In the dictionary under weakness, there’s a picture of —

Slide15-300x180The dictionary defines weak as liable to yield, break or collapse under pressure or strain; not having much political strength, governing power or authority; impotent, ineffectual, or inadequate…well, you get the idea.

This week we saw clearly the contrast between weak and strong. This week President Obama did his NCAA basketball bracket, delightfully referred to as “Barack-etology.” discussed mom jeans with Ryan Seacrest, and chatted up Ellen Degeneres about Obamacare and those critical issues on “House of Cards” and “Scandal.”

In the same week, the territory (Crimea) of a sovereign nation (Ukraine) was annexed by an invading one (Russia). Down South, would-be football champions dream of going “between the hedges.” Instead, we have a President who went “between two ferns” — and that’s supposed to instill confidence? Nah, that’s a display of weakness, regardless of how liberals see it themselves.

Now, some believe President Obama is displaying the highest degree of strength and resolve — by not fighting back. They think only a real strong guy can say “there will be no military option.” It reminds me of another heroic Obama administration idea: the Combat Restraint Medal. Yep, a medal to be rewarded to combat troops for NOT firing back at the enemy. Only in Obamaworld is not shooting back at the enemy reason for an award.

In the world of progressive socialists, crushing your political opposition by using governmental power is strength. I call it tyranny. However, not standing up to a dictator who has invaded a sovereign free nation is showing strength? Both instances show weakness. Rhetoric about standing with protesters is courageous — unless of course those protesters are Iranian and belong to the Green movement. Then no one stands for you.

Liberal progressives are very adept at changing the meaning of words, altering the lexicon and turning words upside down. After all, a terrorist attack is just a man-caused disaster or workplace violence. Ergo weak is relative, according to the “living” meaning of the word. What a crock!

America, we elected a president who believed we needed to improve our global image. Someone who thought that it was more important to be “liked” — as if foreign policy is a Facebook page — than respected. We elected a person as Commander-in-Chief who truly believes “peace through strength” is an imposing and threatening mantra, and prefers “peace through appeasement” as a means to make friends. We elected a person who hasn’t a clue about geo-political strategy — as he evidenced by his sarcastic remark to Gov. Mitt Romney telling him “the 80s are asking for their foreign policy back.”

The only thing Barack Hussein Obama has brought to America is domestic tyranny and a cult of personality — neither impress the current list of despots, dictators, autocrats, and theocrats who now salivate at the naiveté and weakness of this “prankster.” Both are making us weak, at home and abroad.

So what does this mean for the American Republic? It means we have three more years during which we shall suffer, unless we wise up and take the gavel away from Harry Reid in the US Senate. But then again, Obama, keeper of the pen and phone, has shown his abject disdain for the rule of law and our governing Republican principles of separation of powers, coequal branches of government, and checks and balances. Has anyone ever had a front row seat to a train wreck? You do now. Sadly, there are those who actually bought the tickets — twice—and the rest of us are forced to watch. Heck, we’re all on the train.

The spinmeisters can try all they want, but you cannot deny the fact that Obama is weak and it is crippling America. The seminal question is, how low does America have to go? Have we now decided as a people that we no longer wish to lead? We no longer aspire to be exceptional? Are we fine with just sitting around watching reality TV shows, getting fat, and smoking dope while a new era of global brutes step forward? Barack Obama is forcing us to decide, and define, who we are: weak or strong.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

Ought Implies Can by Steven Horwitz

Ethical Pronouncements without Economics Lead to Disastrous Public Policies.

One of the most common objections to free markets is that they ignore ethical considerations. In particular, critics argue that there are many things we “ought” to do that they believe will make people’s lives better off. We ought to “redistribute” income to the poor, they say. We ought to make health care a right. We ought to fix the economy by bailing out the financial industry.

The problem with all these “oughts” is that they eventually confront the principle ought implies can. Can the desired end (improving the welfare of the poor, for example) be achieved by the chosen means (income “redistribution”)? If not, then what does the “ought” really mean? “Oughts” without “cans”–ethical pronouncements without economics–are likely to lead to disastrous public policies.

In exploring the relationship between economics and ethics, we can start with two definitions that seem relevant here. The economist David Prychitko once defined economics as “the art of putting parameters on our utopias.” And in a particularly insightful definition, Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek wrote that “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” What both definitions suggest is that economics deals with the realm of the possibleand in doing so demarcates the limits to what should be imaginable. Before we say we “ought” to do something, perhaps we should be sure we can do it, in the sense that the action is likely to achieve the intended ends. Put differently: ought implies can.

Ethicists can imagine all kinds of schemes to remedy perceived social ills, but none of the aspiring benefactors can afford to ignore economic analysis. Being able to dream something doesn’t guarantee it is possible. Too often ethical pronouncements have an air of hubris about them, as the pronouncer simply assumes we can do what he says we ought to do. By contrast, economics demands some humility. We always have to ask whether it’s humanly possible to do what the ethicists say we ought. To say we ought to do something we cannot do, in the sense that it won’t achieve our end, is to engage in a pointless exercise. If we cannot do it, to say that we ought to is to command the impossible.

So contrary to the commonly heard complaint, it is not that economists ignore ethical issues. Rather we attempt to describe the likely results of putting particular ethical rules into practice. For example, someone can argue that a living wage is an ethical imperative, but that doesn’t change the economic analysis of minimum-wage laws. Those laws increase unemployment and/or lead to reductions in nonmonetary forms of compensation among all unskilled workers, but especially the young, male, and nonwhite. No matter how much we think we ought to pass such legislation as a way of helping the poor, the reality remains that economics shows us that we cannot help them that way. Those who argue we ought to have such a law can still pass it if they want, but they should do it with eyes wide open to the fact that it will not achieve the result they wish, no matter how much they think we ought to have it.

It might be more accurate to say that ethicists ignore economics than that economists ignore ethics. To the extent that good economics shows what we can and cannot do with social policy, it is engaged with ethics. After all, if the point of saying we ought to do X is that we think it will achieve some set of morally desirable goals, then knowing whether or not doing X will actually achieve those goals is, or at least should be, a key part of moral inquiry. One of the tasks that economists should set for themselves is to engage in this sort of dialogue with moral philosophers and others who argue from “oughts.” Economist Leland Yeager’s recent book Ethics as Social Science is a good example of how economics can inform ethical questions just this way.

Studying “Ought,” Ignoring “Can”

The more interesting question is the degree to which moral philosophers are engaged with economics as they develop their theories. It might be true that introductory economics courses do not consider moral questions as often as they might, but it would seem at least as true that courses in ethics and religious studies are unlikely to confront either economic arguments or economic data that relate to their subjects. Exploring the “ought” without broaching the “can” will not get one far in designing policies that will achieve the intended results. One exception to this neglect of economics is the philosopher Daniel Shapiro’s Is the Welfare State Justified? In that book he brings to bear a good deal of empirical data and economic theory on the question of whether the welfare state can do what its proponents claim for it. From the philosophy side, this is the kind of work that needs to be done.

Can Doesn’t Imply Ought

Once we recognize the insight behind “ought implies can,” we can see that the reverse is true as well. Just as we cannot do everything people say we ought, we ought not do everything we can. We see this in the frequent calls for political actors to “do something” in the face of a crisis. There are many things politicians can actually do in a crisis, and doing them is often fairly easy, especially if the politicians can generate a climate of fear to help make the “ought” seem more pressing. But the fact that they can do something does not always mean they ought to. Even if it is true that “yes we can,” understanding the unseen and unintended consequences of what politicians are able to do should help us to decide whether they ought to do it.

Both ways of looking at “ought implies can” put economists in the position of throwing cold water on the plans and designs of social engineers left and right. This is what Prychitko and Hayek mean. Economists are thus often seen as only knocking down the ideas of others without coming up with solutions of their own. There is some truth to this claim. That is how economists spend much of their time. But it’s an important function: showing why a proposed solution would only make matters worse is a valuable contribution to the broader process of solving the problem.

More relevant, however, is that economics teaches us that solutions are much more often found in the actions of individuals and organizations responding entrepreneurially to the situations they face. The notion of a top-down solution to any social problem is going to attract the economist’s critical eye. In terms of “ought implies can,” economists are often reluctant to say what everyone ought to do because no one person or group knows what people can do. If ought implies can, and “can” is particular people in particular contexts developing solutions to their problems, then it is difficult to say what we all ought to do, especially in a crisis. This is the way that Prychitko’s and Hayek’s definitions cash out in the real world.

All the themes above have been on display in the current economic crisis. The bailout of the financial sector is a classic example of both letting the “ought” blot out the “can” and of assuming we ought to do whatever apparently can be done. The original promise of the bailout was that government would buy up the bad assets of troubled financial institutions then later resell the assets, making the real cost substantially less than the original $700 billion. Many critics, including many economists, suggested not only that this plan was counterproductive–because it only enhanced the likelihood that other firms would take unwise risks in the future–but also that the availability of those funds would lead to demands for the government to use them in other equally unproductive ways. That is more or less what has happened, as the bailout expanded to partial government ownership of banks and then demands from the auto and insurance companies to get in on the goodies. The plan changed again when the government announced it wouldn’t purchase troubled assets but instead would inject money directly into banks and other kinds of businesses. But soon all the “oughts” were crashing against the limits of what can be done via government intervention. Meanwhile, the machinery of government did many things it can do–borrow and create money, for example–without the planners thinking very much about whether they ought to do any of those things.

