There are those who believe that women should be defenseless. A woman defending herself creates discord and may lead to them fighting back when kidnapped, raped and threatened with death.
There are those who believe in a woman’s right to choose, so long as they do not choose to defend themselves from predators.
Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014, ruffled a few feminist’s feathers after answering a question regarding rape on college campuses. Angry viewers took to Twitter to express their outrage that Miss Nevada would actually suggest women learn self-defense to help fend off an attacker. Sanchez, a master at self-defense, said:
I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.
Most of the outrage that rang through the Twitterverse came down to the argument, “We don’t need to teach women to defend themselves, we need to teach men not to rape.”
How about we do both? Perhaps we should teach our children to respect both sexes equally?
Harrison writes, “During this past year we gun owners as a community have weathered one of the most serious threats to our proud heritage and way of life since the early ’90s. And we came out on top. Despite throwing enormous amounts of money and influence into passing firearms laws that would have done nothing apart from inconvenience the law-abiding, for the most part anti-gun politicians came away with the square root of bugger all to show for it.”
“The reasons for that are numerous, but one key difference between the Clinton era and the landscape today is that, in most of the nation, guns are no longer something icky you have to keep secret from your neighbors. They’re mainstream. When something becomes mainstream, it’s much harder to demonize,” notes Harrison.
I believe one of the major reasons gun ownership has become mainstream is because of American women. More women are buying, shooting and training to defend themselves with firearms. RECOIL Magazine has an entire section of their website titled “Girls with Guns“. If you Google the words “girls with guns” you will get 155 million links.
Is it not the unalienable right of a woman to choose to defend herself?
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:
“I have no hesitation in saying that although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere and is in some respects very dependent within it, nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women.”
Tocqueville once observed that it is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth. The simple lie is guns are icky. The complex truth is men and women are buying guns is large numbers and guns are now mainstream.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/woman-baby-and-shotgun-e1580218176230.jpg293397Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2015-06-28 09:04:592015-06-28 09:08:35Defenseless Women are Kidnapped, Raped and Murdered
Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of The War of a Million Cutsreviewed in the June 2015 New English Review, published a prescient essay mid-June in the Jerusalem Post. Gerstenfeld is the former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that sponsored a symposium on his new book on June 22, 2015. It was on the difficulty of “defeating”, let alone “degrading” the resilient Islamic State-the self declared Caliphate, “Will defeating Islamic State take more than a generation? “ While addressing the myriad of threats in the Middle East and potentially in the West from Islamic State Jihadis, Gerstenfeld draws attention to the contributions from Israel’s experience fighting asymmetrical wars against Islamic extremists seeking its destruction.
Tunisian Jihadi gunman Seifddine Rezgui. Photo by Rami Al Lolah
There was a trio of bloody spectacles inspired by the Islamic State on the first Friday in Ramadan. In France there was the beheading of an American owned chemical company executive by a Muslim employee. In Tunisia there was a massacre at a beach resort killing and injuring among others dozens of British, Belgian, Irish and German tourists by a Kalishnikov-toting attacker. In Kuwait there was the bombing of a Shia Mosque where several dozen at prayers were killed or injured .
In January there were the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Casher Market attacks by Al Qaeda and ISIS inspired émigré Muslims that killed seventeen, including four French Jews and a Tunisian Jew. Last fall, we saw attacks in Sydney, Ottawa and Quebec. There were an ax attack injuring New York police officers and a beheading of food service employee at a company in Oklahoma City both perpetrated by converts to Islam. Last month we had the attack by two Jihadis from Phoenix who were killed in an attempted attack a Mohammed Cartoon event in Garland, Texas. One of the speakers at the event was Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) who is under 24/7 protection of the Royal Dutch Protective service because of threats against his life for his anti-Islam views in the Netherlands and the EU.
Reuters reported Islamic State spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani urging brothers in the Muslim ummah in honor of the observances of Ramadan to undertake attacks on kaffirs, unbelievers, whether Christians, Shiites or Sunnis opposing the self-declared Islamic State. He declared in an audio message, Jihadists should turn the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week, into a time of “calamity for the infidels … Shi’ites and apostate Muslims.” Not lost on many is that June 29th marks the first anniversary of the Islamic State self declaration of a Caliphate by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Gerstenfield’s op-ed was triggered by comments from US General James Allen, commander of the US-led coalition combating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, suggesting that it might take a generation to defeat IS. Gerstenfeld wrote:
General Allen’s remarks, whether realistic or not, can serve for more detailed reflection on what it would mean if IS -controlled territory of a substantial size in say 20 years from now. This would indeed have a major impact on the world order, or better said world disorder. It would also have particular consequences for the Muslim world, the West, Russia and many other countries. Israel and the Jews, though minor players, would be affected by the global impact and by possible targeted attacks by IS.
