Why Government Does Not Function

Do you have the feeling that we no longer have government from the federal to the local level that is able to function because of vast volumes of laws and regulations that have made it impossible to do anything from build a bridge to run a nursing home? If so, you’re right. The nation is falling behind others who do a better job by permitting elected and appointed officials to actually make decisions. We are living in a nation where lawsuits follow every decision to accomplish anything.

Cover - The Rule of NobodyThis is the message of Philip K. Howard in a book that everyone concerned for the future of America should read; “The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government”.

It explains why we can elect a Representative or Senator, send him or her to Washington, D.C. and still see no progress. Instead, we get the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that began as a 2,700-page law that has already metastasized into regulations that, stacked up, stand seven feet tall! And more on the way. It has destroyed the healthcare insurance industry and is destroying the U.S. healthcare system.

“The missing element in American government could hardly be more basic. No official has authority to make a decision. Law has crowded out the ability to be practical or fair,” says Howard. “It’s a progressive disease. As law grows to fill the vacuum, the wheels of government go slower every year.”

Howard points to a variety of problems that nation is encountering. “America’s electrical grid is out of date—transformers, on average, are about forty years old, and not digitized.” As vital and essential as the grid is to all life in America, “there’s no active plan to rebuild America’s electrical grid. The main reason is that government cannot make the decisions needed to approve it.”

Citing proposals that would allow the Bayonne Bridge to permit the new generation of large container ships clearance that would enable the Port of Newark to remain competitive, it took three years for environmental reviews to clear the project, but as Howard notes, “the average length of environmental review for highway projects, according to a study by the Regional Plan Association, is over eight years.” Eight years!

“Government on legal autopilot,” says Howard, “doesn’t have a chance of achieving solvency. In 2010, 70 percent of federal tax revenue was consumed by three entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—that don’t even come up for annual congressional authorization.”

Americans are in general agreement that Big Government is a big problem, but did you know that more than twenty million people work for federal, state and local government—or one in seven workers in America. Their salaries and benefits total more than $1.5 trillion of taxpayer funding each year or about ten percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Cities in America are declaring bankruptcy because they cannot afford the retirement and other benefits that their employees receive. State budgets are comparably weighed down.

We read about the often incomprehensible results and costs of the legal system affecting all levels of government. “Up and down the chain of social responsibility, responsible people do not feel free to make sensible decisions,” says Howard. “Everything is too complicated: rules in the workplace, rights in the classroom, and machinations in government. We’re bogged down in bureaucracy, pushed around by lawsuits, and unable to steer out of economic and cultural storms.”

“The point of regulation, we seem to have forgotten, is to make sure things work in a crowded society.”

What is forgotten or never learned is that there are elements of risk in everything we do. Trying to legislate risk out of our lives only leaves us with millions of rules that make it impossible to function intelligently in business, in schools, in hospitals and nursing homes, and everywhere else. It eliminates swings and seesaws from playgrounds out of fear of lawsuits.

“America is losing its soul,” says Howard. “Instead of creating legal structures that support our values, Americans are abandoning our values in deference to the bureaucratic structures.” Too often, decisions made by elected officials or reflected referendums voted upon by the public have been taken over by the court system in which judges now feel free to decide these matters. The response was a growing objection to “judicial activism.” Now even the judges are distrusted.

Howard’s book explains why America is in trouble and offers recommendations to put it on the right path again. If it is ignored, the America into which I was born more than seven decades ago will not be around or livable for the next generation or two of Americans.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EXPOSED: The U.S. and British “Sex Industrial Complex”

Former KGB spy and Pedophile Information Exchange (PIE) member Geoffrey Prime (left) and PIE Chairman Tom O’Carroll

The United Kingdom has been rocked by a scandal of major proportions involving government support for pedophilia & pederasty. Child rape has been going on for decades at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) offices. “The BBC will be plunged into a major crisis with the publication of a damning review, expected next month, that will reveal its staff turned a blind eye to the rape and sexual assault of up to 1,000 girls and boys by Jimmy Savile in the corporation’s changing rooms and studios,” reports Daniel Boffey from The Guardian.

