Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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Alan Caruba

Democratic Party Panic

By Alan Caruba

On December 28th, the Democratic National Committee sent an email to “Obama for America” supporters. The subject line was “Impeachment.” 

“What do these people have in common?” asked the text as it quoted Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, Rep. Kerry Bentivivolio of Michigan, and Rep. Blake Farenhold of Texas, all of whom discussed the possibility of impeaching Obama, citing instances of official misconduct. The DNC said, “Republicans are actually excited about the idea.”

Ten days earlier, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, had sent an email to supporters updating them on the party’s strategy to win elections in 2014. “What you need is good strategy, smart people, and ideas you’re proud to stand behind…” The one thing missing from the email was the mention of a single idea. No mention of Obamacare, amnesty, or any other Democratic policies.
When I visited Democrats.org on December 29, the website was telling members that “The economy could face a credit downgrade if Republicans continue to threaten to default on our loans.”  No mention of the first such downgrade in the history of the nation which occurred during Obama’s first term and was a response to the nearly six trillion dollars he had added to the nation’s debt.

Under the headline “Dirtier”, the DNC claimed that “All the gains we’ve made for our environment, like two million acres of preserved land and rivers will be on the line.”  That’s right, Republicans want dirtier air and water, and the way to protect the nation is to ensure that millions of acres cannot be used by Americans, especially if there is lots of coal or oil is under those acres. According to Wikipedia, “As of March 2012, out of the 2.27 billion acres in the country, about 28% of the total was owned by American citizens represented by the National Federal government according to the Interior Department.That’s right, more than a quarter of all the landmass of the nation is owned by the federal government.

The headline “Less Fair” was followed by “Our voter protection efforts and workplace equality work will be undone” but it is Democrats who oppose any state effort to pass laws that require proof of citizenship or even residency. And, under “Less Healthy” it accused all who want to “’Repeal Obamacare’. Need we say more?” Apparently a law that deprives you of your personal physician and imposes higher costs on government-approved healthcare insurance plans is a good thing.

Not only are we witnessing a full scale panic in the Democratic National Committee, we can read just how devoid of any truth and any sense any of their policies are. If a few Republicans in Congress had a passing comment on impeaching President Obama, it comes as no surprise whatever.

In late December, Forbes magazine published an article by Ira Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. The title was “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Shapiro didn’t even have to go back any further to include others during his first term.

Among those cited was Obama’s delay of out-of-pocket caps, a change that requires actual legislation. Similarly, the delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate was cited because, if Obamacare is the “law of the land”, such changes require action by Congress. Several other changes to Obamacare by the President were cited for the same reason.

Political profiling by the IRS was cited such as an internal BOLO, “Be on the lookout”. for organizations engaged in political activities, citing “Tea Party”, “Patriots” and “Israel” as words to identify them. The targeting continued through May 2013 until it was exposed. 

You can read Shapiro’s article here.

What Republicans and independents know and Democrats do not want to acknowledge is that Obamacare is, to use its most frequent description, “a disaster.” Many suspect that Obama was and is ineligible to be President. The birth certificate put forward by the White House has been declared a forgery. His Social Security number is suspect. It is common knowledge that his college records are all sealed even though he may have applied for admission as a “foreign student.”

So, yes, the Democratic National Committee has a lot to hide about the President and its support for legislation and regulations based on “climate change” and other liberal notions that lack the knowledge of science and warp its practice. It continues to advocate spending billions, if not trillions, the U.S. does not have. And, finally, the President’s foreign policies—not mentioned in its emails or on its website—have been a dismal failure, making the world more dangerous.

The Democratic Party has one thing going for it---the mainstream media. In the Sunday before the New Year, the New York Times published a 7,000-word article claiming that the attack on the Benghazi consulate where our ambassador and three others were killed was not related to al Qaeda. In the words of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?” Answer: A lot. This “newspaper” is the U.S. equivalent of Pravda during the days of Stalin.

In November, Americans have the opportunity to remove Democratic Senators and Representatives who voted for Obamacare and replace them with candidates who believe the Constitution means what it says.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Another Grim Year with Obama

