Washington Shame Game: Dumb Things Politicians Say

The first edition of the game that tests viewer knowledge of shameful things officials say. How good is your knowledge of the shameful statements by elected officials?… test yourself here:

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EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured image was originally taken by Anthony Easton. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Slogans or Science? Regression toward the meme in the minimum wage debate by Sandy Ikeda

The debate over raising the legal minimum wage (LMW) to $10 an hour has people on both sides saying things they should know better than to say. For example, a friend recently posted the following meme (which isn’t the worst I’ve seen) on Facebook:

One year ago this week, San Jose decided to raise its minimum wage to $10/hour.

Any jobs disappear?

The number of minimum wage jobs has grown.

Any businesses collapse?

The number of businesses has grown.

Any questions?

Yes, several, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

Memes like these are just as silly and misleading as the simplistic arguments they’re probably attacking. In fact, the economic analysis of significantly raising the minimum wage says that, other things equal, it will reduce employment below the level where it would otherwise have been. It doesn’t say that that employment will fall absolutely or businesses will collapse.

A little thinking can go a long way

Have a look at this chart published in the Wall Street Journal. At first, it seems to support the simplistic slogans. But it’s important to compare similar periods, such as March–November 2012 (before the increase was passed) versus March–November 2013, (just after it went into effect). The LMW increase wasn’t a surprise, so in the months before it was passed, businesses would have been preparing for it, shaking things up. Comparing those two periods, which makes the strongest case for the meme’s assertions, the total percentage increase in employment (the area under the red line) looks pretty close, going just by my eyeballs and a calculator. In fact, the post-hike increase might actually be smaller, but you’d need more data to be sure. So if you compare similar periods, the rate of employment growth seems not to have been affected very much by the hike. So is the meme right?

According to that same chart and other sources, hiring in the rest of California and the country, where for the most part there was no dramatic increase in the LMW, was also on the rise at pretty much the same time. Why? Apparently, the growth rate of the U.S. economy jumped in 2012, especially in California. So the demand for inputs, including labor, probably also increased. I’m certainly not saying this correlation is conclusive, but you could infer that while hiring in San Jose was rising, it wasn’t rising as fast as it might have otherwise, given the generally improving economy.

That’s a more ambiguous result, and of course harder to flit into a meme.

You are stupid and evil and a liar!

Those strongly in favor of raising the LMW cast opponents as Republican apologists for big business. Take this post from DailyKos, which apparently is the source of the above meme. The author writes, “Empirically, there’s no clear negative effect that can be discerned. The concerns of Teahadists like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio is [sic] rather unfounded in academic literature and in international assessments of natural experiments.”

Now, the overwhelming conclusion of years of economic research on the effects of a minimum wage on employment is that it tends to increase, not lower, unemployment. As this article from Forbes summarizes, “In a comprehensive, 182-page summary of the research on this subject from the last two decades, economists David Neumark (UC-Irvine) and William Wascher (Federal Reserve Board) determined that 85 percent of the best research points to a loss of jobs following a minimum wage increase.”

So, saying there is “no clear negative effect” is an outrageously ignorant claim. And there’s not one mention of the economic evidence that significantly raising the LMW will hurt the very people you wish to help: the relatively poor. But why address solid scientific research when there’s sloppy sloganeering by politicos to shoot down?

Attacking easy targets is understandable if you want to vilify your opponents or win an easy one for the cause. In that case, you take the dumbest statement by your rival as the basis of your attack. Such is the way of politics. In intellectual discourse, however, you may win the battle but you’ll lose the war. That is, if your goal is to learn from fruitful intellectual discussion, you must engage your opponent’s best arguments, not her weakest ones.

Let me use a counterexample. The sloganeering approach to attacking those who oppose raising the LMW is the equivalent of someone saying: “Well, this past winter was one of the coldest on record in the Midwest. So much then for global warming!” That may be “evidence” in a mud-slinging contest, but it’s not science.

What’s the theory?

While weather is complex and unpredictable, economic systems are even more so. Does that mean there are no principles of economics? Of course not. In fact, it’s because of such complexity that we need whatever help economic theory can offer to organize our thinking. And it doesn’t get any more basic than this: The demand curve for goods slopes downward.

That is, other things equal, the costlier something is, the less of it you’ll want to buy.

Note that the caveat—other things equal—is as important as the inverse relation between price and quantity demanded. That’s why my earlier back-of-the-envelope analysis had to be conditional on more data. Unfortunately, those data are often very hard to get. Does that mean we abandon the theory? Well, that would be like letting go of the rope you’re hanging on to for dear life because you’re afraid it might break.

So what exactly is the theory behind the idea that raising the LMW will increase hiring low-wage workers and boost business? If raising wages will actually increase employment and output, then why not also mandate a rise in interest rates, rents, electricity rates, oil prices, or the price of any of the other myriad factors of production that businesses ordinarily have to pay for? I would hope that this idea would give even the meme promoters pause.

As far as I know, the only situation in which forcing people to pay a higher wage rate will increase employment is when there is a dominant employer and there are barriers to competition. Economists term this “monopsony,” a situation that might occur in a so-called “factory town.” There, the dominant employer (of labor, capital, land, or whatever) can lower what she pays for inputs below the revenue that an additional unit of input earns the company. I would love to hear that argument and challenge it, because it’s the strongest one that standard economics can offer in favor of coercing businesses to raise wages. But so far I’ve not come across it, let alone any discussion of the economic literature on monopsony in the labor market, most of which questions its relevance. Some almost random examples are here and here.

Margins of analysis

Finally, economics teaches us that we can adjust to a particular change in different ways. In a thoughtful article on the effect of the LMW increase in San Jose that all sides of the debate should read, we get the following anecdote:

For his San Jose stores to make the same profit as before the wage increase, the same combo meal would be $6.75. “That would chase off a large percentage of my customers,” Mr. DeMayo said. He hasn’t laid off San Jose workers but has reduced their hours, along with some maintenance such as the drive-through lane’s daily hosing, and may close two unprofitable stores.

Employers can adjust to higher costs in one area by cutting back on spending in others. That might mean less unemployment than otherwise, but it doesn’t mean that raising the LMW has no negative employment effect at all. It means that the effects are harder to see. There’s that darn “other things being equal” again!

Slogans and memes are no substitute for science, or even clear thinking.

ABOUT SANDY IKEDA

Sandy Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminars “People Aren’t Pawns” and “Are Markets Just?

School Choice: Historic developments in KS, FL, AZ, as other states play defense by Leslie Hiner

Alabama – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Alabama Accountability Act on grounds that the school choice program contained within the Act violated equal protection. The Southern Poverty Law Center had filed a lawsuit contending that its clients, students in “failing” public schools, were unable to take advantage of the program because they do not live near a non-failing public school or a participating private school, and, thus, no student in the state should have the ability to participate in the program. The judge issued his opinion stating:

“The requested remedy is arguably mean: Withdraw benefits from those students who can afford to escape non-failing schools. The only remedy requested thus far would leave the plaintiffs in exactly the same situation to which they are currently subject, but with the company of their better-situated classmates. The equal protection requested is, in effect, equally bad treatment.”

In 2013, the Alabama Supreme Court blocked a challenge to the Accountability Act. A separate lawsuit from the Alabama Education Association is still pending in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

On April 1, the Alabama Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee passed HB 558 that would have amended the Alabama Accountability Act to lift the cap on individual donations and expand the types of entities that could contribute to scholarship granting organizations. The bill died when the Senate adjourned sine die without taking up the bill.

Alaska – Michael Chartier @Mchart1

The legislative session in Alaska was dubbed “The Education Session” by Gov. Sean Parnell (R), and it certainly lived up to that name. The legislation that most interested the Friedman Foundation was Senate Joint Resolution 9, a constitutional amendment that would have removed sections of the state’s Blaine amendment, allowing for a universal voucher system. Unfortunately for the people of Alaska, that amendment did not make it through the legislature. However, the bright spot on the horizon was in the education funding bill. It contained a corporate tax credit for donations to private and religious schools. It is the Friedman Foundation’s hope that money could be used for scholarships for students. Please see our previous coverage of Alaska’s education funding bill for more information on that unique proposal.