As far as the Muslim world is concerned, the Arab Spring has already added Libya, Yemen and Syria to the roster of failed countries. The continued existence of IS may cause Iraq and possibly other countries to be added to that list. As the Islamic State is an extremist Sunni movement, it is directly opposed to Shi’ite Muslims, with no inclination to compromise. The longer the Islamic State lasts, the greater the threat to the Shi’ites.
That would mean that eventually the Islamic State would likely confront Iran, the leading Shi’ite country. Iran has been an international troublemaker and hardly any external forces have reacted to it militarily in the current century. The more powerful the Islamic State becomes, the more it will have to challenge Iran. As the Islamic State also opposes the Sunni countries presently ruled by various royal families, the instability in these countries would increase substantially as well. The same is true concerning Egypt.
The Islamic State calls for murder may bring with it a shift back toward terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign jihadists. There have been threats and rumors of having them brought into Europe amongst the boat refugees arriving from Libya, or smuggled through the Balkans. … Yet if we speak about decades of sizable continued Islamic State activity, it is likely that there will be attacks from terrorists disguised as refugees.
Substantial Jihadi-caused terrorism in the West will lead to further stereotyping of all Muslims.
The previous massive influx of Muslims and its ensuing social problems, including the lack of successful integration, has already led to the rise and/or growth of anti-Islam nationalistic parties in various countries.
These include Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, the Swedish Democrats, and above all, France’s Front National. Substantial Muslim terrorism is not only likely to increase the popularity of these parties but will influence the positions of other parties, who will have to compete for the votes of those with harder positions regarding Islam.
What would all this mean for Jews living abroad? Not much good. Attacks on others are often followed by attacks on Jews.
Gerstenfeld notes the ability of Israel to contend with extremist Salafist jihadi Islamic groups. Groups equipped with advanced weaponry supplied by Iran or Russian and U.S. weapons stocks abandoned by Assad forces in Syria or Iraqi National Forces:
No other country has accumulated as much experience in effectively fighting Muslim terrorists of various kinds as Israel. Israeli know-how in this field is already in demand and that is only likely to increase.
This fact is not well-publicized, but in future it should be, to improve Israel’s image with the Western mainstream populations.
A second opportunity may lie in Israel using the anti- Islamic State (IS) sentiment in the West to highlight that the majority Palestinian faction, Hamas, is not very different from IS. Israel hasn’t done much about this until now, but at the same time, the grounds for response from the West have been far less fertile than they may become in the future.
A third opportunity for Israel could be the possible change in political alliances in the Middle East. Some Arab states might consider that whatever hatred they promote of Israel to be less beneficial than allying them with Israel against IS, which has become a real threat to many Arab states. A recent poll showed that Saudis consider Iran to be their largest threat, followed by IS, and that Israel ranks third.
There has already been alleged secret meeting between Saudi military and Israeli security counterparts. Doubtless drawn together by the threat of a Shiite Mahdist Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state destabilizing the Middle East. That is reflected in the Saudi undeclared war against the Houthi insurgency in the failed State of Yemen. An insurgency equipped and backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/islamic-state-fighters.jpg361620Jerry Gordonhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngJerry Gordon2015-06-27 15:55:582015-06-27 15:55:58Israel’s Contribution towards Defeating the Islamic State
What some consider as a “landmark” anti-BDS Amendment to the Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, June 24, 2015. Having passed both the House and Senate the legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature. That’s good news for Israel, bad news for J Street and Peace Now who opposed the anti-BDS Amendment. Clearly, the President’s overriding objective was completion of negotiations of a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which gives the U.S. leverage in competition with China and encourages job creation and business in the U.S. J Street and Peace Now have been allies of the Administration promoting a Palestinian State that would divide Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Those groups also support the looming P5+1 Iran nuclear agreement with a current deadline of next Tuesday, June 30th.
Among the principal sponsors of the anti-BDS Amendment were: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and members of the House bi-partisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA). The anti-BDS measure passed by Congress has garnered praise from mainstream American and international Jewish Groups: AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.
The anti-BDS provisions in the trade authorization were directed toward free trade talks between the US and the European Union. The provisions require US negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the European Union. These guidelines, sponsors hope, will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the US.
Rep. Roskam issued a statement saying:
Today, for the first time in nearly four decades, Congress sent legislation to the President’s desk to combat efforts to isolate and delegitimize the State of Israel. The recent wave of boycotts originating in Europe, including French telecom company Orange’s decision last week to sever ties with Israel, demands a robust response from the United States. This is that response. The bipartisan TPA provisions I authored are simple: if you want free trade with the United States, you can’t boycott Israel.
After today, discouraging economic warfare against Israel will be central to our free trade negotiations with the European Union. Congress will not be complicit in the marginalization of our ally Israel by watching these attacks from the sidelines. Instead, we have decided to fight back against the BDS movement and ensure the continued strength of the US-Israel relationship.
