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Liberals Will Get Us All Killed

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

This is article 802 of 802 in the topic Terrorism
By Alan Caruba
The news from Sydney, Australia was of another incident in which a lone Islamic fascist took civilians hostage to fulfill a demented notion of a “holy war” on non-believers. After a siege by police two of the hostages he had taken were dead along with the gunman.
These attacks are becoming more frequent, referred to as “lone wolf” events, but in a larger context, they represent an effort by al Qaeda and the Islamic State, ISIS, to recruit individuals to wage a war of terror everywhere.
Looking back over the year, in May Mehdi Nemmouche who had returned to France after fighting for ISIS, entered the Jewish museum in Brussels and killed four people. In October Martin Couture Rouleau ran down two Canadian soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them. The same month, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier at the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. Also in October, Zale Thompson attacked four New York police officers with an axe, injuring two in an incident that was deemed to be an Islamist attack.
In the wake of these attacks police everywhere are grappling with what they can do to anticipate and respond. In the attacks that have occurred, the perpetrators were all known to law enforcement authorities for their extremist views. In September, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI put out a joint intelligence bulletin that the Islamic State has the capacity to mount attacks on U.S. targets overseas with little or no warning. Presumably the warning also included domestic attacks as well.
At a time when the threat is real and growing, there are forces in America that have deliberately sought to undermine public support and trust in the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, both on the front line of defense against the Islamist menace. The release of a report by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Senate Intelligence Committee chair, was widely denounced for its evident failure to interview those named as engaging in “torture” to deter further attacks. This 20-20 hindsight and reinterpretation of events is an offense on many levels.
One has to ask why it is always liberals who are unable to acknowledge an actual threat and defame those charged with preventing them. It is as if they live in a parallel universe, a make-believe world where our enemies do not exist.
This is the mind-set that led the President to remove our troops from Iraq, creating a vacuum that ISIS filled. He is now lowering our role in Afghanistan and the news of the day is a barbaric attack by the Taliban in Pakistan that has killed 130, mostly school children. Can liberals grasp the barbarity of the Islamist enemies of our nation and the whole of humanity?
Most serious, though, are the negotiations with Iran, led by the Obama administration, that are sure to permit a leading sponsor of terrorism to acquire its own nuclear weapons.

This is why many cringed when the anticipated Democratic Party candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State, recently touted an approach she calls “smart power,” urging America to use “every possible tool and partner” to advance peace.

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Chanukah Celebrates Rededication

by Alan Caruba on Monday, December 15th, 2014

This is article 41 of 41 in the topic Jews/Jewish

By Alan Caruba

Sometimes I think that Jews are going to have to arm themselves in order to celebrate Chanukah. These days, merely praying in a synagogue, whether it is in Jerusalem or Brooklyn has become hazardous.
Of course, those who hate Jews don’t really need an excuse to attack them. In November, Palestinian attackers killed five Israelis, four of whom were rabbis, in a Jerusalem synagogue. On December 8, a lunatic shouting “I want to kill the Jews” stabbed an Israeli student in the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Brooklyn. The student survived the attack. Police killed the attacker.
December 16 through 24 marks this year’s celebration and one can only hope that it will be enjoyed without providing an excuse to attack Jews around the world. Chanukah celebrates an ancient military victory.
Known also as the Festival of Lights, the menorah that holds nine candles is the widely recognized symbol of the holiday; eight for the days and one to light the others. It celebrates the overthrow of an oppressive Greek ruler, Antiochus IV, and the rededication of the temple. Chanukah is not mentioned in formal Jewish scripture though the story is related in the book of the Maccabees. In 1948, Jews restored the nation of Israel.
Chanukah is a relatively minor Jewish holiday compared to the holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Passover. Because it falls close to Christmas, American Jews have incorporated it into their celebration and one suspects that most are likely to exchange gifts on December 25th to blend both holidays together as one.
Of the estimated 14 million Jews worldwide approximately 5.5 million live in America. An estimated 6.2 million live in Israel, with 2 million in Europe, and about 100,000 in Africa, most of whom live in the nation of South Africa.
Fourteen million Jews may sound like a lot, but they represent about 0.2% of the world’s population. You could put them all in Texas and few would notice.
In the Middle East, Christians and Jews have been driven from their homes where many families had lived for centuries. In Syria and Iraq these days Christians are being crucified and beheaded for their faith. Muslims divided by whether they are Sunni or Shiite are also dying. It all seems so pointless.
Worldwide, religious and other forms of bigotry continue during this Chanukah and Christmas season as ever before.
One need look no farther than the United Nations which, on December 10, celebrated the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted twenty more resolutions against Israel than any other nation for alleged violations of human rights. To put this in perspective, not one resolution was directed at China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia, among a long list of nations that deserve criticism.
Citing the Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks noted that “Freedom of religion has deteriorated in almost half the nations of the world and sectarian violence is at a six-year high.”
Here in America, as the first Chanukah candle is lighted this year we are days from celebrating Christmas.

