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Obama’s Amnesty Travesty

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

This is article 466 of 466 in the topic Immigration
By Alan Caruba
People really need to read the U.S. Constitution. It says, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”
The Constitution makes no reference whatever to executive orders (EO). George Washington started the practice mostly because he had to. Traditionally executive orders have been treated by Congress as having the legal status of legislation, but only insofar as they apply to the management of how the government operates.
The Constitution makes it quite clear that the President has no power to enact laws, but as long as an EO does not unilaterally alter or negate existing legislation or run counter to the Constitution Congress usually accords it legitimacy. Those that do not honor the separation of powers have been struck down by the courts or by legislation that opposed them.
As is widely rumored and reported, if President Obama does attempt to issue amnesty to illegal aliens he would be over-riding or altering existing immigration law. He does not have the power to do that.
Such an executive order would be immediately challenged in the courts and if power in the Senate passes to the Republicans in the midterm elections, Congress would oppose it. With an eye on the 2016 elections, incumbent Democrats might not be willing to go along with an Obama amnesty EO.
Recent polls all demonstrate opposition to amnesty. In a September Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll 73% of the public said that Obama should work with Congress on immigration reform. After the invasion of an estimated 150,000 young people and others from Guatemala and San Salvador earlier this year, comprehensive immigration reform went from 54% approval last year to 48%.
When word leaked that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency had requested bids on a minimum of four million blank work permits and green cards a year for the next five years, there was an outcry in political and immigration policy circles. “There aren’t enough federal employees from here to Pluto to do adequate background checks on 34 million,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
In September, the Census Bureau released new data on the U.S. population finding that the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 41.3 million in July 2013, an increase of 1.4 million since July 2010. Since 2000, the immigrant population is up 10.2 million and double the number in 1990, nearly triple the number in 1980, and guadruple that in 1970, which it stood at 9.6 million.
It’s no secret President Obama has wanted to get as many immigrants as possible, especially those from south of the border, into America. He has winked at the laws that determine immigration and citizenship. In 2011 many believed he had “enacted” the Dream Act by EO, but he had not. His administration instead adopted a policy regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, granting them the option of applying for two-year work permits. Even conservatives could find some merit in this, allowing them to gain legal status and apply for citizenship.
The amnesty issue would play havoc prior to the November 4 midterm elections, so Obama will wait until after them to announce his intentions.

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Is America in Decline?

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

This is article 1249 of 1249 in the topic International

By Alan Caruba

In case you have had the feeling that America is in decline and will make way for a new superpower, you may be right. At least you’re right if you agree with James MacDonald, the author of “When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana” (due in January 2015, Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Given his review of the rise and fall of previous powerful nations, history, and a current analysis, they come together to say our days of global influence are over.
In a way, the election of Barack Obama is the perfect example of failed leadership, both as President and as a nation that others used to rely upon to maintain world peace, protect the sea lanes necessary for trade, and intervene when rogue players threaten their neighbors and the world.
For the first time in most people’s memory, our former allies and those nations looking toward America to see what action it will take or not no longer have any confidence in our willingness to take any action. More specifically, what action President Obama will or will not take. The rise of the Islamic State is a response to Obama’s abandonment of the Middle East.
Obama arrived in office with the belief that America was the problem and has proceeded to diminish Pax Americana (Latin for ensuring peace) in every way possible. He began by apologizing for America for having been too aggressive in the past and not having much good to say about it except in the most perfunctory and obligatory way.
MacDonald’s book is a historical review of previous world powers like Pax Britannia and the rivalries of colonial powers like Spain, Portugal, France and Germany. Bit by bit nations began to regard world trade as a brake on potential wars—they were wrong as in the case of the last century—and as a way to lift all nations toward greater prosperity. International organizations like the League of Nations and the United Nations have demonstrated no ability to ward off combat or the threats posed by rogue nations like North Korea or Iran.
“If the world’s great and rising powers are going to avoid conflict, it will require a determined effort to avoid the pitfalls of history,” says MacDonald.
MacDonald offers eight elements that produced the era of peace that began in post-war 1945 when the U.S. emerged with a thriving, growing economy while those in Europe and Asia were devastated. My generation looks back on those years knowing they were likely the best America will enjoy and hoping our economy will not be devastated by a national debt of $18 trillion and unfunded liabilities of $127 trillion!
It takes a historian to remind us that “One of the main lessons of history is that history lessons are eventually forgotten.” One need only look around the world for proof of that. The U.S. is not the only nation spending itself into a black hole. MacDonald reminds us, too, that it was the Cold War between the U.S. and then-Soviet Union that helped maintain “an unquiet peace” because neither nation would ever use its nuclear weapons. MacDonald fears “an equally intense Sino-American hostility” as China flexes its muscles.

