In Italy a new party is born: What does that mean for the United States?

“The Five Star Movement “tsunami” an electoral triumph” by George Lombardi (posted with the author’s permission):

ROME — The results of Italy’s historical elections confirm the desire of a great many Italians who expressed their desire for change.

Almost one third of the vote went to new actors of the complex Italian political system.

Two great surprises characterize this election: first, the “tsunami” of the comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo [pictured above] won a substantial 25% in both houses of the legislature; the second is the rebirth of former premier Silvio Berlusconi (PDL), coming back from 12.8% a few months ago to almost 25% (almost 30% if you add the coalition party Lega Nord), almost gaining the upper hand in the powerful Senate.

The leftist coalition (PD) won by less than 1% in both chambers, but they expected a greater result, while Mario Monti, the former PM and so-called technocrat, received only 9% , enough to be a decisive factor in the search for a historical compromise.

Obviously Italy is heading toward a total gridlock. Everyone agrees that new elections may come as soon as one or two years from now.

What are the practical results of the vote?

As far as Italy’s relation with the European Union almost two thirds of the voters want a more independent stand when facing the EU and Germany, Grillo is strongly anti-Europe, just like the Lega Nord, and Berlusconi has openly criticized Germany’s dictates and forced economic austerity measures. Most Italians moderates, young and old, favor Italy’s presence in the EU community, but they dislike the oppressive German and French power in all aspects of legislation and economic policies. There is no doubt that a new era has dawn in Italy.

Investors are analyzing the outcome of the Italian election. The people’s choices may trigger a sell-off in stocks and bonds and renew concerns about the euro if the three main parties cannot bring a stable government.

The rise of anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement and the impressive comeback of center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi have cast doubt over the leftist coalition (led by Mr. Bersani) ability to govern even if he forms a coalition with the centrist party of outgoing technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti.

But next question for the market will be how viable the winning coalition will be and whether it is able to continue with much-needed reforms, first of all the way parties are allowed to participate in the general elections.

Grillo has indicated a will to change the outdated and often confusing election laws. And while both left and conservatives have often agreed on changing the electoral system, they could never find a compromise.

The second most important reform is the one related to taxation and finance. Italy needs a great input of fresh capital, but the austerity measures mandated by Germany limits greatly the options of past and future Governments.

The yield gap between 10-year Italian and German bonds stood at around 288 basis points on Friday, nearly half levels seen in late 2011, when Monti was called in to bring Italy back from the brink of a possible default that would have sunk the EU. But Italian borrowing costs are still far too high, Italian bankers and businesses say.

It is true that Italy needs political stability and a more business-friendly economy, but it also true that a large spread is unsustainable. It must go down or it will creates serious problems for the Italian economy. Analysts are forecasting Italy’s economy to shrink by 1 percent in 2013, worst than previously expected and a painful reminder of the challenges awaiting Monti’s successor.

Expect a new general election within 12 to 18 months should the new government turn out to be a very weak one. But the current result demonstrate the Italians’ unwillingness to endure more tough reforms.

The decisions Italy’s government makes over the next several months promise to have a deep impact on whether Europe can decisively stem its financial crisis. As the Eurozone’s second-largest economy, its problems can rattle market confidence in the whole bloc and analysts have worried it could fall back into old habits.

The only hope is that Italian politicians, many now in their early 30’s, will find a common ground, focusing on programs and on goals, forgetting ideological differences, and by example lead a group of European nations like Spain, Greece, Portugal and others out of the economic and political crisis and in a new, more egalitarian relationship within the European Community.

UPDATED VIDEOS: Benghazi a “Clumsy official cover-up”!

Frank Gaffney, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in the below video says Benghazi is a “clumsy official cover-up”. Gaffney states, “It seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale. The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well.”

