"They had a three part agenda. They would use their manpower, influence and funds to back anything that would destroy our families, businesses and culture."
Thursday, February 28, 2013
New era of energy abundance: Nat gas production set a record last year, bringing inflation-adjusted prices to a 17-year low
2. As a result of the record production levels in 2012, the average price of natural gas fell last year to $2.66 per 1,000 cubic feet. Adjusted for inflation in 2012 dollars, that was the lowest, average annual price since 1995.
3. In the decade from 1995 to 2005, production of natural gas in the US was basically flat, and then actually fell towards the end of that 10-year period, so that domestic gas production in 2005 was actually below output in 1995. Also, imports of natural gas surged during that decade, increasing by 53% between 1995 and 2005, since the US had to rely heavily on imported natural gas to meet domestic demand. With flat domestic production, and rising industrial and consumer demand for natural gas, the inflation-adjusted wellhead price almost quadrupled from $2.33 per 1,000 cubic feet in 1995 to $8.62 in 2005.
4. Starting around 2008, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling started to revolutionize the production of natural gas when previously inaccessible oceans of gas trapped inside shale rock miles below the ground started being unleashed with the breakthrough extraction technologies. Accessing shale gas in the US proved to be a real game-changer, and the chart above helps to tell the story. As production surged to new record levels in each of the last six years, the inflation-adusted price of natural gas has fallen, and is now at a 17-year low. Compared to the most recent peak of $8.50 in 2008, gas prices have fallen by 69%.
Bottom Line: The shale gas revolution in America has totally transformed our energy landscape. The fact that we’re having a national debate now about whether to allow exports of US natural gas to Europe and Japan demonstrates that we have entered a new era of energy abundance and prosperity that would have been unthinkable even five years ago.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Texas has been cleaning up in state rankings of job growth and business-friendliness, but it isn’t alone. In an excellent new piece in the Wall Street Journal, Joel Kotkin profiles the four “red growth corridors” of the South and West that are quickly outpacing the rest of the country in job creation, economic growth and population. These corridors are more business friendly, cheaper to live in, and are emerging as centers of energy production, agriculture and manufacturing. As a result, they are fast becoming, in Kotkin’s words, an “American Ruhr“:
Since 2000, the Intermountain West’s population has grown by 20%, the Third Coast’s by 14%, the long-depopulating Great Plains by over 14%, and the Southeast by 13%. Population in the rest of the U.S. has grown barely 7%. Last year, the largest net recipients of domestic migrants were Texas and Florida, which between them gained 150,000. The biggest losers? New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California.Read the whole thing. If this trend continues and blue states are left behind in terms of growth, will their voters will take another look at how well their model is serving them and rebalance their priorities?
As a result, the corridors are home to most of America’s fastest-growing big cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and Denver. Critically for the economic and political future, the growth corridor seems particularly appealing to young families with children.
Cities such as Raleigh, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas and Houston enjoy among the country’s fastest growth rates in the under-15 population. That demographic is on the wane in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Immigrants, too, flock to once-unfamiliar places like Nashville, Charlotte and Oklahoma City. Houston and Dallas already have more new immigrants per capita than Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and Chicago.
Rush Limbaugh weighed in recently on the Republicans’ on-going debate about what went wrong in November. Elaborating on his earlier comment that he was “ashamed of America,” Limbaugh said, “The Left has beaten us. They have created far more low-information, unaware, uneducated people than we’ve been able to keep up with . . . I’ve always had a Civics 101 view of the country: People get what they want, they vote what they want, and they get the way they vote.” He added that the Democrats “control the education system . . . pop culture, movies, TV and books” and use that control to create “dependency” among voters.
Some may think this is a dog-bites-man observation, but it’s worth looking more closely at the most important item in Limbaugh’s list––the educational system. Everything else Limbaugh mentions is made possible because of the deep corruption in public education from kindergarten to university.
We often focus on the ideological biases of the university, where the more lunatic examples of political correctness get the most attention. But in education as in economics, there is a trickle-down effect. The grandees at the elite universities train the PhD’s who go on to second and third tier institutions, where they in turn train the students who get high school and grade school teaching credentials. They also write most of the textbooks that end up in K-12 classrooms. Thus the progressive ideology metastasizes throughout the educational system, determining the curriculum, the textbooks, and the point of view of the teachers. At that level the ideas may be garbled, half-baked, incoherent, and a collection of clichés and slogans. But they are still toxic and effective at transmitting a world-view to impressionable minds.
When my kids were in public school I witnessed this process over and over. Questionable leftist ideas I had to sit through in graduate seminars turned up regularly in my kids’ English and history courses and textbooks. In the Marxiste interpretation of history, for example, traditional historical narratives reflect the “false consciousness” of capitalism’s academic publicists justifying and “mystifying” a history marked by oppression and atrocities in service to a dehumanizing capitalist ideology.
The founding of the United States, then, was not about things like freedom and inalienable rights, but instead reflected the economic interests and power of wealthy white property-owners. The civil war wasn’t about freeing the slaves or preserving the union, but about economic competition between the industrial north and the plantation south. The settling of the West was not an epic saga of hardships endured to create a civilization in a wilderness, but genocide of the Indians whose lands and resources were stolen to serve capitalist exploitation. Inherent in this sort of history were the assumptions of Marxist economic determinism and the primacy of material causes over the camouflage of ideals and principles.
In the 60’s this narrative was married to identity politics: the defining of ethnic minorities and Third World peoples on the basis of their status as victims of this capitalist hegemony and it imperialist and colonialist mechanisms, which justified the plundering, oppression, and exploitation of the non-white “others” with racist notions of their natural inferiority. Various strains of postmodernism added a cultural relativism that put out of bounds any judgments of a culture’s values, since all such standards reflect the economic needs of the dominant power. Soon feminism added women to the list of victims sacrificed to the white-male power structure. Edward Said’s historically ignorant and tendentious Orientalism rationalized the failure of the Muslim Arab Middle East in the same way. Soon Said’s book expanded beyond Middle East studies to condition the way generations of English and history professors approach their traditional subjects––as narratives justifying an unjust, racist, exploitative Western power of which all right-thinking people should be ashamed.