The Daily Mail reported,”A vile paedophile group with links to senior Labour politicians was funded with huge amounts of taxpayers’ money, it has emerged. The Paedophile Information Exchange was allegedly given £70,000 by the Home Office between 1977 and 1980 – the equivalent today of about £400,000. The astonishing claims made by a whistleblower are now being investigated by the police and the government.”

Before It’s News reported in January 2013 how PIE became a ‘legal’ paedophile ring:

“This history must start in 1967 when the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21, in England and Wales. It is important to note that  Homosexuality was not decriminalised in Scotland until 1980, and in Northern Ireland until 1982.

Following the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, homosexuals in parts of the UK other than England and Wales organised in an effort to attain equality in law. One such organisation, founded in 1969, was the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG). The SMG, which was based in Glasgow, was a self-help organisation working for the rights of homosexual men and women, and had the aims of providing counselling, working for law reform and providing meeting places for lesbians and gay men.

PIE, originally chaired by Michael Hanson,  began as a special interest group in 1974 under the SMG umbrella organisation. Note that paedophilia was no less illegal than homosexuality in Scotland at this time. PIE relocated to London in 1975 under a new chairman Keith Hose.

Read more.

Dr. Judith Reisman states, “‘The Sex Industrial Complex’ is an economic and attitudinal merger of pedophile and pederast crusaders with ‘sexology’ and its allies in other academic fields, along with commercial pornographers.  The pharmaceutical and abortion industries–both obviously profit from sexual promiscuity–are satellite players in the SIC. It was the academic pedophile/pederasty crusaders, largely employed by the pornography industry, with whom I locked horns in Wales when I presented my research on child pornography at the ‘British Psychological Association Conference on Love and Attraction’ in 1976.”

“Chasing down [Alfred] Kinsey and his closeted sexual revisionists is one of the most mesmerizing detective sagas in social history.  For, tracking the path of brazen clues left by liberal left ‘social scientists,’ we can learn a great deal about how and why our national moral philosophy was overturned,” notes Reisman.

Tom O’Carroll, the head of PIE, Pedophile Information Exchange, a pedophile supported by radical British political leaders, explained in his child molester’s handbook, Paedophilia, The Radical Case: “erotica had a powerful influence on my own attitudes, an influence almost as powerful and revolutionary as the impact on me of Ford and Beach and Kinsey.”  O’Carroll, the pioneering organizer of the English and European academic pedophile movement, nicely links together for us three key agents of “The Sex Industrial Complex” (SIC) discussed in detail in Chapter 5 of Reisman’s book Kinseyan Anthropology as relying upon three-key bodies of change agents:

a)  The pedophile/pederasty crusaders, (heterosexual and homosexual child molesters)
b)  Kinsey’s disciples in sexology and allied disciplines and
c)   The pornography industry.

We are seeing the same thing happen in the United States. Peter Bella in an August 2011 Washington Times article stated, “The modern age has been hailed as post-gender and post-racial. Meaning that we’ve grown as a society beyond petty discrimination against people on the basis of race or gender identity, and such discrimination is met with the entire wrath our legal and social institutions can muster. If some people have their way, this modern age will soon be post-pedophilia.   And playgrounds will be empty.”

According to Bella, “B4U-ACT is a Maryland-based group of mental health professionals, psychiatrists and pedophiles who want to normalize pedophilia. Instead of pejoratively calling them ‘pedophiles,’ ‘fiends,’ ‘deviants,’ ‘freaks,’ ‘perverts,’ ‘degenerates,’ ‘predators’ or ‘pedophiles,’ they would prefer that society refer to them by the sensitive and socially-accepting term: minor attracted persons.” (Daily Caller)

The target of pedophiles and pederasts remain our children. Call it what you may, it is wrong in so very many ways.

RELATED STORIES:

1977 Guardian article with Reisman quotes
How did the pro-paedophile group PIE exist openly for 10 years?
Pensioner backed Paedophile Information Exchange and may hold key to links with left wing groups
Home Office ‘gave Paedophile Information Exchange £70,000′: Group allegedly given taxpayers’ money between 1977 and 1980

Divided We Stand: A Traditionalist Manifesto

Conservatives are generally very nice people — who never saw a culture war they couldn’t lose. That is to say, we often hear cracks about how Barack Obama and his ilk may “evolve” on issues, but conservatives exhibit that tendency, too, and their evolution goes something like this:

“Marriage is between one man and one woman, period!”

