Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The U.S. is Becoming a Weaker Nation

By Alan Caruba

The news that the U.S. Air Force, joined at long last by some of the Arab nations most threatened by the Islamic State (ISIS), began bombing their headquarters and military sites in Syria was long overdue, but welcome. It took time because Obama had originally dismissed ISIS as a threat.

It no doubt took time to get Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia to team with the U.S., but missing from the action is Turkey that borders Syria and Egypt. Turkey has become increasingly Islamist, but appears determined to stay out of the war with ISIS. By initially refusing to provide arms to Egypt, Obama drove it into the waiting arms of the Soviet Union, but has since reversed its policy and is seeking to woe Egypt back as an ally.

In a September 23rd column, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal opined that “…every President gets things wrong. Mr. Obama is not exceptional in those respects. Where he stands apart is in his combination of ideological rigidity and fathomless ignorance. What does the President know? The simple answer, and maybe the truest, is: not a lot.”

Obama’s combination of ideology and ignorance is analyzed in an extraordinary book by Douglas E. Schoen and Melik Kaylan, “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership.” It provides a fact-filled look at his failure to provide leadership to a nation that other nations have looked to for leadership and protection since the end of World War II.

Indeed, in addition to the ISIS videos of Americans and others being beheaded, it has taken the outspoken criticism of retired U.S. generals to mobilize public opinion to support a return to the battlefield. It is a battlefield that Obama has fled at every opportunity, pulling out all of our troops from Iraq and planning to do the same in Afghanistan.

In the September 14th issue of Defense News, General John Michael Loh, retired, a former Air Force vice chief of state and Air Combat Command commander, said, “ The right solution is neither exclusively boots on the ground airpower. The right solution is a one-two punch: a massive air campaign followed by a ground force offensive to defeat ISIS. If executed the way airmen and soldiers have worked together in the past, most notably in Desert Storm, the result is not just a decisive victory, quickly and with few casualties, but the basis for deterrence of any ISIS-like movement in the future.”

“The Russia-China Axis” delves deep into the failure of both the Presidency and Congress to address the threats to our nation around the world. “As China and Russia beef up”, the authors note regarding our military expenditure, “Congress is set to cut nearly $1 trillion from the defense budget over the next ten years” and while the full brunt of those cuts is a ways off, the military is already taking it on the chin thanks to the cuts negotiated during the sequestration of January 2013.”

Citing the warnings of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “What he and others have found so far is alarming; impaired combat-troop readiness; inability to modernize equipment and weapons and technology systems; and the need, potentially, to slash as many as five of the Air Force’s tactical aircraft squadrons.”

“Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns that the effects of sequestration alone will leave the United States with our smallest ground fighting force since 1940, the smallest naval fleet since 1915, and the ‘smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force.’”

While the headlines of the strikes against Syrian ISIS locations are exciting, in addition to our Defense Secretaries, we need to pay heed to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who has said, “We would go from being unquestionably powerful everywhere to being less visible globally and presenting less of an overmatch to our adversaries. And that would translate into a different deterrent calculus and potentially, therefore, increase the likelihood of conflict.”

While the U.S. cuts its defense spending, Russia and China have been increasing theirs. Moreover, while nuclear weapons can be found in nations like North Korea, a self-declared enemy of the U.S. Iran is intent on creating its own nuclear capability, the U.S. has not only reduced its nuclear arsenal (Obama wants no arsenal) and has entered into negotiations that no observer believes will result in any cessation of Iran’s intentions.

The authors of “The Russia-China Axis” warn that “The U.S. retreat from the nuclear playing field is not just apparent in offensive capabilities; the American missile-defense shield that protects our homeland and our European allies is gravely deficient as well.”

The authors assess that “America, worn down by a decade-plus of wars, has become inner-directed, even isolationist.” This is a repeat of history prior to and following World War I. Following World War II, America was the only nation with the power to hold off and wear down the former Soviet Union’s ambitions to spread communism worldwide. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia is seeking to regain its influence in Eastern Europe and has, of course, invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea.

This has all happened while Obama has been President. He has already announced that the U.S. will not put “boots on the ground” in Iraq and will leave Afghanistan next year. Telling the enemy what you intend to do militarily is a profoundly stupid thing to do. And this is a President who has resisted even his closest advisors regarding the need for action.

Plainly said, we need to survive the last two years of Obama’s second term in office. We can do so to some degree if the Republican Party can gain control of the U.S. Senate and expand it in the House. The November midterm elections have never been more critical.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Syrian Rubics Cube

Bashar al-Assad of Syria
By Alan Caruba

One has to have some sympathy for those in the CIA or the White House folks charged with telling the President what has been going on in Syria since 2011 when the opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship turned into a fighting war. It must have looked and felt like playing with a Rubics cube where the competing groups and militias kept changing all the time.

In his book, “Inside Syria”, Reese Erlich, a Peabody Award-winning journalist and author of four books on foreign policy, has a chapter devoted to the way the Syrian revolt took shape. “The antigovernment demonstrations began in the southern city of Daraa in March 2011.”

Erlich reports that they began after police arrested several pre-teen school children for writing anti-regime graffiti on the walls of a school. Being Syria, they were beaten and tortured. More than 600 protesters confronted the local governor demanding the injured children be let free. Security forces attacked the group and killed two of the protesters. This is in keeping with the Middle Eastern mentality and culture, something Americans, accustomed to having peaceful demonstrations, have difficulty comprehending.

“By mid-March demonstrations broke out in Damascus and other parts of the country” because the Arab Spring had let loose a vast feeling of discontent and opposition in a number of nations and the Assad regime was, to put it mildly, unpopular. It didn’t help that “Assad cracked down mercilessly on peaceful protesters” opening fire with live ammunition. Security forces arrested and tortured anyone suspected of participating in the protest.

