Saturday, June 29, 2013

"A Decline in Courage »

"A Decline in Courage »: may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. ... Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?" -- Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address

Sarah Palin: If Amnesty Bill Passes, Time to Abandon GOP »

Sarah Palin: If Amnesty Bill Passes, Time to Abandon GOP »:
Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite
Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite
Great job, GOP establishment. You’ve just abandoned the Reagan Democrats with this amnesty bill, and we needed them to “enlarge that tent” of which you so often speak. It’s depressing to consider that the House of Representatives is threatening to pass some version of this nonsensical bill in the coming weeks.
Once again, I’ll point out the obvious to you: it was the loss of working class voters in swing states that cost us the 2012 election, not the Hispanic vote. Legal immigrants respect the rule of law and can see how self-centered a politician must be to fill this amnesty bill with favors, earmarks, and crony capitalists’ pork, and call it good. You disrespect Hispanics with your assumption that they desire ignoring the rule of law.
Folks like me are barely hanging on to our enlistment papers in any political party – and it’s precisely because flip-flopping political actions like amnesty force us to ask how much more bull from both the elephants in the Republican Party and the jackasses in the Democrat Party we have to swallow before these political machines totally abandon the average commonsense hardworking American. Now we turn to watch the House. If they bless this new “bi-partisan” hyper-partisan devastating plan for amnesty, we’ll know that both private political parties have finally turned their backs on us. It will then be time to show our parties’ hierarchies what we think of being members of either one of these out-of-touch, arrogant, and dysfunctional political machines.
Read more from this story HERE.
Sarah Palin: If Amnesty Bill Passes, Time to Abandon GOP

Friday, June 28, 2013

Unions Are Cancer »

Unions Are Cancer »:
UAW ate Detroit: Chattanooga could be its next meal |
A union in a company acts very much like a virus in a body; even if the virus itself is not fatal, it can leave its host body weakened and drained of the resources it needs to survive. In the 1980s and 1990s, when foreign-owned companies, like Toyota, were entering the U.S. market in large numbers, UAW contracts bound and gagged the Big Three Detroit automakers with costs and regulations that fatally restricted their ability to innovate and compete, just as they had done with Packard against the Big Three in the 1950s. Now, having long ago devoured Detroit and its car industry, the still ravenous union is forced to look South for its next meal.
City officials need no crystal ball to see Chattanooga’s future if the UAW gets ahold of its VW operation. They need look no further than the crumbling, broken walls of Detroit, Michigan and the abandoned Packard plant that serves as its burnt and hollow heart.
And guess what?
The largest UAW local was not in Detroit. It encompassed my home town, and the adjoing Anderson/New Castle metro areas, which had more auto-related industrial operations than anywhere in America. And all of that is dead and gone, now, right along with the union local that destroyed it.
Leftist unions are worse than a virus. They are a cancer, and they will eventually murder their hosts. They base all of their attraction on free-riding, and tell their members “don’t worry about tomorrow, we’ll get ours while the getting is good.” And they do, until there is nothing left to get, and they die right along with the host they’ve sucked dry.

Guest Post: Why Centralization Leads to Collapse »

Guest Post: Why Centralization Leads to Collapse »:
Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
A system that suppresses dissent is fault-intolerant, ignorant and fragile.
Increasing centralization has been viewed as the solution for all social and economic problems for quite some time. The Eurozone project is one recent manifestation of this belief.
The basis of this belief is rationality and efficiency. If we centralize production and decision-making, we eliminate all sorts of inefficiencies. Decisions can be made by "top people," and supply chains can be rationalized from a hopelessly inefficient clutter down to a supremely rational and cost-effective pathway.
Ironically, in eliminating inefficiency and messy decision-making, centralization eliminates redundancy, decentralized pathways of response and dissent. Once you lose redundancy and all the feedback it represents, you lose resiliency and fault-tolerance. The centralized system is fault-intolerant and fragile.
By rationalizing decision-making and authority in a centralized hierarchy, the system slowly but surely eliminates dissent: those who "don't get on board" and "get with the program" imposed from the top are marginalized, pushed out or liquidated.
From the point of view of the "top people," this is merely rational; why tolerate a lot of chatter and resistance that doesn't serve any real purpose except to bog down the duly chosen program?
As Nassim Taleb has observed, dissent is information. Eliminate or marginalize dissent and you've deprived the system of critical information. Lacking a wealth of information, the system becomes a monoculture in which the leadership is free to pursue confirmation bias, focusing on whatever feedback confirms its policy mandates.
A system that suppresses dissent is fault-intolerant, ignorant and fragile. Any event that does not respond to centralized, rationalized policy creates unintended consequences that throws the centralized mechanism into disarray. Lacking dissent and redundancy, the system piles on one haphazard, politically expedient "fix" after another, further destabilizing the system.
The event that triggers crisis and collapse isn't important; the system, rendered unstable and fragile by centralization, is primed for crisis and collapse. The dry underbrush is piled high, and if the first lightning strike doesn't start the fire, the second one will. With dissent and the inefficiencies of redundancy and decentralized pathways of response gone, there is nothing left to stop a conflagration that consumes the entire forest.

So, How Libertarian Are You? »

So, How Libertarian Are You? »:
Libertarian Purity Test
This is the Libertarian Purity Test, which is intended to
measure how libertarian you are. It isn’t intended to be any sort of
McCarthyite purging device — just a form of entertainment, hopefully
thought-provoking. I like it a lot better than the more famous “World’s
Shortest Political Quiz” because I haven’t stated the questions with any
intent to give an upward bias to a test-taker’s score, and because it
gives a clearer breakdown between hard and soft-core libertarians.
Enjoy, suggest your friends try it out, and see how you compare to
other test-takers…
I scored 109, which puts me in the lower rank of “hard core libertarian.”
Apparently you have to be an anarcho-capitalist in order to get a near-perfect score. (via Ace – thanks!)

Damn the facts and costs, full speed ahead »