Five years later…

“I can accept civil unions, but marriage should not be redefined.”

After five years more:

“The states can do whatever they want, just keep the feds out of it.”

And 10 years further on:

“People can do what they want. How does faux marriage affect me, anyway?” (This is the point British “conservatives” have reached.)

And at an even later juncture it’s, “Why shouldn’t homosexuals have the right to ‘marry’? It’s a matter of equality.” (Just ask some “conservatives” in Sweden.)

Oh, this isn’t limited to marriage or anything else some dismiss as “social issues.” Conservatives were against Social Security (in FDR’s time) before they tolerated it before they were for it before they demanded it. And they are against socialized medicine. But should it endure for 15 years, their children will tolerate it and then accept it and then expect it — as today’s conservatives do in Western Europe.

This gets at the only consistent definition of conservatism: a desire to “conserve,” to preserve the status quo. This is why while 1950s conservatives in the US were staunchly anti-communist, conservatives in the USSR were communist. As the status quo changes, so does the nature of the prevailing conservatism. And it is liberals, as the agents of change (without the hope), who shape tomorrow’s status quo.

Here’s how it works: the liberals come to the bargaining table demanding a change. The conservatives don’t like it, but being “reasonable” they give the other side some part of what they want. And it doesn’t matter if it amounts to 50 percent, 30, 15 or just 1 percent.

Because the libs will be back, next year, next election cycle, next decade.

Again and again and again.

And each time the cons will get conned, giving the libs a few more slices, until the left has the whole loaf and those ideological loafers, conservatives, are left with crumbs and a crumbled culture.

In a word, today’s conservatives are generally people who have assimilated into yesterday’s liberals’ culture. And every time we compromise — on civil unions, big-government programs or whatever it may be — we assimilate further. And what is the nature of this evolution?
It is nothing less than a superior culture being subsumed by an inferior one.

Now, all this perhaps sounds hopeless. Are we damned to inexorable and irrevocable movement toward the “left,” at least until the complete collapse of civilization is wrought? Well, there is an alternative to assimilation.

Separation.

There has been some talk of secession lately. But note that there is a prerequisite for political separation: cultural separation. Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia didn’t become their own nations because they suddenly thought the name Yugoslavia was no longer cool, but because of profound cultural differences. And Catalans in Spain some time back empowered parties that have called for an independence referendum this year because of cultural differences. Make the cultural differences great enough, and separation (assuming you can avoid bondage via a governmental iron fist, which is the other possibility) is a natural by-product.

But a key to increasing that cultural divide is avoiding assimilation. Did you ever hear of an Ainu (Japan’s original people) independence movement in Japan? No, because they’ve been largely absorbed by the wider culture, sort of how traditionalists get absorbed by our modernistic culture and end up having, at best, children who’ll reflect today’s liberals and be called tomorrow’s conservatives. So how can further assimilation be avoided?

We only need to look at how it’s done all over the world. And there are two ways. To illustrate the first, consider how ardent Muslims avoid being subsumed. They don’t view fellow citizens in a host nation as national brothers.

But as the “other.”

Oh, the others may occupy the same borders, but they are as alien as anyone outside them. Their culture is to be rejected not just because it’s decadent and despicable — and our liberal-created variety is certainly those things — but because it is of the other. So it is with the others’ laws, social codes, and traditions, too: they are born of an infidel, alien culture and are to be viewed with extreme suspicion if not hostility.

And this is precisely how leftists should be viewed.

For this to work, our instincts must be thus: If liberals say left, we go right. If they say down, we say up. If they scream “Change!” we shout all the louder “Tradition!” and then push for our own change — tradition’s restoration.

Note here that I’m not speaking of a cold intellectual understanding of the issues, which, don’t get me wrong, is important. But just as it is passion that makes a man fight for a woman, it is passion that makes you fight for a cause. Loathe what the liberals stand for, meet their agenda with animosity, cultivate a visceral desire to wipe it from the face of the Earth. Hate, hate, hate it with the fires of a thousand burning suns.