The politicizing of the universities has led to two ill effects. First, the Gresham’s law of education means that adding all this material to the curriculum necessitates the driving out of the traditional curriculum––based (imperfectly, to be sure) on fact and argument––that could provide the empirical antidote to this left-wing toxin. Second, generations of credential students have sat in these courses and then gone on to teach in high schools and grade schools, and to write the textbooks and curricula that propagate this ideology. The result is a student population ignorant of the basic facts of history, the vacuum filled with melodramas of victimization, racism, oppression, and violence that cast the United States as a global villain guilty of crimes against humanity. A mentality is fostered that is receptive to domestic and foreign policies predicated on American guilt and the need to make reparations for historical crimes, whether by foreign aid, global retreat, or the surrender of sovereignty to international organizations. That’s why a pure embodiment of the leftist historical drama like Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech did not evoke outrage over its historical lies and slanders. It was no different from what most people under the age of say 50 had been hearing in school for years.
So too with the movies, books, television shows, and popular music Limbaugh identifies as vectors of this disease. They merely reflect what their creators absorbed in school and what their audiences have been programmed to uncritically accept as true. Having been schooled in the evil designs of oppressive, greedy corporations that abuse workers and rape the planet, these cultural consumers are natural audiences for the plots of movies and television shows that recycle these dull clichés. Having been taught the evils of free-market capitalism that enriches the few at the expense of the many, they are natural constituents of a class-envy politics demanding the rich “pay their fair share,” which is nothing more than property redistribution useful for creating a class of political clients dependent on the federal government. Having spent years being indoctrinated with romantic environmentalism and Disneyfied visions of nature, they are susceptible to an anti-carbon politics that retards development of American oil resources in the name of “protecting the planet” from an apocalyptic rise in global temperatures caused by human and corporate misbehavior, a notion that barely qualifies as a hypothesis, let alone a scientific fact. But how could most products of our dysfunctional educational system tell the difference?
No surprise, then, that last year Obama won the 18-44 demographic––46% of the electorate––by about 15 points. This is the age group that has spent its whole educational career in schools that fail at teaching fundamental skills and basic information, but succeed at transmitting the progressive ideology perfect for creating conformist dependents like the cartoon Julia or actress Lena Dunham, both stars of Obama campaign ads. That so many escape this warping influence is a testimony to parents and independent-minded teachers who are careful to counter this ideology.
The Jesuit educational maxim was, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Today’s progressives get children until they are 18 and sometimes 21. That kind of influence is hard to match.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Allen West "The continuous propaganda rallies are a shameless display of a shallow campaigner who is incapable of leading"
Barack Obama tell it, the impending $85 billion in spending
cuts to the federal budget known as the sequester are the worst
disaster since Seth MacFarlane hosted the Academy Awards.
But before you dive deep into depression, here are five
facts that should take the sting out of the sequester.
1. The Cuts Are Tiny!
The actual cuts in fiscal year 2013 are only $44
to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The rest
don’t even take place until 2014 or later. Whether you use $44
billion or $85 billion we’re talking about 1 or 2 percent of total
2. Spending is Still Going Up!
Even with the sequester, the federal government is
expected to spend more this year than it did last year. The
government spent $3.5 trillion in 2012 and i expected to spend $3.6
trillion in 2013 (see Summary
3. The Pentagon Won't Starve!
The largest chunk of cuts will come out of the defense
budget, which has
doubled over the past decade. The Pentagon will still
have about $500
billion at its disposal, not counting war-related and
4. You Can't Cut Nonexistent
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget says the
sequester will cut a whopping $2 million from the $20 million
budget for the National Drug Intelligence Center. That sounds
pretty bad - until you realize the
Drug Intelligence Center closed its door in June
5. It Was All Obama's Idea!
The whole damn sequester was the Obama administration’s
idea. As the Washington Post’s Bob
Woodward has reported, despite Obama’s denials to the
contrary, “the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White
House” as part of the deal to raise the debt limit back in August
So as members of the president’s cabinet and party rail against
the draconian nature of the sequester and the unfairness of it all,
it’s worth keeping in mind that these cuts are genuinely puny.
And that the president has nobody to blame but himself.
About 2 minutes.
Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also
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Corruption has now become so routine in Washington that improprieties far worse than Turbo Timmie’s implausible failure to pay taxes on income from his days working as a consultant to the World Bank barely evoke a yawn from the media. Apparently the fourth estate is either so bedazzled by star turns, like Michelle Obama presenting at the Oscars (!!!) or so cowed by the prospect of being cut off from information that it dutifully falls in line.
Let’s look at the presumed incoming Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew. He’s a die hard neoliberal, played a role in financial deregulation as Clinton economics team member, and a backer of NAFTA. But what is surprising is the limited interest in his personal dealings, which have been examined critically by Pam Martens and Bloomberg’s Jonathan Weil. Recall that Lew is essentially a career elite technocrat, with his major stint out of government being during the Bush Administration, when he first served as the Executive Vice President for Operations at NYU (where his noteworthy accomplishment was busting the bargaining rights of grad students) and then became the chief operating officer for Citigroup’s alternative investment group.
Weill zeroed in one provision of Lew’s employment agreement at Citigroup, that if Lew left for a “high level position with the United States government or regulatory body” his 2006 and 2007 guaranteed incentive and retention awards. The 2008 rider to the letter provided that if Lew left for the same type of “high level position” his restricted stock would vest immediately. Frankly, I think Weil is more riled up about this provision than he ought to be. The bank was giving particularly generous guarantees for joining. There was no reason to pay out on those guarantee if Lew broke his contract, unless he went to do something that would be of comparable value to the bank. You may not like the logic, but this is pretty cold commercial logic at work. Weil seems to have misread the “guaranteed incentive and retention awards” to mean Lew’s annual bonus on an ongoing basis. It didn’t. It’s a defined term that refers only to special goodies he got in 2006 and 2007.
What I find more disturbing is if you read the totality of Lew’s agreement versus Citi’s performance and Lew’s 2008 pay.
Remember, Lewis came from a job at NYU where he already looks to have been considerably overpaid. He received over $840,000 for the academic year 2002-2003, which had him earning more than most university presidents, including NYU’s president. And on top of that, as Pam Martens ferreted out, he was apparently given a $1.3 million house. I’m not making that up, go read her piece. The mechanism was that NYU lent the $1.3 million to buy the house to Lew and then forgave it over five years. Oh, and they paid him the money to pay the interest too. We will assume that the forgiveness of debt was reported properly to the IRS.