Damn the facts and costs, full speed ahead »:
We often talk about how poorly we’re served by our political class.  The examples are legion (just take a gander at the “Gang of 8′s” travesty of an immigration bill).  But most puzzling about what they do is when there are real world examples of why what they propose is doomed to costly failure, they go ahead anyway.  Hubris?  Arrogance?  Ideology? A giant dollop of all?
Take Obama’s latest – his late entry into the climate change nonsense just as everyone else has realized it’s a costly boondoggle and are pulling out.  For example:
In May, Europe’s heads of state and government at the EU Summit promoted shale gas and reduced energy prices. They would rather promote competition than stop global warming.
Obama just returned from Northern Ireland at the G8 meeting where he evidently didn’t ask why the United Kingdom removed climate change from the agenda.
European carbon markets had collapsed with the price of carbon hitting record lows, wrecking the European Union’s trading scheme for industrial CO2 emissions.
British Gas owner Centrica was buying up shale gas drilling rights in Lancashire for fracking operations. Green investors faced bankruptcy as Spain cut subsidies even further.
Large German companies such as Siemens and Bosch abandoned the solar industry, which had lost them billions, while investments in failed solar companies, including Q-Cells and SolarWorld, destroyed 21 billion euros of capital.
In response, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a June energy conference in Berlin to expect reduced government spending on energy like wind and solar power to keep Germany economically competitive. Europe’s clean energy economy had become a black hole eating euros.
Last week, Merkel’s government warned EU member states that German car makers would shut down production in their countries unless they support more affordable vehicle emissions rules.
At the same time, our oblivious president spoke at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, saying, “The United States will “do more,” before it’s “too late” to prevent “dangerous” global warming.
Yeah.  We’ll do “more”.  Meanwhile, everyone else has decided to do much less or … nothing.  And that “more” Obama is talking about?  Well, apparently it’s time to wreck another industry:
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told me, “The centerpiece of President Obama’s climate plan is a declaration of all-out war on coal. The only affordable way to reduce emissions from existing coal-fired power plants – which now provide 40 percent of the nation’s electricity – is to close them down.”
Obama’s plan has political implications as well, Ebell said. “Coal dominates the heartland states that tend to vote Republican. Major industries are located there because coal produces cheap electricity. If electric rates go up to California levels in the heartland, where will American manufacturing go?”
Good question, no?  Answer: he doesn’t really care.  Seriously.  This is all about ideology.  Blinders on, facts ignored, examples discarded, it’s about legacy and “saving the world from itself” even if he has to do so autocratically.  Because, you know, that Constitution thingie just get’s in the way of good governance … or something.

Governor Palin Just Put the GOP on Notice »

Governor Palin Just Put the GOP on Notice »:
"It will then be time to show our parties’ hierarchies what we think of being members of either one of these out-of-touch, arrogant, and dysfunctional political machines."
The post Governor Palin Just Put the GOP on Notice appeared first on Conservatives4Palin.

No Standard - Cal Thomas - Page 1

No Standard - Cal Thomas - Page 1: "The problem for people who believe in an Authority higher even than the Constitution is that in our increasingly secular and indifferent society, it has become more difficult to persuade those who do not subscribe to an immutable standard to accept that view. It is nearly impossible to restrain a people intent on throwing off any and all restraints. History is full of examples of empires that collapsed from within before they were conquered from the outside.


'via Blog this'

Like All Cults, Islam is Built on One Lie After Another »

Like All Cults, Islam is Built on One Lie After Another »:
It won’t be long after striking up a conversation with Muslims when you will be faced with their specific beliefs about many things. When you disagree with them, they will often simply repeat the same lie they just told you. Facts do not seem to matter because their beliefs to them are facts. The reason you don’t see their facts as facts is due to blindness on your part. It does not matter how illogical their purported facts are either. That is what they belief (e.g. know to be true) and no amount of dissuasion on your part will keep them from believing it.
For instance, many Muslims believe that Mecca is actually mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), in spite of the fact that Mecca did not come into existence until roughly the fourth century AD. They believe this because of the name of a location called Baca. This, they believe is simply what the OT writer meant when referring to Mecca, but called it Baca. Muslims also believe Mecca is Paran.
This actually stems from the Qur’an itself and please remember, the Qur’an was written at least 600 years after Jesus.
“In Surah 3:96, Mecca is given the name Bakkah:Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-`Alamin (the mankind and jinns).
“The Bible, in Psalm 84:5,6, mentions the valley of Baca: Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs: the autumn rains also cover it with pools. (NIV)
“These two quotes, taken together, have been seen to imply that Psalm 84 is talking about making the pilgrimage to Mecca.”
The question is, does this reasoning have any merit whatsoever? Sam Shamoun notes that this is actually a chronological fallacy. In other words, a few thousand years before Mecca came into existence, we are to believe that the Bible named the place that did not exist yet, but didn’t name it Mecca. It named it Bakkah (Becca).
The reasoning for disproving the claim that Bakkah is Mecca is easily laid out as a foundation.
“The whole psalm [Psalm 84] focuses on God’s sanctuary and how the writer loves to spend time there. The author is one of ‘the Sons of Korah’ and internal evidence points to it being written after the building of the temple in Jerusalem by Solomon. Because of the psalm’s focus on the sanctuary, there are several phrases which describe features of it, enabling us to evaluate the claim that it is Mecca:
  • v.1 – ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!’
  • v.3 – ‘… a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty …’
  • v.4 – ‘Blessed are they who dwell in your house’
  • v.7 – ‘They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.’
  • v.10 – ‘I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God …’
These five points count heavily against the claim outlined above. Firstly…I do not suppose that Muslims would accept the idea of Allah dwelling in the Ka’aba. I certainly am not aware of this way of thinking in Islam. On the other hand, the Bible repeatedly mentions the temple in Jerusalem as God’s dwelling place, even though he is not limited to a building.”
There are other reasons why Bakkah cannot be the Mecca of the Qur’an. I would encourage the reader to view those additional reasons at this website. At best, the only connection between Bakkah (Becca) and Mecca is a superficial one.
Such is also the case with the claim that Jesus spoke of Muslims in the gospels. Muslims believe that they are part of the true religion, the only way to Allah. They believe that the Bible has been corrupted mainly by Jews and therefore, it is not fully trustworthy…unless it agrees with their line of thinking. This is actually what all cults proclaim. This is why there is a Book of Mormon, the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses), books on Scientology, etc. All cults, while they may claim to respect or revere the Bible, normally hold their own writings higher than the Bible.
The post Like All Cults, Islam is Built on One Lie After Another appeared first on Freedom Outpost.

"The skyrocketing cost of a college education is a classic unintended consequence of government intervention." »

"The skyrocketing cost of a college education is a classic unintended consequence of government intervention." »: "Colleges have responded to the availability of easy federal money by doing what subsidized industries generally do: Raising prices to capture the subsidy. Sold as a tool to help students cope with rising college costs, student loans have instead been a major contributor to the problem."

19 Surveys Which Prove That A Large Chunk Of The Population Is Made Up Of Totally Clueless Sheeple »

19 Surveys Which Prove That A Large Chunk Of The Population Is Made Up Of Totally Clueless Sheeple »:
Are we too stupid to continue as a nation?  That may seem like a harsh question, but I think that it is one that we need to ask.  Even though we have more access to information today than ever before, it seems like the U.S. population just keeps becoming more ignorant.

So at what point does a society become so “dumbed-down” that it can no longer function effectively?  We like to complain about our leaders, but the truth ...

A Great Battlefield »

A Great Battlefield »:
Robert E. Lee, George Meade
Robert E. Lee, George Meade
A century and a half later, the battle of Gettysburg’s place in the national consciousness is so secure that you think of it as inevitable: the great contest of arms toward which all the previous battles of the Civil War had been leading. Thus, all that came before the breaking of Pickett’s Charge was rising action, and all that followed, conclusion and denouement.