President Ronald Lauder of the WJC added:
The Senate today took a strong stand against the growing vilification of Israel. American values such as freedom and openness have triumphed over the blatant hypocrisy and bias of the anti-Israel campaigners. This vote marks a major defeat for BDS.
J Street and Peace Now opposed the anti-BDS legislation on the grounds that “the amendment plays into the hands of BDS activists’ claims by conflating boycott of Israel and boycott of products of settlements.”
The author of the Algemeiner article on why J Street and other groups opposed the anti-BDS amendment commented:
The impression one gets is that J-Street wants to maintain its ties to radical anti-Israel BDS groups like Jewish Voice for Peace but still wants to pretend to be pro-Israel.
Pro-Israel? Yeah, right.
The passage of the anti-BDS amendment should encourage the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Call that worked with South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons developing a state level model anti-BDS statue signed into law on June 4, 2015 by Governor Nikki Haley. In our 1330am WEBY interview with Dr. Daniel Williams, National Director of the IAF Jerusalem Call he noted that the South Carolina model is being filed in 17 states, among them Ohio and potentially here in Florida. J Street is the subject of a viewing of the Americans for Peace and Tolerance documentary, J Street Challenge, Saturday evening, June 27, 2015 at Brit Ahm Synagogue in Pensacola. A panel discussion will follow that includes Florida State Rep. Mike Hill, Mike Bates of WEBY’s “Your Turn”, Rabbi Eric Tokajer of Brit Ahm and this writer. On Tuesday evening June 30, 2015, Rep. Hill and Guy Rodgers, Director of Operations for the IAF Jerusalem Call will be the principal speakers about support for Israel and the work of the group at Pensacola First Assembly of God Church.
There is no “State of Palestine” at this time. This is part of the ongoing pressure upon Israel to create one. Creating one will be a great victory for the global jihad force, as a “State of Palestine” will inevitably be a new jihad base for renewed attacks against what remains of Israel. Events will unfold just as they did when the Israelis withdrew from Gaza: while the international media hailed a new era of peace, the “Palestinians” gutted installations and prepared for jihad.
This recognition could end up being as large a blot on the Catholic Church’s record as the Inquisition and the many Catholic clerics all over Europe who went along with the Nazi program against Jews during World War II. The “Palestinians” make no secret on official PA TV of the fact that they share that same genocidal antisemitic bloodlust. This recognition only validates that bloodlust, and enables it.
As this recognition is given, Christians are being persecuted by Islamic jihadists all over the Middle East — Islamic jihadists with the same supremacist ideology as that which motivates the “Palestinians.” In response to this persecution, the bishops of the Catholic Church pursue a “dialogue” with Muslim leaders that makes everyone involved feel good about themselves, but doesn’t do a single thing to alleviate that persecution. And the bishops in the U.S. actively move to silence those who dare speak out about the true nature and magnitude of that persecution, and to prevent them from being heard in Catholic settings. Now, with this recognition, the Church is actively aligning itself with the jihad force, and demonstrating the great lesson of our age, that terrorism works: murder enough people and issue enough genocidal threats, and the whole world will cower at your feet.
The Vatican, by recognizing the genocidal jihad entity that is or will be the “State of Palestine,” is creating a huge moral dilemma for those Catholics who believe that Israel, as being on the front lines of the global jihad, ought to be supported, and that jihad terror, as represented by the “Palestinians” as well as by the persecutors of Christians, ought to be opposed. This is a political decision that has nothing to do with the substance of the faith, but these Church policies are heading the faithful toward a disaster of which they are largely ignorant and for which, thanks to their bishops, they are completely unprepared. Do those who see this disaster coming still have a place in Francis’ progressive, ever-so-modern Catholic Church?
“Vatican signs treaty recognizing State of Palestine,” Times of Israel, June 26, 2015:
The Vatican on Friday signed a historic accord with Palestine, two years after officially recognizing it as a state, in a move criticized by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
The accord, a treaty covering the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, was the first since the Vatican recognized the Palestinian state in February 2013. The step was agreed in principle last month and condemned by Israel as a setback for the peace process.
The Foreign Ministry said Friday in response that it “regrets” the Vatican’s decision to sign the “one-sided” text.
“This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem. Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem,” the statement added.
“The Palestinians continue to act unilaterally which distances us from any chance of holding direct dialogue,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
“I regret that the Vatican decided to participate in a step that blatantly ignores the history of the Jewish people in Israel and Jerusalem. Any attempt by the Palestinians, or any other actor to undermine our historic right to Jerusalem and our country will met by staunch opposition by us,” she said.
The treaty makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the State of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.
“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi last month.
Israeli officials criticized the Vatican announcement in May.
