Friday, October 31, 2014

Leftist Values

Leftist Values:

[High Praise! to Sultan Knish]

Leftists don’t value equality, they value disruption. If they can disrupt by promoting equality, they will do it. If they can disrupt by promoting inequality, they will do that. If they can disrupt by promoting gay marriage, promoting Islamists, promoting the environment, promoting unregulated industry, promoting freedom of speech or promoting hate speech laws, they will do those things in order of opportunism.

Their underlying goal is to replace existing ideas and systems with their own. Anything that serves that purpose is good. Anything that maintains the existing order is bad.
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Peggy Noonan: Ebola Crisis Shows How Detached US 'Elites' Are

Peggy Noonan: Ebola Crisis Shows How Detached US 'Elites' Are: The Obama administration, a nurse who refuses to be quarantined, and a sickened doctor who allegedly lied about his own self-quarantine "seem deeply uninterested" in the concerns ordinary Americans have about the Ebola virus, former Reagan speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan says.


Nobel Prize Winning Doctor: Need Quarantines, Can Catch Ebola From Person Who Is Asymptomatic

Nobel Prize Winning Doctor: Need Quarantines, Can Catch Ebola From Person Who Is Asymptomatic: He says don’t trust those who say you absolutely can’t catch it from asymptomatic people, that authorities just trying to prevent panic. As we’ve said before, CDC is operating on the general case, when it should be operating to foreclose ANY cases. Via NJ.com: After days of blistering criticism from the ACLU, the CDC and […]


Cruz: Time To Respond To Obama Administration’s 'Disgraceful' Treatment Of Israel

Cruz: Time To Respond To Obama Administration’s 'Disgraceful' Treatment Of Israel:

Disconnect From Reality? Obama, Not Bibi

Disconnect From Reality? Obama, Not Bibi:

Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg made quite a splash with his column earlier this week in which he enticed some of his buddies in the Obama administration to dish on the world leader they most love to hate. Goldberg’s piece might not have added the term “chickenshit” to the American or international political lexicon but he gave it new meaning as some of the president’s minions trashed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as a coward. We all knew the Obami despised Netanyahu and aren’t exactly in love with his country. But the brazen and childish nature of the insults exposed the nature of this unraveling alliance in a way that few other stories have. Yet instead of following up by concentrating on getting to the bottom of the administration’s anti-Netanyahu mania, Goldberg has chosen to act as its lawyer both in the original article and in a follow-up piece published today in which he seeks to justify the attack on the Israeli. In doing so, he shows that not only does he share the White House’s foolish obsession but also misses a larger point about the collapse of American foreign policy under Barack Obama.



Goldberg’s argument is that whatever one may think of the astonishing slurs slung at the prime minister, it is Israel that is to blame because Netanyahu’s politics are “disconnecting from reality.” Citing an editorial in the New York Jewish Week by Gary Rosenblatt, Goldberg claims that American Jews are abandoning their traditional support for Israel because of its government’s counterproductive policies. His point is that if the U.S.-Israel relationship is coming apart it’s not because of the clear personal animus of everyone in this administration from the very top down toward Netanyahu but because Israel’s moves in Jerusalem and the West Bank are making peace harder to envision and lowering its standing in the international community. Rather than focus on what the “senior administration officials” think about Israel, he thinks we should be concentrating our attention on just how out of touch Netanyahu is with both international opinion and that of American Jews.

There is a lot to unwrap here, but let’s start with Goldberg’s assumption that the widening divide between many American Jews and Israel is somehow the fault of the latter’s current government. This is a fallacy that, to be fair, Rosenblatt, whose editorial in the weekly’s current edition was clearly written before Goldberg’s chickensh*t hit the fan on Tuesday afternoon, isn’t trying to promote. Goldberg argues that Israel is making a mistake by asking American Jews to choose between a liberal Democratic president and policies that are viewed as “illiberal.” But the crackup of American Jewry has far more to do with demographic issues stemming from soaring intermarriage rates and assimilation that have led to a diminution of a sense of Jewish peoplehood, not a serious critique of the specific policies of an Israeli government.

Last year’s Pew Survey on American Jewry amply illustrated that the disconnect between American Jews and Israel had everything to do with the changes in the way non-Orthodox viewed issues of identity. If most American Jews have been disinclined to withdraw their support from the president despite his predilection for picking pointless fights with Israel, it has to do primarily with their lack of affection for his domestic opponents and increasing lack of interest in all parochial Jewish topics of which Israel is just one that has fallen by the wayside. The survey showed that the unaffiliated and Jews who no longer choose to label themselves as Jewish by religion are increasingly unsupportive of Israel, but that has more to do with them than anything Israel might be doing. As Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman noted at the time, the Jews who care about Israel still support it; those that don’t fall into a different category. Moreover, at a time when international attacks on Israel are being driven by what even the U.S. State Department has acknowledged is a rising tide of anti-Semitism, to claim that Netanyahu or settlements are the key issues is particularly obtuse.

But whatever problems Israel may be having in retaining Jewish support here (and I’ll go out on a limb and say that I doubt even most Jewish Democrats were particularly happy with the way Obama cut off arms supplies to Israel during the war with Hamas last summer or think his aides should be calling Netanyahu chickensh*t while hiding behind Goldberg’s pledge to protect anonymity), any discussion about the U.S.-Israel divide needs to start with the fact that most Israelis remain on their prime minister’s side in this fight. They may not love Netanyahu or be right-wing zealots but the majority understands that there is no Palestinian peace partner and that pressure from the international community on their government to make more concessions seems to stem from prejudice against Israel, not a sober assessment of the situation.

As Goldberg himself again acknowledges, a push to withdraw from the West Bank would be insane under the current circumstances since doing so would open up the possibility of replicating the Hamas terror state in Gaza in the larger and more strategic territory adjoining Israel’s main population centers. Nor do they think much of strictures on Jewish life in Jerusalem or even in the West Bank settlement blocs that everyone—even President Obama—agrees would remain within Israel in the event of a peace treaty. Goldberg’s rejoinder to this salient point is to claim that, “the Palestinians haven’t agreed to this” (the italics are Goldberg’s). Of course, they haven’t because even the so-called moderates like Mahmoud Abbas, whom Goldberg extols as the best hope for peace, have never agreed to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn and have either turned down every peace offer of a Palestinian state that would include almost all of the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem or fled the negotiating table anytime peace might be in the offing.

Like President Obama and the rest of his crew that provide him with juicy quotes, Goldberg reiterates the left’s mantra that “the status quo is unsustainable” without providing a coherent alternative that also includes Israel’s survival. But as much as they don’t like the current situation, the majority of Israelis believe it is preferable to more trading land for terror as was the case with the Oslo Accords and Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza. That’s why Netanyahu, with all his faults, is almost certain to win a third consecutive term in office the next time Israelis go to the polls and will likely have a better relationship with whomever it is that succeeds Obama, whether it is a Democrat or a Republican. Israel has shown it can sustain itself in the absence of a peace deal that Palestinians are not interested in.