Let’s divorce marriage from the government »

Let’s divorce marriage from the government »:
SACRAMENTO – As a kid, I remember watching a rerun of the 1952 “I Love Lucy Show” episode in which Lucy finds her marriage license while cleaning out a closet. She discovers, to her horror, a typo that refers to husband Ricky’s last name as Bacardi rather than Ricardo, which causes her to question the legality of her marriage.
The ensuing hijinks are the makings of sitcom legend. I’ve thought about that episode in the years in which the contentious battle over gay marriage has unfolded, as it touches on a key part of the public-policy question embodied in the Supreme Court’s two big decisions this week. How important is the approval of the state – epitomized by the marriage license – in sanctioning a marriage?
In 2013 rather than the 1950s, a technical error on a marriage certificate wouldn’t cause anyone consternation. But let’s say, for some reason or another, the government invalidated my marriage. Would it matter?
Not really. Marriage is primarily a pact between two people and, in the view of many, a sacrament of the church. The state merely recognizes this contract. If, say, a totalitarian government (think the Khmer Rouge or others like them that have meddled in such things) dissolved my marriage, my wife and I would still be married. The state could make our lives miserable, but it couldn’t end our marriage.
Yet that point seems lost these days. The public battles involve two sides who see the government as the means to legitimize their viewpoints. One side says gay marriage is wrong and the other says that it is the same as any other marriage. The two sides will never see eye to eye.
The governmental “benefits” at the heart of many of the gay-marriage battles are mostly rhetorical window-dressing. The state shouldn’t be handing out many privileges or payments and to whatever degree issues involving hospital visitation and inheritances are an issue, their terms and conditions can easily be worked out without a cultural war over the meaning of “marriage.”
Unfortunately, the court’s meddling has ensured that such a battle with keep going.
I’m not unsympathetic to the high court’s 5-4 decision to overturn most of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, designed specifically to deny governmental benefits to gay couples and to allow states to refuse recognition of gay marriages from other states. If the government gives out stuff, it’s reasonable to insist that it give it out in the most fair-minded basis.
The majority’s rhetoric reflects its desire to take a noble stand in this cultural divide. The court’s dissenters were right that the majority opinion was overheated. But at least the decision made some legal sense. “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
By contrast, the court’s decision (actually, a non-decision) on California’s Prop. 8 seemed lifted out of “Alice in Wonderland.” In 2008, voters approved this constitutional ban on gay marriage. Jerry Brown as attorney general and now governor opposed it, so he refused to defend it against court challenges. The Supremes refused to rule on the merits of the statute because its defenders didn’t have “standing.” Only the state government apparently had such standing — but that government refused to do its duty.
As National Review’s Hadley Arkes put it, “If the state has a Democratic governor … he may declare now that he will not enforce the constitutional amendment, for he thinks it runs counter to the federal Constitution.” The meaning is even broader and more disturbing than that. Top officials of all parties now have de facto veto power over all voter initiatives. They simply need not defend in court any initiative they don’t like and there is no one else the high court will allow to defend it. That’s an anti-democratic precedent.
There’s no doubt the courts, legislatures and public opinion are moving in a pro-gay-marriage direction. Time magazine was right to declare this “one of the fastest civil rights shifts in the nation’s history.” The culture has shifted. That part doesn’t bother me. I have no problem with gay people getting married. But it disturbs me when the battles are fought in the political system rather than in the cultural arena. Both sides are responsible for the over-politicization of this personal and cultural matter, by the way.
The best solution always has been the separation of marriage and state. If my priest decides to marry gay people, then my fellow parishioners would have every right to be upset about that based on their cultural traditions and understanding of Scripture. If your pastor wants to marry gay people, then it’s none of my business. The terms of marriage should be decided by religious and other private organizations, and the state shouldn’t intervene short of a compelling reason (i.e., marriage by force or with children).
Liberals were more open to this “separation” idea back when conservative pro-family types were ascendant. Now, some conservatives are understanding its merits as a more liberal view is ascendant. Conservatives should have listened when they had some bargaining power, but everyone wants to impose their values on others by using government.
Government neutrality – or the closest we can get to it – is the best way to ensure fairness and social peace on this and most other social issues. Marriage is too important of an institution to be dependent on the wiles of the state. Do we really care if the state validates our marriage licenses?
Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Write to him
The post Let’s divorce marriage from the government appeared first on Human Events.

Roger’s Rules » Free Speech Dies in UK: Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller Banned from Entering

Roger’s Rules » Free Speech Dies in UK: Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller Banned from Entering: "Entertain views that conflict with the dominant left-wing narrative, and I’ll see to it that you are branded a hatemonger and are ostracized (or worse). Say or write something I don’t like, and I’ll pretend you did something criminal. I’ll deliberately confuse the expression of opinion and criminal behavior, so that the expression of opinion blends seamlessly into criminal behavior.

George Orwell anatomized this technique in 1984. Joseph Stalin pioneered it “on the ground” in the Soviet Union. It’s all part of what Anthony Trollope wrote in his great, dark novel The Way We Live Now.

Lee Rigby is hacked to death by Muslim fanatics. That’s an instance of what former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted we call “anti-Islamic activity.” Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer say and write things the timid, politically correct bureaucrats who run Britain don’t like, and they’re declared pariahs.


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Religious Liberty and the Regulatory Road to Serfdom »

Religious Liberty and the Regulatory Road to Serfdom »:
Perhaps for the first time in American history, orthodox and traditional Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others may need to form a new alliance in order to defend their religious liberties in an America that’s increasingly less tolerant of principled diversity.
Read more on Religious Liberty and the Regulatory Road to Serfdom…

The post Religious Liberty and the Regulatory Road to Serfdom appeared first on Acton Institute PowerBlog.

Sessions: Immigration bill is ‘a surrender to lawlessness’ »

Sessions: Immigration bill is ‘a surrender to lawlessness’ »:
Joel Gehrke
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., denounced the just-passed immigration bill as a “surrender to lawlessness” and “a broken promise 1,200 pages long” because it offers legalization before securing the border.
“There will be no border fence, no border surge, nothing but the same tired illusory promises of future enforcement that will never occur,” Sessions said in a statement following the bill’s 68-32 passage out of the Senate.


Amnestia Si ! Senates Votes 68-32 In Favor »

Amnestia Si ! Senates Votes 68-32 In Favor »:  

You see, they simply don't care what we think anymore. They're the Ruling Class and they know better.

The Senate voted today to pass the Amnesty legislation 68-32, after Harry Reid was successful in shutting down debate and even allowing a number of proposed amendments to be heard.

The Democrats voted in lockstep, which I actually respect on one level.They have their agenda and they support it.

Then there were the 14 Republicans who voted with them to send this deeply flawed legislation to the House:

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee;

Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire;

Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey;

Susan Collins of Maine;

Bob Corker of Tennessee;

Jeff Flake of Arizona;

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina;

Orrin Hatch of Utah;

Dean Heller of Nevada;

John Hoeven of North Dakota

Mark Kirk of Illinois;

John McCain of Arizona;

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska;

As I've pointed out before, the bill is almost biblical in its arrogance, deception, and fiscal irresponsibility. It does not address the problem it was supposedly crafted to solve and it makes no provisions for securing our border. And it is laden with the same kind of obscure language and outright bribes ObamaCare was.

