Friday, May 31, 2013

What makes this IRS scandal different

What makes this IRS scandal different: Peggy Noonan:


... my friend got to the essence. He wrote, “The left likes to say, ‘Watergate was worse!’ Watergate was bad—don’t get me wrong. But it was elites using the machinery of government to spy on elites. . . . It’s something quite different when elites use the machinery of government against ordinary people. It’s a whole different ball game.”

In previous IRS scandals it was the powerful abusing the powerful—a White House moving against prominent financial or journalistic figures who, because of their own particular status or the machineries at their disposal, could pretty much take care of themselves. A scandal erupts, there are headlines, and then people go on their way. The dreadful thing about this scandal, what makes it ominous, is that this is the elites versus regular citizens. It’s the mighty versus normal people. It’s the all-powerful directors of the administrative state training their eyes and moving on uppity and relatively undefended Americans.

That’s what makes this scandal different, and why if it’s not stopped now it will never stop. Because every four years you can get yourself a new president and a new White House, but you won’t easily get yourself a whole new administrative state. It’s there, it’s not going away, not anytime soon. If it isn’t forced back into its cage now, and definitively, it will prowl the land hungrily forever.
There is more.

It is an important point.  Sometimes it appears to me that the IRS uses a Google search everyday to find out who is being critical, then they turn the machinery of government against that person or group.  It is how they use a search engine to find others to "be on the lookout for."  That is the way it appears when conservatives who have made no application for a tax exempt status are targeted.

You sense the arrogance at work.

America's Soaring Regulations Cost $1.8 Trillion A Year

America's Soaring Regulations Cost $1.8 Trillion A Year:
Politicians from both parties routinely tout the need to roll back unnecessary regulations. But how much overregulation is there exactly? Most politicians have no idea, and neither does the general public.
Most people have some idea that the government spends nearly $4 trillion annually given the prominence of the recent debates over the "fiscal cliff" and "sequestration."
But there is no equivalent regulatory metric. This is a problem that needs fixing.
Agencies aren't exactly forthcoming with data about how much their rules cost, since bureaucrats' sinecures depend at least in part on avoiding public outrage. The documents they do issue are widely scattered and rarely written in language accessible to the lay reader.
In short, the regulatory state has a major transparency problem.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual survey of the federal regulatory state, "Ten Thousand Commandments," the 20th anniversary edition of which was just released, assembles a wide array of disparate data on federal regulation in one easily accessible place. The numbers are astounding.
For instance, federal agencies issued a total of 3,708 final regulations last year.
That's equivalent to a new regulation hitting the books every two and a half hours, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Since the first edition of Ten Thousand Commandments was issued in 1993, the federal government has issued 81,883 regulations, or a little more than 4,000 per year.
The Code of Federal Regulations, which compiles all federal regulations, grew by more than 4,000 pages last year. The entire document now runs 174,545 pages, spread over 238 volumes. The index alone takes up 1,142 pages.
In 2010, the total number of specific regulatory restrictions passed the 1 million mark, according to Patrick McLaughlin's RegData program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
What do all these million-plus rules cost? Around $1.8 trillion per year.
This is slightly more than Canada's entire 2011 GDP. An average American household "pays" $14,768 annually in a hidden regulatory tax — more than it spends on health care, food, transportation or entertainment. Regulatory compliance costs more than every normal household budgetary item except housing.
The federal government's ongoing trillion-dollar deficits will likely mean still more regulation.
Suppose Congress wants to implement a new job training program. It could pay for it from the federal budget, which would add to the deficit and cause voter ire.
Or it could direct the Labor Department to issue a regulation requiring Fortune 500 companies to provide and pay for the training, keeping the expense safely away from Washington's balance sheet.
Indeed, regulatory agencies currently have 4,062 regulations at various stages of the rulemaking process. Of those rules, 224 are classified as "economically significant," meaning they each have an economic impact of at least $100 million per year.
This implies at least $22.4 billion per year in new costs, and likely much more. Similarly, the administration's recent Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations sported $20 billion in fiscal year 2012 costs for a subset of rules.
What are the solutions to America's growing regulatory problem?
For starters, the Office of Management and Budget should begin issuing its own Ten Thousand Commandments-style annual report as a matter of basic transparency.
We advise, however, that agencies refrain from self-auditing. Auditors should be independent in order to keep them honest.
An agency auditing its own rules is tantamount to a student grading his or her own papers.
Overregulation is a hard problem to fix because people don't have an idea of its extent.
We do know that it's extensive, but it gets little public scrutiny, compared to the amount of press that taxing and spending issues receive.
As long as the regulatory state remains larger than the entire Canadian economy, economic recovery will be a challenge.
And so long as Washington actively resists basic transparency measures, reform will be nearly impossible.
The first step to curing an illness is to diagnose it correctly.
Wed, 2013-05-29
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Investor's Business Daily

Holder is not the cancer in the administration; he’s merely a symptom

Holder is not the cancer in the administration; he’s merely a symptom:
Peter Wehner, who writes at Commentary Magazine’s blog, is usually very mild mannered in his critiques. I would call him a Romney Republican.  He’s a moderate conservative who worked the White House under Reagan and both Bush’s.  He therefore tends to be a little forgiving of bad political decisions.  That’s why it was amazing to see his post about Eric Holder’s resignation, which Wehner believes was a necessity, end with this harsh paragraph:
But whether Holder stays or goes is, if not exactly beside the point, not the central issue involved here.
What matters is that we have an administration that had contempt for the rule of law and believes it is right and proper to use the power of the federal government to target, intimidate, and silence its political opponents. That has been happening since nearly the beginning of the Obama Era. Eric Holder is not the generator of this culture of intimidation and corruption; he is merely one of its executioners. The real problem with the Obama administration begins at the top. Getting rid of Eric Holder may be a good idea. But it won’t solve the deeper pathologies of this presidency.