“We’re disappointed by the decision taken by the Holy See. We believe that such a decision is not conducive to bringing the Palestinians back to the negotiating table,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel at the time.
“Israel will study the agreement and consider its next steps accordingly,” a brief statement from the ministry said.
The text of the treaty deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, a Vatican statement said in May.
“Both parties agreed that the work of the Commission on the text of the Agreement has been concluded, and that the agreement will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a date in the near future for the signing,” it noted.
The Vatican has been referring unofficially to the state of Palestine for at least a year.
During Pope Francis’ 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s official program referred to Abbas as the president of the “state of Palestine.” In the Vatican’s latest yearbook, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See is listed as representing “Palestine (state of).”
The Vatican’s foreign minister, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, acknowledged the change in status, given that the treaty was initially inked with the PLO and is now being finalized with the “state of Palestine.” But he said the shift was simply in line with the Holy See’s position.
The Holy See clearly tried to underplay the development, suggesting that its 2012 press statement welcoming the UN vote constituted its first official recognition. Nowhere in that statement does the Vatican say it recognizes the state of Palestine, and the Holy See couldn’t vote for the UN resolution because it doesn’t have voting rights at the General Assembly.
The 2012 UN vote recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state, made up of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
The Palestinians celebrated the vote as a milestone in their quest for international recognition. Most countries in Africa, Asia and South America have individually recognized Palestine. In Western Europe, Sweden took the step last year, while several parliaments have approved non-binding motions urging recognition….
The borders of Europe are coming under severe strain. As we predicted here earlier this year, the migrant ‘crisis’ is no such thing. It is, rather, an ongoing situation of continent-wide turbulence with no foreseeable end. European ministers this week met to discuss the situation, but even they will find themselves unable to solve the problem.
Because the problem they face is that the drivers of the situation are far beyond their control. They are beyond any one politician or any one government. Indeed, they are also proving to be beyond the continent. Let us imagine for a moment that the civil war in Syria was able to be stopped by outside intervention from the EU. This would over time lessen the flow of refugees from Syria. But it would do nothing to prevent the human tide of asylum seekers and economic migrants heading towards Europe from Eritrea and sub-Saharan Africa.
What is the EU plan to deal with these situations? In truth, the EU is finding it difficult to control its external borders. So it is highly unlikely to achieve peace and stability across one continent (the Middle East) and prosperity to another (Africa). Until those things do occur, the pressure of mass movement of people towards the entry points of Europe will continue.
So what can be done? It is a very ominous sign that in recent days, weeks and months so many countries have gone increasingly unilateral. The Austrians have severely tightened their border with Italy because they do not trust the Italian authorities. Hundreds of migrants have piled up in a backlog at a border which is wholly closed to them. Hungary is planning a physical wall to go up on its border with Serbia. And at the French port of Calais there are desperate sights as migrants clamber onto vehicles bound for the UK. With other European countries refusing to share Italy’s burden, the Italians are threatening to give refugees travel permits that would effectively make them able to go anywhere. It is a grenade they have not yet thrown, but a grenade nonetheless.
The dream of the EU was that the borders of Europe would come down. But as the continent comes to terms with this latest crisis, it has not been able to stand together. The free movement of EU citizens within the EU is one thing. But the free movement of non-EU citizens within the EU threatens the cooperation of the whole enterprise. If Europe is to face up to this challenge it must first accept what it cannot do. And then swiftly move on to doing what it can.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK
I am writing this week’s column with one eye fixed on a TV screen outlining latest developments in France and Tunisia, where the scourge of Islamist terrorism has once again struck with a tragic beheading at a factory near Lyons this morning and one at a tourist resort in Sousse this afternoon.
Words cannot adequately describe the senseless brutality of these acts of terrorism. But they can go some way to explaining it and similar acts of violence carried out in the name of religion as can be seen through Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ masterful new book,Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, which was the subject of a parliamentary discussion hosted by The Henry Jackson Society this week with its author.
Leaving aside the exemplary nature of Rabbi Sacks’ delivery of his central themes – which was described by the Member of Parliament hosting as the finest speech he had heard in his 18 years in the House of Commons – what came across clearly is the idea that while to deny that those who state they are acting on religious motives in committing violence are actually doing so is absurd, neither can it be said that there is an inherent relationship between religion and violence. As the author puts it: “there is a connection between religion and violence, but it is oblique, not direct.” Indeed, to take Rabbi Sacks’ argument further, as he does in the book, it is possible to see violence being carried out in the name of religion, but in reality it is being employed in pursuit of political, not religious objectives. Thus what ISIS and its adherents actually aspire to is temporal power in the form of a caliphate, even if this is dressed up in spiritual rhetoric.