One drawback to this tactic for division, however, is that it constitutes a blind defiance that could conceivably reject virtue along with vice. An example of this is when elements of the black community dismiss education, Christianity and higher culture because they view embracing them as “acting white.” Yet since liberals are right only about 0.4 percent of the time (and I’m perhaps being generous), this isn’t the greatest of dangers at the moment. Nonetheless, this brings us to the ideal method for separation.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” A good example of love-driven separation is the Amish. They do try to avoid hating anyone (although I suspect they hate certain ideas), yet their love for their culture is so great that they remain a people apart. Of course, where they fall short is that they won’t fight at all, even politically. And this philosophy will not yield separation on a wide scale because the left simply won’t allow millions of people to live “off the grid.” Someone has to fund the nanny state, after all.

But the proper combination is obvious. We need sort of an Amish jihad, a deep love of the good and hatred of the evil that translates into action. But there is a prerequisite for this, and it brings us to something both the Amish and Muslim jihadists have in common.

They believe in Truth.

Sure, the Muslims may call it the will of Allah; the Amish, God’s law. But the point is that they aren’t awash in a relativism that, amounting to the Protagorean notion that “man is the measure of all things,” is unduly influenced by man. They don’t see a large number of people lobbying for some loony social innovation and figure that, with man as arbiter, they have to “get with the times.” Rooted to what they see as eternal, they don’t bend to the ephemeral.

Quite the opposite of G.W. Bush, I’m a divider — not a uniter. If this sounds bad, note that Jesus himself said He had not come to unite the world but as a sword to divide brother against brother. And while I certainly don’t claim to be God or even godly, I do know that tolerance of evil in unity’s name is a vice — and blessed division a virtue.

We can hate what is in front of us, love what is behind us, or both. But if we’re sheep and not soldiers, compromisers and not crusaders, Western civilization’s days will be behind us — and in front, perhaps, a thousand years of darkness.

Florida one of 46 States Tied to Common Core in 2009?

In June 2009, the National Governors Association (NGA) held an education symposium in which NGA outlined its plans for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money. Twenty-one governors attended; so did US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The following information is included a part of that June 2009 report:

At the Symposium, Secretary Duncan made an important announcement regarding these [ARRA] funds: $350 million of the Race to the Top (RTTT) funds has been earmarked to support the development of high-quality common assessments.With 46 states and three territories already signed on to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association-led initiative to develop a set of common core standards that are fewer, clearer, and higher, this announcement was greeted  enthusiastically by Symposium participants. [Emphasis added.]

That’s fishy: In June 2009, NGA reported that 46 states and three territories had already signed on to the NGA- and CCSSO-led Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

CCSS would not be finished for another year (June 2010).

RTTT would not be announced for another month (July 2009).

And now, in March 2014, we have former Florida Governor Jeb Bush urging states to “stay the course” with CCSS.

Stay the course?? According to NGA, 46 governors signed on to the race before there was a course and before there was even a race.

That’s dumb.

It’s 2014. CCSS is electric. What is a governor (or former governor) with 2016 presidential aspirations to do?

Bush is apparently putting the full force of his political clout behind CCSS via commercial ads.

However, not all Republican governors are doing so.

Take Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, for instance.

In May 2009, Jindal and then-State Superintendent Paul Pastorek signed the CCSS memorandum of understanding and included it as part of Louisiana’s RTTT application, dated January 19, 2010  (appendices are here). The following statement is from page 52 of Louisiana’s Phase 1 RTTT application:

On May 14, 2009, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendant Paul Pastorek signed the Memorandum of Agreement with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) to participate in the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).

Jindal– who was quick to sign Louisiana on for a not-yet-existent CCSS– and who thought the majority of Louisiana’s school districts would be lured along by the possibility of federal funding– is playing “cautious, silent.”

Ever mindful of his own political career, Jindal offered the following noncommittal statement regarding CCSS to the Baton Rouge Advocate on March 21, 2014:

In general, we think we should have strong standards as a state. We don’t think we should be going backwards on standards.