By Alan Caruba
The fifth year in the political marriage between Barack Obama and the rest of America has the look of a divorce in which a lot of Americans are wondering how we can rid ourselves of the worst President in the history of the nation. That’s not just my opinion.
As 2013 comes to a close it is abundantly clear that even the starry-eyed journalists and political pundits who thought Obama was as close to the Second Coming as American politics had ever known were having, not just doubts, but serious regrets. The White House press corps is now in a state of rebellion.
As the year began, Victor David Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and respected conservative commentator, took a look back at George W. Bush, the predecessor that Obama blamed for everything so often it became a joke.
“George W. Bush left office in January 2009 with one of the lowest job-approval ratings for a president (34%) since Gallup started compiling them—as compared to Harry Truman’s low of 32%, Richard Nixon’s of 24%, and Jimmy Carter’s of 34%--and to the general derision of the media,” wrote Hanson. Obama is likely to achieve a rating less than these predecessors.
Bush has distinguished himself by never publicly commenting on Obama while he has held office. When his presidential library was opened in April, Bush’s approval rating was 47%, but it is worth noting that Bush was in office when 9/11 occurred, followed by combat action in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Just before Bush left office, a financial crisis struck the nation.
The signs of dissatisfaction with Obama and his policies were evident as 2013 began. A January Gallup poll found that American opinion of the country’s state of affairs was at its lowest point since 1979. Fewer than four-in-ten Americans (39%) rated the U.S. in a positive manner. By February, the national debt during Obama’s presidency had increased $5.9 trillion, more than it had increased under all presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton combined.
By April the New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, was continuing to put distance between Obama and herself. “Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern” wrote Dowd, adding “No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.” Obama had devoted so much time to fund-raising and non-stop campaigning, that governing was obviously not a priority, but that is exactly why Presidents are elected.
By May, Politico.com reporters, Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei noted that Republicans in the House had one-third of its committees investigating scandals and wrong-doing by the Obama administration. “Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this President to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.”
By July, a Washington Times editorial, “Obama’s Feats of Weakness” observed that “Since Mr. Obama took office, the opinion of the United States generally has declined in every country surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project…Despite the vaunted White House effort to reach out to Muslim-majority countries, U.S. favorability ratings in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Pakistan are below where they were in 2008 when George W. Bush was at the helm.”
As 2013 comes to a close, longtime former allies such as Saudi Arabia are openly berating Obama for the secret deal negotiated with Iran. Egypt, a former ally, feels betrayed by Obama for his support of the Muslim Brotherhood and, Israel was being visited by Secretary John Kerry to express his opposition to new housing in Jerusalem, but he has put Israel at great risk of annihilation by Iranian nuclear weapon. The Washington Times opined that “There’s a reason Mr. Obama has not been a strong leader internationally. He never set out to be one because he has never believed in the exceptional mission of the United States.”
During the October government shutdown, Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standards, noted that Obama “won’t negotiate with Republicans, though the fate of Obamacare, funding of the government, and the future of the economic recovery are at stake.” A veteran observer of the White House, Barnes said, “His approach—dealing with a deadlock by not dealing with it—is unprecedented. He has gone where no president has gone before.”
Earlier, in June, Barnes said “the Obama administration is in an unexpected and sharp state of decline. Mr. Obama has little influence on Congress. His presidency has no theme. He pivots nervously from issue to issue.”
When the Obamacare website debuted on October 1st, it was such a disaster that it was a perfect reflection of a horrendous piece of legislation that is causing widespread dismay and disruption affecting millions of Americans.
When you add in the residue from first term scandals such as Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the use of the IRS to harass conservative groups seeking non-profit tax status, it was obvious to all but mindless Obama devotees that we face three years of further decline at home and internationally.
There is still massive unemployment. There are still massive numbers on government welfare programs and the nation’s health care system and insurance industry is being massively disrupted. The economy is improving incrementally, almost despite the administration’s policies.
To say that 2013 has been a bad year for Obama is also to say it has been a bad year for over three hundred million Americans. As Obamacare kicks in, 2014 will be a year its hidden taxes take effect. In November, voters will have the midterm elections to begin ending the a record of failed domestic and foreign affairs.
© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Looking Into My 2014 Crystal Ball

By Alan Caruba      

Pundits are expected to make predictions for the year ahead and far be it for me to avoid what, generally speaking, depends on who is making them. Major trends are already in place and easy to predict as they proceed, but it is always unknown events that upend predictions. Mother Nature and perpetrators of evil can always be counted upon to provide them.

Since the Earth has been in a seventeen-year cooling cycle, I can safely predict there will be no “global warming” in 2014 and, given the other science-based factors, the likelihood is that 2014 will experience more colder weather and may even be an earlier predictor of a mini-ice age much the same as the one that occurred from 1300 to 1850.

As mentioned, it is the unpredictable events that will affect 2014. The good news is that the U.S. has seen far fewer hurricanes, tornadoes, and forest fires in recent years. The global cooling trend, however, is likely to cause more and larger blizzards.

“Climate change”? This is now the basis of all the lies we shall hear from the President to justify his five-year delay of the Keystone oil pipeline, his continued war on coal—affordable electricity—and other Environmental Protection Agency efforts to control our lives while denying the creation of the thousands of jobs the pipeline and other energy-related development would provide. Environmentalism is the enemy of the technologies that have transformed and enhanced our lives.

The November mid-term elections hold the promise of ridding Congress of some of the Democrats who unanimously voted for Obamacare in 2009. It will also replace those Republicans-in-name-only, RINOs, who have joined Democrats in voting for legislation that advanced the socialism that is strangling the nation by expanding the federal government. I predict the ranks of “independent” voters will increase in 2014.

The erosion of the Democratic Party base will continue as Obamacare afflicts millions of Americans who will lose their healthcare insurance plans, be deprived of using their personal physician, and see their costs increase. It is the essence of communism, providing the government with control over one’s life and, in too many cases, causing many to die for the lack of plans they previously had or the costs of those they are required to purchase. Those leaving the party will include women and the younger generation leaving college to discover there aren’t any jobs to help them cope with the debt they incurred to attend. Hispanics, too, show signs of leaving.

It is hard to predict what will occur within the Republican Party whose leadership has engaged in denunciations of the Tea Party movement. However, when the Tea Party movement elects more committed conservative GOP candidates, it will save the nation and the party. Suffice to say that Obamacare will be the gift that keeps on giving in 2014. It will, in time, be repealed.

Obama’s failed foreign policy will ensure that former allies will cease to trust the U.S. to support their need to deal with the rising threat of Islamic jihad in the Middle East and Africa. Obama has lost Egypt and Saudi Arabia as long-time allies. Israel is in a particularly perilous situation and the outcome of the Syrian civil war does not bode well for it or its neighbor Jordan.

Iran will be the greatest threat of war since the 1930s. And, yes, the U.S.-led “deal” will fail.

Polls reveal a growing unhappiness with the U.S. Congress. The President’s performance ratings have been falling and will continue to do so in 2014. The problem is the growth of socialism that began during and in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The pension debt and other benefits resulting from government worker unions has forced Detroit into bankruptcy and other American cities will follow.
By executive order the President just raised government salaries by 1%. Can he do that? Not really. Only the House can authorize such expenditures. Can he change Obamacare without consulting Congress? Not really.