This is an important factor to remember when considering events such as those witnessed today. We cannot deny the role of religion in terrorism, but we cannot consider religion just part of the problem and not also part of the solution. Arguably, it is only by Islam stripping away the political parts of its more extreme followers’ agendas from the religious ones of those of the moderate majority – as Christianity and Judaism did in their turn beforehand – that we will find the lasting way to meet the Islamist challenge.
Dr Alan Mendoza is Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/european-union-collapse.jpg337640Henry Jackson Societyhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngHenry Jackson Society2015-06-26 13:48:432015-06-26 13:48:43The European Union: Borders on the Brink of Breaking
After Salon.com stopped being interesting, they needed a way to drive traffic. Competition for eyeballs is tough, after all. In the dog-eat-dog world of attracting eyeballs, you’ve got to find clever ways to pull in new readers.
One way to drive traffic is to poke people you know disagree with you. And by poking, I mean turning them into a Voodoo Doll.
This variation on beating up a Straw Man has the benefit of the Internet’s sharing magic. That is, if you pick on some group they will feel it. Then they will turn around and express their outrage by sharing your stuff! Voila: instant Internet gold.
In making Voodoo Dolls, you don’t always have to pick on a specific person. You can go for a worldview. Salon has given libertarianism a lot of flak, of course. But now they’re going for an even bigger boogeyman, because the idea is to paint as many people as you can with the same tarbrush.
What better place to go for a big, sweeping label than the academy?
Here’s UC-Berkeley political science professor Wendy Brown talking “neoliberalism” in a Salon interview.
And how do you define neoliberalism? It’s not uncommon for me to experience people I’d consider neoliberals telling me the term is meaningless.
I think most Salon readers would know neoliberalism as that radical free-marketeering that comes to us in the ‘70s and ‘80s, with the Reagan-Thatcher revolution being the real marker of that turn in Euro-Atlantic world. It means the dismantling of publicly owned industry and deregulation of capital, especially finance capital; the elimination of public provisions and the idea of public goods; and the most basic submission of everything to markets and to unregulated markets.
So free enterprise is its clarion call, and even though it requires a lot of state intervention and state support, the idea that goes with it is usually also minimal state intervention in markets. Even if states are needed to prop or support or sometimes bail out markets, they shouldn’t get into the middle of them and redistribute [wealth]. That’s all true. That’s certainly part of what neoliberalism is.
Okay, let’s see if we can make heads or tails of this magician’s patter.
Start with Professor Brown’s concern that people have criticized the term neoliberalism as being meaningless. This doctrine, Brown says, “requires a lot of state intervention and state support, the idea that goes with it is usually also minimal state intervention in markets.”
Huh? If neoliberalism isn’t exactly libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism — because these doctrines certainly do not include or require state intervention and support of markets — then we might say she’s talking about cronyism. And certainly if someone were to build a doctrine around cronyism, that would not be meaningless.
It turns out such a doctrine does exist. But it’s not neoliberalism; it’s corporatism — and it’s a progressivist ideology.
According to Nobel laureate Edmund S. Phelps, quoted in the Freeman:
The managerial state has assumed responsibility for looking after everything from the incomes of the middle class to the profitability of large corporations to industrial advancement. This system . . . is . . . an economic order that harks back to Bismarck in the late nineteenth century and Mussolini in the twentieth: corporatism.
In various ways, corporatism chokes off the dynamism that makes for engaging work, faster economic growth, and greater opportunity and inclusiveness. It maintains lethargic, wasteful, unproductive, and well-connected firms at the expense of dynamic newcomers and outsiders, and favors declared goals such as industrialization, economic development, and national greatness over individuals’ economic freedom and responsibility.
Today, airlines, auto manufacturers, agricultural companies, media, investment banks, hedge funds, and much more has [sic] at some point been deemed too important to weather the free market on its own, receiving a helping hand from government in the name of the “public good.”
But where does this idea come from? Contra Brown, it’s not from the “free marketeers”. Economist Thayer Watkins says:
In the last half of the 19th century people of the working class in Europe were beginning to show interest in the ideas of socialism and syndicalism. Some members of the intelligentsia, particularly the Catholic intelligentsia, decided to formulate an alternative to socialism which would emphasize social justice without the radical solution of the abolition of private property.
The result was called Corporatism. The name had nothing to do with the notion of a business corporation except that both words are derived from the Latin word for body, corpus.
To be fair, Brown might protest, arguing that she would subsidize, cartelize, and manage the right industries, such as finance. At least she laments the liberalization of these industries, citing Thatcher as an example of neoliberal excess, despite what a basket case Britain had been under prior governments.
So which industries would she leave private and which “require a lot of state intervention”? And what sort of magic makes any such scheme immune to rent-seeking and capture?
It appears state support of business originated among certain less-communist advocates of social justice. But surely this is not something the more moderate progressives had in mind.