Which standards should “we” have, Bobby? The former Louisiana standards, or the current, amalgamated CCSS?

(I’m thinking that is the royal “we.” “We” tend to follow only what serves “us,” not what benefits Louisiana citizens.)

As to that May 2009 CCSS MOU:

It was no good, at least initially, without the support of the local school districts.

Louisiana has 69 school districts. Only 26 districts are on record as voting in the affirmative to adopt CCSS (see page 52 of the Louisiana RTTT application appendices).

This was a problem for Jindal and Pastorek. They counted on Louisiana districts’ buying into the already-signed CCSS MOU.

As St. Tammany Parish School Board (Louisiana) member Mary K. Bellisario recalls in a March 21, 2014, email,

In 2009 and early 2010, “to participate in the CCSS initiative” literally meant for each state to compete against the other states for the RTTT money–which of course was the impetus for the CCSS initiative.  Better to use the RTTT funding as the carrot, rather than Common Core itself.  This was the 3-hour debate in our board room the night we voted it down – how much funding were they talking about (the state couldn’t tell us that night), and how committed would we be to standards which weren’t even written at that time.

Most importantly, what would those standards say?

At first it was felt at LA DOE (where Pastorek was then superintendent) that all would go well, that each parish would vote in favor (after all, who would turn down “free” money?), and then the state could apply [for RTTT].

They (La DOE) were stunned when so many parishes voted no. 

The deadline in March for Round 1 of RTTT was fast approaching, and they lacked a major component (see page 18) of the application—a large number of cooperative parishes.

Too bad for them that so many parishes had total distrust of Supt. Pastorek! That was a major reason many of them turned it down.

There should be media sources after March which refer to the altering of the “participation” process at the national level. After the first round’s submissions in March 2010, the rules were relaxed so that a state could “participate” by being signed up by their governor and state supt. regardless of what individual counties/parishes determined.

Ironically LA didn’t win any [RTTT] money in the second round, either. 

But because we were now “participating,” we got the Common Core standards, whether we wanted them or not.

Bellisario continues in a separate email:

In early January 2010, St. Tammany Parish had to vote. … 

Pastorek was sure LA would get the RTTT/Common Core simply by applying and listing those parishes which had voted yes.  (Eventually 28 parishes and RSD schools did vote yes.) 

It wasn’t until sometime in late May or early June that the state officially adopted them via Jindal’s signature.  

We had thought we were safe — until Jindal and Pastorek signed up the entire state, once LA failed to get the RTTT money in early spring, because not enough parishes had signed up.  … 

After that, the rules were changed so that a governor and a state supt. could jointly sign up a state [for CCSS].

Jindal and Pastorek did exactly that. [Emphasis added.]

Louisiana’s application for RTTT funding was rejected. Among the application’s  reviewer comments is the following statement regarding the low participation by local school boards as concerns a section on the grading rubric, Translating LEA(local education agency) participation into Statewide Impact:

The hope is that non participating LEAs will adopt best practices through RTT. No evidence is provided that peer pressure will compel non participating LEAs to change. No evidence was given to support the idea of non participating LEAs making the shift on their own. [Emphasis added.]

Peer pressure??

That certainly does not sound very “voluntary.”

Common Core Lord of the Flies.

The “state-led” CCSS was initially supposed to be informed by the democratic process– one in which a state’s local school boards could vote on CCSS adoption. Then, when that did not yield the “right” response, the democratic process was conveniently discarded for the corporate-reform-style of “forced volunteering” under the sham name of “state leading.”

Allow me to add that the language of the CCSS MOU stands alone as a commitment to CCSS not contingent upon RTTT funding. Therefore, a governor’s and state superintendent’s signatures bind the state to CCSS. (Note: this so-called “agreement” violates Subpart 2, Section 9527 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act {ESEA}.)

In CommonCoreSpeak, the “state” is the governor and the state education superintendent.

In June 2009, NGA had it right when they called CCSS “NGA and CCSSO-led.”

Sometimes, however, Arne still needs to intervene in order to tie as much of the USA as is possible to his education privatization project. Thus, in 2012, Duncan decided to bypass the state and allow districts to deal directly with USDOE in applying for RTTT money.