Arizona – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

April 23 was a day of victories and defeats for school choice. Here is a summary of significant legislation:

  • Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed into law HB 2150, which will allow children of active duty military families to enroll in the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program upon being stationed in Arizona; no prior Arizona public school enrollment is necessary.
  • Gov. Brewer signed into law HB 2139, which expanded the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to include siblings of current ESA recipients and children with disabilities who are eligible to enroll in a preschool program.
  • Gov. Brewer vetoed SB 1048, which would have allowed chapter S corporations to contribute to Arizona’s corporate tax-credit scholarship program.
  • The Senate defeated SB 1236, which would have expanded the ESA to include children living in ZIP Codes where the average income is 185 percent of poverty or less; children of various emergency services personnel and siblings of current scholarship recipients would also have been eligible. It is estimated that more than 100,000 children would have become eligible. A similar bill, HB 2291, was defeated in the House on April 17.
  • The House passed HB 2328 and sent the bill to Gov. Brewer. This bill removes the requirement that children with disabilities who qualify for Lexie’s Law scholarships must first attend an Arizona public school to qualify for a scholarship. The bill was signed by Gov. Brewer on May 5.

A week later, Gov. Brewer signed into law HB 1237, which added clarifying language to the existing ESA program. Some of the new specifications include:

  1. requiring parents to use a portion of funding for the child’s current educational needs,
  2. specifying that an individual or facility accredited by a state, regional, or national accrediting organization may provide teaching/tutoring service,
  3. clarifying that only children with disabilities may use the ESA for certain therapies, and
  4. improving the funding formula.

Florida – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill, April 11, to expand the existing tax-credit scholarship program and a new Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program for students with special needs, similar to Arizona’s ESA program. The expansion to the tax-credit scholarship program included increasing the per-student funding amount, increasing student eligibility by raising the limit on household income, and providing eligibility to students in kindergarten and first grade and siblings of students already in the program. Check out our legislative update for more details of the bill.

Kansas – Michael Chartier @Mchart1

Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a school funding bill into law, April 21, that included a provision creating a corporate tax-credit scholarship program. This development ushered Kansas into the school choice club as the 24th state. Low-income children from failing schools are eligible for up to an $8,000 scholarship from approved nonprofits. Corporations that donate to such nonprofits are eligible to receive a 70 percent income tax credit, with the total amount of credits capped at $10 million. Click here for more program details.

Louisiana – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

On April 10, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court ruling denying parents the right to intervene in the Department of Justice request for injunction against the Louisiana voucher program in the decades-old desegregation case, Brumfield v Dodd, 405 F. Supp. 338 (E.D. La. 1975). Parents now have the right to intervene in the case.

Mississippi – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

The Mississippi House voted down an ESA bill for students with special needs by a vote of 57-63 on April 2. House sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Crawford said she intends to file the bill again next year.

New Hampshire – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Duncan v. State of New Hampshire on April 16. This case positions individuals represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AU) against the state’s new tax-credit scholarship program, that is currently serving well over 100 students in schools of their choice. Check out our explanation of that lawsuit here.

Oklahoma – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

On April 24, the House passed HB 2643, enlarging Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program, making sub-chapter S corporations eligible for participation and providing a 75 percent state tax credit to those donors who commit to give for three years. The House dissented in Senate amendments, and the bill is currently in conference committee.

Tennessee – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

A voucher bill backed by Gov. Bill Haslam (R) made great progress in the Tennessee legislature, but the bill failed to garner enough support to make it over the finish line.

On April 10 the Senate passed the Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act, SB 196, a voucher program capped at 5,000 students in the first year of operation. If the bill had passed, students from low-income households who attend a “failing” public school would be given the first opportunity to receive a voucher. If remaining spots were available, students from low-income households in districts containing failing schools would be eligible to apply. The House companion bill, HB 190, stalled in the House Finance Committee. The bill sponsor, Rep. Bill Dunn, withdrew the bill citing a lack of support in the committee.

ABOUT LESLIE HINER

 serves as the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s Vice President of Programs and State Relations. She also serves on the Schools That Can National Advisory Board. She is an appointee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights Indiana State Advisory Committee, and also serves as an appointee to the Indianapolis City-County Ethics Commission.

Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition by George C. Leef

Drug Prohibition Is Deadly.

In perhaps no other public-policy question is the United States more hopelessly in the grip of a conventional wisdom that is utterly and egregiously wrong than drugs. Most Americans, no matter their political affiliation, are adamant supporters of the “war on drugs.” Try suggesting that the war might be stupendous folly and you’ll most likely run into vehement opposition replete with ad hominem attacks.

It is hard to get people to examine their ideas—“prejudices” might be a better word—about drugs, but in Drug War Crimes, Boston University economics professor Jeffrey Miron has put into the public discourse an attack on the conventional wisdom that is impossible for any serious-minded person to brush off. Written with a professional economist’s careful attention to costs and benefits, both seen and unseen, the book relentlessly challenges all the beliefs that support the criminalization of drugs.

Miron begins by toting up some of the principal costs of our anti-drug crusade. Government spends more than $33 billion annually on it. Arrests for drug-related infractions exceed 1.5 million per year. The United States now has well in excess of 300,000 people behind bars for drug violations. If they’re even aware of the cost, drug-war supporters contend that we would experience a disastrous rise in drug use—which is assumed to be a life-ruining event—and therefore worth it. Prohibitionists assert that “drug use causes crime, diminishes health and productivity, encourages driving and industrial accidents, exacerbates poverty, supports terrorism and contributes generally to societal decay,” Miron writes. Those beliefs are carefully reinforced by spokesmen for the drug war. Our author takes on all those claims and shows them to be erroneous.

Consider, for example, the widely held idea that drug use causes crime. Statistics show that in 35 cities monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000, at least 50 percent of adult men arrested for crimes tested positive for drugs. That’s enough to frighten the typical citizen into supporting the drug war. After all, who wants more crime? But Miron points out that those statistics don’t show that drug usage causes criminal behavior or that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime. “The methodology used in these analyses would also demonstrate that consumption of fast food or wearing blue jeans causes criminal behavior,” Miron observes with appropriate sarcasm.

Another mistaken belief that leads to support for the drug war is that any drug use almost inevitably leads to addiction and an increasingly dissolute life. That notion causes people to view drug use as so dangerous as to warrant the extreme measures the government employs in its attempt to prevent anyone from using any illegal drug in any amount. Miron shows that belief to be unfounded. Drug use may be addictive, but is not necessarily so and many drug users lead perfectly normal lives. True, some users suffer adverse health consequences, but, the author observes, “A critical problem with standard depictions of the health consequences of drug use is reliance on data sources that are systematically biased toward those who suffer the worst consequences.”

For all our costly enforcement efforts, Miron shows that drug prohibition has little impact on the incidence of drug use, mainly because drug producers and sellers can evade law enforcement so easily. Yet the costs extend beyond the obvious ones already mentioned. One of them is increased racial tension because drug enforcement is so often targeted at minority areas.

Another is a great increase in violence. Miron argues that without drug prohibition, homicide rates in the United States would fall by half. A third is the non-availability of drugs, particularly marijuana, for medical reasons, thus causing much avoidable pain and suffering. By the time our author is done with his analysis of costs and benefits, it is clear that the war on drugs is an exceedingly foolish policy.

Miron advocates legalization rather than any of the halfway alternatives sometimes advanced. He concludes by saying, “American tradition should make legalization—i.e., liberty—the preferred policy, barring compelling evidence prohibition generates benefits in excess of its costs. As I have demonstrated here, a serious weighing of the evidence shows instead that prohibition has enormous costs with, at best, modest and speculative benefits. Liberty and utility thus both recommend that prohibition end now: the goals of prohibition are questionable, the methods are unsound, and the results are deadly.”