Gaffney states in a Washington Times column, “Thanks to intrepid investigative reporting — notably by Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge at Fox News, Aaron Klein at WND.com and Clare Lopez at RadicalIslam.org — and information developed by congressional investigators, the mystery is beginning to unravel with regard to what happened that night and the reason for the subsequent, clumsy official cover-up now known as Benghazigate.”

Clare Lopez was the first former CIA official to highlight the gun running aspect leading up to the attack on the Ambassador and his staff in Benghazi.

UPDATE, October 28th: Benghazi New Revelation with Bret Baier from Special Report:

Interview with Special Operator discussing Benghazi on Rush Limbaugh:

A Tale of Two Black Voters

I am on the road touring on Tea Party Express VIII: Winning for America. Before joining the tour yesterday, I was in Baltimore where a black woman told me, “They’re tryin’ to get him! I pray that he wins.”

The “they” she was referring to, in her mind, are those evil white racist Republicans who are trying to kick-out her black president. This black woman is a Christian. So I replied, “Well, Obama coming out in favor of same-sex marriage and vowing to be an advocate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities turned-off a lot of people, including black pastors across America.”

The woman’s response was, “I believe Obama only said that for political reasons to get the gay vote.” I thought, here is another willfully brain-dead emotion-driven black Christian who worships the false god of skin-color over her commitment to Christ. No truth will penetrate her idolatry of Obama. The encounter was a bit depressing.

But then, Lee, a black man with whom I chatted with at our Tea Party Express rally in Miami gave me hope. Lee said his eyes were opened years ago about the Democrats, long before Obama. He explained that Democrat policies/programs have destroyed the black family and the black community.

Lee said the last Democrat he voted for was Jimmy Carter. Lee is telling everyone who will listen about the fraud that is Obama and the Democrats. Quite refreshing.

Lee gave me a hug and encouraged me to, “Hang in there brother. I really appreciate what you and your Tea Party Express team are doing.”

After the rally, our team ate at Havana Miami Restaurant. Amazing what they can do with plantains.

Former Soviet Agitprop Artist Oleg Atbashian coming to Sarasota, FL

On Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Oleg Atbashian will be the guest speaker at an event hosted by Sarasota Patriots. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Waldemere Fire Station class room located at 2070 Waldemere Street, Sarasota, FL.

Oleg was born and raised in the former Soviet Union and after its collapse emigrated to the United States. When he arrived he saw that the United States was implementing policies similar to those he was subjected to under Communist rule. Seeing his newly adopted country going down the progressive road to perdition he decided to do what any loyal citizen would do. He began to fight back with the skills he obtained in Soviet Russia – agitprop. He uses political satire and the graphic arts to send his message of freedom, liberty and less government to the unwashed masses. Oleg exposes useful idiots for what they are: Useful and Idiots!

Oleg is a citizen journalist for Watchdog Wire – Florida where his satirical columns and graphic art work are on display. Oleg is author of “Shakedown Socialism: Unions, Pitchforks, Collective Greed, The Fallacy of Economic Equality, and other Optical Illusions of Redistributive Justice.”

To learn more about this event please visit the Sarasota Patriots website.

A Short World Tour

The news of the world is on any given day is usually quite awful. Some days are worse than others and that seems to be the case of late.

On Thursday a Rasmussen Reports poll said that 62% of likely U.S. voters believe that economic growth is far more important than Obama’s socialist blather about “fairness.” Typically, 30% favored the latter.

There’s been a steady trickle of bad news for Americans wondering if we will ever see an economic recovery. The nation can recover, but only if we change presidents in November. The U.S. is headed straight over the cliff on January 1, 2013 if Congress does not take action to avoid the implementation of billions in tax increases and, for that matter, the repeal of Obamacare.

An automatic sequestration of funding will particularly hit defense, leaving its budget some 30% smaller in ten years. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted on Thursday, “The U.S. would be left with the smallest Navy since World War I, the smallest ground forces in 70 years, and at just over 2.5% of GDP, the smallest defense budget since Pearl Harbor.” That spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Let’s look beyond our shores.