Any senator whom voted for this atrocity is either malicious or too naive and gullible to be taken seriously anymore.

The fight now moves to the House. While Speaker John Boehner promised again today that he wasn't going top bring this bill to a vote and that the House would come up with its own legislation, I trust him about as much as I trust Bob Corker or any of the others listed above.

Any plumber knows that the first step in fixing a leak or to turn off the flow of water at its source. The first step in doing anything about this is to secure the border in ways where 'the sole discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security' (to quote frequent language used in the bill) doesn't appear.

To get that, we're going to have to literally bombard Congress with tweets, e-mails and phone calls and scare the Republican members to death that come 2014 they're history if they vote for amnestia.

Senate Passes Bill That Fails to Fix Immigration and Border Security »

Senate Passes Bill That Fails to Fix Immigration and Border Security »:
“The Americans will always do the right thing,” Winston Churchill (who was half-American) once declared, “after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”
The Senate proved today—in passing a massive, complicated, budget-busting bill that fails to fix our flawed immigration system and broken borders—that it has not yet exhausted all its alternatives.
Instead, the Senate delivered a monstrosity of a measure that takes the worst from the failed “amnesty-first” formula tried in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and pairs it with the politics of Obamacare—layering in backroom deals and Rube Goldberg-style mechanisms for funding and enforcing the law.

This bill heads to the House now. Whether or not all the Senators read the 1,000-plus pages, they are responsible for it. The bill is:
  • Amnesty first. Starting with amnesty undermines every effort to gain control of our borders, restore respect for our laws, and treat fairly the millions who have legitimately waited in line for their shot at the American Dream. It is also unfair to those who decided not to come to this country illegally.
  • Bad for the budget. The Senate voted to waive no fewer than 22 budget points of order to move the bill. Not only does the legislation make a mockery of the Budget Control Act of 2011 with bloated “emergency spending,” but it is also packed with pork and would balloon long-term spending on government benefits and entitlements by trillions of dollars.
  • A failure to fix a big problem. At best, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that this bill would reduce illegal immigration by a paltry 25 percent—and that is if the Administration delivers fully, on time, on every security measure promised in the bill.
The House should reject the idea that amnesty is a model for immigration reform. Instead, Congress should pick a positive path to reform.
The post Senate Passes Bill That Fails to Fix Immigration and Border Security appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.

Why is Obama So Out of Touch? »

Why is Obama So Out of Touch? »:
Why is Barack Obama now so obsessed about the constitutional right to participate in homosexual acts and shutdown coal production? Are those really the top priorities for this nation? While he is celebrating those “hot button” issues, Obama is running around Africa, taking his family on a sweet vacation at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, festering foreign policy issues remain front and center–Syria, the collapse of the Arab spring, heightened tensions with Russia and China, the revival of civil war in Iraq and the failure to secure Afghanistan.
The erosion of American power and influence in the Middle East is alarming and unprecedented. I have noted in prior pieces that the mess Obama confronts in the Middle East was not of his making. George W. Bush and his crowd sowed those seeds. They enabled Iran to become the dominant force in the region and unspooled the simmering civil war between Sunnis and Shias, which is slowly and inexorably spreading throughout the region. But the feckless response to the rise of radical Islam in Egypt and Tunisia and Libya is all on Obama. That was not the work of George W. Bush.
We now have the spectacle of the Obama Administration publicly inserting itself into the Syrian civil war. It is one thing to pursue a clandestine program to arm and train rebels. That approach preserved plausible deniability for the President. But to publicly announce a “secret” program to arm and train rebels, which Obama has done. That is crazy and incompetent. Such a naive policy puts us squarely on a collision course with Russia. That is a dangerous policy.
Obama’s missing-in-action Presidency poses a direct and significant threat to America’s national security. He needs to get his butt out of Africa, on the plane and get back in the Oval Office and start doing his job.

Democrats Are Waging A War On America »

Democrats Are Waging A War On America »:
Democrats love spouting off about things like the phony “war on women” while they never reveal that they are waging a war on America. That’s right. Their policies are designed to kill the American dream. This wonderful experiment in human freedom, which has been eroded for decades, will finally come to an end thanks to these radical progressives. Even Democrat Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia admitted that they’re waging a war on America with their suicidal energy policies.
“8 billion-tons of coal is being burned in the world as we speak and the United States of America consumes about one billion tons,” he said. “Now what’s going to happen to the other 7 billion tons? What’s going to happen to the countries that are consuming and using 7 billion tons and it’s increasing rapidly? Nothing is being done there. We have done more to clean the environment than ever in the last two decades…there is more that can be done.”
Thanks, low information voters, for voting for and endorsing the death of our republic. When you wonder why you can’t find a job, put food on the table or fill your gas tank, just look in the mirror. This is the hope and change you voted for. I hope you’re happy. Oh, and it’s only going to get worse, in case you were wondering. I know most of you believe that public schools educated you just fine, but you might want to do your own research. The policies of the beloved Franklin Delano Roosevelt actually prolonged the Great Depression. Now history repeats itself, but it’s just not as visible. Instead of bread lines we have people at the grocery store with their handy little EBT cards.
Image Credit: Business Insider

DEVASTATING: Hugh Hewitt exposes Hoeven and the Corker-Hoeven amendment as a complete fraud »

DEVASTATING: Hugh Hewitt exposes Hoeven and the Corker-Hoeven amendment as a complete fraud »: hewitt_hughHugh Hewitt says the immigration bill is a lousy law ...

Pro-Abortion Filibuster in Texas Legislature Defies Will of the People »

