Friday, January 31, 2014

Santa Clause, Easter Bunnies, And Catastrophic Global Warming

Santa Clause, Easter Bunnies, And Catastrophic Global Warming:

Al Gore Climateer Crisis Meeting Global Warming SC
I never deny climate change… the climate has been changing since the beginning of time.  I simply reject hysteria and theories that suggest catastrophic anthropogenic (man made) CO2 based climate change is occurring.

There’s a reason the left has changed vernacular… Global Warming is now Climate Change, and Sea Level Rise is now Storm Surge.  Scientists have not been able to demonstrate a correlation with their radical CO2 warming theories, so they now repackage their movement with even vaguer wording.

Furthermore, even in theory, if you assumed CO2 was the substantive driver of climate,  CO2 abatement schemes large enough to be effective would be unaffordable; and those schemes small enough to be affordable would be ineffective. For example:  To reduce the earth’s temperature one degree with CO2 abatement would require an investment equivalent to 130 years GDP of the entire planet, or more than $4,000,000,000,000,000 (4 quadrillion dollars).  It ain’t happening.

The question is not whether climate is changing… it has been changing for eons.  The proper questions are…

Is change exceeding usual cyclical variations?

If so, is the variance substantial?

Do the negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts?

If so, are any changes likely to be catastrophic?

If so, what are the true drivers (causes)?

Can change be conclusively correlated with any human activities?

How large of a component do human activities play?

If manmade, can we reasonably abate them?

What is the most appropriate coping mechanism… General abatement or focused adaptation?

I recommend you read the  U.S. Senate Minority Report containing statements from 700 scientists rebutting Climate Change.  Several of the scientists were previously involved with the UN-IPCC. And to put it bluntly, they say it just ain’t so… and the 52 scientists on the IPCC are wrong.

Charts I have seen of worldwide cyclonic energy, worldwide temperatures, etc. do not corroborate CO2 theories. Claims of increased damage from hurricanes and storms are a function of increased development and infrastructure in vulnerable areas… NOT more violent storms.

Claims in Maryland of rising sea level are actually a function of settlement of land masses.  Furthermore, usual and customary sea level rise elsewhere of 3mm a year (ten inches per century) hardly qualifies as catastrophic.   Besides, if Maryland Governor O’Malley and his Department of Planning REALLY believed this bunk, they wouldn’t be constructing more subways underground.

Maryland will spend $17 Billion attempting to reduce Greenhouse Gases over the next decade.  You’ll be pleased to know that this effort, if successful, will reduce the temperature of Maryland by 1/20,000 of one degree.  Unfortunately, we have no way of measuring anything this small.  So even if the program is a success, we’ll have no way of knowing it.

I attended a convention where they asked a scientist from the University of Colorado who believes in manmade CO2 based global warming, “What would need to happen to get you to admit you were wrong?”

His answer, “The current cooling trend would have to continue for another 10 to 20 years.”


The “Climateers” argue that most scientific papers support their theories.  Of course, nearly 100% of all government research grants are commissioned with a charge to demonstrate global warming exists.  Clearly, it should be no surprise when universities and non-profits eager for follow-on grants give the government exactly the so-called science it requests.  After all… if they produce conclusions counter to what the government wants, they get no more money.

People ask, why do you call them “Climateers?”  Simply because they are the only crisis-centric group that becomes genuinely disappointed when evidence is produced that demonstrates their fears may be unfounded. Amusing.

Environmental exaggeration provides the rubric government needs to scare children, scare adults, and justify unacceptable encroachments on our constitutional freedoms.

Of course the smoking gun that says it all was the recent statement by the former undersecretary of the Marxist UN-IPCC, Ottmar Edenhofer who made the  statement “… that we redistribute the world’s wealth by climate policy.”


I agree with the 700 scientists in the Senate Report who conclude that claims of CO2-based catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on the human race.

We need our teachers to take the lead, and start teaching our children both sides of this debate and stop indoctrinating them with one-sided government paid-for propaganda.

And finally, as Mark Twain once said, “It is easier to fool a man than to convince him that he’s been fooled.”

Paul A. Rahe : The Changing Electoral Map

Paul A. Rahe : The Changing Electoral Map:

Wednesday evening, Michael Barone posted a piece entitled Gallup Poll: Obama Approval Numbers Suggest Shifting Electoral College Map. It is not only worth reading, as Michael's posts always are. It is worth re-reading more than once.

Everything that Michael says in the piece (until the very end) is based on Gallup's report of Obama's approval numbers for 2013, which he juxtaposes with the percentage of the vote he received in November 2012. Here's the bit that I find most intriguing:

Let's start off with the 2012 target states, including the quasi-target states of Michigan, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. I have rounded off the changes to integers, since tenths of a percentage point tend to be distracting and are without statistical significance.

Colorado: -9 percentage points

Florida: -3 percentage points

Iowa: -10 percentage points

Michigan: -6 percentage points

Nevada: -7 percentage points

New Hampshire: -8 percentage points

New Mexico: -8 percentage points

North Carolina: -8 percentage points

Ohio: -8 percentage points

Pennsylvania: -9 percentage points

Virginia: -4 percentage points

Wisconsin: -7 percentage points

The reader will note that Obama approval has dropped farther (percentage point-wise) than the national average in every one of these states except Florida. That seems plausible: The Obama campaign spent great effort boosting his job approval there in 2012, and that effort has not been sustained in the nonelection year of 2013. This is good news for the Republicans, especially because there are Democratic Senate seats up in six of these states (Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia), which Republicans seem to have some chance of winning. There are also nationally significant and probably seriously contested governor races in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
There is also, let me add, evidence that approval for the President has gone up in Georgia and Texas—presumably because of a demographic shift underway.

But the bigger story is that the bloom is off the rose and that, if the election of 2012 were held again today, Romney would take the target states and win. Moreover, he would have a real shot at the quasi-target states.

This, as Michael explains, is not only significant for the 2014 midterms. It opens up all sorts of possibilities for 2016—especially since Obama's national approval rating has dropped dramatically since the end of 2013 (from 46.5% to 43%). How that breaks out in the individual states we do not yet know.

I do not mean to suggest that the Republican nominee in 2016 will be a shoo-in. I mean nothing of the sort. If we nominate another stiff, we will once again go down in flames.

What I do mean to say is that, if we nominate someone who is vigorous, likeable, and plausible, that person will have a real shot. The legacy of Obama—the sense many of those who voted for the man have of having been thoroughly conned—will weigh heavily on the nominee of his party . . . unless, of course, that nominee distances himself or herself from that legacy. But how could any of the prospective nominees actually do that?

That legacy will be an even weightier albatross if Obama's approval rating sinks further—which, as the consequences of Obamacare sink in, it almost certainly will. It is perfectly possible that there will be a Republican sweep in 2014, that the President will obstruct any and every attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that in 2016 the Republicans will gain an opportunity to reshape things.