After all, says Brown, “What’s more, if those of us who oppose neoliberalism misinterpret it as simply another word for capitalism, we make the job of fighting it even more difficult. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a capitalist, after all. But a neoliberal, he most certainly was not.”
America is suffering from rampant, run-away corporatism and crony capitalism. We are increasingly a plutocracy in which government serves the interests of elite financiers and CEOs at the expense of everyone else.
You know this and you complain loudly about it. But the problem is your fault. You caused this state of affairs. Stop it.
But the moderate left didn’t want radical socialism. They just wanted regulatory agencies to rein in the excesses of the market. They wanted the government to subsidize or own areas that ought to be considered public goods, like healthcare, transportation, education, and the environment. But good intentions are not enough, writes Brennan.
We told you this would happen, but you wouldn’t listen. You complain, rightly, that regulatory agencies are controlled by the very corporations they are supposed to constrain. Well, yeah, we told you that would happen. When you create power—and you people love to create power—the unscrupulous seek to capture that power for their personal benefit. Time and time again, they succeed. We told you that would happen, and we gave you an accurate account of how it would happen.
You complain, perhaps rightly, that corporations are just too big. Well, yeah, we told you that would happen. When you create complicated tax codes, complicated regulatory regimes, and complicated licensing rules, these regulations naturally select for larger and larger corporations. We told you that would happen. Of course, these increasingly large corporations then capture these rules, codes, and regulations to disadvantage their competitors and exploit the rest of us. We told you that would happen.
Brennan was probably a little upset when he wrote this, but fairly so. People like Wendy Brown have been trying to emblazon corporatism on the tunics of free marketeers and liberalizers for a while now. And they’re generally pontificating from the academy, rather than from the brothels of K St. in Washington, or Venezuela’s Ministry of Planning and Finance.
No one who calls herself a political science professor should have earned her letters without having read public choice theory. No, it’s time to admit that all progressive attempts to stitch together old scraps of socialism with markets will create perverse effects and corruption of one form or another.
Maybe Prof. Brown is okay with “corporatizing” some industries while leaving others in private hands, a la FDR. Hers seems to be an attempt to synthesize the heart of Marx with the will of the people. She says:
“Demos kratia” — “people rule” — is really the term that, however differently it’s been interpreted over different variations of democracy and different centuries, is one that we all cherish on some level. Demos is important because it’s the body, it’s the people, that we imagine are in control of the basic conditions and laws that govern our lives.
Ah, yes “the body,” the corpus. Haven’t we heard that one before? We’re supposed to cherish democracy, because, well, it’s as American as apple pie. Any more reflection would require admitting that the “demos” disagrees about stuff. And that’s a slippery slope to individualism and recognizing the need for tolerance and personal autonomy. This is the fact of pluralism that even the liberal philosopher John Rawls starts with.
Whenever you hear the world neoliberalism, be wary. It could be completely meaningless filler, but it’s always as squishy as silly putty. It’s a label that’s designed to demonize those who would never support it — a word to be accompanied by a sneer. It is a means of defining oneself as against something — preferably a nice soft Straw Man — rather than doing the hard business of coming out ideologically and defending your ideas.
When you realize that accepting degrees of state intervention is a problem of degree and not of kind, it becomes clear the Wendy Browns have nowhere to run but to nebulous concepts like “demos.” That is because between corporatism and communism there is no magical third way, only shades of state coercion, justified by a flimsy majoritarian facade. The choice between nationalized or regulated industries is binary, so the ideological choice set is really only between communism and corporatism. But communism screwed things up. Corporatism screws things up. All the variations screw things up because each permutation involves power and business forming unholy alliances.
People like Wendy Brown and her Salon interviewer Elias Isquith aren’t stupid. And like most people, they have good intentions. They are committed to a particular theory of angels. Demos, that golden calf, is the tired old notion that if we could just blur the peculiarities, individuality, and desires of 300 million people into a single prayer and send it up through the voting booth, what will come out the other side — in Washington, D.C. — is a kind of secular salvation. But this sort of thinking turns on hypostatization, that timeless fallacy of ambiguity that seduces people into collectivism.
We have to look them squarely in the face and say: “You caused this state of affairs. Stop it.”
Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/neo-liberalism-e1435335809676.jpg318640Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2015-06-26 12:25:392015-06-26 12:25:39Neoliberalism: Making a Boogeyman Out of a Buzzword by Max Borders
In part four of our five-part series on Apocalyptic Iran, we introduce a new, dangerous aspect of the Iran-America nuclear negotiations.
Follow this – IF Iran prevails in these negotiations and IF Israel is forced to attack Iranian nuclear facilities THEN there will be intense and violent protests around the world against Israel. Once this happens, in light of the Muslin Survey we present on the show today, America is in for some very deadly and dangerous days.