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Passionate About Conservatism

by Alan Caruba on Monday, October 27th, 2014

This is article 73 of 73 in the topic Book & Movie Reviews

By Alan Caruba

We conservatives tend to be rather low key when it comes to expressing our commitment to conservative values. We are all about the Constitution, small government, a strong military, and fiscal prudence, but these are not things that are easy to talk about in a passionate way, no matter how strongly we feel about them.
As a longtime—try fifty-plus years—book reviewer, I get lots of them and recently “Right for a Reason: Life, Liberty, and a Crapload of Common Sense” by “the Chicks on the Right”, Miriam Waver and Amy Jo Clark arrived ($26.95, Penguin Group).
The “Chicks” started a website in 2009 that quickly gained a large audience of people who love their approach to conservatism and their interpretation of the events of the day, issues, and personalities. Need it be said it also attracted all manner of rude, nasty responses from liberals?
“If you’re reading this right now”, they say in the introduction, “chances are you’re a frustrated conservative. And you’ve got good reason to be frustrated. If you’re like us, you’re practically dizzy from how often you’ve shaken your head at the stupidity of low-information voters who couldn’t pick Nancy Pelosi out of a photo lineup, but can rattle off the names of every single member of the Kardashion clan.”
“Maybe you’re frustrated that conservatives haven’t been able to effectively communicate their ideas in a way that resonates with the public. Maybe you’re frustrated that the mainstream media has been complicit in glamorizing the liberal narrative.”  Well, yes, I have felt this way, but I am also aware that the Internet has provided those with the nation’s political life with scads of information on many excellent websites.
Then, too, Rush Limbaugh has been a major voice on radio with a huge audience as is Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and others. By far the most popular shows devoted to the issues are conservative while liberals attract so few listeners and viewers you wonder why there are still so many liberals. One need only compare the Fox News Channel with MSNBC to know the appeal of conservatism and, yes, a conservative interpretation of the news–accurate facts!
In the lead up to the November 4 midterm elections, something remarkable is happening. There are stories noting that Obama has lost the support of a significant number of women and among black Americans. Even the mainstream press has taken note of this and it suggests that, despite our frustrations, maybe our message is having an impact. Or, maybe, these two groups, after six years of Mr. Hope and Change, have decided independently that his policies have not helped them in any way other than turn them into people dependent on the government instead of being able to support themselves and their families.
As the “Chicks” point out, “Despite what the mainstream media wants you to believe, there are thousands and thousands of people out there who are just like us.” Yes! That is the answer.

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Obama’s War on U.S. Energy

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 26th, 2014

This is article 265 of 265 in the topic energy
By Alan Caruba
September 19th was an anniversary you did not read or hear about in the nation’s news media. It marked six years—2008—since the first permit application for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted to the federal government. Can you imagine how many jobs its construction would have created during a period of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis? President Obama is universally credited with delaying it.
Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that World War II, the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition all took place in less time. In a September Forbes article, he noted that “Earlier this year a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 65 percent of Americans support building the pipeline, while only 22 percent oppose it. In Washington three-to-one margins are usually referred to as mandates.”
In contrast, in March 2013 the then-Interior Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, boasted “In just over four years, we have advanced 17 wind, solar, and geothermal projects on our public lands.”  It is not these projects that Americans depend upon for energy. The opposite is a stark explanation why coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy remain the heart blood of the economy.
The Daily Caller reported in July that the “U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently sitting on a backlog of 3,500 applications that need approval to move forward on drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land,” just part of Obama’s war on U.S. energy.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels met 82% of U.S. energy demand in 2013.
Petroleum, primarily used for transportation, supplied 36% of the energy demand in 2013. Natural gas represented 27%. Coal represented 20% and generated almost 40% of all electricity. In the six years since Obama took office that is a loss of 10%!
The much ballyhooed “renewable sources” of energy, justified by the false claim that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming or climate change, are a very small part of the nation’s power providers. Wind power represented 1.6% and solar power represented three-tenths of 1%! Hydropower supplied 2.6% making it the largest source of so-called renewable energy.
Politically, it has been Democrats advocating renewable sources and siding with the President’s delay of the oil pipeline and the Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on coal-fired plants to produce electricity. By contrast, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has been busy putting forth legislation to fix aspects of our energy problems and needs.
Some of the bills that were introduced included H.R. 2728: The Protecting State’s Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; H.R. 3: The Northern Route Approval Act (regarding the keystone XL Pipeline; H.R. 1900: The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act; H.R. 2201: The North American Energy Infrastructure Act; and H.R. 6: The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, intended to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to our allies around the world. The global market is growing at a colossal pace.
These bills will likely all die in the U.S. Senate, controlled by the Democratic Party. The Nov 4 midterm elections can change that if enough Republicans are elected to gain control.
It’s not just natural gas that is helping the economy improve.

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The Islamic Madness Persists

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

This is article 8 of 9 in the topic Islam

 

By Alan Caruba
The lull in the coverage of all things Islamic was broken by two terrorist attacks in Canada, a reminder that so long as the world does not unite to destroy the Islamic State, we shall all remain vulnerable. A “lone wolf” terrorist can kill you just as dead as one in a terrorist organization, particularly one encouraging these attacks.
While the media’s herd mentality continues to report about Ebola in West Africa and gears up for massive coverage of the forthcoming November 4 midterm elections, the Middle East remains in a low state of boil, never failing to produce bombings, skirmishes, and the usual inhumanities we associate with Islam.
Americans pay attention to the Middle East only when blood is flowing and at the present time the only element generating that is the Islamic State (ISIS) which continues to attack Kobani in northern Syria and assault the Yazidis and other targets in Iraq. The U.S., Britain and France are bombing ISIS forces, largely to protect and assist the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the only fighting force of any consequence.
Virtually unreported are the 18 million Muslim refugees throughout out the Middle East. The U.N. reports that these and internally displaced persons reflect the turmoil in Afghanistan, Iraq. Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. To grasp this, think about what either the U.S. or Europe would be like with a comparable number of refugees.
As David P. Goldman, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Wax Family Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, noted October 20 on the Forum website, “That is cause for desperation: unprecedented numbers of people have been torn from traditional society and driven from their homes, many with little but the clothes on their backs.”
“There are millions of young men in the Muslim world sitting in refugee camps with nothing to do, nowhere to go back to, and nothing to look forward to…never has an extremist movement had so many frustrated and footloose young men in its prospective recruitment pool.”
So what does John Kerry, our Secretary of State, think is the greatest problem in the Middle East? While discussing the ISIS coalition with Middle East leaders, Kerry expressed the opinion a week ago that the Israeli-Palestine situation was the real problem. Apparently he is unaware that there is no Palestinian state and never has been. The one on the West Bank exists thanks to Israeli support and the one in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, provoked Israeli defense measures by rocketing it for months.
Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a Shillman/Ginsberg fellow at the Middle East Forum, has a quite different point of view. “In reality, however, the novelty of the Islamic State, as well as the magnitude of the threat it poses, are greatly exaggerated.”
Noting that many of the Arab states have “failed to modernize and deliver basic services” Prof. Inbar has little anticipation that ISIS could do that either.

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No Ebola Panic Despite Media Hysteria

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

This is article 694 of 695 in the topic Healthcare
By Alan Caruba
One man has died of Ebola in the U.S. and he came here from Liberia. Two of the nurses that tended him are in intensive care and likely to survive. A third was thought to be infected, but wasn’t. That news has been sufficient to keep most Americans calm as the media has done its best to exploit Ebola-related news.
The public absorbed the facts and came to their own conclusion.
An October 8 Pew Research survey found that “Most are confident in Government’s ability to prevent major Ebola outbreak in U.S.”  That reflects the way we have all been conditioned to look to the federal government to solve our problems, but the public mood had not changed by October 20 when a Rasmussen Reports analysis of a survey concluded that “Americans are keeping their cool about Ebola, but some acknowledge that they have changed travel plans because of the outbreak of the deadly virus in the United States.”
Wrong. There has been no “outbreak.” One dead Liberian and two nurses is not an outbreak.
Fully 66% of the Rasmussen respondents said that Ebola is a serious public health problem, including 29% who deemed it very serious, but few believe it is an active public health threat here in the U.S.
All this was occurring as spokesmen for the Centers of Disease Control tried to both warn and reassure Americans, managing only to evoke a measure of derision. President Obama also sought to reassure Americans, but fewer and fewer believe anything he has to say these days.
Then he appointed an “Ebola czar” who had no medical or healthcare background whatever to qualify for the job. Add in Obama’s failure to institute a travel ban and the likelihood is that Democratic candidates will pay a price for this on Nov 4.
I suspect the President’s advisors are telling him the Ebola problem has been a blessing because the media will not be reporting any of the stories that could harm Democratic candidates. Starting with the fact that the nation’s voters are evenly divided between a liberal or conservative point of view that means that independent voters will be the deciding factor and they are independent because they pay more attention to events and the news.
One of the stories that are being held back from the news is the outcome of the U.S. Army investigation of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was traded by Obama for five top Taliban leaders to secure his release. Members of his unit unanimously say he deserted them and, if that is the Army’s conclusion, it makes the swap look dubious, if not treasonable.
The news after the midterm elections will be filled with reports of employers cutting healthcare insurance to both full and part-time employees. Wal-Mart has already announced this for its part-timers. There is already news of the fact the ObamaCare, the Affordable Patient Care Act, is proving to be very expensive for those who signed up. This includes news about its higher deductibles and premiums.
Robert E.

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Democratic Voting Bloc-Heads

by Alan Caruba on Monday, October 20th, 2014

This is article 144 of 144 in the topic Democratic Party
By Alan Caruba
As this is being written, Rasmussen Reports says that 48% of likely voters approve of President Obama’s performance in office while 50% disapproved. Other polls indicate far more unhappiness with Obama, but in general one must conclude that half the voters are idiots. He is an enormous failure domestically and with his foreign relations.
In early July, a Quinnipiac University national poll found that Obama was regarded as “the worst president since World War II.” The only poll that counts will be the midterm elections on November 4th.
We know that Republicans and a significant percentage of independent voters will pull the lever for the change needed to save the nation from Congressional gridlock and whatever further mischief and idiocy Obama will seek to impose, but what do we know about the Democratic Party’s voting blocs? They say a lot about America today.
A website called Debt.org, offers a look at the “Economic Demographics of Democrats.” It offered the following conclusions:
# Generally, Democrats live closer to a coast—East or West—living more in cities than Republicans. Populated areas have a higher concentration of minorities who “overwhelmingly vote Democrat.”
# They tend to have more women in their ranks than Republicans and this is true as well of gays and lesbians.
# They support organized labor, unions, more.
# They are slightly younger than Republicans and “increasingly less religious.”
After years have telling Americans that Republicans are engaged in “a war on women” it should not come as a surprise that 37% of women are Democrats while Republicans have 24%. Unmarried women vote Democrat about 62% of the time, while married women tend to split between the parties.
What may well save the nation from the split between the two political parties is the fact that 43% declare themselves to be politically independent.
Economically, people earning less than $15,000 a year represent 31% of Democrat voters. Those earning $50,000 or more vote Republican or independent.  The average median household income in the U.S. is $49,777, right near the point where the Democratic advantage in numbers disappears.
While the President and the Democratic Party are forever complaining about the inequality of the wealthy while endlessly taking their money for campaigns, a review of the twenty richest Americans as listed by Forbes magazine found that 60% affiliate with the Democratic Party!
Would it surprise anyone to learn that Republicans are better educated than Democrats? Or that Democrats tend to be slightly younger, with an average age of 47. This voting bloc, 46 million, is anticipated of increase to 90 million in 2020.
Racially and ethnically, Republicans are 87% white as compared to Democratic supporters.
African Americans mindlessly vote Democratic and are literally taken for granted by the party though an Oct 18 New York Times article reported that a confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama “contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted ‘crushing Democratic losses across the country’ if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.” He said, “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”  That’s the kind of voter the Democratic Party has relied upon for years.
Jews as well give 80% of their votes to Democrats.

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Killing Confidence in Our Government

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 19th, 2014

This is article 465 of 467 in the topic Government Corruption
By Alan Caruba
What has been the over-riding theme of life in America since Barack Obama became President in 2008?
It has been the continued loss of confidence Americans have regarding various elements of the federal government. From the Centers for Disease Control, the Veterans Administration, the Secret Service, to the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, these and other agencies have been tainted in ways that have turned his two terms into a litany of scandals and failures.
Obama is a President for whom politics is the sole reason against which every decision is made.

The latest example was the naming of an Ebola Czar. “Sources confirm to Fox News that President Obama plans to name Ron Klain, a longtime political hand with no apparent medical or health background.” In the past, Klain has served as chief of staff to Al Gore and Joe Biden. Does this make you feel any better about the Ebola threat?

I think that most Americans—not the “low information” ignorant ones—are experiencing a generalized depression about the nation these days. It’s a sense of weariness because our paychecks don’t stretch enough in the supermarket where the cost of food, particularly meat and fish, is soaring.
We wonder about the quality of education our children or grandchildren are receiving. It’s poor when compared to other nations and it undermines a belief in America’s exceptionalism.
In growing numbers younger Americans are choosing not to marry because of the costs involved and because we live in a society that no longer frowns on a couple living together; nearly half of marriages end in divorce. And then there’s same-sex marriage, a concept that was unthinkable not that long ago and for centuries in all societies.
We’re now six years into the Great Recession thanks to a White House that thought that, if the government spent $834 billion on top of the national debt, it would somehow “stimulate” the economy but government spending did not relieve Americans during the Great Depression, generate new jobs or achieve anything else that this tried-and-failed liberal theory was said to do. Who was in charge of Obama’s “stimulus” program? Ron Klain, the new Ebola Czar.
Cutting taxes, slowing and reducing regulations, and generally getting out of the way to allow people to start or expand their businesses works, but the White House went the other direction.

As an October 16 Wall Street Journal editorial noted, “Millions of American families haven’t had a raise in after-inflation incomes in years, but in Washington times are flush…the U.S. federal government rolled up record revenues of $3.013 trillion.” Individual income tax receipts rose by 5.9%, along with payroll taxes and corporate income taxes—very nearly the highest in the world—increased 16% to $321 billion.

Only the naïve or ignorant believe that the government knows how to spend our money better than we do, but liberals—Democrats—do.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, October 17th, 2014

This is article 24 of 24 in the topic Humorous

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An American Decline that Must Be Reversed

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, October 16th, 2014

This is article 71 of 71 in the topic Travel/Transportation

By Alan Caruba

The tendency of pundits is to address the decline in American culture and traditional moral values. The concerns addressed include the rather sudden, but widespread embrace of same-sex marriages or calls for the legalization of marijuana so anyone can get high without the fear of arrest.
You can probably name a few things you consider evidence of decline, but there is one you are not likely to notice much. It’s the nation’s infrastructure of highways, airports, waterways and ports. It’s only dramatic declines such as the decay of Detroit, once one of the nation’s most dynamic cities that get attention because it is so blatant. We judge the backwardness of third world nations by their bad roads and lack of infrastructure to support their economies.
We don’t, however, think of the U.S. as a nation in decline, but we are.
A September study released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) revealed that overall spending on public infrastructure fell 10.5% between 2003 and 2012. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Spending on highways and streets by federal, state and local governments, dropped a higher 19% during that same period, according to the study.”
NAM president, Jay Timmons, said, “The United States is stuck in a decade-long decline (in infrastructure spending) that will eventually harm job creation, future productivity and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe.”  When a manufacturer cannot transport their product in a timely fashion, it puts them at a disadvantage. Multiply that by the nation’s many manufacturers and you have a very big problem for lack of adequate highways, roads, and bridges
The great power of America’s infrastructure was supported by the maintenance it requires. The 2013 study was commissioned by the Building America’s Future Educational Fund and NAM to survey manufacturers. It found that they “overwhelmingly viewed America’s infrastructure as old, inefficient, and badly in need of modernization.”
Findings included 70% who believed that U.S. infrastructure is in fair or poor shape and needs a great deal or quite a lot of improvement. The same percentage believe that road are getting worse and 65% did not believe that infrastructure, especially in their region, is positioned to respond to the competitive demands of a growing economy over the next 10-15 years.
This may not seem very exciting compared to news of combat in the Middle East or the threat of Ebola, but consider that, in early October, the Financial Times reported that “China has surpassed the US in terms of GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP), becoming the largest in the world by this measure, International Monetary Fund estimates show. In 2014 China reached $17.6 trillion or 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power-adjusted GDP, while the US made slightly less, 16.28 percent or $17.4 trillion, according to IMF data.
We are now number two in the global economy.
The NAM study’s research, said University of Maryland Professor Jeffrey Werling, “helps confirm what engineers and executives both know, The quality and quantity of current U.S.

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