It is necessary to understand that it is difficult to organize Syrians or other Middle Easterners under the best or worst of conditions and that explains why Americans following events can be forgiven for trying to figure out who was doing what. That includes our intelligence community.

“Local Coordinating Committees developed spontaneously in many cities as mostly young activists created grassroots groups unaffiliated with the traditional opposition. They were united on the need to overthrow Assad, hold free elections, and establish a parliamentary system with civil liberties.”

It only took from March 2011 to July for defectors from Assad’s army to announce formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), followed on both sides by targeted assassinations.

For many years the Muslim Brotherhood seemed to be the most influential opposition group, but it was led by an older generation that was surprised by the events led by young Syrians. “Brotherhood leaders had cultivated extensive ties internationally, particularly with the Islamist government of Turkey. Those leaders became major players in the formation of yet another group, the Syrian National Council, (SNC) based in Istanbul. Suffice to say that there are many secular, non-religious, Muslims in the Middle East and those in Syria were not inclined to believe anything the Brotherhood's SNC had to say.

The Obama administration had a problem figuring out who to support in the developing civil war. They opted for the Free Syrian Army, as did Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, but it was reluctant to provide arms with which to wage a war against Assad. By the spring of 2012, the FSA was asking for shoulder-fired missiles capable of bringing down aircraft and our CIA said no, fearing they would fall into the wrong hands which in Syria’s case could be virtually any other group.

Another group was Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), “formed from the September 2013 merger of dozens of smaller militias, mostly in the Damascus area.” They were Islamists preferring Sharia law and they flew the black flag of jihad. By the end of 2013 they helped form the Islamic Front. To make things more confusing there was another group, Ahrar al-Sham, one of the largest militias in Syria and their aim was a Sunni Islamic state.

In November 2013, al-Sham joined with other conservative groups and they opposed the Syrian Free Army and the Syrian Military Council, along with the al Qaeda affiliated groups of al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Confused? Who wouldn’t be?

Suffice to say al-Nusra was devoted to creating an Islamic state ruled by the Koran. In December 2012, the U.S. State Department put al-Nusra on its list of terrorist organizations because of its ties to al Qaeda, but it turned out that an even more extreme group existed, calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). It was this group that announced it would lead an Islamic State in the area seized from Syria and Iraq.

ISIS is so extreme that in February 2014 Ayman al-Zawahri, the al Qaeda successor to bin Laden, cut ties to ISIS.

The U.S. and a handful of coalition partners are currently bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In time the U.S. will have to put ground troops into the area to root out and kill ISIS.

Barack Obama has become a war President thanks to the chaos he created by removing U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 and to the Arab Spring that swept over nations whose populations wanted to be rid of dictators like Bashar Assad.

This will not likely end soon.
(c) Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Islam Comes to Moore, Oklahoma

Alton Nolen, alleged beheader.
By Alan Caruba

It took the gruesome videos of two American journalists being beheaded by a masked Islamic State (ISIS) butcher, followed since then by more victims, to finally wake Americans to the threat that they face from Islam, but the beheading of a Moore, Oklahoma victim by a man who had been trying to get his co-workers to convert to Islam that brought the threat to the homeland.

The memory of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon have long since begun to fade, but Islam has returned to page one with a display of the violence that is the heart and soul of a cult based on the life and teachings of Muhammad.

Don’t call it a religion. And surely do not call it the “religion of peace.” There was nothing peaceful about Islam from its earliest days when the citizens of Mecca came to the conclusion that Muhammad and his followers were a threat to them. That was 1,400 years ago.
If it were in my power, I would require every American to read “It’s All About Muhammad: A Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet” by F.W. Burleigh ($`6.95, Zenga Books).

Instead, I will only highly recommend it as the best way to understand the man who literally invented a so-called religion based on his own pathologies and then, through terror, ensured it spread to the entirety of Arabia in his lifetime.

As the author notes in its introduction, the biography is based almost entirely on the original literature of Islam as well as early biographies, histories, and collections of traditions. Twenty thousand pages of material were given line-by-line scrutiny “because what is written about him in the original literature is disturbing.”

“More than two-thirds of the canonical biographical materials have to do with the violence he used to spread his religion.”  It was a short step from Muhammad, the self-proclaimed prophet who later called himself the messenger of Allah, to Alton Nolen, the Muslim convert who is alleged to have beheaded a former co-worker.

What is little known about Muhammad is that he suffered from epileptic fits throughout his life and had had a troubled youth that would have unhinged anyone. A fortunate marriage at age 24 took him out of a life of low status and poverty. His wife was twenty years his senior, a woman of wealth. Though a grave concern in an era when the fits were seen as demon possession, Muhammad began to interpret them as the voices of Allah and his angels, particularly Gabriel.

“It was during this period of emotional and intellectual upheaval that his overcharged brain, wracked by doubts and suffering, came to his rescue in the form of a series of spectacular hallucinatory experiences that convinced him he was unique and had been singled out by God for a special purpose. This took place in A.D. 610 when Muhammad was forty years old.”

“His belief became unshakable and later became content of much of the Koran and his later ruthless behavior as pillage, rape, the enslavement of men, women, and children, and other atrocities he perpetrated—make such a belief beyond ludicrous.”

“It was sufficient for Muhammad to think something for it to become the truth. He was convinced that whatever came into his head came from Allah.” For ages insane asylums have been filled with such people.