Nobody Wants Mush Religion

Nobody Wants Mush Religion:
In The Telegraph, a straight-taking senior Anglican figure says the Church is run by incense-huffing surrender monkeys:
British schools are helping to boost Islamism with politically correct lessons that tell black pupils that slavery was entirely the fault of English and Americans, and omit the long and vicious history of Arab slave trading, according to an influential Church of England bishop.
In an exclusive interview for our Telegram podcast, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali – a Pakistani-born scholar who resigned as Bishop of Rochester in 2009 in order to train Christians facing persecution – says “the Churches have generally capitulated to secular culture and therefore cannot bring a distinctive voice to public debate”.
They have neglected human relations, especially the family, in favour of “welfarism” that teaches that the state should provide all the goods that citizens need. All this adds up to the slow death of people’s sense of themselves as spiritual beings – and this affects “even people who go to church”.
Bishop Nazir-Ali, a theological conservative who opposes the ordination of actively gay clergy, is now president of Oxtrad, which “prepares Christians for ministry in situations where the Church is under pressure and in danger of persecution”. He claims that, in addition to ignoring the current persecution of Christians in the Islamic world, secular Britain brushes aside historical evidence of Muslim aggression.
“If you ignore what really happened to give a lopsided view of history in the interests of political correctness, you can’t blame [young] people if they move to something else that has a less critical view of itself,” he says. Christianity appears so apologetic that students naturally gravitate towards self-confident Islam. Meanwhile, “the Churches’ engagement with the secular world becomes capitulation to it”.

To Reform The IRS, We Must Reform Our Crazy Tax Code

To Reform The IRS, We Must Reform Our Crazy Tax Code: Apart from criminal prosecution, the best way to strip the power of politics and corruption from the IRS is to initiate broad-based, pro-growth tax reform and simplification. It's the complexity of the tax code that nurtures the corruptness of the IRS. There's a buzz in Washington about this possibility, where both Democrats and Republicans are interested in reform. We need a simpler and flatter tax code. We need to get rid of the crony-capitalist

Government Shields Civilizational Jihad’s Takeover Of The West

Government Shields Civilizational Jihad’s Takeover Of The West:
islam will dominate the world

One year ago, in June 2012, the “National Security Five” — five members of Congress led by Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — called attention to U.S. government infiltration by Muslim Brotherhood (MB) operatives. Based on disturbing information from court evidence and documents, correspondence, media reports, congressional briefings, and public statements, they found that individuals with questionable loyalty to the United States held high-level security clearances and worked in key national security positions. Tragically for the security of the United States and the safety of its citizens, these five earnest members of Congress, armed with ample evidence, were roundly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats, and their request for investigations was ignored.

Unfortunately for our country, this response is not atypical, but simply another in a series of thwarted or abandoned investigations over decades whose outcomes have critical national security implications for America.

A mere 20 years ago, responding to pressure from then-President Clinton to de-emphasize Arab international terrorism, FBI head Louis Freeh shifted the agency’s focus from foreign terrorists to domestic terrorists or “rightwing extremists.” As a direct consequence, 40 boxes of evidence from the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 that would have revealed valuable information about Al Qaeda operations were never reviewed and key evidence, including the presence of Arab nationals at U.S. flight schools, was ignored.

In the same way, serious evidence of Middle Eastern involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing that claimed 168 lives, injured more than 680 people and damaged 324 buildings within a 16 block radius was ignored. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) alluded to this in his 2006 Chairman’s Report for the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on the attack. Rohrabacher cited suspicions of meetings and phone calls between bombing accomplice Terry Nichols and convicted 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) mastermind Ramzi Yousef. Similarly, the attack strategy and mechanics resembled the first WTC bombing. Finally, multiple witnesses reported seeing Hussain Hashem al-Hussaini, an Iraqi connected to Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, in the company of McVeigh prior to the bombing, leaving the truck used in the attack, and driving away prior to the blast. These significant similarities didn’t even warrant an investigation by the Clinton administration.

The Clinton administration also ignored the findings of Able Danger, an 80-person military intelligence program (1999-2001) created to gather intelligence on Al Qaeda networks. The program’s findings were presented to the Pentagon more than a year prior to 9/11. The intelligence unit identified 60 terrorists inside the United States, including a Brooklyn cell headed by Mohammed Atta and three other terrorists later involved in 9/11. This crucial information was ignored by the Clinton Department of Defense (DoD), which chose not to act on it and not to pass it on to the FBI. Two members of the Able Danger team, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Navy Commander Scott Philpott, attempted to arrange meetings on three occasions to transfer the open-source information about Al Qaeda to the FBI and to warn the government about upcoming attacks. But Clinton administration lawyers under the direction of Assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick thwarted their efforts and Able Danger was shut down before 9/11 occurred. Although Able Danger intelligence officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer provided intelligence from its investigation to the director of the 9/11 Commission, that information was not included in the final report and Lt. Col. Shaffer was not permitted to testify. Ultimately the DoD denied the accuracy of the information and retaliated against him. When Shaffer first published his book, Operation Dark Heart, the DoD bought and destroyed all 9,500 copies.

Remarkably, Able Danger had identified the threat to the USS Cole two weeks before the attack and the role played by the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn, a major funding, recruiting, and fundraising source for Al Qaeda in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Also ignored was data gathered after 9/11, when the U.S. Customs Services sponsored an interagency investigative team that collected data on close to 40 organizations and businesses as part of its research on terrorist financing sources. Operation Green Quest (2001-2003) raided the offices of the Muslim World League (MWL), the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the SAAR Foundation and affiliated Muslim Brotherhood organizations in Herndon, Virginia in May of 2001. The MWL, established in 1962, a Saudi-sponsored group that spreads Wahhabism worldwide, has been instrumental in turning a majority of U.S. mosques into jihad recruitment centers. It has also funded Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups through its financial arm, the Rabita Trust. The IIIT, established in 1980, controls an extensive network of front organizations, trusts, charities, and businesses that fund Wahhabism throughout the United States and has funded Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al Qaeda. SAAR, an acronym for founder Suleiman Abdul Aziz-al Rajhi and now doing business as the SAFA Trust, is one of the main funding sources for the U.S. Wahhabi movement, providing $1.7 billion to Islamist causes in 1998 alone.