If the state will not “lead” districts into corporate reform, USDOE is willing to dismiss the state.

And so, this is the manipulative game against which numerous states are fighting in the 2014 legislative session.

Jeb is pushing.

Bobby is squirming.

And somehow, in the midst of all of this education exploitation, America continues to be a world superpower.

Amazing, isn’t it?

RELATED STORY: Bill Gates loves Common Core for your kids, BUT NOT HIS

England Goes Back to the 17th Century: The Insane Wood Bonfire

The Brits have decided to Save the Planet by going back to burning wood instead of coal. The giant DRAX power plant in Yorkshire, which provides about 6% of Britain’s electricity – you know, heat, lights, telly – is being converted from burning coal to burning wood, 100 year-old hardwood, the kind prized for making furniture. American wood, from North Carolina.

No, I’m not making this up. No sane person could make this up. I know because I’ve read it in a British newspaper by a proper Brit reporter.

MoS2 Template Master

The Daily Mail is a rather skeptical Brit newspaper, meaning they don’t seem to uncritically accept what the Brit upper class tells them is good for them, like Charles, Prince of …let’s not go there.

I’m telling you this because the people who support the claims of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) are so world class stupid that explaining the science to them does no good. Perhaps pointing out the idiocy of their remedies for the non-existent “global warming crisis” will make an impression. The reductio ad absurdum works in math and logic; perhaps it will rouse our voters to get rid of these morons.

Secretary of State John Kerry confuses carbon dioxide, equally diffused through the atmosphere, with ozone, mostly in the stratosphere. Senator Nelson believes sea level will rise enough by 2100 to put 28 million Floridians under water. These are people who believe their highest priority – yes, that’s what Kerry said – is stopping – totally – the increase of “carbon pollution” in Earth’s atmosphere. We all exhale “carbon pollution” with every breath; it’s really carbon dioxide, invisible, odorless, and essential to all life on this planet. I really wish Kerry and Nelson would walk their talk – but, these are politicians – and stop exhaling their “carbon pollution.”

So, what did the Brit fishwrap say? A few quotes:

On a perfect spring day in the coastal forest of North Carolina I hike along a nature trail – a thread of dry gravel between the pools of the Roanoke river backwaters. A glistening otter dives for lunch just a few feet away.

Majestic trees soar straight and tall, their roots sunk deep in the swampland: maples, sweetgums and several kinds of oak. A pileated woodpecker – the world’s largest species, with a wingspan of almost 2ft – whistles as it flutters across the canopy. There the leaves are starting to bud, 100ft above the ground.
The trees seem to stretch to the horizon: a serene and timeless landscape.

Sounds pleasant. Not fast-growing trash trees, like pines for pulp. What else?

The UK is committed by law to a radical shift to renewable energy. By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.

The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood, man’s oldest fuel – because EU rules have determined it is ‘carbon-neutral’.
So our biggest power station, the leviathan Drax plant near Selby in North Yorkshire, is switching from dirty, non-renewable coal. Biomass is far more expensive, but the consumer helps the process by paying subsidies via levies on energy bills.

So this “renewable biomass” (from America) will cost much more than coal. It also costs much more than natural gas – of which Britain still has a fair amount. They could have far more, of course, if they began fracking, but the EU disapproves of fracking. But, surely, this will save the planet by reducing carbon dioxide emission, right? No!

In fact, Burdett admits, Drax’s wood-fuelled furnaces actually produce three per cent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal – and well over twice as much as gas: 870g per megawatt hour (MW/hr) is belched out by wood, compared to just 400g for gas.

Then there’s the extra CO2 produced by manufacturing the pellets and transporting them 3,800 miles. According to Burdett, when all that is taken into account, using biomass for generating power produces 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

There are additional reasons to believe this is insanity run amok, but why belabor the obvious? These are rules from the European Union. Now you understand why Vladimir Putin can take over Crimea without objection from the EU. Angela Merkel and Germany get 40% of their energy from Russian gas. The BMW production line will not shut down for Crimea.