ABOUT GEORGE C. LEEF

George Leef is the former book review editor of The Freeman. He is director of research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

US lawmakers pressure Obama to grant asylum to Christian Sudanese mom sentenced to death for leaving Islam

Why aren’t all the Muslim spokesmen in the West, who claim that Islam has no death penalty for apostasy, such as Harris ZafarMustafa AkyolSalam al-MarayatiM. Cherif Bassiouni, and Ali Eteraz (among many others), jetting to Khartoum now to explain to Sudanese authorities that they are misunderstanders of Islam and must release Meriam Yehya Ibrahim immediately?

One wonders: why, if it is so clear that Islam has no death penalty for apostasy, do so many Muslims misunderstand that? And why is it “Islamophobia” to point out that so many don’t seem to get the memo?

Muhammad said: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57).

“US Lawmakers Pressure Obama Administration to Grant Asylum to Christian Sudanese Mom Sentenced to Death,” Chinatopix, May 24, 2014:

Lawmakers in the US are calling on the Obama team to provide asylum to a pregnant Sudanese wife of an American citizen after she was sentenced to death for upholding her Christian faith.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim has been imprisoned with her 20-month-old son for over three months because she refused to recant her Christianity. Last week, a Khartoum judge stirred international condemnation by sentencing the 27-year-old mom to death by hanging after giving birth and nursing her baby for two years, wrote Fox News.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Marco Rubio said he was shocked with the “inhumane verdict” given to Ibrahim. GOP senators Roy Blunt and Kelly Ayotte have already sent two letters to the White House requesting for “immediate action” and political asylum for Ibrahim and her child.

On Wednesday, four senators filed a resolution condemning the death sentence and urging Sudan to respect their people’s religious freedom in order to restore their ties with the US or reduce their economic sanctions. Republican Jim Inhofe and Democrats Chris Coons and Bob Menendez co-sponsored the said resolution.

Ibrahim was raised as a Christian when her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was still a child and has now been charged by the Sudanese court has charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam. In some Muslim countries, this crime has a corresponding death penalty.

Ibrahim was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes after she gives birth, for adultery, for having relations with her Christian husband. Her lawyers said the eight-months-pregnant woman is chained by her feet in jail.

Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokesperson, said the Obama team is doing their best on Ibrahim’s case.

Daniel Wani, Ibrahim’s husband, is confined to a wheelchair and is fully dependent on his wife for everything, the lawyer explained. Wani said he called the US Embassy in Khartoum before the death sentence, but the embassy showed no interest in their problem.

After stating that his son was an American citizen, he was asked to present DNA evidence. He conceded and provided their wedding documents and his son’s birth certificates as additional evidence, but Wani said the embassy still did not offer any help.

Ibrahim’s case is being further complicated by political forces in her country. According to Sudanese Parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen, it is not true that Ibrahim was raised as a non-Muslim and added that it was her Muslim brother who filed the complaint against her….

RELATED STORIES:

Uganda: Churches step up security after threats from Islamic jihad group
Nigeria: Islamic jihadist murders two in bungled jihad/martyrdom suicide bombing
Sharia Egypt: Christian gets four years prison, $1400 fine for insulting Islam by drawing cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook

Florida’s Communist Congressman Joe Garcia, Jr.: The Latest Threat to the Republic

Born again Communist José Antonio “Joe” García, Jr. the U.S Representative for Florida’s 26th Congressional District made a statement that “Communism is working.”

Joe_Garcia_Off_Port_113Cong

Democrat Rep. José Antonio “Joe” García, Jr

I called Rep. García’s office at 202-225-2778 and told the Congressman to pack his bags, clean out his cubicle and resign from office. I will pay his one way ticket to North Korea. He is the same person that picked his ear during a congressional hearing, then ate the ball of wax that he diligently scooped from his inner canal protrusion.

On May 31st, 2013, Representative García’s chief-of-staff and top political strategist resigned after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate the previous year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests. Jeffrey Garcia’s resignation came three months after a Miami Herald investigation found that hundreds of the 2,552 fraudulent online requests for the August 14th primary election originated from unknown hackers using IP addresses in Miami.

On the same day, the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, served search warrants seeking computers and electronic equipment in the homes of Representative Garcia’s communications director and his 2012 campaign manager. Jeffrey García, the aide, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October, 2013. He was released from Miami-Dade Correctional Center on December 25, 2013 after having served 65 days of a 90 day active sentence. He must now serve three months of house arrest followed by 15 months of probation.

Joe Garcia is the chief sponsor in the House of Representatives of a comprehensive immigration reform plan which is similar to legislation that has passed the United States Senate. If enacted, the plan would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already living and working in the United States. Why they would want to be citizens though is a good question. They will then be subject to Obamacare and the income tax that redistributes taxpayer wealth to Michelle Obama’s vacation planning office and dress designer.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida also signed legislation giving illegal immigrants living in Florida, who have attended high school for at least 3 years, in-state tuition. In effect he is now redistributing wealth from law abiding American tax payers in Florida to criminal law breakers living in this state illegally in violation of federal law.

November 4th is just around the corner. Choose wisely. Our nation’s sovereignty and security rests in your hands. Please vote for those people who will protect the Republic and its sovereignty. Please vote for those who will protect this nations wealth and tax payer money. Flush the rest.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Florida Congressman Garcia Accepts Money from Radical Muslim Group

Bring Back the House Un-American Activities Committee

The Koch Brothers: Wealthy Good Guys

Nobody should be bullied in America. We expose the lefts most vicious bullying against minorities, like the wealthy. But only certain wealthy people. A favorite target of Democrats is the Koch brothers, good men who use their wealth to make the USA a better place.

Democrats use the name Koch to fund raise at every level. It is the Democrat rallying cry – stop the Koch Brothers. What citizens must ask is: Who are the good guys?

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“LGBT” Teachers Conference in Boston – Part II: Pushing ‘Gay’ clubs in Middle Schools

The latest push: “Gay” clubs for kids in middle schools. Here’s how they get them in — and what comes with them.

The homosexual-transgender movement is working hard to indoctrinate schoolchildren as young as possible. By far, the most effective way is to get them into school-based “gay” clubs that are run by activist, often radical, adults, but though otherwise unsupervised. They have been working at this for several years (see our 2008 report) but are now ramping up their efforts considerably.

We reported last week, on this year’s annual GLSEN Conference in Boston which brought together LGBT teachers, activists, and supportive administrators to discuss their latest tactics for the schools.

A prominent part covered strategies for setting up “gay-straight alliance” (GSA) clubs in as many middle schools as possible, given that most high schools now have them.

Getting kids to feel involved — especially middle school students — is a major tactic of the LGBT movement. These buttons were given out at the GLSEN Conference in Boston.

At that conference, there were kids as young as 11 and 12, and that younger age group was clearly the focus of much of the conference.

Middle school student gives speech at LGBT conference opening session

Middle school are such an important target that GLSEN recruited an activist “LGBT” middle school student to address the conference’s opening session. She said she’s bisexual (in middle school!) and that her sister is lesbian.

The girl spoke about how she helped organize the “Day of Silence” in her middle school. She said that one teacher was reluctant to put up the posters because of parent conferences that evening, saying that parents might not be comfortable seeing it. The girl labeled the teacher “ignorant” and said the teacher is “no longer working at the school” (which brought a cheer).

She added that “kids are figuring out who they are younger than ever” (i.e., being persuaded to self-identify as L, G, B, or T) and that “we need to create a safe environment for them in the lower grades.” This was a mantra that was repeated again and again in the conference. (“Safe environment” is the Orwellian term for a school that aggressively enforces pro-“LGBT” sexual ideology and suppresses all dissent.)

Given that middle school students would not have these ideas and talking points on their own, this shows how well the adult activists instruct them.

Helping kids be “safe” at school is the Orwellian term for aggressively enforcing pro-“LGBT” sexual ideology — and more importantly, suppressing all dissent. In particular, it’s used very effectively to confront any criticism by adults, including parents.

The workshop: “Starting a Middle School GSA”

The LGBT movement is getting serious about the lower grades. One of the prominent workshops at the GLSEN conference was “Starting a Middle School GSA.”