My only worry is that, if they do get such an opportunity, they will not have a clue as to what to do. On occasion, over the last few years, the Republicans have been tactically brilliant. Strategically, however, they have been nonentities.

The problem is, in a way, simple. As the conduct of John Boehner,  Eric Cantor, and, alas, Paul Ryan with regard to the immigration question demonstrates, the Republican Party is in the grips of the Chamber of Commerce. It is this that makes "pragmatists" of them -- when they should be principled. It is this that may alienate the white working class folks whose votes they will need if they are to profit from the opportunity Barack Obama has afforded them.

Land of the free?

Land of the free?:

Peggy Noonan pretty much hits a home run today (well, it being Super Bowl weekend, maybe a touchdown analogy would be better).  Here’s how she begins:

The State of the Union was a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation in which a Congress nobody likes rose to cheer a president nobody really likes. It marked the continued degeneration of a great and useful tradition. Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000. This year’s innovation was the Parade of Hacks. It used to be the networks only showed the president walking down the aisle after his presence was dramatically announced. Now every cabinet-level officeholder marches in, shaking hands and high-fiving with breathless congressmen. And why not? No matter how bland and banal they may look, they do have the power to destroy your life—to declare the house you just built as in violation of EPA wetland regulations, to pull your kid’s school placement, to define your medical coverage out of existence. So by all means attention must be paid and faces seen.
Dead on. SOTU has become kind of like entertainment industry awards shows I guess … something else I never watch.  What government can do to your freedom?  Very real.

But she’s right, more and more Washington DC has become Oz.  More and more it becomes delusional, more insular and more isolated from the real America.  And that’s where Noonan goes – she does a riff on real America – i.e. “reality” – a state of being that progressive try to avoid at all costs:

Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines. The Supreme Court kindly granted them a temporary stay, but their case soon goes to court. The Justice Department brief, which reads like it was written by someone who just saw “Philomena,” suggests the nuns are being ignorant and balky, all they have to do is sign a little, meaningless form and the problem will go away. The sisters don’t see the form as meaningless; they know it’s not. And so they fight, in a suit along with almost 500 Catholic nonprofit groups.

Everyone who says that would never have happened in the past is correct. It never, ever would have under normal American political leadership, Republican or Democratic. No one would’ve defied religious liberty like this.

The president has taken to saying he isn’t ideological but this mandate—his mandate—is purely ideological.

It also is a violation of traditional civic courtesy, sympathy and spaciousness. The state doesn’t tell serious religious groups to do it their way or they’ll be ruined. You don’t make the Little Sisters bow down to you.

This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it.
She has other examples, but the way she wrapped up this portion is a pretty good summary of the state of Oz.

And we’re all the poorer and less free because of it.


The high cost of inefficient alternative energy

The high cost of inefficient alternative energy: California Energy Update:

Will California’s Green Energy Policies Backfire Like Germany’s?

“Despite their ideological attractiveness, intermittent renewables remain the most expensive and least practical mechanism for C02 abatement.” – Schalk Cloete 
This is why the proponents of these systems have tried to create artificial scarcity of oil and gas in order to make the inefficient energy resources look more competitive.  They are engaged in blatant market manipulation at the same time they are exporting energy jobs to exporting countries.

Obama’s Expansion of Government Revealed

Obama’s Expansion of Government Revealed:

Below the radar, beyond the loudly visible fights in Congress, President Obama is enacting a complex and far reaching regulatory agenda that will affect your wallets and your lives in untold ways. In many cases, likely, forever.

According to a major new investigation by Politico:

Far more than he let on in the State of the Union, the president has marshaled the tools of his office to advance policies, many unabashedly liberal, that push deep into everyday life for tens of millions of Americans.

He wants to change how power plants operate. And what we buy for lunch. How we travel to work. And how our kids learn math. How our gasoline is formulated. How we light our aquariums.

As he tees up for his final three years, Obama is pushing to take his executive power further still, with the most ambitious regulatory agenda in decades. Executive actions now underway could shut down for-profit colleges that don’t meet the administration’s definition of success — even if they’re popular with students. They could raise the price of products ranging from trucks to furnace fans to manufactured housing to aquarium lights, by requiring them to be made more energy-efficient. The executive agenda even reaches the fires of the family hearth, with the Environmental Protection Agency planning strict new requirements for home wood stoves.

Whether American guns can be sold abroad. How smokeless tobacco can be marketed. Which nonprofits can stage get-out-the-vote drives. What constitutes a single serving of potato chips.

And, perhaps, just how salty those chips should be.

All this, and much more, will depend in large part on the behind-the-scenes churning of the federal bureaucracy — managed, or by many accounts micro-managed, by the White House.
The White House likes to perpetuate the misleading statistic that Obama has promulgated regulations at a pace comparable to Bush and Clinton. Politico found that this obscures what’s really happening:

In his first term, his administration enacted 246 regulations classified as “economically significant,” meaning they carry an economic impact of more than $100 million. That’s considerably more than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton enacted in either of their terms. The Obama administration has added another 54 economically significant regulations so far in his second term. Many are connected to the health care law or Dodd-Frank.

The Heritage Foundation slices the data another way. It looks at how many regulations are “prescriptive,” meaning they impose mandates on the private sector. Its tally: 131 “prescriptive” rules issued during Obama’s first term — and 31 added last year. By comparison, Bush issued 52 prescriptive rules during his first term, said Diane Katz, a research fellow at the foundation.
This is where the action is. Behind the scenes. Where the founders intended. The founders of the Soviet Union, that is.

"Outrageous Prosecution"

"Outrageous Prosecution":

Cutting to the core of our basic freedoms; Alan Dershowitz has his say.

The Justice Department's tactics remind Dershowitz of the words of Stalin's secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria, who said, "Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime."
"This is an outrageous prosecution and is certainly a misuse of resources," charged Dershowitz. "It raises the question of why he is being selected for prosecution among the many, many people who commit similar crimes.
"This sounds to me like it is coming from higher places. It is hard for me to believe this did not come out of Washington or at least get the approval of those in Washington."
Here is what Joseph diGenova, former US attorney and a partner at diGenova and Toensing, has to say: "What strikes me as unusual is that it involves a single donation made by an individual with no criminal record. It seems to me that a misdemeanor makes much more sense than a felony charge."

Disgustingly out of Control

Disgustingly out of Control:

Obama_Biden_BoehnerAfter exposing myself to the lies and insults which have become an Obama speech routine, the truly sad state of our Union came into an unpleasant focus.  The man is without conscience, without a soul.
It isn’t enough to listen and watch my President matter-of-factly bold face everyone.  Afterwards, how many silently joined with me in asking, “just what the heck did I expect?”  I mean, here is a blatant liar, an anti-American by word and deed who is more Muslim than the media will readily admit.  So, with this resume, one which also must include his intentional dereliction of duty with regards to “9/11 Benghazi,” what could this so-called President ever utter which would excite, encourage or make proud?  In short, we have elected a square peg for a round fitting position.