Even more important, by joining his sources’ gang tackle of Netanyahu, Goldberg is ignoring the fact that it is the policies of Obama, and not the Israeli, that have led to chaos, instability, and violence in the Middle East. As he well knows, moderate Arab countries are far more worried about Obama’s appeasement of Iran and apparent desire to withdraw from the region than they are about Israeli settlements. That’s why they find themselves agreeing more with Netanyahu about Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the threat from ISIS than the president. They are deeply concerned about an administration that is more interested in stopping Israel from attacking Iran than in preventing Tehran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.

If the “chickensh*t” affair played so badly for the president, it’s because most Americans (the vast majority of whom are deeply supportive of Israel and critical of the Palestinians) think there is something off-putting about an administration that is angrier at its sole democratic ally in the Middle East than at an international terror sponsor like Iran. With polls showing the president’s disastrous conduct of foreign policy being one of his party’s distinct liabilities this fall, it is obvious that if anyone is disconnecting from reality, it is the lame duck Obama and his petulant aides, not Netanyahu.

Obama’s Extraordinary Damage to His Party

Obama’s Extraordinary Damage to His Party:

How much damage is Barack Obama doing to the Democratic Party? According to the respected political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, the answer is quite a lot. According to Rothenberg, “President Barack Obama is about to do what no president has done in the past 50 years: Have two horrible, terrible, awful midterm elections in a row.”



Mr. Rothenberg compares Obama to the worst midterm numbers of two-term presidents going back to Harry Truman. He concludes that it’s likely that over the course of two midterm elections, Democrats will lose somewhere in the range of 68-75 House seats range and 11-15 Senate seats.

Those final totals won’t be known for some time to come, given that Louisiana and Georgia may have run-off races that extend into next January. But certainly by Wednesday morning, we’ll have a pretty good sense of just how bad of a night Democrats will have suffered. Most of the polling of late suggests things are breaking for Republicans, though this development should keep the champagne on ice for now. In any event, it’s not too early to consider the fact that Barack Obama may be on the verge of doing unprecedented damage to the party he represents.

The man who thought he was the symbol of the possibility of America returning to its best traditions may become the symbol of the most politically destructive (to his own party) chief executive in modern American history. In light of the awful Obama years, voters are in the process of giving a fresh look to the GOP. The question is whether it will be win the trust of voters who have turned against the president.

Stay tuned.

Even liberals are humiliated by Charlie Rangel’s claim the GOP backs slavery

Even liberals are humiliated by Charlie Rangel’s claim the GOP backs slavery:



Over the line.


Though indirectly and primarily through surrogates, Democratic candidates in states with closely contested federal or statewide races are getting a boost from an ongoing shadow campaign of naked and dishonest race-baiting. In a piece chronicling the phenomenon, The New York Times noted this week that Democratic allies in Southern states are warning African-American constituents to […]

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The Olympics: The Biggest Corporatist Sports Scam of All

The Olympics: The Biggest Corporatist Sports Scam of All:

USA_I_in_heat_1_of_2_man_bobsleigh_at_2010_Winter_Olympics_2010-02-20 The 2022 Olympics (i.e., the Winter Games) is now down to only two applicant nations: China and Kazakhstan. This follows the withdrawal of Norway after the taxpayers of Norway balked on ponying up the cash necessary to make the Olympics a playground for the world’s richest cronies and politicians.

Theoretically, the Olympics are a private organization, but in practice, it is a corporatist organization run by plutocrats whose mission in life is apparently to squeeze as much tax revenue as possible out of the residents of the countries and cities that host the Olympics. This is done by demanding the usual brand-spanking new stadiums and facilities from the host cities that later become white elephants. But the IOC also demands countless perks, such as only the finest food and drink, and special driving lanes on streets and highways. (See photos of the abandoned Olympics facilities in Athens.)

Faced with a bevy of such demands  in a 7,000-page dossier from the IOC, Norway chose to withdrawal. The “diva-like demands for luxury treatment” for the IOC were outlined by the Norwegian media, including:

  • They demand to meet the king prior to the opening ceremony. Afterwards, there shall be a cocktail reception.
  • Drinks shall be paid for by the Royal Palace or the local organizing committee.
  • Separate lanes should be created on all roads where IOC members will travel, which are not to be used by regular people or public transportation.
  • A welcome greeting from the local Olympic boss and the hotel manager should be presented in IOC members’ rooms, along with fruit and cakes of the season. (Seasonal fruit in Oslo in February is a challenge…)
  • The hotel bar at their hotel should extend its hours “extra late” and the minibars must stock Coke products.
  • The IOC president shall be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrives.
  • The IOC members should have separate entrances and exits to and from the airport.
  • During the opening and closing ceremonies a fully stocked bar shall be available. During competition days, wine and beer will do at the stadium lounge.
  • IOC members shall be greeted with a smile when arriving at their hotel.
  • Meeting rooms shall be kept at exactly 20 degrees Celsius at all times.
  • The hot food offered in the lounges at venues should be replaced at regular intervals, as IOC members might “risk” having to eat several meals at the same lounge during the Olympics.
  • All furniture should be OL-shaped and have Olympic Appearance.
If this were all privately financed, there’s no reason to complain, but the IOC can hardly be described as “private sector.” The Norwegian controversy highlights that fact that, according to The National Post, “the International Olympic Committee is a notoriously ridiculous organization run by grifters and hereditary aristocrats [read: the descendants of highly successful thieves and murderers of old].”

Not surprisingly, Kazakhstan and China, those great bastions of thriving free markets, continue to compete for the chance to host the 2022 games. This, of course, only highlights the fact that the Games have becomes an enormous exercise in international prestige and fantasies about the Keynesian multiplier in which the central planners assume that it is much better to force the people to pay for another luge track rather than just allowing them to waste their money on food, clothing, or education.

Part of the reason that Norway has pulled out is that its government is at least somewhat answerable to the taxpayers while the governments of Kazakhstan and China are not at all. Norway’s withdrawal follows previous withdrawals from Sweden, Poland, and Ukraine. (Sweden now says is would have stayed in if the IOC were less bureaucratic.)

The controversy, and the fact that available host cities for the IOC continue to dwindle, has forced the IOC to say that it will “review” the way it demands perks from host cities, although it’s highly unlikely that anything the IOC does will put much of a dent in the huge bill that the IOC and its pals in government send to the taxpayers every few years. Denver, Colorado, where the voters refused to approve tax dollars for Olympics facilities, remains the only city to have ever rejected the IOC after it had already been chosen as the host city. Some other cities now appear to be catching on earlier in the process.

The Fed Is Officially Lost: It’s Braying About How It Is Improving The Economy Is Just Spin

The Fed Is Officially Lost: It’s Braying About How It Is Improving The Economy Is Just Spin: It’s all a message, a spin, a story that they want people, including you, to believe. It’s a certain version, a particular interpretation, of what goes on, but that says nothing about the level of thruthiness in that message.


The Washington/Wall Street “Recovery” Narrative Is An Endless Tissue Of Lies

The Washington/Wall Street “Recovery” Narrative Is An Endless Tissue Of Lies: If GDP had been deflated over the years with CPI...... that measly 2.3% growth of per-capita GDP since 2007, as crummy as it may appear, would likely be negative. And that explains why so many people – struggling with soaring rents, medical expenses, college costs, etc. – find that their slice of the economic pie has been shrinking since the financial crisis.