Now the house deal (which is rather bizarre given that NYU owns lots of nice faculty housing) might be what made Lew’s pay deal so out of line relative to his job. But if the forgiveness of debt was not included in the total, it’s even more insane, the equivalent of $1.1 million a year.
But Citi was still happy to pay over the market. If you read the Lew employment agreement, he got a $300,000 salary and a $1 million a year guaranteed incentive and retention award for each of 2006 and 2007. Oh, and he ALSO got a $700,000 signing bonus in restricted stock (or cash if the relevant committee did not approve the award!) that would vest 25% a year over the next four years. Oh, and the last goodies: he got his offer letter on June 26, 2006, and he joined in July. But his $1 million guaranteed incentive and retention award was NOT pro-rated for that year. And he got to take a $400,000 advance against it when he joined.
Now a general rule in headhunter land is you need to pay someone a 30% premium over their current job to get them to leave. But that is when they are recruiting someone with a good resume who is well situated away from a pretty secure position. You are paying them for assuming the risk of failure in a new job. There’s no evidence that Lew was aggressively courted to leave his job at NYU because a university administrator would be the perfect guy to play an executive role in a hedge fund business. The flip side, of course, is if a guy like Lew landed a plum government or regulatory job after Citi, pretty much any pay level would be a screaming bargain. And between Lew’s own history and then Citigroup vice chairman Bob Rubin’s deep network in the Democratic party, it would seem that the only risk was how long it took to get the Dems back in power.
But let’s look at what happened. Remember how Citi’s stock has cratered?
It is really hard to discern the scales, but Lew’s $700,000 award would have been made when Citi was trading (in post reverse split term) in the $480 to $500 a share range. When he joined the Obama administration as deputy secretary of state, the stock was in the $15 to $18 range. So it was pretty much worthless. Any restricted stock component of his 2007 bonus would also have lost most of its value.
Now, Lew’s salary was increased to $350,000 in 2008. Given that the bank was hemorrhaging losses and his unit was part of the problem, there’s no justification for a salary rise (remember, the wheels were staring to come off in 2007, as Citi’s stock price attests). Let us look at how Goldman, which was one of the stronger major players,* handled executive and staff pay in 2008. From Bloomberg:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. eliminated 2,500 jobs in the fourth quarter and slashed average pay per worker 45 percent to $363,654 as the firm posted the first quarterly loss since going public almost a decade ago….Yet Lew’s 2008 bonus of $944,000 was almost identical to his 2007 guarantee (note that we don’t know if he got any other goodies in cash, but again, given that the earnings of the bank fell 83% from prior year levels, that would be awfully unseemly). And let us not forget that this came out of taxpayer largess, not earnings.
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and six deputies agreed to forgo their year-end bonuses after the firm converted to a bank-holding company and accepted $10 billion from the government to help it survive a financial crisis that eliminated three smaller rivals. The firm’s bonus pool, estimated at 60 percent of total compensation, dropped to $6.56 billion or an average $218,193 per employee this year.
Weill adds that Lew stood to receive another $250,001 to $500,000 in the cashout of restricted stock. Given the stock chart above, that has to have been almost entirely a 2008 award, any prior year awards would be worth chicken feed. And the bank knew as of November 15 (if not sooner) that Lew was going to the Administration, hence the award would be paid out in cash, out of taxpayer monies. In other words, that award should not be mistaken as a prior year grant, it’s almost all for 2008, and on top of that, probably understood at the time it was awarded to be effectively a cash award.
This isn’t hard to understand. When Lloyd Blankfein, who was excoriated by former Goldman co-chairman John Whitehead for Goldman’s role in leading “outrageous”n pay increases over Wall Street, is requiring significantly lower pay levels of his executives and troops for their 2008 pay. By contrast, a mere (albeit senior) administrator at a bank on government life support, got an effective increase. Yet as reported in the Washington Times, Lew had the temerity to tell Congress:
My position at Citi was a management position,” Mr. Lew replied. “I was not an investment adviser. My compensation was in line with other management executives at the firm and in similarly complex operations.”It may be true that the entire executive team was feeding at the trough as much as Lew. However, a look at the proxy shows that none of the top five executives at Citi took cash bonuses for 2008. So if top executives were taking major pay cuts, how could Lew, an administrator in a money-losing unit, claim to be treated just the same as everyone else?
But this simply means that Lew is a member of a protected class. The rules that apply to little people, including giving accurate, as opposed to strained-at-best, answers to Congressmen, just don’t apply to him. The idea that his pay package was basically a huge option payment by Citi on the pretty good odds that he’d land another big deal official post, doesn’t seem to occur to him. And why is that worth so much to Citi? Well, as we know, corruption in the US does not (often) take the form of briefcases full of cash being left in an office. It’s an ugly combination of intellectual capture, of mutual backscratching, and “don’t rock the boat,” of accepting norms of discourse, behavior, and action, that circumscribe the range of possible actions.
Lew no doubt believes he was paid according to merit, despite the blindingly obviously evidence to the contrary. And that sense of entitlement is what will enable him to kill old people without a second though. Because that is what winning cuts to Social Security and Medicare will do, given that Obama punted on his chance to tackle the health care cost problem.
I had predicted Lew would have us wanting Geithner back. At least Geithner would get twitchy when grilled. That means, somewhere inside, he actually knows right from wrong. Lew is such a bland technocrat that I wonder whether he has any compunctions.
But the lack of consternation about Lew’s financial record, and the way some respected members of what passes for the left (Robert Reich and Jamie Galbraith) have defended Lew, in part also shows how much things have changed in a mere four years. Obama’s lying has become so predictable that it’s hard to stir up any outrage over it.** And since fish rot from the head, one of Obama’s singular accomplishments is in defining deviancy down throughout the Beltway. For instance, Obama took the unheard-of step of collecting “unlimited corporate cash” in the words of Roll Call, with virtually nil in the way of disclosure, took even stalwart supporters like the Grey Lady aback.
So Lew is indeed perfect for his new role, just not in the way ordinary Americans expect him to be.