The mainstream media will continue to lose its credibility as the Internet affords Americans alternative means of finding out what is really occurring as opposed to the deceptive and manipulative efforts of the Obama administration. Having raised voter’s expectations of Obama, his fall will be dramatic in 2014. The mainstream media is largely composed of liberals who are the result of the transformation of education into socialist indoctrination that began in the 1960s. By contrast, conservative print and broadcast media will thrive. Fox News has more viewers than the networks and CNN, combined.

Events such as the current attack on Southern Sudan, and the on-going slaughter in Syria will continue. Christians throughout the Middle East and Africa will find themselves under continued attack. Muslim-on-Muslim violence will continue. Islamists are devoted to its “holy” war, including its own schism.

In America, privacy, an essential element of the Constitution, will continue to be diminished if Congress does not address the vast collection of information of all of our communications. Read the Fourth Amendment. It says in part that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

We may see more states enact laws to defy Obamacare. South Carolina is currently the only one. The Tenth Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Read the Constitution, you will not find the words “health” in it, nor “education”, nor ‘environment.” The federal government should get out of these aspects of our lives.

My most positive prediction is that historians will look back at 2014 as the year in which Americans woke to the threat of socialism-communism and, like the Tea Party movement, began to fight back.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cartoon Round Up

Reporters Hit a White House Stone Wall

By Alan Caruba

Obama’s promise to lead an open and transparent administration has become an “albatross” according to a Dec 24 Politico.com analysis by Josh Gerstein. As Obama’s fifth year in office wraps up, much of the Washington and nation’s press corps is very unhappy.

With the exception of those who depend on Fox, ABC radio, the Wall Street Journal, and other conservative outlets, too many of the consumers of news are blissfully unaware of the liberal, rubber stamp product they are receiving. It is the complete betrayal of those whom the press is supposed to serve.

They did not report the truth about Obamacare. They have not reported the truth about Obama’s failed foreign affairs policies, including the attack on Benghazi. They have largely ignored other scandals. Obama’s new economic “inequality” lies are right out of the Communist Manifesto. The result, however, was his reelection in 2012 and millions of cancelled health plans.

All administrations have sought to control the information—the message—that reaches the public, but the Obama administration has gone to greater lengths than previous ones. In particular, its public affairs offices (PAOs) have become obstacles to press access.

Writing in the Dec 17 edition of Editor & Publisher the newspaper trade magazine, Jim Dickinson said, “Over two hours at the National Press Club a few months ago, the truth finally hit me. Journalism has done it to itself, the ‘it’ being the surrender of our First Amendment-protected responsibility to tell the people what their government is really, actually doing—as opposed to what the government tells us it wants the people to know.”

The panel to which Dickerson was referring was entitled “Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help?”  He wrote that “Public affairs offices increasingly require that reporters conduct all interviews through the press office. U.S. Departments and agencies often mandate that their employees only talk to reporters through official channels and with communications staff present.”

Not only do government employees know that this means their job can be on the line, but as I noted in October, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act signed into law in November 2012 in reality puts whistleblowers at risk of going to jail.

Reporters find that the leaks from whistleblowers and routine information from government employees are drying up. Ironically, the actions of former NSA employee Edward Snowden and U.S. Army corporal Bradley Manning exposed more information than the administration wanted anyone to know. Manning went to jail and Snowden has found asylum in Russia. Both said they acted in the public interest; a public being told that the NSA’s acquisition of data on every phone call is being done to protect them.

The problem is manifest in efforts under the Freedom of Information Act to secure feedback from government agencies. Politico’s Gerstein pointed out the availability of government records under FOIA often results in requests routinely lingering for years “and often end up producing a ream of blacked-out text.”  News is expected to be timely and delaying access to public records negates that.

What has been and is reported these days are the lies for which the Obama administration has become famous.

The administration has called the scandals of the first term “phony” and a recent Sixty Minutes interview with Susan Rice, now the national security advisor to Obama, dismissed the Benghazi cover-up as “false.” It was Rice who went on five Sunday news shows to spread the lies about the attack—on the anniversary of 9/11—having  been caused by a video no one had ever seen. That earned her a promotion!

The daily White House press briefing has become increasingly heated and, when the President gave a press conference before leaving on a Christmas vacation, he was asked if 2013 had been the worst year to date for him. He obliquely acknowledged what everyone knows, but denied he pays any attention to polls, something every President of the modern era has always done.

The mainstream press has learned that, in return for having published the White House “party line” throughout its first term, that it would tap their phones and accuse a Fox News reporter of being an “accomplice” for releasing information it wanted to keep secret.

Its use of public information offices to thwart or control what news is released, its increased use of “official” White House photos, its widespread failure to respond to Freedom of Information requests, and its use of social media and organizations allied with the White House to advertise and spread its message all add up to a highly manipulative effort to influence the public.

The good news is that the Internet has become a major source of news and analysis available to everyone. As traditional print newspapers suffer decline due to the loss of advertising revenue and the younger generation’s preference for electronic access to the news, the scope of news has expanded to sources beyond government control.

A secretive and deceptive Obama administration is suffering from an abundance and availability of the TRUTH. Too bad that too many journalists have not been active contributors.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Donations are Needed and Welcome

If you are one of the many readers for whom “Warning Signs” is a place you go to get the truth about the issues affecting the nation and the world, you can help get 2014 off to a strong start with a donation to help defray office and other expenses so that I may devote the time to the research and writing that goes into the effort to provide the facts and analysis to help you better understand what is actually happening. The mainstream media is increasingly useless in this regard, so blogs like “Warning Signs” provide an essential service.