Extensive information was compiled as part of the Holy Land Foundation trial, which concluded in 2009 with five indictments and 300 identified, unindicted co-conspirators. After four years, 80 bank boxes of information supplied to the defense has still not been made available to Congress, journalists, or the public despite multiple requests, including a public appeal on the floor of the House to Attorney General Eric Holder by Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-Tx).

Finally, the report on right-wing extremism prepared by Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security in 2009 presents the same obfuscating agenda to shift law enforcement awareness away from Islam and toward citizens who are opposed to abortion or illegal immigration, gun owners, and returning veterans as was implemented by Bill Clinton following the first World Trade Center bombing. Curiously, the DHS report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” was not based on actions or incidents perpetrated by specific groups but on the potential for extremist action.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Explanatory Memorandum for the General Strategic Plan for North America published in 1987 and discovered by the FBI in a raid of a house in Virginia in 2004 specifies that Muslims should fight all counterterrorism efforts so that the infidels are unaware of the civilizational jihad to take over the West. Our government’s own actions to thwart fruitful investigations and limit the availability of evidence go a long way toward helping them realize this goal. In the face of increasing discoveries of dangerous links to terrorist groups and substantial hard evidence of actions taken against the United States, government officials have not made arrests or tried to protect its citizens, but instead have covered up evidence, prevented its dissemination, and attacked those bringing vital data to light. In a nation so hesitant and blind, can we be safe from further attacks?
The post Government Shields Civilizational Jihad’s Takeover Of The West appeared first on Freedom Outpost.

A Tale Of Two Immigrations

A Tale Of Two Immigrations:
A Tale Of Two Immigrations
I seriously doubt if anyone reading this post would disagree that our immigration system is not working. There are several things that could be contributing to that, including lack of proper enforcement and an unwillingness by our political leaders to do what is necessary to fix the immigration problems that exist. Those issues have been the subject of discussion on this blog before and may very well be again. What I want to focus on today is the attitudes of the immigrants that come into America. Without giving details, I want to discuss two examples that I can personally attest to that shows the differing attitudes that exist among immigrants.
ImmigrationThe first family I want to describe came to America from South Africa. The father is a doctor, a very good one, from what I hear from some of his patients. The family is well-respected in the community. They have assimilated into American society and have even moved his parents from their homeland. His sister has moved here as well. They all speak English with a great accent, which is fun to listen to. They are all citizens and they participate in our electoral system. I know this because I have had discussions with them. Their knowledge of what is going on is good and they are interested in doing good in their adopted country. This is as it should be and in my opinion, a great example of how our immigration system is supposed to work.
Enter the second tale of immigration, a tale I encountered yesterday. I was speaking to a couple of Hispanic gentlemen and trying to explain something to them. One of them spoke no English, or so I was led to believe. The second spoke very little English, just enough to make things confusing. After about 15 minutes of working through the details of what I was trying to explain to them, the second man asked me if we had anyone available who spoke Spanish. I explained to him that we did not and he made a statement that was very telling to me. In very broken English, he said I should have at least one person available who spoke Spanish. He said it in a way that let me know he expected to be able to converse and do his business only in Spanish. (I wonder if Mexican businesses have people standing by who speak English, just in case an American wanders into their place of business?) He finally called his son on the phone, who did speak good English and was able to translate for us.
The attitude I felt from this man when he made his statement about speaking Spanish troubles me. I have no idea if either of them are citizens, but they did have driver’s licenses. They are living in an area that does business in English. I realize they may have come to America after their childhood and learning a second language can be difficult, but why should it be our responsibility to have a person who speaks Spanish on hand, just so they can conduct their business. Why should it not fall to all immigrants to America to learn English? The first family I mentioned learned English, or they knew it when they immigrated to America. If they can do it, why not everyone else?
This tale of two immigrations is revealing to me. We are a nation of immigrants, but immigration should mean more than just coming to America and working for a living. It used to mean the Irish came to American and became Americans. Jews came to America and became Americans. Germans came to America and became Americans. That didn’t mean they completely forgot their homeland, their culture, or the language, but they still became Americans. They spoke English and they assimilated into American society. That is exactly what the family from South Africa has done. They are Americans.
The two men from Mexico have done no such thing. They speak very little English and felt it necessary to remind me that we should have at least one person who speaks Spanish. They clearly have not assimilated into American society. Is that the way immigration into America is supposed to work? I think not and until that attitude changes, I question if we will ever be able to produce real and substantial reforms to our immigration system. Yes, we have problems in the immigration works in America. Part of it is the fault of the system. Much of it has to do with the lack of proper security at the border and enforcement of our immigration laws. Some of the blame, however, has to rest on the shoulders of the immigrants who come across our borders. Immigration needs to mean more to them than a paycheck to send home to their families. Legal immigration can work in America, but only if immigration is what they really want. At this point in time, I question if that is the case.

The Cost of Losing: A Thousand Years of Darkness

The Cost of Losing: A Thousand Years of Darkness:

Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn
Imagine trying to fight a war against an enemy led by ruthless tyrants, while granting that enemy authority to train your own military. After all, you reason, sending your soldiers to the enemy’s training centers frees up your time and resources for other priorities. Moreover, the tyrants have graciously promised to train your men in good faith, so denying them this privilege might seem ungrateful.
What are your chances of winning that war? You might win a skirmish here and there, if a few of your soldiers remain independent enough to question the lessons in surrender they were taught by the enemy. But your long-term prospects are, of course, dismal, since after their rare provisional successes, your soldiers will only use their newly-gained territory to set up a tent for conciliatory peace talks with the other side, in accordance with the rules of engagement they have learned in training.