* I don’t buy Jamie Dimon’s claims re JP Morgan’s financial condition. Yes, the traditional bank was in vastly better shape than Citi or Bank of America. But JP Morgan runs a monster derivatives clearing operation which dwarfs the risk in the traditional bank. If AIG or Morgan Stanley had failed after Lehman, the blowback would most assuredly have taken JP Morgan down as well.
** Yes I know politicians lie, but Obama has completely redefined the boundaries of acceptable political fudging. It’s now all dishonesty, all the time.
I had always planned to be a historian and I still spend
much of my time reading history. When I do, I am struck by a
few dramatic truths.
The first is that life in America, at least right now, at
least for most of us, is simply great. I’m reading a book
about “Hitler’s Central European Empire” by a recently deceased
historian named Jean Sedlar. She writes in great detail about
the horrifying brutality in the region from Finland down to
the Balkans in the period roughly from the late 1930s to the end
of World War II.
Every ethnic group at war with every other ethnic group.
Every nationality wanting to kill their neighbors. Two
totalitarian states, the Soviet Union and The Third Reich
crushing everyone in their path.
The suffering of untold millions, the gruesome living
conditions, the fighting, the fleeing, the hiding, the starving,
and the dying just went on endlessly. There was no end of
pain from the Baltic to the Adriatic.
As we saw much more recently in the wars in the former
Yugoslavia, that kind of ethnic and religious hatred persists to
When I read about this, or read about the torment of my
fellow Jews even in a supposedly highly civilized nation like
France in World War II or about the staggering viciousness in
the drug trade in Mexico right now, or the endless civil wars
and mineral wars in Africa, my head reels at the cruelty of
man to man.
Then my wife and I take our dogs out for a walk in our
neighborhood in Los Angeles and the lawns are green and the birdies
are singing and soon we will have some French toast — and
life is great. No wars, no ethnic hatreds, pretty much
everyone accepted and taken at face value as a fellow
citizen, brother and sister.
I mention this because I am like you. I worry constantly.
About my son and his family. About getting older. About the
hideously ugly house someone is putting up across the street from
me. About the ‘flu.
But when I think about our lives in America right now, and
compare them with what life is like and has been like for so many
hundreds or millions — no,
Billions — of human beings, I cannot help but feel as if God
had shone a special privilege and blessing upon America.
I know this is not allowed and it’s called American
exceptionalism and it’s academic poison. But it’s true. God
really has blessed this glorious land, from sea to shining
sea, and compared with the privilege of living here in 2013,
no problem I have right now means much. What glory to live
Thank you, God, thank you.
John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why
some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions
about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has
given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that
people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove
Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a
lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and
see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.
What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures,
other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for
us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.
Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get
government to take over more of our decisions for us is the
assumption that there is some superior class of people who are
either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.
Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger
and more catastrophic mistakes?
Think about the First World War, from which nations on both
sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented
carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger
generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.
Think about the Holocaust, and about other government slaughters
of even more millions of innocent men, women and children under
Communist governments in the Soviet Union and China.
Even in the United States, government policies in the 1930s led
to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being
slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers, at a
time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases
caused by malnutrition.
The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people
were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was
needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in
retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.
One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our
own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences
force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials
cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole
Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the
mothers of America, “I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I
never should have gotten us into”?
What is even more relevant to Professor Sunstein’s desire to
have our betters tell us how to live our lives, is that so many
oppressive and even catastrophic government policies were cheered
on by the intelligentsia.
Back in the 1930s, for example, totalitarianism was considered
to be “the wave of the future” by much of the intelligentsia, not
only in the totalitarian countries themselves but in democratic
nations as well.
The Soviet Union was being praised to the skies by such literary
luminaries as George Bernard Shaw in Britain and Edmund Wilson in
America, while literally millions of people were being
systematically starved to death by Stalin and masses of others were
being shipped off to slave labor camps.
Even Hitler and Mussolini had their supporters or apologists
among intellectuals in the Western democracies, including at one
time Lincoln Steffens and W.E.B. Du Bois.
An even larger array of the intellectual elite in the 1930s
opposed the efforts of Western democracies to respond to Hitler’s
massive military buildup with offsetting military defense buildups
to deter Hitler or to defend themselves if deterrence failed.
“Disarmament” was the mantra of the day among the
intelligentsia, often garnished with the suggestion that the
Western democracies should “set an example” for other nations — as
if Nazi Germany or imperial Japan was likely to follow their
Too many among today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our
shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are
apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care
of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being
supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Monday, February 25, 2013
I don’t believe there is anyone in the world who knows more about the UN’s ugly obsession with Israel than Anne Bayefsky. In this short video, she nicely sums it up. Almost none of this is new to me, but I appreciate her calm, objective, organized approach to the information. The only thing that I had sort of known, without ever thinking about it, is how radically different the UN’s make-up is now, as compared to its make-up in 1949.
Just as the Democrat party is no longer my Dad’s Democrat party, so too is the UN no longer my parents’ UN. If you’ve washed your hands of this loathsome institution, it’s not because you’re betraying it, it’s because it has changed beyond recognition and is betraying you.
Family, church, and school are the three basic people-forming institutions, notes Patrick Fagan, and they produce the best results—including economic and political ones—when they cooperate.
Even if all the market reforms of the Washington think tanks, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Magazine were enacted, we’d still need to kiss the Great American Economy goodbye. Below the level of economic policy lies a society that is producing fewer people capable of hard work, especially married men with children. As the retreat from marriage continues apace, there are fewer and fewer of these men, resulting in a slowly, permanently decelerating economy.Read more on The Wealth of Nations Depends on the Health of Families…
The post The Wealth of Nations Depends on the Health of Families appeared first on Acton Institute PowerBlog.
Because of their false agenda, that’s why. They’re still convinced that, despite 17 years of no warming (as recently admitted by the head of the IPCC), oil is bad and “green” is good. Disregard the fact that green is still unviable. Disregard the fact that everywhere it has or is being pushed, energy costs are skyrocketing. Nevermind the fact that we are sitting on a sea of fossile fuel products that we only need to access.
That said, there’s also the fiscal side of the house. The debt. The deficit. And the demand by Democrats to raise more revenue.