Original enclosures:
davidstockmanscontracorner.com

AIN’T PURTY: Truth About Six Years of Barack Obama

AIN’T PURTY: Truth About Six Years of Barack Obama: Obama_Whitehouse_04

Obama_Whitehouse_04
Truth is all that matters.  What can be said truthfully about the policies of Barack Obama and the Democrats?  Given the record, and the abundant evidence, thanks to Obama and the Democrats we have:

>massive unemployment, record numbers of people on food stamps and disability,

>record debt, growing rapidly,

>a fragile and vulnerable economy,

>financial chaos in government,

>widespread corruption driven by crony capitalism, special interests, and favoritism,

>an atmosphere hostile to business, economic freedom, and prosperity,

>serial scandals coming out of the Department of Justice, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, CDC, EPA and the White House,

>the looming threat of Ebola, made worse by confused federal policies,

>border security issues allowing for increased illegal immigration and decreased security,

>tens of thousands of illegal aliens committing crimes nationwide,

>a twice deported illegal alien who murdered two deputies in Sacramento last week,

>various diseases spread to our children in the public schools thanks to illegal aliens allowed into the country this summer, infected people then dispersed throughout the country, by the feds, without notification,

>secrecy throughout government, making it necessary to file FOIA requests to get basic information,

>increased domestic surveillance and government intrusion into our lives,

>ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and an Arab Spring turned into a year-around nightmare,

>massive escalation of jihad worldwide,

>lone wolf terror attacks in various places,

>aid and armaments provided to enemies, alongside efforts to disarm American citizens,

>Russian and Chinese expansionism unchecked,

>nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea,

>allies who do not trust us, enemies who do not fear us, citizens distrustful of government,

>a defunded, demoralized military, and unilateral disarmament giving Russia a vast nuclear advantage,

>government that ignores the Constitution and the rule of law,

>the centralization of power, rule by the elites, an emerging one-party nation subservient to the U.N., the destruction of the republic, and the loss of liberty, perhaps forever.

VOTE LIBERTY. VOTE LOGIC. VOTE REPUBLICAN.

Image; http://opinionatedart.com/famous-characters/2013/2/8/barack-obama-faces

image

The post AIN’T PURTY: Truth About Six Years of Barack Obama appeared first on Clash Daily.

Millennials and Single Women Have Finally Become Repelled by the 'War on Women' Demagoguery and Exploitative Economic Policies of Barack Obama

Millennials and Single Women Have Finally Become Repelled by the 'War on Women' Demagoguery and Exploitative Economic Policies of Barack Obama: An outstanding commentary from Ed Morrissey, at the Fiscal Times, "Democrats Just Lost the Phony War on Women."



BONUS: At Instpundit, "WAR ON WOMEN: GOP Video Highlights Dems’ Sexist Comments":

“The video, titled ‘Democrats degrade women,’ features clips — many of which are from just the past week — of Democratic men making sexist comments toward Republican women.”
Hopenchange is crashing all around.



Continuing stupidity: we release GITMO detainees who join ISIS

Continuing stupidity: we release GITMO detainees who join ISIS:

As long as you’re at war, you must keep enemy fighters off the battlefield. However, this simple premise of prosecuting combat is something our country’s leadership does seem to not understand. Furthermore, when the enemy forces are non-state, non-uniform belligerents captured on the battlefield, they are classified as unlawful enemy combatants. And finally, it is a proven fact that the recidivism rate of those released is somewhere close to 30 percent.

Therefore this recent news about freed GITMO detainees is not surprising to me. According to Fox News, “As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees — some of whom were released within the last three years — are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned. The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield. The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.”

Even if the number were one, it would be one too many and the lesson must be that we don’t need to shut down GITMO — keep these unlawful enemy combatants off the battlefield. We already know the five senior Taliban leaders who President Obama unilaterally released — in violation of US Code and Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution — will be free to depart Qatar, an Islamic terrorist supporting emirate, and return to Afghanistan.

Fox says, “A number of former detainees also have chosen to help these groups from outside the country, financing operations and supporting their propaganda campaigns. Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield. Of those 180, sources say 20 to 30 have either joined ISIS or other militants groups in Syria, or are participating with these groups from outside countries. Officials say most of those 20 to 30 are operating inside Syria. The development underscores just one of many long-running complications for efforts to shutter Guantanamo Bay, a promise President Obama made within hours of taking the oath of office in 2009.”

There is always an intersection between campaign politics and reality – and this is a prime example. You cannot lead a nation based on campaign promises or political ideology when it comes to national security and foreign policy, and eschew the fact that your enemy has a vote.

If there’s one thing a shrewd adversary will exploit, it’s is a predictable leader — one who telegraphs his intentions and demonstrates inflexibility in shifting and adjusting to changing global situations. It seems this is where we are in America, and if there’s one thing any U.S. president should maintain — regardless of political party – it is the fundamental policy and principle of safeguarding the American people. That is after all the preeminent responsibility of the federal government — to provide for the common defense.

However, what happens when “detainee rights” become a political football and special interest groups induce pressure — illogically — for political action on something that logically makes no security sense whatsoever? You release terrorists to return to the battlefield — and this is a bipartisan issue, as the Bush administration also released this scourge.

Such is the case with the current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who vowed that “we shall see you in New York” — and so last week two NYPD officers were attacked by an Islamic jihadist. And has anyone kept up with Ali Musa Daqduq, whom we have reported on here, the Lebanese Hezbollah operative guilty of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering our soldiers in Iraq? He was released by the Obama administration to the Iraqi government who eventually released him.

In addition, we need to consider, as we draw down and transition from a combat role in Afghanistan (which is really ridiculous because if your enemy hasn’t surrendered they’re still fighting you), what happens to the unlawful enemy combatants apprehended by our troops? Are they simply going to be released?

The problem is, we simply don’t want to see this as a war, but rather a conflagration against Islamo-fascism and jihadism as some police action. This is not about bestowing constitutional rights on these barbaric savages. They get two choices: be killed on the battlefield or kept detained until the day comes when Islamic terrorism is defeated — and we know the latter ain’t happening anytime soon.

Original enclosures:

Jihad in our midst: we are “willfully stupid” if we ignore it [VIDEO]

Jihad in our midst: we are “willfully stupid” if we ignore it [VIDEO]:

As you know, I’ve conducted my own research and study in the history of Islam and its effects upon the world. However, I came across this video from a very astute gentleman named David Wood, who encapsulates some 1400 years of history and crystallizes it so beautifully.

I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to watch this video — and I bet you’ll watch it more than once. You can also download and print this handy leaflet, which explains the three stages of jihad. Please share it generously!

Using the backdrop of President Barack Hussein Obama’s 2009 speeches at the Turkish General Assembly and at Cairo University — where Obama demanded Muslim Brotherhood members be seated in the front center two rows – Wood explains the three stages of jihad.



