and dealing with the rising cost of living, to devote much time or attention to what he is doing to them and the nation.

Ours is a nation with a short-term memory and, in too many cases, no memory or knowledge at all of our history and the values that lifted us to former greatness.

The Obama blues are the result of two elections with very bad results; elections that very well may have been stolen by the kind of chicanery we associate with “Chicago politics” in a state that keeps putting its governors and elected representatives in jail.

The sadness that invades my days comes from knowing that this feckless, Marxist ideologue and fan of Islam is quite literally ruining the lives of millions of Americans, old and young, destroying and delaying their dreams and plans.

There is a cure for the Obama blues. It is citizen participation in the forthcoming 2014 midterm elections that could maintain and expand Republican control of the House, and return it to power in the Senate. There is no other option.

Failing that, Obama will have no brake on his “fundamental transformation” of America into a banana republic.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Obama is Denying Energy Independence to America

By Alan Caruba

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East, it occurred to me that, if we had a president who had even the slightest grasp of energy facts, we could be living in a nation that is not dependent in part on Middle East oil.

Instead, we have a president who will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be extended from Canada at no cost to American taxpayers while providing thousands of jobs, short and long-term and whose administration denies access to the nation’s vast energy reserves.

Why? Some observers say President Obama is trying to maintain his bona fides among environmentalists and it’s important to keep in mind that virtually every major environmental organization opposes any and all forms of energy development. I suspect the President simply sees the pipeline as symbolic of his overall attack on America’s ability to have sufficient energy to meet its needs and provide for growth. It is an attack on our economy.

Billions of gallons of crude oil is used daily in America and the nation has an extensive network of pipelines to transport it; approximately 55,000 miles. In addition there is also an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines, located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. Right now, hundreds of miles of Keystone XL pipe sit idle on 83 acres of leased land outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Testifying in April before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, said that both America and our neighbor Mexico are energy rich countries with total recoverable oil reserves that exceed 1.7 trillion barrels. At our current rate of use, that is enough for the next 242 years.

In terms of natural gas, North America has approximately 4.2 quadrillion cubic feet, enough for 176 years at the current rate of use. U.S. recoverable coal reserves are estimated at more than 497 billion short tons; enough for nearly 500 years at our current rate of use.

As events in Egypt are reported, commentators note the importance of the Suez Canal through which much of the oil the West uses must pass, but given the U.S. oil reserves our nation could function independent of that imported oil.

Ironically, we will have to build more pipelines to transport it internally and we need to build more liquid gas facilities to export our huge reserves of natural gas. This is not likely to occur over the remaining years of the Obama administration, nor will the shutdowns of coal-fired plants in a nation that is the Saudi Arabia of coal cease. Coal in federally controlled land is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but it remains barred from mining.

Not only could the U.S. be energy independent, but could be a major exporter to other nations because oil, natural gas, and coal will comprise almost eighty percent of the global energy supply in 2040. Energy demand is expected to grow by fifty-six percent between now and 2040, mostly due to the economic growth of nations such as China and India.

The nation remains mired in an economy that is barely growing at two percent annually and part of that is due to the energy policies of the Obama administration. As this is being written, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies have quietly raised their estimated “social cost” of carbon emissions from $21 per ton to $35 per ton. The increase was not debated in Congress, nor available for public review. Instead, its announcement was buried in an unrelated Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens!

Having been defeated in its efforts to impose a tax on carbon emissions, the Obama administration is engaging in the outright fraud of claiming that carbon emissions are causing global warming/climate change. As part of its war on energy provision the Obama administrated wasted billions on wind power, solar power, and electric car company failures throughout its first term. Without mandates and subsidies, none of these enterprises could remain in business or be competitive.

The U.S. economy should be booming given the huge reserves of natural gas and oil that exist nationwide, but instead it remains hostage to nations such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time a major oil exporter, Iraq, has seen its exports reduced due to the turmoil that has escalated since the U.S. military was withdrawn. Sanctions on Iran affect its oil exports. Expect the cost of oil to remain high for years to come.

The U.S. is suffering from the attacks on its energy sector by the major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth at the same time the Obama administration continues its regulatory attacks to reduce the coal mining industry and restrict access to oil reserves. In states and on privately owned lands, there is a boom in natural gas extraction.
Every American who fills up his auto’s gas tank, air conditions or heats their home or apartment, and whose livelihood is directly affected by the cost and availability of energy is being held hostage by the Obama administration, forced to pay higher costs and forced to suffer the loss of opportunity in a nation whose access to its own vast energy reserves is being denied.

© Alan Caruba, 2013