Unfortunately, because of their agenda, they’re likely to completely screw up a golden opportunity to bring in much more revenue and drive energy prices down, because their agenda is against fossile fuel. And we all know the party agenda comes before what is best for the country.
Enter the administration with a renewed plan to tax oil companies instead of opening access to the vast natural riches we enjoy. The result? Well this chart will help you comprehend the vast differences in the two policy choices (full size here):
So the either/or is “tax ‘em or open access”. The difference:
According to a 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie, increased oil and natural gas activity underpro-access policies would generate an additional $800 billion in cumulative revenue for government by 2030. The chart puts into perspective the size of these accumulating revenues – enough to fund entire federal departments at various points along the timeline. By contrast, Wood Mackenize also found that hiking taxes on oil and natural gas companies would, by 2030, result in $223 billion in cumulative lost revenue to government.It only proves the old saw -”If you want more of it, reward it and if you want less, tax it”. Think about it – money to help run government and pay down the debt (not to mention the thousands, if not millions of jobs created) being passed up in the name of false science and agenda politics.
Meanwhile, we’ll be left in the cold and the dark, thanks to agenda driven policies with no foundation in reality.
The $85 billion in cuts amounts to a mere "two percent of the budget," Bozell noted, but in reality, "it's more like $22 billion," in discretionary cuts, which is about 0.25 percent of the budget. "This is just typical fearmongering" from the left, the Media Research Center founder told the audience of the February 22 Hannity. Also discussed on Friday's "Media Mash" was MSNBC's Chuck Todd dismissing the "mythology of the liberal media." [video follows page break]
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The charade is over: Democrats tip hand that “background checks” are a smokescreen for national gun registration.
The Koch brothers are the Leftist media’s arch enemies. Because they donate money to free market think tanks, media coverage routinely vilifies them. If Satan got the kind of negative press the Koch brothers do, even Satanists would abandon him.
The media’s articles make it appear that the Koch brothers’ sin isn’t in holding their political views but, rather, in using their ill-gotten gains to fund those views. How dare they use money acquired from capitalism to advocate for their personal causes?
It’s quite a different story, of course, when ill-gotten gains from rampant capitalism end up funding Leftist causes. Today’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a hagiographic article about Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor (whose money comes from investment banking) and who now devote their time and fortune to fighting climate change — never mind that the climate will change with or without them, as it has always done. What Steyer and Taylor are really doing is ensuring that nobody else gets the chance to be as rich as they are, since all climate change efforts are fundamentally directed at limiting wealth acquisition in the First World, while transferring some measure of wealth to the economic sinkhole that is currently the Third World
Incidentally, I am not saying that the Third World doesn’t have vast economic possibilities. As much as anything, it’s a sinkhole because of a toxic combination of corrupt and/or totalitarian governments and religions on home, on the one hand, and NGOs and Leftist billionaires, on the other hand. These two forces work together to keep Third World citizens mired in picturesque squalor.
This is insidious propaganda. The media doesn’t overtly take a position — it simply vilifies those who stand for principles the media opposes, while swooning over those who invest money in the media’s favorite causes. The low-information readership doesn’t realize that the article’s targets are ideologies. They simply start having a Pavlovian response when an ideological position rolls around.
American people are not overly dependent on government. They also
predict dire consequences if the automatic budget “cuts” known as
sequestration take place March 1.
Both claims cannot be true. If modest across-the-board
“cuts”—mainly cuts in the rate of growth—in military and domestic
spending pose a threat to the American people and the U.S. economy,
then the country is alarmingly dependent on government.
Federal spending has grown
dramatically since the 1970s, with the biggest increases coming
during Republican administrations. Spending today is hundreds of
billions greater than in 2008 and much higher as a percentage of
the economy. True, it is lower now than in 2009, but that year, a
combination of George W. Bush and Obama “stimulus” spending, set a
The sequester consists of $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts
in non-entitlement spending growth over ten years. To put that in
perspective, Reason editor
Nick Gillespie writes, “Remember that we’re talking about $1.2
trillion dollars taken out of a projected $44 trillion or so in
spending. What kind of budget discipline is that?”
As that March 1 sequester approaches, the Obama administration
warns of severe consequences for national security and economic
It is hard to take seriously the claim that even a small and
temporary decrease in Pentagon spending would endanger the American
people. Military spending has skyrocketed since the year 2000, and
the United States spends almost as much on the means of war as the
rest of the world combined—indeed, it spends more than it did at
the height of the Cold War. The U.S. military is now out of Iraq
and is beginning to leave Afghanistan. One should expect a fall in
spending under those circumstances—unless the government plans to
invade more countries.
Yet Obama and outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta foresee
great danger. Nonsense. As Mercatus Center analyst
Veronique de Rugy writes, “Defense spending has almost doubled
in the past decade in current dollar terms and will continue to
grow in spite of automatic cuts.” Summarizing Rugy’s findings,
Gillespie writes, “Assuming maximum sequestration, Defense
would increase only 16 percent in current dollars over the next
decade, rather than 23 percent without sequestration.” Some
Of course, much could and should be cut from the military by
ending the U.S. government’s imperial foreign policy—which makes
enemies for the American people—and moving to a policy of strict
noninterventionism. This would not only save money; it would be the
right thing to do. The U.S. government should not be policing the
What about the claims that a spending slowdown would harm the
economy? We’re told the economy could fall back into recession if
spending is not maintained at the vigorous pace previously planned.
After all, it is argued, if government workers are laid off and
fewer military contracts are written, less money will be in
people’s hands to spend on goods and services. Considering that the
government wouldn’t actually have less revenue under sequestration,
this is an outrageous exaggeration if not an outright lie. Of
course, beneficiaries of that spending—especially the parasitic
politicians and the military-industrial complex—have every reason
to mislead the taxpayers. The people’s natural interest in lower
taxes and lower government spending must be overcome somehow.
Frightening them into believing that even a slowing of the growth
in spending would wreck the economy is just the ticket.
Even if it were true that the economy would slow down, it would
be no more than a short-term effect that would quickly give way to
real, sustainable economic growth, assuming the government took
other needed steps to free the economy. Government employees and
contractors spend the taxpayers’ money. If the largess ends, the
producers of that wealth will be free to spend and invest as they
like. That’s not only just; it’s how sound economies are generated.