Those three stages of jihad historically correspond with the three stages of Islam — Stealth (Mecca I, 612-622 AD), Defensive (Medina, 622-628 AD), and Offensive (Mecca II, 628 – Today). Wood is meticulous in comparing history to the modern actions we see being promulgated today and uses Islamic doctrine as stated in the Quran, Hadiths, and Sunnah to explain his analysis. It’s the most thorough and concise assessment and presentation, and it should be shared widely. Only then can we all be a part of Operation Monkey Wrench.

I already know what the detractors will be saying, but then again David Wood does an exceptional job explaining from whence those comments emanate as part of the three stages. Finally, I recommend you pass this video onto your respective elected political officials and ask them to stop allowing the infiltration to occur here in our America — such as how Qatar, the funder and sponsor of Islamic terrorists has provided millions of dollars influencing policy through the Brookings Institute.

This is the type of education and information that cultural jihadist organizations such as the Council for Islamic Relations (CAIR) do not want disseminated. As we’ve reported, they’re trying hard to purge training materials at the FBI, DoD, and local law enforcement. We cannot allow them to censor the truth from us.

Mr. Wood, if this post gets back to you, hat tip for this exceptional video and your efforts — and watch yer six brother!

Original enclosures:

ROGER SIMON: Welcome To Berlin, 1937. “I have never in my increasingly long life felt vulnerable a…

ROGER SIMON: Welcome To Berlin, 1937. “I have never in my increasingly long life felt vulnerable a…:

ROGER SIMON: Welcome To Berlin, 1937. “I have never in my increasingly long life felt vulnerable as a Jew in America. I never even dreamed it would happen. But it has now — with the Obama administration. Something is seriously wrong.”

Buy a gun.

Crony Crapitalism - Every Day Is a Holiday for the Sugar Industry, Thanks to Our Insane Sugar Policies

Every Day Is a Holiday for the Sugar Industry, Thanks to Our Insane Sugar Policies:

Happy Halloween! According to the National Retail Federation, candy sales for Halloween are estimated to reach $2.2 billion this year, up from $2.08 billion in 2013; Halloween alone accounts for 4 percent of our candy consumption. That’s a bit irksome for some parents, but it’s great news for the sugar industry.

But here’s the thing: Thanks to federal subsidies, it’s almost like every day is Halloween for the sugar lobby. The U.S. has protectionist tariffs on imported sugar, federal loan guarantees, and government-planned production quotas, which combine to push sugar prices up quite significantly. Andrea Castillo and I have a piece today in Real Clear Market explaining how it works:

U.S. sugar prices have far exceeded world markets for decades. From 2000 to 2014, the U.S. price of sugar was, on average, roughly two times the world price. Such a large price discrepancy indicates a major inefficiency. The culprit? Our nonsensical domestic sugar policies that rival only the former Soviet Union in their inconsistency, corruption, and almost comical injustice.

How do these programs work? First, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs a complex loan program for private sugar producers to ensure guaranteed prices for processors and growers. Next, the USDA imposes trade restrictions on foreign sugar imports to prevent international competition, thereby raising U.S. sugar prices over world sugar prices. Last, the USDA actually determines how much sugar should be produced in the U.S. each year and divides “marketing allotments,” or production quotas, among chosen firms.

In short, the USDA centrally manages a protected sugar cartel and boosts incumbent profits from Washington. 
As you can see in this chart, our elaborate subsidy system keeps American sugar prices consistently above world prices:



The insanity of our sugar policies doesn’t stop there. As you can see in the chart, the price of sugar has been stubbornly fallen since 2011. In response, the federal government has been buying up surplus inventory to push prices back to the level the sugar lobby would like. Thanks to that, this year, your Halloween bounty is not only more expensive than it should be, it is also more expensive than last year. (I have more charts on the issue here.)

Finally, Nick Gillespie at Reason points to a conversation between Bloomberg View’s Virginia Postrel and Samira Kawash, the author of the delectably titled book Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure. Kawash explains how and when candy became associated with Halloween:

Would you believe the earliest trick-or-treaters didn’t even expect to get candy? Back in the 1930s, when kids first started chanting “trick or treat” at the doorbell, the treat could be just about anything: nuts, coins, a small toy, a cookie or popcorn ball. Sometimes candy too, maybe a few jelly beans or a licorice stick. But it wasn’t until well into the 1950s that Americans started buying treats instead of making them, and the easiest treat to buy was candy. The candy industry also advertised heavily, and by the 1960s was offering innovative packaging and sizes like mini-bars to make it even easier to give out candy at Halloween. But if you look at candy trade discussions about holiday marketing in the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween doesn’t even get a mention.
The whole thing is worth reading here.

But for now, enjoy your overpriced Halloween candy!

Endless Govt Spending - Government Agencies Use Their Power to Bolster Their Own Budgets

Government Agencies Use Their Power to Bolster Their Own Budgets:

SACRAMENTO — Liberals often complain about the greed of
profit-seeking corporations, while conservatives likewise complain
about abuses by government officials. Both sides might take notice
of something that seems to epitomize the worst of both worlds —
government agencies that use their power to bolster their own
budgets.

An eye-popping
example
 – filled with allegations
of fraud, corruption, and official misconduct
 – is
unfolding in a northern California legal case involving state and
federal efforts to secure a massive financial settlement from the
state's largest land owner, Sierra Pacific Industries.

Authorities say a bulldozer from a subcontractor working for the
Shasta County-based lumber company sparked the "Moonlight Fire"
that burned 65,000 acres in northeast California in 2007. Sierra
Pacific has long denied responsibility for it, but after a
courtroom setback, the company agreed to a $55 million settlement
and agreed to give the government 22,500 acres — much less than it
could have owed if it lost a prolonged court battle.

But earlier this month, the government's case continued to
unravel. Sierra Pacific filed a 100-page
motion
 with the U.S. District Court accusing prosecutors
of fraud and a cover-up – and asking it to vacate the
settlement.

Its filing included a 15-page declaration from a former U.S.
Justice Department prosecutor who argued that it was the first time
in his long career that he "was pressured to engage in unethical
conduct as a lawyer." E. Robert Wright said he was removed from the
case given his "zero tolerance of litigation misconduct by the
government."

Another former federal prosecutor quoted in the filing resigned
from the case after saying: "It's called the Department of Justice.
It's not called the Department of Revenue." Sierra Pacific
officials say prosecutors covered up information that undermined
their account and benefited from funds collected from wildfire
defendants.

"The entire original prosecution against Sierra Pacific appears
to have been driven by the Department of Justice's interest in
hitting a 'deep pocket' for millions of dollars of revenue," argued
the New York Observer's Sidney
Powell
, who views it as a pattern by the department to use "its
overwhelming litigation might" as "a tool of extortion."

The company's arguments were bolstered by a Plumas County
Superior Court decision in January blasting the behavior of
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials,
who were working with federal prosecutors on the case and seeking
their own damages for fire-related costs.

Writing that he had not been so disappointed and distressed in
his 47 years in the courts, Judge Leslie Nichols ruled that CalFire
"engaged in a systematic campaign of misdirection with the purpose
of recovering money from the defendants." Nichols said "the
misconduct in this case is so pervasive that it would serve no
purpose for the court to even attempt to recite it all here" — and
then awarded
Sierra Pacific $32 million in damages
, in a case still being
appealed.

