Why Government Does Not Function – Tea Party Nation

Why Government Does Not Function – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

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

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

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

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

Howard points to a variety of problems that nation is encountering. “America’s electrical grid is out of date—transformers, on average, are about forty years old, and not digitized.” As vital and essential as the grid is to all life in America, “there’s no active plan to rebuild America’s electrical grid. The main reason is that government cannot make the decisions needed to approve it.”

Citing proposals that would allow the Bayonne Bridge to permit the new generation of large container ships clearance that would enable the Port of Newark to remain competitive, it took three years for environmental reviews to clear the project, but as Howard notes, “the average length of environmental review for highway projects, according to a study by the Regional Plan Association, is over eight years.” Eight years!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Can America Survive Obama? – Tea Party Nation

Can America Survive Obama? – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Stupid, Evil or Both? – Tea Party Nation

Stupid, Evil or Both? – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

For a long time now I have been trying to determine whether the Obama administration is stupid, evil or both. In addition to its long list of scandals, its governance of America increasingly looks like and acts as if the power granted to it by two elections exists to intimidate and harass Americans, inflict endless new taxes, and granted it the right to destroy one of the best healthcare systems and military in the world.

Listening to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry constantly talk about the non-existent threat of global warming/climate change is both stupid and evil. There is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for some seventeen years at this point and the supposed “science” they cite—that carbon dioxide emissions will heat the Earth—is utterly bogus, based entirely on computer models that have been wrong from the day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were first used.

In a recent article in Forbes magazine, James Taylor, editor of The Heartland Institute’s Environment and Climate News, noted that “More than 30,000 scientists have signed a summary of the science explaining why humans are not creating a global warming crisis.” He cites several other surveys that confirm that neither scientists nor the public regard global warming/climate change to be a concern.

What should be a major concern, however, is the way the Obama administration has transformed the Internal Revenue Service into an agency to thwart conservative groups from receiving non-profit status to advance their views. The Environmental Protection Agency has been let loose to generate all manner of regulations whose intent is to shut down coal-fired plants that produce electricity and deny the ability to build new ones. The amount of electricity that is being produced from these plants has dropped significantly from the 50% it once was.

The passage of the Affordable Health Care Act—Obamacare—is wreaking havoc on the economy and is the result of the lies told by the President and many Democratic members of Congress who voted for it without even reading it. The nation is suffering from losses of jobs and the reduction of full-time jobs to part-time. Americans are losing their healthcare plans and Obamacare plans have far higher premiums. Individuals and businesses who fail to sign up for one face fines.

This is worse than stupid. It is evil. It is a deliberate attack on the nation’s economic growth, rendering an estimated 100 million Americans without employment and forcing millions to apply for food stamps in order to put food on the table.

While the lies are evil, the stupidity of those like former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is demonstrated by things she has said in recent years.

“It’s almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.”  The nation has a huge borrowing and spending problem that currently adds up to more than $17 trillion in debt. Federal spending (25% of the Gross Domestic Product) is the highest since World War II as is the budget deficit (10% of GDP). The U.S. suffered the first downgrade in its credit rating in its history.

The administration’s “stimulus” program wasted billions on alternative energy companies that often filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. The promise of “green jobs” was as specious as “shovel ready” jobs that even the President admitted did not exist. Nancy Pelosi said at the time that “Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs” but the U.S. population is currently around 317 million total!

This goes well beyond just stupidity. Obama’s, Pelosi’s, Biden’s and other administration member’s statements have been a consistent record of lies and that is evil.

When Obama took office in 2009 America was still regarded as the leading nation in the world in the arena of foreign affairs, but in the years since then nations and non-state enemies such as al Qaeda have concluded that it has demonstrated not just weakness, but dangerous stupidity as seen in its current efforts to negotiate with Iran to cease its quest of nuclear weapons. To this day its leaders still lead chants of “Death to America” and to our only true ally in the Mideast, Israel.

Claims that al Qaeda had been defeated were also false as it and other Islamic radical groups expand their activities.

One can barely find any evidence that the Obama administration has shown any success domestically or in foreign affairs and we still have three more years of it to endure.

The only hope at present is the forthcoming November midterm elections and, if power in the Senate can be acquired by the Republican Party and expanded in the House, efforts to thwart the deliberate destruction of the nation can be enacted. We have been living with a President who has refused to negotiate with Congress and with a Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who has blocked debates and votes on any of the legislation initiated in the House.