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We’re Number Two

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, December 14th, 2014

This is article 392 of 392 in the topic economy

By Alan Caruba

The U.S. was the world’s number one economy prior to World War II, but it took off bigtime after the war and there has not been a day of my long life in which we were not number one—until now.
The International Monetary Fund recently released its calculations regarding the world’s economy and concluded that China is the number one economy, producing $17.6 trillion in terms of goods and services, as compared with the U.S. producing $17.4 trillion. It’s not an overwhelming gap, but it is a warning that our economy is going in the wrong direction and has been before and since the financial crisis of 2008.
Writing in Market Watch, Brett Arends, put it succinctly. “As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.”
As discomforting as the IMF news is, the worst news has been significantly under-reported in the nation’s media. The U.S. is now $18 TRILLION in debt.
In February of 2014, CNS News reported that “The debt of the U.S. government has increased $6,666 trillion since President Barack Obama took office on January 20, 2009, according to the latest numbers released by the Treasury Department.”
President Obama has been responsible for more debt over the course of his two terms to date than all previous U.S. Presidents in the first 227 years combined.
Writing in the Daily Caller, Tracy Miller, an associate professor at Grove City College, noted that “Over the first five years of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. economy grew more slowly than during any five-year period since just after the end of World War II, averaging less than 1.3 percent per year. If we leave out the sharp recession of 1945-46 following World War II, Obama looks even worse, ranking dead last among all Presidents since 1932.”
Why was this man reelected in 2012? One is inclined to find common ground with ObamaCare “architect”, Jonathan Gruber, who called voters “stupid.”
I prefer to believe, however, that the voters have been subjected to a non-stop campaign in the national media to get the first black American elected President and then to ignore some truly horrible facts about his two terms in office thus far.
The voters are not stupid, but they have been deliberately misled by the careful exclusion of news about the actual state of the economy.

Reality caught up with Obama in the two midterm elections of 2012 and 2014. The voters shifted power in Congress to the Republican Party. In the most recent midterms thirteen of the Senators who had voted for ObamaCare were defeated.

As December began, CNS News reported that “The labor force participation rate remained at a 36-year low of 62.8 percent in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
The BLS measures the percentage of “non-institutional population” in the labor force, those 16 years or older who were not in the military or working in a governmental job, i.e. the private sector.  In September, the rate was the lowest since February 1978!
To put this in perspective, by November, the number of beneficiaries on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—food stamps—had topped 46,000,000 for 36 straight months according to data released by the Department of Agriculture.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, December 12th, 2014

This is article 27 of 27 in the topic Humorous

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The Expert’s Cloudy Crystal Balls

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, December 11th, 2014

This is article 1257 of 1257 in the topic International

By Alan Caruba

In late October I wrote a commentary “Is America in Decline?” based on a book by James MacDonald, “When Globalism Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana”, due for sale in January from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Within days I received “The Accidental Super Power: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and The Coming Global Disorder” by Peter Zeihan.