To those who sent donations this month, a very Big Thank You! If you have been thinking of sending one, please do so.

Thank You from Alan Caruba

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Leaving Afghanistan

By Alan Caruba

On December 31, the United States is slated to begin removing its troops from Afghanistan. They have been there since shortly after 9/11 in 2001. At this writing, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a security agreement that would permit contingents of U.S. and allied troops there to train and assist its security forces beyond the end of 2014.

Karzai says we have different definitions for terrorists. They were and they are the Taliban. He wants to negotiate with them. On Christmas day they attacked the U.S. embassy in Kabul. No one was injured.

In late December, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, held a Pentagon press conference in which they asserted that the Afghan security forces are capable of “overcoming and, in most cases, overwhelming their Taliban competitors for control of Afghanistan," but that they “lack confidence.” In addition, they face a political transition in their central government, the outcome of which is unpredictable.

President Obama deemed the Afghan conflict a good war in contrast to Iraq. Since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, it has been in a state of political crisis with constant attacks that kill Iraqis on a weekly basis. On Christmas day, Christians were attacked three times in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 37.

At the heart of the Afghan and Iraq problem is Islam, its long battle between Sunnis and Shiites, and its enduring hatred of Christians, Jews and all other faiths.  

We’re in Afghanistan because it was an al Qaeda staging area for 9/11. Had we taken the approach that freed Kuwait from Iraqi conquest in 1990, we would have been in and out in short order. The U.S. led assault on Iraqi forces began in mid-January 1991 and it was over by late February.

Instead, we remained in Afghanistan. There were 630 U.S. casualties in the years between 2001 and 2008, but following Obama’s “surge” they increased to 1,544 between 2009 and 2012. In 2013, there have been 126. The Taliban suffered casualties, but they did not go away. Parked in Pakistan, their main support, they can and will return. Much of Afghanistan’s problems stem from the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.

The National Priorities Project tracks the cost of the Afghanistan conflict, asserting that taxpayers have paid $683,242,655, 879 (and growing) since it began in 2001, calculating that it costs $10.45 million an hour.  The Iraq war cost $816,255,519,665.

Neither conflict produced a desired outcome and, combined with Obama’s agenda to withdraw the U.S. from any military role in the Middle East, many Americans are believed to have embraced a neo-isolationism whose roots reach back to the Vietnam conflict and earlier. The reality is that most have grave doubts and concerns about five years of failed foreign policy by the Obama administration that has sided with Islamists.

A recent Pew poll said that 52% believe “the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”  The problem with that is the prospect of Middle East and African nations in which al Qaeda and other jihadists would gain control and expand their holy war on the West.

In an analysis of Afghanistan after a U.S. withdrawal, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University’s security studies program, noted recently that “Afghanistan has known some 2,600 years of foreign invasion. The invaders did much “to shape the country’s culture, religion, politics, and geography, and some of Afghanistan’s most critical turning points came as those invaders left the scene.”

There is considerable irony in what occurred when the then-Soviet Union invaded and was eventually forced out by Afghans and jihadists like Osama bin Laden who received considerable aid from the U.S. to drive out its army in 1989. This was followed by its collapse in 1991 and Afghanistan did as well, “into anarchy and civil war.”

Several scenarios were offered by Gartenstein-Ross, but given Afghanistan’s history few hold out much hope for a strong centralized government. As the Taliban say, the U.S. military wears watches while they measure time in decades and centuries.

My own best guess is that the Taliban conflict in Afghanistan will expand. Whether an Afghan army, still in its earliest years, can protect a central government is anyone’s guess.

When jihadists are emboldened enough to try to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria and as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states join together to prepare for or deter a possible conflict with a nuclear-armed Iran, the Middle East holds the promise of a very ugly future. The implications for the U.S. can only be ignored at our peril.

Editor’s Note: An extraordinary book on our fighting forces in Afghanistan, a tribute to their courage and dedication, is “Afghanistan on the Bounce” by Robert L. Cunningham, a noted photographer of Presidents and heads of state who was embedded with our troops there, photographing all aspects of their lives. If you served there, know someone who did, or are a veteran, this is worth adding to your library.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Supreme Court is Undermining Science and Society

By Alan Caruba

The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.

At this point in the present era, the Court has made rulings that run contrary to the original, clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and has wrought havoc on our society.

In 1973 it ruled that the killing of unborn babies was protected and millions since then have been deliberately killed. It extended protection to sodomy and same-sex marriage. It is destroying the fabric of our society that has served Americans well for more than two hundred years.

It ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act was a “tax”, enabling the Obamacare to be unleashed with the subsequent loss of health care plans by millions of Americans, often the loss of their personal physician, and the requirement that deeply-held religious opposition to contraception and abortion be negated by a law that requires their beliefs be overruled and denied.

In 2007, I wrote a commentary that was published in The Washington Times. I criticized a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “pollutant”, opening the door to the EPA’s rapacious intent to control all aspects of our lives based on this lie that is used to justify its war on coal-fired plants that provide nearly half of all the electrical energy we use daily.  “CO2 is not a pollutant,” I wrote, “It exists in the Earth’s atmosphere and every blade of grass and every tree depends on it.” It plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

The Clean Air Act and revisions passed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. The original regulation of air pollution was a good idea, as were the laws affecting clean water, but the EPA has since used pollution to impose a vast matrix of regulations that do not reflect the fact that the nation’s air and water is now as clean as it ever can be.