So it is, and with further castigations that I am more resounded to the fact that it is “we the people” who must work overtime at ousting any and all who answer Obama’s beck and call.  Obviously, on the American side of our political aisle, our targets are the many masquerading Republicans who by deed and not word, have earned the rank of RINO.

I assume many of you, like myself, are sick and tired of those in lock step with Boehner and his ilk.  A national effort to evict Boehner has already spurred an unofficial selection for the next Speaker.  In true RINO fashion, lo and behold, Rep. Cantor seems already anointed; which in doing so  unveils another Boehner disciple.

We must, in addition to ousting Boehner, voice our vehement objection as this Speaker charade addresses more to the maintaining of power rather than the betterment of our Nation.  We require die-in-the-wool constitutionalists, not just conservatives or in Cantor’s case a younger Boehner version; but avid patriots who like us, see our return to the America we love as being tied to the America which was.

Briefly, we are losing our country to communism, pure and simple.  We can call it liberalism, progressivism, pragmatism or whatever ism one chooses but in the end, we will be worse off than our Forefathers were before their righteous revolt if our efforts are delayed.  For those still in doubt, get out of the way.  For the rest, we first need to recognize the threat before we can ever consider its defeat.

A good starting point would be tuning onto Mark Levin’s 28 January radio show.  Just Google his name then scroll down to his tune-in site.  If ever this was needed, if ever it can be portrayed through the rather stark clarity of a Reagan State of the Union versus one from Obama, this is it!  For me, I was left between anger and tears.  I heard myself murmur, “what have we allowed?”

We are at a point that if we do not rally together, if we cannot muster the truth and if we do not stand for what we believe in, all will be lost, for we are at the steps of our undoing and those that wish us harm can taste the blood in the waters.

Gaze around to what we have permitted.  At a time when I was a child and America was more God-fearing, we shrugged silently as “they” removed God and prayer from our classrooms.  Again, we were silent when they re-drafted WWII veterans for Korea and then wasted almost sixty thousand lives before saying the game was over in Vietnam.

Recently, we have become inundated with the fear of global warming, oops, climate change.  This President is so bent upon America’s destruction that he refuses to endorse the Keystone pipeline, is willing to regulate the coal industry out of existence while ballyhooing the dangers of this insipid global warming fraud.

Already, the manufacturers of the incandescent light bulbs have been regulated out of business while toilets now require numerous flushes.  In the near future, the monitoring devices already in our newer cars will be enhanced for detailing our daily minutiae while older models will be “carbon foot printed” from our highways.

Judge for yourselves what our reaction has been.  Today, we watch as the federal government knows best how to educate our young.  It begins, in typical governmental fashion, with what will not be taught.  Who needs to be able to write and sign one’s name?  In addition, future generations will become computer dependent.  This early reliance upon such a device will implant a learned acceptance which in turn will induce a passivity leading to one’s total dependency.

I say enough to this iron-fisted freedom.  I realize that  this inch pinching process is now being accelerated.  I also realize that this November’s mid-term is our best chance to monkey wrench  and then reverse this communist take over.

Most importantly, I say that contrary to any President, I have my Bill of Rights and that from now on, anyone in a representative position will be not only contacted incessantly, their faithful upholding of their oath of office will be expected with follow ups.

America’s potential became a reality, in part, from her Constitutional form of government.  When some one needs to tell the President, and in this case supposedly a President who previously taught Constitutional law, that no one is above our laws, well then, our election misjudgments become magnified as this imposter is revealed.

If those we elect to Congress continue their conduct with blind eyes, failing to at least address if not correct this obvious lawlessness, then how in blazes can he or she perform their duties honorably?  November awaits.
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Atrocity-1There is a human tragedy smoldering in America’s inner cities. Twelve million poor children, mainly black and Hispanic, are trapped in failing government schools that are teaching them nothing. As a result, they will never get a chance at a middle-class life. Virtually every school board and every administration in inner city districts is controlled by Democrats, and has been for over fifty years. Everything that is wrong with inner city schools that policy can fix, Democrats are responsible for.

How bad is the inner-city school crisis? Almost half of black students in public schools, and almost half of Hispanic students drop out before graduation and fail to earn a diploma.[1] The dropout rates are especially high in urban areas with large minority populations, including such academic disaster zones cases as Washington, DC (57%), Trenton (59%), Camden (61.4%), Baltimore (65.4%), Cleveland (65.9%), and Detroit (75.1%).[2] As a result of high dropout rates, black and Hispanic students in these urban centers are denied the American dream and condemned to spend their lives in grinding poverty instead.

A significant percentage of black and Hispanic students who do manage to graduate are unable to read their own diplomas.[3] Overall, black high-school graduates are four academic years behind their white counterparts in achievement levels.[4] As political science professor Lydia G. Segal summed up the sad state of affairs in her book Battling Corruption in America’s Public Schools: “It is in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia where the largest numbers of children cannot read, write, and compute at acceptable levels and where racial gaps between whites and blacks and Latinos are widest. It is in large cities that minority boys in particular, trapped in poor schools, have the greatest chance of flunking out and getting sucked into the downward spiral of crime and prison.”[5]

The school boards and school districts that control the public schools in America’s largest inner cities – schools, which year-in, year-out, fail to educate poor minority children – are run by big-government Democrats and progressives, and have been for generations.[6]The public schools are government monopolies run as jobs programs for adults and slush funds for the teacher unions and the Democratic Party. Through these organizations, progressives have fought tooth and nail to prevent bad teachers from being fired and good teachers from being rewarded. They have spent millions on electoral campaigns to deny inner city parents access to voucher programs that would provide scholarships for their children to attend schools that would educate them. These same progressives, fully aware of the bankruptcy of public education, send their own children to expensive private schools, where they will get the education the public schools would deny them. When Vice President Al Gore, a supporter of teacher unions and opponent of school vouchers was asked why he opposed school vouchers for black children while sending his own son to a private school, he said: “If I was the parent of a child who went to an inner-city school that was failing, I might be for vouchers, too.”[7]

This is a social atrocity that has to be stopped.  ”Atrocity” is the first web ad created by an organization I have created called Go For the Heart.  I chose Atrocity to be our first project because what’s happening to poor mainly black and Hispanic children in our public schools is an atrocity, and it is one around which there is a great media silence. That is because the atrocity is being committed by the Democratic Party and its union supporters. “Atrocity” is an attempt to break that silence.

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You Can’t Save the World

You Can’t Save the World:

78053880.83p4ISsW.MaliNov063588For only ten dollars a day or a month you can feed all the starving children in Africa. For only the price of a cup of coffee a year, you can make sure that no one in Kansas City ever goes hungry again. For just a third of your paycheck, you can subsidize a vast bureaucracy that will conduct studies on the best way to save the world and then come up with proposals that will only cost you half your paycheck.