Both authors have good credentials, but the former concludes our position as a super power will recede in the decades ahead and the latter says we will be the only one left as the rest of the world runs into problems that the U.S. will be able to ignore.

Zeihan, a geopolitical analyst, offers the scenario of an America, blessed by its location and ability to provide its own energy and agriculture, that will be largely untouched by a future in which most other nations will suffer various unpleasant levels of decline.
Both Zeihan and MacDonald see the U.S. abandoning its role since the end of World War II in 1945 as the generator and protector of free trade.

Our naval capability has kept the world’s sea lanes open and free of predators, a boon to all nations. A system for free trade set up at Breton Woods in 1944 has served the world well, including former enemies, Germany and Japan. Other nations, depending on their location, resources, and population, have had varying degrees of success.

“The conventional wisdom that the United States’ best days are behind it” says Zeihan, “isn’t simply wrong. It’s laughably so. In 2014 we’re not witnessing the beginning of the end of American power, but the end of the beginning. In fact, we’re on the cusp of a shift in the international order just as profound as those delegates back in 1944 experienced.”
While MacDonald sees the role of the U.S. as Pax Americana waning, Zeihan sees a national withdrawal from the international scene based on the wealth the shale oil and natural gas technology is generating and the productivity of our huge agricultural sector to keep us fed while other nations struggle to grow and find food sources.

I disagree with Zeihan. Americans don’t like having to be involved in the problems that other nations create, but they also see themselves as the solution whether it is deterring rogue nations that threaten their neighbors or aiding when a natural disaster occurs.

Zeihan focuses on the role of maritime power on the oceans that gave rise to Great Britain and other nations that could field a navy that could trade at great distances from their homelands. The history of colonization reflects that power. Internally, he points out how blessed the U.S. has been with a waterway system of numerous navigable rivers that made it possible, for example, to grow wheat in the midland but ship it anywhere. This ability to transport food crops as well as people opened America to fairly rapid expansion and growth.
Unlike other nations, its population came from everywhere and reproduced at rates to meet its need for labor, while its free market system, along with the industrial revolution, stimulated innovation and growth.

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The New Congress Must Save the USA from the EPA

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

This is article 80 of 80 in the topic EPA
EPA headquarters in Washington, DC
By Alan Caruba
When the Republican Party takes over majority control of Congress in January, it will face a number of battles that must be fought with the Obama administration ranging from its amnesty intentions to the repeal of ObamaCare, but high among the battles is the need to rein in the metastasizing power of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In many ways, it is the most essential battle because it involves the provision of sufficient electrical energy to the nation to keep its lights on. EPA “interpretations” of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have become an outrageous usurpation of power that the Constitution says belongs exclusively to the Congress.
As a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, I recall how in 2012 its president, Joe Bast, submitted 16,000 signed petitions to Congress calling on it to “rein in the EPA.” At the time he noted that “Today’s EPA spends billions of dollars (approximately $9 billion in 2012) imposing senseless regulations. Compliance with its unnecessary rules costs hundreds of billions of dollars more.”
Heartland’s Science Director, Dr. Jay Lehr, said “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health. Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies, many of which didn’t exist or had much less expertise back in 1970 when EPA was created.”
The EPA has declared virtually everything a pollutant including the carbon dioxide (CO2) that 320 million Americans exhale with every breath. It has pursued President Obama’s “war on coal” for six years with a disastrous effect on coal miners, those who work for coal-fired plants that produce electricity, and on consumers who are seeing their energy bills soar.
As Edwin D. Hill, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, noted in August, “The EPA’s plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity” and its plan would “result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail, and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.”
“The United States cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid,” warned Hill.
In October the Institute for Energy Research criticized the EPA’s war on coal based on its Mercury and Air Toxics Rule and its Cross State Air Pollution Rule, noting that 72.7 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity have already, or are scheduled to retire. “That’s enough to reliably power 44.7 million homes, or every home in every state west of the Mississippi river, excluding Texas.” How widespread are the closures? There are now 37 states with projected power plant closures, up from 30 in 2011. The five hardest hit states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia.
If a foreign nation had attacked the U.S.