At first glance, a “gay” club for middle school students would seem beyond something even most liberals would buy into. But that’s simply another challenge for the movement to overcome. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that ANY “gay” club at all, even in high school, was beyond the pale.

Here is how the conference program listed it:

3.1 Starting a Middle School GSA: A Sustainable, Grassroots Approach
Practical advice and encouragement for students, staff, parents and community members who would like to establish a sustainable GSA in their local middle school.

Presenter(s): Anna Watson, Friends of the Ottoson Middle School [Arlington, MA] GSA

This workshop gave step-by-step instructions by a seasoned activist.

The presenter, Anna Watson, started out by saying that she believes that “coming out” is a “life-saving adventure” and that kids are coming out at younger and younger ages. Thus, they need support groups to help them do that.

She told the workshop attendees that she has been an “LGBTQ” activist and organizer for several years. In particular, she is interested in starting GSA-type groups for young people.

“Queering the ‘Burbs Since 1992.”  Anna Watson gave out this card at the workshop. She is no casual activist, obviously.

She said that in city schools there are lots of GSAs, but it’s different in the suburbs. This is likely because the parents are more attentive to what’s happening in the schools. She used the term “suburban gap” and said that just a few people with a lot of energy can make it happen.

The strategy: Build up incrementally then hit with petition!

Her goal at the Ottoson Middle School in Arlington, Mass., was to put in a GSA with “permanent club” status — with a line item in the school budget for financial support.

At first, the principal was resistant, even though Arlington is a very liberal town.

The homosexual movement has found that a very effective approach for overcoming resistant school officials is using a petition as a pressure tactic, along with other maneuvers.

Watson’s tactic was to do incremental, smaller things to set up an informal GSA and have it become active as much as possible in the school. They would get everything else in place so that there would be no procedural or other excuse not to allow it. Then they would go over the head of the principal and blitz the superintendent with a petition — with as large a force as necessary — to push it over the top with a demand it be given permanent “club” status in the school.

The Petition presented to the Superintendent (and Anna Watson’s timeline of events)

That strategy worked perfectly. Here’s the timeline of events that Watson described:

1. Starting in the fall of 2010, Watson began discussing it with the principal. Since the principal had an interest in anti-bullying, Watson positioned it as an anti-bullying group.
2. Spring 2011: Watson established an “informal” GSA group at the school that met every other week. She submitted a grant to the local “Arlington Education Fund” for funding.
3. Fall 2011: The grant was awarded from the local group. The GSA’s outside activities, including a stipend to the adult staff advisor, were now funded and it started meeting every week.
4. Spring 2012: The GSA began giving out “Human Rights” awards to students at the school. They also attended the GLSEN Conference that year, brought in “educational” groups, and established a “peer leader” program in the school.
5. Fall 2012: They persuaded the principal’s discretionary fund, the PTO, and the Parent Advisory Council to give the GSA funding. They also had volunteers raise money in the community.
6. Fall 2013: The petition was put together and formally presented to the Superintendent, accompanied by a lot of pressure.  The superintendent easily capitulated and granted the GSA permanent club status and a budget item in the school budget. They achieved their goals.

The principal and any other staff who might have been resistant were completely steamrolled. It’s a strategy that can be replicated at other schools where there is any significant resistance.

Other comments at the workshop

Many of the other people at the workshop were experienced GSA activists. Some of their remarks and ideas on starting a GSA were interesting:

  • Some schools have made it easier by having a less overt title, such as calling it an “affinity” group rather than a GSA.
  • One person said, “For school clubs, no permission slips are needed. Thus parents do not know. The same is true for GSAs. You don’t have to let your parents know. There is a sort of goodwill around it.”
  • They always say that GSA’s are about “school safety” and suicide prevention. They also remember to make a point to say that GSAs “are not about sex.”
  • One teacher recommended that the GSA follow the GLSEN “Ally week” program. (See more on that below.)

How to get kids to come to their first GSA meeting? Most middle school kids would not normally think of going to a “gay” club. So the LGBT activists use a variety of tricks and misleading tactics. Once the kids are there, it’s easier to persuade or pressure them to keep coming back.

Here are some of the ideas brought up by activists at the workshop:

  • Announcing a “cheese & food” party.
  • Getting the school football coach to come is a great draw for bringing kids to a GSA meeting.
  • One school put up posters with the message: “You don’t have to be gay to be in the GSA.”

For a larger view click on the flyer.

The LGBT movement will use any tactic they can to lure kids into their “gay” clubs for the first time. GLSEN passed out this information at the Conference.

What is Watson’s next project? Apparently, her next goal is to set up AGLY (“Arlington Gay and Lesbian Youth”) which would probably be a youth/adult “gay” club not connected with the school. There are several of those around the state, supported at least in part by taxpayers.

GSAs: A poisonous experience for vulnerable kids

In our experience going back nearly twenty years working with parents and kids, the GSAs in the schools are emotionally poisonous and physically dangerous to vulnerable kids, many of whom have serious psychological issues to deal with. And GSAs are often run by radical “gay” adults who themselves are psychologically dysfunctional.

GSAs persuade students that homosexuality, transgenderism, etc., is perfectly normal to engage in. They take troubled kids and tell them that if they feel “different” or that they “don’t fit in” then they’re probably really “gay” or “transgender.” This causes enormous trauma down the road. We’ve seen that these kinds of “clubs” lead kids into engaging in perverse sexual activities.

Also in GSAs: Indoctrinating kids in radical “queer theory” as “LGBT allies”

But additionally, a purpose of GSAs is to indoctrinate the kids (including those calling themselves “straight”) in the radical ideas of the LGBT movement, which they term “queer theory.” Most people are not aware just how extreme this is. Then the GSA leaders have the kids spread those ideas to the rest of the school through events like the “Day of Silence”“Gay History Month”, and “Transgender Awareness Day.”

When getting this training, the kids are told that this helps them become “allies” of the LGBTs. The concept of being an “ally” pushed very hard throughout the schools. It becomes another identity for the kids in their fight for so-called social justice.

At the GLSEN Conference, this “training” pamphlet, titled “Ally Packet” was given out. It’s a pretty frightening example of what the LGBT movement teaches children, and what parents know almost nothing about.

“Ally Packet” given out at GLSEN Conference

Here are just a few examples and excerpts from the 8-page pamphlet. THIS is what the LGBT movement is teaching schoolchildren:

What is an Ally?
An ally is a member of the dominant social group who takes a stand against social injustice directed at target group(s) – for example .. . heterosexual individuals who speak out against heterosexism and homophobia. An ally works to be an agenda of social change rather than an agenda of oppression.

Characteristics of an ally
Recognizing that unlearning oppressive beliefs is a lifelong process.

Appropriate Group Terminology
Genderqueer: A term used by individuals, especially transgender youth, who identify as neither male nor female, or as both, and who often seek to blur gender lines.

Appropriate Social Justice Terminology
Gender-Normative Privilege: The benefits and advantages that gender-normative people receive in genderist culture.

Inappropriate Terminology
Homosexual: A clinical term for gay men and sometimes lesbians.
Transvestite: An outdated clinical term for crossdressers.

What are Biphobia, Homophobia, and Transphobia?
Example of Biphobia: Believing that bisexuals are confused or indecisive about their sexuality. Example of Transphobia: Believing that cross-dressing is a sexual perversion or that people who cross-dress do so for sexual gratification.

How to Be an Ally to LGBT People
Validate people’s gender expression. For example, if a person assigned male at birth identifies as female, refer to that person as “she” and use her chosen name.
Educate yourself about LGBT histories, cultures, and concerns.
Support and involve yourself in LGBT organizations and causes.

What is Heterosexual Privilege?
You can belong to the religious denomination of your choice and know that your sexuality will not be denounced by its religious leaders.
You can expect to see people of your sexuality positively presented on nearly every television show and in nearly every movie.

