Monday, March 31, 2014

Obama's War on America is His Top Priority

By Alan Caruba

We all know that the “sanctions” Obama has placed on a few of Putin’s pals thus far and those Obama wants the European Union to impose will have no affect whatever on Putin’s decision to annex the Crimea from Ukraine.

One of Obama’s solutions to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty includes giving it a billion dollars because Russia has raised the price of the natural gas it sells to the Ukraine. This means Putin just made a billion while reacquiring Crimea.

One way to bring Russia to its knees would be for Obama--if he could--to  impose the same things he is doing in America on the Russian Federation:

# Require Russia to adopt Obamacare.

# Ban the mining and use of coal in Russia.

# Do not allow any drilling on Russian publicly-held land.

# Redefine the Russian work week to 30 hours.

# Raise the Russian minimum wage.

# Mandate overtime pay for Russian government workers.

# Demand that Russia pay welfare benefits to its illegal immigrants.

# Require Russia to enact the same regulations as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

# Increase the Russian national debt by $6 trillion dollars.

# Require Russia to reduce all elements of its military force and capabilities by reductions to its military budget.

These policies since 2009 have weakened the United States and, if applied to Russia, they would have the same affect. It’s bad enough what Obama has done and is doing to the U.S., but neither we nor the rest of the world would be better off with a weak Russia. Its economy is too tied into the world’s.

Putin insists that it was the West led by the U.S. that resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 after seventy years of communist rule, but it was Communism that brought it to its knees. The other element was a decline in the prices of oil and natural gas--still the primary source of income for the Russian Federation—that undermined its economy.

While a panoply of experts keeps talking about the prospect of Russia aggression toward its former satellite nations in Eastern Europe, the simple fact is that Putin’s reacquisition of the Crimea just added to Russia’s financial pressures. He can barely afford Crimea. All the hand-wringing about its annexation ignores the fact that it was part of Russia for hundreds of years.

Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, recently spelled out Russia’s economic woes in a Wall Street Journal commentary titled “Putin’s Potemkin Economy.”

“Mr. Putin’s real power base, the economy, is crumbling,” says Sharma. “Russia’s economic growth rate has plummeted from the 7% average annual pace of the last decade to 1.3% last year,” adding that “the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has been fighting to prevent a ruble collapse since the Crimean crisis began.”

Does that sound like a Russia that wants to invade its neighbors at this time?

“The result,” says Sharma, “is that the Russian state has few new sources of income outside of oil and gas, at a time when it is taking on more dependents” in Crimea. As for the rest of the Ukraine population, it’s only the younger generation that did not grow up under the oppression of the former Soviet Russia that thinks giving up its sovereignty is a good idea. Ukrainians with a memory of the pre-1991 days know better.

Europe, much of which depends on Russian gas, will be in no hurry to punish Russia beyond a few relatively meaningless sanctions. It’s all a charade.

It’s true that Europe went to war twice for far less reason than the Crimean annexation, but its present leaders have no wish to repeat that error for all the talk about international law.

What is being debated now is whether Putin will, for whatever reason, invade Ukraine. Only Putin knows that and the decision would be a bad one for him and everyone else.

As we strive to survive Obama’s war on the U.S. economy and the current havoc resulting from Obamacare, it is doubtful that even Obama has any inclination to see Russia collapse and could not reverse the Crimean situation even if he cared about it.
He doesn’t seem to care about what he’s doing to the rest of us so it’s the war at home which we have to survive.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obamacare is an American Catastrophe

By Alan Caruba

If you type in “Obamacare” on Wikipedia you will discover 25,500,000 links. That’s a lot of news coverage and related commentary about the Affordable Care Act. Most of it is negative. The more people have learned about it, the less they like it and, if we had a Congress that could or would do anything about it, it would have been repealed by now.

A March 28 Associated Press poll revealed that only 26% of Americans support Obamacare, a point less than December 2013 and January 2014.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted more than 60 times to repeal or dismantle Obamacare. The Senate, namely Harry Reid its Majority Leader, has killed all efforts to address what is clearly a national catastrophe. When passed in 2009, not one Republican member of Congress voted for it. When it was passed, then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, famously said they had to pass the 2,700 page act in order to find out what was in it.

In 2010, voters gave power in the House to Republicans, but the Senate remained under Democrat control. The fact that Barack Obama, when campaigning to become President in 2008 and thereafter lied repeatedly to Americans about it has tarnished his reputation and his approval ratings. Since then he has altered the law unilaterally despite the fact that he utterly lacks any constitutional right to do so.

In February the Heritage Foundation’s legal experts put together a list of seven illegal actions by the President that included delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate, giving Congress and their staffs special taxpayer-funded subsidies, preventing layoff notices from going out just days before the 2012 election, as well as non-Obamacare actions that included gutting the work requirement from welfare reform, stonewalling an application for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, and making “recess” appointments when the Senate was still legally in session.

The first element of the Obamacare catastrophe is an utterly lawless President who Congress has done little to restrain and nothing to impeach.

Another element of the Obamacare catastrophe has been the failure of the mainstream media to address the impact the law has had on America. On March 26, the Media Research Center reported that “They’re just burying the story. They aren’t in denial. They know the truth. They’re just choosing to ignore it. They are pretending there are no broken promises about keeping your insurance plan, or keeping your doctor, or lowering your premium by $2,500 a year.”