Civilization — all of it — is currently under the domination of progressive collectivism in ethics, authoritarianism in politics, irrationalism in epistemology, and nihilism in metaphysics. The architects of this calamity have paved the road to the devil’s dominion over several generations. Their recent boldness, moving in for the kill on the last, crumbling bastion of principled resistance, America, shows that they believe ultimate victory is at hand, which, in human terms, means we face a thousand years of darkness.
We who reject the progressives’ knee-jerk historicism, however, need not accept the inevitability of this result. Doom does not follow necessarily from any mechanism beyond human control. It does, however, follow necessarily from inaction and resignation. That is to say, civilization is doomed unless she begins to mount a deliberate and determined defense.

The first step to mounting an effective defense is to understand how progressivism has won so much territory, geographical and spiritual, over this multi-generational war. I mean, specifically, how they have done it in practice, for concrete results derive from concrete actions. The nations of the semi-free world have, over the course of generations, voted themselves into servitude, voted away their property rights, acquiesced in the breakdown of the family, and willingly given over their souls en masse to the rule of all the wanton and stupid desires and fears that men for millennia knew they had to control in order to remain men; they have forsaken the human heritage for the false promises of tyrants.
Read more from this story HERE.
The Cost of Losing: A Thousand Years of Darkness

Obama’s Defense Policy Speech Was Untrue, Incoherent, Foolish, and Dangerous

Obama’s Defense Policy Speech Was Untrue, Incoherent, Foolish, and Dangerous:
By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News


President Barack Obama is abysmally ignorant of what every first year ROTC student knows, that is, war only ends when the enemy no longer has the motivation and/or capability to continue the war. The president’s ignorance was embarrassingly on display in his May 23rd National Defense University counterterrorism policy speech . This speech was untrue, incoherent, foolish, and dangerous.
With appropriate deference for this concept to the master warfare theoretician, ...

Code of Decency…

Code of Decency…:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hope, Change: Medicaid And Disability At Record Highs

Hope, Change: Medicaid And Disability At Record Highs: Welfare State: Medicaid rolls hit a record 72.6 million last year while nearly 11 million Americans -- also a record -- received disability benefits in May. America has truly become a nation of freeloaders. When nearly one-fourth of the entire nation -- in this case about 23% -- is enrolled in the country's health care program for indigents, and record numbers are collecting disability payments, the trouble is deep. America is the land of opportunity

Study: Government Regs Waste $46B Every Year

Study: Government Regs Waste $46B Every Year:
Study: Government regs waste $46 billion every year
Conn Carroll
Thanks to federal government regulations, Americans waste 642 million hours every year filling out duplicative paperwork, a new study by American Action Forum reports Thursday. That is the equivalent of 321,000 employees working 2,000 hours annually at a cost of $46 billion.
AAF drew the data from its study from a similar Government Accountability Office report on duplicative government spending. That study found the federal government spends $95 billion on overlapping government programs. AAF then analyzed those overlapping programs and identified 470 different duplicative paperwork requirements in programs ranging from wind energy subsidies to drug abuse prevention.
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One Fine Day in Minnesota

One Fine Day in Minnesota: Hat tip Creeping Sharia

And a big hat tip to our State Department, which saw fit to bring in about 80,000 Somali refugees back in the 1990s. Many wound up in Minnesota, where they are now branching out into gangs, recruits for al Shabaab, and just ordinary street thugs. On Sunday, 6 or 7 of them attacked a couple of joggers.

Send all inquiries to the State Department.

An Eloquent Call for Universal National Service

An Eloquent Call for Universal National Service:
800px-Stanley_A._McChrystal's_retirement_ceremony_2010-07-23_2Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of US forces in Afghanistan and now the chairman of a project on national service at the Aspen Institute (and, full disclosure, someone WRM has known and admired for many years), has an eloquent call for national service in the WSJ today. He laments the low number of Americans who serve the nation these days; most young people, unfortunately, consider the duties of citizenship someone else’s problem.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced,” President Lincoln said at Gettysburg. To serve the country, Americans don’t have to put on a uniform. There is much that civilians can do. Here McChrystal’s idea:
At age 18, every young man and woman would receive information on various options for national service. Along with the five branches of the military, graduates would learn about new civilian service branches organized around urgent issues like education, health care and poverty. The positions within these branches would be offered through AmeriCorps as well as through certified nonprofits. Service would last at least a year. [...]
Some, particularly after having just observed Memorial Day, might think that only war is capable of binding a generation and instilling true civic pride. But you don’t have to hear the hiss of bullets to develop a deeper claim to the nation. In my nearly four decades in the military, I saw young men and women learn the meaning and responsibilities of citizenship by wearing the uniform in times of both peace and war. They were required to work with people of different backgrounds, introduced to teamwork and discipline, unified by common tests, and brought even closer by sacrifice. Some discovered, often to their surprise, that they were leaders.
This transformation is not exclusive to the military. Those who disagree need only visit young teachers working 18-hour days together in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. In rural Colorado health clinics, in California’s forests, or Midwest neighborhoods devastated by tornadoes, skeptics would see teams of young people—affluent and poor, college-educated and not—devoting their days to a singular, impactful mission.
At Via Meadia we tend to be skeptical of calls to universal national service, and the occasional cries from the good and the great for mandatory service for young people give us the heebie-jeebies. We don’t think the American government is a feudal overlord that can demand compulsory service from the peasants, and people who think that it is, scare us. (We make an exception for a military draft in times of war or imminent danger of war.) But Stan’s idea—creating meaningful opportunities for young people to serve, making the case to them why they should serve, and creating a civil culture that rewards and celebrates voluntary service—is a different approach.
The devil is in the details, and we suspect it will be a long time before a national service program works really well. After all, America has been trying to give every kid in the country a good high school experience for almost 100 years, and spending a lot of money on it. The goal of providing meaningful service opportunities to millons of kids is probably even harder to reach. These programs often work best on a small scale and deteriorate dramatically when blown up to giant proportions. We suspect that the various Agencies of Official Voluntarism that Stan wants to set up would become ineffective and expensive hotbeds of mediocrity before much time had passed. One of the things a culture of voluntarism and service is about is reducing dependence on government; more leadership from religious and other private groups and less official involvement from the Ministry of Joy might mean a slower start but a more satisfying performance in the long run.
Quibbles aside, Stan’s proposal points to something very important that has gone wrong in the way we raise our kids. Kids need to be needed; they need to make meaningful contributions to the welfare of their family and to the broader community. They are human beings, and human beings who are shoved off to the side and given no meaningful work don’t develop very well. Whether or not this comes in the framework of a grand national service program, America’s young people need to spend time outside the bubble, doing real things in the real world.
Isolating our kids in a school bubble for the first 2o to 25 years of life is an excellent way to raise a generation of insecure narcissists, highly skilled in the observation of their own moods and sensibilities, weak in the values, skills, and self confidence that can make them effective in the wider world. Fortunately many of the kids turn out much better than we have any right to expect, but Stan McCrystal’s core insight is spot on: the disconnect between the mass of America’s young people and real world experience of duty and sacrifice is bad for our kids, bad for those who could benefit from their work, and bad for the country as a whole.
[Stanley McChrystal image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