Myths and Realities of LGBT Life
Myth: The majority of child molesters are gay men. Reality: Very few gay men molest children. Myth: Bisexual men are largely responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS to heterosexual women. Reality: This stereotyping of bisexual men ignores the realities of AIDS. It is unsafe sexual practices and needle-sharing behavior, not membership in a particular group, that spreads HIV.

Lots of help from your tax dollars

In Massachusetts, once these “clubs” are set up, they get substantial organizational and financial help from the state. This will likely become more prevalent in other states.

Among other things, the Mass. State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains a staff to make sure that the GSA clubs across the state are properly organized and that the school is cooperating with them. The Department also provides training for GSA adult leaders.

In addition, the state-funded Mass LGBTQ Youth Commission goes into the schools and works directly with students and pushes LGBT programs statewide.

Just the beginning

The GSAs and the “training” are, unfortunately, just the foundation of what the LGBT movement is doing in the nation’s high schools and now, the middle schools.

In upcoming posts we will reveal more from the 2014 GLSEN Conference. As we’ve said, most people are completely uninformed of what the LGBT movement does with schoolchildren . . . and where this leads beyond the school doors.

National Council on Teacher Quality Gets Caught in a Data Collecting Lie

NCTQ-300x240The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) will be “grading” university-level, traditional teacher training programs again soon.

Last year, 2013, they released this report on June 18. They “grade” in a superficial manner, relying upon program artifacts to form skewed judgments– judgments that they publish in US News and World Report and that are meant to damage the credibility of traditional teacher training in favor of the privatization of American public education. Just consider who ends up on their advisory board. (For example, in a profound irony, NCTQ’s board even includes five-weeks-of-training, temporary-teacher organization Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp.)

Georgia State University Professor Emeritus of Science Education Jack Hassard had this to note about reading NCTQ’s “report” on traditional teacher training programs:

When you read the NCTQ report it seems as if teacher prep institutions are the enemy. …All of the data come from paper or online documents. None involved interviews or discussions with people at the teacher prep institutions. As hard as this is believe, it is the pattern that the NCTQ has followed since it was formed by the Thomas Fordham Institute. [Emphasis added.]

Passing maligned judgment is what NCTQ does. And because their reporting is done with much fanfare and is backed by reformer cash (Gates alone has paid NCTQ $11 million since 2005), the public views NCTQ as a credible source for information on teacher education.

NCTQ is the creation of the Fordham Institute, a pro-privatization organization that is pushing hard for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), having itself taken over $6 million from Gates, $2 million of which is earmarked for the CCSS push. Fordham Institute’s VP Mike Petrilli is even willing to tell states with comparable or better standards that they should retain CCSS.

Back to NCTQ’s shallow “reviews” of teacher training:

The beauty of NCTQ’s grading teacher training programs based upon artifacts (as opposed to on-site observations and in-person, open communication with the evaluated programs) is that NCTQ is still able to complete its “evaluations” even when programs do not wish to participate.

As far as non-accredited, self-appointed traditional-teacher-training policeman NCTQ is concerned, programs are not allowed to refuse the NCTQ intrusion.

NCTQ insists upon gathering teacher training program artifacts, and it will resort to deceptive tactics to get those artifacts.

Consider this email sent to a Fordham University teacher education professor even today (May 23, 2014). The entire account was forwarded to me by Fordham University Associate Professor John Craven. (Note: Fordham University is not affiliated with the Fordham Institute):

Dear Professor **,

I was informed you would be able to assist me.  My daughter is currently looking at different grad programs.  Being a teacher myself, I have a question about the student teaching aspect of the program.  I was on the school website and couldn’t find how many formal observations are conducted by the university supervisor during the student teaching semester.  Could you please elaborate on this?

Thank you.

Emilie Baker [Emphasis added.]

An odd email: A teacher “parent” writing on behalf of a college-age “student” and singling out the number of formal observations??

The Fordham professor to whom this email was addressed wrote the following to Craven and others:

I’m pretty sure this would be an attempt to get information from us for NCTQ (or similar) purposes.  Have any of you received something similar?

Teacher training faculty are apparently alert to NCTQ’s tactics.

Craven responded to “Emilie Baker” on behalf of the initial Fordham faculty member:

Dear Ms. Baker,

As coordinator, I’ve been forwarded a request you recently made regarding our program.  Firstly, let me thank you for your interest in our programs at Fordham.  Secondly, I understand you are seeking to better understand our clinically rich programs (funded by NYSED) and scholarship opportunities for initial certification.  It would be my pleasure to mail you a copy of our scholarship program, student handbook, and requirements for field experiences.  Following internal policies, I need to send hard copies of these materials  to interested prospects and potential applicants.  Accordingly, can you please indicate where you would like these materials sent?  I’ll have my graduate assistant send out the information immediately upon our response to this email.  Again, thank you for your interest in the programs at Fordham.

JC

“Emilie Baker” offers the following response– including an address:

Great, thanks so much!  I’d like it all sent to the following address:

Andrew McCorry 

1823 W. Henderson St, #3

Chicago, IL 60657

Well, now. Who is Andrew McCorry in Chicago?

Craven investigated and uncovered the following Linkedin bio:

Andrew McCorryAndrew McCorry
Research Analyst at National Council on Teacher Quality

Greater Chicago Area 
Nonprofit Organization Management

Uh oh. Looks like NCTQ has been found out.

As for “Emilie Baker”: No information that clearly connects her to NCTQ is available. However, NCTQ is known for hiring students to collect teacher training program artifacts (as noted in these Central Washington University October 2011 meeting minutes).

In his review of the 2013 NCTQ “report,” Hassard notes the unorthodox “student solicitation” role:

…I’ve never read a study in which researchers demanded cooperation from the research participants. The NCTQ policy is very clear. If you don’t give us what we want we’ll use legal means to get it. They also “reached out” to a few students to supply materials that were requested from the administration.

The so-called NCTQ researchers not only resort to coercive strategies to get data (syllabi, curriculum, etc.), but you get the feeling that they snoop around universities, trying to find what texts are used by bookstore shopping.

The NCTQ “snooping” apparently incorporates direct-yet-deceptive solicitation of information from university departments of education.

NCTQ should really better “train” its information gatherers in their would-be-deceptive practices.

Otherwise, they might reveal more information about NCTQ than they manage to gather– and that NCTQ “research analyst” Andrew McCorry might prefer.

RELATED STORIES:

The 2008 Common Core Sales Job: Part Two
Duncan Flunks the “State led” Test with His Indiana NCLB Waiver Warning
College Dropout Bill Gates, Who Spends Millions on Harvard, Gets Honorary Doctorate
Arne Duncan’s “Principal Ambassadors”: Federally Monitored “Local Control”??

It All Depends on Who You Know

A May 20, 2014 report by the Reuters news agency tells us that Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, has been fined $2.5 billion by U.S. regulators.  The bank was charged with helping wealthy Americans conceal major cash assets, making it possible for them to evade U.S.  federal and state income taxes.

In a related story, the Associated Press reports that, “The case is part of an Obama administration crackdown on offshore banks believed to be helping U.S. clients hide assets.  Justice Department officials said their investigations into secret bank accounts held by Americans in Switzerland and other countries likely will bring forth additional resolutions.”

The prosecution of Credit Suisse came after prolonged criticism that the Obama administration has not been aggressive enough in its pursuit of wrongdoing in the banking industry.  According to the AP, “A report from the Senate subcommittee that investigated Credit Suisse accused (Eric Holder’s) Justice Department of (surprise, surprise) lax enforcement and faulted the government for gleaning only 238 names of U.S. citizens with secret accounts at Credit Suisse, or just 1 percent of the estimated total.”  The Senate subcommittee was able to find more than 22,000 U.S. clients with Credit Suisse accounts totaling some $10-12 billion.

The subcommittee report charged that Credit Suisse had sent bankers to recruit American clients at golf tournaments and other events.  They encouraged potential clients to travel to Switzerland where they were assisted in hiding assets.  The report disclosed that, in one instance, a Credit Suisse banker passed bank statements to a U.S. client hidden in the pages of a Sports Illustrated magazine during a breakfast meeting.  In some instances, Credit Suisse bankers helped wealthy U.S. depositors withdraw funds from their Swiss accounts by either providing hand-delivered cash in the United States, or through Credit Suisse bank accounts in the U.S.