I suspect that Europe is a long way from solving its financial crisis. The European Union has held more than seventeen summits in recent times and not one of them has “solved” the problem inherent in the Euro or the natural tendency of sovereign nations to look out for their own interests at the expense of others. Expecting the EU to overcome centuries of warfare, distrust, and mutual disdain, is not likely to have a happy outcome.

Back in October 2011, I shared my doubts about the EU, citing a book by Dr. Johan Van Overtveldt, “The End of the Euro”, subtitled “The uneasy future of the European Union.”

Overtveldt identified the central weakness of the European Union. “History teaches us that, in particular, the lack of real political union is a major barrier to the durability of a monetary union and its single currency.” The problem of the EU and the euro “is the loss of an independent monetary policy” because what works for Germany does not necessarily work for France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the other EU members.”

Why something as obvious as this did not occur or did not deter the creation of the EU is one of those mysteries that must be left to future historians. Suffice to say, Germany is the EU’s strongest economy and, after Europe’s central banks get tired of moving billions around between them, the Germans will want to return to the deutschmark even if it takes a short term hit.

The Middle East is providing the usual barbaric blood and gore these days in Syria. Every one of its neighbors is praying that Bashar al-Assad, the second generation dictator there, will be killed ala Libya’s late Moammar Gadhafi so Syrians can patch together a government.

Egypt has held elections and a Muslim Brotherhood candidate is now its president, but the real power there is still held by the military and Mohamed Tantawi, its commander in chief. What we’re watching is political drama, not political reality.

Iraq has been experiencing the return of horrific bombings which are the usual Sunni versus Shiite discord.

On Wednesday the Iranians reminded us of their fanatical hatred of Jews, bombing a tourist bus in Bulgaria filled with young Israelis on holiday. They were swiftly identified as the perpetrators by Israel’s Prime Minister whose nation is literally surrounded by enemies. Israel’s (and America’s) biggest threat is a nuclear Iran and one is inclined to believe that the Israelis will never permit this to occur.

South America is a mixture of some nations such as Brazil doing well. Unfortunately Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez apparently will not die from cancer. Mexico is a virtual narco-state and conduit for drugs into the U.S. Mexicans just voted for the return of a political party noted for its history of corruption and its willingness to look the other way in exchange for less drug cartel violence.

Africa never seems to change for the better. For all the billions in foreign aid and charity that has been pumped into African nations over decades, they continue to fester in one fashion or another. There is so little good to be said of Africa that it rarely makes news.

Asia does not appear to pose any problems for the U.S. at present except for the huge amount of U.S. treasury notes held by China. President Obama is making noise on the campaign trail about China, but the U.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary. With a billion and a half people, China has its own problems. Meanwhile South Korea and Japan seem to be doing well enough. North Korea remains a disgrace to mankind.

Australia just had a “carbon tax” imposed on it by its government despite widespread opposition. It will ruin its economy and the lives of its citizens.

That’s a short world tour and I would suggest that if you have in mind taking a vacation this summer, you should consider the many wonders of America or Canada as opposed to the horrors of most other places.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

At War with Iran

“State TV said President Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, and Gen Dawoud Rajha, the defence minister were victims of a blast during a high level security meeting. The Interior minister was also injured. Gen Shawkat was the deputy defense minister and was among the most feared figures in Assad’s inner circle. He is married to Assad’s elder sister, Bushra.” – The Telegraph (UK) July 18, 2012

The best thing now for Syria would be a dead Bashar al-Assad and events are pointing toward that conclusion. The world has been watching the slaughter of Syrians by their own government as Bashar follows in his father’s footsteps.

Events dubbed the “Arab Spring” have forced dictators out of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, but left behind nations that are likely not much improved over their previous governments. Middle Eastern states are essentially groups of warring tribes and are divided by the schism between Sunnis and Shiites.

The motivation for these uprisings is the widespread poverty throughout the Middle East and the fact that much of the population is quite young. It is a volatile combination.