As Muhammad drew followers to himself and to the exacting rituals he created for Islam, he enriched himself and them with acts of banditry, attacking caravans and then attacking tribes, particularly Jewish ones, to build a mountain of stolen wealth. Burleigh notes that the Koran has a chapter “entitled ‘The Spoils of War’” that “transformed Muhammad’s religion into an organized-crime enterprise for its approval of plunder.”  He told his believers “Enjoy what you take in war” for it is “lawful and good.”

Again, it is a short step from his era to the present one in which believers have united to create the Islamic State (ISIS) by war and to begin to steal the wealth of Syria from the sale of its oil on the black market. Imposing themselves on a large area of Iraq, ISIS is simply an extension of al Qaeda and al Qaeda is an expression of Muhammad’s demand that Islam become the sole religion of the world, exacting a subjugation tax from any who would not convert.

Burleigh concludes his book saying “Muhammad was a diseased genius, an epileptic psychopath with a clever tongue who believed God talked to him, a toxic mixture that transformed him over time into a mass murderer and a despot pushing a delusional religion.”

It should surprise no one that he “divided the world into lands conquered and lands yet to be conquered, into lands that submitted to his delusions about himself and lands yet to submit to his delusions.”

Following World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Islam was in decline, but the discovery of oil in the Middle East provided the funding to spread its message. That message, dependent on violence and terror has created such a problem in the Middle East that Islamic nations there are joining in the effort to defeat ISIS.

Burleigh asks “Who will defend you against the encroachment of what Muhammad created and the very real threat that it could eventually destroy all that you cherish?” He does not recommend the man who said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”  That man is President Barack Hussein Obama.

And now you know why the murders committed by Major Nidal Hasan in 2009, killing his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, or the murder in Oklahoma were both deemed “workplace violence” by law enforcement authorities reluctant to challenge the White House to the reality that both were inspired and approved by Islam.

Editor's Note: This book will not be available for purchase until October 15. Check Amazon.com at that time.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cartoon Round Up






Goodbye Eric Holder

By Alan Caruba

In a nation where there is a scarcity of good news, hearing Eric Holder give a farewell speech upon his announcement that he will be leaving as the Attorney General was surely welcome in some circles. I was never a fan of his because he was in my opinion always more of a politician than someone with the responsibility to enforce the laws of the nation.

I first took notice of Holder when, in the pre-dawn hours of April 22, 2000, as the deputy attorney general serving under Janet Reno, he oversaw the seizure of Elian Gonzalez, a seven-year-old whose mother had died in an effort to escape Cuba and find sanctuary in the United States. Holder was doing what he had to do after a court ruled that Gonzalez be returned to his father in Cuba, but I thought then and still do that Gonzalez should have been allowed to remain with his U.S. relatives.

When Barack Obama became President, he selected Holder as his Attorney General. Both had made history being the first blacks to hold either job. Within three weeks or so, Holder was saying that Americans were “cowards” for not addressing issues of race in America. That told me all I needed to know about him. Whatever would follow would frequently be judged on the basis of race, not justice. I wouldn’t want a white attorney general to act in that fashion, but a black one nursing feelings of victimization despite his personal achievements did not bode well.

I have not been alone in my misgivings. On news of Holder’s announcement, The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, called on some of its advisors for their opinions.

Ronald D. Rotunda, the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Chapman University, had his own memories of Holder:
“Mr. Holder is leaving the office, but he cannot so easily leave the controversies that have surrounded his tenure, including: the scandal surrounding the IRS, the missing emails, and his role in investigating the scandal; the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, which made him the first cabinet member in U.S. history that Congress held in contempt; his decision to drop a prosecution against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation, after the Department of Justice successfully secured an injunction; and the unprecedented decision, which Holder personally approved,  to subpoena, monitor, and issue a search warrant involving James Rosen, a Fox News Reporter”
“Holder will leave the office, but is unlikely to leave the national stage because these controversies remain,” said Prof. Rotunda.
Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons, said:
“The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons first got to know Eric Holder when he represented the government in our lawsuit about the illegal operations of the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform. The pattern then was stonewalling and obfuscation. Even when task force members finally turned over some documents on court order, many of the floppy disks were blank. Holder declined to prosecute Ira Magaziner, head of the Task Force Working Group, for perjury.”
‘It seems,” said Dr. Orient, “that some government officials never learn that the cover-up can be worse than the underlying conduct,'’ Judge Lamberth added. ‘Most shocking to this court, and deeply disappointing, is that the Department of Justice would participate in such conduct... This type of conduct is reprehensible, and the government must be held accountable for it…The pattern has only worsened with Holder as the highest law enforcement officer in the land. Who will ever hold him and the White House accountable?”
Jesse Hathaway, Managing Editor of Heartland’s Budget & Tax News, said:
“Eric Holder's resignation represents an opportunity for the President to appoint an Attorney General willing to end what some have seen as a witch-hunt against American banks. Under Holder, the Department of Justice shook down Bank of America for billions of dollars, as punishment the bank's alleged crime of complying with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and lending money to individuals unable to repay. The CRA mandated that banks must make bad loans, the banks complied with the bad policy, but the bank is not at fault for the results of that bad policy.”
“Hopefully, said Hathaway, “whomever replaces Holder as ‘top cop’ will understand how causality works, and end the practice of shaking down the finance industry as punishment for following Washington DC's orders.”
Holder’s instincts as Attorney General generated a huge public outcry when he decided to try the September 11 plotters in a New York courthouse within walking distance of the destroyed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Lawmakers, New York City officials, and some of the victim’s families thought that was a very bad idea and Holder reversed the decision and sent the cases to military court. 9/11 was clearly an act of war, but neither the President, nor Holder saw it that way.
Holder made a bit of history when he refused to defend a law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. He made more history when, refusing to hand over documents regarding Fast and Furious, a scandal involving gun trafficking to Mexican drug cartels, Congress voted to hold him in contempt, the first time an attorney general had been censured in that way. Holder, however, held onto his job because the President had thrown a cloak of “executive privilege” over the scandal, stonewalling Congress.
To be fair, Holder has been lauded for policies that were applauded for reducing crime during his tenure in office and urging a revision to sentences that did not reflect the crimes, reducing the nation’s prison population in the process. 

