02/22/15

There Will Always Be War

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

alwayswar1

We begin with the reality that the United States and many other nations are at war with militant Islamists. They are a growing army of religious zealots murdering Christians, Jews, others who are not Muslim, and even other Muslims.

In my youth America knew how to win wars. In Europe it bombed Germany into submission, leading its allies in an invasion that left Germany divided for decades until the Soviet Union collapsed. In Asia Truman dropped two atomic bombs on Japan because they didn’t get the message when Hiroshima was destroyed on August 6, 1945. It took a second bomb on Nagasaki on August 9 to bring about Japan’s surrender.

Millions died in World War II but the alternative would have been the loss of freedom for millions worldwide.

If one spends any time learning history, the primary lesson is that war has been a constant factor from the beginning of what we call civilization about five thousand years ago.

The Bronze Age introduced new weapons that gave the residents of the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East a distinct advantage over invading nomadic people, but the invaders introduced chariots and it took the Egyptians and Babylonians a while to catch up. War has always been about new, more lethal weaponry.

Why would we be surprised to learn that the Assyrians who originated in what is now northern Iraq or the Islamic State (ISIS) were the most violent and bloodthirsty of the ancient world’s peoples? Known to all their neighbors by 1300 B.C.E., their army become a source of terror for the Middle East during the ninth century. They destroyed the Kingdom of Israel around 732 B.C.E., but the southern part of the Kingdom of Judah survived. In time the Babylonians would defeat the Assyrians.

Not all wars involved religion. The Greeks fought each other and then fought the Persians. Alexander the Great, a Macedonian, loved waging war and was very successful. The constant factor, however, was war and, of course, Rome would become the greatest empire of its time, beginning around 509 B.C.E., fighting three Punic wars with Carthage, but losing an estimated 400,000 in the first war and 150,000 in the second.

Eventually, Rome was so powerful it imposed a “Pax Romana” on the entire Mediterranean area it controlled. In time, Rome would be destroyed by the “barbarians”, Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoth’s, and Burgundians. By 476 C.E., the Roman Empire was history.

After establishing a group of followers in the Arabian Peninsula as the “last prophet”, proclaiming Islam as the one, true faith, Muhammad died in 632 C.E. Within ten years, the Arabs had conquered Jerusalem and were taking aim at Damascus and Cairo. Baghdad and the Libyan Desert were the next to be conquered. They moved on to Spain and Central Asia.

Military HistoryDuring his lifetime, Ali, Mohammad’s son-in-law, was the leader of the Arab forces. As noted in Samuel Willard Crompton’s ‘The Handy Military History Answer Book’, by the time the Arabs fought the Byzantines and the Persians they had also initiated the great split that remains today between the Sunnis and the Shiites.” Shiite means “follower of Ali.” The Sunnis wanted to elect their own caliph.

After taking the southern half of Spain, the Muslim army was poised to take all of Europe, but their 732 C.E. defeat in the Battle of Tours put an end to further expansion. Their momentum in Asia was stopped in 751 C.E. with a defeat in the Battle of Talas. As Crompton notes, “in the century that followed the Prophet’s death, the Arabs took over ninety percent of all the urban centers in the Western world, and their conquests equaled those of ancient Rome.”

The Crusades

Which brings us to the first Crusade; it began when Pope Urban II in 1095 told a gathering of 10,000, mostly French and German knights, that a “new accursed group”, the Muslims, had taken control of the holy land were preventing pilgrims from visiting holy sites. The knights responded to his call to liberate Jerusalem by chanting “Deus Volt! Deus Volt!”—God wills it.

They were joined by a “Peasants Crusade” between 1095 and 1096. By June 1099 the knights arrived outside Jerusalem and what followed was a wholesale murder of everyone there. In 1185, Saladin, the emir of Cairo and Lord of Damascus, proclaimed a jihad—a holy war—against the Christians in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The knights defending it were defeated.

A Second Crusade followed in 1147 C.E. but accomplished little and the Third Crusade had the same result. A Fourth Crusade resulted in the Europeans taking control of Constantinople in August 1204 C.E. They would rule it for the next fifty years. Years later, in 1489, a war drove the Muslims from Spain.

Ralph PetersThe spokeswoman from our Department of State who said that the present generation of Muslim holy warriors can’t all be killed doesn’t know that this is the way wars are won. You kill the enemy until the enemy decides that dying for their cause is not worth it.

If ISIS is insane enough to bring the war to our homeland (and even if it doesn’t), a war of total destruction will be the only way to end the present conflict. Currently, the Jordanians and the Egyptians are doing what they can to resist ISIS, but recent polls confirm that Americans are beginning to conclude that our active boots-on-the-ground participation is the only way this will end.

Obama is merely going through the motions of conducting a war against ISIS, but retired generals and diplomats have told Congress that only full-scale war will end the threat they represent.

Meanwhile, ISIS is committing genocide against the Christians of the Middle East while Boko Haram is doing the same in Africa. Hezbollah would do the same against Israel if it could. Given nuclear arms, Iran will assert control over all of the Muslim warriors, threatening both Israel and the U.S.

Our next President will have to commit to destroying ISIS. There is no alternative. That is history’s primary lesson.