On October 14, the federal court did something unusual:
It recused
all judges in the district
 from handling the case, and
referred it to Alex
Kozinski
, chief judge of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals, to assign a judge from outside the area to the case.

For those who think the Justice Department might clean up its
act in the wake of these allegations and court actions, consider
the prosecutors at the center of the controversy were among those
who just received top department
awards
 "for the successful settlement negotiations and the
predicate fraud investigations" and for securing large settlements
in various cases.

The Moonlight Fire case isn't a rare instance where agencies use
their power to secure large payments that then benefit government
agencies. Local, state and federal officials routinely rely on the
proceeds from civil-forfeiture
cases
 to balance their budgets.

As Sierra Pacific noted in its filing, federal prosecutors'
legal obligation is "not that it shall win a case, but that justice
shall be done." And it's not to use formidable government power and
questionable tactics to enhance the bottom line. Regardless of our
politics, everyone should agree on that.

Isn’t this an interesting little finding about drugs?

Isn’t this an interesting little finding about drugs?:

Isn’t this an interesting little assertion from one of the government’s own reports?

Decriminalising drugs would have little effect on the number of people abusing illegal substances, a highly controversial Home Office report has said.



The report – which sources said had caused “panic” within the Home Office – said: “There are indications that decriminalisation can reduce the burden on criminal justice systems.

“It is not clear that decriminalisation has an impact on levels of drug use.

“The disparity in drug use trends and criminal justice statistics between countries with similar approaches, and the lack of any clear correlation between the ‘toughness’ of an approach and levels of drug use demonstrates the complexity of the issue.”
The point being, and this can be readily verified by anyone with even the most modest experience of social life in Britain, that all those who want to consume drugs are currently easily able to find the drugs they wish to consume. Meaning that the illegality isn’t particularly affecting the availability of supply. Thus decriminalisation seems like a good idea as it’s not going to lead to half the population toking itself into a stupor.

However, that decriminalisation isn’t enough as we’ve mentioned around here before. For the major danger of drugs comes not from they themselves, but from the fact that purity and concentration are, given that they are illegal products, entirely unknown to the user. Overdosing is thus depressingly commonplace, as are all sorts of diseases and illnesses from the admixtures. Thus we need to be thinking very seriously about legalisation: not just decriminalisation of small amounts for personal use but the legalisation of supply and production. For that is how we would get brands, reliant upon their quality and consistency, and also get a transparent supply network that can be checked for quality.

It’s not just the criminality of taking drugs that is causing our current problems, it’s the illegality of supply as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

But Donna Brazile Doesn’t Have An Honest Bone In Her Political Hack Body

But Donna Brazile Doesn’t Have An Honest Bone In Her Political Hack Body:

Donna Brazile pens the most dishonest defense of teacher tenure in memory « Hot Air

An honest defense would go something like this:  “Since teachers vote something like ninety percent for the candidates of my party, and their unions contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our campaigns, you’re damned right we want to make sure it is impossible to fire any of them, no matter how awful they happen to be.

Keith Ablow: We Need An ‘American Jihad’

Keith Ablow: We Need An ‘American Jihad’:

Keith Ablow

A board certified psychiatrist published an op-ed Tuesday calling for an “American jihad”, writing, “Wherever leaders and movements appear that seek to trample upon the human spirit, we have a God-given right to intervene.”

Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, wrote Tuesday,

“An American jihad would reawaken in American citizens the certain knowledge that our Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth.

“An American jihad would embrace the correct belief that if every nation on earth were governed by freely elected leaders and by our Constitution, the world would be a far better place. And an American jihad would not only hope for this outcome, but work toward it.”
Ablow also called for the use of the military against human rights atrocities, even if the United States is not threatened.

“Because wherever leaders and movements appear that seek to trample upon the human spirit, we have a God-given right to intervene — because we have been to the mountaintop of freedom, and we have seen the Promised Land spanning the globe.

“An American jihad would never condone terrorist acts of violence against our adversaries or the targeting of people simply because their beliefs are different from ours. But for those who malignantly demonstrate their intentions to subjugate others, there would be no quarter.
A July Pew poll found 28 percent of Americans believe the U.S. “stands above all other countries, down from 38 percent three years ago.

Naturally, some reacted to his impassioned call to action with condemnation.

This guy is simply insane. Fox’s Keith Ablow: ‘It’s Time For An American Jihad’ (VIDEO) @TPMhttp://t.co/vs50iDtdrJ

— Rollo Kuokkanen (@pelotonprod) October 29, 2014
Others, however, agreed with Ablow wholeheartedly.

Dr. Keith Ablow, AMERICAN Jihad, “Cancer understands chemotherapy and surgery!” Let freedom ring, sir! pic.twitter.com/sItYP8TlCq

— Old Bald Fat Guy (@Old_BaldFat_Guy) October 29, 2014
Dr. Keith Ablow: “We need an American jihad! Re-embrace the Truth!” Thanks for speaking out! #betterwithfriends#AmericanJihad

— ♫ Melody Stuart♫ (@MStuart1970) October 29, 2014
Though his rhetoric was deliberately provocative, it is clear many who made the effort to understand his intent believe such a reawakening is precisely what this nation needs.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism - Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Are blacks finally turning from Democrats?

Are blacks finally turning from Democrats?:

I read a shocking headline today: “Ex-Con: Most Black Youths See Obama As ‘Deadbeat’ Leader.” Is this an obvious outlier, or could there be something to this?

The ex-con referred to in the headline is Paul McKinley, a member of Voices of the Ex-Offender, which is described as a grass-roots group of former inmates.

On the “Steve Malzberg Show” on NewsmaxTV, McKinley said: “Every time they question the president about the black community, he’s apologetic or he’s embarrassed. … I would say, 97 percent of the time he (doesn’t) even want to say that there even exists a black community. So a lot of the young people are seeing this double standard that the president has.”

McKinley correctly observed that black Americans have identified with the Democratic Party since the mid-1960s, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Since that time, they have been voting overwhelmingly Democratic.

McKinley’s choice of the word “identified” is telling. Black Americans do identify with the Democratic Party, as distinguished from particularly aligning with its policies.

I have long believed that the Democrats’ real Achilles’ heel is its urgent, desperate need to retain some 90 percent of the black vote to win national elections, for if that percentage decreased even moderately, they would be in serious electoral jeopardy.

This Achilles’ heel is exacerbated by the largely unspoken disconnect between the worldview of many blacks and the Democratic Party’s agenda. There are many black Christians and other blacks who tend to incline toward social conservatism, which is anathema to the party with which they almost monolithically identify. I would bet that many blacks, even among those who vote reliably Democratic, lean toward economic conservatism, as well. Yet many of the blacks who aren’t in line with the Democrats’ obsession with abortion on demand and other socially liberal ideas still vote for Democrats.

I think this is purely and simply because most blacks have been convinced that only Democrats care about them. Sure, many believe that the evidence for this is that Republicans promote welfare reform and the like. But it’s more than that for most.