An analysis by the Center of the three network evening news broadcasts in 2014 “found only 12 stories on three networks in almost three months.” For example, “NBC Nightly News” broadcast only one story on Obamacare and that was on January 1 when Lester Holt called it “a new era in health care in this country.” ABC “World News” provided only six minutes and 58 seconds on Obamacare and “CBS Evening News” managed to provide only 19 minutes and 17 seconds over the course of three months.

“None of the networks,” said the Center’s analysis, “dared to report the ongoing opposition of the American people to Obamacare in 2014, even when they were the ones doing the polling.”

Sen. John Thune, (R-SD) posted an article from the Washington Free Beacon on his website, “Fourth Anniversary of Obamacare Brings Billions in Costs to Economy” that cited a report by the American Action Forum that concluded that “From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local government and affected entities.”
Sen. Thune said, that “Four years after Obamacare became the law of the land, millions of Americans have little but canceled policies, fewer choices, and skyrocketing costs to show for it. From seniors to young adults, to middle-class families, and small businesses, Obamacare has been to be an equal opportunity offender…people living under this law are acutely aware of the harm Obamacare is causing in their lives.”

I have held back from writing about Obamacare because so many others are doing so, but it is impossible to hold back from declaring it the worst law ever passed by Congress and to urge readers to go to the polls in the November midterm elections and remove from office those Democrats who voted for it and are seeking reelection.

There is little need for me to do an Obamacare analysis, but I can recommend one that appeared in The Weekly Standard on February 17. Those who have been following the history of lies and broken promises will find it a detailed study. Is author, Christopher Conover, summed it up saying that “Obamacare has failed miserably on nearly every major promise made about it. The processes used to enact and implement the law have been tarnished by actions of questionable legality and a pervasive lack of transparency.”

The ultimate impact of Obamacare on the economy must wait for a calculation, but the demand for its repeal must increase to a point where a future Congress must respond to the voter’s demand. Without that, we are headed for an economic collapse.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Reminder

“Warning Signs” is a labor of love that depends on those like yourself who enjoy it and who find its analysis of value to understand a very complex world; one in a stage of significant uncertainty, rapid change,  filled with events and issues that raise our concerns. That’s why it depends on your donations to help as intensive research is undertaken on your behalf. No amount is too small and all are greatly appreciated.

Cartoon Round Up


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A History of the Disastrous Global Warming Hoax

By Alan Caruba

“It is the greatest deception in history and the extent of the damage has yet to be exposed and measured,” says Dr. Tim Ball in his new book, “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science”.

Dr. Ball has been a climatologist for more than forty years and was one of the earliest critics of the global warming hoax that was initiated by the United Nations environmental program that was established in 1972 and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established in 1988.

Several UN conferences set in motion the hoax that is based on the assertion that carbon dioxide (CO2) was causing a dramatic surge in heating the Earth. IPCC reports have continued to spread this lie through their summaries for policy makers that influenced policies that have caused nations worldwide to spend billions to reduce and restrict CO2 emissions. Manmade climate change—called anthropogenic global warming—continues to be the message though mankind plays no role whatever
There is no scientific support for the UN theory.

CO2, despite being a minor element of the Earth’s atmosphere, is essential for all life on Earth because it is the food that nourishes all vegetation. The Earth has passed through many periods of high levels of CO2 and many cycles of warming and cooling that are part of the life of the planet.

“Science works by creating theories based on assumptions,” Dr. Ball notes, “then other scientists—performing their skeptical role—test them. The structure and mandate of the IPCC was in direct contradiction of this scientific method. They set out to prove the theory rather than disprove it.”

“The atmosphere,” Dr. Ball notes, “is three-dimensional and dynamic, so building a computer model that even approximates reality requires far more data than exists and much greater understanding of an extremely turbulent and complex system.” No computer model put forth by the IPCC in support of global warming has been accurate, nor ever could be.

Most of the reports were created by a small group of men working within the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia and all were members of the IPCC. The result was “a totally false picture supposedly based on science.”

The revelations of emails between the members of the CRU were made available in 2009 by an unknown source. Dr. Ball quotes Phil Jones, the Director of the CRU at the time of the leaks, and Tom Wigley, a former director addressing other CRU members admiting that “Many of the uncertainties surrounding the cause of climate change will never be resolved because the necessary data are lacking.”

The IPCC depended upon the public’s lack of knowledge regarding the science involved and the global warming hoax was greatly aided because the “mainstream media bought into and promoted the unproven theory. Scientists who challenged were denied funding and marginalized. National environmental policies were introduced based on the misleading information” of the IPCC summaries of their reports.

“By the time of the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report, the politics and hysteria about climate change had risen to a level that demanded clear evidence of a human signal,” notes Dr. Ball. “An entire industry had developed around massive funding from government. A large number of academic, political, and bureaucratic careers had evolved and depended on expansion of the evidence. Environmentalists were increasing pressure on the public and thereby politicians.”

The growing problem for the CRU and the entire global warming hoax was that no clear evidence existed to blame mankind for changes in the climate and still largely unknown to the public was the fact that the Earth has passed through many natural cycles of warmth and cooling. If humans were responsible, how could the CRU explain a succession of ice ages over millions of years?

The CRU emails revealed their growing concerns regarding a cooling cycle that had begun in the late 1990s and now, some seventeen years later, the Earth is in a widely recognized cooling cycle.

Moreover, the hoax was aimed at vast reductions in the use of coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as nuclear power to produce the electricity on which all modern life depends. There was advocacy of solar and wind power to replace them and nations undertook costly programs to bring about the reduction of the CO2 “fossil fuels” produced and spent billions on the “green” energy. That program is being abandoned.