Pro-Abortion Filibuster in Texas Legislature Defies Will of the People »:
A pro-abortion filibuster has overcome a Texas bill that would have curtailed late-term abortions. Killing babies in the womb so pregnant women aren’t inconvenienced is being called “democracy in action.”
But the Weekly Standard published a piece Wednesday that shows “democracy” was thwarted :
A new National Journal poll on late-term abortion is somewhat biased against the pro-life side: The poll’s question claims the bill passed last week in the House of Representatives only contains exceptions in the cases of rape or incest without mentioning that there is also an exception for when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk. Despite the biased question, the poll still finds that a majority of women support the bill (50 percent to 44 percent), with Americans overall backing the bill 48 percent to 44 percent. Independent voters back the bill by 14 points (53 percent to 39 percent).
Gallup polls that ask more straightforward questions find that only 27 percent of Americans support second-trimester abortions and only 14 percent support third-trimester abortions.
Strong opposition to late-term abortion is often ignored by journalists. For example, last night Democratic state senator Wendy Davis filibustered a bill in Texas banning most abortions later than 20 weeks into pregnancy. Her filibuster was treated as a popular uprising by many in the press, but a Texas Tribune poll found that 62 percent of Texans supported the restriction on late-term abortions.
“Democracy” to leftists means they always get their way, regardless of what most Americans think. Such is the case with Obamacare, immigration, and late-term abortion, which is only legal in every state due to the Supreme Court’s imperious ruling in Roe v. Wade. When something leftists agree with — like stricter gun control measures — fails, they always whip out cliches like ‘democracy has failed.’
Arbitrary termination of human life — whether by people or by citizens — is wrong. Using verbal gymnastics to call something that would grow up to be an adult human being a ‘blob,’ a ‘neoplasm,’ a ‘zygote,’ a ‘fetus’ or whatever does not take away from the reality that we’re talking about the essence of an individual person. It doesn’t matter if the tiny being is helpless or unaware that a doctor or mother is about to snuff its nascent life out.
The abortion debate pivots around the notion that everything is just a matter of opinion, and to make any judgment whatsoever about the practice is wrong. This subjectivism is taken to such an extent that people are actually killing babies in the womb at a late-stage of development because, it’s like, “just your opinion.” But logic dictates that we are talking about the essence of human life. It isn’t difficult to see how if we applied the pro-abortion position more broadly, the entire legal edifice for Western society crumbles.
If society is “judgmental” for demanding women take responsibility for their bodies, in those cases where it is applicable, then what kind of licentiousness ensues? If people are “anti-woman” for defending the right to live of a fellow human being, provided it meets the criterion of being able to live outside the womb, what if the baby is a female? It’s all speciousness and hysteria in rebuttal.
Abortion is one of the lynchpins of the hard left agenda, and that’s why left-wing activists fight so rabidly for it. The implication of abortion is it’s a cheapening of human life. That’s really what the pro-abortion fanaticism is all about; regardless of what the unblinking supporter thinks about the practice, and despite the extreme, worst-case scenario cases that are always presented as the rebuttal to the gruesome practice of late-term abortions as a whole.
The post Pro-Abortion Filibuster in Texas Legislature Defies Will of the People appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Carol Platt Liebau : Rights of Conscience in Windsor's Wake »

Carol Platt Liebau : Rights of Conscience in Windsor's Wake »:
John has offered more comprehensive treatments of today's decisions and their legal ramifications.  I'd like to touch briefly on the aspect of Windsor that has ominous implications for rights of conscience and religious freedom in America.
By insinuating that "improper animus" was the motivating factor  behind the passage of DOMA (despite, as John notes below, a plethora of entirely justifiable rationales for it), Justice Kennedy has essentially held that bigotry is the only real reason anyone would oppose gay marriage.
By tarring those who do not share his policy preferences about gay marriage as irrational haters, Justice Kennedy has validated the social opprobrium frequently directed against them; what's more, he has facilitated legal attacks on those whose consciences and religious convictions dictate that they decline to support gay marriage.  Such legal attacks have already occurred under color of state law in Colorado and Washington.
Everybody understands that gay marriage is today's cause celebre -- but freedom of religion/conscience is America's "first freedom." If those who oppose gay marriage for a variety of reasons are to be understood only as irrational bigots (and their objections labeled as nothing more than "improper animus"), it's hard to see how a head-on collision between gay rights and religious freedom can be avoided.

Blowing Smoke: Obama Climate Speech Riddled With Lies »

Blowing Smoke: Obama Climate Speech Riddled With Lies »: A dangerous, arrogant, fact-free tirade.

Disruptive Crowd at Texas Senate Session Sets Terrible Precedent »

Disruptive Crowd at Texas Senate Session Sets Terrible Precedent »:
I am pleased that Charmaine and Kathryn had posts this morning about SB 5. As I mentioned yesterday, this piece of legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks, require that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other health-care facilities, and mandate that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The legislation was under consideration during a special session of the Texas state legislature which was required to end at midnight. Senate Republicans succeeded in ending Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster at around 10PM. However, various procedural moves delayed consideration of the full bill. As the clock neared midnight there was a concerted effort among spectators to disrupt the proceedings in the hopes of delaying and ultimately defeating SB 5. After extensive delay, it was decided that the vote on SB 5 took place after midnight and was therefore invalid.
The filibuster and its aftermath received substantial coverage from a number of media outlets both in Texas and across the country. However, not one mainstream-media outlet has even raised concerns about the conduct of the spectators, much less criticized their behavior. This is important because the actions of the crowd were in clear and blatant violation of Senate rules. Spectators are allowed to engage in polite applause, but little else. In the morning and early afternoon some supporters of legal abortion were encouraging gallery spectators to abide by the rules. However, by the late evening the tone had changed dramatically. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was encouraging gallery spectators to make noise via Twitter. One can only imagine the outrage if an unruly mob of pro-life activists -- egged on by pro-life leaders -- succeeded in blocking a pro-abortion bill by shouting down the legislature.
Regardless of one’s views on abortion, last night’s actions set a terrible precedent. Allowing an unruly crowd to effectively block a vote on a piece of legislation will only serve to encourage disruptive activity in the future. That having been said, pro-lifers should not give up hope. There is speculation that Governor Perry might call another special session of the legislature to reconsider this piece of legislation. Some are concerned that other bills dealing with juvenile justice and highway funding also failed to receive consideration due to the filibuster. More importantly, reconsidering SB 5 would send a clear message to all that the rule of law -- and not mob rule -- will prevail in Texas.

Abp. Chaput on Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling »

Abp. Chaput on Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling »: Archbishop Charles Chaput writes:
In striking down Sec. 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor, the Court leaves intact – at least for now -- state constitutional definitions of marriage as an institution restricted to one man and one woman. As Justice Samuel Alito points out in his dissent, no federal “right” to same-sex marriage exists. The Constitution simply does not establish one.

As Catholics we believe marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined. It is a great gift to men, women, children and society. Affirming the true definition of marriage denies no one his or her basic rights. On the contrary protecting marriage affirms the equal dignity of women and men and safeguards the basic rights of children.

Same-sex unions, whatever legal form they take, cannot create new life. They cannot duplicate the love of a man and woman. But they do copy marriage and family, and in the process, they compete with and diminish the uniquely important status of both. The legal battle about marriage will continue. And the Church’s commitment to promote the authentic meaning of marriage and family will be vigorously pursued.

Words of Wisdom »

Words of Wisdom »:
Imagine how the Founding Fathers would weep to see their masterwork twisted to support the depraved liberal agenda. John Adams may have said it best:
Via The Looking Spoon.