In the end, though, it seems like everything was about race for him and the President. Holder inserted himself into the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of a black youth by a white police officer and, while the facts are still being investigated, the likelihood is that it was justifiable self-defense. And the President, speaking at the United Nations last week also mentioned Ferguson as an example of America’s racial bias. What happened in Ferguson was about law enforcement and justice, but neither saw it in that fashion.

What America needs now for the remainder of Obama’s term in office is a colorblind Attorney General.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Obamacare Disaster

By Alan Caruba

By far the worst law passed by Congress in 2010 was the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare. It was passed without a single Republican vote and as more Americans experience the higher costs and other aspects of it realize how it has negatively affected their lives, it should eventually be dismembered and ended.

Obamacare is progressivism written large and is an example of earlier examples. Obamacare is a massive drain on government funding, particularly with regard to Medicaid.  Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 and after 47 years they are broke. Their unfunded liabilities are enormous.

Likewise, Social Security, established in 1935 is broke. Fannie Mae came into being in 1938 to encourage home ownership and contributed to the 2008 financial crash along with the banks that were pressured to make “sub-prime” loans to people who lacked the means to pay their mortgages. It had to be bailed out to the tune of millions. The same is true of Freddie Mac, established in 1970.

Time and time again, the programs established out of progressive ideals and purposes have proven to be failures, largely in terms of the unfunded liabilities, now in the trillions, that they have created.

Obamacare is famous for the lies that President Obama told. Thousands lost the medical insurance they had. Thousands lost access to their personal physicians. The Obama administration has continued to lie about it, inflating and including the numbers of “uninsured” it covers by including those who lost their insurance and had to sign up for it.

Stephen T. Parente, the associate dean of Carlson School of Management and director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, in a June Wall Street opinion, warned that “Industry experts and consumers should once again brace for significantly higher premiums.”

“Since premium growth has averaged at least 5% over the past five years, it is unlikely the law’s federal subsidies will increase enough to make up the difference in out-of-pocket premium costs,” predicting that “lower-and-middle income consumers will be forced out of the private insurance market.” He noted that “the steepest increases will not occur until 2017” and, of course, by then Obama will be out of office.

The Detroit Press reported on Sept. 21 that “A significant benefit of the Affordable Care Act is the opportunity to receive money-saving tax credits up front to cut the overall cost of health insurance, but now hundreds of thousands of consumers could owe back some of that money next April.”

“The law’s ‘reinsurance’ program will also expire in 2017. Health insurers will no longer be able to bill the government for 80% of a patient’s healthcare costs when they make more than $45,000 in annual claims.”

The impact of Obamacare on the ability of people to have full-time jobs is already being felt as employers, especially small business operations, have been forced to either fire full-time employees to stay below the limit of fifty or reduce some to a part-time status. This is affecting the ability of smaller businesses to grow and expand. Those unable to afford Obamacare will be forced to sign up for Medicaid, already a financial burden on states. Others will stay uninsured and face a penalty.

Parente called Obamacare’s promise to deliver universal health care “a fatal conceit” that will die of unaffordability,

In September, Casey B. Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, in a Wall Street Journal opinion wrote that “Although the ACA helps specific populations by giving them a bigger slice of the economic pie, the law diminishes the pie itself. It reduces the amount that Americans work and it makes their work less productive. This slows growth in both personal income and gross domestic product.  In further expanding the frontiers of redistribution, the ACA reduces the benefits of employment for both employers and employees” as the “result of penalizing businesses for hiring and expanding” resulting in less hiring and expanding.”

That’s a formula for reducing the nation’s economic growth.

Holman W. Jenkins, in a September opinion, described Obamacare as “just another subsidy program, throwing money at health care. In economics, you can’t subsidize everybody but we’re trying: 50 million Americans get help from Medicare, 65 million from Medicaid, nine million from the Department of Veterans Affairs, seven million (and counting) from Obamacare, and a whopping 149 million from the giant tax handout for employer-provided health insurance.”

“Much of this money,” noted Jenkins, which will total about $1.3 trillion in 2014, is shoveled out regardless of need, driving up prices, and spurring production of services of dubious value.”  Holman is a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to suffer economically as, due to high corporate taxes, more corporations take flight to other nations, establishing their headquarters outside of our nation.

In every respect, Obamacare has been a disaster since it was enacted. Its website turned out to be a multi-million dollar failure and this was the case of several state sites as well. In mid-September the government reported that tens of thousands of people are likely to lose their health insurance at the end of the month because they missed a deadline to confirm they are legally residing in the U.S.

Most dramatically, Obamacare has required the President to do what he is not empowered by the Constitution to do. Only Congress can change a law, but Obama has unilaterally made changes, mostly out of political considerations leading up to the November midterm elections.

The following Democrats are running for re-election in November. They are Mark Begich (AL), Dick Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Kay Hagan, (NC), Mary Landriu (LA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Pryor (AR), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Udall (CO), Tom Udall (NM), and Mark Warner (VA). All voted for Obamacare. All should be defeated and replaced by Republicans.

I will leave whether Obamacare can be repealed to a future Congress, but the House, controlled by Republicans has repeatedly passed laws to do so.