Carbon monoxide emissions have fallen from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 3l million tons to 15 million tons. Lead emissions fell by more than 98%.  Particulate emissions (soot) fell by 80%. The air in the U.S. is considerably cleaner, but the EPA’s assertions continue to be made to expand its regulatory power and to attack the sovereignty of the states.

A case that was recently argued before the Court is another EPA effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act, asserting that it be given authority to regulate the flow of alleged “pollution” between “upwind” states and those who receive particulates and gases under its control. Some 27 states are considered “upwind” and those states along with all others have their own air control laws. In states that are more heavily industrialized and which have a large number of coal-fired plants on which the EPA wants to impose expensive standards that have no basis in fact.

A coalition led by Texas of more than a dozen other states brought a case, Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, opposing the EPA’s regulatory re-write of the Clean Air Act. In August 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA which appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “The D.C. Circuit only rarely overturns EPA rules, which shows how out of bounds the cross-state regulation is. The Supreme Court should overturn it for violating the federalist intentions of Congress, but there is also the added judicial incentive to show this increasingly rogue agency that it can’t rewrite the law as it pleases.”

The U.S. has been harmed by the many laws whose justification is based on the totally unscientific hoax regarding CO2. During the 101st and 111th Congresses, there were 692 laws introduced containing the term “greenhouse gas” when, in fact, CO2 is NOT such a gas, playing no role whatever in trapping warmth to affect the weather and/or climate of the Earth.

Stringent domestic laws and regulations, moreover, do not take into consideration the role of many other nations whose emissions are far greater than those produced here. However, reducing their emissions will have no effect on the Earth’s climate. The Earth is in what will likely be a lengthy cycle of cooling based on reduced solar radiation. It recently snowed in Egypt and in Israel where snow has long been a rarity.

The Obama administration’s “war on coal” has used the EPA to inflict an attack on the nation’s capacity to provide energy and the EPA has not ceased from using every ruling it has imposed to degrade the nation’s ability to maintain and expand the industrial base it needs to provide for economic growth, an increase in jobs, and the sovereign right of states to determine their own response to the need for clean air. The U.S. is a republic composed of separate republics.

At this point, control of the nation’s air and water quality should be returned in full to the states and the EPA should be eliminated as the threat to the nation it has become. The Supreme Court has played a role in this threat, ruling without any attention to real science, traditional values, and the clear intent of the Constitution.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Obama Must Be Forced to Resign

By Alan Caruba

A December 17 Reuters article was titled, “Obama’s Current Approval Rating Is The Ugliest Since Nixon.”

“President Barack Obama is ending his fifth year in office with the lowest approval ratings at this point in the presidency since President Richard Nixon, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday.”

Nixon was forced to resign on April 22, 1974 after two long years that followed the revelations about Watergate, a break-in of the Democratic Party offices in Washington, DC. The backlash against the horrors of Obamacare, concerns about the “deal” with Iran, and a succession of scandals from Fast and Furious to Benghazi, have raised fear and anger over his judgment, competence, and behavior in office.

Having lived through the years that led to Nixon’s resignation, I am seeing the same national resistance that Obama’s five years in office have led to. Nixon was never a “popular” President, widely seen as “Tricky Dick”, but like Obama, he was twice elected to the office. His Vice President, Gerald Ford, who assumed the presidency was defeated by Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and, four years later, an unhappy electorate defeated Carter and elected Ronald Reagan who would serve two terms. Even the popular Bill Clinton faced impeachment.

Not since the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s have Americans endured an economy that has failed to overcome slow growth despite Obama’s full first term in office and another year in his second term.

Ignoring the central role of a free market prolongs bad economic conditions and high taxation to maintain an ever-expanding central government led to big problems for European nations and promises the same—or worse—for the U.S.
When you add in the increased debt imposed in Obama’s first term you are looking at the road to ruin. Blaming “millionaires and billionaires” or “income inequality” is the very essence of communism. It is a rejection of our capitalistic economic system.

Financial ruin for America is embedded in its huge debt, its deficits, and its multi-trillions of dollars in unfunded debt that already insolvent Social Security and Medicare programs represent. And Medicare was looted to fund Obamacare!

The destruction of our healthcare system, one sixth of the nation’s economy, is widely regarded as a disaster and it bears the President’s name. Passed late at night prior to Christmas in 2009 and signed into law by Barack Obama, Obamacare is distinguished by the lies the President told all Americans about their right to keep their healthcare insurance plans, retain their personal physicians, and see their costs reduced. It has done the opposite and it is impossible to believe the President did not know this would occur.

The nation has reached a point when the President must be told to resign.

Whether a Congress, also held in extraordinary low esteem, can or will do this is unknown. While I have said in the past that Obama cannot be removed by impeachment, I now believe that if the House would initiate impeachment proceedings that in itself would focus public attention, for example, on the President’s excessive use of executive orders to by-pass Congress and his unconstitutional altering--tweaking--of the Obamacare law.
His first term was filled with scandals that included using the IRS for political gain. His role in dragging down the nation’s international position as an exemplar and protector of freedom has made the world less safe. These and other issues need a review and discussion that would not occur in the mainstream press in any other way.

This isn’t about a President who authorized a break-in. This is about a President who is a current and future threat to the Constitution, the nation’s military strength, and the restoration of its economy.
This is about a President who can use existing laws to declare martial law based on a manufactured crisis. Existing law would permit him to seize control of all aspects of life in America.

The nation’s mainstream print and broadcast media is showing signs of disillusionment, but not enough to abandon a President they have supported with deliberately biased reporting.