True Definition of Marriage Remains Unchanged »

True Definition of Marriage Remains Unchanged »:
marriageFRONT ROYAL, Va., June 26, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet expressed disappointment today with the United States Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, but said that no matter what the Court decided, God’s definition of marriage has not, and will not change, and must continue to be defended.
“Since marriage is an institution that predates any government, the nature and definition of marriage were never in doubt, and thus could not justly be changed by any court or vote,” said Father Boquet. “Marriage still is, and has always been, a covenant by which one man and one woman establish a partnership for life that is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”
“We must continue to demand that our political leaders recognize and protect this most natural institution especially in this time of intense bigotry and discrimination toward those who defend marriage in the public square,” said Father Boquet.
“Most Americans know that this debate over marriage will never ultimately be settled by the Court, for at least two reasons,” said Father Boquet. “First, those who are leading the assault on marriage have demonstrated again and again their disdain for laws that defend marriage and for the will of those with whom they disagree. Theirs is a crusade against both faith and reason, and they are no more likely to stop with a court decision than are the defenders of marriage.”
“Second,” he said, “the definition of marriage is not determined by any court or any legislative vote. A just nation recognizes and upholds the true meaning of marriage for the common good of the people and the institutions of the nation.”
“Our larger task remains the same – to remind all people of good will that without marriage, there is no prosperous and unified future for any nation,” Father Boquet said. “As the lifetime, faithful, and life-welcoming union of one woman and one man, marriage is naturally the best place to welcome children into the world and form them in love and truth. The more a society understands this natural fact, the healthier and more unified it will be. The more this natural fact is attacked, the more divided we will become, needing ever more expensive governmental solutions (welfare, prisons, etc.) to compensate for the natural good that has been discarded.”
“Finally we note that these decisions do not bode well for the freedom of those religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, who can only uphold the true definition of marriage. We expect that persecution of the Church will increase as opponents of true marriage demand that no dissent be tolerated, and that religious institutions participate in performing ‘marriage’ ceremonies for same-sex couples or suffer charges of discrimination. We are prepared for these inevitable events, and we stand in solidarity and hope with all who defend marriage.”
About HLI: Human Life International: For the Glory of God and defense of Life, Faith and Family. Founded in 1981, HLI is the world’s largest international pro-life and pro-family organization, with affiliates and associates in over 80 countries on six continents.

Obama Upset that Americans Distrust Government »

Obama Upset that Americans Distrust Government »:

What a wanker!!!

“[I]f people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and Rule of Law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” — Barack Obama
Those words were uttered by Obama recently in response to the unfolding scandal surrounding the revelation that the NSA is collecting data on every American, and I have to agree with him. If we can’t trust our very own government, made up of elected officials who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic; and if we can’t trust the army of bureaucrats employed by government to execute these laws and policies, then we do indeed have a problem.
And for all of those Americans currently engaged in weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, who are acting as if this monitoring of the private thoughts of every American is somehow sinister and unconstitutional, who “…warn that tyranny [is] always lurking just around the corner”, as Obama said to the students at Ohio State University; well, as Obama also said “You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
And why shouldn’t we trust our government? It’s not like the NSA (National Security Agency) has been collecting data on virtually every phone call, text message, email, internet search, Facebook post, and pretty much all other forms of digital communication used by more than 300 million Americans.
It’s not like the FBI Director admitted earlier this week that his agency is using drones to perform surveillance of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, or that it took a half-day long filibuster by a Senator to get the Attorney General of the United States to concede that the president does not have the power to assassinate U.S. citizens on U.S. soil using armed versions of these drones.
It’s not like the president has authorized spying on members of the press, or has read the email of a reporter after convincing a judge to authorize a warrant to do so by labeling him as a co-conspirator to a terrorist plot, and it is certainly not like that same government then tapped the phone calls of that reporter’s parents.
We also know that government is just there to protect us, and would never, ever use the IRS to attack, harass, and intimidate the political opponents of Obama and his policies, or release the private tax information to his political allies in order to let them go attack his political enemies.
And it’s not like Obama’s Department of Homeland Security issued an internal report in 2009 called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” that warned law enforcement agencies across the country of the growing threat of “right-wing extremism,” and categorized Americans as part of that threat just for being veterans returning from a combat zone, or opposing abortion, or opposing the increasing size and scope of the federal government, or just those who “are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.” Clearly, the DHS would not treat American citizens as potential terrorists simply for opposing Obama’s policies because, as Hillary Clinton told us, it is patriotic to oppose the president.
And it’s also not like the president would allow Americans to die in Benghazi in order to maintain a narrative, during a tight election. that he’d single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden and defeated Al Qaeda, and he would certainly not lie about what really happened. It’s not as if he allowed those Americans to be murdered by terrorists, calling off the military forces ready to step in and save them, and he would never blame it all on an anti-Muslim YouTube video and have the person who made the video arrested.
Likewise, his Department of Health and Human Services would never strong arm private businesses into coughing up money to cover the cost of implementing ObamaCare when they ran out of appropriated funds, and it’s not like the administration lied about whether tax dollars would cover abortions, or that there would be conscious-clause exemptions, or that the law’s mandates would overrule religious freedoms…or that the cost of Obamacare would more than double in just three years, or that premiums would not only NOT go down, but would rise by more than $3000 per year for a family. And it’s not like the very politicians who forced this Obamacare monstrosity on us are now secretly negotiating to exempt themselves from the expensive, onerous provisions that the rest of us are stuck with.
Our government can also be trusted because it would never implement an operation out of the DoJ called “Fast and Furious,” where our own government would sell assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels who would use those weapons to kill U.S. law enforcement agents and hundreds of Mexican citizens, and they would never lie about having knowledge of the program when it was exposed.
We can also trust them because they would never institute “security” policies whereby every airline passenger would be given a hernia check and prostate exam before getting on a plane, while those same agents would also refuse to use a mountain of evidence as to who are the people most likely to engage in acts of terrorism, thereby increasing the chance of actually catching a terrorist so that we can have minimal encroachments on personal liberty…because that would be profiling.
It’s not like government has engaged in an all-out assault to eradicate our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, using emotional manipulation and outright lies to convince the people to give up those rights. And it’s not like government can’t be trusted to make wise use of our taxpayer dollars, because those in power would never shovel billions of dollars to companies in the “green energy” industry which are run by people who just happened to donate large sums of money to their political campaigns. And it’s not like certain politicians would place vast oil and gas reserves off limits for exploration and production, artificially restricting supply and causing the price of gas to double in just four years, just so that “green energy” looks more attractive and affordable. And it’s not like government would use the EPA, and statutory and regulatory law to destroy private property rights, and try to bankrupt and/or imprison anyone who opposed such an unconstitutional taking of property.
And it’s not like many legislators disdain constitutional restrictions on government power, or that the Supreme Court routinely rules based not on what the Constitution says, but on what they want it to say.
So stop worrying America! Government is made up of people much smarter than we are, who only have our best interests at heart, who would never, EVER use their power for personal gain or to destroy their enemies, and who can at all times be trusted to do the right thing. So go back to sleep…there’s nothing to see here.