At the heart of the hoax is a contempt for mankind and a belief that population worldwide should be reduced. The science advisor to President Obama, John Holdren, has advocated forced abortions, sterilization by introducing infertility drugs into the nation’s drinking water and food, and other totalitarian measures. “Overpopulation is still central to the use of climate change as a political vehicle,” warns Dr. Ball.

Given that the environmental movement has been around since the 1960s, it has taken decades for the public to grasp its intent and the torrents of lies that have been used to advance it. “More people,” notes Dr. Ball, “are starting to understand that what they’re told about climate change by academia, the mass media, and the government is wrong, especially the propaganda coming from the UN and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

“Ridiculous claims—like the science is settled or the debate is over—triggered a growing realization that something was wrong.”  When the global warming advocates began to tell people that cooling is caused by warming, the public has realized how absurd the entire UN climate change argument has been.

Worse, however, has been “the deliberate deceptions, misinformation, manipulation of records and misapplying scientific method and research” to pursue a political objective. Much of this is clearly unlawful, but it is unlikely that any of those who perpetrated the hoax will ever be punished and, in the case of Al Gore and the IPCC, they shared a Nobel Peace Prize!

We are all in debt to Dr. Ball and a score of his fellow scientists who exposed the lies and debunked the hoax; their numbers are growing with thousands of scientists signing petitions and participating in international conferences to expose this massive global deception.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The White House is Defeating the U.S. Military

By Alan Caruba

I began March with a look at the way President Obama is undermining the U.S. military and did not think I would have to return to this topic for a while. I was wrong.

A March 25 article in The Washington Times was titled “Obama to Kill Navy’s Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs in Budget Decimation” and on March 21, The Wall Street Journal published a commentary, “America’s Incredible Shrinking Navy.”  When you add those to The New York Times February 23 article, “Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level”, you’ve got sufficient reason to begin to realize something very ominous is occurring.

This concerned is heightened by the way dozens of high ranking officers are, in the view of some observers, being purged. A number of retired generals are speaking out about it. One of them, retired Army Major General Paul Vallely has charged that Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.” Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady agrees saying, “There is no doubt he is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him.”

The world, over the course of human civilization, has always been a dangerous place. Much of the history of mankind is a history of wars, large and small. In the last century the U.S. military was involved in two world wars, a Korean conflict, a war in Vietnam, and the Gulf War to drive out Hussein’s Iraqi forces after he invaded Kuwait.

The Russian seizure of Crimea in the wake of the protests that has left Ukraine in disarray has put all of Europe on edge and raised questions about the readiness of NATO. A look around the world sees China increasing its military strength, particularly at sea.

The Middle East to include much of northern Africa is a hotbed of turmoil. And, of course, Iran continues to contribute to it, aiding Syria’s regime along with the Russians, supporting Palestinian terror organizations that threaten Israel, while pursuing its own nuclear weapon capabilities.

This would hardly seem a good time to undermine U.S. military capabilities, but that is exactly what is occurring thanks to President Obama.

The Washington Times reported that “President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say have helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.”  The Tomahawk missile program, under Obama’s 2015 budget proposal, would be completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016. Seth Cropsey, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower, said “This really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”

Writing in The New York Times, Steve Cohen, a former director of the U.S. Naval Institute, noted that “The Navy is supposed to be ‘forward deployed’ to provide the president with tools powerful enough to deal with potential threats and trouble spots.” For decades since the end of World War Two the U.S Navy has patrolled the world’s sea lanes to protect trade between nations, but Cohen said, “The rest of the world isn’t unpatrolled, but it is under-patrolled” noting that “Some 90% of the world’s trade moves by sea. Much of that can be disrupted by attacks on a handful of choke points readily apparent to pirates, terrorists, and rogue nations.”

“With the U.S Navy arguably at its smallest since 1917, we don’t have many ships that are actually at sea. Only 35% of the Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships.”

U.S. air power has been under assault as well by the Obama regime. In June of last year, David A. Deptula, a retired Air Force three-star general and senior military scholar at the Air Force Academy, warned that “In the Air Force alone, more than 30 squadrons are now grounded, along with aircrews, and maintenance and training personnel.” Less than a year ago “The graduate schools for Air Force, Navy and Marine combat aviators” had been cancelled. “Equipment testing and upgrades to F-22s, F-15s, F-16s, and other aircraft have been delayed.”

In September 2013, the commandant of the Marine Corps, James F. Amos, warned that cuts to the nation’s defense and security spending that occurred from 1990 to 2001, reduced its total active-duty strength by 32%. In 2001 the Corps totaled approximately 172,000 Marines, down from 197,000 in the 1990 Gulf War. When 9/11 occurred, the Marines “found themselves short of critical capabilities in intelligence collection and analysis, in communication and in mobility on land, sea and in the air.” These days the Marines are facing further reductions.

It will be up to Congress to eliminate the sequestration cuts and the Obama regime proposals to ensure that the U.S. military is restored to a state of readiness. If it rubber stamps the reductions that have been occurring for more than a decade, the ability of the nation to respond to an attack on our homeland or any of our allies will be highly limited.

You can be sure that those nations unfriendly to our future are fully aware of this and the defeat of our armed forces could occur on the battlefield because it has already occurred here.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is Obama Stupid?

By Alan Caruba

No one gets elected President by being stupid, unless of course the election is stolen in cities controlled by the Democratic Party, but one must also factor in the intelligence of nearly half of the voters who pull the Democratic Party lever no matter who the candidate may be.

America is seriously divided between liberals and conservatives, but there are indications that even those who self-identify as liberals are having second thoughts as the result of the havoc Obamacare has inflicted on their lives and the economy. Voters who self-identify as “independents” are the deciding factor in most elections. They reflect disenchantment with both parties.