Complicating a demand for his resignation is a divided Republican Party whose elites have rejected the Tea Party movement that has already elected a number of members to Congress. Many find little to differentiate the GOP from the Democratic Party, but there are differences and the House of Representatives is proof of that.

Many Americans sense that the nation is at a very dangerous point.

Dramatic action is needed. A demand for Obama’s resignation via petitions and other measures is needed to save America from the worst President ever elected to that office.

Editor's note: In the Daily Caller.com, an interview with Rep. Amash (R-MI) reveals his comparable concern about the powers Obama is asserting for the executive office. It's worth viewing the video.


© Alan Caruba, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

America, A Christian Nation

An aethiest billboard in Times Square
By Alan Caruba

It is a great regret that arrogant atheists attack Christmas at this time of year and that too many institutions from schools to stores feel intimidated enough to remove mention of it. It is one thing to deny the existence of God, but the attacks are intended to undermine the faith of millions of Americans. The atheists forget or neglect the fact that the pilgrims came here to freely practice their interpretation of Christianity.

It is a habit of mine to revisit the classic literature of the past and, with the advent of Christmas, I picked up an excerpt from Edward Gibbon’s famed “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” that addressed in part the role of Christianity.

Gibbon’s vast knowledge of the Empire eventually filled six volumes. The first three volumes were published in 1776 and became a bestseller. The final three volumes cemented his reputation as a historian.

Gibbon (1737-1794) not only possessed a vast body of knowledge, but also a felicity of prose that enhances the pleasure of reading him. His history of Rome also contained open criticism of organized religion which no doubt evoked a great deal of discussion at the time.

The religion of Rome, however, being polytheistic with many gods could only be called organized insofar as temples to those gods were built wherever it exercised its power. Suffice to say, the then-new religion of Christianity was declared illegal and Christians were widely persecuted.

Initially, the adherents to Christianity were Jews. Gibbon notes that “The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregations over which they presided, united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ.” Judaism had been around for a thousand years by that time, but there were a variety of factors that kept it isolated and limited in numbers. It did not actively proselytize and the requirement for circumcision was a deterrent. Judaism also had many restrictions such as dietary laws and requirements that further reduced its attraction for the masses.

All that changed with the advent of Saul of Tarsus, now known as St. Paul, a Jew who experienced an epiphany that threw open the doors to the philosophical and theological basis of Judaism. “Christianity offered itself to the world, armed with the strength of the Mosaic Law and delivered from its fetters,” wrote Gibbon. “The divine authority of Moses and the prophets was admitted, and even established, as the firmest basis of Christianity.”

“The promise of divine favor, instead of being partially confirmed to the posterity of Abraham, was universally proposed to the freeman and the slave, to the Greek and the barbarian, to the Jew and to the Gentile.”

“When the promise of eternal happiness was proposed to mankind, on condition of adopting the faith, and of observing the precepts of the gospel, it is no wonder that so advantageous an offer should have been accepted by great numbers of every religion, of every rank, and of every province in the Roman Empire.”

The Roman Empire had reigned supreme for almost 300 years when Christianity came on the scene and would last another 200 until, in the view of historians; it became too tired to maintain itself. It stretched across the known world from the British Isles to India, exacting taxes and offering protection. By the third century it could not be effectively governed from Rome and split into two factions, East and West, seen today in the Eastern and Western churches.

Christianity offered something that Judaism did not; the promise of life after death, of Heaven, and, conversely, a vision of Hell. Neither the prophets, nor the sages of Judaism devoted much attention to what occurred after death because there is no way to determine what occurs in its wake. Instead, Judaism has always placed an emphasis on how one can pursue a life of proper behavior based on the interpretation of the Torah or Old Testament whose heart is found in the Ten Commandments.

Gibbon wrote “It was by the aid of these causes, exclusive zeal, the immediate expectation of another world, the claim of miracles, the practice of rigid virtue, and the constitution of the primitive church, that Christianity spread itself with so much success in the Roman Empire.”

The gospels were composed in the Greek language “at a considerable distance from Jerusalem” and after gentile converts had grown in numbers. “As soon as those histories were translated into the Latin tongue, there were perfectly intelligible to all the subjects of Rome” with some exceptions.

The conversion of Constantine in the fourth century made Christianity the official religion of Rome. It is estimated that, by then, almost a third of the population had previously embraced Christianity and the Empire had already begun to decline. In the early 400s, Rome was conquered by the barbaric tribes of northern Europe, the Gaul’s, Visigoths, and others. Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages.

In time Christianity would spread to much of the world though it would compete with the more ancient faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the tribal faiths of Africa and the New World.

In 632 A.D. Islam, the invention of Mohammed, would spread as much by the sword as by its doctrine. It is the enemy of all other religions and its persecution of Christians is a warning to the world. Mohammed told his followers, “The sword is the key to heaven and hell.” These days, the Middle East is being “cleansed” of Christians. No accommodation can be made with Islam.

The demographics of Christianity have shifted significantly in the last century, largely due to the enmity of Communism. As noted in a recent article, “In Latin America alone, there are 517 million Christians. In Africa, 411 million. Asia tallies 251 million. Once a global powerhouse of Christianity, Europe is home to an ever-shrinking 553 million (expected to drop to 480 million by 2050) while North America has 275 million.”

"Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” said President Barack Obama on June 28, 2006. A true Christian would never have uttered those words.

America was and is a Christian nation. Obama either misspoke or deliberately lied. His words barely acknowledge the role of Christianity in the founding and history of our nation. His words betray its role today.

Gibbon’s great work about the fall of Rome is a warning to all present empires and great powers. It fell because it lacked a doctrine of virtue as much as from the attacks by the barbarians who finished it off.