The Continuing Wussification of America

The Continuing Wussification of America:
I’ve shared some bizarre horror stories about adults being victimized by anti-gun fanaticism, including the Washington, DC, man who got fined $1,000 for saving a child’s life and a British man who got arrested for finding a gun and turning it over to the police.
But I get more worried about the future of the country when I read reports of children being subjected to this kind of politically correct nonsense.
Consider, for instance, these absurd details from a local news report.
Lego gunA Massachusetts kindergartener has been given detention and could be suspended from the bus after bringing a Lego-sized gun to school last week. …the incident happened on an Old Mill Pond Elementary School bus in Palmer last week. A 6-year-old had the toy gun, which is slightly larger than a quarter, on the bus and it was seen by another student, who alerted the bus driver. The boy’s mother, Mieke Crane, said her son had to write a letter of apology to the driver, was given detention and could be temporarily suspended from the bus.
Reading that passage, I don’t know whether to be more angry with the bratty tattle-tale kid who told the bus driver, or with the bus driver who obviously must have informed the school.
Both of them could use some serious counseling.
But that’s just part of the story.
The school sent home a letter to parents explaining what happened, stressing no gun was on the bus and there was never any danger. “(The driver) said he caused quite a disturbance on the bus and that the children were traumatized,” Crane told WGGB.
A letter to parents about a tiny plastic toy gun?!? Are the bureaucrats in this school so under-worked that they have time to waste on such nonsense? If I was a parent in this school district, I would put my kids in a private school.
Especially if it’s true that “children were traumatized” by a piece of Lego. I wouldn’t want to take the risk that wimpiness and poor cognitive skills could be transmitted by proximity to my kids (perhaps causing them to need “emotional support” animals in college).
By the way, this is not an isolated example. To get depressed about the future of the country, read these posts about children being exposed to foolish thinking.
Stories like this make me wonder whether I should emigrate, though the rest of the world tends to be in worse shape so the moral of the story is that we need to save the United States from the brainless (and overpaid) bureaucrats who are trying to ruin our children.

American manufacturing is making a huge comeback – Motorola will assemble the first smartphone ever in the US

American manufacturing is making a huge comeback – Motorola will assemble the first smartphone ever in the US:
From ABC News:
Motorola’s next flagship phone won’t only have sensors that will know when you are going to take a photo or when it is in your pocket, but it will be the first smartphone assembled in the U.S.
The phone will be made at Flextronics’ 500,000-square foot facility in Fort Worth, Texas, which was once used to make Nokia phones. While the phone will be designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S., not all the components in the phone will be made in the U.S. The processor and screen, for example, will be made overseas.
“There are several business advantages to having our Illinois and California-based designers and engineers much closer to our factory,” Motorola said in a statement. “For instance, we’ll be able to iterate on design much faster, create a leaner supply chain, respond much more quickly to purchasing trends and demands, and deliver devices to people here much more quickly.” Motorola told ABC News that 2,000 jobs will be added by August; Flextronics is busy hiring people now for the new Fort Worth facility.
MP: In the video above, the reporter discusses how many US companies, including Motorola, are bringing their manufacturing production and jobs back to the US because of: a) rising wages and labor costs in China and Asia, b) high shipping costs to move products to the US from overseas, and c) cheap energy costs in the US, especially for natural gas. Those three factors are making American manufacturing increasingly more competitive all the time, and we can expect to see a lot more of this type of reshoring and insourcing.

Texas unemployment benefits may soon be tied to drug test s

Texas unemployment benefits may soon be tied to drug test s:
If Governor Rick Perry approves Senate Bill 21, those seeking unemployment benefits in Texas may have to take a drug test.
Republican Senator Tommy Williams introduced the bill in February, and on May 22 it passed in the House with a 104-42 vote. On Saturday, May 25, it passed in the state Senate. Now it is in the hands of the governor.
The bill calls that adults applying or reapplying for benefits, even if only on behalf of a child, must submit to a drug “use screening assessment”. If assessment results provide evidence of possible drug use, the person will have to submit to a drug test.
All first-time positive drug tests are confirmed before eligibility is denied.
If a person has been convicted of a felony drug offense ,or after being denied eligibility one time for all applications thereafter, the assessment is skipped and the person is automatically given a drug test.
The first time a person tests positive on a drug test, they will be ineligible for assistance for six months. Test positive a second time and they will be ineligible for a year, unless they provide evidence of “abuse treatment.” If a person tests positive on their drug test for the third time, they will be “permanently ineligible” for financial assistance.
Three strikes and you’re out.
There is more- If a person tests positive for an unprescribed drug other than marijuana, the commission may even report to the Department of Family and Protective Services “for use in an investigation.”
The Health and Human Services Commission will pay for the use screening assessments and drug tests with funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant funds.
Though the current bill itself says
The commission shall use the most efficient and cost-effective marihuana and controlled substance use screening assessment tool that the commission and the Department of State Health Services can develop based on validated marihuana and controlled substance use screening assessment tools…
it does not state the specifics of what the assessment will consist of, though a “questionnaire”  has been reported.
Senate Bill 11, a similar bill designed to require drug screenings to receive welfare benefits, was killed earlier this month along with about fifty other bills.
According to, “By raising five points of order, filing amendments and drawing out debate, Democrats chewed up more than two hours of precious time on a night when all Senate-approved bills would die without an initial vote before midnight.”
Caroline Mahony is an editorial intern with Human Events.
The post Texas unemployment benefits may soon be tied to drug test s appeared first on Human Events.