Social scientists who disregard ethical issues abandon one of their central roles in bettering the human condition, and ethicists who ignore social science in formulating their moral prescriptions are negligent for not asking whether those solutions will achieve their stated ends. Only when both realize that ought implies can will we get public policies based on an accurate understanding of human interaction.

ABOUT STEVEN HORWITZ

Contributing editor and Freeman Online columnist Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective, now in paperback. This summer, he will be lecturing for FEE at Rebels with a Cause.

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

US Foreign Policy In A Tailspin

The weak and inadequate leadership displayed by the occupant of the Oval Office, over the last 5 years, is responsible for, and has created the worldwide political destabilization we are witnessing. When Obama came into office, he felt the United States prior inordinate stature in the international community was an undeserved stature and a result of unfairly acquired advantage, Obama now believes that the US underserved stature has been reset by “changes” he instilled in US policies, and Obama is bent on continuing to bring the Republic down in its military and economic strength. Obama sees US foreign policy as antithetical to domestic spending, since military readiness would be retained only at the expense of public entitlement. There is no Obama Foreign Policy or Obama Doctrine; just an intent to be sure that the United States will not be the only Superpower in the world.

Hillary Clinton’s naïve “RESET” with Russia obviously didn’t work, and was wrecked by Putin’s aggression in Crimea. Putin invaded Crimea because he has been watching Obama lead from behind for 5 years. The situation in Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating with Ukraine on the brink of war with Russia, yet Obama takes feeble action that has the Russians laughing and the world community shaking their collective heads. Obama should encourage NATO to join with the US in taking a number of actions that will send an strong signals to Putin that may get him to stop. Obama should halt his unilateral disarming of the US military, should support the development of energy resources on federal lands that he has restricted from domestic exploration for the last 5 years, provide the missile defenses systems for Poland and Czechoslovakia that Obama cancelled as soon as he was inaugurated in 2008, send humanitarian supplies to the people of Ukraine on a nonstop Military airlift bridge, deploy US Navy destroyers into the Black Sea, move a carrier battle group to the eastern Mediterranean, commence NATO exercises with the former Eastern member nations, and provide the Ukrainian Defense Force with the small arms they have been desperately asked the US for. The “Red Line” in Syria only empowered Putin; Putin has been supporting Assad’s suppression of the Syrian people, and he hoodwinked Obama into thinking Assad would turn in his chemical weapons which has come to a halt. Putin has given whistleblower Edward Snowden political asylum to demonstrate to the world that he has obvious disrespect for Obama. Obama’s now empty “Red Line” in Syria, then his empty “Red Line” in Crimea, has encouraged Putin’s to consider future land grabs in Eastern Ukraine, Moldova, more of Georgia, and he will probably takes bites out of the Baltic States.

Obama’s employment of standoff aerial drones to attack Al Qaeda’s leadership over the last 5 years has been ineffective, because leader are just replaced by the next in line. Instead of employing Special Operations Forces on the ground to decimate rank and file terrorists & capture others to develop operational intelligence for future strikes, he used drones and is solely responsible for the massive expansion of a depleted Al Q’ieda when President Bush left office—Al Q’ieda terrorists have no fear of attacks or capture by Special Operational Forces. The proliferation of Al Qaeda has manifested itself with the Black Flag of Al Qaeda flying over much of Libya, flying over the northeastern region of Syria, flying in Fallujah and the western regions of Iraq, flying throughout Somalia, and the Black Flag will soon be flying over Afghanistan once again, because Obama has been signaling Al Q’ieda for over 3 years that he will definitely pull out all US military forces from Afghanistan in about 8 months—–does anyone believe Obama’s false pronouncements in his last Presidential campaign that “Al Qaeda has been defeated and is on the run.” Military casualties in Afghanistan have increased by 358%/year over the last 5 years, over the annual casualty rate during the previous 8 years, because of Obama’s new and very dangerous Rules Of Engagement forced upon the US Armed Forces by Admiral Mullen. Mullen’s legacy has created unheard of casualty rates and Killed In Action rates in Afghanistan.

All efforts to achieve an effective Iranian boycott to stop a nuclear Iran have been abandoned by Obama, and without concessions. Iran is on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power and has been providing Republican Guard ground troops in Syria to kill freedom loving Syrians. The support for Israel has been be relegated to the trash heap of history, and Israel knows it is on its own. A nuclear confrontation is in the making in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey seeking nuclear weapons from Pakistan in self-defense. The heroic effort to stabilize Iraq by US Combatant Forces was thrown away when Obama yanked all US troops out of Iraq after the success of the “Surge,”; US military forces were abruptly pulled out without the negotiation of a Status of Forces Agreement (Iraq is the only country in the world, that the US saved from a dictator, that the US hasn’t entered into a Status of Forces Agreement with). Iran has filled in the void in Iraq left by the abrupt removal of US military forces from Iraq by Obama, and is now repeating the benefits of an alliance with Iraq as a result of the sacrifice the finest sons of America who removed the despot, Saddam Hussein, from power.

Relationships in the Middle East are in shambles. Obama’s unwise initiative to develop diplomatic relations with Iran at a time when it is threatening old US friends in the Middle East, killing freedom fighters in Iran, destabilizing Lebanon, Iraq, & Bahrain, is threatening the destruction of Israel, has fractured US relations with US diverse friends such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. When the US commenced negotiating to normalize diplomatic relations with Iran, in its defense, Saudi Arabia established an independent coalition with the Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Jordan, and is now developing close relations with Putin. Libya whose ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, was turned from being hostile to be more supportive of the US, was deposed by military strikes led by the US, the attack on Gaddafi unleashed Al Qaeda that built 10 training camps in eastern Libya, and those training camps provided the commandos that attacked the US Mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of 4 Americans because Obama refused to authorize “Cross Border Authority” required to send in military support; now a destabilized Libya has become Somalia on the Mediterranean, and is another failed state created by ineptness of the Obama administration.

Egypt’s Pro-US Prime Minister, Hosni Mubarak, was deposed by Obama, so the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi could come to power, Morsi permitted the Muslim Brotherhood to start murdering Christians throughout Egypt, and for over a year the Obama administration has had proof from Egyptian intelligence that Morsi was complicit in having his followers participate in the attack on the US Mission in Benghazi; when Morsi was deposed by the US trained & US friendly Military Junta, Obama had all arms shipments and financial aid to Egypt promptly cancelled. Saudi Arabia was infuriated when Mubarak was deposed by Obama in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi, the Saudis helped undermine Morsi, and provided 10 times more financial aid to the pro us Junta than Obama cancelled. Putin jumped in to replace the military arms shipment Obama cancelled, and now for the first time in 35 years Egypt has moved away from the US and is more friendly to Putin’s Russia.

China, Russia, and Iran are building and modernizing their very powerful military armed forces, while Obama continues to degrade the US Military to pre-World War II levels. The US unilateral reduction of its nuclear arsenal with no concessions from anyone, together with our Hamlet-like stance toward China, has terrified our Pacific allies. The US Navy had more ships in the Pacific when Jimmy Carter was President than the US has in the entire US Navy today, and President Reagan’s 660 ship Navy is headed to a less than 200 ship Obama Navy (less ships than the US Navy had before WWI). China is expanding its navy with its first aircraft carrier and many missile firing submarines; it is getting ready to forcibly annex the 5 tiny Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands that Japan purchased many years ago. China Like Russia and Iran viewed Obama’s follow thru when his “Red Lines” were crossed in Syria and Crimea. In the next three years, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (and perhaps the Philippines and Australia as well) will either make concessions to China or threaten to go nuclear—especially if their suspicions continue to grow that they are no longer under the US strategic umbrella.

Obama’s outreach to Latin America’s Marxist regimes has been a colossal failure. Bolivia has now become a Marxist state; Communist Cuba, Ecuador and Argentina are more anti-American than ever. Ortega of Nicaragua humiliated the US with his long public dressing down of Obama. To make matters worse, on November 19, 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry declared the 200 year old policy that was adopted by the US Congress in 1823, The Monroe Doctrine, is “dead!” Obama’s strongly support for Hugo Chavez’s Marxist Venezuela, while he ignored the pro US demonstrators in the streets voicing their opposition to Marxist regime of Chavez, they were seeking a democratic form of government. It is interesting to know that Obama did support demonstrators in the streets during the Arab Spring who were trying to destabilized governments allied with the US in the Middle East; Chavez prevailed against the freedom seeking demonstrators in the streets, destroyed the economy of Venezuela, and now Venezuela is another failed Marxist state.

Obama feels his foreign policy towards China, Russia, and Iran has been a smashing success, and because the left of center liberal media establishment is deeply invested in Obama’s success, they obviate, obscure, mislead, and outright lie to confuse the American people about the truth on issues. However, for the past 5 years, despite the attempt by the media and the Obama administration to mislead the American people, clear thinking Patriots understand how completely Obama has failed the United States, leaving the Republic less secure, gave them a weaker military establishment, financially weakened the Republic, and the nation is now less respected in the eyes of the international community. The long and the short of it is that, Putin is a dynamic leader who is maximizing what little military power he has and is rapidly rebuilding his military, while the United States is virtually leaderless on the international stage with a strong military establishment that is rapidly being degraded by Obama. More likely over the next 3 years, we will see a doubling down by Obama on reducing US influence, going into a project debt of $24 trillion, reducing the US military strength in the world, and ensuring the US no longer has, a too-prominent global profile.