Politicians use the force of the state to shape the economy to
their own purposes. That violates freedom and stifles
Contrary to the Keynesian ruling elite, government does not
generate economic growth. The free market, unburdened by spending,
taxes, regulation, and privilege, contains all that it needs to
raise living standards for all. After sequestration, let’s start
seeing real and substantial cuts in spending.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
From the liberal newspaper USA Today, of all places.
Excerpt: (links removed)
A few small, high-quality programs have shown enduring benefits for at-risk kids. But intensive study of Head Start, the nation’s largest and oldest preschool program, finds that the beneficial effects, which are real, wear off by third grade.That’s why I find it so strange that Obama is pushing for more funding for government-run early childhood education, i.e. – “Head Start”. The government’s own studies have shown that Head Start doesn’t work.
The probable reason is not hard to deduce. Children are most likely to succeed in school when pushed by parents who provide stability, help with schooling, and instill an education and work ethic. But for decades now, the American family has been breaking down.
Two-fifths of children born in the USA are born to unmarried mothers, an eightfold increase since 1960. Many succeed thanks to the heroic efforts of strong, motivated single parents and other relatives. But research shows that children of single parents suffer disproportionately high poverty rates, impaired development and low performance in school.
Ron Haskins, an expert on children and families at the Brookings Institution, calls single parenthood a “little motor pushing up the poverty rate.” In 2011, the rate for children of single mothers was more than four times greater than that for children of married couples.
Researchers at Princeton and Columbia, following 5,000 children born to married and unmarried parents, have found that the effects of single parenthood seep into every aspect of kids’ lives.
A typical pattern in these “fragile families” looks like this: When a child is born, most fathers and mothers are in a committed relationship. By the time the child reaches 5, though, many fathers have disappeared. As the mothers move on to new relationships, the children face more instability, often with new siblings born to different fathers. Boys without strong male role models are more likely to turn to gangs and crime.
Single mothers read less to their children, are more likely to use harsh discipline and are less likely to maintain stable routines, such as a regular bedtime. All these behaviors are important predictors of children’s health and development.
It is a tragically familiar pattern. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Johnson administration official and later a U.S. senator, warned about an alarming rise — to nearly 24% — in unmarried births in the black community. His prescient warning created a furor among liberals and civil rights leaders, who accused him of blaming the victim. The rates are now 73% for blacks, 53% for Hispanics and 29% for whites.
In fact, you can argue that Democrat policies actually undermine the family, by paying women to have babies out of wedlock.
Cato Institute economist Dr. Michael Tanner explains:
At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)Democrats also support the normalizing recreational sex for young children and handing out contraceptives to students without the permission or knowledge of parents. What kind of lasting bond can you create when people have had dozens of sexual partners and have been indoctrinated to view sex as a recreational activity? It just trivializes relationships so that they about sex and fun, instead of being about self-sacrifice, commitment and responsibility. If we are serious about helping children, we need to keep feminists and government out of love and marriage.
The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)
Of course women do not get pregnant just to get welfare benefits. It is also true that a wide array of other social factors has contributed to the growth in out-of-wedlock births. But, by removing the economic consequences of a out-of-wedlock birth, welfare has removed a major incentive to avoid such pregnancies. A teenager looking around at her friends and neighbors is liable to see several who have given birth out of wedlock. When she sees that they have suffered few visible immediate consequences (the very real consequences of such behavior are often not immediately apparent), she is less inclined to modify her own behavior to prevent pregnancy.
Proof of this can be found in a study by Professor Ellen Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania, who surveyed black, never-pregnant females age 17 or younger. Only 40% of those surveyed said that they thought becoming pregnant in the next year “would make their situation worse.”(10) Likewise, a study by Professor Laurie Schwab Zabin for the Journal of Research on Adolescence found that: “in a sample of inner-city black teens presenting for pregnancy tests, we reported that more than 31 percent of those who elected to carry their pregnancy to term told us, before their pregnancy was diagnosed, that they believed a baby would present a problem…”(11) In other words, 69 percent either did not believe having a baby out-of-wedlock would present a problem or were unsure.
Until teenage girls, particularly those living in relative poverty, can be made to see real consequences from pregnancy, it will be impossible to gain control over the problem of out-of- wedlock births. By disguising those consequences, welfare makes it easier for these girls to make the decisions that will lead to unwed motherhood.
Current welfare policies seem to be designed with an appallingly lack of concern for their impact on out-of-wedlock births. Indeed, Medicaid programs in 11 states actually provide infertility treatments to single women on welfare.(12)
I should also point out that, once the child is born, welfare also appears to discourage the mother from marrying in the future. Research by Robert Hutchins of Cornell University shows that a 10 percent increase in AFDC benefits leads to an eight percent decrease in the marriage rate of single mothers.(13)
As welfare contributes to the rise in out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families, it concomitantly contributes to the associated increase in criminal activity.
The first thing to fix is the widespread belief that men do not have any special roles, and fathers can be substituted for with welfare checks and government programs. Women need to think through what marriage is like, and then control their feelings in order to choose the right man for the roles of husband and father. That is the real cure for single motherhood. The strangest thing in the world I hear from women is what good mothers they would make, and that’s why they should be allowed to use a sperm donor to have a fatherless child. I think that any woman who would contemplate subjecting a child to fatherlessness by choice is by definition someone who does not know or care about the needs of the child. What is amazing to me is many “socially conservative” Christians treat single motherhood as something heroic and praiseworthy, instead of treating it as reckless and harmful to children.
Filed under: News Tagged: Children, Government, Parenting, Poverty, Research, Single Motherhood By Choice, Single-Motherhood, Study, Welfare
Nanny State Welfare Gone Insane: Single Mothers in Pennsylvania Could Qualify for a Whopping $80,000 in Government Benefits
Forbes has put together the most miserable U.S. cities
Economist Arthur Okun developed the original Misery Index in the 1960s. It combines unemployment and inflation (and was 10.2 last year nationally, down from an 18-year high of 12.1 in 2011).
Our look at misery is more localized, and includes unemployment, as well as other things that aggravate people.
This year we examined nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S. The metrics include the serious: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. We also include less weighty, but still important quality-of-life issues like commute times and weather.