Editor’s Note: The Handy Military History Answer Book is published by Visible Ink, $21.95, softcover.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/20/15

Too Many Lies, Too Much of the Time

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Lies and Deceit

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.”

— THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

I am beginning to wonder if Americans have grown so accustomed to the lies told by the President, his administration, and others said to be highly regarded, that we are losing a sense of outrage?

To the degree that Brian Williams’ serial lies have evoked a national discussion, it’s good to know that most people think he has lost credibility to the point of not being a news anchor, but one still has to wonder what NBC will do at the end of the six month suspension it has imposed on him. I am cynical enough to think he may be offered a job at MSNBC.

Hillary Clinton and Brian Williams

It is far more significant that, regarding the leading candidate to be the Democratic Party’s choice to run for President in 2016, we know she engaged in similar lies of having been “under fire.”

It’s one thing to expect politicians to lie, but the nation’s future is at stake when we still do not know the truth of Hillary Clinton’s full role in the Benghazi attack that left a U.S. ambassador and three others dead. She was the Secretary of State at the time and we watched her stand at his side as the President attributed the attack to a video no one had ever seen. The fact that the attack occurred on the anniversary of 9/11 was conveniently ignored.

The refusal to identify the Islamic State (ISIS) as an enemy representative of the global jihad is not just politics. It is a lie on the order of the President’s assertion that “The Islamic State is not Islamic.” As we are repeatedly reminded, if you cannot or will not identify an enemy, you are leaving yourself and, in this case, the nation open to attack.

Indeed, many elements of the Obama administration have engaged in lying on a level that goes beyond “politics.” It is a deliberate attack on science itself when the EPA, NOAA and NASA actively engage in distorting data to say that the Earth is warming when it has been in a well-established cooling cycle for 19 years at this point.

How are we expected to maintain any confidence in an administration that lies about employment statistics and other critical data we need to know regarding the economy?

The lie about “income inequality” is the core rational for Communism. There is no such thing as equality when it comes to income because some people enjoy higher pay for higher skills, higher productivity, and higher responsibility. We don’t pay “sanitation engineers” the same as we pay real engineers. And you don’t create new jobs by raising the minimum wage when it will reduce existing and potential new jobs.

Most dramatically, it was a series of lies told by the President that led to the passage of ObamaCare. Its two thousand-plus pages were not read by the exclusively Democratic members of Congress who passed it and, today, we learn that it is a major contributor to the nation’s deficit which is the result of the government spending more than it takes in. For the past six years Obama’s policies have added trillions to our national debt, now $18 trillion and growing. It is going to be a burden on generations to come.

There is no evidence of the tax reforms that Congress knows are needed, nor reforms to the entitlement programs that are just years from becoming insolvent.

Whether it is domestic or foreign affairs, Americans have been at a loss to expect the national press to address the lies because they would have to abandon the protection they have afforded the President for the past six years. Only one news service, Fox News, is credited with providing the truth. Fortunately the Internet has provided access to many other outlets where the truth can be found. And, yes, many that maintain the lies.

It should come as no surprise that the Obama administration wants to regulate the Internet with a program that call “Net neutrality”, but there is nothing neutral about it. The freedom the Internet enjoys is the best example of the value Americans put on an uncensored source of information and communication. The Obama administration wants to control the Internet in the same way that despots around the world want to do.

There is always a far higher price to pay for believing lies than knowing the truth.

We expect our enemies to lie. We should not expect our government to do so in such a routine and obscene fashion.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/19/15

The EPA’s Ozone Nightmare

By: Alan Carbua
Warning Signs

Sunset

Putting aside its insane attack on carbon dioxide, declaring the most essential gas on Earth, other than oxygen, a “pollutant”, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently engaged in trying to further regulate ozone for no apparent reason other than its incessant attack on the economy.

In late January on behalf of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Dr. Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D, filed his testimony on the proposed national ambient air quality standard for ozone. The EPA wants to lower the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 70 to 65 ppb, and even as low as 60 ppb.

“After promulgation of the current ozone standards in 2008,” Dr. Cohen noted, “EPA two years later called a temporary halt to the nationwide implementation of the standard in response to the severe recession prevailing at the time.”

In other words, it was deemed bad for the economy. “Now, EPA is proposing a new, more stringent standard even before the current standard has been fully implemented and even though, according to the EPA’s own data, ozone concentrations have declined by 33 percent since 1980.”

OzoneAccording to Wikipedia: “Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation. This same high oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 ppb. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level. However, the so-called ozone layer (a portion of the stratosphere with a higher concentration of ozone, from two to eight ppm) is beneficial, preventing damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface, to the benefit of both plants and animals.”

So, yes, reducing ozone in the ground level atmosphere does have health benefits, but the EPA doesn’t just enforce the Clean Air Act, it also seeks to reinterpret and use it in every way possible to harm the economy.

As Dr. Cohen pointed out, “the Clean Air Act requires EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to produce an evaluation of the adverse effects, including economic impact, of obtaining and maintaining a tighter standard. Despite repeated requests from Congress, (the Committee) has not produced the legally required evaluation. By ignoring this statutory mandate, and moving ahead with its ozone rulemaking, EPA is showing contempt for the rule of law and for the taxpayers who provide the agency’s funding.”