The only thing the American voters can do is elect Senators and Congressmen in less than seven months who will put a stop to Obama’s failed foreign policy, and his out of control spending. The thirty-four endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress are some of the Patriotic Americans who will support the principles upon which our Forefathers based the US Bill of Rights and the US Constitution—elect them in November to protect and defend the US Constitution and The Free Enterprise System.

EDITORS NOTE: The flag used as the featured image is that of the United States Secretary of State.

The Economist Who Said Maybe by Michael Clark

The answer to most economic questions begins with “I don’t know”!

Is microfinance in the developing world a beneficial strategy? Is bitcoin a good idea? Will 3-D printing substantially change our way of living? Imagine a panel of economists being asked questions like these. What kind of answer do you expect from them? Plenty of economic and techie jargon will get thrown around by those who have done their homework. Many of their answers will contain substantial merit, but I think the best answer is a simple “I don’t know.”

It’s not a complete reply and should be followed by some reasoned response. But “I don’t know” should be a prelude to more responses to economic questions, even pivotal ones about the future of our currency or the development of impoverished nations.

It might not look like a good answer for a trained economist to give. But humility is the most important lesson that training in economics yields. From Adam Smith to F. A. Hayek and many in between, a sound approach to economics involves understanding our limited capacity to answer such questions.

The essence of this humility is the respect for spontaneous order; market-based institutions answer questions like the ones above in ways no individual could. This yields phenomena, as Adam Ferguson puts it, of “human action, but not of human design.” The deep appreciation of the phenomenon of spontaneous order leads one to humility; we never know exactly what the market solutions will be.

The Evolution of Music

Consider a blunt history of music as entertainment. The trend of big bands was replaced in 1948 by LP vinyl records and moved individuals out of the dance halls and into their own homes. After vinyl came the 8-track in the late 1960s, the cassette tape in the late 1970s, and then the CD started to gain popularity in the late 1980s. The big band, vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD progression is a bit of a simplification because radio had come into play as a separate market and multiple platforms had alternate sizes and models. However, the general popular-use trend was quite clear: About every decade, a better platform was developed.

It was not weird for people in the early 1990s to think that their CD collection was only temporary; most people thought something better would come along. More than a few thought they knew exactly what it was. The common thought was that popular music would be widely used on a disc similar to a CD, but the disc would be much smaller. If you watch the 1997 film Men in Black, the two characters have a discussion about the future technology. One complains that he’s going to have to buy the Beatles’ White Album again soon to replace his CD with the mini-CD.

But just about everyone was wrong. Mini-CDs never supplanted the original CD. But a new market did emerge as the format of choice right around the year 2000. When answering the question, “What will be the next thing to hold our popular music,” the actual answer was, “Well, nothing!” What followed the CD was a digital file that could be transported via the Internet. Imagine an individual trying to convince you in 1992 that the next step beyond a CD is in fact nothing. You wouldn’t have anything physical on you. You’d have nothing to search for underneath the passenger seat of your car, nothing to put into binders or towers for storage, and nothing to worry about getting scratched, mangled, or tangled. You’d have this file called an MP3. You would essentially have nothing physical to replace the CD. Convincing someone of this invention before its existence would seem fairly absurd.

So What?

In a market society the answers to questions like “Is X a good idea?” are often conclusions that exceed what most people originally considered possible. The market system often moves beyond what we were capable of seeing. How is the market so effective at progress? It is the same reason why I think the answer “I don’t know” is often a great answer for an economist.

The true benefit of freedom is that the institution or the market system (not any one individual or expert) bears the cognitive burden of figuring out what is a good idea. The profit and loss system, where consumers voice their opinions, quickly guides entrepreneurs. What serves consumers’ needs best? Do we value using titanium for the current design of a tennis racquet or would it be better used in a new design of a toaster oven? With so many consumers having so many preferences for so many products, it is no easy task to figure out what the best use of a resource is. That is, unless you have the profit and loss system.

Many entrepreneurs play their role in helping us to figure out little parts of what works and, perhaps even more importantly, what doesn’t work. Entrepreneurial actions bring disjointed, disparate, and detailed local knowledge to the forefront. When filtered through the market mechanism of profit and loss, the gathering of knowledge from the many will exceed the foresight of most, if not all, experts. Markets bring together the best from many and help us discover together instead of in isolation. When determining what works and what doesn’t, it is the market setting that allows a spontaneous order to do the heavy lifting that individual planners and experts simply cannot manage.

So is bitcoin a good idea? Is microfinance a path to prosperity for the impoverished? We have some grasp of the beneficial aspects of those ideas, and we can try to push forward some lines of argumentation to help the process. But it is a large part of our responsibility to remember our humility when it comes to questions of economics. F. A. Hayek put the context of discussing economics best when he stated, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

ABOUT MICHAEL CLARK

Michael Clark holds the Reemelin Chair in Free Market Economics at Hillsdale College.

CYBER WARFARE: Muslim Twitter Attack forces ABC to Cancel “Alice in Arabia”

The problematic ABC Family pilot of “Alice in Arabia” that we posted on yesterday has been cancelled by the Disney-owned cable TV channel.  CAIR launched a Twitter campaign on Tuesday inundating the ABC Family channel with tweets and a letter to the channel’s  President demanding control over the production.  According to a report in Variety, the social media campaign worked; the pilot has been cancelled.  This is yet another example of how the Hamas- Muslim Brotherhood affiliate engages in intimidation tactics to ensure that the media adheres to an airbrushed Hallmarkian view of Islam in America.  Moreover, with the threat of Lawfare menacing free speech CAIR strived to avoid any mention that Sharia sanctions abduction of American children of Saudi parents to the Royal Kingdom.  See our NER article and Iconoclast post; “ An American Child Kidnapped in Accordance with Shariah” and  “Rescue from an Abduction to Saudi Arabia: Interview with Floridian Yasmeen A. Davis”.

Here is the Variety report,  “ABC Family Pulls Plug on ‘Alice in Arabia’ After Muslim Org Backlash”:

Just days after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) expressed concerns over potential stereotyping in the pilot for ABC Family’s “Alice in Arabia” and requested a meeting with execs, the network has decided not to pursue the show that had been announced Monday.

An ABC Family spokesperson said Friday, “The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project.”

The show’s premise centered on an American teen kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian family after tragedy befalls her parents.

The pilot was penned by Brooke Eikmeier, who served in the U.S. Army as a Cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language and trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East.

CAIR previously challenged actual and potential anti-Muslim stereotypes in “Executive Decision,” “24,” “The Siege,” “True Lies,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Obsession,” “The Third Jihad,” “Jihad in America” and “The Sum of All Fears.” The org has also acted as a consultant on films including DreamWorks Animation’s “The Prince of Egypt.”

This amounts to CAIR using Mafia –like tactics to suggest that major TV and film studios might be forced out of business if they comply.   Once again, Taqiyya , religiously sanctioned dissimilitude or lying for Allah,  trumps truth.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured photo is by I.Barrios & J.Ligero. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Jeb Bush: Willing to Emotionally Damage Your Child for a Higher Test Score

Former Florida Governor (and likely 2016 presidential hopeful) Jeb Bush made the following comment, recorded in The Miami Herald, on March 21, 2014. It’s Bush’s undeniably callous perspective on attempting to force American public education to fit a mold that benefits American education corporations such as Pearson (and here, and here):

Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem. They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful,” Bush said.

You tell me which society is going to be the winner in this 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch? [Emphasis added.]

Think about this, folks: Do we really want this guy in the White House? Do we want him (and the corporations in his pocket) pushing his damaging, perpetually failing education reforms from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Ahh, but Bush is in good company. Call it Common Core Callousness. Bush’s statement reeks of David Coleman’s sentiment regarding his vision of “Bringing the Common Core to Life.” From blogger Christel Swasey (Swasey’s entire article is worth a read):

The absolutely least lovely comment I’ve ever heard from any educator, ever, came from David Coleman:

As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, “Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.”

There you have it, in case there was any doubt:

The Common Core Brought to Life.

Jeb Bush and David Coleman offer the same sociopathio-pedagogical vision for American education: Death to emotional health, joy of learning, empathy, and good will to man.

The country able to step on the faces of other countries via the highest test scores “wins.”

You can hear Coleman for yourself in this brief video clip (my thanks to Tim Furman). Keep in mind that Coleman believes he is selling the Common Core to his listeners:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Pu6lin88YXU[/youtube]

Coleman and Bush: Serrated Education Partners.

Back to Bush’s assertion that Asia does not care for the well being of its students. Bush is wrong:

Chinese educational experts are taking a more somber view in the face of the stellar achievements by their students, saying the results are at most partial and covering up shortcomings in creating well-rounded, critical thinking individuals.

“This should not be considered a pride for us, because overall it still measures one’s test-taking ability. You can have the best answer for a theoretical model, but can you build a factory on a test paper?” asked Xiong Bingqi, a Shanghai-based scholar on education.

“The biggest criticism is that China’s education has sacrificed everything else for test scores, such as life skills, character building, mental health, and physical health,” Xiong said.

Even the party-run People’s Daily noted the burden on Shanghai students. “While many countries have been urged to increase more study time and more homework for their students, Shanghai clearly needs some alleviation,” the editorial reads.

Japan’s education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, pointed to the test results as evidence of success in reforms aimed at reducing class sizes — despite continued criticism of the pressure-filled university entrance examination system. Many Japanese students also attend cram schools to get an extra edge.

“Asian countries do better than European and American schools because we are ‘examination hell’ countries,” said Koji Kato, a professor emeritus of education at Tokyo’s Sophia University. “There is more pressure to teach to the test. In my experience in working with teachers the situation is becoming worse and worse.” [Emphasis added.]

In his January 2014 address to a parents congress, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan lauded South Korean test scores.

Duncan failed to mention South Korea’s high unemployment for those with college degrees (in 2011, 40 percent of college grads were unemployed four months following graduation)– and the associated designation of South Korea as “the most suicidal society” despite a drop in South Korean suicides in 2013.

In order to curb the suicide rate, the government banned pesticides– a cheap and easily accessible means of suicide.

One Korean’s response to the pesticide ban:

But we still have bridges and charcoal briquettes.

What is driving South Koreans to kill themselves in unprecedented numbers?

They want their government to care about them:

Jang Chong-yoon, who almost committed suicide 12 years ago, agrees with the pesticide ban, but thinks more could be done to address the mental well-being of South Koreans:

“Old and young people have their own pain from either quick economic development or unemployment,” he said, adding: “I hope the government will care more about people’s health.” [Emphasis added.]

What a sobering realization to think that Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush has no qualms about pushing America down this despairing path.

RELATED STORIES:

Is Common Core Intentionally Designed to Make America’s Children Mentally Ill?

Bush Foundation is stepping it up a notch through the media

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of Gage Skidmore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Turkey’s Foolhardy Twitter Ban Backfires: @TwitterTurkey

The municipal elections in Turkey  are less  than eight day hence.  Premier Erdogan  perpetrated a  foolhardy and heedless Twitter ban. He is  desperate to stave off a  possible last minute disclosure about more corruption revelations to  possibly be  released on Tuesday March 25.  With this ban Turkey joins a select group of countries who have similarly banned Twitter; China and Iran.  Within less than 24 hours  of announcing the ban at a campaign rally Thursday, March 20th  in Bursa, Turkey, it backfired.   According to  the website TwitTurk, more than 500,000 tweets were sent protesting the ban demonstrating how tech-savvy Turks  could work around the shutdown of Twitter.  Newsweek  reported:

According to TechCrunch, which compared Twitter activity in Turkey in the past few days, while the ban does seem to have had some negative effect on the number of tweets coming out of the country, it may have done Erdogan more harm than good in terms of global exposure. Before Thursday, there were about 200 tweets per day around the world that mentioned both “Turkey” and “Twitter.” On Friday, there were more than 80,000.

Globally, Twitter users have begun circulating a poster designed in the style of the Turkish flag but depicting Pac-Man eating Twitter’s bird logo.

President Gul, a co-founder of the AKP  with Premier Erdogan, sent a tweet objecting to the ban saying, “can’t be condoned”.  But then  Gul had signed a law  asserting the government’s control over the internet. The absurd part of Erdogan’s Twitter ban was his own party was poised to roll out  campaign  solicitations for the municipal elections  using the social  media.  The   AKP  deputy premier and Istanbul Mayor were  still using Twitter to communicate.   Lutfi Elvan (no relation to Gezi Park victim Berkin Elvan), the minister for communications , absurdly premised the Twitter ban  on a court ruling related to pornographic pictures.  The  opposition  People’s Republican Party (CHP)  leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the ban was hurting Turkey’s image abroad and his party would seek to overturn it.   The Turkish bar association called the ban illegal and immediately filed a criminal complaint.  Twitter had unnerved Erdogan as the social media became the source of revelations  from release of taped phone calls  to the extent of  family involvement  in money laundering, and interference with the judiciary in the swirl of corruption charges.

Erdogan’s  vain attempt at controlling social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or You Tube  might make a difference in next Sunday’s municipal elections.   His  actions denying free speech and engaging in desperate cover-ups of corruption might  unleash  a massive wave  of Turkish voters going to the polls committed  to cast votes for the opposition. That might reduce the chances of Erdogan doing a kind of ‘Putin –Medeved maneuver’ if a national referendum is passed prior to the 2015  general elections creating an executive Presidency.

Twitter Power in Turkey: the death of Berkin Elvan

The power of Twitter was evident on March 10th with the announcement by the grieving parents of  the passing  of 15 year old  Berkin Elvan using the social media  . They wrote ,” We lost our son. May he rest in peace .” Elvan  had lain in a coma  for 269 days reduced to less than 35 pounds,  after he had suffered a head injury from a tear gas canister fired by riot police during the Gezi Park protests of last June. The irony was that young  Elvan was  mortally injured on his way to purchase food for his family.  The announcement  of Elvan’s death sparked  further protests against Erdogan, as he had ordered the riot police to break up the Gezi Park sit-ins. His passing marked the sixth  death from the breakup of the Gezi  Park sit-in protests.  Those Twitter messages led to  protests by ex-pat Turkish communities organized throughout  the EU and large crowds  that swarmed  to protest rallies in Turkey.  The funeral of Elvan was attended  by thousands.   Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen offered his condolences to the Elvan family. But nothing from Premier Erdogan who had called Gezi park protesters,  “looters”. He referred to Twitter last June as a  “ troublemaker” and in February 2014 as the “robot lobby”.

Erdogan’s  pique at Twitter was because of the corruption scandals revealed  through the social media. Bloomberg  reported :

The tweets targeted by Erdogan are primarily from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastards,” and another called Bascalan or “Prime Thief,” a play on the Turkish term for prime minister.

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in the Yeni Safak newspaper, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, preemptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Twitter has become the weapon of choice seeking to topple tyranny in Turkey.  There are more than 10 million Twitter users in Turkey, a testament to the use of  social media to communicate the news. This  despite the controls imposed on both print and  other electronic media, including state TV channels.  It is the 21st Century equivalent of those computers, video recorders and fax machines sent to Poland from  the US by NGO’s. Using  secret  CIA funds  and Catholic Church support  that allowed Solidarity to  survive the declaration of the martial law regime in 1981. Those electronic devices   got ting the word out  in samizdat publications that  ultimately  defeated  the Communist government and  returned Solidarity’s legal status in 1989.

The Bursa Campaign Rally launch  of the Twitter Ban that failed

Premier Erdogan had earlier castigated  the immorality of Twitter and other social media. On Thursday at a campaign rally in Bursa he launched his failed campaign.  “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”. Within a few hours of the Bursa campaign announcement the ban began in earnest when countrywide access  to Twitter  was  blocked.

The Guardian noted the immediate responses by what it termed  tech savvy Turks:

Thursday was Twitter’s eighth birthday. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s birthday present to the social media giant, and to millions of Turks who use it daily, was to block the site. At about 11.20pm Thursday, those who wanted to use Twitter were greeted by a message from the Telecommunications Presidency referencing a court order that blocked access to it.

Within minutes, detailed methods of bypassing the block by changing DNS numbers and using VPNs were shared via Facebook, WhatsApp and text message. Hashtags using the Turkish for “Twitter Is Blocked in Turkey”, “Turkey Blocked Twitter” and “Dictator Erdo?an” began trending worldwide almost immediately. When the official Turkish account of Twitter tweeted, “Turkish users can send Tweets using SMS” and gave detailed instructions, Turks were already ahead of the game.

The Irish Times noted the swift action by  San Francisco-based Twitter and the resourcefulness of Turkish Twitter users:

Twitter sent out mobile numbers that allowed Turkish consumers to keep using its service. In another technical fix against the ban, Turkish downloads of Hotspot Shield, the world’s most popular virtual private network service, rose to 270,000 on Friday – from a daily average of 7,000.

The Turkish users’ defiance and the sheer scale of their activity suggest no immediate end to the battering Mr. Erdogan has suffered in cyberspace.

Adverse Comments on  Erdogan’s Twitter Ban

Yesterday afternoon, “Twitter’s @Policy account tweeted that the company was opposed to Erdogan’s ban”.  White House press spokesman Jay Carney said called, the Administration was  “deeply concerned”   about Erdogan’s Twitter ban as it undermined Turkish citizens’ “ability to exercise freedom of expression.”

The EUObserver noted these instant tweets:

The EU commissioner on digital affairs, Neelie Kroes, tweeted on Thursday (20 March) that the move “is groundless, pointless, and cowardly. Turkish people and intl [international] community will see this as censorship. It is.”

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, himself a prolific user of the US micro-blogging site, noted: “Erdogan is not only damaging himself, but his entire nation.”

The EU’s former ambassador to Turkey, Marc Pierini, now an analyst at the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels, said: “Turkey is estranging itself from the world.”

Australian  film actor Russell Crowe, appearing in the latest Bible epic, “Noah” tweeted, “Turkey has banned Twitter? That is a terrible decision. I don’t understand it?”

Now, let’s see what further revelations about Erdogan’s corruption will be Tweeted on Tuesday, March 25th.  As  a takeoff  on the radio serial program from my youth, the Shadow, might say, What evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men, only Erdogan knows, and he isn’t telling”.  But Twitter soon might.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured graphic is courtesy of Twitter.

Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Downfall of a Country by Fernando J. Milanes. M.D.

It was not easy. With many diverse factors, interests and ideology at play, our forefathers were able to unanimously agree on a beautiful and simple manuscript, the Declaration of Independence. The words that began the second paragraph of this document became the basis upon which the philosophy of a new country would be built.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

After defeating the English empire under the brilliant direction of George Washington, and the signing of the Constitution, an experiment consisting of a different form of Democracy was started. The success of the United States of America was dependent on the strength of four ideological pillars.

Our Constitution; when the first ten of the twelve proposed amendments of this document, known as the Bill of Rights, were drafted by James Madison its main purpose was to avoid a takeover of individual rights by a central power. This idea of limiting central authority and concentrating it on the citizen was crucial to the success of the system. Power to the States, and separation of federal governance by three equal branches, legislative, judicial and executive would provide checks and balances to the structure. Human folly, including personal ambition was supposed, paraphrasing Madison, to neutralize each other. The success of the US and its democratic approach was highly dependent, explained Alec De Tocqueville, on the wisdom and education of its citizens.

The community; our population was and is based on immigrants. The attraction to come to the U.S. was rooted on the search for freedom and opportunity. Most of the newcomers shared the Judeo-Christian values of the original pilgrims. Freedom to worship, to labor, and to raise a family was central to these original inhabitants. With the initial success of the country, the idea of opportunity for liberty and the pursuit of happiness attracted many that were unable to achieve those in their nation of origin. Our nation’s accomplishments increased with these new arrivals. In addition to a strong family unit, religious support, and schooling, the people were educated by what was supposed to be a fourth power, the press.

Education; the earlier and most important education, came from the family unit, religious advisors and schools. These institutions were in agreement of the importance of love for one another, for our land, work, sacrifice, and helping those in need. As adults the free press gave us facts, many diverse opinions, and demonstrated impartiality in order to help us form an independent opinion, not to manipulate our thoughts. People that achieved, worked hard, and had some luck and entrepreneurship abilities, were able to accumulate riches in our capitalistic economic approach.

Free markets; the economy grew based on free market principles with limited regulations, competition, and incentives for individuals to come up with new and original ideas. There was no limit for achievement, and those who made it were praised and admired and became a source of inspiration as written in the popular Horatio Alger stories of rags to riches.

As described in the Chinese torture of one thousand cuts, our way of life was attacked in a thousand ways, causing inexorable erosion to the four pillars previously described. Our Constitution became old, before our times, needing revision. The separation of powers became a farce, with the legislative branch weak, the judicial dependent and subservient to the executive that appointed them, and a presidency more and more resembling the strong voice that our forefathers feared. Persons with ambition united, instead of cancelling each other as Madison had hoped. Individual liberty has increasingly been defined by the bias of the leaders, thus curtailing the ability to voice an independent opinion.

The family nucleus has been eroded to the extent that marriage, in its symbolic definition, has been eliminated; couples remain together in dwindling numbers, religion beliefs, especially Judeo-Christian, are not respected, and God is eliminated from our teachings.

The press has become, for the most part, a propaganda apparatus in the service of the establishment. The ones that dare to oppose the governing machinery are surreptitiously being attacked by branches of the same government that we elected to represent us.

Our schools and institutions of higher learning are led by teachers that spouse a particular point of view, thus intellectually forming a new youth, with preconceived notions of reality.

Our citizens are mostly uninterested in the electoral process, more and more ignorant, and attracted less by the opportunity to pursuit happiness than the guarantee of receiving it.

A symbiotic relationship between capitalists and politicians has changed our free market system into one where regulations kill initiative, and favors the crony allies of the rulers.

What was decades ago the majority of the population that revered our nation, constitution and way of life, are now defined as extreme, selfish, uneducated and racist. As in Europe, both political parties are of a liberal philosophy, the less extreme called conservatives. Whether this erosion of our way of life has been caused by many diverse circumstances, and/or an inevitable cycle of the rise and falls of civilizations, or, as some belief, under the direction of a single evil force, is debatable.

What are not are the facts, and these are clear, and demonstrate our continuing decline and eventual downfall.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Bear Witness Central.

China is engaged in a Currency War with the US by Frank de Varona

Currency war, also known as competitive devaluation, is a situation where countries compete against each other to achieve a relatively low exchange rate for their own currency. As the price to buy a particularly currency goes down so does the real price of exports from the country. Imports become more expensive and that helps the domestic industry increase sales. Of course, a currency war triggered by one nation could bring retaliatory action by other countries which in turn can lead to a general decline in international trade, harming all countries.

Guido Mantega, the Minister of Finance of Brazil, announced on September 27, 2010, that the world is “in the midst of an international currency war.”  His view was accepted by numerous other government officials and financial journalist from around the world. During this time the United States complained over the evaluation of the yuan in China. The United States accused China of keeping the price its currency artificially low in order to keep United States and other nations exports out of China, thus creating an enormous trade imbalance against the United States and other countries. Of course, the United States was not an innocent bystander since it engaged in massive quantitative easing (QE).

federal reserve printing pressQuantitative easing is the practice in which a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, tries to fight a recession or to stimulate a slow-growing economy by increasing the money supply of the nation. The enormous annual deficits of the federal government in excess of $1 trillion over several years have increased the federal debt to more than $17.3 trillion. Sadly, the real debt of the United States, when one includes the enormous debts of the states, counties, and municipalities as well as the unfunded entitlements of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obama Care, is estimated to be in excess of $150 trillion.

James Rickards, an advisor to the CIA and the Pentagon, wrote Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis (2011) describing the dangerous battlefield of global finance. He pointed out how China is purchasing secretly up to 4,000 tons of gold. Some believe that China has already over 5,000 tons of gold since it is acquiring gold mines throughout the world and continue to purchase secretly more gold. Rickards also wrote on the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds of nations that hate us which may attack the United States financially. Rickards is convinced these two situations are a very real threat to the collapse of the dollar.

James Rickards wrote that the Federal Reserve attempts to prop up economic growth could be devastating for our national security. He argues that a financial attack against the United States could destroy the confidence in the dollar. He believes that the policy of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve would lead to a lack confidence in the dollar which could create chaos in the global financer markets. Rickards argues that we are currently going through a third currency war based on competitive devaluations. He believes that competitive devaluations are in race to the bottom, and those instruments are a sort of warfare. He argues that the continued depreciation and devaluation of the dollar will ultimately lead to a collapse, which will come about through a widespread abandonment of the U.S. dollar.

Rickards explained that the two previous currency wars  ended badly. The first one brought about  the Great Depression and World War II.  It was started when Germany, unable to pay back the enormous war reparations to Great Britain, France and other countries after being defeated in World War I, decided to seriously devalue the German mark. The other countries did the same with their currencies  as well as the United States. Soon high tariffs were imposed and world trade collapsed. The world-wide Great Depression resulted in Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini coming to power in Germany and Italy.

The second currency war of 1971 was started by Charles De Gaulle in France. President Richard Nixon was forced to abandon the gold standard and imposed for a while price controls in order to protect the value of the  dollar. While the outcome of the current currency war is still uncertain, our nation needs to prepare to make certain that our economy and our currency are not destroyed by nations that wish us harm.

Geoff Dyer wrote a book entitled The Contest of the Century: the New Era of Competition with China– and How America Can Win (2014). Dyer is a former British Financial Times newspaper bureau chief in Beijing and who lived in China for many years. He argued that the real currency war for the next few decades is the contest between China and the United States over which currency will prevail as the global currency.

Dyer described in detail the ambitious plan to allow the Chinese currency to play a larger role in the global economy. A HSBC’s Chinese economist stated the following: “We could be on the verge of a financial revolution of truly epic proportions. The world is slowly, but surely, moving from greenbacks to redbacks.” Another Washington-based economist said that the Chinese renminbi could become “the premier reserve currency by the end of this decade, or early next decade.” China has designated Hong Kong and the international place for the world’s new global currency, the renminbi. HSBC predicts that by 2015 at least half of China’s trade with the developing world, approximately $2 trillion, will be in renminbi.

Dyer, explained that the issue of whether the renminbi will supplant the dollar is one of the central contest that will determine the shift of power from the United States to China over the course of the next few decades, a combination of high finance and geopolitics. He wrote that the National Intelligence Council, which publishes the United States government’s official intelligence estimate stated the following: “The fall of the dollar as the global reserve currency… Would be one of the sharpest indication of the loss of the United States global economic position, strongly undermining Washington’s political influence.”

Both China and Russia have announced that they want to destroy the dollar as the global reserve currency. If they were to succeed in displacing the dollar with the Chinese currency, America will no longer be a superpower. Both China and Russia believe that the United States under the Obama administration has become “a paper tiger” and that the United States is a superpower in retreat and decline.

640px-Barack_Obama_Cabinet_Sebelius_Hillary_Clinton_Swine_Flu_5-1Hillary Clinton shortly after she became Secretary of State stated “how do you deal toughly with your banker?” China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world, at around $3.3 trillion. It is estimated that China owns around $2 trillion of United States government’s debt. Never before has the United States depended on a single country’s government for so much financing. Obama’s irresponsible annual deficits and his refusal to reform the entitlements have put our national security in serious danger. Our nation is facing a fiscal abysm.

When the United States announced in 2010 that it wanted to sell more weapons to Taiwan, three generals of the People Liberation Army said that China should retaliate by selling U.S. government debt, which could lead to a sharp rise in the United States interest rates. Reporters have written in Chinese newspaper what they call “the nuclear option”, which is a threat to dump dollar bonds in order to change American policy.

There is no question that China wants to destroy the dollar as an international currency. China’s President Hu Jintao said in 2008 that he wants a “new international financial order that is fair, just, inclusive and orderly.” Dyer explained that by the end of 2012, around 15% of China’s trade was being conducted in renminbi. He wrote that one Chinese academic said that ending the dominance of the dollar is as important for China’s ability to project power as was China become a nuclear power.

During the 2007 war games in Russia, with the leaders of the military alliance the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations in attendance, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russian strategic bombers were going to resume regular long-range patrols for the first time since the Cold War. Putin said the following: “Our pilots have been grounded for too long. They are happy to start a new life.”  Iran is not yet a member of this alliance. It is an observer nation. An Iranian official said at the meeting that “the SCO is a good venue for designating a new banking system which is independent from the international banking systems.” The Russian leader stated the following: “We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem, Russia will take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress. The world is seeing the emergence of a qualitatively different geopolitical situation, with the emergence of new centers of economic growth and political influence.”

Geoff Dyer wrote the following: “There certainly is no shortage of reasons for thinking that the United States could be heading for the sort of crisis that would shake the foundation of the dollar era. The litany is a familiar one– high debt levels, chronic budget deficits, political gridlock, spiraling entitlement spending, and crumbling infrastructure… It is not completely out of the question that the United States will suffer a financial convulsion. The downgrading of the United States government debt by Standard and Poor’s was a stark warning about the potential erosion of the confidence in the dollar. Ever since then, Washington has been living from one budget crisis to another.”

Conclusion

President Barack Obama and Congress need to put rapidly our financial house in order. Failure to do so will create hyperinflation, increased unemployment and a possible economic recession. Our nation needs to move aggressively to reduce government spending and our federal debt in order to protect the value of the dollar. China will surpass the U.S. economy in the next few years and China will continue working together with Russia to replace the dollar as the world’s international currency. Our nation needs to act now and reform all entitlement programs since all of them are unsustainable in the long-term. The United States  needs start living within its means.

One of 3 articles on China:

2. How China and America See Each Other

3. Is China a Gathering Threat to our National Security?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of the banner of the Wuchang uprising (zh:武昌起义) of October 10, 1911, subsequently used as the flag of the army of the Republic of China, ca. 1913-1928. It appears on many varieties of Chinese currency issued during the 1910’s and 1920’s.  This image shows a variant of the flag with 18 yellow dots. This column originally appeared on Bear Witness Central.

Open Letter to Florida Power and Light CEO James L. Robo on Smart Meters

The Memory Hole blog published an open letter by James F. Tracy to James Robo, CEO of FP&L concerning its push to install smart meters on all of the homes of its customers. Memory Hole reports, “The letter below was sent to Florida Power and Light Chairman/CEO James L. Robo this week upon reviewing FPL’s policy to ‘opt out’ of Smart Meter technology for an ‘enrollment fee’ and subsequent monthly payments. Such payments amount to mob-style extortion that utility customers are forced to pay, simply to remain free from potential harassment or harm.”

James L. Robo
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Next Era Energy / Florida Power and Light
700 Universe Boulevard
Juno Beach, Florida 33408

Dear Mr. James L. Robo,

I am writing with regard to the “Smart Meter” appliance that your company, Next Era Energy / Florida Power and Light (NEE/FPL; NYSE: NEE) placed on my home and households throughout my Boca Raton neighborhood in April 2011, and your present bid for my family to “opt out” of exposure to such technology. As you are likely aware, after doing extensive research on the device and its implications for privacy and human health, in addition to conducting periodic measurements with my HF35-C RF Analyzer, I discovered how your Smart Meter apparatus was discharging microwave radiation on my family (which includes small children) in excess of 10,000 microwatts per square meter every thirty-to-ninety seconds. I requested that NEE/FPL remove the meter. NEE/FPL complied only after being repeatedly telephoned and furnished with my own observations delivered via certified mail and accompanied by copious scientific research that such “Smart Meter” technology poses a serious health hazard and privacy-related concerns (hereherehere, and here).

Yet Mr. Robo, as you are aware, even with this knowledge you have consciously chosen to act in a grossly irresponsible fashion by maintaining that the meters in question are safe, and have proceeded to keep them on millions of NEE/FPL customers’ homes throughout Florida without their awareness or express consent. This flagrant act demonstrated to such a manifold degree arguably constitutes fraud, negligence, and reckless endangerment on a truly astounding scale.

NOTE: An important interview with Take Back Your Power documentary producer Josh Del Sol:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ozwCHuW0Clg[/youtube]

In your most recent paraphernalia to customers you disingenuously assert that there are “no credible studies” concluding that “Smart Meter” radiation is dangerous to human health. As you are well aware, the body of research on the negative health effects of microwave RF dates to the 1960s and consists of several thousand military and scholarly scientific studies. In fact, the only studies that lack credibility and defy basic scientific standards are those commissioned by NEE/FPL and its peer utilities throughout North America to avert public concern over such risks.

Mr. Robo, as a Harvard Man twice over one might conclude that you hold scientific inquiry and proof thereof in high regard. Your irresponsible conduct in this matter suggests that any such intellectual training is not only placed in abeyance but wholly betrayed. Moreover, your most recent proposition to allow families to “opt out” for a fee of what is essentially a gigantic scientific experiment is tantamount to mob-style extortion.

I will appreciate the opportunity of meeting and conversing with you in person so that you may explain to me whether you have a “Smart Meter” attached to your office, living room, or bedroom wall, as so many of your customers’ families do. I am also interested to know how you are able to proceed with a clear conscience given that you are presiding over such a dangerous health-related trial that will almost certainly cause countless health problems and an overall deteriorating quality of life on unsuspecting millions.

An honest Fourth Estate vigorously airing the perils of the technology you have unilaterally mandated for every single Florida resident might result in a far more circumspect if not hostile citizenry. Such inattention by the press has allowed you to successfully bamboozle the Florida Public Utility Commission into approving the widescale deployment of this dangerous system and the uncertain effort to allow customers to “opt out.”

If the “Smart Meter” technology you stipulate were really safe and beneficial, your customer base would be clamoring to pay the $95.00 initiation and $13.00 monthly fee to “opt in” to the “Smart Grid.” Yet because the technology is unproven, hazardous, and perhaps even useless you must foist it on your customers without their knowledge and then proceed to confuse them, even as you disingenuously offer the option to say, “No.”

Mr. Robo, I once again offer you my emphatic “No!” “No!” to the fraud, “No!” to the guile, “No!” to the invasion of privacy, and “No!” to the assault on my family’s health that your outrageous and unfounded technology poses.

Sincerely,

James F. Tracy

Blue State Blues

Two headlines on Tuesday, March 18, are bound to give Democrats across the country a really bad case of heartburn. The Washington Free Beacon headline read: “Born to Run Away From High Taxes,” while a New York Times headline read, “Businessman Wins Republican Primary for Governor in Illinois.”

The Free Beacon story details the extent to which “New Jersey’s high taxes may be costing the state billions of dollars a year in lost revenue as high earning residents flee (the state).” According to the Free Beacon story, the study,” titled Exodus on the Parkway, was completed last year by Regent Atlantic, of Morristown, New Jersey, but held for publication until after the 2013 elections. The study stated it intentionally withheld its results because 2014 is not an election year for state legislators… and the dire findings of the study would “hopefully encourage a serious and objective dialogue aimed at addressing and solving the challenges that New Jersey currently faces.”

The study found that, since the Democrat-controlled legislature passed the “millionaire’s tax” in 2004, signed into law by Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey, New Jersey has been steadily losing high-net-worth residents. That ill-advised and counter-productive approach to revenue enhancement, which presupposes that the rich will just sit still forever and allow themselves to be taxed back into the middle class, or worse, imposed a 41 percent increase in the state income tax on those with annual incomes of $500,000, or more.

Lacking the capacity to understand basic economic principles, and having no ability to learn from their mistakes, New Jersey Democrats have continued to push for even higher taxes on the wealthy. Under threat of veto by a tough-minded Republican governor, Chris Christie, they have failed on three successive attempts.

According to the Regent Atlantic study, New Jersey collects $10 billion annually in personal income taxes, $4.2 billion of which is paid in by just one percent of the population. Before the millionaire’s tax was enacted, the aggregate net worth of New Jersey residents increased by $98 billion over a four year period. However, in the four year period following the tax increase, 70 percent of that aggregate increase in net worth has fled the state. Because New Jersey residents have learned how to vote with their feet, the state lost taxable income of $5.5 billion in 2010 alone because residents moved to more tax-friendly states.

However, it’s not just the wealthy that New Jersey Democrats wish to bilk in their never-ending quest to buy enough votes to maintain themselves in power. Democrats in the legislature have also proposed a five-cent-per-gallon increase in the gasoline tax, a tax on water consumption, a tax on plastic bags, a tax on plastic water bottles, and yet another increase in the income tax. These are increases that would damage everyone who lives in or drives through the Garden State.

Apparently New Jersey Democrats believe that they have reached nirvana when a majority of the people are on food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, and workman’s compensation, while the state confiscates 100 percent of the incomes and assets of those foolish enough to continue working… those for whom a job offer in Detroit would look like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Some 800 miles to the west, in Illinois, the state that currently resembles Detroit more than any other, wealthy private equity manager, Bruce Rauner, has won the Republican nomination for governor. Rauner, who spent $6 million of his own money in a four-way race for the GOP nomination, won 40.1% of the vote in defeating three better known GOP candidates, all long-time GOP officials in Springfield.

If Rauner is elected… and it looks as if he has the right stuff to get the job done… he will be taking on the toughest job of any Republican governor in the nation. Illinois is, after all, an economic basket-case, the worst run, most corrupt state in the nation.

On January 12, 2011, Investors Business Journal reported that the State of Illinois faced a budget deficit of $15 billion, “equivalent to more than half the state’s general fund.” According to the report, “(Illinois) officials warned that state government might not be able to pay its employees. It certainly would fall further behind in paying the businesses, charities, and schools that provide services on the state’s behalf.”

In response to that economic tsunami, the Governor of Illinois, Democrat Pat Quinn, and the Illinois legislature, controlled by Democrats (35-24 in the Senate and 64-54 in the House), developed a response that only a bunch of Democrats would see as a viable solution. In the midst of a major national recession they increased personal income taxes by 66% and corporate taxes by 46%, increases that were expected to produce an additional $6.8 billion per year… assuming, of course, that every employer then in Illinois, would remain in Illinois.

A year later, the Illinois Comptroller’s Office estimated that the backlog of unpaid bills was nearly $8 billion… and this after Democrats in Springfield placed a crushing load of new taxes on the shoulders of taxpayers and corporations.

Reactions were predictable. According to the Journal, neighboring states immediately began plotting to “lure business away from Illinois.” Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) said, “Years ago, Wisconsin had a tourism advertising campaign targeted to Illinois with the motto, ‘Escape to Wisconsin.’ Today we renew that call to Illinois businesses, ‘Escape to Wisconsin.’ You are welcome here.”

Then-Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) said, “It’s like living next door to the ‘Simpsons’ – you know, the dysfunctional family down the block.” Gov. Daniels may have mixed a metaphor. To say that living next door to Illinois is like living next door to the Adams Family may have been a more apt comparison.

But now it appears that Republicans are about to field a candidate with some business sense who is not afraid to tell the people of Illinois what they need to hear, while Democrats continue to insist on telling them whatever is necessary to get their votes on Election Day. And while union leaders in Illinois could not have failed to notice that their state is now surrounded by states where right-to-work was once thought to be impossible… Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin… right-to-work is probably not something that will happen in Illinois until a hard-nosed Republican governor can make Republicanism respectable everywhere in the state except in America’s most corrupt city… Chicago.

Bruce Rauner may be that man. According to the Times story, Rauner has already angered the public sector unions. He has criticized union leaders, advocated charter schools, and suggested that recent reforms in the public employee pension system… with unfunded liabilities of about $80 billion… were far too timid.

Never in American history has a political party been as vulnerable to resounding defeat as is the Democrat Party in 2014. The only thing the Republican Party needs is leadership. With John Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House, with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Minority Leader of the Senate, and with Eric Cantor (R-VA) as House Majority Leader, the GOP is in great danger of wasting the opportunity to literally devastate the Democratic Party. Never before have there been three political leaders more capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Although most pundits agree that Republicans will maintain their majority in the House of Representatives, many hedge their bets by saying that the party could actually lose a few seats in the House. I believe the Republicans will maintain their majority in the House, picking up an additional five to ten seats in the process.

In the Senate, most pundits hedge their bets by predicting that Republicans have a shot at taking control, but with a slim majority of only one or two seats. I believe that those predictions are far too conservative and fail to take into account the foul mood of the American people and the intense unpopularity of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans have 15 Senate seats at stake. I believe Republicans will retain all of those seats. On the other hand, the Democrats have 21 seats at stake, only eight of which are all but certain to remain in Democrat hands. The remaining 13 seats are either leaning heavily Republican or are vulnerable to Republican takeover. A net gain of 10 seats by the GOP is not outside the realm of possibility.

All we need are leaders and candidates who are willing to take the battle to the enemy in a most forceful and straightforward way. At a recent rally in Illinois, Bruce Rauner shouted, “Let’s shake up Springfield! Let’s go get ‘em!” Republicans should never doubt that we have the people and the issues on our side. And if we can get Republicans across the country to adopt that same rallying cry, to say, “Let’s shake up America! Let’s go get ‘em!” we can win a victory in November that will make the Republican Revolution of 1994 pale by comparison.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured map is courtesy of Theshibboleth. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Can America Survive Obama?

After a series of events that continue the decline of America’s global reputation along with increasing questions about the level of Obama administration corruption within the Internal Revenue Service, these and other factors lead inevitably to the question of whether America can survive Barack Hussein Obama.

By March 12, a Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll indicated that Obama’s popularity had declined to an all-time low with 48% approval versus 54% disapproval. This is unchanged from December when the Obamacare rollout dominated the news. The rate of disapproval among Democrats stands at 20%.

The question of survival might sound absurd under normal circumstances, but there has not been anything “normal” about Obama’s first term in which he lied repeatedly to Americans to secure the passage of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—and then claimed that what he and Congressional Democrats said was an inadvertent misstatement of the facts. His namesake legislation has been a disaster from the beginning. Nothing about it works and it costs more while destroying the healthcare insurance system.

And he has continued to lie to the point where anyone above the age of five has concluded that nothing he says can be trusted. So, if he weren’t President, he could be fired, but he can’t. He can be impeached, but he won’t because Republicans tried that with Bill Clinton and it failed. So that leaves only the forthcoming November midterm elections as a means to curb his further destruction of the economy and all other aspects of life in America.

It is useful to keep in mind that Americans have survived hard times, from the long Revolutionary War to the Civil War through many financial crises and, of course, the Great Depression in the last century. In these and other hard times, many suffered, but the nation was sustained.

I know the headlines out of Wall Street continue to be good. The bankers and the investment crowd know how to turn a dollar, but there are scores of opinion pieces saying that the collapse of the dollar is eminent or that another financial crisis like the one in 2008 is just around the corner. For the record, the banks that survived that crisis, the ones that were “too big to fail”, were not only bailed out with taxpayer dollars, but paid it back and thereafter enjoyed enormous profits thanks to a Federal Reserve that charged no interest on the money it loans them.

On March 6, Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger opined that “Putin Carterizes Obama, Totally.” I remember Jimmy Carter mostly for the lines I had to wait in to get gas for my car. Then there was the seizure of American diplomats in Tehran, Iran in 1979. Every day since then the Iranians wake up crying out “Death to America. Death to Israel” and they mean it. So with whom is Barack Obama and his idiot Secretary of State, John Kerry, “negotiating”? The same Iranians. You know, the ones who were shipping dozens of Syrian-made surface-to-surface rockets to the Palestinians in Gaza until the Israelis boarded the ship in the Red Sea last week and put a stop to that. The same ones he relieved of the sanctions regarding their nuclear weapons program.

What makes me ask the question about survival is the way the ideologies that Obama believes—Communism, Islam, and his ability to influence other nations—blind him to reality. Thinking that diplomacy will get the Iranians to stop their quest to build their own nuclear weapons isn’t just stupid, it’s insane.

It’s the same with his views of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Having “re-set” the former Cold War relationship with Russia, Obama has just discovered that Putin has not. Given the political turmoil in Ukraine, Putin did what all of his predecessors did for hundreds of years; he decided to take control of the Crimea. Why not? Russia has essential shipping ports there and some airfields. The Crimea was part of Russia for hundreds of years. Putin knows that Obama will not go to war over these events. He wouldn’t even take on Syria when it used poison gas.

While Russian troops were moving into Crimea, the President had his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, announce reductions in the Pentagon budget that would reduce our military power to pre-World War Two days. Last week, China announced it was going to increase its military budget 12.2% within a week or so of the U.S. announcement it was reducing its military budget to pre-World War Two levels.

Obama’s weakness and his policies that weaken America economically and militarily have not gone unnoticed around the world.

It’s hard to win wars with stateless fascist Muslims that call themselves al Qaeda and other names. Throughout the Middle East, despite their increase in numbers, the states there are trying to fight them. The Taliban will regain Afghanistan about a week after we leave while Egypt has allied with Russia after Obama backed the Muslim Brotherhood. A third of Iraq is now controlled by al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates just withdrew its ambassadors from Qatar for backing the Muslim Brotherhood. It is home to al Jazeera, the television channel.

At home the Environmental Protection Agency continues to play havoc with the economy and, in particular, our need for electricity with its “war on coal.” It is undertaking a regulatory storm to control all aspects of our lives.

The question of whether America can survive Obama is not inconsequential.

He’s all for same-sex marriage, the legalizing of marijuana, and forcing people to violate their strong moral and religious convictions. He keeps talking about jobs but there are millions unemployed and millions on government welfare programs. The nation’s economy has gotten worse since Obama was elected in 2008 to fix it. And he prefers to rely on executive orders than to work with Congress.

Elections have consequences. Let’s hope the voters keep that in mind in November.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

COMMON CORE ACTION ALERT: Making Phone Calls Does “Make a Difference”!