Obamacare is the ultimate progressive legislation. One can only hope that it will convince Americans it is time to turn from its long history of passing such legislation and endorse steps to reduce the enormous unfunded debt they represent.

Instead of bleeding Americans of their earnings, Congress needs to empower them to retain what they have worked for and to make individual decisions about healthcare insurance purchased from a free and competitive market.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Obama's Ignorance

By Alan Caruba

From time to time I hear President Obama described as “an evil genius”, but he is neither. He’s not evil. He’s something much worse. He is a fool who thinks he’s a genius.

This is not about his intelligence. No one gets to be President of the United States without some degree of intelligence. One suspects, however, Obama has always relied more on his charm and, initially, on the illusion of his charisma, based on his depiction by an adoring press.

His charisma has disappeared, even among the same press, but most abundantly among the American people of all political persuasions who now regard him as one recent poll put it, the worst President the nation has ever had.

Consider just a few of the ways his lack of judgment has revealed just how foolish he is. It began with foisting Obamacare on a nation deep in an economic crisis. He did this by telling lies about keeping one’s insurance or physician. It worsened as the website turned out to be a disaster and one easily hacked to get the personal information of those who signed on.

His famous “red line” about Syria’s Assad and his use of poison gas let Americans and the rest of the world watch him back off in a day’s time, only to be rescued by Russia that intervened to remove the poison gas, but missing in that action was the realization that Russia has been Assad’s main support. Their action was not an accommodation with the U.S. any more than Obama’s “reset” with them had any effect on their larger strategic objectives in the Middle East.

The Middle East has been quicksand for Obama who thought he could go there, give some speeches, and convince everyone that he was a friend to Islam and his policies would reverse those of George W. Bush. He got elected in 2008 on that promise. In hindsight we know that withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq simply created the circumstances for the Islamic State, ISIS, to emerge. He was surely warned against doing it, but we have a President who does not want to go to war even against enemies who behead our citizens and promise to attack us.

Here, though, is where even those Americans not paying much attention to foreign policy became aware of how vacant Obama’s was. He told them “I don’t have a strategy” regarding ISIS, letting them and the rest of the world that he had not given any attention to an emerging threat. In the Middle East, his decision to side with the Muslim Brotherhood regarding the ouster of Egypt’s dictator was reversed by Egyptians who demanded the removal of his replacement. In Libya he chose to “lead from behind” to topple Gaddafi, leading behind a nation that swiftly fell into divided camps between its tribes.

He has secured the support of Congress to spend a half billion dollars to arm the “moderate” rebels opposing Syria’s Bashar Assad. They will be trained in Saudi Arabia, but it is all too little too late. In an excellent new book, “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership” by Douglas E. Schoen and Melik Kaylan ($27.99, Encounter Books), the authors spell out the foreign policy disasters that are leading America and the world toward the very real potential of World War Three.

Significantly, Schoen has been a major Democratic Party consultant for three decades. Kaylan is a widely respected expert on international politics and culture. When a Democrat co-authors a book that criticizes a Democrat President from beginning to end, others pay attention.

There is no way a rebel force can win in Syria. It has had to wage war against Assad’s forces and against those of ISIS, the fanatical self-declared Muslim caliphate. While neither Russia nor China want to see the jihadists secure control of the Middle East, Russia has made it clear that its support of Assad is deep.

In their book, the authors quoted a Russian government spokesman. “We have never changed our position on Syria and we never will” said Alexander Lukashevich, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman in December 2012. “A major Reuters report in January 2014 reported that Russia had ‘stepped up supplies of military gear to Syria, including armored vehicles, drones, and guided bombs, boosting President Bashar al-Assad just as rebel infighting has weakened the insurgency against him.”

“Russian (and Chinese) support for Assad is perhaps the most blatant example of the double game that Moscow and Beijing have played for years.”  It is one of which Obama has been ignorant. In an October 2012 debate with Mitt Romney, when Romney said Russia was a major threat, Obama dismissed him saying “The 1980s—they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Obama seems not to have learned anything of the Cold War with Soviet Russia from 1945 to 1991 when it collapsed. What we know now is that President Putin intends to reclaim its former empire, beginning with the annexation of Crimea.

Russia has sent warships into the Mediterranean and the Black Sea with some patrolling waters near Tartus, Syria, home to its only naval base in the Mediterranean. In recent weeks, Russian military aircraft have crossed into territory near both Canada and the U.S. to demonstrate its capacity to do so.

Anyone who has been watching the PBS documentary about the Roosevelt’s knows that Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a situation not unlike what exists today. Americans did not want to go to war again in Europe despite the threat that the Nazi regime represented. Roosevelt, seeing what was coming, had to carefully entreat Congress to reinstate a draft and to do what he could to arm Great Britain after it was attacked. Only the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and Hitler’s subsequent declaration of war thrust America into World War II.

In contrast, Obama has reduced the U.S. Army to levels that it hasn’t seen since the days leading up to World War II. Likewise, the Navy, Air Force, and Marines have experienced comparable cutbacks. If Obama had his way, the U.S. would have zero nuclear weapons.

Unlike Roosevelt, Obama initially dismissed the threat from the Islamic State (ISIS), fumbling around for a “strategy” to deal with it and then, in an astounding piece of stupidity, declaring that there would be no “boots on the ground” to destroy it, after saying that its destruction was his goal. Within weeks, he was bombing the Syrian sites where ISIS was located.

In the September 23 edition of The Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens confirms my analysis. “Every administration tries to spin events its way; every president gets things wrong. Mr. Obama is not exceptional in those respects. Where he stands apart is in his combination of ideological rigidity and fathomless ignorance. What does the president know? The simple answer, and maybe the truest, is: not a lot.”