Since President Obama took office in 2009 he has used the EPA as one of his primary tools to harm the U.S. economy. In a Feb 2 Daily Caller article, Michael Bastasch reported that “Tens of thousands of coal mine and power plant workers have lost their jobs under President Obama, and more layoffs could be on the way as the administration continues to pile on tens of billions of dollars in regulatory costs.”

The American Coal Council’s CEO Betsy Monseu also testified regarding the proposed ozone standards, noting that the increased reductions would affect power plants, industrial plants, auto, agriculture, commercial and residential buildings, and more.

Citing a study undertaken for the National Association of Manufacturers, “a 60 ppb ozone standard would result in a GDP reduction of $270 billion per year, a loss of up to 2.9 million jobs equivalents annually, and a reduction of $1,570 in average annual household consumption. Electricity costs could increase up to 23% and natural gas cost by up to 52% over the period to 2040.”

In a rational society, imposing such job losses and increased costs when the problem is already being solved would make no sense, but we all live in Obama’s society these days and that means increasing ozone standards only make sense if you want to harm the economy in every way possible.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/11/15

The Worst U.S. President Ever!

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

President's Day - February 16, 2015

President’s Day – February 16, 2015

I won’t be around to see it, but I have little doubt that future historians and others will conclude that President Barack Hussein Obama was the worst President ever to serve in that office.

The reason is simple enough. His decisions on domestic and foreign affairs have already demonstrated his astonishing incompetence. His major contribution may in fact be to ensure that the voters elect conservatives in the next two or more elections to come. If he is remembered for anything it well may be the emergence of the Tea Party movement whose influence has been seen over the course of two midterm elections.

One cannot help but think of such things as President’s Day, February 16, reminds us of Washington and Lincoln, both of whom were born during this month. For most it is just a day on which there are a variety of sales pegged to it. For all of us, however, it acknowledges the two Presidents without whom there would not be a United States of America.

Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt are routinely ranked at the top of the lists of those judged to have been of greatest service to the nation and, not incidentally, all three presided over wars that led to and maintained America’s sovereignty.

When I have read about Washington’s life, I am always impressed by the man and, not surprisingly, so were his contemporaries, the men he commanded over the long course of the Revolutionary War. The Americans of his time had the highest regard for him. It was Washington who set the pattern of only serving two terms. When the American artist, Benjamin West, told England’s King George III of Washington’s decision, the king said, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

In his 1796 farewell address, Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.”

Imagine a modern politician talking of religion and morality as the basis of political prosperity—least of all Obama who has disparaged Christianity and protects Islam.

America was particularly blessed and fortunate in its earliest years to have a succession of men who demonstrated extraordinary intelligence, courage, and moral integrity. Following Washington there was John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams. Few nations have been so blessed as ours.

One can only examine Lincoln’s life with a sense of wonder as he rose from humble beginnings to the role of keeping the Union intact in the face of the secession of southern states and the horrendous war that followed. Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 and on April 14 Lincoln was assassinated by an actor, John Wilkes Booth. His death was the occasion of the first American national funeral as cities and towns did their best to out-do one another to honor him. It took his death for people to realize the magnitude of what he had achieved.

The advice Lincoln offered in his time is just as important, if not more so, in ours:

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt and, earlier, Theodore Roosevelt, are also highly ranked among the Presidents. Both men shared a zest for the job, enjoying it. Teddy regretted announcing that he would not run for a third term (which he did with the Bull Moose Party) and FDR ran and won four times! He did so during the Great Depression and World War II.

Two other families played a role in the presidency, the Adams and, in the modern era, George H.W. Bush was the 41st President and George W. Bush was the 43rd. It is popular to disparage both men, but history may come to another judgment.

presidentsdays1

President Obama has brought nothing to the presidency except his Marxist theology. He was the least prepared in terms of experience in the workplace and his elections have been more about the manipulation of public opinion and his two terms have been an endless succession of lies.

His signature legislation, ObamaCare, has undermined the nation’s healthcare system. His solution to the Great Recession added more debt in his six years in office than the combined debt of every previous President up to Clinton and did not stimulate the economy as promised.

His ignorance of history and of current events is vast. Google “what does Obama know?” and you will find many articles that document this.

He has been protected by a liberal mainstream media, but the voters have seen through that and have turned political power in Congress over to the Republican Party.

One thing is for sure. On future President’s Days, Obama will barely be noticed when Americans look back on those who did much to address the great issues and challenges of their times.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/11/15

Obama’s Dangerous Iran Nuke Deal

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Iran NukesThe Feb 10 Wall Street Journal editorial asked

“Has the U.S. already conceded a new era of nuclear proliferation?” and concluded that “Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make any concession to get one.”

As we should know by now, President Obama has no negotiating skills and even less understanding of the world the U.S. used to lead by virtue of its military power and democratic values.

If he succeeds in getting a deal, absent Congress doing anything about it, the Wall Street Journal says it will result in “a very different world than the one we have been living in since the dawn of the nuclear age. A world with multiple nuclear states, including some with revolutionary religious impulses or hegemonic ambitions, is a very dangerous place.”