I truly believe that many blacks vote Democratic mostly because of this noxious lie that Republicans and conservatives are racist, a pernicious slander that race-baiting black leaders and way too many Democratic politicians have peddled. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years, and it amazes me that it still works at all.

If this tactic didn’t work, Democrats wouldn’t keep using it, but they do, as when certain of their party leaders suggested that President George W. Bush deliberately abandoned blacks on their rooftops in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and when others suggested that a vote for a certain Republican would mean another black church would burn or the civil rights of the African-American community would be eliminated.

David Limbaugh’s brand new book applies a lawyer’s skepticism to the Gospel of Christ and documents his own spiritual journey. Order “Jesus on Trial”

If anything, Democrats are getting worse about this. The New York Times reported this week that in the closest Senate races across the South, Democrats are turning to racially charged messages – “invoking Travyon Martin’s death, the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and Jim Crow-era segregation – to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington.”

The Times admitted: “The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression. And their source is surprising. The effort is being led by national Democrats and their state party organizations – not, in most instances, by the shadowy and often untraceable political action committees that typically employ such provocative messages.”

Democrats are employing this shameless smear all over. In North Carolina, a super PAC begun by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid aired an ad on black radio accusing Republican candidate Thom Tillis of supporting the kind of gun law that “caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.” In Georgia, Democrats are distributing a flier warning blacks that their voting is the only way “to prevent another Ferguson.” It shows two black children with cardboard signs saying “Don’t Shoot.”

These are so transparently over-the-top that I can’t help but believe that even some black voters will be turned off by them. Indeed, there are signs that some black voters are tiring of the propaganda. I just saw an Internet video featuring a number of black men citing the Democrats’ advocacy of the minimum-wage law as insulting. What good would a minimum-wage increase do, one asks, when there would be even fewer jobs?

These developments, coupled with the fact that black turnout is predicted to be very low in the upcoming elections, do not portend well for Democrats.

I am optimistic that at some point, many black voters will realize they have been used and abused by the Democratic Party, which is keeping them down, dependent on government and locked in inner-city schools and is overtly trying to alienate them against Republicans by categorically describing Republicans as racists.

The objective evidence is clear; it’s only a matter of time before this translates into dramatically shifting voter patterns. What a glorious day that will be – and what a great day for America and all Americans.



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After Election Day, the test of America's soul begins

After Election Day, the test of America's soul begins:

As we approach Election Day, I pray that Americans of goodwill will find some way to rise above the tendency of our present corrupt political process, which seeks to focus voters narrowly on issues and personalities and away from the general crisis of liberty that at present threatens our nation’s future. This morning I read an excerpt from an essay entitled “America’s Lost Sense of community” by L. Scott Smith. Its author criticizes the notion (which he disingenuously puts into the mouth of Cokie Roberts, as if the idea never occurred to generations of American leaders) that Americans “have nothing binding us together as a nation – no common ethnicity, history, religion or even language … except the Constitution and the institutions it created.”

Though I agree, to some extent with the author’s criticism, the argument he makes for it suffers from his willingness to accept the parameters of community Cokie Roberts alludes to. He sees the basis for America’s communal identity in our “scheme of government, including a declaration of rights” that is “a reflection of a people’s traditions, habits, mores and customs, and arises from deep within their very soul.”

Despite the reference to depth, however, there is a certain shallowness about this analysis that results from the pretense that the Constitution can be understood without reference to the logic and principles of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration speaks for the community of all people of goodwill in the United States, i.e., those committed to the exercise of “right as God gives them to see the right.” As is clear in the Declaration, Americans are bound together by their acceptance of God-endowed right; their commitment to implement (carry into action) the understanding of what is just informed by God’s goodwill for human nature.

This is not about “democracy.” It is about government predicated upon fundamental truths that begin with respect for God’s predisposition of human will toward justice (i.e., what is right). People willing to act on that predisposition form a community. In the American case, that community successfully endured the rigors of war to sustain that common will.

I think it’s clear that Americans today still share that commitment to justice, that predisposition to do what’s right and to stand unified against injustice, whether perpetrated against themselves of other human beings. In fact, it is this predisposition that makes Americans so vulnerable to specious appeals to “right” that disregard its connection with God-endowed justice.

Our present political process has utterly abandoned the proper understanding of the substance of right. Our political leaders have used the word “right” as if it is synonymous with unbridled freedom, what was known to the founding generation as “licentiousness.” This many of them do purposely, knowing that this corrupt understanding will produce a result that makes tyranny (whether democratic, elitist or despotic in character) inevitable.

Americans are still disposed to follow the law of God written on their hearts. This is why the most successful plot lines in our popular culture are still predicated on the battle between good and evil, with heroines and heroes who end up fighting for good. Tragically, the people who should make it their vocation to educate and inform this disposition are instead busily engaged in a course of deceit intended to betray Americans into evil and injustice.

The American community endures precisely because God’s goodwill for justice transcends habits, customs and traditions. In every generation, people will arise to call the nation back to that transcendent understanding of right and rights, to call Americans back to true liberty. This is the imperative of our time, at least for people who truly wish to restore and conserve the distinctive hope America is supposed to represent for all humankind.

At present, America’s political process is in the grip of people who cast aside this imperative. The only freedom they care about is their own freedom of action, the natural preoccupation of those bent on exercising power unlimited by anything except force. This is the disposition of ambition and the will to power, with which they are replacing the disposition to value freedom for the sake of justice.

On account of this disposition they are in fact willing to disparage, violate and tyrannize over conscience if that serves their ambition for power. So, in the name of specious “rights” they have begun to abuse the force of law in order to force people to attack the God-endowed rights of the natural family as well as the unalienable right to life.

Because neither of the major political parties has, any longer, any real allegiance to the Declaration’s logic and principles, votes cast next Tuesday will, in many instances, have little bearing on the moral/political crisis that is engulfing America’s liberty. I applaud all those who have joined in the pledge to impeach mobilization, thus showing their willingness to challenge the corruption in principle that is threatening to doom our way of life in decent freedom. No matter which party claims “victory” next Tuesday, America stands to lose, and go on losing unless and until the real ground of our nation’s moral identity is restored.

The effort to organize people for that restoration will, in the next two years, have to focus on the need to demand accountability for unconstitutional actions that are destroying our Constitution and liberty. For though the Constitution does not, in and of itself, produce our identity as a free people, preserving the integrity of its purpose will be the test of whether we still retain the character (i.e., the good qualities of soul and spirit) without which freedom escapes the bounds of true liberty and dies by suicide.