Why, because this recently compiled survey indicates that almost 1,000,000 AMERICAN Muslims believe that either violence and or the Shariah law are part of their system to fight and defeat America. That’s a hell of a lot of angry, violent practitioners of the religion of peace.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/jihad-woman.jpg429640The United Westhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe United West2015-06-26 06:34:062015-06-26 06:38:55Apocalyptic Iran — Jihadis in America
What happened to Congressman Mark Meadows is a national embarrassment. John Boehner, and the House leadership team that sanctioned the punishment of Mark Meadows by removing him from a subcommittee chairmanship for voting his conscience during the recent trade debate, have disgraced themselves and the Republican Party.
These are troubled times and the big fights ahead in the 2016 elections center around the ideological path forward for this great country. We cannot fight back against a self-declared socialist (Bernie Sanders), or a far-left redistributionist (Hillary Clinton), after two-terms of devastating social and economic policies by President Obama, with a series of Republican Party field generals who cry and pout on the political battlefield and spend their energy attacking conservatives rather than the ideological opponents of liberty.
And to the cowards in the story who are afraid to sit down and have lunch with Congressman Meadows because you may “be seen” with him after his vote; you are an embarrassment to your districts and the good people who voted you in office. I hope that you are primaried by a man or women with the guts to stand on principles and the willingness to proudly fight for a better tomorrow. Hang your heads in shame knowing that your continued presence in the halls of OUR congress is contributing to the dismantling of the fabric of our great country. You are not part of the problem, you are the problem.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/mark-meadows.jpg360640Dan Bonginohttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDan Bongino2015-06-26 05:53:152015-06-26 05:53:15Defending Rep. Mark Meadow’s Viral Facebook Post
The Dutch newspaper NRC-Handelsblad revealed in an article today the Saudi Foreign Ministry keeps a watching brief on the activities of Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in The Hague Parliament. WikiLeaks revealed that in 2010, the Saudi Crown Prince, in conjunction with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, considered bringing legal action for his anti-Islamic stands, especially attacks on the Prophet Mohammed. You may recall Wilders’ Arabic sticker campaign launched in December 2013 emblazoned with the words, “Mohammed was a Crook” that infuriated Saudi Arabia. That led to a delayed call by Saudi Arabia in May 2014 for a trade boycott against The Netherlands because of the Wilders’ Mohammed sticker campaign. In our May 18, 2014 Iconoclast post on the provocative episode that gave rise to Saudi sanctions we wrote:
The delayed Saudi reaction to the PVV anti-Islam sticker campaign launched five months ago is all about imposing a Blasphemy code. The Wahhabist Saudi government is trying to silence criticism of Islam threatening the free speech of Wilders and the liberty of those Dutch voters who are inclined towards his message. A message the PVV propounds that Muslim mass immigration in Holland harbors the seeds of homegrown terrorism on a significant scale.
Coincident with this latest WikiLeaks revelation concerning Wilders, the Garland, Texas Mohammed cartoons were shown on Dutch TV last night. That has gone viral with over 91,000 views and counting. Watch the YouTube video of the cartoons:
The viewing on Dutch TV of the 10 Mohammed cartoons from the Garland, Texas contest provoked the Sunni Al Alzhar Islamic authorities today to condemn it. AFP reported:
The leading Sunni Muslim seat of learning, Al-Azhar, on Thursday denounced the “sick imagination” behind cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that were aired on Dutch national television.
A statement by the Cairo-based Al-Azhar also urged Muslims to “ignore this odious terrorist act”, a day after some 10 cartoons were screened by anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders during a television slot for political parties.
Before Thursday’s statement and the cartoon broadcast, Al-Azhar had said that the objective of Wilders was to “provoke the anger of Muslims” around the world.
But it had also warned that this would only benefit “terrorism which takes advantage of such incidents to spread violence and destabilize peace and security in the world”
The Freedom Party (PVV) blog had this post explaining the background and questions posed to the Dutch Foreign Minister about the Saudis closely monitoring.”The stature of the prophet of mercy and humanitarianism is greater and more noble than to be harmed by cartoons that have no respect for morals or civilized standards,” it said.
This week, Wikileaks published a number of documents from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The documents reveal that the Saudi embassy in The Hague keeps a close eye on the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV).
A document from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) also reveals that, in 2010, the Saudi authorities were planning to bring Geert Wilders to court. Permission to do so had already been obtained from the then Saudi Crown Prince.
Today, PVV parliamentarians Geert Wilders and Raymond de Roon asked Bert Koenders, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, for more information.
Below are the parliamentary questions of the PVV and the translation of an article, published today (June 25, 2015) in the Dutch newspaper NRC-Handelsblad.
Questions by Mr Wilders and Mr De Roon (both PVV) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(1) Have you seen of the article, “Saudis Kept a Close Eye on Wilders” in NRC-Handelsblad of 25 June?