Yes, but. We already live in such a world and the real question is whether, absent their “revolutionary” rhetoric, shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” do those at the top levels of the Iranian ruling structure want to risk having their nation destroyed if they were ever to use nuclear weapons?

No nation on Earth has done so since the U.S. ended the war with the Japanese Empire with two atom bombs rather than put at risk the lives of our troops in an invasion. Why do we think Iran would use their nukes if they acquired them?

The short answer is that the United Nations has passed six resolutions to deny Iran the capability of developing a military nuclear program and the current negotiations, the P5+1, while led by the U.S., are joined by Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

irannukes1Nations in the Middle East and around the world are inclined to think the Iranian leadership would use such weapons. Obama is intent on ignoring their judgment.

If you want to know why Iran continues to be involved in negotiations to restrict its nuclear weapons agenda, you need to know that the U.S. will release $11.9 billion to Iran by the time the talks are concluded in June. That’s the figure cited by our own State Department.

On January 21, the U.S. released $490 million, the third such payment since December 10. For sitting at the negotiations table, Iran will secure $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via ten separate payments by the U.S. It had received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the U.S. and was given another $2.9 billion by the Obama administration last year in an absurd effort to get them to agree to end their effort to become a nuclear power.

In a sense there are several Iran’s. There is the Iran of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard, both committed to the Islamic revolution that brought the present day Iran into being in 1979. They value having a nuclear weapons capability no less than the U.S. or other nations do.

Then there are the Iranian realists who would far prefer a detente between the U.S. and Iran because they believe it would be in both our interests. These are the voters who elected Hassan Rouhani in 2013 to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has served in office from 2005. They represent some 70% of its citizens would want peace, trade and normal relations with the U.S. Their leaders, however, have thoughts of hegemonic power in the Middle East to advance Shiite Islam.

The problem is that many of the Iranian leadership do not speak in terms other than an utter contempt for the U.S. and with an outspoken enmity for any nation that opposes the expansion of Islam. In late January, one of its newspapers, Kayhan, reported that “Professors, students and employees at the Imam Sadeq University, condemning the insults against the prophet of Islam by Charlie Hebdo…demand closure of the French embassy in Tehran.”

The demonstrators carried placards read, “I am not Charlie, I am the innocent child of Gaza”, “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Britain”, “Death to France”, ‘Death to Wahabism” and comparable signs all indicative of Iran’s hostility to any response to the terrorism it has sponsored for decades since the Islamic Revolution was initiated there in 1979.

On January 23, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying “I do not believe that ten years of confrontation will have had any benefits for anyone. Ten years of sanctions has yielded 19,800 centrifuges, exactly that which the sanctions wanted to halt.”

There is no question that sanctions and the long negotiations have reduced Iran’s capacity to create nuclear weapons agenda. The current negotiations, however, are signaling an abandonment of that policy.

At Friday prayers in late January, Hojjat al-Eslam Zazem Sediqi told those in attendance “Our statesmen should know the enemy, should know with whom they are dealing and negotiating with…You are speaking with wild beasts which do not show mercy to (anyone) young or old, and who insult the Prophet, the most sacred of sacred.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDC) maintains a constant monitoring of Iranian news media and government outlets. The reported news out of Iran paints a picture of fire-breathing zealots against a moderate political class and population. The question is whether the zealots will have the final word.

On January 28, Ali Alfoneh, a FDC senior fellow, authored a policy brief that concluded that “Even in the unlikely event that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team reach a nuclear agreement with international negotiators, its implementation may well fall to the Islamic Revolutionary Corps…The IRGC’s vociferous opposition to nuclear concessions and improving ties with the West raises serious questions over whether future Iranian governments will uphold any nuclear deal that the current one signs.”

There are two major power centers in Iran, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the IRGC. Rouhani is routinely referred to as “a moderate.” As Alfoneh noted, “Meanwhile, Rouhani’s cabinet is torn between public demands for jobs and human rights, the creeping infiltration of the IRGC, and the Supreme Leader’s dogged attempts to maintain the status quo at all costs.”

In late January, the Democrats on Capitol Hill, led by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave Obama another two months to reach a deal before they vote for new sanctions. In the House, progressives are urging their colleagues to hold off moving any legislation that would tighten economic penalties on Iran. At this point, the only thing that has worked has been sanctions and the return of frozen funds, a form of bribery.

Meanwhile, Iran has taken credit for the training and arming of Shiite rebels who overthrew the leadership in Yemen. Iran also supports the Hezbollah in Lebanon that is threatening Israel from the area of the Golan. In reprisal for a recent attack, Israel responded with an air strike that killed an Iranian general. None of this helps position Iran as a potential peaceful partner.

This is why John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress. He did so without consulting the White House, but we should keep in mind that Obama released five Taliban generals from Gitmo without consulting Congress.

Netanyahu will spell out what he has said in the past. A nuclear Iran is an existential and a potentially catastrophic threat to Israel. He will likely point out that it is a threat to Saudi Arabia and all the other nations in the Middle East and worldwide.