Today Communism is the faith of the new barbarians and Islam is the faith of its enemies. The defense of civilization falls heavily on the worldwide Christian community.

© Alan Caruba. 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obama's War on America's Energy Needs

By Alan Caruba

The Obama administration’s relentless war on the nation’s coal industry and on the electrical power generation plants that depend upon it is one aspect of his war on America that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. There is literally no basis, no justification for it, and yet the mainstream media tends to take little notice or supports it.

It is far more than a “war on coal”. It is a war on the nation’s capacity to meet its ever expanding energy needs. You can’t build a power generation plant overnight. You can’t get the enormous amount of electrical energy the nation needs from wind and solar power. Even nuclear energy, touted as “clean” because it produces no carbon emissions, has not seen any surge in new plants in decades.

As a Washington Times editorial noted on November 20, the regulations being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “have forced more than 100 coal plants to shut down and have made it all but impossible to construct new coal-fired plants despite rising energy demand…Since coal-fired plants generate nearly half of all the electricity used in the U.S., the EPA regulations add significantly to other upward pressures on electricity rates across the country.”

Two days later, CNS News reported that “The price of electricity hit a record for the month of October, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That made October the eleventh straight month when the average price of electricity hit or matched the record level for that month.”

“Americans now pay 42% more for electricity than they did a decade ago.”

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a report in 2013 that stated that 204 coal powered plants would shut down over the next three to five years. That represents the loss of 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity. The law of supply and demand says that when there is less and the demand is more, the price goes up.

The closures are spread over twenty-five states. People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina will see the most closures. Not only will the cost of electricity go up, but jobs will be lost. Less energy. Less employment. Less reason to build a new manufacturing facility in these states. 

An article from the current edition of EnergyBiz Magazine points out that “As recently as 2008, coal-fired power plants accounted for more than 50 percent of our nation’s electricity supply. Coal and other hydrocarbons such as oil and natural gas have supported our standard of living and provided us with a substantial and sustained competitive advantage in the world economy.”

“The war on hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and natural gas) is fought on many fronts, but they tend to converge at the most basic of our critical energy infrastructure, the electric power plant. People assume that even though we use more electronic gear we are not increasing power demand. The opposite is true.”

The most identifiable culprit in this assault on the nation’s energy needs is the EPA. The Washington Times noted that its officials “have stalled for two years on providing Congress and the American people with the scientific evidence—peer-reviewed studies, analytical papers, and databases—that would justify regulations targeting the coal industry.” When you are intent on destroying a critical element of the nation’s infrastructure, the last thing you want to do is produce any verifiable evidence, particularly when there is none.

As the Times noted, “There are solid reasons for being suspicious of the EPA’s claims about peer reviews and public comment periods. Peer reviews mean little when everybody involved is funded by an administration conducting a ‘war on coal.’ And public comment periods are all but useless when conducted away from areas of the country most affected by the agency’s regulators.” No public sessions were held in major coal states like West Virginia or Kentucky.

This isn’t just devious. It is borderline criminal as a deliberate act of deception perpetrated on all Americans. It is economic warfare. It is a war against America’ energy needs.

The justification for the EPA regulations is the claim that coal-fired plants emit too much carbon dioxide which, in turn, contributes to global warming. But there is NO global warming. And hasn’t been since the Earth entered a natural cooling cycle about fifteen or more years ago.

The Institute for Energy Research succinctly says the “EPA’s proposed rule (to increase limits on CO2 emissions) will have essentially no positive impact on the environment. If the U.S. as a whole stopped emitting all carbon dioxide emissions today, the impact on projected global temperature rise would be a mere reduction, of approximately 0.08 degrees Centigrade by the year 2050 and 0,17 Centigrade by the year 2100.” And, of course, coal-fired plants in China, India and other nations continue to email CO2, a gas that is vital to all life on Earth as “food” for all the vegetation on Earth.

We are looking at a travesty being imposed on the nation, one that has a larger percentage of proven reserves of coal than Saudi Arabia has of world proven reserves of oil. Obama’s 2008 pledge to bankrupt the coal companies is coming true and, in the process, denying Americans the energy they need and expect while needlessly driving up the cost of what they are using today and tomorrow.

Congress has to shake off its partisanship and lethargy, and save the nation from Obama’s EPA and an Interior Department resisting the granting of leases to find new sources of energy.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Asian Trade Treaty Will Destroy America

By Alan Caruba

In the same way Obamacare was foisted on America by creating a 2,000-page law that Democrats in Congress never even bothered to read, a new treaty about trade with Asia is going through the same process and poses as great, if not greater, threat to our economy, our judiciary, and our sovereignty.

Secrecy and outright deception is the hallmark of the Obama administration and a proposed Asian trade treaty must be stopped.

It is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and, writing on The Economic Collapse blog, Michael Snyder, notes that “This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade. Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties, and so much more.”

Snyder warns that “It contains a whole host of things that Obama would be unable to get through Congress on his own. But he is hoping to spring this on Congress at the last minute and get them to agree to this ‘free trade agreement’ before they realize all of the things contained in it.” This is a definition of governing by deception. It evokes the way Obamacare was put before a Congress that had not read it…and which passed by a straight party-line vote by Democrats.

The secrecy surrounding these treaty negotiations,” said Synder, “have really been unprecedented.” In fact, if Wikileaks had not secured access to the TPP draft there would be next to nothing known about it. It posted a 95 page, 30,000 word document that is a horror. Writing about it on his blog, Kurt Nimmo noted that is provisions for implementing “a transnational ‘enforcement regime designed to supplant national laws and sovereignty with a globalist construct. The TPP is by far the largest and most oppressive economic treaty devised so far.”

