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The Islamic Madness Persists

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

This is article 8 of 8 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 694 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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Climate Change Insanity

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

This is article 334 of 334 in the topic Global Warming
By Alan Caruba
I went out for a walk today and enjoyed seeing how the autumn leaves are changing color because autumn, simply stated, is one of the four seasons that affects the Earth. It is part of the change that occurs as it has for billions of years.

The notion that humans have anything to do with autumn or the other seasons or that we should be spending billions of dollars to have any effect on the climate of the Earth is utterly insane.

On October 10, The Hill reported that “The U.S. might make a substantial contribution in November to an international fund that helps poor nations fight climate change, according to Peruvian Foreign Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez.”  Does anyone actually believe that any amount of money will change the climate? And yet, there is a United Nations Green Climate Fund. The UN is the locus of the climate change, formerly global warming hoax.
“So far, countries have put $2.3 billion into the fund” described as “a crucial negotiating piece for developed nations trying to woo poorer ones to the table for a global climate accord.”  Can you imagine how that money could be put to better use to fight the real problems of poorer nations?
“The fund was officially launched in 2013, after industrialized nations first pitched it in 2009 during the Copenhagen meeting, setting a target of $100 billion by 2020 for developing nations.” The U.S. has yet to have contributed, but the U.S. is $18 trillion in debt and can ill afford to throw millions at this absurd scam.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is being led by a President who has said that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the Earth. Our Secretary of State repeats this absurdity. There is surely an agenda behind this that I have yet to have determined except to think that this President has done everything in his power to destroy the nation’s economy and the claim is part of that agenda.
The climate change lies Obama keeps repeating are more than just obscene, they pose a threat to national security as he directs our military to address climate change. In a sane world, he would be removed from office.
As a recent October 1st Wall Street Journal noted, “President Obama prophesied at the United Nations last week that climate change is the ‘one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other,’ and perhaps this vision of Apocalypse explains why he thinks he can disregard the law to regulate carbon.”
Obama has been using the Environmental Protection Agency as his primary means of foisting the global warming/climate change hoax on the nation via a deluge of regulations to control “greenhouse gas emissions.”  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the bogyman the EPA and environmentalists have been telling us is driving up the Earth temperature. Only the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for eighteen years and, at the same time, the CO2 level in the atmosphere has increased! Without any effect on the temperature!
As the Wall Street Journal opinion noted “The EPA wants to reorganize U.S.

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A Supreme Court, Not Supreme Wisdom

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 12th, 2014

This is article 61 of 61 in the topic Courts

By Alan Caruba

I am not a lawyer, but I have read the Constitution and I cannot find any indication that the Founding Fathers intended the guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” in the 14th Amendment to include same-sex marriage.
The idea would have been regarded as an abomination to the men who created the Constitution. To many who regard the institution of marriage a sacred bond between a man and a woman, the decisions of lower courts that have facilitated same-sex marriage are deeply offensive
When the Supreme Court decided not to decide upon appeals from seven states regarding lower court rulings that their bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, they essentially endorsed same-sex marriage. It is now legal in 25 states, paving the way for a total of 30 states that recognize it, but only by popular vote in three of them; the rest had it imposed through the courts.
The same can be said of the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 that permitted abortion as a legal right. Here again, the 14th Amendment was cited. As one source noted, “The Court summarily announced that the ‘Fourteen Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action” includes “a right to personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy and that “this right of privacy…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”
As this is being written, there have been more than 57,245,810 fetuses aborted since 1973 and, this year, there have been 840,045. Thus, decisions that the Supreme Court makes can literally result in life or death.
One of the most dramatic decisions of an earlier Supreme Court was the 1857 Dred Scott case that ruled that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and thus had no standing to sue in federal court, nor that the federal government had any power to regulate slavery in the territories acquired after the creation of the nation. The Civil War would follow in 1861 and last until 1865, resulting in more than 600,000 casualties, but finally ending slavery in America. Even some of the Founding Fathers had predicted that conflict.
When the Supreme Court has wandered into the area of social policy and culture, it has made decisions that were contrary to the majority of the population. The decision about slavery was about property—the slave–but many regarded slavery as an institution that must be ended.
The Supreme Court, of course, is not one long list of bad decisions. It has done much good and one man is credited with setting it on its course as a co-equal brand of the federal government. That man was John Marshall. I doubt that his name and deeds are  even taught in the schools of America.
As a brilliant and very entertaining biography by Harlow Giles Unger, “John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Save the Nation”, reveals, “Marshall’s pronouncements would ensure the integrity and eminence of the Constitution and the federal government and catapult him into the pantheon of American Founding Fathers as the father of the American federal justice system.”
“He would become the longest serving Chief Justice in U.S.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, October 10th, 2014

This is article 23 of 24 in the topic Humorous

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The Fourth Horseman has Arrived

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, October 9th, 2014

This is article 1 of 6 in the topic Ebola
By Alan Caruba
“I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” – Revelation 6:8
The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse as named in Revelation are Conquest, War, Famine, and Death.
It is an apt metaphor for what is occurring in America today. Ebola is now raging in several African nations, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, and Nigeria.
On September 30 the first African to make it to the U.S. with Ebola was identified. By October 8 he was dead. Ebola has arrived and, despite everything that the various agencies of the Obama Administration are telling us—the Centers for Disease Control and Homeland Security—I have no confidence it will not keep arriving.
Rather than denying entry to those living in the nations where Ebola exists there is no indication that U.S. embassies have been instructed to not issue visas. The notion that airline employees or those on alert in five U.S. airports could spot signs of an Ebola infection is so unlikely that merely scanning those suspected of having a fever provides little protection.
Britain and France have ended flights to or from the affected nations. The U.S. has not. This provides zero protection to flight crews, nor those at the arrival airports who process passengers. No mention is made of our porous southern border that is trespassed daily.
When one considers the evidence of incompetence in the nation’s federal agencies, there is scant reason to believe that either the CDC or HS are up to the task of protecting Americans, no matter how sincere their efforts. These are massive bureaucracies and they have been told not to spread any panic and their spokespersons at press conferences have held closely to this directive. No one wants panic, but neither do we want to be lulled into believing that Ebola cannot penetrate their efforts.
The only protection is to ensure that no one with even the potential of having Ebola is permitted access to the nation. Simply asking potential Ebola victims a few questions in foreign airports is tantamount to no protection.
My guess is that Ebola is already here among us. The notion that you can only be infected by close contact with a victim’s bodily fluids just doesn’t reassure me. An Ebola victim can likely spread it with nothing more than a sneeze.
Then we come to the President’s decision to send what is now in excess of 4,000 U.S. troops to the affected area troubles me the most. The odds that none of them will fall victim to Ebola seems close to zero. Since troops live and work in close proximity the potential spread of the disease among them is high.
I find it disturbing that the President did not hesitate to send U.S. troops to the Ebola zone in Africa, but cannot be convinced to send troops to find and kill the fanatical Muslims of the Islamic State before they gain more territory and pose a greater threat to our national security.

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