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Err On the Side of Safety: Ebola & Common Sense

Err On the Side of Safety: Ebola & Common Sense:

ebolaGrowing up in Washington in the 1930s and ’40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster would be tacked on the door indicating the presence within of a contagious disease—measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever.
None of us believed we were victims of some sort of invidious discrimination against large Catholic families. It was a given that public health authorities were trying to contain the spread of a disease threatening the health of children.
Out came the Monopoly board.
Polio, or infantile paralysis, was the most fearsome of those diseases. The first two national Boy Scout jamborees, which were to be held in Washington in 1935 and 1936, were canceled by Presidential Proclamation because of an outbreak of polio in the city.
Franklin Roosevelt, who had apparently contracted polio in 1921, never to walk again, appreciated the danger. In the 1930s, ’40s and early ’50s, there were outbreaks of polio in D.C. Swimming pools were shut down.
The Greatest Generation possessed a common sense that seems lacking today.
We read that five new Ebola cases occur every hour in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, that thousands are dead and thousands more are dying, that, by December, there may be 10,000 new cases a week of this dreadful and deadly disease.
Yet calls for the cancellation of commercial airline travel from the affected nations to the United States are being decried as racist, an abandonment of America’s responsibilities to Africa, a threat to the economies of the poorest continent on earth.
How could we consider such a thing!
Where once we suffered from infantile paralysis, now we suffer from ideological paralysis. And there appears to be no Salk or Sabin vaccine to cure our condition.
ht_amber_vinson_jc_141017_4x3_992Exhibit A is the befuddled response of some in public service is the case of Amber Joy Vinson.
Nurse Vinson was among 75 health care providers who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who brought Ebola into the United States. At the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Duncan was treated, Vinson had been among those in closest contact with the patient.
Two days after Duncan’s death, Vinson was allowed to fly to Cleveland to visit relatives. She then prepared to fly back to Dallas.
Before boarding, she called the Center for Disease Control, and said she was running a fever of 99.5.
Yet she was given clearance to fly commercial back to Dallas, where she was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of the disease. She is the second nurse at that hospital to come down with Ebola.
According to CBS Medical Correspondent Dr. John LaPook, “Nurse Vinson did in fact call the CDC several times before taking that flight and said she had a temperature, a fever of 99.5, and the person at the CDC looked at a chart and because her temperature wasn’t 100.4 or higher she didn’t officially fall into the category of high risk.”
Would not common sense have told that CDC apparatchik to tell Vinson not to fly at all, but remain in Cleveland, stay in touch with CDC, and monitor any symptoms to be sure she was not coming down with the disease that just killed her patient?
In dealing with contagious and deadly diseases, common sense says to err on the side of safety. Public safety must come before political correctness. Community and country come ahead of any obligation to the people of West Africa.
Indeed, is not the first duty of the government of the United States to protect the lives, liberty and property of the citizens of the United States?
Traveling to Africa decades ago, Americans were given a series of shots to avoid contracting indigenous diseases. Travelers to the United States were questioned about diseases to which they may have been exposed in third world countries.
Now we have a government that considers it discriminatory to put troops on our frontiers to halt the invading millions from across the Mexican border, and the mark of a cruel and cold people to send back lawbreakers who have broken into our country.
The two nurses who came down with this disease after close contact with Duncan are being cared for in quarantine, as is the NBC crew, one of whom contracted the disease. And rightly so.
Ebola+West+Africa+2014As for U.S. aid workers in Africa, they are heroic. But before bringing these good and brave people home, we ought to be sure they are not bringing back with them the Ebola they have been fighting.
If that means quarantining them for 21 days, so be it. If that means no commercial flights to the United States from the three most affected countries of West Africa, and no admission to the USA of any travelers whose visas show they have been in those countries in recent days, then it ought to be done.
Else political correctness is going to end up killing a lot of us.
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Republished with gracious permission of Pat Buchanan.  
The post Err On the Side of Safety: Ebola & Common Sense appeared first on The Imaginative Conservative.

Nobel Prize-Winning Physician Backs Ebola Quarantine For Health Workers

Nobel Prize-Winning Physician Backs Ebola Quarantine For Health Workers: 'If you really want to isolate a disease, then you have to isolate the people who carry it'


4 charts that show how an intact family affects kids’ economic futures

4 charts that show how an intact family affects kids’ economic futures:

Today, Brad Wilcox and Robert Lerman have a must-read piece at NRO on “what’s happening to the American family and why it matters for the health of the American Dream.” Here are four charts from their article that show that young men and women “who grow up in an intact, two-parent family have a leg up in today’s competitive economy.”

1.)  Children raised in intact families are more likely to acquire the human capital they need to live the American Dream: “Having two parents in the picture typically increases the amount of time, attention, encouragement, and money that can be devoted to a child’s education.” This also “protects children from the household moves and emotional stress associated with family instability” – two factors “that seem to hurt children’s odds of educational success in high school and beyond.” [See feature chart. Note: The "0" baseline on the graph represents single-parent families; these changes are all relative to single-parent families.]

2.)  Children raised in intact families are less likely to fall afoul of detours on the road to the American Dream: “A nonmarital birth, for instance, puts a real economic strain on both women and men. That’s partly because such births can derail schooling and decrease adults’ future chances of getting and staying married. And a stable family protects them against these kinds of detours.”

For_Richer_For_poorer_Chart_8



3.)  Young men raised in intact families make more money: Note that “one reason that these young women and men enjoy higher family incomes is that they are more likely to be married compared with their peers from non-intact families.” 

For_Richer_For_poorer_Chart_11



4.)  Young women raised in intact families earn more: In addition, young adults raised in intact families work more hours. “On average, the more hours you work, the more experience you gain in the labor force and the more money you make.”

For_Richer_For_poorer_Chart_13

Read Wilcox and Lerman’s fascinating new report “For Richer, For Poorer: How family structures economic success in America” to learn more.

Follow AEIdeas on Twitter at @AEIdeas, and Natalie Scholl at @Natalie_Scholl.

The post 4 charts that show how an intact family affects kids’ economic futures appeared first on AEI.

PHYSICS PROFESSOR TELLS STUDENTS SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE POINTS TO A ‘DESIGNER’

PHYSICS PROFESSOR TELLS STUDENTS SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE POINTS TO A ‘DESIGNER’:





College Fix-

During his talk, Strauss essentially argued that the scientific evidence for the existence of God could be found by studying the origins of the universe, the design of the universe, and what Strauss called the “rare Earth hypothesis.”

Strauss also brought up evidence for the existence of God by citing the apparent design of the universe, noting the amount of matter in the universe, the strength of its strong nuclear force, and the formation of carbon is so finely tuned that if any of these parameters were modified in the slightest, human life could not exist. Strauss stated there are about 100 similar finely tuned parameters.

Strauss’ third point delved into what he called the “rare Earth hypothesis.” Strauss detailed what it would take to for an earthlike planet to form by chance, a planet capable of sustaining not only bacteria, but higher life forms, such as those found in science fiction stories. (Think Class M planets from Star Trek.)

In fact, there are 322 such parameters needed for a planet capable of sustaining intelligent life to form, and the probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters to develop by chance is 10 to the minus -282.

“It is unlikely that Earth could ever be duplicated,” Strauss said Thursday.

More

ht/ just the tip





Climate change is happening – but not because of human activity... The goal is to make us feel guilty so we can be controlled

Climate change is happening – but not because of human activity... The goal is to make us feel guilty so we can be controlled:

CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT OUR FAULT, SO LET’S JUST DEAL WITH IT, SAYS CALIFORNIA PROFESSOR

by  29 Oct 2014

Climate change is happening – but not because of human activity, Daniel Botkin, professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at University of California Santa Barbara has said. Moreover, the focus on man-made global warming is detracting attention from real environmental disasters to nature’s detriment, he has argued. 