I have been thinking about whether Obama is stupid because he has been in Europe with the leaders of the nations who are grappling with the seizure of Crimea by Russia. I keep wondering, given his record at this point, whether they too think he’s stupid. He has taken the most powerful and respected nation in the world and reduced it to ridicule and disdain. When he leaves the room do they shake their head and roll their eyes?

The question of whether Obama is stupid would seem to be disputed by the fact that he is a Harvard Law School graduate and one has to have some degree of intelligence to navigate that. His undergraduate college is Columbia University, one of the most liberal in the nation. In neither case do we know how Obama did academically because he took care to have his records kept from public review.

Indeed, most public records regarding his life, including his birth certificate have been kept hidden. The one he provided has been deemed a forgery. There are claims as well that his Social Security number is questionable.

So, one could argue that he was not stupid enough to let people know the truth. What we do know is that he is a complete stranger to the truth, uttering lies on a daily basis. That is a serious character flaw in anyone, but in a President it is a threat to the nation.

What we do know is that Obama is so devoted to a Marxist ideology that it warps his view of the world and that he has devoted his two terms in office to the “transformation” of America; another way of saying that he embraces issues, foreign and domestic, that do not reflect the history or values of the nation.

America has now twice elected a Communist to its highest office and the result has been a failure, deliberate or the result of his ideology, to lift the nation out of a recession by lowering taxes, reducing spending, and other means well known to previous presidents.

The result has had a cataclysmic effect on the lives of millions of Americans. What growth has occurred has not been due to anything the White House or Congress has done, but in spite of both.

The overthrow of tyrannical governments in the Middle East and most recently in Ukraine reflects a desire for democracy and justice in these nations. Obama sided with the Muslim Brotherhood during the Egyptian uprising.  One has to wonder what the king of Saudi Arabia has to say about that. His nation and others in the Middle East have banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. There is no nice way of describing his action or inaction regarding the Middle East and elsewhere.

The opening of negotiations with Iran and reductions of sanctions against it simply gave it more time to pursue its intent to create its own nuclear weapons. This isn’t just stupid, it’s insane. The time wasted on securing peace from the Palestinians after decades of their open hatred of Israel is also stupid.

Obama’s failure to work closely with Congress reflects his indifference to the Constitution and, having lectured on it, it cannot be said that he is ignorant of its limits on the executive office and its division of power between the three branches of government He doesn’t seem to care much what the Constitution says. That’s stupid. The result has been a very meager legislative record and that is a good thing given his ideological inclinations.

We all know of men and women in high office or CEOs of major corporations that offer ample evidence of stupidity, but the latter can be removed by their board of directors. Americans have no options for the removal of Obama. Impeachment will not likely occur even if the GOP gains control of both houses of Congress. Obamacare and the economy have been his greatest gift for their renewal of political power.

Obama’s “war on coal” and other efforts of his administration to keep America from tapping huge reserves of energy that would greatly improve our economy with jobs and exports is both stupidity and ideology. You have to be stupid to keep talking about “climate change” aka “global warming” when the only change of the past 17 years has been a planet that is cooling,

The danger the nation faces is real and present. The reduction of our military strength has not gone unnoticed by totalitarian and rogue regimes. Obama’s deliberate withdrawal of the nation from its position of global leadership is a threat of major proportions.

History hangs on questions of leadership and Obama has shown none, nor evidence of caring about the results of his failures. That’s a pretty good definition of stupid.

© Alan Caruba, 2014  

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Green Scam of "Endangered Species"

 By Alan Caruba

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal took note of what has occurred since the 1990s when some three dozen gray wolves were captured in Canada and transferred to the wilderness of Idaho. According to federal biologists, this was necessary to restore the ecological balance in a region teeming with elk and other creatures on the gray wolf food chain.

The article noted that more than 650 wolves roam the state today according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game which has been hearing a lot of complaints that the wolves “are wreaking havoc on Idaho’s prized elk and livestock, and prompted the governor’s office to embark on an effort to wipe out three-quarters or more of the population.”

So the federal biologists bring in the wolves and a few years later the governor’s office says kill them. Why? Because the elk population has fallen about 15% since the wolves arrived, along with 2,589 sheep, 610 cows, and 72 dogs.

Take a moment to contemplate how arrogant and unconscionably stupid it is to take gray wolves from Canada and put them in Idaho in the name of “ecological balance.” The only balance achieved was a significant imbalance in the elk population and witless destruction of sheep and cows which represent a livelihood to ranchers and dinner to the rest of us.

Throughout America we are all paying for the environmental notion of “endangered species” and the quest to “save” some from extinction. The problem with that conceit is that 95% of all the species on Earth have gone extinct over hundreds of millions of years. One paper on this noted that “Mass extinction of biological species has occurred several times in the history of our planet.”

The Endangered Species Act became law on December 28, 1973, just over forty years ago. It’s not about saving species. It’s about providing a vehicle to environmental groups to shut off access to vast areas of the nation in order to prevent drilling for oil and natural gas or mining them for coal and other minerals.

In a December 2013 Wall Street Journal article, Damien Schiff and Julie MacDonald reported that “A law intended to conserve species and habitat has brought about the recovery of only a fraction—less than 2%--of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened since 1973.”

“Meanwhile, the law has endangered the economic health of many communities—which creating a cottage industry of litigation that does more to enrich environmental activist groups than benefit the environment.”