So, no, Obama is not an “evil genius.” He is an appallingly foolish man completely lacking any knowledge of history, thoroughly ignoring the intentions of Russia and China, doing nothing for the past six years to energize the economy, and spending most of his time either fund raising or playing golf.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some Useful FACTS About Global Warming and Climate Change

By Alan Caruba

Thanks to Sunday’s Climate March in New York and Tuesday’s Climate Summit at the United Nations, Americans and others will  have been deluged with the lies that have been told to sustain this greatest of all hoaxes.

Here are the known facts. Use them to protect yourself against the Green assault the truth:

# Both the Earth and the Sun pass through natural cycles. The Sun is currently in a cycle of lower radiation as signaled by fewer sunspots representing magnetic storms.

# There is currently no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for 19 years. No child who has passed through K-12 classes in school has experienced a single day of “global warming.”

# Not one computer model that predicted increased warming has been accurate.

# Carbon dioxide, (CO2) blamed for global warming, is not a “pollutant” despite a Supreme Court decision stating this. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% of CO2. 

# How can carbon dioxide be called a “pollutant” when it is directly responsible for the growth of all vegetation on the planet? Without CO2 there would not be a single blade of grass or a redwood tree. Or the animal life that depends on vegetation; wheat and rice, for example, as food.

# There is zero evidence that carbon dioxide generated by human activities is causing catastrophic climate change. Climate is measured in centuries or shorter periods of many decades in order to determine its cycles. The weather is what is occurring where you reside and it changes every day.

# At 78% nitrogen is the most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable, unreactive gas. Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere at 21%. Water vapor is the third most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere; it varies up to 5%, It reduces incoming solar radiation by day and reduces surface cooling at night. Carbon dioxide is the least abundant gas in the atmosphere at 0.04%.

# The assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is man-made and an urgent problem is a fiction. In May Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, cited the Zimmerman/Doran survey in which, out of 3,146 respondents, only 79 listed climate science as an area of expertise. Hardly 97%. “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus,” noted Bast.

# In February, Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist, a co-founder of Greenpeace, a militant environmental group which he left in 1986, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.”

# Not only is the Earth not warming, but Heartland Institute analyst, Peter Ferrara, notes that “If you look at the record of global temperature data, you will find that the late 20th Century period of global warming actually lasted about 20 years, from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. Before that, the globe was dominated by about 30 years of global cooling, giving rise in the 1970s to media discussions of the return of the Little Ice Age (circa 1450 to 1850), or worse.”

# The cooling of the Earth has led to a dramatic increase in both Arctic and Antarctic ice, up 50% since 2012.

# One result of the false claims about carbon dioxide has been the Obama administration’s policies such as the refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to import oil from Canada to U.S. refineries. The Environmental Protection Agency’s absurd restrictions on CO2 emissions have forced the closure of many coal-fired plants that are needed to provide low cost electrical energy. The administration has long wanted to impose a “carbon tax” on all energy use in America, a punishing and needless expense.

# The Obama administration’s climate policies are entirely political in nature. It has announced that the EPA’s process of setting new rules affecting power plants will be delayed until after the November 4 midterm elections. It is extending the public comment period until December 1. The growing discontent over similar climate and environmental policies was evident when leaders of the European Union announced it was moving away from green policies that had driven up the cost of electricity across the continent.

In a world threatened by the rise of radical Islamism, by the outbreak of diseases like Ebola, and other actual problems to be addressed, the notion that thousands would march in the belief that they and the entire rest of the Earth’s population have any effect on the climate is appalling.

What is perhaps most sad and most reprehensible are the host of world leaders who continue to maintain the lie of global warming or the misrepresentation of climate change to impose a tax on an essential element of the Earth's atmosphere.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blathering Eco-Intellectuals

By Alan Caruba

I confess I have always been wary of intellectuals. They love arcane theories that often have little to do with real life and this is particularly true of eco-intellectuals who have embraced a panoply of lies and claims about the “environment”, “fossil fuels”, “sustainability”, and other notions that permit them to bloviate without once addressing reality.

This has been a week of eco-propaganda on a global scale. On Sunday there were “Climate Marches.” On Tuesday there will be a UN “Climate Summit”, and there will likely be an avalanche of nonsense in the media intended to make us believe we have control, influence, or impact on the climate when it is obvious to the rest of us that we—the human race—have none.

In the past nearly two decades we have all been experiencing not a warning, but a cooling of planet Earth. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Sun that has been in a low cycle of radiation—less heat!

A friend alerted me to an article in the August 22nd edition of the New Republic, a famously liberal magazine. “Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention” is the title of Amartya Sen’s article. He is a Nobel laureate in economics, a winner of the National Humanities Medal, an author, and teaches at Harvard University.

There were two immediate red flags that caught my attention. First was that he is an economist and the second was that he was writing about “global warming” as of it was happening. 

In early September I had written about another economist who had an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal. It was ludicrous in terms of his complete lack of even the most basic science he was either addressing or ignoring as he too warned of horrid environmental portents to come.  Economists should stick to economics.

If you suffer from insomnia or have a fondness for reading sentences filled with words rarely used in common communication, you will find that Sen’s article will either put you to sleep or, more likely, give you a migraine headache. The article is an insufferable platform for him to demonstrate his Nobel certified intellectual brilliance, while possessing very little understanding of science or what we ordinary people call common sense.

“Our global environment has many problems. If the high volume of carbon emission is one, the low level of intellectual engagement with some of the major environmental challenges is surely another.” That’s how Sen began his article and, in the very first sentence, he reveals his ignorance by referring to “carbon emissions” instead of “carbon dioxide” (CO2) emissions.