This misplaced philanthropic confidence is the idiot stepchild of a free enterprise society where anything can be accomplished for the right price. Do you want to build a house on the edge of a cliff? Do you want to play on every golf course in the world? Do you want to clone a dinosaur so you can hunt it?

It hasn’t been done yet, but it’s probably doable.

So why can’t we end world hunger for only the price of a cup of coffee every six seconds or forty percent of the national debt or some other appealing figure that looks good on an infographic?

Hunger isn’t a resource shortage problem. The Soviet dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich told an American cab driver about meat rationing in the USSR. The cab driver demanded to know why people didn’t just set up more chicken farms.  Voinovich tried to explain to the incredulous driver that under Socialism, setting up more chicken farms doesn’t produce more chickens.

The USSR had plenty of land, labor and experts. It went from exporting wheat to importing wheat despite throwing everything it had into agriculture because there was a disconnect at every level in the process of planning and production.  Like a sack race with three hundred legs in one sack, the harder the USSR tried to increase yields and production, the worse they became.

Sending the USSR food, as the United States repeatedly did from its early years when Hoover fought famine with an army of aid workers to its waning days when the Evil Empire went deep into debt buying American wheat, didn’t solve anything. Soviet attempts at copying American successes in agriculture actually backfired leading to worse disasters. The only solution to the USSR’s agriculture problems came with the collapse of Soviet feudalism whose central planning had created the meat shortages and bread shortages.

Most “hungry” countries aren’t Communist, but they are dysfunctional. They aren’t going to be fixed for the price of a cup of coffee a day, an hour or a second. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured into Africa and it’s the opinion of African economic experts that the money did more harm than good by crippling developing economies with a weak global social safety net.

Every “free” item sent to another country is one item that isn’t going to be sold or manufactured there. An aid economy works a lot like a regular economy except that it can’t sustain domestic production or domestic experts. Its doctors move to the West and are replaced by Western professionals who enjoy the philanthropic credentials of helping out in an exotic country.

An aid economy is planned, instead of responsive, and depresses local production without fully satisfying local demand leaving the population in a state of semi-deprivation. The aid never reaches the people who need it because of the corruption that caused the deprivation that made the aid necessary. This cycle of corruption feeds an aid economy by knocking out the middle class who might otherwise step into the roles of merchants and professionals and rewards anyone with enough guns to hijack the aid and shake down the charities that distribute it.

Trying to save Africa for the cost of a cup of coffee a day has made it a much worse place. And that’s as true of the United States as it is of Africa.

Domestic warlords don’t have child soldiers who drive around with machine guns on pickup trucks. Instead they wear suits, coordinate with community organizers and clamor for more money for broken inner city neighborhoods so they can siphon it off. There are parts of the United States that are just as broken as any Third World country because they run on the same aid economy that rewards political warlords and discourages independence and initiative.

Activists and politicians announce that for only twenty billion or two hundred billion we can end world hunger, educate every child or give every family their own cow. These proposals apply the free enterprise logic of solving a problem by “buying” a solution. But helping people isn’t mass production. Throwing more money and people at the problem makes it that much harder to solve.

Buying a homeless man a sandwich for two dollars feeds that man. Appropriating twenty billion dollars to feed a sandwich to every homeless man in America will only provide sandwiches to a small percentage of the homeless at a cost of four thousand dollars a sandwich.

Once you try to buy sandwiches for millions of homeless men, the sandwich money is eaten up by the expenses of studying how to identify the homeless, learning what kind of sandwiches they would like, studies on marketing sandwiches to homeless people over social media, the costs of diversity training for the sandwich makers and a million other things.

You can buy a homeless man a sandwich, but you can’t buy them all sandwiches because once you do that, you are no longer engaging in a personal interaction, but building an organization. You don’t need a homeless man to exist so that you can buy him a sandwich, but once an agency exists that is tasked with buying homeless men sandwiches; it needs the homeless men to exist as ‘clients’ so that it can buy them sandwiches and buy itself steak dinners.

The biggest piece of the aid economy is in the hands of the aid organizations that profit from an unsolvable problem that they have no interest in solving. Africa’s misery is their wealth. The worse Africa becomes the more incentive the guilty of the West will have to pour money into their latest plan to buy everyone in Africa a goat, a laptop or a sandwich.

The aid recipients, distributors and providers have achieved a dysfunctional equilibrium. In aid economies, the scale of the problem grows slightly faster than the amount of aid and activists hold out the tempting promise that by increasing spending to stay ahead of the problem, it can be solved completely.

But the West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by guilt-tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away, but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a problem rooted in attitudes and behavior can only be solved when the people change.

Trying to solve a problem rooted in behavior with monetary rewards only perpetuates that behavior. Instead of saving the world, throwing money at it destroys it instead.

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Transformation Starts with Culture

Transformation Starts with Culture:

“We need transformation, relief, and opportunity…in that order,” says AEI’s Arthur Brooks in a new video on conservatism and poverty alleviation. “Transformation starts with culture. Transformation is faith, family, community, and work…That’s the beginning of getting people into the process of rising.”

Read more on Transformation Starts with Culture…

The post Transformation Starts with Culture appeared first on Acton Institute PowerBlog.

The man who would be king

The man who would be king:

Other than his fundamental dishonesty about certain conditions in America, what he stands for, his record, his failure to accept responsibility for his actions, his demonization, his divisive rhetoric, his arrogant promise to double down on his unconstitutional unilateral executive actions, his calls for yet more government instead of less, his foreign policy distortions and his diminution of the presidential office, President Obama’s State of the Union address was pretty good.

President Obama remains on his high horse about minimum wage, but he conveniently ignores that only 1 percent of the people in the U.S. labor force earn minimum wage, that the largest group among them is teenagers, that most are younger than 25, that most work less than 30 hours a week and that there are more than six times more minimum wage workers now than there were in 2007, shortly before he took office. More importantly, he doesn’t admit that increases to minimum wage invariably lead to increased unemployment.

He continued his phony GOP war on women meme with his distortion of the employment pay disparity between men and women. He has to know that it is outright misleading to imply that women who are in the same jobs as men are paid only 77 cents for every dollar the men are paid. Studies show that women who are doing the same work as men receive less, but it’s closer to 91 cents for every dollar.

He boasted that “more than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.” He failed to mention that because of Obamacare, more than 5 million Americans have been forced out of their private plans and that many are losing access to their doctors. He didn’t say that his law robs $700 billion from Medicare to finance unnecessary new health care spending under Obamacare. He omitted Obamacare’s deliberate assault on religious freedom. Nor did he discuss his lawless edicts exempting entities from the law’s mandates.