Writing on the National Parks Traveler, a website dedicated to America’s national parks, Botkin challenges the conclusions reached by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their paper National Landmarks at Risk, How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites, not least because they’ve taken the standard reports from the IPCC and others, “treating them as accurate and true,” and then used those results to look at the possible outcome for various national parks. 
“The point of the report, its opening theme and its major conclusion, is that these historic places are in trouble and it’s our fault, we have been the bad guys interfering with nature and therefore damaging places we value,” Botkin says, before methodically knocking down each assertion as demonstrably false. 
Climate models linking human CO2 output to rising temperatures are unreliable, he writes. “Conclusion: our addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere does not appear to be increasing Earth’s temperature. Whatever is happening to Earth’s climate does not seem to be our fault.”
However, he does acknowledge that climate change is happening. Taking sea level as an example, he says: “the sea level has been rising since the end of the last Ice Age, starting about 14,000 years ago as the continental and mountain glaciers have melted and sea water has expanded with the overall warming. The average rate has been about a foot or two a century”.
The question he poses is: what to do about it? Rather than spending time arguing over the causes of climate change, Botkin advocates simply rolling up our sleeves and dealing with the outcome, harking back to Frederick Law Olmstead, who in the mid 1800s, created the Back Bay Fens on Boston’s shoreline as a way to manage both ocean floods, deal with waste water for the city, and create a recreational area for city dwellers. 
“Confronted with the combined problems of ocean surges and flooding from river runoff inland, Olmsted did not waste his time complaining about whether or not people have caused the problem. He just set out and solved it.”
However, he saves his most damning criticism for the UCS’s treatment of wildfire frequency. The report claims two national park sites are at particular risk of damage from increasingly frequent wildfires, despite the fact that the evidence shows no increase. 
“Furthermore”, he writes, “it is well-established that most major wildfires that occur these days are from the failure to allow much more frequent, and therefore light fires, to burn. The 20th century policy dominated by Smokey Bear — “only you can prevent forest fires” — and the belief, ill-founded, that all forest and grassland fires are bad and must be prevented — have had a damaging effect.”
‘Damaging’ is an understatement – in fact, the policy caused the extinction of Kirtland’s warbler, a bird which nests in young jack pines, which only regenerate after a fire. 




The conclusion that Botkin reaches is that, ultimately, “global warming has become the sole focus of so much environmental discussion that it risks eclipsing much more pressing and demonstrable environmental problems. The major damage that we as a species are doing here and now to the environment is not getting the attention it deserves.”

The left needs deception to gain and keep power as outlined by VDH

The left needs deception to gain and keep power as outlined by VDH:

Facts now pale in comparison with the higher truths of progressivism.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Do bothersome facts matter anymore?




Not really. This is an age when Americans were assured that the Affordable Care Act lowered our premiums. It cut deductibles. Obamacare allowed us to keep our doctors and health plans, and lowered the deficit. Those fantasies were both demonstrably untrue and did not matter, given the supposedly noble aims of health care reform.




The Islamic State is at times dubbed jayvee, a manageable problem, and a dangerous enemy — or anything the administration wishes it to be, depending on the political climate of any given week.




Some days Americans are told there is no reason to restrict connecting flights from Ebola-ravaged countries. Then, suddenly, entry from those countries is curtailed to five designated U.S. airports. Quarantines are both necessary and not so critical, as the administration weighs public concern versus politically correct worries over isolating a Third World African country.




Ebola is so hard to catch that there is no reason to worry about causal exposures to those without clear symptoms. But then why do health authorities still try to hunt down anyone who had even a brief encounter with supposedly asymptomatic carriers? 




The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi were caused by a video that sparked a riot, and then apparently not. Various narratives about corruption and incompetence at the VA, IRS, NSA, GSA and Secret Service are raised and then dropped. The larger truth is that these scandals must be quarantined from infecting the president’s progressive agenda.




Laws used to be real, not abstract. Again, not anymore. The administration sort of enacts some elements of Obamacare but ignores others. Enforcement of federal immigration law is negotiable, likewise depending on the campaign cycle.




The Tawana Brawley case, the Duke men’s lacrosse team accusations, and the O. J. Simpson verdict were constructed fantasies. No one cared much about the inconvenient facts or the lies that destroyed people’s lives — given that myths were deemed useful facts for achieving larger racial justice.




It no longer really matters much what the grand jury will find in the Michael Brown fatal-shooting case. Whether he had just robbed a store, was high on drugs, was walking down the middle of the road and prompted a violent confrontation with a police officer, or whether the officer was the aggressor in the confrontation, these have become mere competing narratives. The facts pale in comparison with the higher truth that Brown was black and unarmed, while Officer Darren Wilson white and armed. The latter scenario is all that matters.




Language is useful for inventing new realities. “Illegal alien” is a time-tested noun denoting foreign citizens who crossed a national border contrary to law. “Undocumented immigrant” is now used to diminish the bothersome fact that millions have broken and continue to break the law. 




To play down the dangers of radical Islam, an entire array of circumlocutions — “workplace violence” (in the case of the Fort Hood shooting) “overseas contingency operations” and “man-caused disasters” — were the euphemisms evoked by members of the Obama administration to construct an alternate reality in which radical jihadists are no more dangerous than disgruntled office workers or gale-force winds.




Many of the current campus poster icons are abject myths. Che Guevara, for all his hipster appearance, was no revolutionary hero, but a murderer who enjoyed personally executing his political opponents. Communist leader Angela Davis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the totalitarian Soviet Union.




Plagiarism and making stuff up are no longer considered serious offenses against the truth. Lots of notable columnists or historians have had to confess to lifting the work of others and passing it off as their own — Maureen Dowd, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Fareed Zakaria, and the late Stephen Ambrose, to name a few. Most faced slaps on the wrist.




Even Vice President Joe Biden once had to drop a presidential bid due to accusations that he had plagiarized in law school and later had copied a speech from a British Labor politician. Barack Obama has had to acknowledge that in his autobiographical memoir, he used “composite characters” in some cases rather than actual people from his life. Sympathetic biographer David Remnick characterized Obama’s life story as “a mixture of verifiable fact, recollection, re-creation, invention, and artful shaping.”




Such disregard for truth and facts is no accident, but the fruit of postmodernism. So-called “after modern” thought was a trendy late-20th-century way to reduce facts to stories.




Progressives believed that because traditional protocols, language, and standards were usually created by stuffy old establishment types, the rules no longer necessarily should apply. Instead, particular narratives and euphemisms that promoted perceived social justice became truthful. Bothersome facts were discarded.




So far, political mythmaking has become confined to popular culture and politics, and has not affected the ironclad facts and non-negotiable rules of jetliner maintenance, heart surgery, or nuclear-plant operation. Yet the Ebola scare has taught us that even the erroneous news releases and fluid policies of the CDC can be as likely based on politics as hard science. 




If that is a vision of more relativist things to come, then we are doomed.




— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com. © 2014 Tribune Media Services, Inc.