The latter is a so-called “greenhouse” gas that the Greens keep telling us is trapping huge amounts of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that will surely kill us all. CO2 is about 0.04% of the entire atmosphere, the least of the gases of which it is composed. It doesn’t trap heat, but it does provide the “food” that all vegetation requires to grow. We carbon-based humans exhale CO2 after we breathe in oxygen. It is part of the natural cycle of life between animals and the vegetation that releases oxygen; a perfect balance of nature.

Suffice to say that Sen’s very lengthy article is typical of the eco-intellectual disdain for virtually any form of energy to serve humanity except for the two least reliable, wind and solar energy. There’s a reason why mankind turned to coal, oil and natural gas. It was vastly abundant and released large amounts of energy for transportation and other benefits that include the production of electricity.

There was a time not that long ago when people used whale oil to light their homes. And wood was used to heat them. Walt Whitman, a famed poet who lived in Lincoln’s time, never turned on an electrical switch in his life. It didn’t exist 150 years ago. There were no autos, no telephones, et cetera. If you define a generation as 25 years, that’s only six generations ago. And Sen wants us to abandon “fossil fuels” because he fears “the dangers of global pollution from fossil fuels…” 

He’s no fan of nuclear power either. (I guess we should all go back to whale oil, only we won’t because we love the whales.) “There are at least five different kinds of externalities that add significantly to the social costs of nuclear power” writes Sen, but who else refers to “externalities” of nuclear power? Okay, why not just say there have been two bad accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and leave it at that. That still leaves a lot of safely performing nuclear plants here and worldwide.

We do not live in a world without risk or trade-offs. For lack of enough pipelines, a lot of oil is being transported by rail and there have been accidents. Around the world there are coal mining accidents. Even solar farms literally sizzle birds to death that fly over them and wind turbines chop them into little pieces.

Mother Nature does not care what happens to us when she conjures up a volcanic eruption, a flood, a wildfire, a hurricane or blizzard.

Humans have learned to either flee these things or wait them out in the safety of their homes. That’s what modern life is all about and it is a hundred times better than in the past when people were lucky to live to the age of sixty. Many died much younger from plagues of disease and we are watching that occur with Ebola in Africa. Even simple injuries caused death a scant time ago.

“There are empirical gaps in our knowledge as well as analytical difficulties in dealing with the evaluation of uncertainty.” Huh? What? This is intellectual gobbledygook, a substitute for saying that much of the time we don’t know what the future holds.

What we do know is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and that we humans have developed what we call civilization over the past 5,000 years, a blink of time in eternity.
We should know by now to accept the Earth, the Sun and the galaxy in which we live for what it is and stop bothering to embrace idiotic notions that we have any control or that we are causing so much “pollution” the Earth cannot exist much longer.

You know what we do with the mess of stuff we produce and throw away? We burn it or we bury it. We even recycle some of it.
This keeps archeologists busy as they examine the garbage our not-too-distant ancestors left behind in their caves. Thankfully, none of them were economists.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prepare for a Deluge of Climate Change Hype

By Alan Caruba

Despite the several thousands who will participate in a Climate March and the world leaders who will do so in a UN Climate Summit this week, is there anyone who seriously believes that humans have any impact or control over the climate? Or even the weather? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

In utter contempt for the intelligence of people here in the United States and around the world, a Climate Change Summit will be held on Tuesday, September 23rd, by the United Nations, the source of decades of lies about “global warming” and—since the Earth has not warmed in the past 19 years—the new name “climate change.”

To advance this greatest of lies, the lead-up to the event will be a massive march in New York on Sunday, Sept. 21st. The purpose, as David Rothbard of the think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) says, is an avalanche of “Scary doomsday ‘science’ and the need for ‘urgent international action’ backed by a ‘People’s March’ of thousands of radical Green activists in the streets.

CFACT has released “Climate Hype Exposed”, a report that exposes the global warming campaign’s junk science, wasteful policies, and the threat to freedom and prosperity it represents. You can download it 

What the mainstream media have largely failed to report were the nine international conferences on climate change sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank. The most recent in July featured 64 speakers from 12 countries, all providing science-based lectures that disputed global warming. Heartland’s “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports are filled with the science that debunks the doomsday scenarios.

Numerous Green groups have been making plans to be in New York for the march. More than 750 organizations are sponsoring the People’s Climate March to coincide with the UN summit. Reportedly it will involve 950 organizations. There will be 63 other events in North America, six in South America, 54 in Europe, 10 in South Asia, and 32 in Australia.

They include, of course, the likes of Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, and lesser known groups like the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network that will be there with the message that “industrialization, fossil fuel combustion, land use change and social and ecological exploitation have compromised the planet’s equilibrium in notable and dire ways.”

This is totally absurd, a matrix of lies that ignores the role that industrialization, the jobs and products it produces; and fossil fuel use, the essential element that provides energy in the form of petroleum to power cars, trucks, and other vehicles, as well, of course, coal that provided half  the electricity on which our entire way of life depends until the Obama administration unleashed a “war” on it. The other verbiage about “ecological exploitation” is aimed at all forms of development that contribute to the economy, including the building of homes for a growing population.

The UN Summit is, we’re told, “intended to mobilize international political will needed to achieve an ambitious climate change agreement” at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which is scheduled to meet in Paris in December 2015.

The week ahead will be filled with many events; some will be sponsored by major corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard. Even so, it is the corporations that are a target of the climate change proposals to reduce energy use and the alleged pollution it is said to generate.

A number of major nations will not be represented by their leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister, Narenda Modi” will not attend. Both nations have been engaged in building a vast network of coal-fired plants to generate the electricity they need for development. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending, nor will Germany’s Angela Markel.