Obama says he has cut the deficit in half. That’s only close to true if you use as a base line Bush’s last (partial) fiscal year, which was an extraordinary year because of the financial crisis. He’s probably the biggest spender in the history of the universe. His current deficit is about twice Bush’s average deficit, and if it weren’t for Republicans forcing spending cuts, it would be much higher. Obama blocks reform of entitlements, which will bankrupt the nation unless restructured, and if he had his way, he’d further increase spending, with more “stimulus” and infrastructure schemes.

Obama says we have “the lowest unemployment rate in over five years,” conveniently ignoring that we have the lowest labor participation rate in decades and that some 50 million people are on food stamps! His spending, taxing and regulations are killing the job market.

Obama touted the American people’s “profound belief in opportunity for all.” “Opportunity,” he said, “is who we are.” No one believes that “he” is part of that “we.” If he truly cared about opportunity, he would loosen his stranglehold on the private sector and promote jobs. He would quit opposing work requirements in welfare reform and stop sabotaging the labor market with his minimum wage and unemployment extension agenda.

Obama dovetailed this counterfeit fealty to opportunity with his demagoguery about income inequality. But his own policies are exacerbating income inequality, and he has no solutions to alleviate it — other than to use government to confiscate the assets of some Americans and give them to others. He can’t talk about upward mobility on the one hand and then do everything in his power to discourage people from helping themselves on the other.

In a staggering display of dishonesty, he took credit for increased American production of oil and natural gas and claimed he supports energy independence. In the meantime, he impedes both industries — and the coal industry — and implements oppressive fuel omission standards. Any increases in energy production, other than his failed green projects, are in spite of him, not because of him. He’s pushed for cap and trade, imposed energy taxes and demanded more onerous regulations on oil, gas and coal. And though global warming, er, climate change is a “fact” and “settled,” we’re freezing our buns off in the Midwest.

Obama impugns the “wealthy” at every opportunity, implying that most have acquired their money unfairly or through inheritance, which is demonstrably, statistically false. He vilifies Republicans while saying he wants us to all work together.

He says Republicans are only against things and not “for” anything. In fact, they’ve proposed countless reform plans, on health care, energy, taxes, spending, entitlements, defense and job creation. He knows better, but he has but one mode of operation: division, polarization and demonization.

If all this weren’t bad enough, he promises even more unlawful unilateral action, as if he were king and not the head of one of three coequal branches of government. If he had his way, he would be.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction.

The post The man who would be king appeared first on Human Events.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Column: GOP's Push for Amnesty Is Electoral Suicide: Illegals Favor Big Govt., ObamaCare

Column: GOP's Push for Amnesty Is Electoral Suicide: Illegals Favor Big Govt., ObamaCare:

As House Republicans prepare to sell out the country on immigration this week, Phyllis Schlafly has produced a stunning report on how immigration is changing the country. The report is still embargoed, but someone slipped me a copy, and it's too important to wait.

Leave aside the harm cheap labor being dumped on the country does to the millions of unemployed Americans. What does it mean for the Republican Party?

read more

Greenfield: The biased news media

Greenfield: The biased news media:

The news is broken because it follows the left’s usual model of insider highbrow content and outsider lowbrow content. That same model destroyed art, literature and theater. Now it’s wiping out the news media. The general public gets cat videos, pop stars and stories about a Republican who said something racist. The insiders get pointless analyses accompanied by politically correct spin on the latest trends.


The news media has become just another outlet in the culture war of the left. Its business model can’t be fixed because it isn’t in business to make money, but to indoctrinate. It doesn’t care about the financial bottom line, but about the political bottom line. Its future is boutique journalism funded by liberal billionaires looking to influence policy by subsidizing failed media outlets that would otherwise go on the block for a buck just like Newsweek.

No, Extending Unemployment Benefits Does Not “Create Jobs”

No, Extending Unemployment Benefits Does Not “Create Jobs”:

President Obama is pushing to extend unemployment benefits again, and argued earlier this month that it “creates jobs.”

“Voting for extending unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs,” Obama said. “Voting against it doesn’t.”
It’s about time we took on this silly notion that paying people not to work causes more people to work.

Peter Schiff had some fun on his radio show the other day with this idea. He asked people to call in with their stories of being on unemployment when they were younger. Person after person called in to say that they had enjoyed their time on unemployment, and looked for ways to keep it going. One person said he crashed at his brother’s place and went skiing for months. If someone had offered him a job on the slopes he would have turned it down. Like all the other callers, he said the thing that motivated him to actually get out and work was when the checks stopped coming in the mail.

Now. I am not arguing that unemployment is a wonderful experience. For many, and almost certainly most, it is a rough time — especially for people who have gotten older and have greater expenses and responsibilities. It can be very rough indeed, even devastating. For such people, unemployment insurance can help cushion the blow. I’m not arguing against having it at all, although I can imagine better ways to address the issue.

My point is: I am highly skeptical of people who say that unemployment insurance “creates” jobs. No: businesses create jobs. When people need to work, it’s easier to get people to work. It’s just common sense, and Schiff’s callers illustrate the truth of that common sense: extended unemployment benefits means extended unemployment.

I hear some of you sniffing: “Common sense? Callers to a talk show? That’s anecdotal evidence! Where are the studies that prove what you’re saying?!”


We exploit a policy discontinuity at U.S. state borders to identify the effects of unemployment insurance policies on unemployment. Our estimates imply that most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility. In contrast to the existing recent literature that mainly focused on estimating the effects of benefit duration on job search and acceptance strategies of the unemployed — the micro effect — we focus on measuring the general equilibrium macro effect that operates primarily through the response of job creation to unemployment benefit extensions. We find that it is the latter effect that is very important quantitatively.
This is one of many studies cited by lefty hacks PolitiFact when they tried to attack Rand Paul on this point and found they couldn’t. They quoted an economist from the left-leaning Brookings Institution who confirmed the obvious:

Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution, said Paul is on “safe ground” with his claim.

“It is fair to say that there have been ‘many studies’ of the impact of longer unemployment insurance durations on unemployment, re-employment, and labor force participation, and it is fair to say that a sizeable majority of studies shows an impact that links longer potential benefit durations with longer spells of unemployment,” Burtless said.
Naturally, PolitiFact tried to spin this a little, as you would expect. (Their big argument seems to be the old Keynesian “give people money and they’ll spend it which helps the ecnomony” argument. Why not just make every American a ward of the state, then? The economy will BOOM!) But they couldn’t avoid the evidence that extended unemployment benefits generally lead to extended unemployment.

Bookmark this for when people repeat that canard that extending unemployment benefits creates jobs. It’s nonsense. Common sense, your experience, and even studies say so!