“One reason the Endangered Species Act has spun out of control is that the federal agencies that decide whether to list a species—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—no longer based decisions on what the law calls for: data. Instead they invent squishy standards like ‘best professional judgment.’”

The result of that can be seen in California’s San Joaquin Valley where much of the nation’s almonds, broccoli, onions, watermelons, lettuce and tomatoes have been grown. About 13% of all agricultural production in the nation takes place in the region where some 250 different crops are grown. That is, until the Natural Resources Defense Council won a lawsuit against California’s water-delivery system that they claimed was endangering Delta smelt, on the Endangered Species list since 1994. The result was a manmade drought for the valley’s farmers and ranchers. If you wonder why the cost of everything in the vegetable section of your supermarket costs more, you can thank the NRDC.

Lying about animal species is so much a part of the environmental movement that polar bears have become a fund-raising symbol over the years despite the fact that polar bear populations, said to be threatened by melting Arctic ice, have been thriving since the 1970s. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are between 20,000 and 25,000 polar bears worldwide, living in Canada, Greenland, the northern Russian coast, islands of the Norwegian coast and the northwest Alaska coast. Hunting them was banned in the U.S. and worldwide with the exception of Alaskan Natives for tribal needs.

Currently almost half the land west of the Mississippi river belongs to the federal government and environmentalists want to expand on that to prevent the nation’s booming oil and gas development. That development could make the U.S. energy independent, create many jobs, and its revenues could significantly reduce the tremendous national debt.  At the heart of the environmental movement is an intent to destroy capitalism and reduce the U.S. among other nations to an era before fossil fuels improved life for everyone.

One way to do that is to increase the endangered list by a record 757 new species by 2018. Two species with the greatest impact on private development are range birds, the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken. Among the environmental groups who specialize in using the Endangered Species Act are the Wildlife Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity who have been party to more than one thousands lawsuits between 1900 and the present. The Center has made no secret of wanting to end fossil-fuel production in the U.S.

The Endangered Species Act should be repealed because it has a pathetic record regarding its goal over the past forty years and because it threatens the economic development of the nation. Unless or until this occurs, environmentalists will continue their assault on America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why Government Does Not Function

By Alan Caruba

Do you have the feeling that we no longer have government from the federal to the local level that is able to function because of vast volumes of laws and regulations that have made it impossible to do anything from build a bridge to run a nursing home? If so, you’re right. The nation is falling behind others who do a better job by permitting elected and appointed officials to actually make decisions. We are living in a nation where lawsuits follow every decision to accomplish anything.

This is the message of Philip K. Howard in a book that everyone concerned for the future of America should read; “The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government” ($23.95, W.W. Norton).

It explains why we can elect a Representative or Senator, send him or her to Washington, D.C. and still see no progress. Instead, we get the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that began as a 2,700-page law that has already metastasized into regulations that, stacked up, stand seven feet tall! And more on the way. It has destroyed the healthcare insurance industry and is destroying the U.S. healthcare system.

“The missing element in American government could hardly be more basic. No official has authority to make a decision. Law has crowded out the ability to be practical or fair,” says Howard. “It’s a progressive disease. As law grows to fill the vacuum, the wheels of government go slower every year.”

Howard points to a variety of problems that nation is encountering. “America’s electrical grid is out of date—transformers, on average, are about forty years old, and not digitized.” As vital and essential as the grid is to all life in America, “there’s no active plan to rebuild America’s electrical grid. The main reason is that government cannot make the decisions needed to approve it.”
Citing proposals that would allow the Bayonne Bridge to permit the new generation of large container ships clearance that would enable the Port of Newark to remain competitive, it took three years for environmental reviews to clear the project, but as Howard notes, “the average length of environmental review for highway projects, according to a study by the Regional Plan Association, is over eight years.” Eight years!

“Government on legal autopilot,” says Howard, “doesn’t have a chance of achieving solvency. In 2010, 70 percent of federal tax revenue was consumed by three entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—that don’t even come up for annual congressional authorization.”

Americans are in general agreement that Big Government is a big problem, but did you know that more than twenty million people work for federal, state and local government—or one in seven workers in America. Their salaries and benefits total more than $1.5 trillion of taxpayer funding each year or about ten percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Cities in America are declaring bankruptcy because they cannot afford the retirement and other benefits that their employees receive. State budgets are comparably weighed down.

We read about the often incomprehensible results and costs of the legal system affecting all levels of government. “Up and down the chain of social responsibility, responsible people do not feel free to make sensible decisions,” says Howard. “Everything is too complicated: rules in the workplace, rights in the classroom, and machinations in government. We’re bogged down in bureaucracy, pushed around by lawsuits, and unable to steer out of economic and cultural storms.”

“The point of regulation, we seem to have forgotten, is to make sure things work in a crowded society.”

What is forgotten or never learned is that there are elements of risk in everything we do. Trying to legislate risk out of our lives only leaves us with millions of rules that make it impossible to function intelligently in business, in schools, in hospitals and nursing homes, and everywhere else. It eliminates swings and seesaws from playgrounds out of fear of lawsuits.

“America is losing its soul,” says Howard. “Instead of creating legal structures that support our values, Americans are abandoning our values in deference to the bureaucratic structures.” Too often, decisions made by elected officials or reflected referendums voted upon by the public have been taken over by the court system in which judges now feel free to decide these matters. The response was a growing objection to “judicial activism.” Now even the judges are distrusted.