The $2.5 billion fine will be divided between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve, and the New York State Department of Financial Services.  Just under $200 million has already been paid to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In order to appease investors, the bank will begin paying out roughly half its profits to shareholders until its profitability reaches a pre-established price/earnings ratio.

However, the Credit Suisse settlement calls into question a 2009 “deferred prosecution agreement” between the U.S. Department of Justice and Switzerland’s largest bank, the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).  In 2009, following a lengthy investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, UBS agreed to pay just $780 million in fines and to turn over the names of thousands of customers suspected of evading U.S. taxes.

So why the disparity in fines between the two largest Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse?

In July 2008, Barack Obama boasted of a contributor base totaling some 1.5 million people, with one-fourth of his $265 million coming from those contributing $2,000, or more.  However, by October 2008, just five months later and just days before the General Election, the campaign reported that their contributor base has grown from 1.5 million to 2.5 million, and that the total amount raised approached $600 million.  So who were all those people, and where did all that money come from?

In a July 25, 2008, column we pointed out that UBS Americas, headed by Robert Wolf… along with George Soros, one of Obama’s top two money men… had been accused of highly unethical and illegal banking practices in six months of hearings by the Senate subcommittee.  According to an article in The Nation, UBS Americas had advised wealthy Americans, including many of our worst villains, how to shelter funds from the IRS, as well as from prosecutors, creditors, disgruntled business associates, family members, and each other.

In a Statement of Fact in the criminal trial of former UBS executive Bradley Birkenfeld, it was learned that UBS took extraordinary steps to help American clients manage their Swiss accounts without alerting federal authorities.   For example, UBS advised American clients to avoid detection by using Swiss credit cards to withdraw funds, to destroy all existing off-shore banking records, and to misrepresent the receipt of funds from their Swiss accounts as loans from the Swiss bank.  According to The Nation, UBS established an elaborate training program which taught bank employees how to avoid surveillance by U.S. authorities, how to falsify visas, how to encrypt communications, and how to secretly move money into and out of the country… ”

It was the perfect instrument for funneling illegal campaign contributions into the coffers of an unscrupulous American politician.  Putting two and two together, I suggested that a very wealthy individual, such as George Soros, wishing to influence the outcome of an American presidential election, could transfer unlimited sums of money through this device.  A U.S. recipient, such as the Obama campaign, could receive tens of thousands of individual contributions via Swiss credit card transfers, with the identities of bogus contributors “borrowed” from their extensive list of $10 and $20 U.S. contributors and entered onto FEC reports by teams of paid staffers working in a “boiler room” setting.  The owners of the Swiss accounts would receive periodic statements indicating debits of varying amounts, up to $2,300 each, and offsetting credits funded by the wealthy, but unnamed, “international financier.”

For most of the super wealthy, especially those attempting to hide income and assets from U.S. authorities, an unexplained debit and credit of $2,300, or less, would not even raise an eyebrow.  It would look to the depositor as if the bank had made a debit error which had been immediately corrected with a credit of like amount.  However, in this instance, the Swiss bank account would actually have been debited, money transferred to the U.S. recipient, and funds replaced by person or persons unknown.  The scheme would represent money-laundering of the first order.  So who would ever know the source of such contributions?  No one.

In response to my July 25 column, and at my suggestion, Newsmax sent a team of researchers to the Federal Election Commission to take a closer look at Obama’s FEC reports.  In a follow-up October 20 article by Kenneth Timmerman, Newsmax provided details from FEC records that gave substantial weight to my theory.  In studying Obama’s FEC filings, Newsmax found more than 2,000 donors who had given substantially more than their $4,600 limit ($2,300 in the primaries and $2,300 in the General Election).

But these were relatively minor infractions compared to 66,383 highly suspicious contributions that were, oddly enough, not rounded to even dollar amounts.  For example, Newsmax reported that John Atkinson, an insurance agent in Burr Ridge, Illinois, gave a total of $8,724.26, more than double his legal limit.  He gave in odd amounts such as $188.67, $1,542.06, $876.09, $388.67, $282.20, $195.66, $118.15, and one of $2,300.  A self-employed caregiver from Los Angeles made 36 separate contributions totaling $7,051.12, of which thirteen were later refunded.  However, in an odd coincidence, those 13 refunds, in amounts such as $233.88 and $201.44, came to an even $2,300, the maximum amount allowable in any one election.

One contributor interviewed by Newsmax, Ronald J. Sharpe, Jr., a retired schoolteacher from Rockledge, Florida, was reported to have given $13,800… $9,200 over his limit.  However, when interviewed by Newsmax, Mr. Sharpe did not remember giving that much money to Obama, nor had anyone from the Obama campaign ever contacted him about a refund.

Lest anyone suggest that those 66,383 donors either emptied their piggy banks or emptied their pockets and purses periodically and just sent it all to Obama, pennies and all, I think it is far more reasonable to assume that those contributions were the proceeds of foreign currency conversions, smuggled into the country in foreign credit card transactions, converted to U.S. dollars, and deposited in Obama’s campaign coffers.  Of course, when your money is coming in large chunks from illegal offshore accounts and laundered though a Swiss bank in Zurich, it takes a bit of creativity to put authentic-sounding names on all of it for the quarterly FEC reports.  But the Obama campaign had a huge source of such data: the names, addresses, and occupations of tens of thousands of $10 and $20 U.S. Kool-Ade drinkers.

According to Newsmax, the Obama campaign finance reports contained some 370,500 unique names… a far cry from the 2.5 million contributors claimed by the campaign.  Of course, a great many of those 2.5 million contributors were illegal Muslim “conduits” who were given money by their local imams with the understanding that they would use it to help elect Obama… a crime for which Eric Holder is now prosecuting a major Obama critic, author Dinesh D’Souza. The principal difference being that, instead of creating tens of thousands of illegal conduits, as the Muslim clerics clearly did, D’Souza reimbursed only three people in a New York senate race.

So what happened to Robert Wolf, Obama’s most important friend in the international banking industry?  Was he fired, tried and imprisoned?  No, Wolf was named to UBS’s Group Executive Board and promoted to President and COO of the UBS Investment Bank.  From 2009-11, Wolf served on Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, in 2011 he became a member of Obama’s Council on Jobs & Competitiveness, and in 2012 he was appointed to the President’s Export Council.

In response to the Credit Suisse prosecution, Attorney General Eric Holder has said that no bank  is immune from criminal prosecution.  But it’s clear that in his world, and in Obama’s world, the severity of punishment depends very much on who you are and who you know.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of  Reuters/Ruben Sprich.

Democracy Inaction: Who would be a politician?

Who would be a politician?  It’s a serious question.  At the best of times politicians face an unpleasant set of challenges.  They work ungainly hours.  They have to live under permanent public and media scrutiny.  And they have to smile and nod while members of the public address stupid remarks to them.  In Britain, even the manner in which a party leader might eat a bacon sandwich has opened up as a potential avenue for criticism.

But if the lot of politicians has always looked poor, the situation has just got a whole lot worse.  Because having lived through an age of comparative political indifference, we now seem to have entered an era of anti-politics.  Across Europe people are casting their votes, and an increasing number of votes seem to be going to anti-politics politicians.  This leads to several conundrums, not least: what does an anti-politics candidate do once they become a politician themselves?

But the bigger question is for the political mainstream.  Because it is no good for mainstream politicians to condemn the public for not voting for them, or to say that the public are voting for the wrong people for the wrong reasons.  In recent years the whole relationship between politicians and the public has suffered a number of terrible blows.  Some, like the British Parliamentary expenses scandal, are specific.  Others, are the result of too much being promised and too little being delivered.  But whatever the cause, an increasing number of people are showing themselves willing to vote for absolutely anyone, so long as they promise to be opposed to the mainstream political class which they rightly or wrongly deem to hold sway.