Surely, the British voters will rise up and sweep out of power the government that fosters such policies? No; there are three major parties in Britain (Labour, Liberal, and Conservatives), who all support this green stupidity. No hope there.

But, no doubt OUR Environmental Protection Agency will step in to protect the home of the pileated woodpecker? No; American wind farms have been given a license to kill bald eagles, golden eagles, other raptors, bats… EPA works for the Marxist thug in the White House, who’s been sitting on the Keystone XL decision for five years. Three more years of stupid.

The word “bonfire” comes from “bonfire”, in the years when the Black Death created dead bodies faster than they could be buried. Now the Green Death is sweeping across Europe – and America. Goodbye, pileated woodpecker.

RELATED STORIES:

New Study: President Obama a “member of the Flat Earth Society” on Climate Change

Climate Truth and US Government Climate Policy

Even a child could understand climate change

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image of a bonfire is by Janne Karaste. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ought Implies Can by Steven Horwitz

Ethical Pronouncements without Economics Lead to Disastrous Public Policies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studying “Ought,” Ignoring “Can”

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

Can Doesn’t Imply Ought

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT STEVEN HORWITZ

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

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

US Foreign Policy In A Tailspin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Common Core Brought to Life.

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

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

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

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

Coleman and Bush: Serrated Education Partners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Korean’s response to the pesticide ban:

But we still have bridges and charcoal briquettes.

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

They want their government to care about them:

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

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

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

RELATED STORIES:

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

Bush Foundation is stepping it up a notch through the media

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

Will Marc Rich rise from the grave to topple Hillary?

On the very day that  tax evader and renegade oil speculator Marc Rich died  on June 26, 2013 in Lucerne, Switzerland, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act  (FOIA) request. Rich was pardoned on the very last day of former President Clinton’s second term in January 2001 in a series of pardons shepherded  by current US Attorney General Eric Holder. President Clinton had been entreated by Rich’s, ex-wife, Denise, a major Democrat fundraiser, aided by representations from ADL director, Abe Foxman, who was reported to have earned a large fee for facilitating the pardon. Despite Marc Rich engaging in back door oil deals with the late Saddam Hussein, the apartheid South African government and the Palestinian Authority, President Clinton had signed off. He has subsequently rued granting Rich’s pardon.

Judicial Watch finally received the results of the FOIA request and published the redacted copy on its website, yesterday.  Reading it, one can only surmise whether this  might prove to be a problem for several people; former US Ambassador to Israel during the Clinton era, Martin Indyk and then Israeli Foreign Minister, now President , Shimon Peres.and possibly ex-Mossad head, Efraim Halevy.

Peres assumed  the Israeli Premiership after PM Rabin’s tragic assassination by an Israeli extremist in November 1995.The period referenced in the Judicial Watch post followed  the arrival back of the PLO-Fatah under the late Yassir Arafat  in furtherance of the ill-fated Oslo Accords signed in September 1993 at the  White House under Clinton’s auspices. Arafat became the first President of the PA and, in 1996 began a series of attacks on Israeli joint patrols in the disputed territories the period of a near decade long  Palestinian violence against Israel. Indyk is currently  Secretary Kerry’s Special Envoy facilitating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a purported final status agreement. This redacted cable could be problematic for Hillary Clinton’s possible candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016?

Here is the Judicial Watch report:

Clinton’s Marc Rich Pardon – the Tell-Tale Cable

For years, there has been conjecture as to why Bill Clinton, in the waning moments of his presidency, suddenly and unexpectedly granted a full pardon to fugitive financier Marc Rich. Even the New York Times, normally a shameless cheerleader for the Clintons, excoriated the president, saying “Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon of Marc Rich … was a shocking abuse of presidential power … Mr. Clinton’s irresponsible use of his pardoning authority has undermined the pursuit of justice.” And Clinton himself later described the pardon as “terrible politics. It wasn’t worth the damage to my reputation.”