Capitalism: The Greatest Engine of Equality

Capitalism: The Greatest Engine of Equality: (Don Boudreaux)

My old friend Butch Reynolds asks that I post here a June 2002 guest column I had in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  (This essay was written before I began, in 2005, my regular gig with the Trib.)  My vanity obliges me to grant Butch’s request.  Here’s a slice:

Do a mental experiment. Imagine resurrecting an ancestor from the year 1700 and showing him a typical day in the life of Bill Gates. The opulence would obviously astonish your ancestor, but a good guess is that the features of Gates’s life that would make the deepest impression are the fact that he and his family never worry about starving to death; that they bathe daily; that they have several changes of clean clothes; that they have clean and healthy teeth; that diseases such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus, and pertusis present no substantial risks; that Melinda Gates’s chances of dying during childbirth are about one-sixtieth what they would have been in 1700; that each child born to the Gateses is about 40 times more likely than a pre-industrial child to survive infancy; that the Gateses have a household refrigerator and freezer (not to mention microwave ovens, dishwashers, and televisions); that the Gateses’s work week is only five days and that the family takes several weeks of vacation each year; that the Gates children will receive well over a decade of formal schooling; that the Gateses routinely travel through the air to distant lands in a matter of hours; that they effortlessly converse with people miles or oceans away; that they can, whenever and wherever they please, listen to a Mozart string quartet, a Verdi opera, or Frank Sinatra singing of romance.

In short, what would likely most impress a visitor from the past about Bill Gates’s life are precisely those modern advantages that are not unique to Bill Gates – advantages now enjoyed by nearly all Americans.

Two Utterly Banal Thoughts

Two Utterly Banal Thoughts: "Reading Michael Huemer’s paper “In Praise of Passivity” – especially given that I learned of it from my colleague Bryan Caplan – prompts two quick thoughts, neither of which is unique.  Each thought is on why we are likely, into the distant future, to continue to suffer the curse of social engineering – to have to endure what I might take to calling “collective treatment by a college of dark-agish economic proctologists.”


'via Blog this'

Want to Help the Poor? Offer School Choice

Want to Help the Poor? Offer School Choice:

By Joy Pullman

Tens of millions of children could reach schools of choice if $35 billion of their federal K–12 dollars follow them there, as two U.S. Senators proposed Tuesday:

Whether those schools would be public only or private and public would depend on the decisions of state lawmakers, said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

Alexander’s bill would shift approximately 41 percent of federal education spending from 80 programs into 11 million scholarships of $2,100 each. If states chose, parents below the federal poverty line could use the money for things like tuition, extracurriculars, tutoring, and homeschooling materials. Scott’s bill would work similarly for federal special-education spending and create a pilot voucher program on five military bases.

“Equal opportunity in America should mean that everyone has the same starting line, as much as possible,” Alexander said, announcing his proposal at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC.

States that opted to distribute their federal education funds this way would be exempt from some provisions of No Child Left Behind, such as the federal designation of and sanctions on low-performing schools, but still required to test public school students in grades 3–8 and high school.

Republicans finally have begun to notice that school choice is extremely popular among the minority and poor voters from whom they consistently get few votes. This proposal is one of several intended to demonstrate that conservatives have got game when it comes to lifting the most vulnerable in our society. It’s not a perfect bill, but it’s a refreshing step away from the bipartisan consensus that Washington knows best.

The best and most important reason to support school choice, as Scott reinforced by telling his life story in introducing his bill, is because it offers both justice and mercy to those in our society who need it most. Leftists have one thing right: Many in our country are suffering. The big question is whether government and central planning or neighbors and the freedom to choose are more effective at relieving that suffering.

As Scott said, freedom gives people dignity. School choice benefits the poor most, as Alexander said, because they have the fewest resources for solving problems government creates. Their bills may not pass until Americans elect leaders who see this ... which requires Americans to see this first.

The ACA: A Train Wreck and a Lie | National Review Online

The ACA: A Train Wreck and a Lie | National Review Online: "So to address a problem afflicting a minute portion of the under-65 population, Congress committed trillions of dollars to drop a nuclear bomb on the U.S. health-care system, remaking it in the image of your local DMV. For a tiny fraction of those trillions, Congress could have adopted one or more of the many alternative solutions to the problem faced by that small group of people, from the promotion of “health-status insurance” to the creation of viable high-risk pools.

It is difficult to decide what is more infuriating: the dishonesty or the incompetence of the designers of the Rube Goldberg scheme known as the Affordable Care Act.


'via Blog this'

Sorry State of the Union

Sorry State of the Union:

What if the state of the union is a mess? What if the government
spies on all of us all of the time and recognizes no limits to its
spying? What if its appetite for acquiring personal knowledge about
all Americans is insatiable? What if the government uses the
microchips in our cellphones to follow us and listen to us as we
move about?

What if the Constitution expressly prohibits the government from
doing this? What if the government has written laws that are
interpreted in secret by judges who meet in secret and are applied
by federal agents who operate in secret and their secret behavior
doesn't even resemble what the laws say they can do?

What if the feds have seized the content of every text message,
email, mobile and landline telephone call, utility bill, credit
card bill and bank statement of everyone in America for the past
four years? What if no law has authorized them to capture this?
What if when asked by members of Congress, in public and under
oath, high-ranking officials, at least one with ribbons on his
chest and stars on his shoulders, lied about what the government is

What if the government's spies have so insinuated themselves
into our computers that they can capture every keystroke we press
on all of our computers before we hit "send"? What if the feds have
hacked into the servers of every major computer service provider in
the country and they know what we have typed before we even make
corrections? What if the feds have a copy of what we have deleted?
What if our typed innermost thoughts and even second thoughts that
were never sent in emails nevertheless reside in the government's

What if the president knows all this and supports what his spies
are doing? What if he secretly authorized all this, but only
admitted to some of it when he got caught? What if he uses his
spies to tell him what he wants to know about those who oppose

What if the president sold Congress and the country a Trojan
horse called Obamacare? What if he promised that under Obamacare
you could keep the health insurance you had before Obamacare, and
he lied and he knew it? What if he promised that under Obamacare
you could keep the same physicians who treated you before
Obamacare, and he lied and he knew it?

What if Obamacare made insurance coverage so expensive that some
people lost their jobs because their employers could not afford to
pay for it? What if under Obamacare more than six million Americans
lost their insurance coverage overnight and most haven't gotten it
back yet? What if this was the president's plan all along so that
he could orchestrate a government takeover of the health insurance

What if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff told the president one night that our consulate in
Benghazi, Libya, was under attack by organized al-Qaida troops
while the attack was taking place? What if the president did
nothing about it? What if the president knew the truth about the
Benghazi attack, but for three weeks claimed that the attack was
just an out-of-control political demonstration by fanatics who were
upset about a cheap 15-minute low-grade Hollywood movie that never
made it into theaters?

What if our ambassador to Libya died in that attack and the
president covered up the facts surrounding his death? What if the
president dispatched our U.N. ambassador to all major TV networks
to hide the truth? What if he tried to promote the lying U.N.
ambassador to secretary of state?

What if, in five years, the president has borrowed more than $6
trillion and spent it all on his favorite industries and risky
bailouts and fruitless wars, and now has nothing to show for it but
the debts that will one day come due? What if the government claims
the unemployment rate is 6.7 percent but so many people have
stopped looking for jobs that it is really 10.2 percent?