Of course relationship breakdowns of this kind cannot be rectified overnight.  But this one is too important to leave broken.  One way to start mending it is for politicians to be far more honest about what they can and cannot achieve.  From Barack Obama and other Western leaders, the world can hear many lofty speeches.  It is sometimes even possible for a moment to be carried aloft on their words.  But then, when it turns out that the new Jerusalem hasn’t just been ushered in, the elected politician may hope that nobody has noticed, but we do notice.  And remember.

In this age of globalization it is especially necessary to say what is simply not in our control.  This may be a humbling process, but it may prove more and more necessary.  Politicians could improve their lot significantly if they were more frank about the world that we live in.  It is a world where a mortgage financing problem in America can trigger a worldwide recession and where a law may have been passed in Brussels without ever having come before any politician in Westminster.  It may sound like a risky strategy, but it is a vital one.  Anti-politics comes from a sense that politicians are lying to the people.  One solution for that problem is for politicians to tell more truths to the public: especially difficult truths.  And among the unpalatable truths they may venture to say is, ‘You know what, we’re not always in charge.’  At the very least it might return politics to being what it is meant to be – a masterclass not in the politics of fantasy, but in the art of the possible.

The Slow, Sure Death of “Climate Change” Lies

Even though President Obama continues to lie about “climate change” and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying.

Obama is on record saying that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and is “affecting Americans right now.” Climate change as studied by climatologists is measured in terms of centuries whereas the weather is what is happening today. It has been happening before and since the rise of civilization. Obama’s claim that “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience” and “have become more frequent and/or intense” is a lie from start to finish.

The White House recently released its latest “National Climate Assessment.” It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those “scientists” employed to further the hoax.

The UN’s IPCC was created in 1983 and has issued a series of reports whose sole intention has been to frighten people around the world with claims of global warming that are scientifically baseless.

The Heartland Institute, a non-profit market-based think tank, responded by creating the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and by sponsoring a series of international conferences. The 9th conference will be July 7-9 in Las Vegas. That effort began in 2003 in cooperation with the Science & Environmental Project led by Dr. S. Fred Singer and was joined by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

I am an advisor to the Institute, having written about environmental and energy issues for several decades at this point.

AA - Heartland Cover

Click on the image to view and download a free copy of the report.

Calling on thousands of scientists around the world, in 2013 the NIPCC published the first of a three-volume response to the IPCC’s fifth assessment. This year, it has published a volume of Climate Change Reconsidered devoted to biological impacts, a 1,062 page opus. The NIPCC is an international panel of scientists and scholars with no government affiliation or sponsorship, and it receives no corporate funding.

Writing in the Financial Post in October 2013, Lawrence Solomon, the executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group, noted that “solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” The Earth’s climate is primarily a reflection of solar radiation or the lack of it. From 1300 to 1850, the Earth was subject to a mini-ice age. While the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s, Solomon noted that, in the 1960s and 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the Earth “was entering a period of global cooling. The media in those years was filled with stories about a pending new ice age.

It was only the intervention of the UN’s IPCC that changed the “consensus” to one of global warming. A cooling cycle that began around fourteen years ago could lead to another mini-ice age or the planet could be on the cusp of a full-fledged one. On average, the interglacial periods of the Earth have lasted about 11,500 years and we are at the end of such a period.

Climate Change Reconsidered II devoted to biological impact features scientific studies that conclude:

  • “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.” Considering that all vegetation on Earth depends on it, it is not surprising that another conclusion was that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.
  • As a result, “there is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels and that terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases, evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”
  • In addition, “rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels to no pose a significant threat to aquatic life and that a modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperate-related events.”

The irony of the latest NIPCC report, of course, is that it responds to the claims of global warming and carbon dioxide’s role at a time when the Earth is cooling. It makes one wish that all the talk about “greenhouse gases” is true enough to help us escape from the present cooling.

One thing we do know for sure is that the Greens talk of climate change has lost its grip on the public imagination and attention. As the cooling cycle continues, people around the world will be far more focused on increased evidence of massive ice sheets at both poles, on frozen lakes and rivers, on shortened growing seasons, and on the desperate need for more fossil fuels to warm our homes and workplaces.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Europe Longs for the Sovereignty it has Lost

Le_Pen,_Marine-9586

Marine Le Pen

My translation from the German of part of a recent interview with Marine Le Pen, whose anti-EU party Front National is trending to become the most popular in France, follows. This trend bodes ill for the EU but well for the French people. The issue is sovereignty — the right of a people to determine their own way and their own future — for example, the right not to be taxed to supply peripheral countries like Greece with perennial bailouts.

The same trends prevail throughout most of the EU core countries, which are sick and tired of a small oligarchy controlling their lives, regulating business out of business and taxing them into poverty.

BTW, my American friends: when was the last time you heard a US politician or candidate mention the word sovereignty?

Of all the issues discussed at election time, this most vital of all issues is conspicuously missing. We aren’t supposed to have it. The elites are deathly afraid of the concept, which implies control of one’s borders, among other things. The GOP top leadership wants open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens. Further, many Republican candidates are Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) members. The CFR wants a one world government.

Haass_l

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

Richard Haass, the president of CFR, once wrote “it is time to rethink sovereignty.” Rethink is code for abolish. I had said before that it is time to relearn, not rethink, sovereignty. After all, if the culture of a nation is stealthily undermined by transnational elites, that is a takeover by a foreign power. Millions of bewildered Americans no longer recognize American culture, even as the degenerate transplanted culture is touted in terms of “freedom.”

A sovereign country also controls its own borders. It’s part of security. The Democrats also want open borders. The Libertarian top leadership, while vacillating somewhat on the subject of illegal immigration, is not strongly against it and is intent on wooing the Hispanic vote.

Unfortunately, without sovereignty, “liberty” is an illusion and talk of it is empty palaver. You can hardly be a free individual in a slave country.

All three parties think Hispanics are obsessed with coming to America without visas. Yet Hispanics live in communities where their safety is threatened by transnational illegal gangs and drugs imported by illegal aliens. If politicians turned their narrative and their dialogue toward this issue and cited any of the numerous examples of how Hispanic communities are threatened by crime and drugs due to illegal immigration, progress could be made and the Democrats could be exposed as enemies of Hispanics. But no politician seems capable of resetting the dialogue this way.

With elections coming up, you need to ask your candidates what they intend to do to help restore sovereignty to your state or your country. Watch them hem and haw when you do. They don’t know what the word means. Open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens are the antithesis of sovereignty.

Marine Le Pen says she sympathizes with Putin because he upholds sovereignty for this people. He is in fact the only major world player who does so.

Anyone who finds himself hating Putin may also hate sovereignty. Either that or they are victims of racist Russian bashing. The interview: http://kurier.at/politik/eu/marine-le-pen-putin-verteidigt-die-werte-der-europaeischen-zivilisation/65.991.041

You maintain relations with the Russian head of state. His representatives have wished your party success. You have expressed sympathy for Putin.

I want to be at the head of a non-aligned state, which is not beholden to either the U.S. or Russia. To talk to these two powers as an equal. Without waging a cold war such as that waged by the EU in an absolutely stupid manner and completely against the interests of the European people. Maintaining good relations with a power like Russia is the least one can do in terms of peace because the EU talks a lot of peace, but wages a lot of war. A war of words, diplomacy, economics. I want peace.

How do you explain the sympathy that Putin’s camp has expressed for your “Front National”?

Because Mr. Putin is a patriot. He upholds the sovereignty of his people. He is he aware that we defend common values​​. These are the values ​​of European civilization. He probably will not find these qualities of courage, sincerity and respect for identity and civilization in other political movements in France.

So you find that Putin represents those values?

Yes, yes, I believe it. So (slightly delayed), at least from everything that is expressed [by Putin—Don]. The way he leads the country, this is a man whose values ​​are important. Assuming one accepts these values. The Socialist Party does not recognize these values.

European values ​?

Yes, the values ​​of European civilization. The values ​​of our Christian heritage (laughs meaningfully). Because we do not question the Christian heritage of European civilization.