Questions about the scandal are resurfacing in light of Judicial Watch’s obtaining a confidential cable from the U.S. Department of State that had been under tight wraps since 1995. The cable – from Clinton’s ambassador to Israel to his high-ups at State – reveals high-level Israeli efforts to persuade State Department officials to intercede with Department of Justice (DOJ) to enable Rich to conduct Israeli business affairs worldwide directly relating to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Specifically, the cable, obtained through a Judicial Watch June 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, provides details of 1995 efforts by apparently top Israeli officials to pressure their counterparts at the State Department to intervene with the DOJ to withdraw outstanding arrest warrants against Rich on charges he had violated America’s 1981 domestic oil-price along with 64 other crimes, including racketeering and “trading with the enemy.” Israel, it turns out, had recruited Rich, then living in Switzerland, to travel internationally in order to raise funds to finance economic deals between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Rich died on June, 26, 2013, and Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about him with the Department of State on the same day.

While the Israeli official who interceded on Rich’s behalf is not identified in the cable obtained by Judicial Watch, he or she was in a sufficiently high-level position to confer directly with then-U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk and Clinton administration Middle East envoy Dennis Ross. The official was also able to persuade Indyk to meet with Rich’s lawyer, Isaac Herzog, just three days after requesting that he do so. The confidential classification of the cable was extended by the State Department on February 10, 2014 for an additional 15 years, following the Judicial Watch FOIA request, in an apparent effort by the State Department to keep the names of the Israeli official confidential. Ambassador Indyk is now President Obama’s Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

In the cable, entitled “[REDACTED] REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION WITH DOJ ON BEHALF OF MARK [SIC] RICH,” Indyk writes:

•    During August 29 [1995] meeting with Dennis Ross and I, [REDACTED] raised the issue of Mark Rich, a wealthy businessman now resident in Switzerland, whom [REDACTED] has recruited to head up an effort to promote private sector involvement in Palestinian economic development. [REDACTED] asked me to see Rich’s lawyer, Isaac Herzog, to be briefed on the subject. He further requested that Dennis and I follow up in Washington to try to resolve the problem.

•    Rich paid a large fine and according to Herzog, DOJ is no longer pursuing the matter … Nevertheless, there are still international warrants outstanding for Rich’s arrest. This severely restricts his travel … [REDACTED] request is that State consider the project and, if it is regarded as worthwhile, contact DOJ and communicate its interests in enabling Rich to engage in these activities – specifically that:  … The GOI [Government of Israel] has notified State that it is in the GOI’s interest to facilitate the travel on behalf of Marc Rich to advance the ‘Economic Solution’ … The U.S. has a legitimate interest in fostering these objectives.

Interestingly, the Indyk confidential memo claims that the U.S. ambassador, who at the time had been a key figure in American-Israeli affairs for more than a decade, had no knowledge of Rich or the activities that had led to the commodities trader’s 1983 indictment. According to Indyk’s confidential memo, “We have never heard of Mark [sic] Rich and have no way of evaluating his ability to contribute to this effort by bringing in foreign investors.” The ambassador added, “However, [REDACTED] is pushing him hard.”

On January 20, 2001, just hours before leaving office, President Clinton granted Rich a highly controversial presidential pardon. It was widely alleged at the time that Rich’s pardon had been the result of Denise Rich having given more than $1 million to the Democratic Party, including more than $100,000 to the Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton and $450,000 to the Clinton Library foundation. As far back as 2009, journalist Joe Conason, writing in Salon had conjectured, “Winning the pardon was a top priority for Israeli officials because Rich had long been a financial and intelligence asset of the Jewish state …” But the confidential cable obtained by Judicial Watch is the first solid evidence of close ties between the Israeli government and the fugitive financier.

The bottom line is that the cable raises salient new questions about the depth and breadth of the relationship between Marc Rich and the Israeli government. And they suggest possible new insights into the motivations behind the scandalous last-minute pardon granted by Bill Clinton. Ambassador Indyk should now disclose what he knows about the Rich pardon. As should John Podesta, Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton – all high-level Obama appointees embroiled in the Rich pardon scandal.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured photo is courtesy of Ionel141. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

One of 3 articles on China:

2. How China and America See Each Other

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

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

Blue State Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACTION ITEM: HOW MUCH WILL COMMON CORE COST YOU?

Posted by Vic Cirillo

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

Legislative Subterfuge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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