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The Syrian Rubics Cube

by Alan Caruba on Monday, September 29th, 2014

This is article 1244 of 1244 in the topic International
Bashar al-Assad of Syria

By Alan Caruba

One has to have some sympathy for those in the CIA or the White House folks charged with telling the President what has been going on in Syria since 2011 when the opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship turned into a fighting war. It must have looked and felt like playing with a Rubics cube where the competing groups and militias kept changing all the time.
In his book, “Inside Syria”, Reese Erlich, a Peabody Award-winning journalist and author of four books on foreign policy, has a chapter devoted to the way the Syrian revolt took shape. “The antigovernment demonstrations began in the southern city of Daraa in March 2011.”
Erlich reports that they began after police arrested several pre-teen school children for writing anti-regime graffiti on the walls of a school. Being Syria, they were beaten and tortured. More than 600 protesters confronted the local governor demanding the injured children be let free. Security forces attacked the group and killed two of the protesters. This is in keeping with the Middle Eastern mentality and culture, something Americans, accustomed to having peaceful demonstrations, have difficulty comprehending.
“By mid-March demonstrations broke out in Damascus and other parts of the country” because the Arab Spring had let loose a vast feeling of discontent and opposition in a number of nations and the Assad regime was, to put it mildly, unpopular. It didn’t help that “Assad cracked down mercilessly on peaceful protesters” opening fire with live ammunition. Security forces arrested and tortured anyone suspected of participating in the protest.
It is necessary to understand that it is difficult to organize Syrians or other Middle Easterners under the best or worst of conditions and that explains why Americans following events can be forgiven for trying to figure out who was doing what. That includes our intelligence community.
“Local Coordinating Committees developed spontaneously in many cities as mostly young activists created grassroots groups unaffiliated with the traditional opposition. They were united on the need to overthrow Assad, hold free elections, and establish a parliamentary system with civil liberties.”
It only took from March 2011 to July for defectors from Assad’s army to announce formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), followed on both sides by targeted assassinations.
For many years the Muslim Brotherhood seemed to be the most influential opposition group, but it was led by an older generation that was surprised by the events led by young Syrians. “Brotherhood leaders had cultivated extensive ties internationally, particularly with the Islamist government of Turkey. Those leaders became major players in the formation of yet another group, the Syrian National Council, (SNC) based in Istanbul. Suffice to say that there are many secular, non-religious, Muslims in the Middle East and those in Syria were not inclined to believe anything the Brotherhood’s SNC had to say.
The Obama administration had a problem figuring out who to support in the developing civil war. They opted for the Free Syrian Army, as did Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, but it was reluctant to provide arms with which to wage a war against Assad.

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Islam Comes to Moore, Oklahoma

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, September 28th, 2014

This is article 4 of 5 in the topic Islam
Alton Nolen, alleged beheader.

By Alan Caruba

It took the gruesome videos of two American journalists behind beheaded by a masked Islamic State (ISIS) butcher, followed since then by more victims, to finally wake Americans to the threat that they face from Islam, but the beheading of a Moore, Oklahoma victim by a man who had been trying to get his co-workers to convert to Islam that brought the threat to the homeland.
The memory of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon have long since begun to fade, but Islam has returned to page one with a display of the violence that is the heart and soul of a cult based on the life and teachings of Muhammad.
Don’t call it a religion. And surely do not call it the “religion of peace.” There was nothing peaceful about Islam from its earliest days when the citizens of Mecca came to the conclusion that Muhammad and his followers were a threat to them. That was 1,400 years ago.
If it were in my power, I would require every American to read “It’s All About Muhammad: A Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet” by F.W. Burleigh ($`6.95, Zenga Books).
Instead, I will only highly recommend it as the best way to understand the man who literally invented a so-called religion based on his own pathologies and then, through terror, ensured it spread to the entirety of Arabia in his lifetime.
As the author notes in its introduction, the biography is based almost entirely on the original literature of Islam as well as early biographies, histories, and collections of traditions. Twenty thousand pages of material were given line-by-line scrutiny “because what is written about him in the original literature is disturbing.”
“More than two-thirds of the canonical biographical materials have to do with the violence he used to spread his religion.”  It was a short step from Muhammad, the self-proclaimed prophet who later called himself the messenger of Allah, to Alton Nolen, the Muslim convert who is alleged to have beheaded a former co-worker.
What is little known about Muhammad is that he suffered from epileptic fits throughout his life and had had a troubled youth that would have unhinged anyone. A fortunate marriage at age 24 took him out of a life of low status and poverty. His wife was twenty years his senior, a woman of wealth. Though a grave concern in an era when the fits were seen as demon possession, Muhammad began to interpret them as the voices of Allah and his angels, particularly Gabriel.
“It was during this period of emotional and intellectual upheaval that his overcharged brain, wracked by doubts and suffering, came to his rescue in the form of a series of spectacular hallucinatory experiences that convinced him he was unique and had been singled out by God for a special purpose. This took place in A.D.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, September 26th, 2014