I can tell you first hand that making these calls makes a huge difference as I just spent a good 15 minutes on the phone speaking to Robert Schulte (Assistant to Kim McDougal – Governor Rick Scott’s Education Policy Coordinator).

Call the Governor’s office at: (850) 717-9376 and you can speak directly to Robert, like I just did.

Robert Schulte was as professional, helpful and congenial as anyone could ask for. I picked his brain. I told him what I have done to fight Common Core these past 10 months; asked him some very pertinent questions about Common Core – with the most important one being: “Do phone calls like the one I am making to you, really matter and are they being recorded?” Robert answered my question by telling me: “Willy, every single call that we get in this office is tracked. We make notes as to what the call was about; what the topic was; and if it was a negative or positive call – in terms of an issue…such as Common Core”.

In case of phone calls about Common Core – which is the most talked about issue in Tallahassee right now – Robert told me that every single comment from callers are tracked and forwarded to Kim McDougal then, compiled and forwarded to the governor, himself. So, every call that we make, matters. Especially when they are “Calls Complaining about Common Core” – the “4 C’s. Those calls are tracked, counted and accounted for. So, PLEASE MAKE THESE PHONE CALLS!!! The more “negative” calls that the governor’s office receives about Common Core – the more of a chance we have in “reversing the Curse“. That is one reason why Governor Scott threw PARCC out of Florida several months ago. If we can put enough pressure on Governor Scott – he may just throw out Common Core once and for all…and he’s got a good throwing arm.

The most important topic that Robert and I spoke about was the “Elections in November”, as we all know that Governor Scott needs every single vote that he can muster. And, cutting to the chase, I asked Robert a simple question: “How important is Governor Scott’s decision to either implement Common Core in the state of Florida or to drop Common Core, altogether in regards to him being re-elected?” Knowing that we constituents hold Governor’s Scott’s votes, Robert told me that this controversy of Common Core weighs very heavy on whether Rick Scott will be re-elected. Friends: I know for a fact that this Common Core issue will either make or break Governor Scott and will be the determining factor of whether he gets another term as our governor of Florida.

So, please make these phone calls because they count…just like every one of our votes.

ACTION ITEM: HOW MUCH WILL COMMON CORE COST YOU?

Posted by Vic Cirillo

There has never been a fiscal study of how much it will cost to implement Common Core. No one really knows how much it will cost your local school district to implement CC. A few years ago the feds bribed Florida with “Race to the Top” money to get our politicians to agree to implement Common Core, but guess what? The Race to the Top money is almost gone so Common Core costs will have to be covered with new money. Is Tallahassee going to start giving more money to the schools? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Most likely new expenses will be unfunded mandates that your local school district will have to cover and they probably don’t have the money to do so. That means they will have to cut something else or get more taxes from you, all to implement an education curriculum whose merits have been shrouded in secrecy. Good public policy is done in the sunlight, not in secrecy. Florida has been conned, we need to tell our elected officials to back out of Common Core. The mood in Tallahassee is that many of our legislators are on the fence and they need to know that we the citizens don’t want liberal, ham-fisted, D.C. central planner’s data mining our kids and gaming the lesson plans to teach them to be good little servants of the state. These are OUR schools, the schools WE pay for, the schools WE elect school board members to govern, the schools WE and our neighbors send our children to, the FLORIDA schools, not the federal schools.

Legislative Subterfuge

Common Core Opponents just returning from Tallahassee report that after meetings with members of the House and Senate Education Committees on the issue of Common Core those legislators and their staff were all working off the same talking points to sidetrack and confuse those opposing Common Core, including the Governor’s office. The Florida Department of Education recently made minor adjustments to Common Core and Rep. Janet Adkins and the K-12 Subcommittee passed a bill (PCB TKS 14-01) , that removes references to Common Core and changes the name to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards or Florida Standards. Remember that last year our Florida legislators redefined the term Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to include Common Core. This is just a change in semantics with no change in implementation. After just a couple of meetings, it would have been laughable if weren’t so sad that they actually think we will be fooled by their subterfuge. Despite minor changes to the standards and a new name, Common Core Standards are still moving forward in Florida.

SB 864 and HB 921 are end around bills designed to make the public believe they oppose Federal intrusion and Common Core standards (see below). If all the textbooks we have to choose from are aligned to Common Core, and the students’ tests will be based on Common Core, and schools and teachers will be graded on their students’ tests, there is still no choice for school districts but Common Core aligned curriculum, most of which is produced by Pearson PLC and the College Board.

Senate President Don Gaetz and Speaker Will Weatherford told us in person that these are the bills they support and they will not allow SB 1316 and HB 25 to be heard in Committee: Why Not? Because, Debby Mayfield’s bill HB 25, is the only bill that actually will stop Common Core, and they know it.

HB 25 is Representative Debbie Mayfield’s Stop Common Core bill. Its first committee stop is the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee chaired by Representative Eric Fresen. So far he is refusing to schedule the bill for a committee hearing. Call him at 850-717-5114 and demand that he schedule the bill for a hearing.

Representative Marlene O’Toole is Chair of the House Education committee. Call her at 850-717-5033 and tell her you support HB25 and want it heard in her committee.

SB1316 by Senator Evers is the Senate companion bill to HB25. Senator John Legg is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Call Senator Legg at 850-487-5017 and tell him you support SB1316 and want it scheduled for a hearing in his committee.

Finally, call the Governor’s Education Policy Coordinator, Kim McDougal at 850-717-9376. You will get her assistant, Robert Schulte. Tell him you want to speak to Kim McDougal. He will want to take a message for her. Tell him to tell his boss, that her boss, the Governor, will pay a high price at the polls in November if he continues with the implementation of Common Core.

We must not go quietly! We must not go down without a fight! CALL TODAY!

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of Holger.Ellgaard. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Obamacare Victims: 50 States, 50 Stories

David Rutz from the Washington Free Beacon reports, “Whether it’s been soaring premiums, insurance cancellations, frustrations with the state and federal exchanges, cutting employee hours or even day care centers closing down, the Affordable Care Act’s negative effects have touched all 50 states. Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) saw it a different way in a strange outburst on the floor Feb. 26, calling all Obamacare horror stories ‘lies’ and ‘stories made up from whole cloth.’”

Here are 50 states worth of Harry Reid’s liars.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/gFDm0mGhcdg[/youtube]

 

RELATED STORY: John Goodman: ObamaCare’s Fourth Anniversary—A Costly Failed Experiment – Wall Street Journal

Common Core opponents under attack by big business

Recently we reported about Common Core and shared this enlightening video regarding the government’s attempt to mandate education standards.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/PprP5TCZBRI[/youtube]

Common Core has run into very strong grassroots opposition and has become a focal issue for the conservative grassroots Tea Party. However, Common Core supporters, backed by big business special interests, aren’t going down without a fight. And they’ll fight in the manner they know best — with big money.

According to Politico, a coalition including the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will launch a national advertising blitz Sunday targeted at Republicans skeptical about the standards. Spots promoting the Common Core will air on Fox News and other conservative outlets.

The campaign — a major ad buy that could last months — aims to undercut dire tea party warnings that the standards amount to a federal power grab, akin to Obamacare. The TV spots and online ads will project a positive tone, featuring teachers praising the Common Core.

I spent a year teaching American and world history as well as honors government in high school after my retirement from the Army. I can attest that what is happening in our schools is not teaching but rather instructing on test-taking strategies. We are not preparing young people to be productive participants in our communities, developing their critical thinking skills or making education relevant.

It’s all because bureaucrats and those who profit from them are developing standards — national standards — that seem to forget one integral aspect of education: it is local. We have school boards for a reason and that’s to set standards and guidelines that educate children in coordination with the local community.

For example, you might think that since South Florida is home to maritime heavy industry, education would focus on preparing our children here for that industry. And why wouldn’t the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce support more private sector involvement in practical application of education to support the theory taught? Evaluations should be based on skill set development, not nebulous and arbitrary standards developed by folks just peddling their wares, textbooks and such.

The bottom line is that big business has been recruited by Common Core proponents to destroy the grassroots, everyday Americans. And they intend to use their financial might to meet that end.

Dane Linn, vice president of the Business Roundtable and one of the architects of the Common Core says “State leaders, and the general public, need to understand why employers care about the Common Core.” The Business Roundtable, he said, is urging members to work their connections with “governors, committee chairs, House speakers, presidents of Senates” to stop any bills that could undercut the standards.

Mr. Linn needs to understand why parents care about Common Core.

And so it begins folks, the fight between big business and the grassroots. As I’ve said before, progressivism has nothing to do with party affiliation. It’s all about a philosophy of governance and the relation between government and the individual.

It is not the purview of the federal government to nationalize education standards. Nor is it proper for the federal government to blackmail states into accepting their terms of education. And it’s certainly not proper for big business to seek to financially crush the voices of concerned parents and teachers.

Neither I, nor my wife, Dr. Angela Graham-West, PhD, support common core. And I offer a word of advice to Republican candidates: listen to the people, and resist the temptation to betray them over the 30 pieces of silver these special interest groups promise. You will lose. I for one am more than willing and ready to stand up to Big Business as a champion for the American people.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The featured photo is of The United States Chamber of Commerce headquarters at 1615 H Street, NW in Washington, D.C. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: AgnosticPreachersKid at en.wikipedia.