The nation is just months away from either further decline or a reversal of policies that are either stupid or evil or both.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Democratic Party Panic – Tea Party Nation

Democratic Party Panic – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

On December 28th, the Democratic National Committee sent an email to “Obama for America” supporters. The subject line was “Impeachment.”

“What do these people have in common?” asked the text as it quoted Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, Rep. Kerry Bentivivolio of Michigan, and Rep. Blake Farenhold of Texas, all of whom discussed the possibility of impeaching Obama, citing instances of official misconduct. The DNC said, “Republicans are actually excited about the idea.”

Ten days earlier, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, had sent an email to supporters updating them on the party’s strategy to win elections in 2014. “What you need is good strategy, smart people, and ideas you’re proud to stand behind…” The one thing missing from the email was the mention of a single idea. No mention of Obamacare, amnesty, or any other Democratic policy.

When I visited Democratic.org on December 29, the website was telling members that “The economy could face a credit downgrade if Republicans continue to threaten to default on our loans.”  No mention of the first such downgrade in the history of the nation which occurred during Obama’s first term and was a response to the nearly six trillion dollars he had added to the nation’s debt.

Under the headline “Dirtier”, the DNC claimed that “All the gains we’ve made for our environment, like two million acres of preserved land and rivers will be on the line.”  That’s right, Republicans want dirtier air and water, and the way to protect the nation is to ensure that millions of acres cannot be used by Americans, especially if there is lots of coal or oil is under those acres. According to Wikipedia, “As of March 2012, out of the 2.27 billion acres in the country, about 28% of the total was owned by American citizens represented by the National Federal government according to the Interior Department. That’s right, more than a quarter of all the landmass of the nation is owned by the federal government.

The headline “Less Fair” was followed by “Our voter protection efforts and workplace equality work will be undone” but it is Democrats who oppose any state effort to pass laws that require proof of citizenship or even residency. And, under “Less Healthy” it accused all who want to “’Repeal Obamacare’. Need we say more?” Apparently a law that deprives you of your personal physician and imposes higher costs on government-approved healthcare insurance plans is a good thing.

Not only are we witnessing a full scale panic in the Democratic National Committee, we can read just how devoid of any truth and any sense any of their policies are. If a few Republicans in Congress had a passing comment on impeaching President Obama, it comes as no surprise whatever.

In late December, Forbes magazine published an article by Ira Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. The title was “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Shapiro didn’t even have to go back any further to include others during his first term.

Among those cited was Obama’s delay of out-of-pocket caps, a change that requires actual legislation. Similarly, the delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate was cited because, if Obamacare is the “law of the land”, such changes require action by Congress. Several other changes to Obamacare by the President were cited for the same reason.

Political profiling by the IRS was cited such as an internal BOLO, “Be on the lookout”. for organizations engaged in political activities, citing “Tea Party”, “Patriots” and “Israel” as words to identify them. The targeting continued through May 2013 until it was exposed.

What Republicans and independents know and Democrats do not want to acknowledge is that Obamacare is, to use its most frequent description, “a disaster.” Many suspect that Obama was and is ineligible to be President. The birth certificate put forward by the White House has been declared a forgery. His Social Security number is suspect. It is common knowledge that his college records are all sealed even though he may have applied for admission as a “foreign student.”

So, yes, the Democratic National Committee has a lot to hide about the President and its support for legislation and regulations based on “climate change” and other liberal notions that lack the knowledge of science and warp its practice. It continues to advocate spending billions, if not trillions, the U.S. does not have. And, finally, the President’s foreign policies—not mentioned in its emails or on its website—have been a dismal failure, making the world more dangerous.

The Democratic Party has one thing going for it—the mainstream media. In the Sunday before the New Year, the New York Times published a 7,000-word article claiming that the attack on the Benghazi consulate where our ambassador and three others were killed was not related to al Qaeda. In the words of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?” Answer: A lot. This “newspaper” is the U.S. equivalent of Pravda during the days of Stalin.

In November, Americans have the opportunity to remove Democratic Senators and Representatives who voted for Obamacare and replace them with candidates who believe the Constitution means what it says.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

(IBD) NYT Revives Benghazi Video Lie To Save Hillary – Tea Party Nation

(IBD) NYT Revives Benghazi Video Lie To Save Hillary – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Daniel John Sobieski

Benghazi: The attempt to rehabilitate Hillary Clinton begins as the New York Times revives the long-ago debunked “video clip” excuse for the well-planned Benghazi massacre while denying documented al-Qaida involvement.