Howard’s book explains why America is in trouble and offers recommendations to put it on the right path again. If it is ignored, the America into which I was born more than seven decades ago will not be around or livable for the next generation or two of Americans.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Solar and Wind Power Losing Worldwide Support

By Alan Caruba

In his state of the union speech in January President Obama claimed that the U.S. was closer to “energy independence” than ever. He was referring to solar energy while ignoring that his administration has been the most anti-fossil fuel energy than any previous one.

The U.S. has the greatest energy reserves, coal, oil and natural gas, of any nation in the world, but Obama has been waging a “war on coal”, delaying the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and  slow to issue permits to explore for new sources of energy reserves on federal lands. The impact on the economy is incalculable, but it is driving up the cost of energy for everyone and every industry.

Meanwhile, Obama keeps talking about “green jobs” and doubling the nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.”  This another fantasy to which he clings.

As Taylor Smith, a senior policy analyst for The Heartland Institute, points out “Despite years of favorable public policy, including renewable power mandates and billions in subsidies, solar power still produces only about 0.2 percent of the nation’s electricity. The National Conference of State Legislatures says power from most large, utility-scaled solar installations still costs about 35 percent more than electricity from natural gas plants; many other experts estimate the levelized cost is even higher.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office even with the inclusion of wind energy.

From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent. That’s what happens when Environmental Protection Agency regulations force coal mines to close along with coal-fired plants that previously produced 50 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Suffice to say, Obama is the enemy of fossil fuel production and the energy it provides for electricity production and our transportation needs. That makes him the enemy of the American people.

In February, the National Review had an article, “Europe’s Green Collapse”, by Stephen Moore in which he noted that “Not long ago nearly all the nations of Europe bought into this same dream of a green energy free lunch as they legislated tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for solar and wind power while directly and indirectly taxing and capping carbon-based energy.”

That policy was set in motion by the United Nations Kyoto treaty in 1997. It was based on the global warming hoax that called for a reduction in so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions. The U.S. did not sign onto the treaty and Canada withdrew from it in 2012.

The Earth, however, has been in a natural cooling cycle for going on seventeen years, the result not of any manmade gases, but because of the Sun has been producing lower levels of solar radiation. The hoax is based largely on the utterly false claim that carbon dioxide warms the Earth when, in fact, it plays virtually no role whatever in the Earth’s climate. The Earth is likely to remain cooler for decades.

That fact has been brutally clear in Europe where the cold has been comparable to the temperatures the U.S. has been encountering. Moore reported that “In January Brussels announced with little media fanfare that the European Union is ditching their renewable-energy standards.” It is a matter of economic survival for Europe.

What is astonishing is the way both the U.S. and Europe adopted renewable energy production because it is unpredictable and mindlessly expensive. A major factor why the global warming hoax is collapsing, it has cost everyone here and in Europe billions in loans and subsidies. Both solar and wind require a backup from traditional power sources that utilize coal, oil and natural gas.

“Thanks to about $33 billion a year in government subsidies, Germany currently gets 25 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power, and that is scheduled to rise 40 to 45 percent by 2025.” Watch Germany abandon its plans. “The EU admits that the cost of electric power in member nations is often 50 to 100 percent higher than in the U.S,” noted Moore. “Manufacturers are starting to move plants out of the EU and even to, of all places, the U.S.”

“Here is a textbook case of how centralized industrial planning—or ‘government investment’ as we now say—usually leads to catastrophically wrong bets.” In the U.S. it began in the 1970s when President Carter spent billions on renewable energy and projects like the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, a predecessor of Solyndra and other companies that went bankrupt shortly after receiving loans during the Obama administration’s first term in office.

Under Obama’s “stimulus” program, 83 percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Acts Section 1705 loans went to solar energy projects with wind receiving 11 percent of the funds.

“What saved the U.S. economy from replicating the Euro-industrial malaise was the entirely spontaneous oil-and-gas boom driven by technology and billions in investment by wildcat entrepreneurs…”  That’s called capitalism. The sooner we get the U.S. government out of “investing” in such nonsense, the better.

As with everything else Obama has to say, his advocacy of renewable energy, like Carter’s, has proven to be a massive, costly failure.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Path to War

 By Alan Caruba

Having lived through the long Cold War with the former Soviet Union, including the Cuban Missile crisis, my thoughts over those years were that their leaders would not risk war because the outcome would be disastrous for Russia. When it collapsed in 1991, its Eastern Europe satellite states broke free to establish their independence.

Now Vladimir Putin wants them back. The West can be forgiven for abandoning Crimea to the Russians because it was a part of their nation for hundreds of years and they have good reason to want to retain its only warm water ports there. That does not, however, give them a claim on the rest of the Ukraine. It is massing troops along its borders.

Historically, the path to war is often strewn with a failure to respond to aggression or with an over-response.

In the last century, the U.S. resisted involvement in European wars until it was under attack in some fashion. We entered World War Two that had been occurring since 1939 when Germany attacked Poland when we were attacked by the Japanese Empire in 1941 and we resisted getting into World War One for most of it until the very end. Begun in 1914, the U.S. did not enter until 1917 in response to submarine attacks and diplomatic efforts to encourage Mexico to reclaim its former territories. It was concluded in 1918, mostly because Germany had exhausted its resources by then. Barely twenty years later Hitler began World War Two.

Obama keeps talking about the 19th century and international laws, but Russia and other enemies only understand the use of power to secure their expansionist ambitions. Vladimir Putin, now enjoying a renewed popularity at home may conclude he can seize the Ukraine with minimum effort and resistance.

He has reason to believe this given the feeble response of the U.S. and Europe to date. Some relatively minor sanctions have been announced and others are being considered. At this writing those sanctions involve seven Russians and four Ukrainians. There has been no U.S. military aid to Ukraine and only some minor transfers to military assets to Poland.