We tweaked the methodology in this year’s list in response to feedback from readers, dropping our rankings of both pro sports team success and political corruption, since both were based on regional, rather than city-specific data. We also added a new measure—net migration—which we see as a clear gauge of whether or not residents feel a community is worth living in. Detroit, which ranked No. 2 last year, also would have finished No. 1 under the previous methodology (click here for more details about the criteria for the list).
And how’d that turn out?
- Detroit, MI
- Flint, MI
- Rockford, IL
- Chicago, IL
- Modesto, CA
- Vallejo, CA
- Warren, MI
- Stockton, CA
- Lake County, IL
- New York, NY
- Toledo, Ohio
- St. Louis, Mo.
- Camden, NJ
- Milwaukee, Wisc
- Atlantic City, NJ
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Cleveland, Oh
- Poughkeepsie, NY
- Gary, Ind
- Youngstown, Oh
Every single one of those cities votes overwhelmingly for Democrats. You’re saying “woah, woah, Teach, Atlanta and St. Louis are in states that vote Republican. That means you are a complete and utter liar, and how dare you make this whole story up!!!!1!!!” Ah, but Atlanta is mostly in Fulton County, which voted 64-34% for Obama over Romney. DeKalb County, which includes a tiny bit of Atlanta, voted even higher for Obama over Romney.
The city of St. Louis, considered independent of a county, voted 82.7-16% for Obama.
Every single one of these cities is a recipient of massive liberal/Democrat policies and governance. Their citizens are overwhelmingly liberal. The funny (not ha-ha) part is that liberals are abandoning these cities in droves (those that can escape), which is one of the article measurements. And where do they tend to move? Areas that aren’t practicing far left policies and ideas, then these, let’s call them…..a**holes, bring the same Leftists ideas which destroyed the cities they’ve abandoned to other cities.
Friday, February 22, 2013
“We are supposed to be a country that protects the most vulnerable among us, and what’s more vulnerable than a baby?”
Kirsten Powers asked the question on The O’Reilly Factor last night, in part in response to Andrew Cuomo’s abortion-expansion push.
Keep reading this post . . .
“It’s becoming Fannie Motors,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute finance scholar John Berlau, referring to the government-backed housing lender Fannie Mae. “They’re still using our tax dollars to break into exotic and money-losing propositions from Chevy Volts to subprime loans, both of which could literally and figuratively blow up in their faces.”
Rick Scott’s Medicaid decision confirms AEI scholar Michael Greve’s concerns about contemporary federalism
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s announcement that he will expand the Sunshine State’s Medicaid program this week confirms what AEI scholar Michael Greve has long declared: America has a federalism problem—one that cannot be solved, as many conservatives insist, by simply delegating more power to the states.
If approved by the state legislature, the Medicaid expansion would cover uninsured Floridians earning up to 138% of the poverty threshold and add more than one million residents to the state’s Medicaid rolls. Sounds pretty costly, especially for a state that already spends $21 billion—30% of its annual budget—on Medicaid. But Gov. Scott justified his decision insofar as the federal government will shoulder 100% of the costs associated with the expansion through 2017. After that, Washington will front 90% of the costs until 2023.
Of course, Gov. Scott wouldn’t want to “lose” federal dollars that are now on the table, a key component to the Affordable Care Act that expands coverage among uninsured Americans. And the costs that Florida will shoulder from this expansion are comparatively small. The ten year price tag for Tallahassee is a little north of $5 billion. Meanwhile, taxpayers nationwide are on the hook for $66 billion. And that’s for Florida’s expansion alone. All told, the Medicaid expansion nationwide will cost American taxpayers $638 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Enter Greve, who presciently identifies the pathologies inherent to contemporary federalism in his February 2012 book, The Upside Down Constitution and—even further back—in a speech to Boise State University in October 2011. Contemporary federalism, according to Greve, has been inverted, allowing states to impose their will on the entire nation. Decisions in Tallahassee now affect citizens in Toledo—citizens who have no recourse through the ballot box.
If you must, you can bypass Greve’s magnum opus by reading his Boise State speech, in which he acknowledges that state power “has been unleashed in domains where its exercise poses monumental dangers to the rest of the country—control over the commerce of the United States, expensive social experiments on our collective federal taxes, wild gambles on federal dollars.”
Collusion has replaced competition between the states and federal government. We’re worse off for it.
Barack Obama promised to expand government spending on pre-kindergarten education to make it “universal,” a proposal certain to warm the hearts of middle Americans. After all, who doesn’t want to help our children get ahead? However, that prompts two questions — will it actually help, and could we take more effective and less costly action [...]
Read this post »
Thursday, February 21, 2013
A disproportionate share of ethics cases have been brought against this exclusive club.
According to a 2012 National Journal study, five of the six lawmakers under review by the House Ethics Committee were Black Caucus members. Yet just one in 10 House members belong to the group.
It's a familiar pattern.
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Keep reading this post . . .
Why would anyone call moral relativism a “dictatorship”? Fr. Dwight Longenecker explains in just a few paragraphs why a society without a coherent code of moral truth will eventually require a strongman to govern it:
Beneath all of this is the underlying tyranny of relativism. We dare not “judge” other actions because we have been taught that there is no such thing as right or wrong. We have been taught to believer that it is right to be wrong, or at least that we should have the right to be wrong, and not only have the right to be wrong, but to impose that right to be wrong on everyone else. In other words, you must not only allow me to be wrong, but you must say that my wrong is not only my right, but that my wrong is right.Be sure to follow the link to see what prompted this explanation, but as Fr. Dwight writes, it could have been any cultural dispute at the moment. The disputes are just the symptoms, and Fr. Dwight expertly assesses why we should be much more concerned about the underlying cause.
If the preceding paragraph made you think twice and read thrice, then I have achieved my purpose, for the world of moral relativism is a world of double think and double talk where nothing means anything and anything can mean nothing. Morality is reduced to “you say po-TAY- to and I say po-TAH-to. Let’s call the whole thing off.” And it is “off” way off, and not only way off, but way out, and if way out, then let us hope it is on it’s way out, for a world of moral relativism is dangerous. Deadly dangerous.
It is deadly dangerous because when there are not moral absolutes the state decides what is right and wrong, and when the state decides what is wrong, the rulers of that state will invariably decide that what is right is what is best for them, and what is best for them is that which consolidates their wealth and their power. When the state decides what is right and wrong, and has the power to enforce what they decide is right and wrong, they will do so.