The question is whether we are dealing with rational people leading Iran or not. In the end, we are asked to assume that even the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards want to live, want their children and grandchildren to live, and want their nation to continue. That is what Obama is betting on. The problem with that is that Islam puts a high value on martyrdom.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/9/15

It’s Not Just Brian Williams

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Barack Obama

“When reporters forfeit their credibility by making up stories, sources, or quotes, we are right to mock them. When their violations are significant or repeated, they should be fired,” says Charles Lipson, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Demanding honest reporting has nothing to do with the reporter’s politics, personality, or personal life. It is about professional standards and our reasonable expectations.”

Writing at Real Clear Politics.com, Prof. Lipson concluded by saying, “It’s essential for our news organizations, and it matters for our democracy.”

Are we seeing a trend here? Dan Rather at CBS and now Brian Williams at NBC? Well, two news anchors are not a trend, but biased and bad reporting is. It’s not new, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and nowhere has it been more apparent than the millions of words written and spoken about “global warming” and now “climate change.”

It would be easy and convenient to lay the blame on America’s Liar-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, but the “global warming” hoax began well before he came on the scene. It was the invention of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dating back to its creation in 1988 when it was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

The IPCC came to world attention with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that committed the nations that signed it to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” based on the premise that global warming—a dramatic increase—was real and that it was man-made. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The United States Senate rejected it and our neighbor, Canada, later withdrew from it. Both China and India were exempted, free to continue building numerous coal-fired plants to generate the energy they need for development.

Today, though, the President is an unrelenting voice about the dangers of “climate change” which he and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have rated the “greatest threat” to the world. Obama’s national security strategy document was released just a day before he equated the history of Christianity with the barbarism of today’s Islamic State.

The national security document included terrorism to which it devoted one out of its 29 pages. Essentially Obama sees all the problems of the world, real and imagined, as challenges that require “strategic patience and persistence.” This is his way of justifying doing nothing or as little as possible.

Still, according to Obama, the climate is such a threat, his new budget would allocate $4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to bribe more states to close even more power plants around the nation. He wants to increase the EPA’s overall budget by 6% to $8.6 billion. The Republican Congress is not likely to allocate such funding.

As for the environment, there have been so many lies put forth by the government and by a panoply of environmental organizations of every description, buoyed by legions of “scientists” and academics lining their pockets with billions in grants, that it is understandable that many Americans still think that “global warming” is real despite the fact that the Earth is now 19 years into a well-documented cooling cycle.

Not only are all the children in our schools still being taught utter garbage about it, but none who have graduated in recent years ever lived a day during the non-existent “global warming.”

On February 7, Christopher Booker, writing in The Telegraph, a British daily newspaper, wrote an article, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.” You are not likely to find any comparable reporting in a U.S. daily newspaper.

Citing research comparing the official temperature graphs from three weather stations in Paraguay against what had originally been reported by them, it turned out that their cooling trend had been reversed by the U.S. government’s Global Historical Climate Network and then amplified by “two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the National Climate Data Center.”

Why should we be surprised that the national media continues to report on “global warming” when our government has been engaged in the deliberate distortion of the actual data? It is, however, the same national media that has provided virtually no investigative journalism to reveal what has been going on for decades.

What fate befalls Brian Williams is a mere blip on the screen of events. At this writing, I cannot see how NBC could ever keep him as the managing editor and news anchor.

What matters regarding much of the product of the mainstream media is the continuing torrent of “news” about “global warming” and “climate change”; the former is a complete hoax and the latter a factor of life on planet Earth over which humans have no control, nor contribute to in any fashion.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/5/15

Lukewarm About Climate Change

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Climate Change

“In short, climate change is not worse than we thought,” wrote Bjorn Lomborg in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal. He is best known as the author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and his skepticism is welcome, but insufficient.

First of all, climate change is a very long-term process and always has been. The climate takes decades and centuries to change, largely based on well-known warming and cooling cycles. During the course of these cycles, both related to comparable cycles on the Sun, all manner of climate-related events occur, from hurricanes to blizzards. Nothing new here.

The problem with Lomborg’s commentary is that he confuses climate change with global warming, the hoax concocted in the late 1980s by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to have an international tax imposed on “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), that the IPCC guaranteed was going to heat up the Earth in a few decades unless greatly reduced. Lomborg even cites the IPCC which has grown notorious for its lies.

The predictions about when the heat would become lethal ranged from ten to fifty years as the amount of CO2 increased. The problem for Lomborg and others is that CO2 has been increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere without any evidence of the predicted heating. That explains why Lomborg and other “Warmists” don’t refer to global warming anymore. As for the increase, the latest, best science points to the fact that CO2 has no affect whatever on the climate.

Lomborg wrote, “A well-meaning environmentalist might argue that, because climate change is a reality, why not ramp up the rhetoric and focus on the bad news to make sure the public understands its importance.” Even Lomborg acknowledged that is exactly what the environmentalists have been doing for the past twenty years.

“The public has been bombarded with dramatic headlines and apocalyptic photos of climate change and its consequences. Yet despite endless successions of climate summits, carbon emissions continue to rise, especially in rapidly developing countries like India, China, and many African nations.”   That’s called development and that requires electricity and other means of powering manufacturing and transportation.