This is article 21 of 21 in the topic Humorous

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Goodbye Eric Holder

by Alan Caruba on Friday, September 26th, 2014

This is article 460 of 461 in the topic Government Corruption
By Alan Caruba
In a nation where there is a scarcity of good news, hearing Eric Holder give a farewell speech upon his announcement that he will be leaving as the Attorney General was surely welcome in some circles. I was never a fan of his because he was in my opinion always more of a politician than someone with the responsibility to enforce the laws of the nation.
I first took notice of Holder when, in the pre-dawn hours of April 22, 2000, as the deputy attorney general serving under Janet Reno, he oversaw the seizure of Elian Gonzalez, a seven-year-old whose mother had died in an effort to escape Cuba and find sanctuary in the United States. Holder was doing what he had to do after a court ruled that Gonzalez be returned to his father in Cuba, but I thought then and still do that Gonzalez should have been allowed to remain with his U.S. relatives.
When Barack Obama became President, he selected Holder as his Attorney General. Both had made history being the first blacks to hold either job. Within three weeks or so, Holder was saying that Americans were “cowards” for not addressing issues of race in America. That told me all I needed to know about him. Whatever would follow would frequently be judged on the basis of race, not justice. I wouldn’t want a white attorney general to act in that fashion, but a black one nursing feelings of victimization despite his personal achievements did not bode well.
I have not been alone in my misgivings. On news of Holder’s announcement, The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, called on some of its advisors for their opinions.
Ronald D. Rotunda, the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Chapman University, had his own memories of Holder:
“Mr. Holder is leaving the office, but he cannot so easily leave the controversies that have surrounded his tenure, including: the scandal surrounding the IRS, the missing emails, and his role in investigating the scandal; the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, which made him the first cabinet member in U.S. history that Congress held in contempt; his decision to drop a prosecution against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation, after the Department of Justice successfully secured an injunction; and the unprecedented decision, which Holder personally approved,  to subpoena, monitor, and issue a search warrant involving James Rosen, a Fox News Reporter”
“Holder will leave the office, but is unlikely to leave the national stage because these controversies remain,” said Prof. Rotunda.
Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons, said:
“The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons first got to know Eric Holder when he represented the government in our lawsuit about the illegal operations of the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform. The pattern then was stonewalling and obfuscation. Even when task force members finally turned over some documents on court order, many of the floppy disks were blank. Holder declined to prosecute Ira Magaziner, head of the Task Force Working Group, for perjury.”
‘It seems,” said Dr. Orient, “that some government officials never learn that the cover-up can be worse than the underlying conduct,’’ Judge Lamberth added.

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The Obamacare Disaster

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, September 25th, 2014

This is article 688 of 690 in the topic Healthcare
By Alan Caruba
By far the worst law passed by Congress in 2010 was the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare. It was passed without a single Republican vote and as more Americans experience the higher costs and other aspects of it realize how it has negatively affected their lives, it should eventually be dismembered and ended.
Obamacare is progressivism written large and is an example of earlier examples. Obamacare is a massive drain on government funding, particularly with regard to Medicaid.  Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 and after 47 years they are broke. Their unfunded liabilities are enormous.
Likewise, Social Security, established in 1935 is broke. Fannie Mae came into being in 1938 to encourage home ownership and contributed to the 2008 financial crash along with the banks that were pressured to make “sub-prime” loans to people who lacked the means to pay their mortgages. It had to be bailed out to the tune of millions. The same is true of Freddie Mac, established in 1970.
Time and time again, the programs established out of progressive ideals and purposes have proven to be failures, largely in terms of the unfunded liabilities, now in the trillions, that they have created.
Obamacare is famous for the lies that President Obama told. Thousands lost the medical insurance they had. Thousands lost access to their personal physicians. The Obama administration has continued to lie about it, inflating and including the numbers of “uninsured” it covers by including those who lost their insurance and had to sign up for it.
Stephen T. Parente, the associate dean of Carlson School of Management and director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, in a June Wall Street opinion, warned that “Industry experts and consumers should once again brace for significantly higher premiums.”
“Since premium growth has averaged at least 5% over the past five years, it is unlikely the law’s federal subsidies will increase enough to make up the difference in out-of-pocket premium costs,” predicting that “lower-and-middle income consumers will be forced out of the private insurance market.” He noted that “the steepest increases will not occur until 2017” and, of course, by then Obama will be out of office.
The Detroit Press reported on Sept. 21 that “A significant benefit of the Affordable Care Act is the opportunity to receive money-saving tax credits up front to cut the overall cost of health insurance, but now hundreds of thousands of consumers could owe back some of that money next April.”
“The law’s ‘reinsurance’ program will also expire in 2017. Health insurers will no longer be able to bill the government for 80% of a patient’s healthcare costs when they make more than $45,000 in annual claims.”
The impact of Obamacare on the ability of people to have full-time jobs is already being felt as employers, especially small business operations, have been forced to either fire full-time employees to stay below the limit of fifty or reduce some to a part-time status. This is affecting the ability of smaller businesses to grow and expand.