These days it’s all the news that is fit to be made up that graces the pages of the once-proud Gray Lady that has morphed from a self-proclaimed “newspaper of record” to the house organ for the Obama administration.

The latest example is a piece on the Benghazi terrorist attack of Sept. 10, 2010, titled, “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.” It resembles the infamous White House talking points — on steroids.

The Times tries to present a truth from a parallel universe that it claims is somewhere between the Obama administration’s long-repeated claim that “the video, which was posted on YouTube, inspired spontaneous street protests that got out of hand” and the version “favored by Republicans, (that) holds that (U.S. Ambassador Chris) Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by al-Qaida to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before.”

Then, in a spasm of journalistic doublespeak, the Times proclaims “Benghazi was not infiltrated by al-Qaida, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.”

The Times goes on to describe then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s recitation of the edited talking points on five Sunday talk shows as simply a “misstatement” and not a lie agreed upon.

 

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/123013-684596-ny-times-rev…

Obama’s Iranian Negotiations are Another Disaster – Tea Party Nation

Obama’s Iranian Negotiations are Another Disaster – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

The headline of the lead, page one article in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, November 8 was “U.S., Iran Close In on Nuclear Deal” with a sub-headline “West Set to Ease Some Financial Sanctions in Exchange for Tehran Freezing Most Advance Work.’ Secretary of State John Kerry cut short a visit to Middle East states, including Israel, returning to Geneva where the deal was reportedly close to being signed.

We now know that Obama began to ease financial sanctions before the latest negotiations began. He did so secretly.

Shades of “Munich” and the infamous 1938 deal with the Nazi regime that a British Prime Minister promised would bring “peace in our time.” That level of naiveté resulted in World War Two which began a year later when Germany invaded Poland after negotiating a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union that was itself later invaded.

You don’t make deals with rogue nations. They never keep their word. One example is North Korea, a nuclear nation. Another is Iran that intends to be a nuclear nation.

It’s not as if Americans and the rest of the world don’t already know that Barack Obama’s word is as worthless as his Iranian counterparts or that Iran does not already have a long record of aggressive behavior. They just celebrated the 34th anniversary of their hostage-taking of U.S. diplomats in 1979, complete with crowds in Tehran shouting “Death to America.”  Not even the Geneva negotiations were reason enough to throttle back on the public display of their hatred of the U.S.

For reasons known only to Obama, he has wanted to conclude a deal—any kind of deal—with the Iranians since taking office and by “Iranians” I mean the two centers of power, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leaders, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The latter is utterly opposed to any slowdown in the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Suffice to say, there have been many who have counseled against dealing with either one, not the least of which is, of course, Israel, followed closely by Saudi Arabia, two longtime allies of the U.S. who are being betrayed. And know it.

In 2009 when protesters filled the streets of Tehran to resist the totalitarian regime, President Obama choose to remain on the sidelines, saying he saw no point in “meddling” in the Iran’s affairs while the protesters shouted, “Obama, are you with us or against us?”

One expert on Iran, Ali Alfoneh, advises that the most dangerous approaches to take with IRGC commanders are “compromise and silence.” He cited the 2007 seizure and detention of British soldiers off the Iran-Iraq coast, to which I would add the seizure of three American hikers in 2009 who were held for two years. Then there was the 2011 attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., all of which were largely met with silence from the West.

Currently, Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen has been imprisoned in Iran since his arrest in June 2012 during a visit. He is a convert to Christianity and, in Iran, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty.

Joining the U.S. in the current negotiations are foreign ministers from Britain, France, and Germany. Writing in the November 7 National Review Online, Benjamin Weinthal, a fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted that “From the beginning of Iran’s nuclear talks with the U.S. and Europe, the country has managed to win delays and move their weapons program closer to the point of breakout. A deal that does not fully remove Iran’s capability, including its 18,000 centrifuges, to produce a nuclear weapon will endanger U.S. security.”

It poses an even greater threat to Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East region, none of whom want to deal with a nuclear Iran. The current negotiations and any deal that results from them would signal, says Weinthal, “the withering away of our opposition to the regime due to fatigue.”