One thing Lomborg got right is that “Alarmism has encouraged the pursuit of a one-sided climate policy of trying to cut carbon emissions by subsidizing wind farms and solar panels.” These are two of the most costly and worthless forms of energy generation and Lomborg notes that even the International Energy Agency doesn’t expect them to provide any more than “a minuscule 2.2% of the world’s energy by 2040.”

Lomborg continues to do his best to be on both sides of the issue of “climate change” when, in fact, it is not an issue because there is nothing humans anywhere on planet Earth can do to have any impact on it. What we can do, however, is encourage the development which he points to. “This is important because if we want to help the poor people who are most threatened by natural disasters, we have to recognize that it is less about cutting carbon emissions than it is about pulling them out of poverty.”

It has nothing about cutting carbon emissions because that is not a threat. Indeed, without CO2 all life on Earth would cease to be. It is the gas on which all vegetation depends, just as mammals and other creatures depend on oxygen.

“In short, climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better. That doesn’t mean global warming is not a reality or a problem. It definitely is,” says Lomborg.

No, despite his science credentials and the two books he has written, Lomborg is just dead wrong. Global warming is neither a reality nor a problem because the Earth has been in A COOLING CYCLE for nineteen years at this point and one might think Lomborg would know this; particularly since his views are being published in an eminent U.S. newspaper that should also know this.

  1. Sterling Burnett, the Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News, took note of the current weather, saying “Despite the cold, temperatures in the U.S. at present are closer to the normal winter range than they were in 2014 during the depth of the polar vortex,” adding a tweak to the Warmists, saying “Seems like a good time to protest global warming.”

The real issue for Americans is an Obama administration that is imposing regulations based on the utterly false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced because of global warming.

In June 2014, James Delinpole, wrote: “Here is the Obama administration’s green strategy reduced to one damning equation: 19 million jobs lost plus $4.335 trillion spent = a reduction in global mean temperature of 0.018 degrees C (0.032 degrees F). These are the costs to the U.S. economy by 2100 of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on carbon dioxide, whereby all states must reduce emissions from coal-fired generating plants by 30% below 2005 levels.”

If you still wonder why the U.S. economy has just barely begun to pull itself out of the Great Recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, the answer is the Obama administration’s spectacular failures typified by massive wasteful spending, ObamaCare’s impact on the healthcare sector, and its continuing attack on the energy sector.

Only Congress and the courts stand between us and Obama as he pursues the destruction of the nation while claiming he is acting to “combat climate change.”

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/4/15

Terrorists and Our Idiot President

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

TerroristsYou know something is terribly wrong when three former Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Madeleine Albright tell a Senate Armed Services Committee that the President of the United States is an idiot with no idea how to conduct foreign affairs. Well, they didn’t say it in those words, but that was pretty much the message. That was January 29.

Two days earlier retired 4-Star General James Matthis, former head of U.S. Central Command, former Army Vice Chief of Staff and 4-Star General Jack Keane, and Navy Admiral William Fallon, also a former CentCom chief, had also testified before the Committee. They had a similar message as the diplomats. Obama and the other idiots in the White House are completely clueless regarding the threat of radical Islam in general and a potential nuclear Iran in particular.

This is, after all, a White House that is trying to call those intent on taking over the entire Middle East and, after that, the rest of the world anything other than “terrorists.” They have used terms such as “insurgents”, “activists” and “militants.” Here at home, they are still referring to the killings at Fort Hood as “workplace violence.” Don’t any of these idiots understand that the terrorists, whether they call themselves al Qaeda or the Islamic State, Hezbollah, Hamas or any other name all constitute the same threat?

That’s what the generals addressed. They told the Senate committee that absence of a White House strategy makes the ISIS, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan wars “unwinnable.” I have been around since the end of World War II and that stretch of U.S. history is one in which we fought to a stalemate in Korea and a loss in Vietnam. After we won the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama pulled out and now they are lost too. There was a time when Americans and their leaders knew how to win wars.

Indeed, there was a time when Americans preferred to elect generals to be their President, starting with George Washington. Among those with that rank were Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Ruther P. Hayes, James A. Garfield. Chester A. Arthur. Benjamin Harrison, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. All the others had also served in the military in some capacity…except Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama not only doesn’t have experience in the military, he doesn’t seem to like them much. He has done everything he can to reduce our military capacity to fight a war anywhere or to show any genuine respect for the troops on active duty. The only uniform he ever wore was as an Indonesian Boy Scout.

Obama Foreign PolicyRetired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis told the Congress “America needs a refresh national security strategy. We need to come out from our reactive crouch and take a firm, strategic stance in defense of our values.” Apparently those values don’t matter to the White House or to those left-wingers who wet their pants over the popularity of “Sniper”, a film that pays tribute to our troops who fought the war in Iraq.

Under Obama’s term in office, radical Islam has increased four-fold in the past five years, ISIS ten times since 2012 and Iran has masterminded control of the capitols in Beirut, Lebanon, Damascus, Syria, Baghdad, Iraq, and now in Sanaa, Yemen. It has been the power behind Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Gen. Keane described Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan as an “absolute strategic failure.” He called radical Islam “the major security challenge of our generation.”