Gay Marriage Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle »

Gay Marriage Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle »:
MarriedSmallIt was Gay Marriage Day in Washington today with two Supreme Court decisions on the issue. In United States v. Windsor, the Court struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. For the purposes of federal law and benefits, legally married same-sex couples will now receive the same recognition from the federal government that opposite-sex couples d0. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court decided that the appealing party did not have the standing to argue for California’s Proposition 8 in federal courts and let the lower court’s decision stand. As a result, gay marriage will likely become legal again in California, though the situation in the rest of the country will remain unchanged.
But these two decisions are not the only culture war stories we’ve seen lately. On the state level today, the big news is the setback for Texas Republicans hoping to use a special session to enact some of the most pro-life legislation in the country. Republicans announced that the law, which would ban abortions after 20 weekes of pregnancy, had passed, only to quickly recant. The vote was invalid because it hadn’t followed proper legislative procedure. This may not stand; Governor Perry can call a second special session, and if he does, the bill will likely pass.
Both of these come hard on the heels of yesterday’s Voting Rights Act decision, which will now allow nine previously regulated states to make changes to voting procedures without federal pre-approval. And all of this was preceded by the total rout of gun control legislation in the Congress in April.
There are things that could be said about all of these cases. For instance, the unusual majority in Hollingsworth (Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan) confirms the impression we got when the Court upheld Obamacare: The Roberts Court is political but not politicized. We may not like everything the justices do, but at least some of the time it is clear that they are thinking about the law rather than about their personal and political hobby horses. That’s good for the Court and good for the country, too.
It’s worth taking a step back from the emotions and technical details of all of these events to ask about the broader trend they point to. Superficially, they point to a schizophrenic public: leaning pro-life; increasingly in favor of gay marriage; divided on gun control but unwilling to pull the trigger, so to speak, on significantly tightened gun laws. But on a deeper level, these all look like examples of the biggest cultural-political trend in America: a response to the growing complexity of 21st century life that revives individualism and states’ rights.
Individualism sometimes work for the Right and sometimes for the Left. The right to marry who you choose is as individualistic as insisting on your right to bear arms. With abortion, that same logic is muddier, which is why the public is still divided. Pro-choichers lay claim to the individualism mantle by stating that women should be free to control their own reproductive health, while pro-lifers do the same by arguing that abortion involves two individuals with rights, not one.
Similarly, when it comes to classical federalism, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the gay marriage cases are both deferential to the states involved. Again, states’ rights is sometimes a liberal and sometimes a conservative cause. The DOMA case said that the national government can’t deny federal benefits to the marriages recognized by the states.  But the Voting Rights Act decision, for good or for ill, is an attempt to give back to the nine states in question some powers lost in the Civil Rights Era. Two wins for states’ rights; one each for the Left and the Right.
The federal government is reaching for broad new powers. President Obama wants the EPA to assert the power to regulate (or at least to force all the states to regulate) emissions of carbon dioxide. Obamacare similarly involves some major new federal interventions in the lives of millions of Americans. And it appears that under President Obama federal surveillance of Americans has surpassed anything that transpired under President Bush.
But here, too, the Supreme Court and public opinion are demanding the return of more powers to individuals and states. DOMA, pot legalization, the limits on the Voting Rights Act, and a rash of new state limits on abortion all point to a strong public interest in the decentralization of power.
The federal legislature, the Court, and state governments, both blue and red, seem to have adopted this principle of devolution as a strategy for dealing with the most politically toxic issues of our time. America is too big and its citizens are too diverse for one-size-fits-all solutions to some of our culture war issues. Some traditional American views seem newly relevant as we cope with these issues: individuals should be allowed as much freedom as is consistent with their not harming others; wherever possible, states should be free to settle their affairs on their own terms.
Some 18th-century ideas are proving surprisingly useful in 21st-century America.


THE SENATE REPUBLICANS’ GANG OF IDIOTS »: f you want to know what's wrong with the Republican Partywrapped up in one pretty package, all you have to do is look at the latestamnesty disaster that was created by a gang of Republican idiots in the Senate.Marco Rubio, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, BobCorker, John Hoeven, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller and the rest of the braindeadSenate Republican buffoons who have supported this bill are the livingpersonification of the words, Stuck on Stupid. They picked thewrong issue, at the wrong time, did it the wrong way, and set it up so that nomatter what happens, the Republican Party is doomed to get kicked in the teeth.Why does the Republican Party lose elections? Because theydo things like this:

Marriage Is Dead And The Church Is Next »

Marriage Is Dead And The Church Is Next »: DOMA is dead.

And, technicalities aside, Prop 8. in California is dead paving the way for same-sex marriage there.

While many people will try to dissect these opinions and look for legal silver linings based on the narrowness of this or that part of rulings, make no mistake, as a practical matter marriage as we knew it is over. The dam has burst even if all the water has not yet traversed the breach.

But Marriage has never been the real target.  Read my post at the NC Register to understand why the real target is the Church.

By Global Standards, the Government Education Bureaucracy Gets the Most Money while Delivering Mediocre Results »

By Global Standards, the Government Education Bureaucracy Gets the Most Money while Delivering Mediocre Results »:
I don’t write or speak about education very much, but, when asked, I explain that America has a very costly and inefficient government school monopoly.
Education spending Cato chartThe strongest piece of evidence is an amazing chart put together by a Cato colleague. It shows that education spending has skyrocketed while educational performance has stagnated.
One of my favorite soundbites, when discussing this issue, is that the U.S. spends more per capita than any nation other than Switzerland, but we get very sub-par results for all that money.
According to new data, though, I can no longer make that assertion. I’d like to say it’s because we now get above-average results, but the real reason is because we’ve now surpassed Switzerland to become the biggest spenders on education.
But we still get a crummy return on all that money that is spent.
Here are the key findings from an OECD study, as reported by the AP.
The United States spends more than other developed nations on its students’ education each year… Despite the spending, U.S. students still trail their rivals on international tests. …brand-new and experienced teachers alike in the United States out-earn most of their counterparts around the globe.
Now let’s look at some of the grim details.
…the United States spent $15,171 on each young person in the system — more than any other nation covered in the report. That sum inched past some developed countries and far surpassed others. Switzerland’s total spending per student was $14,922… The average OECD nation spent $9,313 per young person. …The United States routinely trails its rival countries in performances on international exams despite being among the heaviest spenders on education. U.S. fourth-graders are 11th in the world in math in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, a separate measure of nations against each other. U.S. eighth-graders ranked ninth in math, according to those 2011 results. The Program for International Student Assessment measurement found the United States ranked 31st in math literacy among 15-year-old students and below the international average. The same 2009 tests found the United States ranked 23rd in science among the same students, but posting an average score. …The average first-year high school teacher in the United States earns about $38,000. OECD nations pay their comparable educators just more than $31,000. …The average high school teacher in the United States earns about $53,000, well above the average of $45,500 among all OECD nations.
Here’s the chart from the OECD study showing per-student spending.
OECD Education Spending Rankings
So we spend more, pay more to our bureaucrats, yet we get worse results. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the education monopoly.
Oh, by the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers are even worse than we think. Check out this Cato video, which reveals that politicians and bureaucrats hide the real cost of their inefficient and wasteful monopoly.
One reason the system is so expensive is that we squander so much money on bureaucratic overhead. But I guess we need all those paper pushers so we can stop little kids from engaging in terrorist behavior.
But you have to give the teacher unions credit for chutzpah. One of the union bosses actually had the gall to ignore the actual findings in the study and to assert that taxpayers aren’t doing enough!
“When people talk about other countries out-educating the United States, it needs to be remembered that those other nations are out-investing us in education as well,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, a labor union.
Not that I can blame union bosses and other defenders of the status quo. They’ve got a great scam going, so why not blatantly prevaricate in hopes that the gravy train will continue.
What makes this situation so tragic is that we have strong proof that we could get much better outcomes by shifting to a system of school choice.
But that’s a difficult fight. The teacher unions understandably want to preserve their undeserved privileges. What really irks me, though, is that some people side with the unions for political purposes, even though it means they deliberately sacrifice the best interests of children. That’s a harsh accusation, I realize, but I think it describes both President Obama and the NAACP.
All the more reason to get government out of the education business.
Though this is not just an issue of government inefficiency. Other nations have government-run education systems and they spend less and produce better results.
In a few cases, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, It’s quite likely that school choice helps to explain better outcomes. But what about other nations? Is there something about the American system that makes it especially wasteful?
P.S. This is a depressing post, so let’s close with a bit of humor showing the evolution of math lessons in government schools.
P.P.S. If you want some unintentional humor, the New York Times thinks that education spending has been reduced.