At this point, Bashar al-Assad and the minority Alawite tribe that supports him are concentrated on simply surviving. It is a civil war not unlike Libya’s. The earlier uprisings have inspired people to rid themselves of their dictators, but there has been no evidence that their replacements are in a mood to do anything but establish new governments to control the oil wealth that sustains much of the region.

For now, using the covert skills of the CIA, the U.S. is providing arms to the Syrian rebels while the Saudis are picking up the costs. Recall that the U.S. provided similar assistance to the mujahadin who forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. That conflict included the creation of al Qaeda and their appreciation was demonstrated on 9/11.

At this point, other than guarding their border with Syria, the Israelis are concentrated on the threat that a nuclear Iran poses. They are not alone, but the question remains whether the Obama administration would support an attack on Iran. Obama’s animosity toward Israel could require them to wait in the hope of a new president by 2013.

The Israelis have a track record. In the past, when they felt their survival was on the line they destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1981 and a Syrian one in 2007. They have defeated their Arab neighbors in several wars since their founding in 1948.

Technically the U.S. has been at war with Iran since 1979 when the Islamic revolution there included taking 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days. They were released when Reagan took the oath of office in 1981.

Iran has been the largest exporter of terrorism in the world since then. The ayatollahs have not ceased their quest for nuclear weapons capability and reportedly are closing in on the final stages. Meanwhile, they have developed missiles that could reach Israel, Europe, and even the U.S. Iran is this generation’s equivalent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

No matter what the outcome is in Syria, the Iranian leaders will at some point use nuclear weapons, most likely in an attack on Israel because their hatred of the Jewish State is irrational and because of their bizarre belief that they must bring about a global conflagration in order to secure the return of a mythical Twelfth Imam who will usher in a world under the domination of Islam.

Despite the inevitability of a nuclear war no one directing the affairs of this nation and others really wants to face the truth of this or, at least, discuss it in public. It explains, though, why the U.S. has moved a fleet of warships in and near the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint of the Persian Gulf and is building other military assets in the Gulf States.

How much of a military remains after the automatic sequester of Defense Department funding depends on the forthcoming election and the capacity of Congress to do anything sensible.

For now there are wars and rumors of war, and the world remains a huge insane asylum.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Happy Birthday Florida!

On July 17, 1821 the United States formally obtained Florida from Spain. Andrew Jackson served as temporary governor until November of 1821. In 1822 Congress organized the Territory of Florida. Florida became a state in 1845.

In 1513 Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon claimed the Florida region for Spain. He named the region Florida most probably because he arrived here only a few days after Easter, which in Spanish is called Pascua Florida (Easter of the Flowers).

Happy Birthday Florida!

Executive Tyranny

The use of Executive Orders (EO) goes back to the first President, George Washington. Every chief executive has issued them since then. Some have been historic, but the latest Executive Orders of President Obama are downright scary.

The Executive Order signed on June 25 is titled “Russian Highly Enriched Uranium” and offers as its justification the fact that “the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federal continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”

A national emergency? Over Russian nuclear material?

Are we still in the Cold War?

Are we facing another Cuban Missile Crisis?

Are the Russians getting ready to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S.?

Are the Russians provocateurs? Yes, but what else is new?

The justification for this Executive Order is absurd.

The world is filled with nuclear weapons held by both our allies and our presumed enemies.

Having proclaimed a national emergency, why hasn’t Obama gone on television to inform Americans? Because, like everything else he does, it is done with stealth.

A previous Executive Order issued on March 16th evoked an even stronger response from those paying attention to what the President is doing. On March 22nd, Jeffrey T. Kuhner, a columnist for The Washington Times, wrote:

“President Obama has given himself the powers to declare martial law—especially in the event of a war with Iran. It is a sweeping power grab that should worry every American.”

