Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Great Panjandrum of Pundits ... Alan Caruba

The Great Panjandrum of Pundits

By Alan Caruba

It’s a little known event, perhaps because its participants want it that way, but as the new year is poised to begin, the Grand Panjandrum of Pundits gathered at an undisclosed location for their annual review of all the predictions they made regarding things that did not occur, all the events that did occur—taking them by complete surprise, and to exchange notes on their thoughts regarding 2012.

The philosopher Aristotle had it right when he said “Stuff happens.”

This particularly applied to the third year of Barack Hussein Obama’s extended vacation as President of the United States of America. He ended the year comparing himself to previous presidents whose shoes he is not fit to shine and whose bathwater he is ill equipped to draw.

On January 2, 2010, I wrote that I thought Obama’s life, at least in the chronology and facts that were presented to the public, was a pure fiction, make believe.  By then Americans had experienced a year’s worth of ineptitude that left anyone paying any attention astonished. It was just one blunder after another.

Even more astonishing is that no court, no one in Congress, and no one in the Republican Party has dared to say that the man was and remains ineligible to be President. Plenty of other people have said it. My friend, Dr. Jerome Corsi, wrote a whole book about it; two in fact.

The glaring truth that no one wants to address is the fact that his father was a citizen of Kenya and, as such, the terms of the U.S. Constitution which require that only “natural born” citizens—those whose both parents are U.S. citizens—can hold the office of President.

When you add in the serious doubts over the authenticity of his birth certificate—declared a fake by document experts and the dubious authenticity of his Social Security number, issued in Connecticut where he never worked a day in his life, and you have enough evidence to send him packing in less than 24-hours.

Even so, the Democratic Party will put him on the ballot again to run for office in 2012. The legality of this is no more likely to be challenged than it was in 2008, though some are trying. The Grand Panjandrum of Pundits was left to scratch their heads and mumble about the strangeness of this.

There was one thing they agreed upon. Barack Hussein Obama is the worst President the nation has ever had to endure.

No other president even comes close. He is the first to preside over the first U.S. sovereign debt downgrade in American history.

He has been responsible for the highest level of federal spending (25% of GDP) since World War Two and, in a comparable fashion, the highest level of federal debt (67% of GDP) since then as well.

Employment is the lowest since 1983 and long-term unemployment (45.9%) is the highest since the 1930s, the years of the Great Depression.

The rate of home ownership (59.7%) is the lowest since 1965 and the percentage of taxpayers paying income tax is the lowest in the modern era. At the same time, the level of government dependency (47%), those persons receiving one ore more federal benefit payments, is the highest in American history.

Obama and his economic advisors have achieved this in just three years while others in his administration were authorizing millions in loan guarantees to “Green” companies going bankrupt with alarming predictability or producing heavily subsidized products that no one wanted to purchase. Others we’re told were unaware of a Department of Justice program to run guns to drug cartels in Mexico. Plans to shut down Gitmo were quietly shelved. The Bush-Cheney policies were quietly extended.

Within twenty-four hours of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Baghdad was besieged by bombings while the prime minister was busy trying to arrest and indict the vice president. You cannot make up stuff like this.

We are now mere months away from the Supreme Court hearing a case regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare. It is normal for judges who have had any previous involvement in a case or those close to it to recuse themselves from participating, but the Obama administration is so marked by a lack of ethics that his former Solicitor General Elena Kagan, now an Associate Justice, has still not announced her decision.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Obamacare, the federal government can require you to spend your money on things you do not want and may not need.

This is why the Grand Panjandrum of Pundits ended in a state of mass confusion and despair. Just like it did in 2010.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
 Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews. To visit his Facebook page, click here For information on his professional skills, is the place to visit.

Friday, December 30, 2011



A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

There is speculation all over the Internet that Biden is out and Hillary is in as Vice-President.  All this is projected to happen in time for the full-out Presidential Campaign in 2012.

Oh, theorists say that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton will actually swap jobs – Hillary to Vice-President and Biden to Secretary of State.
Yesterday, I went to my favorite barbershop for my too frequent haircut, and that was the topic of conversation.  There was no shock.  There was no concern.  There was nothing but the collective conclusion that Obama would do anything to win… including putting his former arch-adversary on the ticket with him.

The whole thing springs from a piece by Robert Reich entitled: “Get Ready For An Obama-Clinton Presidential Ticket.”  You will find it HERE.

Reich says:  "My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that."

As far-fetched as it may sound, at first, after thinking about it for a few minutes, I can see where Mr. Reich may, indeed, have a point.  But, what I don’t get is why the seeming panic in the Obama camp? 

I must be the only commentator on the right who thinks Obama stands an excellent chance of winning another term in November of 2012.  As excruciating to my friends on the right to hear such prognostications coming from a fellow conservative – there it is.

My reasoning is this (and I have said it ad nausium):  I am simply not convinced the GOP has a candidate currently running who stands a snowballs chance in Hades of beating Obama in 2012.  It has been a very long time; in fact, in my lifetime (over 7 decades) I cannot remember a weaker GOP ticket going up against an incumbent President – especially one with weak poll numbers.

The number one complaint I hear from fellow republicans is -- we have no one running, I can vote for.”  Granted, I’m in the southern part of the United States and maybe it is a “southern thing” – but, honestly, I don’t think so.

I just do not see Romney doing well in the south.  Once the primaries move into the southern tier of states, I expect Gingrich to begin picking up a few states.  Of course, his recent decline in the polls would indicate otherwise.

I mean, just stand back, and take an objective look at the GOP candidates.  The GOP’s favorite son is, without doubt, Romney.  But the record so far indicated by the polls is that the party and the voters do not share that admiration for Romney – especially in the South. 

When you consider the way voters have gone through the GOP candidates, one by one, it is clear the electorate is in an “anybody but Romney” mood. Well, maybe “anybody” is too strong.  Maybe it should be “SOMEBODY” other than Romney.

Conservative voter in my neck of the woods are STILL searching for a candidate they can get behind.  And, frankly, they have come to resent the GOP’s obvious and persistent promotion of Romney.  An angry electorate is not good for the party, especially when that anger is directed at the GOP and not at the democrat candidate. 

The enthusiasm is simply not there, and that spells HUGE trouble for the GOP at the polls in November.

It ought to tell you something when a candidate, Mr. Romney, has been running for President for fully five years and he STILL has not been able to win over the electorate in numbers that would translate into a victory in November of 2012.

Southern conservatives see Mr. Romney as a northeastern liberal-to-moderate candidate acceptable to voters in the northern tier of states but distinctly unpalatable where the word “conservative” seems to mean something entirely different than it does in the North. 

Those southern votes that support Obama’s leftist/socialist agenda are already aboard Obama’s campaign.  It will make very little difference to them whether Joe Biden remains as Obama’s running mate or he is replaced with Hillary Clinton.  They are going to vote for Obama – period.  They are, as we say, a lock.

There is no candidate in the GOP stable with a lock on the electorate and that would seem to hold true in a huge portion of the United States.

Nothing I have seen and heard, so far, has changed my belief that Romney, if chosen, will lose, and lose convincingly, to Obama in November 2012.

J. D. Longstreet                   

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Israel Shouldn’t Ask Obama for “Permission”

Israel Shouldn’t Ask Obama for “Permission”

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Israel doesn’t trust the Obama Administration.  That is plain. Israel is right not to do so.

There is no love lost between Israel’s government and the Obama administration. 

Somehow, the Obama Administration seems to have the mistaken opinion that Israel is a satellite state of America.  It isn’t. 

When America’s government continues to fly  representatives of the US State Department and the Pentagon into Israel with dictatorial attitudes and demanding Israel do things the Obama way and even demanding that Israel ask permission from the Obama Administration before they mount a raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, you’d better believe the Israeli government is PO’ed.  In fact there are reports that Israel has filed a “demarche” with the US.  A demarche is a formal protest.  It is rare between “friends.”

Israel should not ask permission or even alert Washington when they execute the raid on Iran.  That is the nature of a secret operation.  You tell no one – period.  You certainly do not tell a government you don’t trust to keep the secret.

It has been a while since America has had such an amateurish foreign policy team.  They bring to mind the “gang who couldn’t shoot straight.”

Israel is well advised to stir as clear of the US State Department as it possibly can. The Department of Defense, under the Obama Administration, is not much better.

Israel is the only friend America has in the Middle East and Obama is losing that friend.  At times, it seems intentional.   One would think Obama is seeking to make it clear to the Islamic nations in the region that Israel is on its own. In more ways than one, Obama has made it obvious that he favors the Islamic nations over Israel. 

One look at the Islamic nations of the Middle East today and you quickly see the entire region is in flames – except for Israel. So much for Obama’s favor.

America’s extremely vocal President, early on in his term in office, made the decision to talk to Iran.  Apparently he had convinced himself that his oratorical skills would just melt the Iranians and he, Obama, would be the “Great Peacemaker” in the Middle East.  Well, that worked our just swell, didn’t it? 

One of the first things you learn on the playground of grade school is that you cannot negotiate with bullies.  You have to overpower them, one way, or the other.  Oftimes that means meeting violence with violence.  Reluctance to actually use violence against a bully will certainly guarantee one’s submission to the bully.  Having said that, it is interesting to note that Islam means “submission.” 

The on-going sabotage efforts by Israel’s Mossad and America’s various spy agencies, have had limited success.  It should be understood that those efforts are not going to bring Iran’s march toward acquiring a nuclear bomb to a halt.  At best those efforts will only slow the program.  But the threat remains and is, in fact, growing.

It is extremely difficult for Americans to accept that the recent American bellicosity framed as “warnings” to Iran by the Obama Administration are sincere.   If Americans don’t believe them, then how on earth can we expect the Iranians to believe them?  Even US government experts have been reported as opining that when the balloon goes up, they simply do not know how Obama will react.

Obama is quickly running out of options.  The threatened oil embargo now appears to be useless when sympathizing countries promise Iran they will make up the difference.  The string is about to run out for Obama and his promises.

The final option is a military strike to cripple or destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.  That strike will be carried out by the US, Israel, or both.

It would be wrong for America to stand on the sidelines and allow the destruction of Israel and maybe a few eastern European nations to boot – especially when it can be avoided.

America cannot afford to alienate Israel.  We need Israel just as they need us.

J. D. Longstreet

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Iranians Seem Ignorant of US Military Power

Iranians Seem Ignorant of US Military Power 

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Over the holidays I took time to visit a few Middle Eastern websites and read the reports of Iran’s latest naval war games.  I also read a number of comments on those sites.  I must tell you I was shocked by the comments left by those purporting to be, well, Iranians, or supporters of Iran.  Actually, the comments I read overwhelmingly demonstrated the hatred held in the region for America.  THAT is NOT what shocked me. 

We have read often of the “educated people” of Iran.  Supposedly a Middle Eastern country with a populace better educated than many, if not most, of her neighbors   After my visits to their websites, I have extreme doubt about their education in so far as it pertains to world affairs, especially anything having to do with America, American history, the American character, and/or the American military prowess.

I suppose when one lives in a closed society, like Iran, and when that society is ruled over by a group of extreme fundamentalist clerics, where life is cheap, and one is taught one’s life belongs to the mullahs and only your death has value, then wild, extreme, statements concerning the certain destruction of America (and Israel) is what passes for manliness.

It is really sad to see a people whose lives are so devoid of meaning and so filled with hate that they are willing to destroy themselves and their entire country in an attempt to prove, what, exactly?  To prove they are really BAD men?  To prove they are masculine in the extreme?  To prove their love for some god called Allah?  To prove they had rather be dead than alive?

All the bellicose threats coming out of Iran these days is only hurting Iran.  Theirs is the sort of speech that ignites wars. Theirs are the kinds of actions that will bring the wrath of the entire world down on their heads.

Most everyone knows that if you poke a tiger with a stick long enough and often enough, eventually it will tire of your sport and simply devour you.  Everyone knows that -- but Iran.

Look.  If Iran is planning on going to war with the US -- and expecting China and Russia to back them to the hilt -- they are in for a very rude awakening.  Russia simply does not have the wherewithal to do very much but provide a few munitions.  China? Well, China is not about to actually take on it’s number one customer and risk all the money America owes them in loans to defend some Middle Eastern country which has little to offer China -- other than oil.  There’s lots of oil available from a host of other countries around the globe that would be happy to have China as a customer.  Sorry Iran.  Munitions and moral support is the realistic expectation of Russian and Chinese involvement in an Iranian war against the US.

We have seen this sort of display of bravado before from chest-thumping wannabe regimes in rogue nations around the globe.  They usually wind up with the destruction of their country and a lot of dead leaders, both political and religious, and generations of rebuilding. 

Iran’s “bathtub navy” is embarrassingly impotent.  Oh, sure, they have a few good weapons and, sure, they will get in a few “hits” … before they are sent to the bottom.  One has to wonder if that is how they intend to block the Straits of Hormuz … with the sunken derelicts of their own second hand navy?

The bottom line is:  Iran is going to be attacked by the US, or Israel, or both.  And yes, Iran will attempt to close the Straits… and they may succeed… for a week, or so.  Then the hammer comes down.

Iran’s hyperbole these days is cartoonishly funny.  If, however, they are foolish enough to light the fuse on a war, America will stop laughing -- and Iran will find that it has “talked” itself onto a path to national destruction from which there is no turning back.

Just days ago, we were singing of peace on earth and goodwill toward men as the world teeters on the cusp of Armageddon. (It reminded a great deal of the kid whistling as he walks past a graveyard at night.) The entire globe, today, is one huge powder keg with a smoldering fuse.  It behooves people of sanity to tread softly, and speak softly, less that smoldering fuse sparks to life and the entire planet blows up in war. 

Many pundits and modern-day soothsayers have proclaimed that, indeed, Iran’s goal is to bring war and chaos to the earth to prepare the way for the return of the Twelfth Imam.  (Read more about the 12th Imam HERE.)  Their ultimate goal is to conquer the entire world in the name of Islam and establish a one-world, Islamic, theocratic, government – just like the one in Iran.
There can be no doubt that unless Iran changes her belligerent attitude, there will be war, and the people of Iran will suffer greatly – and lose.  It is no secret that forces are already in motion in preparation for a war with Iran. 

 Iran’s dependence on what they feel is an elite military is misplaced.  That will quickly become obvious once hostilities begin.

Someone once said:  “It is better to have an army of sheep led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a sheep.”  The people of Iran would do well to ponder this proverb -- deeply -- before allowing the first shot to be fired.

 J. D. Longstreet

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Minimal benefits, extensive harm ... Craig Rucker

Minimal benefits, extensive harm
EPA mercury rules for electricity generating units are based on false science and economics

Craig Rucker

The Environmental Protection Agency clams its “final proposed” Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules will eliminate toxic pollution from electrical generating units, bring up to $140 billion in annual health benefits, and prevent thousands of premature deaths yearly – all for “only” $11 billion a year in compliance costs.

This may be true in the virtual reality of EPA computer models, linear extrapolations, cherry-picked health studies and statistics, government press releases and agency-generated public comments. However, in the real world inhabited by families, employers and other energy users, the new rules will bring few benefits, but will impose extensive costs that the agency chose to minimize or ignore in its analysis.

Emissions of mercury and other air toxics from power plants have been declining steadily for decades, as older generating units have been replaced with more efficient, less polluting systems or retrofitted with better pollution control technologies. While a few older plants still violate EPA’s draconian proposed rules – the new rules are not based on credible scientific and epidemiological studies.

As independent natural scientist Dr. Willie Soon and CFACT policy advisor Paul Driessen pointed out in their Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily articles, and in Dr. Soon’s 85-page critique of EPA’s draft rules, US power plants account for only 0.5% of the mercury in US air. Thus, even if EPA’s new rules eventually do eliminate 90% of mercury from power plant emission streams, that’s still only 90% of 0.5% – ie, almost zero reduction. The rest of the mercury in US air comes from natural and foreign sources, such as forest fires, Chinese power plants and the cremation of human remains (from tooth fillings that contain mercury and silver).

EPA fails to recognize that mercury is abundant in the earth’s crust. It is absorbed by trees through their roots – and released into the atmosphere when the trees are burned in forest fires, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. In fact, US forest fires annually emit as much mercury as all US coal-burning electrical power plants. Mercury and other “pollutants” are also released by geysers, volcanoes and subsea vents, which tap directly into subsurface rock formations containing these substances.

The agency compounds these errors by claiming fish contain dangerous levels of mercury that threatens the health and mental acuity of babies and children. In making this claim, the agency commits four more grievous errors. First, it ignores the fact that selenium in fish tissue is strongly attracted to mercury molecules and thus protects people against buildups of methylmercury, mercury’s more toxic form.

Second, EPA based its toxicity claims on a study of Faroe Islanders, who eat few fruits and vegetables, but feast on pilot whale meat and blubber that is high in mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – but very low in selenium. Third, it ignored a 17-year Seychelles Islands evaluation, which found “no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects” in children who eat five to twelve servings of fish per week.

Fourth, it used computer models to generate linear extrapolations from known or assumed toxic levels down to much lower levels. Not only is this method contrary to sound science and epidemiology; it resulted in politicized “safety” levels that are twice as restrictive as Canadian and World Health Organization mercury standards, three times more restrictive than US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and four times tougher than US Food and Drug Administration recommendations.  No wonder the Centers for Disease Control says blood mercury levels in US women and children are already well below excessively “safe” levels set by EPA.

Simply put, EPA grossly exaggerated the health benefits of its proposed mercury rules – and then claimed additional mercury benefits based on double counting of reductions in particulate matter. It also ignored the adverse effects that its rules will inflict. Not only is EPA’s anti-mercury campaign scaring mothers and children into not eating nutritious fish that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It is also raising electricity heating, air conditioning and food costs, impairing electrical reliability, costing jobs, and thereby harming the health and welfare of countless Americans.

Energy analyst Roger Bezdek has calculated that utilities will have to spend $130 billion to retrofit older plants – and another $30 billion a year to operate, maintain and power the energy-intensive pollution control equipment they will be forced to install. Moreover, under its MACT rules, EPA intends to micromanage every aspect of power plant operations. It will now cite companies for violations even if emissions fully comply with air quality standards, if operators merely deviate from new agency “work practice standards” and “operational guidelines,” even under unusual weather conditions or equipment malfunctions that are beyond the operators’ control.

While it is true that older power plants are more significant sources of toxic air emissions, those plants are mostly in key manufacturing states that burn coal to generate 48-98% of their electricity. Many utility companies cannot justify those huge costs – and thus plan to close dozens of units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts – enough to electrify tens of millions of homes and small businesses. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable, baseload electricity – with little to replace it.

Electricity consumers could pay at least 20% more in many states within a few years. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois families and businesses will pay 40-60% more. That will severely affect business investment, production and hiring – and family plans to repair cars and homes, save for college and retirement, take vacations, or have health physicals or surgery.

Chicago public schools will have to pay an additional $2.7 million annually for electricity by 2014, says the Tribune. Hospitals, factories and other major electricity users will also be hard hit. Many poor and minority families will find it increasingly hard to afford proper heating and air conditioning. Further job losses and economic stress will lead to further reductions in living standards and nutrition, more foreclosures and homelessness, and additional drug, alcohol, spousal and child abuse.

The very reliability of America’s electricity grid could be at risk, if multiple power plants shut down. Brownouts, blackouts and power interruptions will affect factory production lines, hospital, school, farm and office operations, employment, and the quality of food, products and services.

The impact on people’s health and welfare is patently obvious. But EPA considered none of this.

EPA insists there was strong public support for its rules. However, its rules were clearly based on false, biased or even fraudulent information. Furthermore, EPA itself generated much of that public support.

The agency recruited, guided and financed activist groups that promoted its rulemaking. Over the past decade, it gave nearly $4 billion to the American Lung Association and other advocacy organizations and various “environmental justice” groups, according to a Heritage Foundation study. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and members of her staff also visited historically black and other colleges – giving speeches about “toxic emissions,” providing templates for scare-mongering posters and postcards, and making it easy for students to send pro-rulemaking comments via click-and-submit buttons on websites.

This EPA action does nothing to improve environmental quality or human health. In fact, by advancing President Obama’s goal of shutting down power plants and raising electricity costs, it impairs job creation, economic recovery, and public health and welfare. It is intrusive government at its worst.

It is a massive power grab that threatens to give EPA nearly unfettered power over the electrical power we need to support our livelihoods and living standards.

Congress, states, utility companies, affected industries, school districts and hospitals, and families and citizen groups should immediately take action to postpone the MACT rules’ implementation. Otherwise, their harmful impacts will be felt long and hard in states that depend on coal for their electricity.
Craig Rucker is CEO of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The 2012 Check List for America's Survival

The 2012 Check List for America's Survival

By Alan Caruba

Many people make resolutions to start the year, but I think a list of things that must be done to protect and preserve the Republic should be tallied.

1. President Obama must be defeated in 2012 and the obstructionist Democratic Party must lose power in the Senate to ensure both houses of Congress will be Republican and in a position to initiate real change.

2. The Environmental Protection Agency must be reined in with increased Congressional oversight and legislative limits on its rule-making capacity. Having fulfilled its 1970 mandate to clean the nation’s air and water, it should be scaled back to the maintenance of these functions.

3. Americans, despite the administration’s efforts to redefine and distract us, must keep clearly in mind the threat of Islam to the nation and the world. A Middle East in turmoil lays ahead for 2012.

4. To jump-start the economy, taxes and spending must be reduced across the board. A tax on consumption, rather than income would be a good start. Only 49% of Americans currently pay income taxes, the lowest in decades.

5. Obamacare must be repealed should the Supreme Court fail to rule that the Commerce Clause takes precedence over its requirement that Americans must purchase health insurance or be fined for not doing so.

6. A serious restructuring of Social Security and Medicare must be undertaken. Older Americans who have paid into the system—it is involuntary—must be ensured their benefits will be paid, but younger citizens should have the freedom and responsibility to structure their own retirement and health plans.

7. Access to the nation’s vast reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil should be increased and encouraged. Oil companies should be encouraged to build more refineries via tax credits and removal of “environmental” obstacles.

8. Congress needs to identify and fund the repair to the nation’s aging infrastructure.

9. Utilities should be encouraged via tax credits and other incentives to expand the national “grid” for the distribution of electricity.

10. Term limits for Senators and Representatives should be added to the U.S. Constitution in the same fashion the presidency is limited. Salaries, pensions, and perks should be capped. A permanent political class is a danger to citizens.

11. The Federal government should be downsized with the elimination of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Energy, along with the Environmental Protection Agency. These powers should be returned to the individual States. (10th Amendment)

12. The nation’s military which has been significantly reduced in size and structure should be expanded with attention to the upgrade and increase of its naval fleet and aircraft.

13. Congress should reject and rescind all legislation based on “global warming” or “climate change” as the former has been demonstrated to be a hoax and the latter is meaningless insofar as the climate is beyond the control of humans.

14. The United States should significantly reduce its contribution to the United Nations and refuse to ratify any of its treaties.

15. Tort reform should be instituted to reduce the costs of health care.

16. The corporate tax rate should be significantly reduced from its present rate, one of the highest in the world, to increase expansion, new jobs, and competitiveness.

17. Public service unions should be illegal. The federal government does not permit such unionization and neither should states.

18. National Public Radio should no longer be funded. The “government entities” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be eliminated.

19. The federal government should be restricted or significantly limited from the acquisition of more of the nation’s landmass.

20. Strenuous efforts must be undertaken to reduce the national debt and deficit. A devalued dollar impoverishes everyone.

These are just a few changes which, if implemented, would go a long way to reducing the ills associated with a federal government grown too large, subject to crony capitalism, and corruption.

As John Adams said, "Let us disappoint the men who are raising themselves upon the ruin of this Country."

© Alan Caruba, 2012
 Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews. To visit his Facebook page, click here For information on his professional skills, is the place to visit.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Most Boring Celebrities of 2011 ... Alan Caruba

The Most Boring Celebrities of 2011

Charlie Sheen Takes Top Spot on 25th Annual List
The Most Boring Celebrities of the Year

Charlie Sheen is the poster boy for doing everything possible to ruin one’s life,” says Alan Caruba, founder of The Boring Institute, naming him the biggest celebrity bore of the year, number one on its annual list.

“He was making scads of money for each ‘Two and a Half Men’ episode, so naturally he demands more and bad mouths the show’s producers. Not smart. But dumbest of all was all the drug use, alcohol abuse, womanizing, and incessant rants before and following being fired. That got very boring, very fast for everyone.”

This year’s list is (1) Charlie Sheen, (2) Lindsay Lohan, (3) Lady Gaga, (4) Arnold Schwartzenegger, (5) Anthony Weiner, ((6) Casey Anthony, (7) the cast of the Jersey Shore, (8) Kim Kardashian,(9) Donald Trump, and (10) Occupy Wall Street

Number two on this year’s list is Lindsay Lohan. “Nobody cares anymore if she goes to jail for a day, a week, or a year. Despite jail time, rehab and community service, Lindsay’s bad attitude just gets worse.”

Number three is Lady Gaga. Caruba admits he has no idea why anyone takes Lady Gaga seriously. “Her life is an orgy of exhibitionism.”

Number four is former California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger. “Nothing like a juicy scandal to ruin your marriage and reputation,” says Caruba. “It was good for a month’s worth of late night TV jokes. After that, the only joke left was Arnold.”

Number five is disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.  ”His district, formerly Democratic, voted for a Republican to get rid of the stench.”

Number six is Casey Anthony. “The public took an understandable interest in the case of alleged child murder, but the media milked it endlessly and will likely continue to do so. Coming to your hometown soon, books, a made-for-TV movie, and a line of Casey Anthony baby clothes.”

Number seven is the Entire Cast of Jersey Shore. “As the New Jersey Governor noted, these imbeciles come from out of state,” said Caruba, a native New Jerseyean. “Appealing solely to adolescents, time alone will rid us of this infestation.”

Number eight is Kim Kardashian. “Kim is gorgeous, but she filed for divorce a mere 72 days after tying the knot, making a sap out of him and everyone else,” says Caruba.

Number nine is Donald Trump. ‘’The Donald played rope-a-dope with the media again when he had them guessing if he would run for president,” said Caruba. “He never tires of being the center of attention.’’

Number ten is Occupy Wall Street.  ‘’They wore out their welcome so fast that the sale of tents plummeted after they were chased out of town.’’

Founded in 1984, The Boring Institute is a media spoof and clearinghouse for information about boredom. Its blog is A business and science writer, Caruba is widely known for his popular blog, http://factsnotfantasy,, that recently exceeded a million page views. He resides in South Orange, New Jersey.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Iraq’s Five-Day Democracy

Iraq’s Five-Day Democracy

Instant Civil War

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Surprise!  Surprise!  A free and democratic Iraq didn’t make it a week.  Who would have thunk it?  Actually, a LOT of people warned that the moment American troops left Iraqi soil, the so-called sectarian war would begin once again.  The moment Obama announced the date for US troops to be out of Iraq, the Iraqi Civil War was assured.  THAT was a DUMB move on the part of Obama.  It was just another in his foreign policy blunders for which America will be paying for generations.

Ok.  So we are clear:  I endorsed America’s invasion of Iraq -- to topple Saddam Hussein.  I thought it was necessary to preserve the free flow of oil out of the region.  There was no doubt that had Saddam been left unchecked he would have rolled over, and through, Kuwait and taken Saudi Arabia -- and he would have had his hands around the world’s throat.  That could not be allowed.  What I did not endorse was the ensuing policy of “nation building” implemented by the Bush Administration and continued by the Obama Administration.

A couple of things:  I am from the old school.  I believe in defeating an enemy – totally -- and then, either taking the nation as a prize of war, or walking away -- leaving the former opposition sitting atop a pile of rubble for as far as the eye can see.

I do not like nation-building … period.   The price of war with the US should be a landscape that closely resembles a moonscape.  The cost of rebuilding should be paid in the blood, sweat, and tears of the defeated nation.

Another lesson the US has yet to learn, it seems, is that democracy is not for some people.  Democracy does not, and will not, work in tribal nations.  Sorry, but them’s the facts.

Look.  Fighting a war in the Middle East, for any reason other than punitive, will suck a country, no matter its wealth, dry.  That region of the globe is destined for turmoil until the earth, as we know it, is no more.  But – the utter stupidity of our own government is such that we have no choice but to try and secure the source of our energy, oil, from those countries in the Middle East that hate our very shadow.

The US has enough oil for centuries into the future beneath our own soil and beneath our own territorial offshore waters.  But the US government has bought into the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind, “Global Warming,” and, as a result, the government will not allow us to use our own natural resources, the very resources that made this nation great in the first place. 

So what, if we have to sacrifice the lives of a few thousand American servicemen and servicewomen every few years in “oil wars?”  What’s the loss of life as opposed to the billions to be made in so-called green energy, in so-called renewable energy, etc?  Not to mention the increase in power over the people that accrues to the government through the passage and enforcement of “green laws and regulations.”  Need I remind you of the hulking EPA?

Iraq is a lost cause -- Afghanistan, too. Nation building is a total waste of American blood and money.  Does anyone remember that we went into Afghanistan to smash Al Qaida and capture, or kill, Bin Laudin?  Well, Bin Laudin is dead and Al Qaida ran across the border into a nation friendly to them, Pakistan.

If there was a way to wall off the Middle East from the rest of the world so they could continue to happily fight their tribal and religious wars amongst themselves, and the adult nations of the world could get on with civilization, then I’d endorse it in a second.  The US could get along just fine without them, especially when you consider their major exports are dope, oil, and terrorism.

The plain truth is, however, we can’t even shun them because we are inextricably tied to them by our own government’s refusal to allow us to get at our own source of oil. 

So. The question now is – how long until Iran steps in and asserts its authority over Iraq?   My guess would be sooner rather than later.  With the Iraqi government, such as it is, already on the verge of collapse, just days after America withdraws, and with Iraq’s President Nouri al-Maliki’s ties to Iran, one must wonder how soon he will turn to Iran and ask for military support.  Iran, already seeking hegemony in the region, will happily roll tanks and troops across their shared border and – take over the country.  And believe me, Iran is not interested in “nation-building.”

J. D. Longstreet

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

This is the time each year we wish for peace on earth and good will to men.  Yet, we seem, each Christmas, to find ourselves lacking that Peace and the Good Will.

This Christmas, again, we find that American troops are far from home, very near the birthplace of the baby who gave his name to the day we call Christmas.  Families will open presents and gather for a family meal and rejoice over the birth of the Christ child, and yet, we cannot bring ourselves to follow the teachings of that baby and stop fighting with each other.  Christ, himself recognized that, a couple of thousand years ago, and said:  “Men will cry peace, peace, but there will be no peace!”

Americans have found themselves in the unenviable position of being the policemen of the world… by default.  It was thrust upon us.  We did not seek it, we did not want it, but we learned, much to our chagrin, that we had no choice.  When the “evil-doers” attacked us on our soil, we were instantly committed.  We have been at war now since September 11th, 2001.  No end is in sight, no matter what we may have been told.

Back in the mid 1800’s America found herself in another war, much worse that the one we fight currently.  It was a war among brothers.  A war, which was being waged here, on our shores, and the carnage, was biblical in proportion.  Families were torn apart by the war and entire families displaced as the war raged up and down the Middle Atlantic States and even out west, across the Mississippi River.  700,000 Americans lives were loss as a result of that war.  Many of the scars can still be seen today in our buildings and landscapes. Many scars are less obvious, but are there, nevertheless.