What if the president alone has increased the number of people
on food stamps and increased the amount of money they each receive?
What if half of the adults in the nation are now receiving material
assistance from the government in the form of money the government
has borrowed? What if generations of Americans as yet unborn will
be obliged to pay back the money the president has borrowed and
given away?

What if nearly two-thirds of Americans simply don't trust the
president's judgment? What if the president alone raised the
minimum wage to be paid to workers on federal projects? What if the
president has threatened to use his pen and his phone to operate
the government in ways the Constitution forbids? What if the
Constitution makes clear and the courts have underscored the truism
that the president cannot modify or amend or postpone the effective
dates of federal laws? What if the president has modified and
amended and postponed federal laws so as to help his friends and
wound his foes?

What if the president has tried to force the Little Sisters of
the Poor to pay for contraceptive services that they cannot use and
that are prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church? What if the
Sisters sued the president and asked the court to relieve them of
the burden of paying for contraception? What if the president
resisted the Sisters' lawsuit and questioned the sincerity of their
religious beliefs? What if the Supreme Court stopped the president
from forcing the nuns to pay for contraception before it even heard
their case?

What if the president has discussed none of this in his State of
the Union address? What if the president believes that during his
second term in office he answers to no one? What if the president
lives and works surrounded by those who reinforce his beliefs? What
if he has rejected his oath of fidelity to the Constitution? What
will he do next? What will we do about it?

The Farm Bill Would Make a Soviet Central Planner Blush

The Farm Bill Would Make a Soviet Central Planner Blush: Every five years, Congress takes a holiday from the principles that made this country great and turn to central planning policies that were in vogue in 1933. This nightmare holiday is the farm bill.

The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government

The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government:


“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
What was striking about this year’s State of the Union address was not the sheer arrogance of the president’s remarks, the staged nature of the proceedings and interactions, or the predictable posturing of the rebuttals, but the extent to which the members of the various branches of government—President Obama, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the assorted government agencies—are just one big, brawling, noisy, semi-incestuous clan.

Watching these bureaucrats, both elected and appointed, interact in the unguarded moments before the event, with their hugging and kissing and nudging and joking and hobnobbing and general high spirits, I was reminded anew that these people—Republicans and Democrats alike—are united in a common goal, and it is not to protect and defend the Constitution. No, as Orwell recognized in Animal Farm, their common goal is to maintain the status quo, a goal that is helped along by an unquestioning, easily mollified, corporate media. In this way, the carefully crafted spectacle that is the State of the Union address is just that: an exaggerated farce of political theater intended to dazzle, distract and divide us, all the while the police state marches steadily forward.

No matter what the president and his cohorts say or how convincingly they say it, the reality Americans must contend with is that the world is no better the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address than it was the day before. Indeed, if the following rundown on the actual state of our freedoms is anything to go by, the world is a far more dangerous place.

Americans have no protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, such as the 16-year-old teenager who skipped school only to be shot by police after they mistook him for a fleeing burglar. Then there was the unarmed black man in Texas “who was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police… after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an unrelated incident.” And who could forget the 19-year-old Seattle woman who was accidentally shot in the leg by police after she refused to show her hands? What is increasingly common, however, is the news that the officers involved in these incidents get off with little more than a slap on the hands.

Americans are little more than pocketbooks to fund the police state. If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off. This is true, whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

Americans are no longer innocent until proven guilty. We once operated under the assumption that you were innocent until proven guilty. Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Likewise, by subjecting Americans to full-body scans and license-plate readers without their knowledge or compliance and then storing the scans for later use, the government—in cahoots with the corporate state—has erected the ultimate suspect society. In such an environment, we are all potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Americans no longer have a right to self-defense.In the wake of various shootings in recent years, “gun control” has become a resounding theme for government officials, with President Obama even going so far as to pledge to reduce gun violence “with or without Congress.” Those advocating gun reform see the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms as applying only to government officials. As a result, even Americans who legally own firearms are being treated with suspicion and, in some cases, undue violence. In one case, a Texas man had his home subjected to a no-knock raid and was shot in his bed after police, attempting to deliver a routine search warrant, learned that he was in legal possession of a firearm. In another incident, a Florida man who was licensed to carry a concealed firearm found himself detained for two hours during a routine traffic stop in Maryland while the arresting officer searched his vehicle in vain for the man’s gun, which he had left at home.

Americans no longer have a right to private property. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Americans no longer have a say about what their children are exposed to in school. Incredibly, the government continues to insist that parents essentially forfeit their rights when they send their children to a public school. This growing tension over whether young people, especially those in the public schools, are essentially wards of the state, to do with as government officials deem appropriate, in defiance of the children’s constitutional rights and those of their parents, is reflected in the debate over sex education programs that expose young people to all manner of sexual practices and terminology, zero tolerance policies that strip students of any due process rights, let alone parental involvement in school discipline, and Common Core programs that teach students to be test-takers rather than critical thinkers.

Americans are powerless in the face of militarized police. In early America, citizens were considered equals with law enforcement officials. Authorities were rarely permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And it was not uncommon for police officers to be held personally liable for trespass when they wrongfully invaded a citizen’s home. Unlike today, early Americans could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant—which the police had to allow citizens to read before arresting them. (Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons and tasers would be nothing short of suicidal.) As police forces across the country continue to be transformed into outposts of the military, with police agencies acquiring military-grade hardware in droves, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield.

Americans no longer have a right to bodily integrity. Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops. Most recently, a New Mexico man was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal of anal probes, X-rays, enemas, and finally a colonoscopy because he allegedly rolled through a stop sign.

Americans no longer have a right to the expectation of privacy. Despite the staggering number of revelations about government spying on Americans’ phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc., Congress, the president and the courts have done little to nothing to counteract these abuses. Instead, they seem determined to accustom us to life in this electronic concentration camp.

Americans no longer have a representative government. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age, let’s call it the age of authoritarianism. History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom. Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal. It is not overstating matters to say that Congress, which has done its best to keep their unhappy constituents at a distance, may well be the most self-serving, semi-corrupt institution in America.

Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. The U.S. Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet through their deference to police power, preference for security over freedom, and evisceration of our most basic rights for the sake of order and expediency, the justices of the Supreme Court have become the architects of the American police state in which we now live, while the lower courts have appointed themselves courts of order, concerned primarily with advancing the government’s agenda, no matter how unjust or illegal.

Yes, the world is a far more dangerous place than it was a year ago. What the president failed to mention in his State of the Union address, however (and what I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State), is the fact that it’s the government that poses the gravest threat to our freedoms and way of life, and no amount of politicking, parsing or pandering will change that.
The post The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government appeared first on American Clarion.