For Putin, the judgment rests on Obama’s weakness and whether he and Congress would respond more forcefully. He has little reason to believe this given Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq and the U.S. withdrawal occurring in Afghanistan. Add Obama’s continued reduction of the U.S. military budget and its level of power and you have the kind of calculations that can lead to more aggressive action by Russia.

World War One saw the end of several empires such as the Austrian-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. It launched modern warfare with the introduction of new, more lethal weapons and innovations such as aerial warfare. It began on June 28, 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Serbia. By August, Germany declared war on Russia, France, and Belgium, and on August 19th the U.S. announced its neutrality.

Neither the U.S., nor Europe wants to engage Russia militarily, but neither has either to date demonstrated any intention to protect the Ukraine or other nations that border Russia. That failure has enormous implications and must be reversed with action that includes the transfer of NATO troops and other actions demonstrating the will to resist.

Obama keeps referring to the “international community” but in the real world all nations act to protect themselves despite organizations such as the United Nations, NATO and treaties that promise mutual aid and protection.

Putin knows this even if Obama and his advisors do not. Obama’s actions at home have weakened the U.S. by virtue of our enormous, historic debt and, as noted, his constant reductions to our military strength.

Strong financial sanctions against Russia may give Putin cause to reconsider, but we cannot wait much longer for their implementation. This is complicated by Europe’s and our own financial investments in what was seen as a new Russia.

Europe’s dependence on energy provided by Russia adds to its reluctance. Craig Rucker, the executive director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) notes that “The radical eco-left has gained such powerful sway across Europe that they have cut their nations off from their most reliable domestic sources of energy.”

“The feel-good cover story is laden with pictures of windmills and solar panels, but the hard facts remain that these expensive and inefficient sources of energy are not up to the task of powering a continent. That leaves much of Europe dependent on Gasprom, Russia’s natural gas export company and pipelines through the Ukraine.”

Overall, however, Russia is regarded to have a weak economy and a reliance on Western capital markets. That might be sufficient to forestall any action regarding the Ukraine.

With Putin in charge, we are looking at a former Russia, the Soviet model.

So the world watches as the U.S., its European allies, and Russia close in on a repeat of the last century’s history with the added threat of nuclear arms capable of destroying entire nations.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Can America Survive Obama?

By Alan Caruba

After a series of events that continue the decline of America’s global reputation along with increasing questions about the level of Obama administration corruption within the Internal Revenue Service, these and other factors lead inevitably to the question of whether America can survive Barack Hussein Obama.

By March 12, a Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll indicated that Obama’s popularity had declined to an all-time low with 48% approval versus 54% disapproval. This is unchanged from December when the Obamacare rollout dominated the news. The rate of disapproval among Democrats stands at 20%.

The question of survival might sound absurd under normal circumstances, but there has not been anything “normal” about Obama’s first term in which he lied repeatedly to Americans to secure the passage of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—and then claimed that what he and Congressional Democrats said was an inadvertent misstatement of the facts. His namesake legislation has been a disaster from the beginning. Nothing about it works and it costs more while destroying the healthcare insurance system.

And he has continued to lie to the point where anyone above the age of five has concluded that nothing he says can be trusted. So, if he weren’t President, he could be fired, but he can’t. He can be impeached, but he won’t because Republicans tried that with Bill Clinton and it failed. So that leaves only the forthcoming November midterm elections as a means to curb his further destruction of the economy and all other aspects of life in America.

It is useful to keep in mind that Americans have survived hard times, from the long Revolutionary War to the Civil War through many financial crises and, of course, the Great Depression in the last century. In these and other hard times, many suffered, but the nation was sustained.

I know the headlines out of Wall Street continue to be good. The bankers and the investment crowd know how to turn a dollar, but there are scores of opinion pieces saying that the collapse of the dollar is eminent or that another financial crisis like the one in 2008 is just around the corner. For the record, the banks that survived that crisis, the ones that were “too big to fail”, were not only bailed out with taxpayer dollars, but paid it back and thereafter enjoyed enormous profits thanks to a Federal Reserve that charged no interest on the money it loans them.

On March 6, Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger opined that “Putin Carterizes Obama, Totally.”  I remember Jimmy Carter mostly for the lines I had to wait in to get gas for my car. Then there was the seizure of American diplomats in Tehran, Iran in 1979.  Every day since then the Iranians wake up crying out “Death to America. Death to Israel” and they mean it. So with whom is Barack Obama and his idiot Secretary of State, John Kerry, “negotiating”? The same Iranians. You know, the ones who were shipping dozens of Syrian-made surface-to-surface rockets to the Palestinians in Gaza until the Israelis boarded the ship in the Red Sea last week and put a stop to that. The same ones he relieved of the sanctions regarding their nuclear weapons program.

What makes me ask the question about survival is the way the ideologies that Obama believes—Communism, Islam, and his ability to influence other nations—blind him to reality. Thinking that diplomacy will get the Iranians to stop their quest to build their own nuclear weapons isn’t just stupid, it’s insane.

It’s the same with his views of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Having “re-set” the former Cold War relationship with Russia, Obama has just discovered that Putin has not. Given the political turmoil in Ukraine, Putin did what all of his predecessors did for hundreds of years; he decided to take control of the Crimea. Why not? Russia has essential shipping ports there and some airfields. The Crimea was part of Russia for hundreds of years. Putin knows that Obama will not go to war over these events. He wouldn’t even take on Syria when it used poison gas.