President Obama has been trying to convince Americans that climate change is a greater threat to the world than the emergence of the radical Islamic State (ISIS) that has seized a vast swath of land in Syria and Iraq. His response has been tepid, consisting of a few “targeted” air strikes and “no boots on the ground.” It is doubtful most Americans think the ordinary climate phenomena that have been a part of the Earth’s existence for 4.5 billion years pose a greater threat than the barbaric agenda of ISIS.

As the media report the march and other events, along with the UN Summit, it is essential to keep in mind that it is all lies. There is no basis in science to support the claims Greens have made for decades, all coordinated out of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Primary among those lies is the assertion that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming when, of course, there is NO global warming.

Tom Harris, the executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, along with Bob Carter, the head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia, in a recent New York Post commentary flatly stated that “There is essentially zero evidence that carbon dioxide from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change.”

They noted that the Earth’s sea level is not rising in any significant fashion, “averaging about 1 millimeter per year” and that “satellites also show that a greater area of Antarctic ice exists now than any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. In other words, the ice caps aren’t melting.”

As reported by The New York Times, “The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.”  Fuel emissions are not warming the planet. The U.S. Constitution requires that any such treaty would be legally binding only if is approved by two-thirds of the majority of the Senate.”

“To sidestep that requirement,” the Times noted, “President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions.”

Ignoring the science and ignoring the Constitution go together for this President, but it will be hard for Americans to ignore the deluge of global warming/climate change lies with which they will be assailed over the weekend and into the week ahead. The mainstream media will see to that.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Go Away, Hillary

By Alan Caruba

Other than earning her law degree, name one thing that Hillary Clinton has accomplished on her own. Her accomplishments—slim as they are—have been achieved on the coattails of either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.

Had she not been the First Lady, would anyone have ever heard of her in the context of high power political posts? The short answer is no. She had traded on her celebrity and name recognition to become a Senator from New York and then, after a failed bid to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, accepted the position of Secretary of State.

Obama wanted to make sure she was “inside the tent” during his first term and, following that, her resignation has permitted her to now begin distancing herself from a man that many regard the worst President the nation has ever had.

Let’s back up a moment. Is there a single piece of major legislation during her term as a Senator from January 3, 2001 to January 21, 2009 attributed to her? The answer is no even though she served on important committees that included the budget; armed services; environment and public works; health; education; labor and pensions; and a special committee on aging. No point reviewing her voting record. If her former votes pose a political problem for her now, they will simply be dismissed.

During her four years as Secretary of State, can you name a single treaty that generated any significant media coverage? Again, no, If what political pundits believe and her own book reflects, her views on foreign affairs, strategic objectives and other weighty matters was entirely directed from the Oval Office of the White House. Now, it is true that the Secretary of State’s job is to carry out the President’s foreign policy, but at this point we know he had no consistent or strategic policy other than to ignore the Middle East and make nice with Russia.

As Secretary of State Hillary spent most of the time flying anywhere in the world so as not to be seen that much with Obama, but when the Benghazi consulate was attacked on September 11, 2012, killing our ambassador and three security personnel, what we learned was that she had previously paid little or no attention to the question of its protection at a time when other embassies in Libya were closing their doors to avoid attacks. The picture that emerged following the attack was that of someone simply occupying the office without devoting much time to the management of the State Department.

It’s one thing to allocate management to those in the Department responsible for its vast responsibilities, but the buck still stops at the Secretary’s desk and what we learned following the attack is that she backed up the absurd lies of the President who claimed that it was the result of a video no one had seen and a casual group of men who decided to attack the consulate. On the anniversary of 9/11!!!  Questioned about it by a Senate committee, she famously said, “What difference at this time does it make?”  It makes a lot of difference when the President and Secretary of State lie to the nation and the world.

After returning to private life following Obama’s reelection Hillary outrageously claimed that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Hillary’s inclination to say stupid things and lie without any need to should be especially troubling should she run for President and, yes, she has been running for a very long time.

In Hillary we have a person who has given little evidence of legislative or management skills who wants to be the first woman President of the United States. It will look good on her resume.

What, in fact, does she have to offer? Just as Obama offered voters the chance to say they had voted for the first black candidate for President, Hillary offers them the chance to say they voted for the first woman President.

That is not reason enough to elect anyone, black, white, man or woman.

We have learned from the Obama experience that his Marxist ideology, attachment to Islam, and disdain for the U.S. military has proven to be a formula for economic and foreign policy disasters. His signature legislation, Obamacare aka the Affordable Patient Care Act, has proven to be the antithesis of his promises that one could keep their own healthcare insurance and doctor if they wanted. It has been an unmitigated failure since a Democratic Party controlled Congress voted it into law in 2009 without a single Republican vote. In 2010 the voters gave political power in the House to the GOP.

Would Hillary allow Obamacare to be repealed if that was passed by Congress? Would she take steps to destroy the Islamic State threat in the Middle East? Or simply said, would she cease to be an extreme liberal masquerading as a moderate or centrist?

Do we want to elect a woman who in early September told a conference in Las Vegas that “Climate change is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collections of challenges we face. The threat is real, and so is the opportunity…if we make the hard choices.” This is abject idiocy.

I find all the talk of her candidacy at this point to be obscene. It is an insult to the Democratic Party, but then so is Obama. If she is not opposed by primary candidates within the Party or she floats to candidacy simply as a political celebrity, simply as a woman, then the Party deserves to be massively defeated in 2016. We may get an indication of that in the November midterm elections.

I wish Hillary Clinton would simply go away and permit a serious election to occur.

© Alan Caruba, 2014