Fatigue may be a factor, but there was a time when the U.S. waged the Cold War with the then-Soviet Union from 1945 to its collapse in 1991. We could surely hold out against Iran if we had a President with the will and the wisdom to do so. We don’t.

Just as virtually every domestic and foreign effort and policy by the Obama administration has met with failure, I sense that the U.S.-Iran deal stems from Obama’s strong desire to withdraw from having to deal with any of the Middle East nations as if they were an irritant that he wants to ignore. A deal, however, would give Obama a “success” of any kind to divert attention from the Obamacare debacle.

The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has been a disaster for that nation. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is scheduled to be complete in 2014. Obama’s “red line” with Syria disappeared with his empty threat to bomb that nation following its use of poison gas; only Russia’s intervention made possible the destruction of those weapons. Meanwhile, Iran continues to provide conventional weapons to Syria’s regime and to maintain two anti-Israel Palestinian groups, Hezbollah and Hamas.

A deal with Iran, filled with concessions to a nation desperate to get various international sanctions removed, may yet–as of this writing–fall through. The French are reportedly not enthusiastic and the Iranians are reportedly putting forth demands that are not likely to be met. It is sufficient to say that It would be impossible to confirm any compliance from the regime.

Writing in the Ottawa Citizen on November 5, Sheryl Saperia, the Director of Policy for Canada at the Foundation of Democracies, advised that “The first step to maintain and even strengthen sanctions against the regime. Tighter sanctions could slow down the rate at which Iran is acquiring breakout capability and provide more time for the West to construct a coherent plan. In the best-case scenario, increasing sanctions would cause enough economic pain to compel the Iranian regime to surrender its nuclear program outright.”

Last Thursday, speaking of the Geneva accords, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “adopting them is a mistake of historic proportions.”

History is often a record of mistakes made in the face of aggression and evidence of duplicity. The Geneva accords with Iran would fulfill Netanyahu’s warning.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

A Useless Obama Addresses the Useless United Nations – Tea Party Nation

A Useless Obama Addresses the Useless United Nations – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know who looked more pathetic when President Obama addressed the United Nations Assembly on Tuesday; him or the assembled ambassadors, many from nations where human rights, justice, and liberty don’t exist. Like the League of Nations before it, the United Nations has long since demonstrated how useless it is.

Founded in 1945, by 2003 just before the U.S. received the UN blessing to invade Iraq there had been 291 wars resulting in 22 million deaths at that point. We would stay in Iraq until 2011.

Since 2003, there have been conflicts in the Central African Republic, Yemen, an insurgency in South Thailand, a civil war in Chad from 2005 to 2010, a conflict between the Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas, a war in Somalia from 2006-2009, and in 2008 Russia invaded Georgia, seizing part of its territory. In 2010-11 there was an Ivorian civil war. Et cetera!

In the years since 2003, the largest war of all has been the effort to eradicate the global Islamic jihad.

The U.S., while not engaged militarily, has been in a technical state of war with Iran since our diplomats were seized in 1979 and there has been no formal resolution to the war between North and South Korea, only a ceasefire. The Israelis have fought several wars since its founding in 1948 and remains in a state of war with Gaza; territory it ceded to the Palestinians in a fruitless quest called “land for peace.”

Listening to the President request that the UN Security Council pass a resolution threatening “consequences” against the Syrian regime if it does not give up its chemical weapons, I was struck by how weak the once greatest superpower, America, has become. To his credit, Obama said, “If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic international laws.”

True. But the UN has a long history of not enforcing its own Charter or its Declaration of Human Rights.

As 2013 began, fifty UN member states had yet to have paid their dues for its 2012 budget. The United States, the largest contributor, had been assessed $568 million. Nine nations contribute about 70% of the budget. They include Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, and China.

There is nothing the UN does that cannot be done by individual and independent international organizations. In so many ways, the UN either does not solve problems or is an integral part of them. For example the UN has maintained the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), created in 1949 exclusively for Palestinian refugees. Several generations later, the support it provides does not take into account the refusal of the Palestinians to cease from demanding the destruction of the Israeli state.

When not ignoring various conflicts, the UN keeps busy creating various treaties whose purpose is to centralize power in the UN. It is hard to say which one is the worst, but the Convention of the Seas deserves to be high on the list as an attack on national sovereignty. There’s a treaty that would take away everyone’s guns—like that’s going to happen—and one intended to get people to stop smoking.

The UN has been a congenial gathering place for many of the world’s dictators and some of their nations have served on its Human Rights Council, turning it into a complete mockery of human rights. Its Middle East clique of nations wants to make it an international crime to say anything critical about Islam.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming, was directed from the UN via its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One cannot even begin to calculate the billions wasted since the 1980s, nor the man-hours of serious scientific research that was diverted to it since then.

In addition to the President’s devotion to the lies about “climate change”, Obama’s address to the General Assembly only demonstrated how delusional about international affairs he has been before and since assuming office in 2009.

“Together we’ve also worked to end a decade of war. Five years ago nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in harm’s way, and the war in Iraq was the dominant issue in our relationship with the rest of the world,” Obama said. “Today, all of our troops have left Iraq. Next year, an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of Al Qaida that attacked us on 9/11.” Both nations are in the process of imploding.

Given the past week’s events in Nairobi, Kenya, the church bombing in Pakistan, and the continuing attacks on U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, does anyone believe that the mission of dismantling the core of al Qaeda has been achieved?

This is, after all, a President who could only manage to get France to support his original intention to bomb Syria by way of achieving regime change. None of our traditional allies expressed any support and the UN remains stranded on the sidelines.

No one wants to follow the Commander-in-Chief into battle and with good reason. He has a record of retreating from combat. He still wants to close Guantanamo.

“We’re no longer in a Cold War”, he told the delegates, but what we have learned over the past five years is that, just because he believes his own delusions, that doesn’t mean they’re reflect reality. We are in Cold War 2.0 with Russia even if he doesn’t think so. Putin went out of his way to mock him. Prospects for any successful negotiations with Iran don’t exist, but don’t tell Obama that.

Thanks to his speech writers, Obama always manages to say the “right things.” What we know, however, is that while he can talk-the-talk, he cannot walk-the-walk. What we know about the United Nations is that it should be told to leave the U.S. and its headquarters turned into condominiums. We are surely not getting any value for the money we have pumped into the UN.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

The Million Muslim March on 9/11 – Tea Party Nation

The Million Muslim March on 9/11 – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

There is more than a little irony that September 11th is designated Patriot Day when the Obama administration has made it clear what it really thinks of patriots.

It is astonishing and frightening how many Americans have been identified as “potential terrorists” or “extremists” by various elements of the government. Michael Snyder found 72 types of Americans fall into this category and they include “anti-gay”, “anti-immigrant”, “members of the Christian Action Network”, anyone who is a “general right-wing extremist”, and many others, any one of which probably includes you. Many patriot organizations such as those affiliated with the Tea Party movement have been thwarted from securing tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.

In the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001, Patriot Day was signed into law on December 18, 2001 to commemorate those who lost their lives at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a third hijacked flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.

So, naturally, a group called the American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) has been granted permission to hold a “Million Muslim March” in Washington, D.C. on September 11th. AMPAC claims that Muslims have been “victimized by being made the villains” and “to this day every media outlet and anti-Islamic organization has committed slanderous and libel statements against us as Muslims and our religion of Islam.”

On August 20th, the Center for Security Policy, using data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, published “Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009, Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims: Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization.” The Center analyzed the data and found that, from 2000 through 2009, “Jewish victims of hate crimes outnumbered Muslim victims by about six to one.” Subsequent FBI statistics for 2010 and 2011 showed a rate of Jewish to Muslim victims of about five to one. Overall, however, the number of hate crimes reported is low.

If 9/11 has had a negative impact on the Muslim community in America, it is hard to arrive at that conclusion based on the FBI statistics and, in February, USA Today reported that the “Number of U.S. mosques up 74% since 2000.”

“While protests against new mosques in New York, Tennessee and California made headlines”, USA Today reported, “the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.”

The conclusion was based on a study by the Hartford Institute for Religious Research (Hartford Seminary), the Association for Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, as well as the nation’s largest Islamic civic and religious groups, including the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

This is hardly a picture of Islamic repression in America. Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society said that, despite fears of being “marginalized, demonized and isolated”, the study revealed that Muslims have “kept their eyes on the prize, becoming part of mainstream America.” Most mosques are in cities, but 28% were in the suburbs by 2010.

In 2010, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted a survey that found the Muslim population was approximately 2.6 million. A 2011 survey found 2.75 Muslims in the U.S., of whom 1.8 were adults.

Reportedly, AMPAC has not had much success signing up Muslims to march in Washington, D.C., but the very idea of such an event on the anniversary of 9/11 is a window into Islam a triumphalist religion well known for building its mosques on the sites of former Christian churches and Jewish synagogues. This was evident in 2010 when a Muslim group announced it intended to build a mosque close to the site of the former Twin Towers called Park51. It sparked vigorous debate, but to date the project has not gone forward. Muslims continue to lay claim to Jerusalem. Wherever Islam conquered, even if eventually forced to leave, Muslims assert ownership.

As the twelfth anniversary of 9/11 occurs, Muslims throughout the Middle East continue to drive Christians from nations in which they have lived, often for centuries. The effort of the Muslim Brotherhood to regain control of Egypt was accompanied by the wholesale destruction of Coptic Christian churches and attacks on Coptic businesses, homes, and individuals.

While America has long had a tradition of religious tolerance, that is a two-way street and the evidence of Islamic intolerance is vast. A Christian minister is under a death sentence in Iran as this is written. Christians in the Middle East are being killed and their churches burned. The Islamic conflict between Sunnis and Shiites afflicts the entire Middle East, resulting in bombings in Iraq and underlying the conflict in Syria.

We know who the enemy is. Militant Islam threatens us no less than Nazism in the last century. The American Muslim Political Action Committee is the enemy within our borders, along with other comparable groups. Do not be deceived. Do not let down your guard. Remember 9/11.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

An Unconstitutional Military Strike – Tea Party Nation

An Unconstitutional Military Strike – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

I don’t know why the White House doesn’t just send Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a map of where it intends to attack with Tomahawk and other missiles. The bottom line, however, is that this much heralded military adventure is unconstitutional. The President has no authority to initiate the use of the military against Syria.

This has not stopped presidents from engaging the nation in wars, but the last declaration of war, as specified in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11, occurred on December 11, 1941 against Germany as a response to its formal declaration of war against the United States. Three days earlier Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor initiating a state of war.

As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, “Unless fending off a physical invasion or attack, the president is required to get a Congressional declaration of war before engaging in military hostilities in another country.”

Let us be clear about this. Syria has not declared war on the United States and, while the use of gas goes against an international convention against it, the Assad regime has already killed 100,000 Syrians in a civil war. Nor is Syria the only nation in the Middle East known to have used gas. Saddam Hussein gassed several thousand Kurds in Halabja, Iraq in 1988 and used it in his eight-year war against Iran. The West’s response was to do nothing except to condemn it.

As Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, points out, “Warfare is a very serious business whose first imperative is to deploy forces to win—rather than to punish, make a statement, establish a symbolic point, or preen about one’s morality.”

President Obama’s first mode of governance is to make a speech and then to assume the problem is solved. From his very first speech in Cairo in 2009, those in charge in the Middle East interpreted his policies as weakness.

When President Clinton lobbed a few missiles by way of retaliation for al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, Osama bin Laden concluded the U.S. was weak and set about planning the two attacks on the Twin Towers.

Dr. Pipes warns that “Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States.”

The Wall Street Journal opined that “there is no good outcome in Syria until Assad and his regime are gone. Military strikes that advance that goal—either by targeting Assad directly or crippling his army’s ability to fight—deserve the support of the American people and our international partners. That’s not what the Administration has in mind.”

What Obama has in mind is a symbolic attack in much the same way killing bin Laden was both necessary and symbolic. In making the announcement Obama declared “Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad,” adding that ”As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.”

Islam, however, is at war with the United States and the West. That is the declared aim of both al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The war in Syria is a civil war. There is no good outcome no matter whether the Assad regime wins or is overthrown. There is no strategic or tactical victory to be achieved by the United States in either case. Simply punishing the regime for using gas achieves nothing except to expend several million dollars’ worth of missiles.

The Tenth Amendment Center points out that “As they did in the war against Libya, those violating these strict constitutional limitations will like refer to an attack on Syria as something other than ‘war.’ But, changing the words they use to describe their actions doesn’t change the constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, a war is a war whether you call it a war or something else.”

The time is long past when America must address whether our military interventions in the Middle East have demonstrated any success. To date, they have not. The majority of Americans are opposed to an attack on Syria and both the Constitution and the collected wisdom of the public argue strongly against it.

We are, however, too far down the road thanks to the administration’s declared intention to do so. War it has been said is to be an extension of politics. We will witness a political gesture and one that is intended to demonstrate Obama is a leader internationally and domestically. He is neither.

It will be an attack on the constitutional powers of Congress as much as an attack on Syria.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

I’ve Got the Obama Blues – Tea Party Nation

I’ve Got the Obama Blues – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

I have a case of the Obama blues, a nagging depression that is exacerbated daily by having to listen to the endless lies he tells about everything when he isn’t blaming Congress, the Republicans, and everyone else for the horrid state of the economy and his rejection of the leadership America demonstrated through both World Wars and since.

Listening to Obama say that he intends to ignore Congress and selectively not enforce the laws it passes is such a serious threat to the Constitution and to our most fundamental freedoms that it is impossible not to be depressed by this grossly incompetent, historically ignorant, and pathologically narcissistic president.

The Republican Party seems to be suffering from the same ailment, but one bit of good news was the recent gathering of Republicans that showed some gumption when they voted to reject CNN and NBC as primary debate hosts, given their announced intention to air dramas whose only intention is to re-write Hillary Clinton’s history of failed policy making.

The old go-along-to-get-along GOP senators and representatives undermine the other elements, chiefly the Tea Party Republicans elected to bring a stop to Obama’s destruction of the economy and their party. They are joined in this by a former, but strangely quiet element, the evangelicals concerned with social issues, and independents who lean toward conservative policies.

The fact that the mainstream media, with a few exceptions, are little more than the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party adds to the general feeling of being up against forces that undermine the well-being of the nation. It is depressing to see how the scandal of the Benghazi attack has been swept under the carpet. It is depressing to know that the “newspaper of record”, The New York Times is just a communist rag, but one that sets the agenda every day for most of the rest of the news media.

Adding to my unhappiness is the knowledge that Obamacare is now the law of the land despite being a complete disaster that is killing jobs, driving physicians to leave the profession, imposing death panels, and increasing the cost of health insurance for everyone. Recall the avalanche of Obama’s lies that we could keep our personal doctor and not have to change our insurance provider. The illegal delay in implementing one element and the many politically inspired waivers are testimony to the way this bill is already a monumental failure.

Knowing that the government can and probably will monitor all my electronic communications—emails and telephone calls—is depressing; particularly since it ignores the Fourth Amendment. Tyranny is just around the corner if limits and oversight are not vigorously applied to the NSA and God knows who else is doing this.

The President has surrounded himself with men and women who demonstrate such contempt for the public that I find that depressing too. Whether it is the new director of the Environmental Protection Agency or the new Secretary of the Interior, the message is the same. If you don’t spout global warming/climate change lies, you are not welcome to work for these and other government agencies. Their attitude says that, if the thousands of new regulations being generated will harm the economy, we don’t care. We are not public servants; we are the President’s appointees.

For someone who has spent most of his life during America’s ascendency as a superpower and seen presidents from both parties demonstrate leadership that brought the former Soviet Union to its knees and encouraged a booming economy, it is particularly galling to watch a man who has said in so many ways that he does not like America, does not like its military, does not care about the ancient tradition of marriage, does not want to take steps to stem the traffic of illegal aliens, would eliminate the Second Amendment in a hot minute, and would far prefer to take another vacation and play along round of golf than shoulder the responsibilities of the presidency.

He knows the news media will protect him. He knows that adding more and more Americans to welfare programs such as food stamps makes them dependent on the government, He knows that Americans are too beset with their own problems, paying their mortgage or rent, raising children, and dealing with the rising cost of living, to devote much time or attention to what he is doing to them and the nation.

Ours is a nation with a short-term memory and, in too many cases, no memory or knowledge at all of our history and the values that lifted us to former greatness.

The Obama blues are the result of two elections with very bad results; elections that very well may have been stolen by the kind of chicanery we associate with “Chicago politics” in a state that keeps putting its governors and elected representatives in jail.

The sadness that invades my days comes from knowing that this feckless, Marxist ideologue and fan of Islam is quite literally ruining the lives of millions of American, old and young, destroying and delaying their dreams and plans.

There is a cure for the Obama blues. It is citizen participation in the forthcoming 2014 midterm elections that could maintain and expand Republican control of the House, and return it to power in the Senate. There is no other option.

Failing that, Obama will have no brake on his “fundamental transformation” of America into a banana republic.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

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