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Foreign Policy Begins at Home
EU and the abdication of sovereignty

The TEA Party is Wanted: Dead or Alive

Greetings from Houston, Texas where yesterday I had the pleasure to address the C Club on the topic of a “Conservative Policy Agenda” as it relates to economic, energy, and national security. I’m heading up to Dallas to speak at a dinner event this evening. Tomorrow I’m off to Jackson County (Spring Arbor) Michigan to speak at the annual Lincoln dinner there.

Anyway, we just came through the big primary season “Super Tuesday” and it’s interesting to hear all the post-primary election pundits. Most interesting are the conflicting assessments on the constitutional conservative grassroots movement, the Tea Party. First of all, this isn’t not a political party, it’s an ideological movement.

On one side we hear the Tea Party is done, dead, stick a fork in it, because its candidates aren’t successful. Not too long ago many were singing the praises of Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse who won his primary in the Cornhusker State. Now, after yesterday, the sentiment is that the Tea Party isn’t an influencer and irrelevant.

The thing is, it’s not about individual candidates, but about influencing a policy agenda — and that’s what makes this conservative grassroots movement so very viable. How is it that anyone can disagree with the fundamental principles of America; limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty, free market system, strong national security, and traditional values?

And with that comes a policy agenda that focuses on fiscal/economic reforms, monetary policy reforms, governmental structure and organization reforms, development of an energy security plan and program, and a focus on strengthening our foreign policy and national security that promotes peace through strength and military deterrence.

Well, that’s in direct opposition to a progressive socialist agenda that has exploded our debt and deficits, but more importantly has expanded a welfare nanny-state and dependency society all as a means of political bribery using the largesse of the public treasury. I find it quite interesting that during the Bush administration when the average price of gasoline hit $2.50 the liberal media went apoplectic — heard from them recently?

And so, it is in the same vein that we have liberal progressives such as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who says there’s a “civil war” in the Republican party and the Tea Party has overtaken the party — what?

So is the Tea Party losing and irrelevant or is it running the Republican Party? Can’t be both!

It’s obvious The Tea Party has become the “boogeyman” — the Alinsky target for the liberal Left, all because they fear a strong grassroots movement, and what happened in 2010.

That’s why this administration unleashed a government agency, the Internal Revenue Service, against everyday American citizens who seek to participate in the political process of their country — heck I thought that was a fundamental principle of America? But then again I forgot we’re in the midst of a “fundamental transformation.”

I can tell you one simple thing. Americans are hurting — and that’s not Democrat or Republican. And the American people are seeking principled leaders who will provide a better way ahead, a Reaganesque “Morning in America.” I like to think of it as the “Dawn of a New America.”

The restoration of this Constitutional Republic is happening, and it’s not about this candidate or that candidate. It’s about one thing, the one thing that should matter: the American people — not the poll-tested politically-manipulated collective being subjugated to a growing federal government.

Constitutional conservatism is rooted in America’s fabric. It is far from dead, quite to the contrary. It is quite alive, and quite impactful.

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

Obama’s phony “anger” at Chinese cyber attacks

It’s not anger, it’s fear.

The Obama administration is furious at China, supposedly for cyber attacks.

But China has hacked our government and businesses forever and no one ever complained. Why now?

Here is the secret no one in the MSM will mention, and it is obvious:

Russia (which the US has started a cold war with over Ukraine, even though the Kiev disturbances were made in USA and EU) just signed with China a huge deal for around $400 billion under a gas supply contract for the piping of gas to China for at least 30 years. This is designed by Russia as a stopgap measure in case Europe decides at some point to stop buying Russian gas, which is a real threat. The West sees this deal as a threat to their economy. But since signing energy contracts does not rise to the level of an act of war, a pretext had to be concocted.

The alleged cyber attacks came in handy.

But it’s worse than just a gas supply deal: China and Russia have long been planning to dedollarize (as reported in numerous sources in both the English language and foreign–including Russian–media). That means international sales would be transacted in currencies other than the dollar. A look at the shambles the Fed has created and especially a look at the QEs, i.e., the insane issuing of dollars in the trillions with no backing in noble metals, goods, services, or anything of value at all except the brand name US dollar, will help you understand why they see this as necessary. Issuing unbacked currency for any purpose other than replacement of worn out notes and coins, is like adding water to the soup when unexpected guests show up. It gets the host out of a tough spot but spoils the dinner. Guests tend to stay away next time.

Recent reports that I have seen do not state whether this gas deal that was just signed will be in a currency other than the dollar, but most likely the contract will be denominated in the yuan or the ruble.

This is the true source of the anger in Washington, but anger is hardly the right word. Call it fear.

Well, folks, the US government could have reined in the NGOs in Ukraine (including Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Don’t take my word for it. It’s proudly mentioned on Soros’ own web site!) and it didn’t have to spend $5 billion of our money (as Victoria Nuland foolishly blurted out in a meeting) on destabilizing Ukraine via USAID. Nor did it have to send the ancient lunatic John McCain (who never met a war he didn’t like) to meet with a known Nazi in what must have been a deliberate provocation of Russia, a country that lost millions of its people and millions of dollars worth of infrastructure to the Nazis. To the average Russian, there is nothing more hated than a Nazi, and with good reason. And now the US and the EU are schmoozing with Nazis in Kiev. (Please note that Russians never never never give up. Which is largely why Hitler and Bonaparte saw the bulk of their armies devoured by Russian vultures.)

No one made the US government accept the Wolfowitz doctrine of encirclement of Russia. Russia had traditional economic and diplomatic ties to every country surrounding it and there was no rational motive for trying to harm it economically as long as it was cooperating with the US, as it was. But we meddled in each one, even grooming a president for Georgia. It was deliberate provocation.

Some people believe implicitly that “war is good for the economy.” They never stop to think why they think that. This is because it has nothing to do with cognition. It is a cliché that became popular after WW II, when FDR implemented Keynesian stimulus. The war was his biggest stimulus experience, and it worked, but only because the US was industrialized, unlike today, and we had a captive market in countries whose infrastructure was destroyed and hence could not produce their own manufactured goods.

Those conditions no longer exist. And further, a group of economists at UCLA have shown that FDR’s Keynesian policies, far from stimulating, actually delayed the recovery from the depression by about 7-8 years. Yet the foolish politicians in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, believe the ‘stimulus’ myth implicitly.

But here is a pattern that has been followed by such Keynesians in the past in times of severe crisis: bailouts of business and banks, paid for by the tax payer failing that, issuance of unbacked dollars failing that, war.

What makes Keynesians so feckless is that their approach to all of these reflexive steps is wholly unscientific. When scientists test new drugs, for example, they generally propose a mechanism that would explain why the drug would most likely be efficacious. That is usually the start, before the rats get their doses of the samples. But Keynesians are not scientific. They are religious fanatics who do not question anything. No one could possibly explain a mechanism by which the standard forms of “stimulus” work because there is no logic or reason behind these elaborate Ponzi schemes. Clearly, throwing money away will not bring more money into the treasury; it will only more quickly empty it out.

It is clear that China and Russia are aware of this error, and probably the rest of the BRICS nations are as well. Yet arrogant Western powers demand that they behave as recklessly as we do. To these nations, that must be seen as provocation.

Now ask yourself: If you told your teen not to go out to the bear cave and taunt the mother bear by stealing her cubs, what would you expect to happen if he disobeyed you? And would your teen be blameless if he failed to heed your warning and got mauled or eaten?

We were at peace with the Russian bear. Now that peace is troubled. It didn’t have to be this way.

The bear has shown its claws, and they are scary. No one expected it, but then they never do expect the unexpected consequences. They think they are dealing with a circus bear and are used to it sitting up and begging.

Don’t get me wrong. We desperately need a war. But it ought to be between the political and corporatist class in the West on the one hand and We the People on the other, not between us and a scapegoat country under a narrative concocted by our keepers.

The US has lost war after war since the 50s, including the ones we ‘won.’ Will we be fooled again?

God grant us wisdom this time around.