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Obama’s Ignorance

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

This is article 1006 of 1007 in the topic Obama

By Alan Caruba

From time to time I hear President Obama described as “an evil genius”, but he is neither. He’s not evil. He’s something much worse. He is a fool who thinks he’s a genius.
This is not about his intelligence. No one gets to be President of the United States without some degree of intelligence. One suspects, however, Obama has always relied more on his charm and, initially, on the illusion of his charisma, based on his depiction by an adoring press.
His charisma has disappeared, even among the same press, but most abundantly among the American people of all political persuasions who now regard him as one recent poll put it, the worst President the nation has ever had.
Consider just a few of the ways his lack of judgment has revealed just how foolish he is. It began with foisting Obamacare on a nation deep in an economic crisis. He did this by telling lies about keeping one’s insurance or physician. It worsened as the website turned out to be a disaster and one easily hacked to get the personal information of those who signed on.
His famous “red line” about Syria’s Assad and his use of poison gas let Americans and the rest of the world watch him back off in a day’s time, only to be rescued by Russia that intervened to remove the poison gas, but missing in that action was the realization that Russia has been Assad’s main support. Their action was not an accommodation with the U.S. any more than Obama’s “reset” with them had any effect on their larger strategic objectives in the Middle East.
The Middle East has been quicksand for Obama who thought he could go there, give some speeches, and convince everyone that he was a friend to Islam and his policies would reverse those of George W. Bush. He got elected in 2008 on that promise. In hindsight we know that withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq simply created the circumstances for the Islamic State, ISIS, to emerge. He was surely warned against doing it, but we have a President who does not want to go to war even against enemies who behead our citizens and promise to attack us.
Here, though, is where even those Americans not paying much attention to foreign policy became aware of how vacant Obama’s was. He told them “I don’t have a strategy” regarding ISIS, letting them and the rest of the world that he had not given any attention to an emerging threat. In the Middle East, his decision to side with the Muslim Brotherhood regarding the ouster of Egypt’s dictator was reversed by Egyptians who demanded the removal of his replacement. In Libya he chose to “lead from behind” to topple Gaddafi, leading behind a nation that swiftly fell into divided camps between its tribes.
He has secured the support of Congress to spend a half billion dollars to arm the “moderate” rebels opposing Syria’s Bashar Assad. They will be trained in Saudi Arabia, but it is all too little too late. In an excellent new book, “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership” by Douglas E.

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Some Useful FACTS About Global Warming and Climate Change

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

This is article 332 of 332 in the topic Global Warming
By Alan Caruba
Thanks to Sunday’s Climate March in New York and Tuesday’s Climate Summit at the United Nations, Americans and others will  have been deluged with the lies that have been told to sustain this greatest of all hoaxes.
Here are the known facts. Use them to protect yourself against the Green assault the truth:
# Both the Earth and the Sun pass through natural cycles. The Sun is currently in a cycle of lower radiation as signaled by fewer sunspots representing magnetic storms.
# There is currently no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for 19 years. No child who has passed through K-12 classes in school has experienced a single day of “global warming.”
# Not one computer model that predicted increased warming has been accurate.
# Carbon dioxide, (CO2) blamed for global warming, is not a “pollutant” despite a Supreme Court decision stating this. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% of CO2.
# How can carbon dioxide be called a “pollutant” when it is directly responsible for the growth of all vegetation on the planet? Without CO2 there would not be a single blade of grass or a redwood tree. Or the animal life that depends on vegetation; wheat and rice, for example, as food.
# There is zero evidence that carbon dioxide generated by human activities is causing catastrophic climate change. Climate is measured in centuries or shorter periods of many decades in order to determine its cycles. The weather is what is occurring where you reside and it changes every day.
# At 78% nitrogen is the most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable, unreactive gas. Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere at 21%. Water vapor is the third most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere; it varies up to 5%, It reduces incoming solar radiation by day and reduces surface cooling at night. Carbon dioxide is the least abundant gas in the atmosphere at 0.04%.
# The assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is man-made and an urgent problem is a fiction. In May Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, cited the Zimmerman/Doran survey in which, out of 3,146 respondents, only 79 listed climate science as an area of expertise. Hardly 97%. “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus,” noted Bast.
# In February, Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist, a co-founder of Greenpeace, a militant environmental group which he left in 1986, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.”
# Not only is the Earth not warming, but Heartland Institute analyst, Peter Ferrara, notes that “If you look at the record of global temperature data, you will find that the late 20th Century period of global warming actually lasted about 20 years, from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.