Western Cultural Suicide

Western Cultural Suicide: From VDH, at National Review:

Multiculturalism — as opposed to the notion of a multiracial society united by a single culture — has become an abject contradiction in the modern Western world. Romance for a culture in the abstract that one has rejected in the concrete makes little sense. Multiculturalists talk grandly of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, usually in contrast to the core values of the United States and Europe. Certainly, in terms of food, fashion, music, art, and architecture, the Western paradigm is enriched from other cultures. But the reason that millions cross the Mediterranean to Europe or the Rio Grande to the United States is for something more that transcends the periphery and involves fundamental values — consensual government, free-market capitalism, the freedom of the individual, religious tolerance, equality between the sexes, rights of dissent, and a society governed by rationalism divorced from religious stricture. Somehow that obvious message has now been abandoned, as Western hosts lost confidence in the very society that gives us the wealth and leisure to ignore or caricature its foundations. The result is that millions of immigrants flock to the West, enjoy its material security, and yet feel little need to bond with their adopted culture, given that their hosts themselves are ambiguous about what others desperately seek out....

At no time in our history have so many Americans been foreign born. Never have so many foreign nationals resided in America, and never have so many done so illegally. Yet at just such a critical time, in our universities and bureaucracies, the pressures to assimilate in melting-pot fashion have been replaced by salad-bowl separatism — as if the individual can pick and choose which elements of his adopted culture he will embrace, which he will reject, as one might croutons or tomatoes. But ultimately he can do that because he senses that the American government, people, press, and culture reward such opportunism and have no desire, need, or ability to defend the very inherited culture that has given them the leeway to ignore it and so attracted others from otherwise antithetical paradigms.

That is a prescription for cultural suicide, if not by beheading or by a pressure cooker full of ball bearings, at least by making the West into something that no one would find very different from his homeland.

David Stockman: "The Error Of Central Banking Has Become Universal"

David Stockman: "The Error Of Central Banking Has Become Universal":
In the old normal ("when we had an honest Fed," under Volcker), David Stockman explains to CNBC's Rick Santelli, "the market could judge what Congress and the White House was doing and decide where the risk/reward equation was and how to price the bond, the note, the bills," but in the new normal, "today, the market is entirely rigged." Stockman is no fan of deficits and as he notes "is no fan of money-printing," pointing out that "it's not honest," for the Fed to fund these chronically growing deficits and "created an unsustainably dangerous financial system." In thie brief interview, Stockman (of The Great Deformation fame) sums it up perfectly to a just-as-concerned Santelli, when he notes, "the error of central banking has become unversal." We're taxing the futures generations, he concludes, "they're going to thank you for the massive disaster that was handed to them." The honesty will never come...

"You have both parties in the military complex and we're still spending billions for defense.

So the honesty will be in the raising of taxes.

The honesty will come when you tell the middle class you're not going to get a tax cut - you're going to pay more.

Then they will wake up.

Then they will march on Washington and demand that we do something about the giant programs that are drifting today because everybody thinks the Fed will take care of the debt."

Well worth the price of admission:


Wind Energy Nothing More Than A Fraudulent Scheme

Wind Energy Nothing More Than A Fraudulent Scheme:
Wind Farm SC Wind Energy Nothing More Than A Fraudulent Scheme
When it comes to wind farms and their supposed generation of renewable electricity, one must examine the definition of the word “fraud”. Dictionaries define it as deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
The fact that we are told that wind energy is helping in any way to lower our use of fossil fuel-based electricity fits well within the definition of fraud. In reality, in the United States, we have thousands of wind turbines currently in operation; yet the official estimate of actual electricity produced is 1% or less nationwide (and as high as 2% in some states.) California can be used as a prime example of fraudulent estimations of actual wind generated electricity. Here, it is said that wind-generated electricity makes up about 1.5 percent of the overall state usage of electricity. However, this estimate is nothing more than an outrageous lie. California has a population of 40 million, as well as the most wind farms in operation. Thus, the state should be able to be used as an example for the whole US, as far as actual electricity generated by wind, if you consider the total number of turbines in operation along with the overall population. So, both California and the US should have the same percentage when it comes to the actual amount of wind-generated electricity. However, California is estimated to have half of a percentage more than the rest of the country. This is because the wind farm industry simply does not really know what percentage of electricity wind farms generate because they do not meter the production of electricity or the amount of grid power used to maintain the turbines.
What this essentially means is that no one in the wind energy industry really has an idea of what is produced or used.
With this in mind, for them to even give estimates of wind-generated electricity is fraudulent. This is because it doesn’t matter if their estimates are at 0 or 10% due to the fact that the fossil fuel is used in the manufacture and production of the wind turbines themselves. The construction of the wind farms puts the whole wind farm industry at such a deficit in fossil fuels used before they even go into operation, and they have no chance of even coming close to producing enough electricity to ever get out of the hole. This doesn’t take into consideration the fact that each turbine uses more grid electricity while in use than it will ever produce.
Realistically, we have a whole industry scamming billions off the public under the guise of producing renewable electricity from wind. The very idea that wind-generated electricity is helping reduce our dependence on fossil fuel is the biggest fraud to ever be bestowed on both the American public as well as the world population in general.
The claim that wind farms are environmentally friendly is a joke, since millions of endangered bird species have been killed by the turbines themselves. Marine life, exposed to the constant low-pitched noise generated by coastal turbines, suffer huge losses by the beaching of whales and dolphins. Human health has also come into question, from those who live close to turbines and experience constant exposure to this noise.
The large areas of turbine forests seen from many highways here in the US are yet another example of how the wind industry is decimating the natural beauty of the American wilderness.
From an environmental point of view, wind farms are very destructive overall to the general preservation of endangered species and to the natural beauty of the land.
It would be a different story altogether if wind farms had something productive to offer. But as it is now, they offer nothing because they produce nothing, while both damaging our environment and defrauding the public of billions of dollars each year.
The wind industry must be exposed for the scam it really is, and treated like any other criminal fraud scheme. It must be shut down (and those responsible for the sham prosecuted to the highest extent of the law.)
In any case, it is nothing more than an experiment at this time and should be treated as so by removing it altogether as a source of electricity until technology can improve efficiency in the future.
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Study: Government regulations waste $46 billion in duplicative paperwork every year

Study: Government regulations waste $46 billion in duplicative paperwork every year:
Conn Carroll
Thanks to federal government regulations, Americans waste 642 million hours every year filling out duplicative paperwork a new study by American Action Forum reports today.


Suggested title for a book on the current scandals: “We told you so, you f@(%!ng fools!” | Questions and Observations

Suggested title for a book on the current scandals: “We told you so, you f@(%!ng fools!” | Questions and Observations

After the fall of the Soviet Union, opened archives showed that Conquest not only had it right, but was actually a bit conservative is his assertions. His publisher suggested an updated edition of the book incorporating that information, and asked Conquest if he wanted to change the title. Conquest responded “How about ‘I told you so, you f*cking fools’”? * I’m feeling that same impulse after reviewing the cascade of scandals over the last few weeks.** Anyone who wasn’t mesmerized by Obama and actually paying attention already knew that: 1. Benghazi was not just a tragedy. It was one of the most massive screw-ups ever perpetrated by the State Department, and there was clearly a cover-up to keep the rest of us from finding out the what, where, when, how, and why. 2. The IRS was targeting and harassing limited government groups. 3. Fast and Furious was a botched effort to engineer evidence in favor of gun control. 4. Fox News was being targeted by the administration from its earliest days. Various folks on the right could see all this, yet our supposed smart media pundits at major organizations are still expressing surprise at every new revelation. In other words, we told you so, you f*cking fools. And we were ignored, or even ridiculed as paranoid and obsessive.

As Scrutiny on Obama from CBS News’ Bob Schieffer Intensifies, Axelrod Mocks Schieffer for Not being able to “Book the Guests He Wants” – Video 5/27/13

As Scrutiny on Obama from CBS News’ Bob Schieffer Intensifies, Axelrod Mocks Schieffer for Not being able to “Book the Guests He Wants” – Video 5/27/13:

After two straight weeks of CBS News’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” taking a skeptical view of the Obama Administration’s actions on multiple scandal fronts, one of Obama’s chief apologists and minions did what the Obama gang does best – seek to intimidate. As so often is the case, the intimidation comes through scorn and ridicule, as seen in the first video above. David Axelrod mocked Bob Schieffer as being “frustrated” because he “can’t book the guests he wants” for his program. Schieffer has bluntly complained that the Obama White House won’t send out key, high-ranking officials who actually know what they are talking about on the scandals and issues facing Obama.
Axelrod’s mockery of Schieffer is intimidation designed to send the message, “You better back off” on your more aggressive coverage of the Obama White House. It will be interesting to see how the longtime veteran CBS News Journalist reacts. Will he back off, or will he increase his scrutiny?

‘Humane institutionalization can help the mentally ill and protect society’

‘Humane institutionalization can help the mentally ill and protect society’:
Faster, please…
And wasn’t it ever so thoughtful of the Kennedys (and LBJ and Carter) to ensure that a regular supply of assassins would be walking the streets?
Reagan — often blamed for “deinstitutionalization” — was shot at by a guy whose freedom at the time of the attempt had been virtually assured by one Kennedy or another’s efforts.
Crusades based upon one’s personal tragedies almost always produce sinister results:
Among the recipients of lobotomy was 23-year-old Rosemary Kennedy, the future president’s sister, who wound up severely disabled by the procedure in 1941. (…) her siblings embarked on a lifetime crusade against institutionalization and invasive treatment (…)
In 1963, President Kennedy laid the groundwork for an alternative to the asylums, proposing a federal law that, once passed, provided the seed money for a system of decentralized Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). These facilities sought to remove the mentally ill from the state-run asylums and to incorporate them into more social, usually urban, settings. And two years later, Medicare and Medicaid, creations of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, erected a new funding apparatus that effectively, if unintentionally, drove patients out of the asylums. Since mental institutions had always been a state responsibility, the two federal programs deliberately excluded state mental-hospital patients between the ages of 22 and 65 from coverage. Patients passing through the CMHCs, by contrast, could now be eligible for partial federal reimbursements. The ability to shift 45 percent of treatment costs, on average, to Washington proved too great a temptation for the states, which promptly began emptying their asylums.