Regarding Iran, Gen. Keane said, “In 1980, Iran declared the United States as a strategic enemy and its goal is to drive the United State out of the region, achieve regional hegemony, and destroy the state of Israel.”

“Is there any doubt that Iran is on the march and is systematically moving toward their regional hegemonic objective?” asked Gen. Keane. “Iran has been on a 20-year journey to acquire nuclear weapons, simply because they know it guarantees preservation of the regime and makes them, along with their partners, the dominant power in the region, thereby capable of expanding their control and influence. Add to this their ballistic missile delivery system and Iran is not only a threat to the region, but to Europe, as well.” The U.S. in time will be in missile range.

“We have no comprehensive strategy to stop it or defeat it,” said Gen. Keane.

Thanks to Barack Obama, the United States of America can no longer be seen as the world leader, opposing the forces that seek to impose control. Former allies, particularly in the Middle East, no longer have any confidence that we would come to their defense if they were attacked.

Thanks to Barack Obama, our enemies have been emboldened and our allies confused, but it is not that confusing. He is an idiot who lacks any grasp of history’s lessons and he is a coward who cannot be expected to seriously respond to our own and our allies’ enemies.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/3/15

The Other Cause of Terrorism

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Corruption

I never fail to be astonished by the amount of corruption there is in the world. It is a very human trait whether it was royalty asserting that they ruled by God’s choice until their subjects rose up against them or modern day despots encountering the same fate.

Thieves of StateSarah Chayes has authored “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security” ($26.95, W.W. Norton) and it is quite timely when you consider that corruption ignited the “Arab Spring”, first in Tunisia when a peddler grew so tired of the police asking for bribes that he set himself afire in protest. Its dictator’s wife openly displayed the nation’s stolen wealth for which they were driven from power. In Egypt there was a similar response when the public tired of the looting of the state treasury by Mubarak’s son. Revolts from Libya to Syria have been generated by the same cause.

Corruption in the Middle East has a long history, but it is worldwide and, depending on the nation, is either tolerated as part of the way the culture does business or resisted by governments who understand that it undermines their legitimacy. Throw a dart at the map of the world and you are likely to hit a nation where corruption is influencing current events. As Chayes notes, “Time and again U.S. officials are blindsided by major developments in countries where they work. Too often they are insensible to the perspectives and aspirations of population.”

A classic example is Afghanistan where both the Soviet Union and the U.S. ran into such ingrained corruption that it undermined their objectives, the former to turn it into a satellite and the latter to turn it into a modern, democratic government. Chayes cites Afghanistan as a classic example of why the Taliban emerged as a jihadist movement. Corruption in the form of bribes, kick-backs, cronyism, is so deeply engrained in Afghanistan that it generated a movement to replace it with sharia law by Islamists.

“If the very Afghan officials by whose sides they planned to combat extremists were generating those extremists themselves—by having men shake down travelers and taking a cut, or leaving bills unpaid, or by providing judiciously selected ‘intelligence’ to engineer a night-raid against a rival trafficking network—it was too big a paradox to take in. NATO officers,” said Chayes, “did not want to know.”

“The corruption networks” in Afghanistan, writes Chayes, “were just too vertically integrated: any move against any official, no matter how lowly, would reverberate all the way up the chain to Karzai.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, Afghanistan had been a constitutional monarchy with a national assembly and local elders affording a check on executive power. “Citizens expected a decent education from their government, health care, even employment in state-owned industries.” That changed when Hamid Karzai took over. At that point government became a criminal enterprise.

The 9/11 attack prompted the U.S. to invade to drive out al Qaeda, but it also led to its staying on to fight the perceived enemies of Afghanistan. They—otherwise known as the Taliban—were being generated in part by the desire to drive out the corrupt Karzai administration.

What we tend to forget about the “Arab Spring” was that “millions of Arabs chose a constructive way to force change. They chose political revolution—a peaceful, civic, inclusive, and responsible form of revolt—directed square at their own leaderships, not at Western countries, not even those seen as regime allies.”

This is not to suggest that Islamism hasn’t degraded from its opposition to widespread corruption into organizations seeking to take control over the nations where it has spread. It has and this is most evidence in the incredibly corrupt nation of Nigeria where since 2009 Boko Haram has developed terrorism to new heights of barbarity—if that is possible.

An oil-rich nation, the billions that it generates have gone missing thanks to the administration of Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan. The police in Nigeria are hated as much as Boko Haram and, as we have seen, have not demonstrated any ability to eliminate the terrorist organization.

Why would any police officer or member of the armed forces want to die for a corrupt, kleptocratic administration? This was true back in the days when the U.S. was fighting in Vietnam, true when the Iraqi armed forces fled from those of the Islamic State, and it explains why even the active participation of U.S. forces does not result in victory against the terrorist organizations.

Why then should we be surprised that many throughout the Middle East have turned to Islam to address the problems they encounter from the corruption of their governments? “Lured by militant advocates of a religious ordering of human affairs, they will seek to roll back four hundred years of political history.”

In the West, we regard those regions of the world where corruption is rampant as backward. We can be forgiven for forgetting that our ancestors in England, the Netherlands, and parts of France laid the groundwork for modern democracy by their efforts to curb the corruption of the monarchies that enjoyed the good life at the expense of their subjects.