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Blathering Eco-Intellectuals

by Alan Caruba on Monday, September 22nd, 2014

This is article 331 of 332 in the topic Global Warming

By Alan Caruba

I confess I have always been wary of intellectuals. They love arcane theories that often have little to do with real life and this is particularly true of eco-intellectuals who have embraced a panoply of lies and claims about the “environment”, “fossil fuels”, “sustainability”, and other notions that permit them to bloviate without once addressing reality.
This has been a week of eco-propaganda on a global scale. On Sunday there were “Climate Marches.” On Tuesday there will be a UN “Climate Summit”, and there will likely be an avalanche of nonsense in the media intended to make us believe we have control, influence, or impact on the climate when it is obvious to the rest of us that we—the human race—have none.
In the past nearly two decades we have all be experiencing not a warning, but a cooling of planet Earth. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Sun that has been in a low cycle of radiation—less heat!
A friend alerted me to an article in the August 22nd edition of the New Republic, a famously liberal magazine. “Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention” is the title of Amartya Sen’s article. He is a Nobel laureate in economics, a winner of the National Humanities Medal, an author, and teaches at Harvard University.
There were two immediate red flags that caught my attention. First was that he is an economist and the second was that he was writing about “global warming” as of it was happening.
In early September I had written about another economist who had an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal. It was ludicrous in terms of his complete lack of even the most basic science he was either addressing or ignoring as he too warned of horrid environmental portents to come.  Economists should stick to economics.
If you suffer from insomnia or have a fondness for reading sentences filled with words rarely used in common communication, you will find that Sen’s article will either put you to sleep or, more likely, give you a migraine headache. The article is an insufferable platform for him to demonstrate his Nobel certified intellectual brilliance, while possessing very little understanding of science or what we ordinary people call common sense.
“Our global environment has many problems. If the high volume of carbon emission is one, the low level of intellectual engagement with some of the major environmental challenges is surely another.” That’s how Sen began his article and, in the very first sentence, he reveals his ignorance by referring to “carbon emissions” instead of “carbon dioxide” (CO2) emissions.
The latter is a so-called “greenhouse” gas that the Greens keep telling us is trapping huge amounts of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that will surely kill us all. CO2 is about 0.04% of the entire atmosphere, the least of the gases of which it is composed. It doesn’t trap heat, but it does provide the “food” that all vegetation requires to grow. We carbon-based humans exhale CO2 after we breathe in oxygen.

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Prepare for a Deluge of Climate Change Hype

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, September 21st, 2014

This is article 330 of 332 in the topic Global Warming

By Alan Caruba

Despite the several thousands who will participate in a Climate March and the world leaders who will do so in a UN Climate Summit this week, is there anyone who seriously believes that humans have any impact or control over the climate? Or even the weather? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
In utter contempt for the intelligence of people here in the United States and around the world, a Climate Change Summit will be held on Tuesday, September 23rd, by the United Nations, the source of decades of lies about “global warming” and—since the Earth has not warmed in the past 19 years—the new name “climate change.”

To advance this greatest of lies, the lead-up to the event will be a massive march in New York on Sunday, Sept. 21st. The purpose, as David Rothbard of the think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) says, is an avalanche of “Scary doomsday ‘science’ and the need for ‘urgent international action’ backed by a ‘People’s March’ of thousands of radical Green activists in the streets.

CFACT has released “Climate Hype Exposed”, a report that exposes the global warming campaign’s junk science, wasteful policies, and the threat to freedom and prosperity it represents. You can download it

What the mainstream media have largely failed to report were the nine international conferences on climate change sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank. The most recent in July featured 64 speakers from 12 countries, all providing science-based lectures that disputed global warming. Heartland’s “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports are filled with the science that debunks the doomsday scenarios.

Numerous Green groups have been making plans to be in New York for the march. More than 750 organizations are sponsoring the People’s Climate March to coincide with the UN summit. Reportedly it will involve 950 organizations. There will be 63 other events in North America, six in South America, 54 in Europe, 10 in South Asia, and 32 in Australia.

They include, of course, the likes of Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, and lesser known groups like the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network that will be there with the message that “industrialization, fossil fuel combustion, land use change and social and ecological exploitation have compromised the planet’s equilibrium in notable and dire ways.”
This is totally absurd, a matrix of lies that ignores the role that industrialization, the jobs and products it produces; and fossil fuel use, the essential element that provides energy in the form of petroleum to power cars, trucks, and other vehicles, as well, of course, coal that provided half  the electricity on which our entire way of life depends until the Obama administration unleashed a “war” on it.

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Cartoon Round Up

by Alan Caruba on Friday, September 19th, 2014

This is article 20 of 21 in the topic Humorous

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