It's Well Past Time To Scrap The Federal Student Loan Program »

It's Well Past Time To Scrap The Federal Student Loan Program »: By Barry Poulson

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Federal Regulations Make Americans 75 Percent Poorer »

Federal Regulations Make Americans 75 Percent Poorer »:
“Federal regulations have made you 75 percent poorer,” and as a result, “U.S. GDP is just $16 trillion instead of $54 trillion,” says an article in Reason magazine. It cites a study that finds that as a result of growing regulation,
the average American household receives about $277,000 less annually than it would have gotten in the absence of six decades of accumulated regulations—a median household income of $330,000 instead of the $53,000 we get now.
The researchers, economists John Dawson of Appalachian State University and John Seater of North Carolina State, constructed an index of federal regulations by tracking the growth in the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations since 1949. The number of pages, they note, has increased six-fold from 19,335 in 1949 to 134,261 in 2005. (As of 2011, the number of pages had risen to 169,301.) They devise a pretty standard endogenous growth theory model . . . to calculate how federal regulations have affected economic growth.
Annual output in 2005, they conclude, “is 28 percent of what it would have been had regulation remained at its 1949 level.”. . .Regulations also affect the allocation of labor and capital—by, say, raising the costs of new hires . . .Overall, they calculate, if regulation had remained at the same level as in 1949, current GDP would have been $53.9 trillion instead of $15.1 in 2011. In other words, current U.S. GDP in 2011 was $38.8 trillion less than it might have been.
CEI’s Wayne Crews says that “Obama’s record-setting red tape costs Americans $14,000 annually.” Crews recently released “the latest edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, which surveys the big picture federal regulatory state by numbers and costs.” For example, he notes, the EPA “added 223 rules in 2012,” with an “estimated compliance cost” of “$353 billion.” The costs measured in Crews’ report will likely be dwarfed by additional regulatory costs in the future resulting from laws backed by Obama, such as the 2010 healthcare law, and the Dodd-Frank Act. It will take years for agencies to issue the regulations called for by these laws, especially the Dodd-Frank Act, a 2,315-page measure whose massive costs are just starting to be felt and have yet to be tallied. Just one of its rules is expected to “cost American businesses $315 billion and increase annual borrowing costs by $43 billion,” according to the Financial Services Roundtable. The Dodd-Frank Act has already wiped out thousands of jobs and harmed the poor. Similarly, Obamacare is causing layoffs in the medical device industry, and will wipe out many jobs. It is also replacing full-time jobs with meager part-time jobs in community colleges, restaurants, and other sectors.

More regulations means fewer jobs. A liberal Yale professor recounts being told by a businessman that he would not hire more employees despite having a “successful business” due to the current political and regulatory climate. “How can I hire new workers today, when I don’t know how much they will cost me tomorrow?,” asked the businessman, “referring not to wages, but to regulation: He has no way of telling what new rules will go into effect when. His business . . . operates on low margins. He can’t afford to take the chance of losing what little profit there is to the next round of regulatory changes. And so he’s hiring nobody until he has some certainty about cost.”
Boston business owner Terry Catchpole noted in The New York Times that economic uncertainty due to Obama administration policies has wiped out jobs at companies like his:
Two years ago our executive communications company had 17 employees. Today it has seven . . . like many small businesses, we are dependent on big businesses as customers. And the big businesses that we would ordinarily depend on to become clients are sitting on their cash, because they are deathly afraid of an Obama administration that has been hostile to business . . . They have no idea where the administration’s next attack is coming from, and how much it is going to cost them to defend. So businesses do not spend money; they do not hire my company; and we cannot hire back those 10 good people we had to let go.
Democratic businessman Steve Wynn called Obama “the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime,” saying that “the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”
Even agencies that lack the power to adopt much in the way of formal regulations effectively do so by adopting “guidelines” that interpret statutes to impose burdensome obligations never intended by the Congress that enacted them. The classic example is the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is discouraging hiring by creating a bad legal climate for employers. It has pressured employers, such as nuclear power plant operators, to hire people with criminal records as armed guards, even when they are prohibited by state law from hiring felons for such positions, as Jim Bovard noted in The Wall Street Journal, discussing the EEOC’s proceedings against a nuclear-plant operator that had refused to hire a twice-convicted thief. The EEOC sued Pepsi for doing criminal background checks, forcing the company to pay $3.1 million to settle the lawsuit. The EEOC is threatening employers who require high-school diplomas with ADA lawsuits. Employers’ ability to hire and fire based on merit has been under assault by the EEOC, which has ordered employers to discard useful employment tests and accommodate incompetent employees. A hotel chain was recently compelled to pay $132,500 for dismissing an autistic desk clerk who did not do his job properly, in order for it avoid a lawsuit by the EEOC that would have cost it much more than that to defend. The EEOC has sued companies that refuse to employ truck drivers with a history of heavy drinking, even though companies that hire them will be sued under state personal-injury laws when they have an accident. The EEOC used the threat of costly litigation for force a cafe owner to pay thousands of dollars for not selecting a hearing- and speech-impaired employee for a cashier’s position.

'Classic Reactionary Liberalism' »

'Classic Reactionary Liberalism' »: That's an interesting concept, via WFB, "Krauthammer: ‘Classic Reactionary Liberalism’ On Display After Voting Rights Act Decision."

Some background here, "Civil Rights Icon John Lewis: Supreme Court Put 'Dagger in Heart of Voting Rights Act...'"

Tyranny Of Busybodies Usually Starts Out Small »

Tyranny Of Busybodies Usually Starts Out Small »: There's a move on to prohibit Washington's football team from calling itself "Redskins," even though a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision said that it has that right. Now the name-change advocates are turning to the political arena and intimidation. The NCAA has already banned the University of North Dakota from calling its football team the "Fighting Sioux." This is the classic method of busybodies and tyrants. They start out with something trivial

Ramming Through A Dishonest Immigration Reform Bill »

Ramming Through A Dishonest Immigration Reform Bill »: The newly amended 1,198-page "comprehensive" immigration bill was plunked on Senate desks last Friday afternoon. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., forced through an initial vote over the objections of senators who said they had not read it. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, labeled the ploy "banana republic" politics, and top banana Reid is spending your money to buy support for his agenda and power. A provision slipped in to extend

Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes ObamaCare Hub »

Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes ObamaCare Hub »: The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government's data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide "a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub." The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits,