Sen. McConnell: DISCLOSE Act is “Crude Intimidation Tactic”

Some in the Senate seem to think that there’s too much free speech in our politics and want to silence their opponents. For the third time in four years, Senate Democrats have trotted out a version of their Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. The bill may be couched in soothing, good government terms, but it would be a hard punch to free speech.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has relentlessly opposed efforts to limit political speech and in the Washington Examiner defends the First Amendment from this latest assault [emphasis mine]:

As a longtime First Amendment hawk, I have sought to raise the alarm in real time on these multiplying assaults on the First Amendment, from a proposed executive order that would have required applicants for government contracts to disclose their political leanings before they could get a contract, to the significant, targeted harassment of conservative groups that we now know to have taken place at the IRS.

In my view, it is absolutely essential for the integrity of our politics and the health of our democracy that we not grow complacent in the face of these increasingly brazen attacks on free speech — that we recognize them when we see them and call them out for what they are in plain English.

That was my goal this week in publicly testifying against the Democrats’ latest effort to stifle speech. Despite the many other urgent crises we face at the moment, I thought it important to make my way to a hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and speak out against Washington Democrats’ latest iteration of the so-called Disclose Act, because silence on this issue is not an option.

The Disclose Act has become something of a preoccupation for Washington Democrats. Its stated purpose is the forced disclosure of donors to political causes, but the truth is, it’s little more than a crude intimidation tactic masquerading as good government.

Attempts at forced disclosure were used in the past to squelch free speech, as McConnell explains:

Back in the 1950s, the state of Alabama tried to get its hands on the donor list of the NAACP. The Supreme Court correctly ruled against forced disclosure then because it knew that if people had reason to fear that their names and reputations would be attacked because of the causes they support, then they would be far less likely to support them. They knew disclosure would have a chilling effect on free association and free speech.

Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs made similar points in a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) on the Senate Rules Committee. The clear purpose of the bill, Josten wrote, “is to upend irretrievably core First Amendment political speech protections” by “chilling the political speech of the business community and others engaged in the political process.” At the same time it is “blatantly political and ultimately unconstitutional legislation that detracts from much more significant efforts to solve challenges confronting America.”

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue put it succinctly last year, “If you don’t like what someone is saying, argue with them (but do it politely). Don’t try to silence them.” First Amendment defenders like Senator McConnell understand how important that principle is for our country.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is by photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg.

Cheating Commies and Guardian Syndrome by Max Borders

Why were the East Germans more likely to cheat?

In a recent Economist piece called “Lying Commies,” the authors report:

“Under capitalism”, ran the old Soviet-era joke, “man exploits man. Under communism it is just the opposite.” In fact new research suggests that the Soviet system inspired not just sarcasm but cheating too: in East Germany, at least, communism appears to have inculcated moral laxity.

Lars Hornuf of the University of Munich and Dan Ariely, Ximena García-Rada and Heather Mann of Duke University ran an experiment last year to test Germans’ willingness to lie for personal gain. Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8).

The findings?

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

But the authors make no attempt to explain why this is so. As you can see, they write: “The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty.”

Might we find at least clues to an answer in the work of Jane Jacobs? Specifically, in Systems of Survival, she offers the following heuristic to show us how different people arrive at different types of moral frameworks depending on how the incentives systems are set up to benefit their survival. (I would add that these moral “syndromes” are also good psychological dispositions for shoring up hierarchies or transitioning to networks, respectively.)

                              Moral Precepts

     Guardian Syndrome      Commerce Syndrome
Shun trading

Exert prowess

Be obedient and disciplined

Adhere to tradition

Respect hierarchy

Be loyal

Take vengeance

Deceive for the sake of the task

Make rich use of leisure

Be ostentatious

Dispense largesse

Be exclusive

Show fortitude

Be fatalistic

Treasure honor

Shun force

Compete

Be efficient

Be open to inventiveness and novelty

Use initiative and enterprise

Come to voluntary agreements

Respect contracts

Dissent for the sake of the task

Be industrious

Be thrifty

Invest for productive purposes

Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens

Promote comfort and convenience

Be optimistic

Be honest

Notice anything about guardian syndrome that unpacks both the behavior of East German socialists, as well as those involved in politics and bureaucratic hierarchies in general?

MaxBordersVEsmlABOUT MAX BORDERS

Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #15 – We Are Destroying the Earth and Government Must Do Something by Sandy Ikeda

People often complain that mankind is destroying the earth: that insatiable consumption and relentless production have laid waste to irreplaceable swaths of our planet, and that these activities have to stop or someday it will all be gone.

Which raises the question: What does it means to “destroy” something?

When you burn a log, the log is destroyed, but heat, light, smoke, and ashes are created. It’s in that sense that physics tells us that matter is neither created nor destroyed.  Similarly, cutting down a forest destroys the forest, but in its place are houses and furniture and suburbs.

The real question is: Is it worth it?

What people usually mean when they say mankind is destroying the earth is that human action causes a change they don’t like. It sounds odd to say that my wife, by eating a piece of toast for breakfast, is “destroying” the toast. But if I wanted that toast for myself, I might well regard her action as destructive. It’s the same action, but the interpretation depends on purpose and context.

When a missile obliterates a building and kills the people in it, it may serve a political purpose, even though the friends and family of those killed and the owners of the building are harmed. The perpetrator’s gain is the victim’s loss. In the political realm, one person’s gain is necessarily another person’s loss. You rob Peter to pay Paul; you kill Jack to appease Jill. It’s a “zero-sum game.”

In the economic realm, however, a thing is destroyed to the extent that it loses its usefulness to somebody for doing something. Someone may want to bulldoze my lovely home just for fun. If she pays me enough I may let her do it and be glad she did. When not physically coerced, a trade won’t happen unless each side expects to gain. If it does happen, and if the people who traded are right, then all do in fact gain. Each is better off than before. The trade has created something: value. If they are wrong, they destroy value and suffer a loss, which gives them an incentive to avoid making mistakes.

In free markets, gains manifest themselves in profit, either monetary or psychic. (In the short run, of course, you can sustain a monetary loss if you think there’s a worthwhile non-monetary aspect to the trade that will preserve the profit.) Now, the free market is not perfect, despite what some economics professors say about the benefits of so-called “perfect competition.” People don’t have complete or perfect knowledge and so they make mistakes. They trade when they shouldn’t, or they don’t trade when they should. Fortunately, profits and losses serve as feedback to guide their decisions.

There’s another source of market imperfection. People may be capable of making good decisions but they don’t trade, or trade too much, because the property rights to the things they would like to trade aren’t well-defined or aren’t effectively enforced. In such cases their actions or in actions create costs they don’t bear or benefits they don’t receive. The result is that their decisions end up destroying value.

If I free-ride off the ocean—if, for example, I don’t pay for dumping garbage into it—then the ocean will become more polluted than it should be. If there is a cleaner, more efficient source of energy than fossil fuels, but no one can profitably use it because the State prevents anyone from doing so (for example by prohibitions or excessive taxation), then the value that would have been created will never appear.

Our aesthetic sense is part of what makes us human. If we wish to protect a lake or a valley from development because we think it beautiful, how do we do that?

To some extent it’s possible to do what the Nature Conservancy does and purchase the land that we want to protect. But that’s not always possible, especially when the land is controlled not by private persons but by the State, which makes special deals with crony capitalists in so-called public-private developments. In any case, even the free market is not perfect. Economic development and material well-being mean that some beautiful landscapes and irreplaceable resources will be changed in ways not everyone will approve of.

Remember, though, that economics teaches us that an action is always taken by someone for something. There are no disembodied costs, benefits, or values. In a world of scarcity, John believes saving rainforests is more important than saving the whales. Mary believes the opposite. If we are to get past disagreements on aesthetics—essentially differences of opinion—that can turn into violent conflict, we need to find some way to settle our differences peacefully, some way to transform them into value-creating interactions.

Imperfect though it may be, the free market has so far been the most effective method we know of for doing that.

Sandy Ikeda
Associate Professor of Economics
Purchase College, SUNY

Summary

  • Physics teaches us that matter is not really destroyed but rather transformed, so the ever-present question is, “Is it worth it?”
  • Market transactions transform resources, as well as ownership of them, and if enhanced value doesn’t result from those transactions, the resulting losses tend to minimize future mistakes.
  • For further information, see:

“Government Versus the Environment” by Russell Madden: http://tinyurl.com/ndc96h2

“The Problem of Environmental Protection” by Dwight R. Lee: http://tinyurl.com/nub9uet

“Economists and Scarcity” by Steven Horwitz: http://tinyurl.com/mztsuf4

“Remembering Julian Simon” by Paul Cleveland and Erin Hagert: http://tinyurl.com/ngchvyo

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?

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

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

“How to solve the unsolvable”

There are some problems which might not have a solution.

Israel is at the stage in the conflict in which, traditionally, international pressure mounts to such a pitch that Israel has to stop its operations against Hamas. This is what happened in 2009, what happened in 2012 and what looks set to happen again now. The international community recognises that Israel needs to stop rockets being fired from Gaza, allows the state a couple of weeks of mild support or mild protest and then comes down heavily after the operations bring the inevitable civilian and terrorist casualties. There is a pattern to this. And each time the exigencies of the political cycle ensure that the problem will return in exactly the same guise 18 months or so later.

But somebody must think about what the long-term solution to all this might be.  Ever since Israel withdrew from the Gaza in 2005 and the Bush administration pushed for elections which resulted in the election of Hamas (who then consolidated their win with a violent coup) the world has been faced with this seemingly insoluble problem. Yet part of its insolubility is the world’s continued pretence that this is in fact a problem capable of being solved.

Hamas and their supporters are calling for a stopping of what they call the ‘siege’ or ‘blockade’ on Gaza. Of course the restrictions on materials getting into Gaza could indeed be lifted if it were not for the certainty that Hamas would use the opportunity to bring more munitions into Gaza even than they can with the ‘blockade’ in place.  The long-term effects of a normalising of trade with Gaza would be a Gaza armed with better and more efficient weaponry than ever. Calls for a ‘lifting of the blockade’ therefore come from people who are either ignorant of Hamas’s behaviour or from people who know Hamas’s behaviour, like it and would like to assist them.

The prospect of Israel ‘re-occupying’ Gaza is off the table. There is little or no public or political desire in Israel to have to control an area seething with such extremism and antagonism. Ordinarily a long-term solution would be for Egypt to re-assert control of Gaza which they asserted fifty years ago. Except that the Egyptians know the problems that exist in Gaza as well as the Israelis do, and they no more want to govern the people of the area than the Israelis. They, too, know that the destabilisation of their entire society is not just possible but likely should they allow Gaza into their borders.

So nobody wants to ‘own’ Gaza and Hamas seems for the time-being to be utterly unwilling to sublimate their priority of attacking Israel in order to better govern and provide for (with international assistance) the people nominally in their care.

So what can be done?  If you ask the best policy-makers, the finest minds in the region from any and all sides, the same shrug or despair emerges at this point. The answer which almost everybody who has looked at the situation is agreed upon is that there is not at the moment any solution to this problem. They follow this up with the inevitable hope that at some stage in the future this fact will change. But it is important to keep in mind what this change consists of. Any long-term solution to the Gaza problem is incumbent on a stage-by-stage, gradual improvement in, and normalisation of, Gaza. It involves younger Gazans growing up without being imbued with the hate which demands they make assault on the Jewish state their political and religious priority. Anybody who looks at this must also realise that this place – if it can be reached – will not be reached for many years.  Perhaps ten years at a minimum. Almost certainly far more. And what makes the timescale worse is that there is no sign that Hamas or the Palestinian leadership in Gaza in general are doing anything remotely like starting this process.

This, then, is a problem for which there is no immediate solution.  A bleak fact, but one that the international community would do well to realise.  Because only by doing so can they – or anyone – have a realistic expectation of how, if ever, this terrible situation can be resolved.  Accepting the limitations of the world is often an unpleasant thing to do, but it is a better strategy than pretending these unpalatable facts away.

Boycott, Divest and Sanction every nation in the Middle East, except for Israel

As Israel is under attack from Hamas in the Gaza strip and BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — right here in America, Bill Whittle makes the historical and moral case for Israel, and shows just who, indeed, are the tyrants and aggressors in the Middle East.

TRANSCRIPT:

Even before the recent Israeli ground and air operations in Gaza, the BDS movement – that would stand for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – was gaining traction… not just in France, or Germany, or Oman: right here in America.

BDS is being sold – as everything evil and stupid is being sold these days – as a moral good. The argument goes like this: Israel, a nation formed in response to the cold, concrete reality of extermination, has let its economic and military power go to its head. They, now, are the oppressors; they now are Goliath in a main battle tank facing a brave Palestinian David with a rock in his hand; they now are the racists. They now – Israel – are the Nazis.

Are they?

Here is Israel at the time of its formation by the United Nations in 1948. Actually, you can’t see it on this map because it’s so small – smaller than the state of New Jersey.

On that same year, the Arab nations surrounding the new country attacked what was then mostly small farming communities and tried to drive the Jews into the sea.

But The Israelis won.

The Arabs tried it again in 1967. The Jews beat them again. Then, in 1973, the Arabs tried again, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday – and the Jews won again.

Israel’s territorial gains did not come from Israel attacking the Arabs. They came from Israel being attacked by the Arabs.

And Israel has always tried to give the land back in exchange for peace, as it did when it voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula – which is bigger than Israel itself – back to the Egyptians who had tried to attack them from the Sinai, and likewise, they gave the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians who had attacked them – from the Gaza strip.

Since then, thousands – thousands! — of rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from schoolyards and orphanages and hospitals in — Gaza.

How many rockets and mortars would you allow to fall on your house by neighbors that have been swearing to kill you for 65 years? How many times will someone keep hitting you before you hit back?

The Palestinians daily call for the Jews to be driven into the sea. The Jews have one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. They could drive the Palestinians into the sea any time they wanted to. They don’t.

The instant that Hamas or Hezbollah get their hands on a nuclear weapon, they will do with it what they do every day with their rocks and mortars and missiles. They will use it. On Israel. The Israelis have an estimated 500 nuclear weapons and could destroy the Arabs any time they chose. They don’t.

Those are not Nazis. Those are moral, civilized people.

Israel is an island of civilization in a sea of barbarity, and that is why it is being targeted. Uncomfortable with those words, “civilization” and “barbarity?” Well, in Israel women can do whatever they please – including leading the state of Israel. In the surrounding Arab nations women are treated as chattel. They’re just property: useful for creating sons and carrying things.

In Israel, homosexuals are tolerated and celebrated as individuals – why, just as if they were real people! In the surrounding Muslim nations they are hung from construction cranes in public squares. In Israel, scientists at the University of Haifa are studying In-homogeneous tachyon dynamics. The latest scientific invention in the Arab world is a buzzer that goes off when a Muslim falls asleep against his prayer rug.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was used, in the main successfully, against racist South Africa. Racist South Africa used brutal force to suppress people along racial lines.

Israel, on the other hand, is the only nation in the entire Middle East where Arabs have a free and fair vote. Israel allows Israelis of any ethnicity to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament – including Arabs. So: If you’re in favor of equal rights for women, legal protections for homosexuals, advances in science, the arts and medicine, and political access and personal rights guaranteed by law — you definitely should support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – for every nation in the region EXCEPT Israel.

Finally, I’ll just say this – because this is really what drives this whole thing. It is absolutely true that criticizing the actions of the State of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitism. Israel is as subject to criticism and condemnation as any other nation on earth.

But you cannot understand Israel’s actions without understanding the pervasive, unrelenting, hate that surrounds that outpost of civilization. From Hezbollah rockets made in Iran, to BDS sanctions made in Berkeley and Santa Monica, the attacks on this country and its people cannot be understood without getting to the bedrock essence of the nasty, petty, small and mean-spirited emotion that drives anti-Semitism.

And that emotion is Envy.

Genesis, Chapter 26, verses 12 through 16:

And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Aby melech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

That was thousands of years before there was a religion called Islam. And when the Israelis, as a gesture of peace and goodwill, turned over the Gaza Strip in 2005 the first thing these modern-day philistines did was smash the windows of the greenhouses that had been handed to them by other people’s labor. Once again, they filled wells in the desert with sand.

Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, by far the safest home the Jews have ever known was here in America. No doubt there was anti-Semitism here, but with a few exceptions it was golf-course anti-Semitism: disgraceful, but a long, long way from the pogroms and the death camps. Why was America such a safe home for the Jews? Well, because up until very recently — 2008 let’s say – envy was not admired here in America. “Coveting” wasn’t sold here as a virtue, either.

So,  to those American Jews who watched through the 1930’s and 40s and ask, “how could they have let that happen?” I would simply say, “How can you let this happen? Why do so many of you vote for this to happen – pay for it to happen?”

Tea Party Conservatives, like me – genuine friends of Israel and the Jewish people – look at you and think “It’s obvious you’ve lost your minds. Have you lost your souls as well?”

What if there were “Straight Guys Pride Parades and Festivals” nationwide on Fathers Day 2015?

Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 21st, 2015. What would happen if fathers and straight guys across America held “Straight Guys Festivals” or “Straight Pride Parades” in every city, town and community in America?

What if personalities like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Mark Wahlberg, Robert DeNiro, Tom Selleck and Arnold “the Terminator” Schwarzenegger appeared leading the parades and giving speeches about the importance of being a straight man. What if they called “being straight” a civil right? What if they demanded special treatment under the law for being straight? What if they called those who oppose men being men “straightophobic”? What if they demanded that marriage be defined as between one man and one woman? What if there was a million man march on Washington, D.C. Wait one, that already happened lead by none other than Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Check out this YouTube video from Broke Straight Boys. This is what is happening across America. Which is better, this behavior (boys selling sex to the same sex for money), or being straight, married and with a traditional family? You decided after watching this revealing video of the Denver Gay Pride Parade (WARNING: This video contains graphic material and language and is not suitable for children):

Why those who are not straight would come out fighting mad as they did in Columbus, Ohio.

straight white guy poster

For a larger view click on the poster.

According to Sean Brown from Mad World News, ” It’s often said that the same people who promote ‘gay pride’ parades and other such events that promote a certain race or lifestyle would get upset should heterosexual or white people hold similar gatherings, even though they claim to be for equality. A series of joke flyers that were placed around an Ohio town has proven what many of us have known to be true. A spoof flyer was posted around the Columbus area advertising the Straight White Guy Festival to be held at Goodale Park, which is home to the annual Gay Pride Parade. They claim the festival will be held in September, according to [WBNS Channel] 10 TV.”

The flyer reads: “Come help us celebrate our enjoyment of being straight white and male.”

Brown notes, “This was obviously done as a joke to mock the left’s hypocrisy in their promotion of minority groups at the expense of others. The head of an organization that pushes same-sex marriage saw the flyers and expressed his discontent in the creator’s humor, even though the fake flyer said ‘everyone welcome.'” 

“This kind of thing implies there’s some kind of struggle going on for being a straight white person in Ohio. Straight white people are doing just fine,” said Michael Premo.

But are straight white guys “doing just fine”? Isn’t there a struggle going on in the U.S. to denigrate, if not eliminate, the straight guy?

When President Obama uses an Executive Order giving hiring preferences to homosexuals on federal contracts some might call this “discrimination against straight guys.” Or when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who offhandedly came up with seventy-one categories for non-straight men and women.

As a straight guy I understand the pressures from the President, his political allies and certain media outlets to get in touch with my “feminine side.” LOL!

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘True Blood’ actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he did not want to portray a gay vampire – DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Florida Senator Marco Rubio gives defining pro-family, pro-straight and pro-American speech

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has taken on social issues in a major speech given at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Senator Rubio is taking the high ground on issues that are important to the majority of Americans.

In “Strong Values for a Strong America” Rubio states, “A strong America is not possible without strong Americans – a people formed by the values necessary for success, the values of education and hard work, strong marriages and empowered parents. These are values that made us the greatest nation ever, and these are the values that will lead us to a future even better than our past.”

Rubio notes, “No one is born with the values crucial to the success sequence. They have to be taught to us and they have to be reinforced. Strong families are the primary and most effective teachers of these values. As the social philosopher Michael Novak once said, the family is the original and best department of health, education and welfare. It is crucial in developing the character of the young. And those efforts can be reinforced in our schools, religious institutions, civic groups and our society.”

Rubio comes out strong as the pro-family, pro-straight and pro-American candidate for President in 2016. Immediately after his speech Rubio was attacked for the following statement:

Now, I know that given the current cultural debates in our country, many expect that a speech on values would necessarily touch upon issues like same sex marriage and abortion. These are important issues and they relate to deeply held beliefs and deeply divisive ideas.

We should acknowledge that our history is marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians. There was once a time when the federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required private contractors to identify and fire them. Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants. And many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans.

Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. But many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage. And supporters of same sex marriage argue that laws banning same sex marriage are discrimination.

I respect their arguments. And I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and for society.

But there is another side of debate. Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children. And since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults, states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.

That is the definition of marriage that I personally support – not because I seek to discriminate against people who love someone of the same sex, but because I believe that the union of one man and one woman is a special relationship that has proven to be of great benefit to our society, our nation and our people, and therefore deserves to be elevated in our laws.

Watch the YouTube video of Rubio’s speech:

Read the full text of Rubio’s speech here.

In Florida 1 million Christians either did not register or did not vote in the 2010 general election. Obama won Florida by less than 80,000 votes. Perhaps Rubio is on to something?

When tolerance becomes a one-way street it leads to at best religious intolerance and at its worst social suicide. Rubio has taken the moral high ground.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Straight White Guy’ Festival Outrages Same-Sex Marriage Supporters

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of  M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO.

A Great Plan to Replace the EPA

For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

AA - Jay Lehr

Dr. Jay Lehr

Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy adviser. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.” He’s right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.”

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Fight Heats Up Over EPA Sabotage of Alaska Gold Mine

Fraud in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

According to Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), “A core principle of the state’s economic development incentive program is that businesses are paid based on verified performance, meaning no tax dollars are paid until job creation or capital investment numbers are audited and confirmed to protect taxpayer investment.”

Since 2011 Department of Economic Opportunity has awarded $269,114,050 in incentives. In 2011 Florida businesses were paid $32,901,728 and created 2,292 confirmed jobs. That is at a cost of $14,355 per job created. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida employs 7,453,230 people, with a mean hourly wage of $19.78 and an annual wage of$41,140. For the cost (taxation) of three incentives one average wage job could have been created by Florida businesses.

But are incentives paid based upon verified performance? Is using Florida’s tax payer dollars to create jobs a role for government?

Director Panuccio is working to stem the bleeding in a lawsuit involving John Textor the former CEO of Digital Domain. Senator Christopher L. (Chris) Smith (D-FL District 31) is asking questions about the role played by the department and the Economic Development Council in funding Textor and Digital Domain. But is Senator Smith asking the right questions?

Senator Smith wrote to Governor Rick Scott about Digital Domain. Director Panuccio, replying to Senator Smith on behalf of the Governor, wrote:

As for the specific concerns in your letter, first, please allow me to address the forthcoming lawsuit against those associated with the Digital Domain Media Group. In 2009, the Office of Tourism, Trade, & Economic Development (“OTTED”) – predecessor agency to the Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”) – distributed tens of millions of taxpayer funds to Digital Domain. As noted in the 2013 Inspector General Report (Report Number 2013-11), the usual state regulatory processes governing the award of such funds were circumvented. In 2012, Digital Domain filed bankruptcy and laid off all of its employees – thereby breaching the grant fund agreement. DEO has filed a notice of claim against Digital Domain in the bankruptcy proceeding. DEO has also hired outside counsel to identify any and all legal action available against the principals of Digital Domain and any other individuals or entities involved in wrongdoing related to this deal. DEO is committed to recouping all monies owed to the state, including approximately $20 million in incentive funding.

Panuccio concludes with, “In short, Florida’s economic development system is working better today than at anytime in the past – an opinion shared by economic-development professionals across the state and nation.  We follow the law, we protect taxpayer money, and we get results.  Florida’s economy has turned around thanks to Governor Scott’s leadership.  We appreciate your support of our efforts. ”

What is missing from this entire conversation between Senator Smith and Director Panuccio: Is there a role for government in economic development and if so, what is it?

Many believe government has no role in funding, via incentive programs, business. These “incentive programs” are described as “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare” by Main street Americans. In April U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) gave a thoughtful speech (watch the below video) warning of “America’s crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and political privilege.”  The victims are every day folks, “the poor and middle class” excluded by government “from earning their success on a level playing field.” Senator Lee noted, ““Big government isn’t just inefficient, it’s fundamentally unfair.”

Mark Shousen, writes, “In his classic work, The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Montesquieu expressed the novel view that the business of moneymaking serves as a countervailing bridle against the violent passions of war and abusive political power. ‘Commerce cures destructive prejudices,’ he declared. ‘It polishes and softens barbarous mores . . . . The natural effect of commerce is to lead to peace.’ Commerce improves society: ‘The spirit of commerce brings with it the spirit of frugality, of economy, of moderation, of work, of wisdom, of tranquility, of order, and of regularity.’”

Government does just the opposite. Digital Domain is a prime example of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity creating “destructive prejudices.”

Perhaps it is time to rethink the need for this Florida Department? For you see the only thing that creates a job is profit. Government does not create wealth, it takes it and redistributes it. Corporations are at their best when they cater to their customers, and at their worst when they lie in bed with government. Can you say corporate prostituting themselves to government?

Adam Smith wrote, “Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men.”

Throw the Bums Out and the Quality of the American Electorate

In a recent broadcast of Fox News’ newly-launched panel show, Outnumbered, the five panelists discussed recent opinion polls measuring congressional job approval.  And although the four female panelists… Sandra Smith, Harris Faulkner, Kirsten Powers, and Kimberly Guilfoyle… are not only much easier to look at than the dowdy and tiresome Obama cheerleaders on ABC’s The View, they are, individually and collectively, light-years brighter.

It is even fair to say that the token liberal on the panel, Kirsten Powers, is a rarity among liberals and Democrats… she is thoughtful and almost always fair-minded.  Unlike the ladies of The View, she is not an ideological lapdog for Democrats and the far left.  However, having tossed out that paean to the ladies of Outnumbered, it is also fair to say that they did no better at dealing with the subject of congressional job approval than any other group of talking heads.

In the course of their discussion they cited several recent polls.  Among the congressional job approval polls cited were CNS News at 12%, Fox News at 16%, The Economist at 10%, and Gallup at 15%.  They also cited a Field Poll which showed that some 44% of voters approve of the job their own congressman is doing, while 33% disapprove.  But in the unkindest cut of all, demonstrating how poorly congressional Republicans advocate for Republican principles, one poll showed that 46% said it made no difference which party controlled Congress.

But these results take on real meaning only when we look inside the numbers.  Taking a closer look at voter attitudes toward their own congressman, 57% of registered Democrats said they were likely to vote to reelect their current member of Congress, while only 33% of Republicans would vote to reelect their current member.  What this seems to indicate is that Republicans, in general, are far more thoughtful, far more discriminating, and far less likely to be influenced by “cult of personality” than Democrats.

These numbers also tell us is that people generally have a low opinion of Congress as a whole… always willing to speak ill of those who represent others… but a generally favorable attitude toward their own member, whoever he or she might be and regardless of his or her ideological stance.  Why?  Apparently because they are anxious to reconfirm what they consider to be their own perceptiveness in their voting booth decisions, while those who elected all those other dolts are dumber than bricks.  The only fair way to rate the Congress would be to add up the winning margins of every member and divide the total by 435 for House members and 100 for Senators.

Yes, it is fair to say that Congress does a very poor job of writing the laws and looking after the interests of the people, but that’s not due to any serious flaw in the way Congress is constituted. The principle shortcoming of the Congress is to be found in the quality of its leadership.  To prove the point, I might mention just four names:  Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Nancy Pelosi.  Need I say more?

In Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi we have leaders who are truly evil and who care about nothing beyond what is good for the Democratic Party and its candidates.  Their only real concern is that, if the ship of state is to sink beneath the waves, they insist on being at the helm when it happens.  In John Boehner and Mitch McConnell we have two well intentioned men, neither of whom have the foggiest notion of how to deal with the truly evil people on the Democrat side of the aisle.  Taken together, these mutually incompatible characterizations spell nothing but total gridlock.

Can it be fixed?  Yes, Congress can be fixed, but only in the event of a politically astute and well-informed electorate.  So long as 57% of Democrats believe that their own representatives are acting in the best interests of the country and deserve to be reelected, the problems of governance that we now experience can never be fixed.  If Democrats continue to believe that a man the caliber of Hank Johnson (D-GA) deserves to be in Congress, then there is little hope for us.  (It was Johnson who worried openly in a public hearing that the Pacific island of Guam might capsize if the U.S. Navy stationed an additional 8,000 Marines on one side of the island.)

But time is of the essence because reform is possible only so long as we still have a majority of voters who are property owners and/or wage earners, but it won’t be easy because a major portion of the Democrat Party base is comprised of uninformed non-producers, under-achievers, and the disinterested… those who are not property owners or who live off the labors of others.

Three significant reforms are sorely needed: First, we must amend our criminal laws to require mandatory prison time for those who engage in vote fraud.  Second, the right to vote should be limited only to those who are property owners and taxpayers.  And finally, before they are handed a ballot, voters should be required to score at least 60% on a simple ten-question exam, with topics chosen at random from current affairs and from the list of 100 questions used in examining immigrants who apply for American citizenship.

But can we expect Democrats to ever agree to stricter penalties for vote fraud?  Not likely.  Vote fraud is, and always has been, the “bread and butter” of Democratic politics.  In fact, Democrats are so wedded to the notion of vote fraud, so opposed to requiring photo IDs at polling places, so addicted to double and triple voting, that they would be unwilling to adopt a system in which voters would be required to dip a “pinkie” into a vial of indelible ink after voting, much like the  proud first-time voters in emerging democracies of the Third World.  So what does that tell us?

Next, we need to take a serious look at who is allowed to vote and who is not.  It makes no sense at all to have those who live off the public dole to participate in the election of the politicians who then vote to create bigger and better free lunches.  And while some may believe that voting is and always has been a universal right, such is not the case.  During the early years of the republic, only white males who owned at least 50 acres of land or had taxable income were allowed to vote.  Un-propertied men and women, slaves, and ex-slaves were prohibited from voting.  However, by the mid-19th century, most white males were allowed to vote, regardless of income or property ownership, and in the ensuing years the right to vote was further expanded.

The 15th Amendment (1870), extended voting rights to all citizens regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude;” the 19th Amendment (1920) extended voting rights to all female citizens; the 23rd Amendment (1961) extended the right to vote in presidential elections to residents of Washington, DC; the 24th Amendment (1964) struck down poll taxes and other taxes as barriers to voting; and the 26th Amendment (1971) extended voting rights to 18-year-olds.

Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”  Instead, it leaves the question of voter qualifications to the states to decide.  In short, the right to vote is not an explicit right under the Constitution.  States may deny the right to vote for reasons other than those explicitly addressed in the Constitution and subsequent amendments.  In addition to barring non-taxpayers and non-property owners, the Congress should also deny voting rights forever to those who obtain citizenship after illegally sneaking across our borders or by overstaying a visa.

Finally, it stretches credulity to suggest that the vote of an individual who cannot demonstrate the most rudimentary knowledge of current affairs or of the U.S. Constitution, should be valued as highly as the vote of the best-informed and most knowledgeable citizens.

The “man in the street” interviews popularized by late-night comedian Jay Leno and Fox News producer Jesse Watters tell us everything we need to know about the quality of the American electorate.  If we were fortunate enough to have a better educated and more informed electorate we would have a far more effective Congress and, once again, a president who would merit the respect and the admiration of the American people.

The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service administers a test to all those who wish to become U.S. citizens.  The test contains 100 questions from which questions are chosen at random and 60% is a passing grade.  A typical multiple choice test might appear as follows:

  1. What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence?
  2. What are the first three words of the U.S. Constitution that define self-governance?
  3. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
  4.  How many justices serve on the United States Supreme Court?
  5.  Who served as President of the U.S. during the Great Depression and World War II?
  6.  What nation is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East?
  7.  The Taliban is a radical Islamist group operating largely in which country?
  8.  Who currently serves as Attorney General of the United States?
  9.  How many time zones cover the U.S. from New York to California?
  10.  Which major river is the longest river in the United States?

Ten questions of this caliber, chosen at random and posed in a multiple choice format on a touch-screen monitor, could be used to screen out those with an insufficient knowledge of current affairs and our system of government to merit the privilege of voting.  Taking such a test would take less than two minutes per voter and would not in any way impede the voting process.

If we’re going to get serious about “throwing the bums out,” maybe we should begin with voters who cannot demonstrate that they deserve to be seen as members of an “informed” electorate.

Obama’s approval numbers in Florida falling

Though Democrats continue to stand behind him, 52 percent of Florida voters disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job while 44 percent approve, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

The numbers are similar to a May 1 poll, which showed 50 percent of the state’s voters disapproving of the president’s performance.

The new poll reinforced a sharp divide among the state’s voters: Only 7 percent of Republican voters approved of the job Obama is doing, while 84 percent of Democrats approved. Meanwhile, 40 percent of independents approved and 54 percent disapproved.

The poll had better numbers for Florida’s U.S. senators, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson. Of those polled, 49 percent approved of the way Rubio is handling his job, while 37 percent disapproved. Nelson received approval from 45 percent of voters, with 32 percent disapproving.

The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac frequently conducts polls in Florida and other states. The latest poll of 1,251 registered voters was conducted from July 17 to July 21.

EDITORS NOTE: This column is courtesy of News Service of Florida.

Gaza-Israel Dateline Paris: Dispatch No.3

The Christians of Mosul had 24 hours, the infidels of the West have a bit more time.

The just and merciful caliph gave the Christians of Mosul 24 hours to convert, leave, or die. The payment of the jizya (= dhimmitude) option, initially included in the multiple choice injunction, was withdrawn. A church dating back 1800 years, before the advent of Islam, was burned to the ground before the Christians left. The infidels of the West were too busy decrying the “massacre” in Gaza to ask for whom the bell tolls.

Ali Khamenei proposes the elimination of Israel by referendum. Former French MFA Dominique de Villepin thinks an imposed peace plan enforced by UN peacekeepers would do the trick. Hamas leaders, safely hunkered down in tunnels or abroad, exult in victory. Western media launch lethal narratives from morning to night and Jews look for the nearest shelter. Israel’s bosom buddy, the United States of America, wants an imposed ceasefire, presumably before joining in on an imposed peace plan, while slapping a brief but telling blockade on air travel to and from Israel. Did you get the message, haverim? Do unto the blockaders as they do unto Gaza.

In the aftermath of the shocking violence unleashed last weekend in Barbès and Sarcelles, benevolent French judges smiled upon the meager handful of culprits who were arrested after the Barbès operation. Suspended sentences of 4, 6, or 10 months were handed down like feeding candy to the wolves. The justice ministry has exercised its right to appeal these lenient sentences. Those arrested for mayhem in Sarcelles will theoretically go to jail, but perhaps not. Short sentences rarely lead to actual imprisonment here. It’s hard to prove that a given actor in an enraged mob actually committed this or that infraction. And it’s hard to have confidence in the government when thousands of punk jihadis show up for a banned demonstration and are not immediately dispersed. All the more so when a political party, the anti-capitalist NPA formerly led by the phony mailman Besancenot, brazenly maintains its call to demonstrate.

62% of French people polled said the pro-Palestinian demonstrations should be banned. But who’s listening?

Under pressure from interested parties, the Hollande government decided to authorize demonstrations on the 23rd and 26th of July… because every possible guarantee had been given by the organizers that there would be no débordements [literally, “overflow”]. The Communists had by then joined the NPA in fronting for the Brotherhood. Jean-Luc Mélenchon was there under the banner of the Front de Gauche that is part of the governing coalition, along with a handful of Socialist deputies. PM Manuel Valls had tried to stick to his guns. All last week he defended the ban, refuting claims that the ban was the cause of the violence. Note the lethal narrative: An authorized demonstration on July 13th replete with Death to the Jews culminates in attacks on synagogues. Therefore, demonstrations banned the following weekend yield 50 times more incitement and violence. Logical, n’est-ce pas? If I park in a no-parking zone and you tow my car away, it’s only to be expected that I will burn down the city hall and invite the assassination of the mayor.

Lethal narrative, cont’d. The authorized pro-Palestinian demonstration, majestically escorted by riot police, marched from Place Denfert-Rochereau to les Invalides—in the shadow of Napoleon’s tomb– via Montparnasse where artists and intellectuals, refugees from tyrannical regimes, used to gather and enrich Parisian life.

Lo and behold, it worked. All, these 14,000 blessed souls needed was the freedom to wrap themselves in Hamas keffiehs, brandish Israel-assassin posters, and confide to complaisant microphones their heartfelt concern for Palestinian victims of a massacre. “They’re killing Palestinians for no reason, for the fun of it.” “We see the images every day, it’s unbearable, we had to do something.”

Print and audiovisual media fell over themselves oohing and ahing over the concerned darlings. No anti-Semitic slogans, no threats, no destruction. When a few punks moved in on a France 2 correspondent doing his stand-up routine in the field, and covered his face with a big Palestinian flag, the incident was packaged as “demonstrators (nicely) interrupt a France 2 newscast.” A few years ago, near Cairo’s revolutionary Tahrir Square, a similar maneuver ended with a sexual assault on the French journalist that had been (nicely) interrupted during her newscast.

Nothing objectionable in this bon enfant demonstration where the good-natured, friendly citizens of France expressed (nicely) their grievances against “Israel Assassin, Hollande complice,” some dressed in soft green BDS t-shirts, others holding up horrible photos of massacred children and shouting in unison “Palestine vaincra [will triumph].

Last night, Le Monde Juif Info filled in some of the missing details. Fine-tuned ears picked up Death to the Jews that had escaped the attention of mainstream media. A camera filmed the burning of an Israeli flag. A BFM TV correspondent had proudly claimed that a woman immediately went over and stopped the unruly gesture. Monde Juif Info says she told them not to do it because it would be all over the evening news. In fact, it wasn’t. And the cameraman noticed a group of men clearly saying “Let’s go to the Marias Jewish Quarter and fight the Jewish defense League.” For these experienced stone-throwers, the Marais is NOT a stone’s throw from les Invalides You have to really be motivated to make the detour!

This morning a Jewish radio station reported that some 40 individuals had tried to attack a restaurant in the Marais.

Riposte Laïque has an eloquent photo gallery of posters the mass media didn’t see. The restaurant that was attacked, the Pitzman, is on rue Pavée next door to the synagogue and across the street from the yeshiva. Just a half block away from a main thoroughfare, rue de Rivoli, it was probably easier to hit than the shops and restaurants on rue des Rosiers.

Breaking news: A plane flying from Ouagadougou to Algiers disappeared from radar screens somewhere near northern Mali. Many, perhaps the majority of the passengers were French.

Flashback: The day the French troops landed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, 1,000 people were killed in what is described as “ethnic conflict” between Muslims and Christians. French forces gradually imposed relative calm. Remember Sabra and Chatilla?

Response to Senator Bernie Sanders on the Keystone Pipeline

Dear Senator Sanders:

As I was growing up one of the things I learned that helped this country become as successful as it did was by having cheap energy sources. Amazingly, the government that helped support achieving cheap energy is now so full of communists such as yourself and many democrats including the president who are trying to cripple the country and drive energy costs high so alternatives like wind and solar are comparably priced since their production costs resist being lowered. High energy costs drive up the cost of all goods and services.

A second thing you mention is the transporting of tar sands oil as being dangerous to transport by pipeline. Are you aware of the tens of thousands of miles of oil pipeline we have in the country today which is the safest form of transport there is.

You say there would be great envrionmental damage if the pipeline would be completed since greenhouse gases emitted are greater. I suppose you stand side by side with the former communists now posing as environmentalist in opposing Keystone. The majority of what you refer to in greenhouse gases is CO2 I assume which is what we exhale as we breathe. Perhaps we could offset that increase by enforcing our immigration laws and deporting the millions of illegal aliens that are here exhaling CO2 24 hours a day and stop mass legal immigration. Doesn’t that bother you? Tell me why environmentalists never complain about mass immigration legal and illegal adding to our environmental woes?

You tout wind and solar as real alternatives. What planet are you on? By the way senator, how many birds do the propellers on the wind farms kill annually (over 300K) and how many are killed by solar reflecting and singing feathers causing birds to crash? Why haven’t you and the other environmentalists stood up for the creatures? You and they certainly would be urinating and moaning if oil or gas was killing as many animals.

I could go on but I think you get the point Senator. You and the rest of the communists posing as environmentalists are very selective in what you recognize as a problem. Coincidentally it always has something to do with impeding our progress as a nation.

RELATED ARTICLES:

130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism
Climate change hits all Pentagon operations, official says | TheHill

RELATED VIDEO: Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.” Read more.

Common Core is tool to produce a “Commie Corps” by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Barack Obama declared six years ago that the ultimate goal of his presidency was to fundamentally transform America. This has been not only his agenda, but for decades the goal of America’s political left wing. To transform a country one must first transform its people. Transformation takes place by changing the values by which people live and by changing their self-perception of who they are and what they are supposed to become.

Common Core does exactly that.

Common Core is to education what Obamacare is to healthcare. The purpose of both programs is to take away one’s individual choice, be it regarding healthcare or local influence on education. Both programs are transformative since they assault the most fundamental American liberties, the freedom to choose one’s doctor and medical remedies, and the freedom to educate one’s children by local values. Both programs give federal bureaucrats control over these most important aspects of life. They disenfranchise us as patients and parents. Controlling the lives of “those below” is the animating principle of Leftism and the elitists who wish to do the controlling.

A communist society takes choice away from the people and places it in the hands of a centralized apparatus removed from the people. In other words, it deprives the individual his liberty. Through centralization, the individual loses not only his liberty but is socially engineered to think a certain way and act in conformity and lock-step with how the ruling elite want its new underclass to act. Common Core seeks to create a common-ness among people, what the Communists refer to as “the masses.” America’s students are being groomed today to be future members of the “Commie Corps,” advocates and robots of a trans-individual system.

Americans have succeeded because of our special Judeo-Christian outlook on life, local control, and the confidence in a rugged individualism that inspired us to be the best we can be. Common Core changes all that. Our children will be trained by educators not to be rugged but common; not masters of our own fate but subjects of a ruling bureaucracy; not the possessors of a unique Judeo-Christian outlook but proponents of a transnational, socialist worldview.

One of the hallmarks and goals of socialist Marxism is to strip a country of its unique culture, history, attitudes, and self-perception. The first order of business for the Russian communists was to denude Russia of its Russo-ism as did Mao when stripping his country of its unique Chinese heritage. Thus, throughout the curriculum of Common Core, American heroes are minimized and castigated, our history maligned, our historic values seen as an affront to multiculturalism. Much of Common Core is an indictment of America. It indicts so as to remove.

Too often far more information is supplied about Islam and too little about Christianity and Judaism. For many in the ruling clique, the Biblical religions and Testaments of Christianity and Judaism are passé and the problem while Islam and its Koran are seen as the new universal religion requiring our veneration. President Obama and Hillary Clinton epitomize this attitude of deference, often referring in their remarks to the “Holy Koran” and “the Prophet,” majestic references they rarely extend to Christianity or Judaism.

By transforming the values of our children, as well as their perception of themselves as individuals, the ruling elites will be able to transform America completely and create transnational citizens, pupils educated to conform to the social engineering from above. Common Core is the ultimate vehicle in erasing excellence for mediocrity and individuality for conformity. Common Core reflects the arrogance of the social engineers and their condescension and little regard for their “subjects” below. Common Core is the thief that robs individual students of their potential.

Because of Obamacare, many outstanding doctors are leaving the practice of medicine. Understandably, they wish not to be pre-programmed, mere medical clerks of the government… as if they were postal workers. It is an affront to the creativity, integrity, and the personal spirit they were trained to give to their craft. Similarly, we now hear of outstanding teachers who are leaving our schools and teaching due to the imposition of Common Core.

As with the students, their individuality is being snatched away through mandates of a new centralized education system. They will no longer be able to teach in a manner that reflects their innate talents, their unique intuition and experience, their personal insight. As with anything socialist and Marxist, the personal is crushed. It extinguishes the fire in the provider and levels and deadens the spirit in the receiver.

Common Core will stifle the potential of our youngsters and make them much too common. It will transform America by making our would-be heroes and achievers into but robots of the Commie Corps.

Rabbi Spero is a theologian and social and political commentator. He is author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, and was a pulpit rabbi for almost forty years.

EDITORS NOTE: A version of this article was published in The Blaze.

Net worth up for majority of Florida lawmakers by Jim Turner

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, July 24, 2014 — For most state lawmakers, 2013 was another good year financially, regardless of party.

Still, those with an “R” affixed to their names are doing better, in general, when it comes to the bottom line thanks mostly to stronger housing and stock markets.

Updated financial-disclosure reports for 2013 were due July 1. And from the reports posted online as of Thursday, the average net worth in the Senate is just under $3.77 million, while the average net-worth figure is a little more than $1.4 million in the House.

The totals run from a high of $26 million for outgoing Senate President Don Gaetz to a negative $127,138 for Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat who remains underwater on a pair of home loans.

Gaetz, a Niceville Republican with two years remaining in the Senate, was a co-founder of VITAS Healthcare Corp. He actually saw his net worth slip slightly in 2013, by about $140,000, from the prior year.

“The decline in my net worth is forcing me to make economies,” Gaetz quipped in an email response. “I’m afraid I will have to cancel some newspaper subscriptions.”

Of the 156 lawmakers who served during both the 2012 and 2013 sessions and whose reports were available, 119 recorded increases in net worth, 35 went down and two posted no change.

The reports represent an individual’s net worth on Dec. 31, 2013. While the reports were due July 1, lawmakers have until Sept. 2 to file them before facing fines.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, the average for all 40 senators stood at $3.34 million. The average for the 120 House members was $1.27 million.

A little more than $30,000 in income for each legislator comes from their state salaries.

Senate Republicans on average are worth $4.3 million per the latest reports, while their House GOP counterparts chime in at an average of $1.7 million. Democrats in the Senate averaged $2.77 million, while in the House the average stands at $865,224.

The averages are all up from a year earlier.

Dan Krassner, executive director of the watchdog group Integrity Florida, said lawmakers should be praised for major ethics reforms in 2013 that require the financial-disclosure reports to be posted online. However, the information still fails to provide a full picture of individual lawmakers’ wealth, he said.

“Many lawmakers receive significant income from special interests who lobby the Legislature,” Krassner said in an email. “The Legislature has created disclosure loopholes so conflicts of interest are easily hidden or just made legal.”

Among the problems with the reports, according to Integrity Florida, are that the self-reported numbers are never audited, assets can be easily hidden under a spouse’s name and lawmakers don’t have to reveal if firms they own or work for have business before the Legislature or state government. Also, Integrity Florida contends that with the requirement that numbers be based on a single day rather than the full-year lawmakers can “secretly engage in major transactions throughout the year undetected.”

Of the 40 Senators, 18 are millionaires, one more than during the prior year.

Tampa Democrat Arthenia Joyner, a longtime attorney, joined the seven-figure crowd, with her net worth growing from $908,422 to $1,009,588.

In the House, 35 of the 120 members are members of the millionaires club, the same number as the previous year though the list of millionaires does not include all the same representatives.

Not among those seven-figure lawmakers is outgoing House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican who reported his net worth declined from $288,075 to $285,259.

Weatherford, who reported his leadership post paid $39,585 last year, also drew $16,000 from the Dallas-based Breckenridge Enterprises and $102,785 from Red Eagle Group, a company under the umbrella of Simpson Environmental Services, which is headed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.

Simpson, worth $18.1 million, is the second-wealthiest senator.

Weatherford is slated to be replaced this fall as House speaker by Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island. Crisafulli, a real estate broker from a prominent citrus family, posted a net worth of $453,989. A year earlier, Crisafulli’s net worth was at $375,127.

Sen. Andy Gardiner, an Orlando Republican who is vice president of external affairs at Orlando Health, is slated to replace Gaetz as Senate president this fall. Gardiner came in with a net worth of $751,353 in 2013, up from $585,023 in 2011 to $681,653 in 2012.

Rep. Michael Bileca, a Miami Republican who co-founded the Towncare Dental Partnership firm now located throughout Central and South Florida, topped the House in terms of net worth, at $14.2 million.

Sen. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat and attorney with more than $300,000 in liabilities mostly involving home loans, is the only senator to record himself as financially underwater. Soto listed his net worth at a negative $6,663, an improvement from a negative $32,351 a year earlier.

In the House, 12 members — two fewer than a year earlier — owe more than they’re worth, mostly due to outstanding home, student and auto loans.

EDITORS NOTE: This column is courtesy of News Service Florida. Involved, invested, or interested in Florida politics? Buy your copy of the Political Almanac of Florida 2014 by Dave Royse today!