“On March 16th, the White House released an executive order, ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution. It states that, in the case of a war or national emergency, the federal government has the authority to take over almost every aspect of American society. “

“Food, livestock, farming equipment, manufacturing, industry, energy, transportation, hospitals, health care facilities, water resources, defense and construction—all of it could fall under the full control of Mr. Obama.”

“He now possesses the potential powers of a dictator. The order is a direct assault on individual liberties, private property rights and the rule of law. It is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Bear in mind that Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution states that “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

“Specifically, the imposition of martial law by the national government over a state and its people, treating them as an occupied nation, is an act of war. Such an attempted suspension of the Constitution and Bill of Rights voids the compact with the state and with the people.” – Oathkeepers.org.

There has not been a peep out of Congress.

In the last decade the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq without a “national emergency” being declared. Whether or not the U.S. goes to war with Iran, Obama has granted to himself sweeping powers consistent with a dictator, not a Chief Executive. The Middle East rumor mill suggests that either he and/or Israel might do that in October.

Recall that the financial crisis of 2008 occurred conveniently before the election that put him in the Oval Office.

In point of fact, Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect, but they carry the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. The authority for Executive Orders is found in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution which grants the President “executive power.” The orders, however, are understood to give direction and guidance to the Executive Branch agencies and departments.

The latest Executive Orders are not “a conspiracy theory.” They are the law of the land.

In the case of the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order, it puts the Executive Branch in total control of everything and everyone in the nation. This includes the power to arrest and detain anyone deemed a threat to the nation.

A study, “Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism”, commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security identified the following characteristics of potential “terrorists.”

  • Americans who believe their “way of life” is under attack;
  • Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”;
  • People who consider themselves “anti-global” (presumably those who are wary of the loss of American sovereignty, opposed to the United Nations, etc.);
  • Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”;
  • Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty”;
  • People who “believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”

This is a President who called for a “Civilian National Security Force” on July 2, 2008, one that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the U.S. military.”

Obama is putting in force everything a tyranny requires to replace the Republic.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

FL Educators’ Reaction to Low Student Writing Scores: Kill the Messenger

The 2012 Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) results are out for writing. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Preliminary results released Monday indicate that just 27 percent of fourth-graders earned a passing score of 4.0 or better (out of 6) on the writing test. A year ago, 81 percent scored 4.0 or better. The outcomes were similar for eighth- and 10th-graders.”

So what do Florida’s professional educators say about these preliminary results? 

The attacks are nearly unanimous that the testing company got it wrong and that tests are harmful and should be disregarded. Governor Rick Scott’s newly appointed Commissioner of Education wants to lower the standards for passing the test. The Tampa Bay Times reports, “On Monday, Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson proposed reducing the FCAT writing passing score from 4.0 to 3.5. Under that standard, 48 percent of fourth-graders would have passed the test with a 3.5 or better, along with 52 percent of eighth-graders and 60 percent of 10th-graders.” The FCAT passing score has since been lowered “temporarily”.

Governor Scott released this statement about the dismal writing test scores: “Our students must know how to read and write, and our education system must be able to measure and benchmark their progress so we can set clear education goals. The significant contrast in this year’s writing scores is an obvious indication that the Department of Education needs to review the issue and recommend an action plan so that our schools, parents, teachers and students have a clear understanding of the results.” I hope Governor Scott understands that lowering the standards does not improve student performance in reading, math or writing.

Some say this is akin to saying that because most airline pilots cannot pass the annual flight exam it is good policy to lower the standards so that more pilots pass. 

Community leaders such as former Sarasota City Mayor David Merrill have been saying Florida students are not performing well on standardized tests. One of the best tools for measuring performance is a standardized test. Tests are used in every aspect of daily lives be it in education, professional development, business or medicine. Standardized tests, when properly developed and implemented, measure subject matter knowledge and performance. To not measure performance can be harmful to the individual and eventually to their prosperity.

David Merrill, former Mayor of Sarasota and Harvard Business School graduate, looked at FCAT scores for Sarasota County, Florida. David, in a July 2011 letter to the Sarasota County School Board, stated:

“I have recently provided several analyses that compared the Sarasota School District’s performance on FCAT tests to other school districts in Florida, and these analyses formed the basis of my conclusion that Sarasota’s school district has performed poorly over the past 9 years of FCAT data, especially when we consider the hundreds of millions dollars in extra taxes that we have paid in order to have a top district. Our school district has been near the very top of the ladder for spending, and yet the test scores for our black and Hispanic students are near the bottom of the scores for their racial subgroups, and during that time our white students have scored only a little better than the average for all white students in Florida.” [Emphasis mine]

So what is the response of Superintendent Lori White to the release of lower writing scores? The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, “Districts were notified in a memo last summer to expect more emphasis on grammar, punctuation and spelling. But teachers were not told how much weight that would receive, said Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White. ‘I don’t understand how the scoring could be done in such a way to cause such a decline in proficiency levels,’ she said.”

Sample of FCAT student writing.

Superintendent White knew about the change in standards, has more money than any other district in Florida due to passage of a $1 million tax providing the district with over $35 million more each year since 2002 and says she does not understand the problem.

Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and conventions have not been a priority in education for decades and now we are seeing the results – students who cannot write with any coherence. Just look at the writing example contained in this column to understand just how bad the situation really is. If I were a parent and read this essay from my son or daughter I would be outraged. This cannot continue. Blaming the test is not the answer. It is time for serious introspection. It is time for teachers to be given the full ability and responsibility to teach. Time to empower parents to pick what their children learn, not education bureaucrats in some distant state capitol or ivy covered university.

It is past the time to teach our children how to learn so they may be prosperous no matter what they decide to do in their lives.

America’s Ugly Mood

The present ugly mood in the nation is directly traceable to the man who is the worst president ever elected to that high office, Barack Hussein Obama. His utter lack of regard for our guiding instrument of governance, the Constitution, is rivaled by his contempt for all Americans.

The June 25th Rasmussen Reports poll found that 55% wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Arizona’s immigration law. (It struck down most of it but retained the state’s right to authorize police to request proof of citizenship.) 54% favored repeal of Obama’s healthcare law and, as we know, it was retained based on being deemed a tax.

Elections always exacerbate the nation’s mood and, in a nation that is so evenly divided between conservatives and liberals, their outcome has often been decided by “independents”, voters that swing in either direction depending on events and candidates. It’s a toss of the coin whether Obamacare or the economy will be the driving issue of the November elections.

A look back at American history provides an answer to why the economy is suffering though frankly in may offer little comfort. That said, it is still worth knowing where we came from to reach this present point.

America has been through previous recessions and even a Great Depression, but what is generally unknown is that they were the result of presidents and congresses that did not understand the workings of the nation’s free market economy.

It was Lincoln who put in place tariffs to protect American manufacturing and they stayed in place even through Franklin Roosevelt’s struggle to deal with the Great Depression. Following the end of World War II, the average U.S. import tariffs on durable goods fell from almost 30% to around 8%.

The virtual removal of tariffs and the embrace of global “free trade” are at the heart of the nation’s present financial crisis.

As Martin Seiff, the author of “That Should Be Us”, an analysis of the nation’s present crisis, wrote, “The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower was not a party of free trade. Every one of the ten Republican presidents who succeeded Lincoln remained committed to his tariffs policy.

“A tariff in fact acts as a tax on imported goods, but a tariff simultaneously acts as a tax break and a huge incentive to domestic investors to invest their money in domestic U.S. manufacturing instead…international investors love to invest in an industrial economy that is protected by tariffs.”

“It was not the abstract theory of democracy or the philosophical superiority of freedom that attracted more than thirty millions immigrants to the United States in the seventy years from 1860 to 1930; it was the prospect of a better, wealthier life. Democracy flourished in the United States throughout that century for the same reason that it failed in Germany in early 1930s. It failed in Weimar Germany because the economy collapsed, not just once, but repeatedly. Weimar’s disasters plunged scores of millions of previously decent people into destitution and desperation.”