While Russian troops were moving into Crimea, the President had his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, announce reductions in the Pentagon budget that would reduce our military power to pre-World War Two days. Last week, China announced it was going to increase its military budget 12.2% within a week or so of the U.S. announcement it was reducing its military budget to pre-World War Two levels.

Obama’s weakness and his policies that weaken America economically and militarily have not gone unnoticed around the world.

It’s hard to win wars with stateless fascist Muslims that call themselves al Qaeda and other names. Throughout the Middle East, despite their increase in numbers, the states there are trying to fight them. The Taliban will regain Afghanistan about a week after we leave while Egypt has allied with Russia after Obama backed the Muslim Brotherhood. A third of Iraq is now controlled by al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates just withdrew its ambassadors from Qatar for backing the Muslim Brotherhood. It is home to al Jazeera, the television channel.

At home the Environmental Protection Agency continues to play havoc with the economy and, in particular, our need for electricity with its “war on coal.” It is undertaking a regulatory storm to control all aspects of our lives.

The question of whether America can survive Obama is not inconsequential.

He’s all for same-sex marriage, the legalizing of marijuana, and forcing people to violate their strong moral and religious convictions. He keeps talking about jobs but there are millions unemployed and millions on government welfare programs. The nation’s economy has gotten worse since Obama was elected in 2008 to fix it. And he prefers to rely on executive orders than to work with Congress.

Elections have consequences. Let’s hope the voters keep that in mind in November.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

America Spirals Down the Socialist Sinkhole

By Alan Caruba

America for its first century and a quarter was home to a capitalist system and philosophy that took it from a largely agricultural economy to one that saw the rise of its vast industrial base. In 1913 that changed with the creation of the Federal Reserve, a banking cartel, and the introduction of income taxes. It was a time that gave rise to socialist ideas focused on a central government that controls all aspects of the economy and the lives of citizens.

In 1917 the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia and began implementing Karl Marx’s and Vladimir Lenin’s Communism. That lasted about seventy years until the Soviet Union collapsed for the simple reason that neither Communism nor its cousin, Socialism, works. Freedom and justice go hand-in-hand with successful economies.

Even Communist China seeks to operate with a capitalist economy, participating in international trade organizations, and a banking system that supports business and industry. It retains political control. What we have been witnessing over the last century and this one is the assertion of more and more federal control by our own government.

In Venezuela, its citizens are in the streets protesting its Communist government. In the Ukraine, elements of its citizenry overthrew a president who preferred to ally with Russia than the European Union.

As an advisor to the free market think tank, The Heartland Institute, I receive their publications and visit their website for a great treasure of timely, pertinent information about trends and events in the nation. I recently received its quarterly report that led off with a commentary by its president, Joseph Bast, with whom I have been a friend for many years.

Drawing on a quote by Ronald Reagan who warned against “the anthill of socialism” Bast took a look at the Obama years with devastating accuracy for they are in so many ways a reflection of what is so wrong about socialism.

“Attacks on basic American freedoms are occurring at such a frantic pace and in such disparate arenas that it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture,” wrote Bast, pointing to the 2013 State of the Union speech by Barack Obama. “His top priorities were overhauling immigration laws, passing new gun-control legislation, expanding early childhood education, and raising the minimum wage.”

With surgical analysis, Bast dissected Obama’s policy objectives.

“Illegal immigration is down dramatically since the Great Recession started.”

“Gun-control laws don’t reduce crime, but armed citizens do.”

“Early childhood education programs don’t produce benefits that last more than a year or so.”

“And only six percent of the population is paid the minimum wage, and the overwhelming majority move quickly to better-paying jobs.”

It is Obama’s communist ideology that prompted these and other actions. It is his emersion in Chicago politics that has corrupted the Internal Revenue Service. It is his weakness regarding American exceptionalism that has caused him to back away from global leadership. It is his bashing of “millionaires and billionaires” that reflects his belief in “income inequality” when everyone wants to join their numbers and many do. The disaster of Obamacare reflects his desire to expand government control of the nation’s health system and reduction of the health insurance industry to a handful of selected companies.

“Why not propose pro-jobs policies like removing unnecessary regulations and taxes—like the highest corporate income taxes in the world—to improve the business climate?” asks Bast. “Why not support pro-consumer health care reform, like replacing the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance with an individual tax credit that rewards people for being smart consumers of health care without rationing and without erecting a massive bureaucracy?”

Clearly Americans have taken notice of an economy that has not emerged from the 2008 financial crisis. They have seen how horrid Obamacare is, losing health care insurance plans they liked and being denied their patient relationship with physicians of their choosing, all while driving up their costs.

“Obama and the folks around him are trying to create a new economy that looks a lot like the ones liberals in the 1960s and 1970s imagined: lots of central planning, income redistribution, the illusion of world peace, and windmills.”

“Achieving this transformation requires destroying existing institutions in finance, health care, energy, and education.”  That’s what Communism/Socialism does.

The danger of what Obama is doing is becoming obvious to a growing body of Americans, though not yet enough to curb and reverse it; those who prefer the welfare programs and those whose liberal indoctrination and addiction prevents them from seeing what so many others do.

“The national government and its sycophants in the mainstream media tell us everything is going great, but the truth apparent all around us is nearly exactly the opposite.”

“We can search for and report the truth, talk to our friends and neighbors, and make sure they know what is at stake in November,” wrote Bast.

A good place to start is the Heartland website. The next thing to do is vote in the midterm elections to eliminate those in Congress who are part of the destruction and to replace them with those who want to put a stop to it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014