William F. Jasper, an author and a senior editor of The New American, calls the TPP “bigger and more dangerous than Obamacare” noting that “In November 2009, President Obama announced his intention to have the United States participate in a so-called trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I say so-called trade agreement because 80 percent of the proposed agreement deals with a great many issues beside trade,” deeming it “an all-out assault on our national sovereignty.”

“It would unconstitutionally transfer legislative powers from the U.S. Congress, our state legislatures, and our city and county governments to multi-national corporations and unaccountable international bureaucracies at the World Trade Center.”

“Incredibly, it would also transfer judicial powers from our federal and state courts—which are bad enough—to globalist TPP judges are regional tribunals and the WTO.” The treaty would “confer huge advantages on foreign businesses and large multinationals, while at the same time putting companies that operate here in America—especially small and medium enterprises—at a competitive disadvantage. American businesses would remain shackled by the regulations of EPA, FDA, OSHA, etc. while their foreign competitors could operate here unimpeded by those same strictures.”

Writing for Reason magazine, Zenon Evans, warns that “Congress essentially gave up its constitutional authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations in 1974 with the introduction of a ‘fast track’ authority. This privileges the president to flip the bill-making processes on its head: The president introduces an international agreement that Congress votes on, but can neither filibuster nor amend. Although fast-track expired in 2007, the Obama administration has been pushing for renewal, specifically for TPP.”

“If the U.S. government were actually interested in promoting free trade,” said Evans, “it could entirely sidestep relinquishing legislative power to a hodgepodge web of nations. It could simply agree to lower tariffs in exchange for the same treatment. But, instead, we are facing a deal that would undermine the democratic process entirely, disenfranchising the voting public to whom our government is accountable.”

The secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a major warning against the harm this treaty would inflict on America and reportedly the fact that barely a handful of Congressmen have been given a look at its text is a warning that Obama does not want Congress to be fully informed. If they pass the TPP in the same way Obamacare was passed, the harm to the nation is incalculable.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Power-Mad EPA

EPA headquarters in Washington, DC
By Alan Caruba

Barely a week goes by these days without hearing of some new demand by the Environmental Protection Agency that borders on the insane.

Increasingly, EPA regulations are being challenged and now reach the Supreme Court for a final judgment. This marks the failure of Congress to exercise any real oversight and control of an agency that everyone agrees is now totally out of control.

Recently the EPA ruled that New York City had to replace 1,300 fire hydrants because of their lead content. The ruling was based on the Drinking Water Act passed by Congress in 2011. As Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) pointed out while lambasting the agency, “I don’t know a single New Yorker who goes out to their fire hydrants every morning, turns it on, and brushes their teeth using the water from these hydrants. It makes no sense whatsoever.” Reportedly, the Senate is poised to consider legislation exempting fire hydrants if the EPA does not revise its ruling.

The EPA is not about making sense. It is about over-interpreting laws passed by Congress in ways that now continually lead to cases before the Supreme Court. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists. In an earlier case, they ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a “pollutant” when it is the one gas that all vegetation requires. Without it, nothing grows and all life on Earth dies.

A federal appeals court recently heard a case about the EPA’s interpretation of the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, yet another effort in the “war on coal” that would shut down more coal-fired plants that provide the bulk of the electricity the nation requires.

The EPA is asserting that the rule would annually prevent 11,000 premature deaths, nearly 5,000 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks. Moreover it asserts that it would help avoid more than 540,000 missed work days, and protect babies and children. These statistics are plucked from various studies published in journals and are typical of the way the EPA operates to justify its rulings. Their accuracy is dubious.

What makes this case, brought by EarthJustice--formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund--of interest is the way the NAACP, along with 17 other organizations, came to the defense of the ruling. Are you surprised that the NAACP has a director of Environmental and Climate Justice?
Apparently civil rights for Afro-Americans now embraces the absurd claims about climate change, formerly known as global warming. “Civil rights are about equal access to protections afforded by law,” said Jacqui Patterson, the NAACP director. “These standards provide essential safeguards for communities who are now suffering from decades of toxic exposure.” If these essential safeguards are in place, on what basis does she make such a claim?

The EarthJustice attorney, Jim Pew, claims the case is about protecting “hundreds of thousands of babies each year from development disorders, and spare communities of 130,000 asthma attacks each year. If, in a lawsuit, you find yourself arguing against the lives of babies, children with asthma, and people suffering from your toxic dumping, then you are on the wrong side of both the lawsuit and history..”

Here, again, the claims about health-related harm are absurd. Who believes that asthma or development disorders are related to mercury? Who believes that communities served by coal-fired power plants are subject to major health hazards?

The claims about mercury are baseless, in a 2011 commentary published in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Willie Soon, a geoscientist at Harvard and expert on mercury and public health issues was joined by Paul Driesson, a senior policy advisor for the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), rebuts the claims about mercury that have been part of the environmental lies put forth for years.

“There is no factual basis for these assertions. To build its case against mercury, the EPA systematically ignored evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is the punish hydrocarbon use.”

“Mercury has always existed naturally in the Earth’s environment…Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and tries, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants.”

Dr. Soon and Driessen do not deny that coal-burning power plants emit an estimated 41-to-48 tons of mercury per year, “but U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons, Chinese power plants eject 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers, and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year.”

“Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.”

Such FACTS mean nothing to the EPA. The air and the water of the United States is remarkably clean, but to justify its existence and expand its power, the EPA continues to impose idiotic and unscientific rules about fire hydrants and power plants.

The threat is the EPA, not mercury.

© Alan Caruba, 2013