I am a Veteran, and I’m a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and as such, I am, acutely acquainted with the scars -- seen and unseen -- of war.   The entire reason for the existence of the SCV is to prevent the memory of what those men did from fading, or being redacted, from the memory of this nation.  We feel that by holding the historically correct (as opposed to politically correct) reasons for that war up to public scrutiny we can learn from it and never allow such a thing to happen on these shores again.

The South was the recipient of more suffering and carnage than were our brothers to the north.  It was a sad, disheartening, time.

Here is a small part of the text of a letter, written to his family, by a Confederate soldier on Christmas Eve of 1863:

" This morning battalion guard mounting began for the three batteries. It is Christmas Eve. I am sitting in my little cabin and my thoughts carry me away to Helena where I see my good wife before the hearth with three children around her; the eldest a girl standing and looking earnestly into her mother’s face; the second a boy, five years old, sitting in a small chair looking into the fire; and the youngest a girl about four, leaning on her mother’s lap--all listening attentively to what their intelligent mother is relating in regard to the visits of Santa Claus having visited them on former Christmas Eves with presents of toys, their curiosity is at its height to know if he will come tonight and fill their stockings. Ah, will not these little innocents be disappointed? Their father has not seen them for twenty months, and is now far away battling for home and liberty, and has no means by which he can convey them toys or money to purchase them. Whether their mother has the means to spare in procuring Christmas presents for them is unknown to me, but I pray heaven to provide her with the necessaries of life, and to bless and cheer the young and innocent hearts of my children during the Christmas holidays. Happy Christmas to my wife and children!"  [From The Campaign Diaries of Thomas J. Kay, CSA and Robert J. Campbell, edited by Wirt Armistead Cate, 1938; entry for December 24th (1863).]

Surely, there were similar letters written by soldiers on the federal side of the lines.

So, as we tear open the Christmas presents, feast at the table piled high with God’s bounty, lets us find time, somewhere during the hectic day, to remember what the child, whose birthday we celebrate, taught us.  Even if we cannot find it within ourselves to put his teachings into practice, we are, I believe, obligated to try.  In the effort, we might just find that peace so often mentioned at this time of year
Let us remember our troops, so far from home, in constant danger, because so much of the world cannot bring itself to fight tyranny… of any kind.  Let us pray that those misled peoples will, somehow, find the courage to stand up, like men, and fight the enemies of freedom as our brave men and women are doing.  Let us pray that they come to understand that the brave American soldier, who dies on a foreign battlefield, has given his life for them as well as for his own American family.

And, finally, let us pray that next Christmas will find America, and the world, in a less contentious state than this Christmas.

May God richly bless you and your family this Christmas and in the New Year to come.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and please accept my sincerest gratitude for your past (and continued) support of my feeble efforts at expressing and sharing opinions on those things that affect us all.
J. D. Longstreet

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christianity's Triumph ... Alan Caruba

Christianity's Triumph

By Alan Caruba

“By far the most important event in the entire rise of Christianity was the meeting in Jerusalem in around the year 50, when Paul was granted the authority to convert Gentiles without them also becoming observant Jews.”

So wrote Rodney Stark, the Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. His most recent book is “The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion” ($27.99, HarperCollins).

For Christians in particular, I recommend it if only because so many have a tenuous grasp of Christianity’s real history, as opposed the versions that too often are casually accepted as truth.

The truth is that the rise of Christianity is one of the most extraordinary stories of the past two millennia. Stark not only has the knowledge of his vast subject, but he writes with such felicity that it is hard to put the 500-page book aside for both its revelations and its devotion to the facts.

Despite the fact we live in a society that has at most only 4% who self-describe themselves as atheists, the more active among them have the audacity to demand that Christmas be banished to the privacy of homes or the pews and pulpits of churches. They rebuke religion in general as the source of conflict and wars, but ignore the spiritual support and ethical lessons that Christianity provides along with its promise of salvation.

While Judaism was the bedrock of morality and faith that gave it birth, Christianity made it more accessible and significantly includes the Torah as part of its liturgy.

To ignore the rise of Christianity is to be ignorant of an essential element of Western history. Likewise, to ignore the threat of Islam whose beginning is usually dated around 622 CE and which exploded following Mohammad’s death in 632 CE is to ignore the greatest threat to civilization, past and present. Less a religion than a battle plan for world conquest, Islam preaches death to all “unbelievers.” Take heed!

Stark provides a summation to his book and, even so, I shall select only parts of it in the interest of brevity.

“The first generation of the Jesus Movement consisted of a tiny and fearful minority” of a religion, Judaism, that had already been around for a thousand years or more before the assertion was made that the messiah had come and was a crucified Galilean rabbi who mainly and briefly preached in that area of Israel.

“The mission to the Jews was quite successful: large numbers of Jews in the Diasporan communities outside of Palestine did convert to Christianity.” The Diaspora were the Jewish communities in the Middle East and throughout the Mediterranean nations, including Rome, living in places where pagan faiths were dominant.

“Christianity was not a religion based on the slaves and lowest classes of Romans, but was particularly attractive to the privileged.” Moreover, in its earliest years, women often played important roles. Contrary to popular belief, however, “Paganism was not quickly stamped out, but disappeared very slowly.” Paganism involved the worship of multiple gods as well as a belief in magic.

Despite impressive cathedrals, in medieval times church worship among Christians was largely ignored and, as often as not, the clergy were ill-informed about the faith and sometimes not even baptized.

Despite what is said of the Crusades, they were a campaign to reclaim the holy land from Muslims who had conquered it and they were led by men who knowingly bankrupted themselves and often died in this cause. Though Christianity had been widely observed in the East, the armies of Islam destroyed all but remnants, thus shifting its survival to Europe in the West.

“Science arose only in the West because efforts to formulate and discover laws of nature only made sense if one believed in a rational creator.” Even the misnamed “Dark Ages” were actually times of technological development. Likewise historians have determined that the Spanish Inquisition was “a quite temperate body that was responsible for very few deaths and saved a great many lives by opposing the witch hunts that swept through the rest of Europe.”

Perhaps the greatest surprise was the damage done by Constantine who, having made it the religion of his empire, gave rise to an indolent and hypocritical Church hierarchy initially composed of Roman aristocracy. It fostered a clergy who were ignorant of the faith and indifferent to its mission. Not until the Reformation was competition introduced, forcing the Church to return to piety, as various Protestant sects emerged, and energized Christianity in the process.

Stark concludes that “The claim that religion must soon disappear as the world becomes more modern is nothing but wishful thinking on the part of academic atheists. Religion is thriving, perhaps as never before. More than forty percent of the people on Earth today are Christians and their number is growing more rapidly than that of any other major faith.”

And that, as they say, is the good news.

© Alan Caruba, 2011
Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews. To visit his Facebook page, click here For information on his professional skills, is the place to visit. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul Next To Be “Creamed” By GOP

Ron Paul Next To Be “Creamed” By GOP

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Sometimes I’m a little slow on the up-take but decades of following US politics as my favorite sport has given me enough insight into the way politics works, at the upper levels, to know that the GOP chose its nominee a very long time ago.  Of course, it is Mitt Romney.  All the hoopla, the debates, etc, really don’t matter. For when the smoke clears, the man who will be crowned as the GOP nominee for President of the United States will be Mitt Romney.  You can, as my old Grand pappy would say:  “Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

In the spirit of full disclosure allow me to state clearly that I do not intend to vote for Romney either in the North Carolina Primary or the Presidential Election in November of 2012.  It is a matter of honor for me… not to mention that I am royally PO’ed at the Republican Party for “foisting” Romney on conservative voters under what I consider false colors.  Its as though Romney is wearing a tattoo saying:  “GOP APPROVED: CONSERVATIVE.”

The state motto of North Carolina is“To be, rather than to seem.” In Romney’s case I fear it is “to seem, rather than to be.”  I am not the least bit convinced of the validity of Romney’s conservative credentials. 

The GOP has managed to convince me that it is focused on beating Obama.  I, on the other hand, am focused on “saving America.”  And THAT, Dear Reader, is where the focus of all Americans SHOULD be … in my not so humble opinion. 

We have come only a short way from the smoke-filled rooms in which candidates used to be chosen by the party.  In fact, about the only thing that has really changed is that the rooms are now smoke free.  I am convinced that Romney’s victory at the GOP convention was planned, and assured, in one of those legendary rooms.

The endless debates, this cycle, appear to have been dreamt-up by a group of leftists in Hollywood. I honestly think the debates have done the candidates more harm than good -- so far as their individual campaigns are concerned.  On the other hand, the debates have been a storehouse of ammunition for the candidate’s Democratic Party opposition.  This election cycle, with the democratic candidate for President having no opposition from within his own party, the debates have – I strongly believe -- only hurt the GOP candidates.

We have witnessed the effect the GOP leadership has had, so far, on the various campaigns and we are about to see even more. 

We have seen that any candidate posing so much as a hint of a threat to Romney is crushed and destroyed by the party leaders and elite.  Each time any one of the other candidates began to rise in the polls and seemed to present a threat, they have been ground down.

The candidates remaining in the GOP race are
”also rans.”  They either present no threat, whatsoever, to Romney, or they are being hammered into insignificance by the GOP.

Gingrich is getting the squeeze even as I write.  Ron Paul is next.  These two men will be smeared and very nearly ruined if they do not back off. 

Yes, the GOP does eat it’s own.  I have said for many years that the GOP is its own worst enemy. 

Look.  The majority of the GOP voters do not want Romney (especially conservative voters).  One look at his ossified poll numbers will reveal that to a blind man. BUT -- you can bet the farm we are going to have him as our candidate come the Republican Convention next year.

I have a problem with authority.  Always have.  I have even more trouble with those in authority who believe they know better than I do what is best for me. And at this moment, I am livid with the Republican Party for deciding that Mitt Romney is best for me.

Heck, I don’t care for the man.  I didn’t like his father.  I don’t care for his brand of politics, and as a southerner, I am not particularly enamored of the state from which he hails.  And I do not like being pushed -- or herded -- toward a voting booth where I am expected to vote for him -- because the GOP insists that I must.

I vote for a candidate because I am convinced that candidate can do the job the way I want it done.  No amount of pressure will get me to vote for the party’s favorite unless the party’s favorite happens to be my favorite.  I’m wired that way.  If my parents were still living they would quickly, and vehemently, verify that fact.

The thing is – I believe there is a host of conservative voters across America who feels the same way. And the GOP is doing itself no favor by acting as the puppet master pulling the strings on the GOP campaign show.

It has been awhile since I have felt that I really had a choice of candidates from the list of GOP candidates for President.  So, I went to the polls and wrote in a candidate’s name rather than vote for the party’s choice.  I will do that again next year.

For better or for worse, I will decide for whom I cast my ballot… not the GOP, or anyone else. 

This whole GOP campaign has been, and continues to be, a charade.  That is my opinion, of course.  You may think otherwise.  But I defy you to watch what happens to Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the next few days and weeks (on top of what has happened to Cain and Bachmann, already) and still hold any belief that the hierarchy of the GOP has not had a hand in their destruction.

It’s enough to make a thoughtful man retch!

Finally, if the Republican Party loses this election, (As I am convinced it will) it has only to look in the mirror to see the culprit.  To learn why – they must look much deeper.  

J. D. Longstreet  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Newt Is Right About the Federal Courts

Newt Is Right About the Federal Courts

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

In typical “Newt fashion,” Gingrich has gone and tossed a bomb!  A big bomb!  He told the truth!  How utterly horrible!

Frankly, I was beginning to worry.  The Newt I know, from way back, did not hesitate to blurt out stunning statements of fact in mixed company… I mean, of course, a company made up of democrats and the Mainstream Media, but I repeat myself. 

At least NOW I can relax.  The old Newt is still here.

The instant I heard that Gingrich had advocated the abolishment of some federal courts, I belly-laughed.  The game was ON!  Our liberal/socialist media, I reasoned, would go absolutely nuts.  There would be a rabid frenzy within their ranks as they rushed to their computers and studios to get this FLASH traffic onto the air.  The world must be warned!  There is a conservative madman, who openly speaks the truth, on the loose and America must be warned. Nay, America must be SAVED from this shocking, shocking, attack on the very engine of the liberal, progressive, socialist Movement in America.  We’ve taken to referring to it as: the “Federal Judicial Legislature.”   It is an unelected legislature handing down laws from the bench and forcing Americans to obey those laws on pain of punishment.

Newt has just shaken the Liberal/Progressive/Socialist movement in America to its very core. 

Back in October of 2009, I wrote a commentary concerning the very same subject.  It was entitled:  “Abolition of the Ninth Circuit Court?  In the event you may wish to read it, you will find it (HERE).

In the piece from 2010, I noted the following: “the Constitution grants Congress power to create and abolish federal courts, although the United States Supreme Court is the only court that cannot be abolished. Congress also has the authority to determine the number of judges in the federal judiciary system.”  (SOURCE)

I also noted that earlier 2010, Newt Gingrich had called for the complete abolition of the Ninth Circuit Court.  Gingrich was speaking to the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the time. 

Referring to an action by President Thomas Jefferson, Gingrich said: the  “judicial reform act of 1802 abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges, over half…I am more cautious than Jefferson. I would only abolish the Ninth Circuit Court.”   (SOURCE)

I went on to point out that back in November of 2009, Gingrich is reported to have said:  “It is constitutionally permissible, for the legislature and the president to say to a court, you are intolerable, and you no longer exist. And we need that debate because I am tired of secular fanatics trying to redesign America in their image.” (SOURCE)

Allow me to use the same example I used in that commentary back in 2010 to demonstrate why conservatives hold the “Federal Judicial Legislature” in such disdain.

I noted that: On Tuesday, October 27th, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that Arizona couldn’t require proof of citizenship in the United States when registering to vote.

“A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday struck down a portion of an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. The court held that the law, Proposition 200, was inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which was passed with the intent of increasing voter registration and removing barriers to registration imposed by the states. The NVRA requires voters to attest to the validity of the information on their registration form, including their citizenship, but does not require them to provide additional proof of citizenship. Proposition 200 went beyond the federal statute, requiring applicants to show proof of citizenship before registering to vote.”  (SOURCE)

In plain language that ruling means that non-citizens will be allowed to register to vote, oh, say, in the 2012 Presidential Election – not just in Arizona -- but in all fifty states!  One does not have to ruminate for very long to understand which political party will benefit from such a ruling, right?

Look.  Newt may be wrong about some things, even a LOT of things ... but he’s right about this.

J. D. Longstreet

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Original Tea Party - December 16, 1773 ... Alan Caruba

The Original Tea Party - December 16, 1773

By Alan Caruba

The modern-day Tea Party is a loose amalgamation of people who came together in March 2009 to protest against passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare. There was a large gathering in Washington, D.C. with estimates of several hundred thousand to a million participants.

There had been other events associated with the Tea Party movement and in the 2010 midterm elections the movement was credited with returning power to the Republican Party in the House of Representatives by supporting candidates that associated themselves with the movement. It is, however, not a political party in its own right.

The story of the original Tea Party that occurred on December 16, 1773 is told in a new book, “Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot” (Quirk Books) by Joseph Cummins, a historian who quite coincidently lives in Maplewood, NJ, my home town for more than sixty years until I moved to an apartment complex one town over. Maplewood has a number of homes from the Revolutionary War era so a sense of history pervades the community. Just up the road is Morristown, the site of one of George Washington’s winter headquarters and Jockey Hollow where his soldiers were billeted.

Cummins’ book is a useful and perhaps surprisingl reminder that Boston was not the only site where British tea was dumped overboard rather than pay even the threepense tax on it. There were in fact similar events in Philadelphia, Charleston, New York, and in the other colonies, Chesterown and Annapolis in Maryland; York, Maine; Edenton and Wilmington, North Carolina; and Greenwich, New Jersey.

The Boston event, however, was no small matter so far as the value of the tea destroyed was concerned. More than 92,000 pounds were tossed into the water. “Tall piles of the stuff floated like huge haystacks in the dim moonlight of the bay. And in the days that followed, many British observers wondered if the residents of Boston had gone insane.”

Tea was enormously popular, comparable to our love of a cup of coffee to start the day, and was part of the social life of the colonies. “One third of America’s three million inhabitants drank tea twice a day.” The colonists consumed between 1,200,000 and 2,000,000 pounds a year.

What is perhaps most telling about the Boston Tea Party was that it rapidly spread to other colonies where tea was boycotted or destroyed.

Cummins draws an interesting analogy between our times and then. “See if this story sounds familiar: During a severe financial recession, the government of the world’s most powerful country discovered that its largest corporation—let’s call it Corporation X—is rife with corruption, mired in debt, and facing financial collapse.”

In the case of Great Britain the corporation was the East India Company in 1773, a global commercial empire of its time that had been granted government permission “to mint money, acquire territory, maintain a standing army, enter into foreign wars, and make peace treaties.” The East India Company had shareholders who expected dividends and its fleets of armed merchants carried gold, silver, silk, cotton, spices, and opium across the oceans.

Tea represented a commodity that generated great wealth. Up to thirteen million tons of it was exported to England, largely from India, and by the mid-eighteenth century tea represented almost fifty percent of the company’s income. The import taxes collected by the British government “added up to a rather astonishing six percent of England’s national budget.”

For the first 150 years of the American colonies existence, the settlers were seldom taxed directly by the British crown, unlike the subjects of England and Ireland. As the result of conflicts such as the Seven Years War, the British treasury was low and Parliament decided to levy some taxes on the colonies. The Sugar Act of 1764 was the first. It severely impacted the molasses-rum trade, one of New England’s biggest businesses.

This was followed by the Stamp Act in 1765 that angered the colonists, but “Massachusetts was the first to erupt in angry protests.” Mobs are a useful instrument for a revolution and the men behind the war for independence knew it; in particular, Sam Adams and his co-conspirators that included John Adams, later to become the second President of the new nation. Much agitation for liberty preceded the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Tea Party was carefully organized and the destruction of the tea from four ships, the Eleanor, Dartmouth, William and Beaver, was undertaken smoothly. What followed, as they say, is history.

The Revolution was a long affair, lasting from 1775 to 1783. Today’s Tea Parties are engaged in what is likely a long struggle to reduce the size of government and secure redress from the imposition of legislation such as Obamacare which will be on the docket of the Supreme Court as 26 States have joined in opposition based on its unconstitutionality.

If the Court should find it constitutional, we could well see a new American revolution as States evoke nullification and refuse to accept or honor the decision. Remember what the first tea partiers knew. They didn’t have, nor did they need “constitutional” rights. They already had “unalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews. To visit his Facebook page, click here For information on his professional skills,
is the place to visit.