A Nation Defying God

A Nation Defying God:

By Michael Lewinski 01/27/14

Former Congressman J. C. Watts recently observed that the state of our affairs will not improve until we abandon the opinions of fallen men and return to God’s absolute truth. The idea he was expressing is that our culture forms the basis for the attitudes and behaviors which manifest themselves in society.

During the course of the last half century American culture has transitioned from one rooted in Judeo/Christian values to a Progressive culture embracing secular humanist beliefs. The differences between these two versions of life couldn’t be more stark. One embraces Christian love, while the other promotes self. One produces servants, while the other engenders entitlement. From one set of values emerges individual accountability, while the other shifts responsibility to others. One nourishes the soul, while the other debases the human spirit.

How else to account for the deteriorating tone and tenor of life in 21st century America? It is not respect for the value of life that animates a social coarseness which can be observed in flash mobs, indiscriminate public killing, and gang warfare. It has been the abrogation of business ethics and individual accountability that compelled Pope Francis to tell the wealthy of the world gathered at Davos to stop thinking only of themselves, and observe that “the business community often fails to take into” [account] “the dignity of every human person and the common good.”

With the transition from a culture steeped in the rule of God, to one based on the flawed rule of man, it should be expected that a breakdown in the social order degrades the value of the individual, pits one against another, and erodes other critical institutions of society. It was after all, the Founding Fathers who warned us that our new system of government was made only for a moral people. President George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.” In an address to the militia of Massachusetts, in 1798 John Adams declared, “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

With the ascension of the Progressive world view within the ranks of government, Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation that “If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great,” seems to be coming to pass. President Reagan probably said it best. “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

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The poison of postmodern lying

The poison of postmodern lying: All presidents at one time have fudged on the truth. Most politicians pad their resumes and airbrush away their sins. But what is new about political lying is the present notion that lies are not necessarily lies anymore — a reflection of the relativism that infects our entire culture.

Postmodernism (the cultural fad “after modernism”) went well beyond questioning norms and rules. It attacked the very idea of having any rules at all. Postmodernist relativists claimed that things like “truth” were mere fictions to preserve elite privilege. Unfortunately, bad ideas like ...

Obama’s Deception on the Iranian Threat

Obama’s Deception on the Iranian Threat:

rouhani_1024x748President Obama misled the American people in his January 28th State of the Union address regarding what Iran is required to do under the six-month interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 nations – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany. Obama made the following patently false claim about the implementation of the interim agreement: ”As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium.”

Iran has not eliminated anything. It has merely begun to temporarily convert part of its enriched uranium stockpile from a 20 percent enrichment level to a 5 percent enrichment level or below, and to covert the remainder of its 20 percent enriched uranium to oxide. These actions can be reversed by Iran at any time.

“We can return again to 20 percent [uranium] enrichment in less than one day and we can convert the [nuclear] material again,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Iranian television earlier this month. We are still waiting for an Obama administration nuclear expert to credibly refute this claim.

Iran is able to return its nuclear material back to the 20 percent enrichment level in part because the Obama administration and its fellow P5+1 negotiators caved in to Iran’s demand that it be permitted to hold on to its 5 percent enriched stockpile. Iran was not required to either render its lower enriched uranium completely unusable or to ship it out of the country as Syria is doing with its chemical weapons material.

Now Obama has asked for more time to try and negotiate a final comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. Give diplomacy a chance to succeed, he said, while warning Congress that he would veto any new sanctions bill that “threatens to derail” his diplomatic outreach to the Iranian regime, including presumably the bipartisan sanctions legislation under consideration in both chambers.

President Obama also set out to deceive the American people in trying to bolster his case for more time-wasting negotiations. He falsely claimed that diplomacy, backed by pressure, has “halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program—and rolled parts of that program back—for the very first time in a decade.” The truth is that aside from the reversible conversion of its highly enriched uranium and a few other minor concessions, Iran is still able to plow full steam ahead with its nuclear arms program on multiple fronts.

Iran is not required to dismantle a single one of its more than 19,000 installed centrifuges. All it is required to do is to disconnect the centrifuge links (the tandem cascades) used to enable 20 percent enrichment. According to Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran can re-connect the centrifuge links to enable resumption of 20 percent enrichment “in one day’s time.” Furthermore, he warned that Iran has the technical capability to put the requisite number of linked centrifuges into operation, after which “it would take about two, three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon.”

If that were not bad enough, the interim agreement permits Iran to continue its research and development of even more technologically advanced centrifuges, which would be far faster than previous models.

Iran has another route to production of a nuclear bomb – its heavy water production plant in Arak, which is designed to supply a heavy water reactor under construction nearby that could be used to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Iran has agreed to suspend further construction at the site and not to produce or transfer fuel or heavy water to activate the reactor. However, there does not appear to be anything in the interim agreement that would require Iran to stop the building of components for future installation in its heavy water facilities in Arak, much less dismantle what is already there.

The interim agreement also leaves completely untouched Iran’s Parchin military research facility where clandestine nuclear weapon-related activities may have gone on in the past, involving development and testing of a nuclear explosives device. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is being allowed to broaden its inspections of certain facilities agreed to by Iran such as its Fordow and Natanz uranium enrichment facilities and the Arak facilities, is still barred from gaining access to the Parchin military research facility.

In other words, Iran is free to complete the development of the technology necessary for successfully triggering a nuclear device, while also free to move ahead with the construction of all the components necessary for heavy water plant facilities useful for producing plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Iran is also free to continue its long-range ballistic missile testing to enable it to develop the full technological capacity to build a nuclear weapons delivery system that could threaten the United States and its allies. President Obama’s statement to the American people that his administration’s diplomacy has “halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program—and rolled parts of that program back” is deceptive.

President Obama did admit in his speech the obvious point that negotiations with Iran to complete a final comprehensive agreement “may not succeed.” However, he failed to level with the American people as to why the negotiations will be so difficult. Instead, he insisted that “we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” Aside from more than a decade of getting nowhere with negotiations while giving Iran more time to reach its goal of achieving a nuclear arms capability, there are likely insurmountable obstacles to reaching a final agreement unless the Obama administration decides to cave and revert to a nuclear containment policy.

The Institute of Science and International Security set forth its recommendations for the minimum conditions it deems necessary to achieve a workable final agreement with suitable verification, in order to have confidence that Iran’s atomic program will be beyond use for weaponization. This would include the dismantling of thousands of centrifuges. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has made it abundantly clear that Iran will “not under any circumstances” agree to dismantle any of its centrifuges. Why isn’t President Obama just as clear in publicly declaring what the United States will require in order to ease any more existing sanctions and desist from imposing even more onerous sanctions?

Although Obama indicated that, if the negotiations fail, “he will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon,” we have heard such “red lines” in the past that soon faded away.

The president missed an opportunity to explain truthfully to the American people what is at stake for the United States’ own national security interests if Iran is allowed to succeed in obtaining a nuclear bomb. Instead, he chose to lull the American people into a false sense of security.

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