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A Real Agenda for the GOP Congress

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

This is article 132 of 132 in the topic US Congress
By Alan Caruba
Clearly President Obama did not get the message the voters sent in the November midterm elections, electing enough Republican Senators to shift power in the Senate and to increase it in the House. Many Presidents in their second term encounter this shift, particularly if they are seen by the voters to be incompetent in some respect.
Writing in the December 9 edition of National Review, Henry Olsen, reminded readers that ‘wave elections” do not guarantee victories to come. “In each previous case—1946, 1994, 2010—a Democrat held the White House and Republicans thought the wave presaged his subsequent defeat. Each time, however, the Democrat won reelection relatively easily.” The GOP can only give thanks Obama cannot run in 2016, but no one should count out Hillary Clinton at this point.
Shortly after the November 4 elections Obama told the nation he heard those who voted, but also those who did not. What Obama heard, however, was that he should rewrite immigration laws. Investigative reporter Jerome R. Corsi, writing in World Net Daily, says no executive order has been issued, but rather that the Department of Homeland Security has been told to issue work permits and avoid deportations of illegal aliens.
One might have thought that the GOP got the message in 2012 from those Republicans who stayed home and thereby let Obama remain in office. Apparently politicians only hear what they want to. The polls indicate that Americans do not like ObamaCare and want it repealed, and that they do not want Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty actions acted upon.
On Wednesday, December 3, House and Senate Republicans, supported by the Tea Party, joined with grassroots activists to denounce Obama’s unilateral amnesty efforts. Among those participating in the TheTeaParty.net event were Senator Ted Cruz, Representatives Steve King, Michele Bachman, Louis Gohmert, Tim Huelskamp, and Curt Clawson. Also participating was Niger Innis, Executive Director of TheTeaParty.net.
As reported by the Tea Party News Network, the problem is “many moderates appear to be going soft on the issue” of illegal immigration “as Speaker of the House John Boehner works to try and avoid a government showdown between Democrats and Republicans.”
The reported compromise is a budget bill that funds the government through to September 2015, but the Department of Homeland Security only through March to permit the new Congress to take some action on the amnesty issue.
Innis noted that the Tea Party has 2.5 million members and warned “If the Republican leadership tacitly colludes with the President, then they will have betrayed the voters who elected them and will pay the price at the ballot box. It’s shocking that Republicans would even contemplate preemptive surrender before the new Congress even convenes.”
Realistically, however, House Speaker Boehner cannot order Republican Representatives to vote as the Tea Party would prefer. Voters tend to assume that there is party unity among the House Republicans, but in reality they vote their own political interest and those range from liberal to conservative. It is, however, worth remembering that not one Republican in Congress voted for Obamacare.
On December 3, The Daily Caller’s White House correspondent, Neil Munro, reported that he had heard that “House Speaker John Boehner will ask Rep.

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Wars, Past, Present, and Future