To put the past and present in context, Seiff noted that, during the long period when the nation’s manufacturing base was protected by tariffs, “Automobiles, the modern assembly line, manned flight, the eradication of polio through the Sabin and Salk vaccines, the eradication of smallpox within the United States, manned space flight, steelmaking, the largest, most efficient ship-building industry the world has ever seen, the largest air force in history, the largest navy in history, jet airlines, nuclear energy, the oil industry, the electric light bulb, television, electrical power generating stations, alternating current for long-distance electrical power, transcontinental railroads, the refrigeration industry, the air conditioning industry, and vacuum cleaners.

And compared to all that, what do we celebrate today? Would you believe, Facebook?”

Our economic policies under presidents from Kennedy to Obama have abandoned the protection of our manufacturers, the creators of real value and real wealth. Today, we import much of what we use from nations like China that protect theirs with tariffs and other measures. Wal Mart and others offering cheap goods have become China’s Trojan horse because we no longer manufacture them here.

The lessons of history cannot be ignored. The embrace of “multiculturalism”, the failure to protect our borders from massive illegal immigration, the imposition of high taxes, and the increase in government regulation is killing America.

Elected on the promise of “hope and change”, Obama has destroyed the hopes of millions of Americans. There is a chance to end this in November, but it will be independent voters on whom the future depends.

© Alan Caruba, July 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Prometheus An Epic to Darwinism

I enjoy epic movies, particularly epic science fiction movies. Star Wars, Star Trek, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are all epic science fiction. Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus does not rise to the level of Star Wars, but its visuals are stunning. Many science fiction movies deal with human struggles; Prometheus tries to deal with the greatest question of all: Where did mankind come from?

Ridley comes firmly down on the side of Darwinism. Prometheus is no more than Darwinian propaganda.

The opening scene is of a human-like alien coming to earth where he self-destructs. His DNA then flows into the pristine waters of a new Earth, and from that comes mankind. This scenario is used by atheists to describe the origin of mankind. Some scientists and atheists suggest that lightning struck a primordial soup of chemicals and suddenly life began. Ridley promotes the idea that we came from extraterrestrials. That is the theme of the movie – man’s quest for his alien origin. A fool’s errand if there ever was one, as the movie demonstrates.

The characters are scientists on a quest to a distant galaxy seeking the “engineers” of mankind. What they end up finding is, surprise, the last of a race of extraterrestrials who are bent on killing mankind. At the end the alien species is co-joined with a slimy alien species to create a new alien species – pure Darwinism. Get ready for Prometheus II: Darwin Evolving, the sequel.

Of course Ridley does have one character who clings to a cross given to her by her father. That cross, symbolizing another reasonable explanation for the origin of man, is never fully developed. At the end it is this character who survives, wearing her cross. Ridley does not end his movie on a positive note but rather on a negative note. Because of that, he lost my interest and he devolved into commercialism.

I would like Ridley to address intelligent design by a supreme being – a.k.a. God – in a future movie. Now that would be an epic.

Ridley could have made the argument, that “yes there is a God” and he designed us. There are more rational arguments in favor of intelligent design than not. Perhaps the most powerful argument for the existence of God is offered by William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics and On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Dr. Craig presents the Moral Argument for the existence of a supreme being as:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

Ridley deals with this in his film. Each character is faced with objective moral values and decisions. Objective moral decisions such as: seeking immortality, using science to further nefarious ends, robotics, cloning and even the creation of alien biological weapons of mass destruction. Evil does exist within each of the characters in Prometheus and good does somehow triumph. However, evil is reborn in the form of another alien being, a hybrid portrayed in his original film Aliens.

I would have wished Ridley had delved into a rational and scientific analysis of God as the most likely “engineer” of us all.