The Lois Lerner State Of Oppression

The Lois Lerner State Of Oppression:
Rich Lowry provides an opinion piece over at The Politico on the real problem with Big Government, entitled The Lois Lerner State
It is appropriate that the worst scandal of the Obama administration— the IRS targeting of conservatives — is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free of serious oversight from elected officials.
They are the shock troops of the vast bureaucratic apparatus of the federal government. Its growth has been one of President Obama’s chief goals, and the one he has had the most success in achieving. He has greatly enhanced the reach and power of regulatory agencies that are an inherent offense against self-government, even when they aren’t enforcing the law in a biased way.
The administration’s corruption isn’t bags of cash or lies about interns; it is the distortion of our form of government by sidestepping democratic procedures and accountability and vesting authority in bureaucrats. The administrative state is, fundamentally, the Lois Lerner state.
What have we seen? Officials pleading the 5th along with seemingly having no knowledge as to what is going on in their federal agencies. Spying on the news media as harassment and an attempt to chill freedom of the press. Unaccountable bureaucrats targeting Conservative groups while giving Liberal groups a free pass. Homeland Security Police monitoring, harassing, and attempting to intimidate citizens using their First Amendment rights to free speech, demonstrate peaceably, and asking for redress of grievance. The EPA instituting regulations going well beyond what the legislative branch authorizes, and harming individuals, companies, and the economy.
Let’s further not forget that Congress, in some cases, such as Obamacare and Dodd/Frank, gave and gives federal agencies massive amounts of power, latitude, and discretion. Obamacare is chock full of mentions that the head of HHS “shall do” and “can do”, leaving it in the hands of bureaucrats to make most of the rules as they see fit. Lowry mentions that in the piece, as well.
Currently, it is the Gang of 8 immigration bill. Its architects want to do for immigration what Obamacare does for health care and Dodd-Frank does for the financial sector — invest an administrator (in this case the secretary of the department of Homeland Security) with extraordinary discretion, and entrust a bureaucracy with an enormous task beyond its capacities (the orderly, rapid processing of 11 million illegal aliens).
We can’t blame this solely on Obama: it’s occurred under most presidents. Under Bush we saw the creation of DHS, though they were never used as a STASI like apparatus federal police force. The creation of the TSA. Though we never saw the overreach and personal violations as they instituted very intrusive full body patdowns. Under Obama, an unengaged POTUS who has used his bully pulpit to attack private citizens and entities that have different political points of view..a violation of the spirit of the 1st…, the power and abuses by federal agencies has grown tremendously. And seemingly unaccountable to The People. Let’s see you give the answer to your bosses that people like Holder and the IRS officials gave, see what they think of your performance. Or, try doing the same with the IRS if they come calling.

The Welfarians

The Welfarians:
THE SHOPPER IN FRONT of me in the supermarket line the other
night paid with two peculiar checks with the letters “WIC”
prominently inscribed on them. The acronym, which denotes a welfare
food-assistance program, stands for “Women, Infants, and Children.”
He was none of the above.
The elaborate tattoos on his arms advertised priorities. Tax
dollars that ostensibly allow him to feed his face, or the faces of
the women, infants, and children in his orbit, really enable him to
recolor his body. Perhaps my assumption rests on too many
assumptions. For all I know, he could have paid for the intricate
ink designs prior to losing his job at Lehman Brothers. Somehow, I
doubt it. The man’s expensive sneakers, designer T-shirt, gold
chain, and body art bothered me less than his reaction to the
clerk’s informing him that one of his items wasn’t covered by the
WIC program. Rather than retrieve an acceptable product, he
instructed the cashier to fetch it for him. She dutifully returned
with a gallon of milk. Whereas the first one presumably didn’t pass
muster with the government, the second one didn’t pass muster with
him. Flustered, she instructed another worker to exchange the milk
for his favorite flavor or brand or whatever. All the while, a
late-night line curled into an elongated “L” shape. As he waited
for his free milk, we waited at the one open register to pay for
our groceries, too, after we paid for his.
I envied the man enjoying servants without their expense. Sorta.
Kinda. Compelling your neighbors to spring for your midnight snack,
and imperiously commanding the minimum-wage cashier to shop for it,
that’s the life, right? Naturally, I searched the World Wide Web
for my eligibility in this World Wide WIC. I took a government
test—also available in Spanish and Chinese—indicating that, yes, a
child under five lived in my home, and no, I did not have EBT
benefits. The digital bureaucrat cruelly informed me, “Based on
your responses, you may not be eligible for WIC benefits.” With my
dream of a Welfarian tribal band—or perhaps merely a “WIC” tramp
stamp—dashed, I took heart in the site’s instruction to visit
another government site entitled, “Your path to government
Surely this wasn’t the path less traveled, with a record number
of Americans—15 percent of the U.S. population—currently depending
on food stamps to pay for their dinners (or their tattoos?). The
government’s long-winded questionnaire asked many prying questions.
“How many times have you been married? (0–10).” “Have you run away
from home or are you thinking about running away from home?” By the
end of the burdensome process, the site informed me that I may be
eligible for 78 federal programs. Among these were “Psychosocial
Rehabilitation and Treatment Program,” “Tax Relief for Divorced or
Separated Individuals,” and “Military Sexual Trauma.” But getting
addicted to narcotics, divorced, or raped seemed cost prohibitive
for any government benefit, however generous.
WIC isn’t cost prohibitive. Neither is an EBT card. That’s why,
presumably, nearly 50 million Americans—up from a modest 1 million
recipients in 1966—rely on Uncle Sam rather than their own labor to
provide this most basic need. Unlike a program for the sexually
traumatized, food handouts incentivize the condition they aim to
eliminate. As a result, the Welfarians may be the fastest-growing
demographic in Obama’s America. The catch-22 of the staggering
economy is that many hardworking people depend on food stamps for
lack of suitable employment opportunities, a burden on commerce
which in turn decreases suitable employment opportunities for
hardworking people. Even for Welfarians who didn’t join the
demographic through bad habits, isn’t government assistance habit
forming? Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your
country can buy for you.
Thieves exhibit ingenuity, embrace risk, and exert labor. The
permanent denizens of WIC America and the United States of EBT do
nothing for the fruits of their, uh, existence. In my urban New
England outpost, the more ambitious ones hassle drivers for spare
cash, a nuisance prompting the city council to outlaw curbside
panhandling. Their signs say they need food. Everything else about
them says, “I need crystal methamphetamine.”
Statewide in Massachusetts, the commissioner of the misnamed
Department of Transitional Assistance recently resigned in the wake
of a report that the state can’t account for 47,000 welfare
recipients and wastes $25 million annually in payments to
ineligible beneficiaries. Driving downtown, I spot a storefront
sign: “We take EBT.” Beneath it, another sign appears: “Elizabeth
Warren for Senate.” First rule of capitalism: Know your
Perhaps the patient cashier running in-store errands for the
tattooed ingrate understands this rule, too. After 10 minutes of
making others in the line wait, the consumer completed the purchase
without proffering a word of appreciation. Instead, the clerk, in
addition to bagging his groceries, issued a “thank you.” People
expecting society to give them groceries can’t be expected to give
back anything, not even gratitude. We resent our benefactors.
Meet the new normal, same as the old abnormal.