By the time the Founders came together to create the U.S. Constitution, they had been well-schooled and experienced in what it would require to keep corruption at bay with a government whose powers were limited and divided among executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

We are their beneficiaries, but that does not mean we have defeated corruption. The vast entitlement programs are just one example of the way millions are secured illegally by deception and disbursement. Other forms of corruption are addressed in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that forbids the use of bribery by corporations doing business in foreign nations.

The U.S. is not alone, however. Just as occurred in 2008, the too close relationship of the banking community and government led to financial crises in Ireland and Iceland. The public’s rejection of corruption in Ukraine led to its current civil unrest.

The role of corruption in the nations experiencing Islamic terrorism cannot be underestimated. Its role in the conduct of the world’s affairs is huge and a constant threat whose many forms must be understood, addressed, and eliminated to the greatest degree possible.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/2/15

Why Does Obama Get Job Performance Approval?

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

Barack ObamaIt is one of the great mysteries. How does Barack Obama continue to generate job approval ratings that say he’s doing a good one?

On a recent weekend Rasmussen Reports rated him at 51% while Gallup gave him a 49% rating. At the Pew Research Center, his rating was at 47%, but they noted that at this time in his presidency, George W. Bush had a job approval rating of 33% while Bill Clinton was rated at 63% approval.

Of course, Bush and Clinton were President at different times dealing with different factors but metaphorically Obama’s ratings suggest that close to half of the voters polled still thought he was doing a good job or, at the very least, not a bad one.

People With Taling CloudsAre the voters that are being polled simply not paying that much attention to the White House and its occupant?

Consider some aspects of his record in office to date:

As 2014 came to a close, Tyler Durden, writing on Zero Hedge, addressed the U.S. debt, noting that it had “just hit a new historic level…which also means that total U.S. debt had increased by 70% under Obama, from $10.625 trillion on January 21, 2009 to $18.005 trillion most recently.”

The level of debt led to the first downgrade of the U.S. credit rating in the nation’s history. At the same time federal spending (25% of Gross Domestic Product) was the highest since World War II.

Obama has presided over a terrible economy for the past six years and, while other Presidents came into office facing a comparable recession, Obama’s failed policies turned it into the Great Recession. Employment sank to the lowest since 1983 at 58.1% of the working population and long-term unemployment (45.9%) was the highest since the 1930s.

One might think that so many people either out of work or who had given up seeking it would be unhappy enough to credit Obama with the economy’s sluggish state. He is currently taking credit for any improvement, but much of it is attributable to the energy sector and he has taken steps to harm it since 2009 with “a war on coal”, restricting any exploration or drilling for oil and natural gas on federal lands, and most recently, attempting to put one of the most energy-rich regions of Alaska off-limits to any access.

As we begin to work on our tax returns, it’s worth noting that only 49% of taxpayers will be paying an income tax, the lowest level in the modern era and, predictably, government dependency (47%), defined as the percentage of people receiving one or more federal benefit payments, is now the highest in American history.

There was a time when being on welfare was something people tried to avoid. That suggests that something has changed in the American character, but we know that all too well as we watch our society accept a range of conduct that includes demands for same-sex marriages, legalization of marijuana, a growing population of single-parent families, attacks on the saying of prayers at public ceremonies, hostility to the police who protect us, and a host of other behaviors that undermine the moral values that previous generations of Americans passed on to their descendants.

Another mystery is the way facts about Obama seem to stir so little interest. He allegedly has a Social Security number from a state in which he has never lived. Many of the records of his life that other Presidents have made public have been kept sealed from examination. A birth certificate has been deemed a forgery by document experts. Whole books have been devoted to the disparities between his two memoirs and facts that have raised many questions.

At the least, one might assume that Americans know that he lies all the time. The typical television news program includes video of something he said previously that clashes with whatever his recent version is. Why would voters grant a 50% approval rating to someone who so consistently lies to them?

The fact is that his namesake legislation—ObamaCare—has been a disaster from the day it was passed. It was sold to the public with a series of outrageous lies told by the President. Passage was based solely on the votes of a Democratic Party that controlled Congress but the recent election did shift control of Congress to the GOP, so the voter’s actions do speak louder than words.

The then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, summed it up saying they had to pass the 2,000-plus page monster “in order to find out what’s in it.” That is not how government is supposed to function, but worst of all, ObamaCare requires Americans to purchase a product, health insurance, they may not want or may not need. That is a lot closer to a dictatorship than a democracy.

Barack Obama ApprovalHow many scandals have occurred during the President’s six years in office? The short answer is “too many”; the most recent being the exchange of five Taliban generals for one American soldier deemed by those with whom he served to have deserted his unit. In the same fashion it has taken months to pry information from the White House about the Benghazi attack that took the life of a U.S. ambassador and three others. As is frequently the case, it is the cover-up that rivals the event.

In the end, one must conclude that Obama’s job performance approval ratings say as much about the mood and outlook of the voters who were polled as the facts cited above would suggest. A lot of Americans continue to express their anger and frustration with Obama, myself included, but that is not showing up in the ratings that suggest that a least half the voters think he’s doing, if not a great job, at least a good one.

© Alan Caruba, 2015