Furthermore, when moral relativism reigns it is not long before chaos and anarchy prevail. (It’s a logical consequence–if there is no right and wrong you may do as you wish) and when anarchy and chaos prevail the state has the reason and the obligation to establish order, and among an anarchic population that order can only be established by force.
We have to do this because you really do need to understand the extent of mindless irrationality that liberals present to us as a “thinking process”.
'via Blog this'
'via Blog this'
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Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has pleaded guilty to using political campaign funds to support a lavish lifestyle. Between 2005 and 2012, Jackson Jr. and his wife conspired to siphon off a staggering $750,000. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Prosecutors said $60,000 was spent on restaurants, nightclubs and lounges; $31,700 on personal airfare; $16,000 on sports clubs and lounges; $17,000 on tobacco shops; $5,800 on alcohol; $14,500 on dry cleaning; $8,000 on grocery stores and $6,000 at drug stores.We hope the judge remembers when sentencing that the chief victims of Jackson’s crimes are poor, defenseless people who need effective legislative representation—representation that he was too busy feathering his nest and rolling in unearned privilege to provide.
About 3,100 personal purchases were made on campaign credit cards, totaling $582,772.58, prosecutors said.
“Sir, for years I lived in my campaign,” Jackson Jr. told U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins. “I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes, and I used them for myself personally, to benefit me personally. And I am acknowledging that that which the government has presented is accurate.”
We’ve learned not to expect moral outrage from the left when the representatives of deeply crooked and solidly entrenched big city political machines betray their constituents and the public trust. But these crimes are genuinely despicable; Jackson has brought unspeakable shame on his family and himself. He should spend a lot of time in jail, both because his crimes are so destructive and as a terrifying example to others.
It would be nice to hear some sharp moral condemnation from the President of the United States of this unprincipled criminality, but we almost certainly won’t. When it comes to moral leadership against the crime wave of Democratic elected officials pillaging the poor in one city after another, this President is tongue tied. History will remember that silence, and it won’t be kind. The struggle against crooked big-city politicians is a vital part of today’s real struggle to help the poor. The President is betraying poor black Americans who need him to have the courage and the honesty to speak in their name.
Even by the standards of the authortarian depravity of people who work in the West’s places of higher education, this caught my eye:
“Against Autonomy is a defense of paternalistic laws; that is, laws that make you do things, or prevent you from doing things, for your own good. conly-aaI argue that autonomy, or the freedom to act in accordance with your own decisions, is overrated—that the common high evaluation of the importance of autonomy is based on a belief that we are much more rational than we actually are. We now have lots of evidence from psychology and behavioral economics that we are often very bad at choosing effective means to our ends. In such cases, we need the help of others—and in particular, of government regulation—to keep us from going wrong.”Via the website of Stephen Hicks.
Read the whole thing. And look at the sort of coercive measures she favours, such as over the number of children that people have. Here is the book.
The other day, we had a debate on this board about free will and determinism. It is a debate that goes back centuries. For what it is worth, I am on the side of those who believe that human beings, by their very nature, have volition – it is hard to see how humans can form concepts, judge and reason without a volitional capacity. (Here is a great discussion of the issues over at Diana Hsieh’s Philosophy in Action blog. Now, some people argue, this is all very academic. But as the example above shows, once supposedly “academic” and “scientific” people put about the idea that we are nothing more than puppets in a deterministic universe, certain consequences follow. It can – although it needn’t – lead to fatalism and nihilism. It can also mean that certain intellectuals and the like, rather as the Marxists of old, consider themselves able to rise above the herd, diagnose the ills of we meat-puppets, and lead us “for our own good”. Just as a Marxist would shout “bourgeois illusion!” if a person ever contested such ideas as historical inevitability, so today’s modern determinists, such the Sam Harrises, do the same in suggesting that our free will/volition is also an illusion. (And Harris’ recent forays into the world of political philosophy give us a good idea of how collectivist such people frequently are.) Here, by the way, is an excellent short book by Tim Mawson, a philosopher, on the free will issue – it has a huge bibliography at the back which is also very useful.
Some things change and some things stay the same. And it seems that one constant debate is that between those who think that Man is, to an extent anyway, the master or author of his own story, and those who would rather Man just did what he was told, for his own good, of course. Well, I know which side I’m on.
Free speech is increasingly under attack in the West, due to Muslim immigration, but there has been little media attention given to alarms like the attempted assassination of Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard (pictured) in Copenhagen earlier this month.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
“The Army has been in a state of continuous war for nearly 12 years, the longest in our nation’s history,” Odierno said, “but today, in my opinion, the greatest threat to our national security is the fiscal uncertainty resulting from the lack of predictability in the budget cycle.”The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 12 establishes that Congress alone has the power "[t]o raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." Clause 13 speaks to the Navy. The "lack of predictability in the budget cycle" is purely about Congress' determination of budgets.
Specifically, it is about the failure of Congress to determine a budget. Congress has not passed a budget in more than three years. The sole and only reason that there is uncertainty of the type General Odierno describes is that Congress has not done its duty.
That may be a first in American history. The Chief of Staff of the US Army publicly stated that the effects of Congress' actions are the largest national security threat to our country.
He put it very politely, even obliquely, as the UCMJ severely restricts servicemembers' criticisms of elected officials. Nevertheless, there is simply no other way to read his remarks.
Libertarian speaker in Melbourne warns Australians of dangers of Political Correctness, increasing Islamization of the West
From Eric Dondero:
A comprehensive report of Geert Wilder's speech yesterday to supporters in Melbourne. Leftist protesters, including a group carrying a banner advocating Socialism, attempted to bar entrants into the facility to hear the pro-capitalist, pro-free speech rights Dutch MP's speech.
One man pleads with the protesters to allow for free speech rights to be exercised. Leftist protesters grab him by the collar and push him to the ground. Andrew Horwood of the Q Society, an Aussie version of the Tea Party, introducing Wilders remarks:
I think it is very sad that political correctness has descended upon this land. That it's hard for a group like this to get locations where we can freely speak.Wilders:
I am here to warn Australia about the true nature of Islam. It's not just a religion as so many people think. It's primarily a dangerrous and totalitarian ideology.