by Alan Caruba on Saturday, December 6th, 2014

This is article 92 of 92 in the topic Wars
A ship under attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941
By Alan Caruba
No, Pearl Harbor is not ancient history. It’s part of my history and many others who were alive at the time. I was just an infant, but the Japanese sneak attack on our Hawaii naval base led to early memories of being on trains filled with young soldiers, many of whom did not live to return home.
The attack was on December 7, 1941 and a day later in a speech to Congress, Franklin Delano Roosevelt called it a “date that will live in infamy.” War was declared on Japan and on Germany. Four years later both enemy nations were conquered, largely due to America’s capacity to gear up to provide everything our armed forces needed. It was won, too, because it was a war to protect freedom from authoritarian, anti-Democracy enemies.
A new book, “Blinders, Blunders, and Wars: What America and China Can Learn”, has been published by the Rand Corporation that describes itself as a “research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, health and more prosperous.” It was formed after World War II to connect military planning with research and development decisions. It is an independent, non-profit organization. The study looks at eight strategic blunders.
As David C. Gompert, the lead author of the book and senior fellow at Rand, said, “Leaders who blunder into war tend to have unwarranted confidence in their ability to script the future and control events. They favor information, analysis, and advisors that confirm their beliefs over those that contradict them. In essence, blinders cause blunders.”
While Americans are still debating whether we should have gone to war in Iraq in 2003 or whether our troops should have been withdrawn by 2011, the cold fact of Islamic aggression has seen President Obama reintroduce and increase our “boots on the ground.” Enemies cannot be ignored. At best they can be “contained” until, like the former Soviet Union, they collapse or change in some fashion. Assuming, as our current negotiations with Iran suggest, that they do not harbor extremely dangerous intentions can be fatal.
The authors of the Rand study call Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbor “a blunder of the highest order.” It followed a succession of decisions the Japanese leadership, largely military, had made to invade China and southern Indonesia in the quest to secure the oil and raw materials it needed for its industrial sector. They saw themselves as a people superior to others in Asia and the world. As Herbert Feis, the author of “The Road to Pearl Harbor” wrote, “The Japanese people came to believe that the extension of their control over this vast region was both natural and destined.”
World War II had its roots in the sanctions meted out to Japan and Germany after World War I. In Japan’s case, its invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937 put the U.S. on guard and produced sanctions that included halting exports of scrap iron, steel, and aviation fuel, as well as arms, ammunition, and critical raw materials. The U.S.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, December 5th, 2014

This is article 26 of 27 in the topic Humorous

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Hating Santa Claus

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, December 4th, 2014

This is article 245 of 245 in the topic Religion

By Alan Caruba

I receive Free Inquiry magazine monthly even though I never subscribed to it. The magazine is read by atheists who prefer to be called “humanists.”  The Council for Secular Humanism that publishes the magazine has “Affirmations of Humanism” that begin with the assertion that they are “committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.”
I try to apply reason to everything I write and the best science available if the topic involves science. The problem is that most problems arise out of a lack of reason. Almost always, emotion is the factor most in evidence.
Given the horrors of war, all well documented, one might think that nations would do everything possible to avoid it. Instead, war remains a top priority in a world where conflict exists everywhere. Nations must arm themselves against their neighbors. Appeasement never works. Denying the evil intentions of a nation doesn’t work. Relying on an “international” organization, the United Nations, doesn’t work.
I don’t think I have spent a day of my life when war or terrorism was not active somewhere in the world. Read world history. It is one long record of wars. The only thing “reason” can tell you is that some nations and people are just downright evil.
Atheism or humanism attracts people who take pride in their intellect, their knowledge, and their rejection of religions, all of which they deem to be advocating the “supernatural” because they depend on the faithful’s belief in an omnipotent God.
Humans have done this, as best as one can determine, since their earliest beginnings, though they tended initially to deify mountains and other natural phenomenon. Add in a belief in unseen demons that afflict one with disease and you have a humanity that, in many parts of the world, exists today.
The Christian holy day of Christmas, the birthday of Jesus, has taken on worldwide dimensions, celebrated in some fashion by Christian and non-Christian alike.
Though not generally known, December 25 is the birthday of a former pagan god called Mithras. He was the son of the virgin Anahita. He is described as wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger, and attended by shepherds. Mithras was considered a great traveling teacher and he had twelve companions or “disciples.” He performed miracles. And, if you’re thinking that the early Christian leaders adapted these elements to attract believers in Mithras to believe in Jesus, you’re right.
All religions except Judaism adapted in the interest of acquiring more adherents. Judaism resisted this and remains small in numbers even if it remains large in the minds of non-Jews who regard it with a combination of awe and indignation.
Neither Jews, nor other non-Christians, are about to give up an element of Christmas loved by all, Santa Claus.
Well, not all. Ryan T.

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