(2) Were the Dutch authorities informed that the Saudis in 2010 (or at any other time) wanted to bring PVV leader Geert Wilders to court?
(3) Is it true that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was aware of this fact or possibly even involved in these plans?
(4) Is it true that the then Saudi Crown Prince gave permission to initiate such a court case?
(5) Is it true that Ron Strikker, the then Dutch ambassador in Riyadh, told the Saudis in April 2012 that the statements of Mr. Wilders did not represent the views of the Dutch government? What were these specific statements?
(6) Do you share our view that it is a disgrace that a dictatorship like Saudi Arabia, a country that has condemned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to be whipped with 1,000 lashed, attempts to intimidate Dutch citizens and parliamentarians who use their right to free speech ?
(7) Do you share our view that we have to break off diplomatic relations with the Saudi dictatorship?
Last night, the controversial Muhammad cartoons of the PVV were finally shown on television. The cartoons, which early May led to commotion at a meeting in Garland (Texas) where Geert Wilders was one of the speakers, attracted a relatively large number of viewers for the broadcast of a political party. But they have not led to disturbances in the Netherlands.
Nevertheless, Dutch diplomats in the Saudi capital Riyadh can again brace themselves for difficult conversations. When, last year, Wilders distributed stickers with the Saudi flag and the text “Muhammad is a crook”, this led to a de facto trade boycott by Saudi Arabia.
Wilders regularly figures in reports of the Saudi embassy in The Hague. Sometimes, the Saudi Ministry explicitly requests reports about his actions: for example, in 2012, when the Saudis had heard that he was about launch an anti-Islamic book in the US. A report – obviously the answer to this request – describes Wilders’ opinions and actions. It also mentions that he is controversial in the Netherlands for his links with Israel and his “extremist” views. According to a document of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in 2010, the Saudis wanted to bring Wilders to court. The document reports that, at an earlier stage, approval had been obtained from the then Saudi Crown Prince to press charges against Wilders for showing his movie Fitna in the British House of Lords. The document refers to a document from the Saudi intelligence chief, who is said to have informed “friendly Dutch intelligence services” about the Saudi view and the possible negative consequences of Wilders’ “unlawful aggression”. It is not clear what happened next.
The Dutch embassy in Riyadh always tries to limit the damage. When Dutch Ambassador Ron Strikker met a high ranking Saudi official in April 2012, he reiterated the government’s position that Wilders’ statements do not represent the government views, but that the Dutch Constitution guarantees both freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
His interlocutor rejected Strikker’s “freedom of speech” argument, because, according to him, Wilders’ statements lead to hatred and lack of understanding, and complicate the relations between religions and peoples. His country, however, is making huge efforts to promote religious dialogue and understanding. He gives the Dutch government the advice speak out in public against Wilders’ statements, “also towards Dutch Muslims who are the victims of this kind of actions.”
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Geert Wilders with “Mohammed is a Crook” sticker taken in December 2013. Source: ANP.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/Wilders5-e1435310942109.jpg360640Jerry Gordonhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngJerry Gordon2015-06-26 05:29:502015-06-26 05:29:50Wikileaks: Saudis Tried to Bring Legal Action against Geert Wilders
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered a speech at The Heritage Foundation revealing the cronyism that runs deep in Washington, powered by the Washington Cartel of establishment politicians and corporate lobbyists who continue to benefit big government and big business at the expense of millions of Americans.
“Washington has done a great job of one thing – picking winners and losers, except it’s clear each time who the losers are: American families, who are struggling to pay skyrocketing health care premiums and tuition costs; it’s our community banks and marketplaces that are going out of business; it’s young entrepreneurs and small business owners.”
“What’s happening in Washington is no accident,” Sen. Cruz said. “It is a concerted effort by corporate lobbyists and establishment politicians. Lobbyists and career politicians make up the Washington Cartel. Let me explain to you how it works: A bill is set to come before Congress, and career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder. Corrupt backroom deals result in one interest group getting preferences over the other, although you give the other a chance to outbid them. Or even worse, a very small interest group getting special carve-outs at the expense of taxpayers.”
Sen. Cruz discussed four examples of the Washington Cartel at work:
Regarding the Export-Import Bank, Sen. Cruz said:
“It is hard to imagine an institution that is more emblematic of cronyism than the Export-Import Bank…. The Export-Import Bank kills American jobs, and often favors foreign investment over American investment. It also has this terrible record of subsidizing unfriendly regimes with problematic human rights records. In 2013, just one year, the Ex-Im bank streamed $35 million to Venezuela banks and investors; $335 million to Argentina; $1 billion to Russian financiers; and $2.7 billion to communist China.”
Regarding renewable energy mandates, Sen. Cruz said:
“A two-year extension of wind credits alone costs taxpayers more than $13 billion, which is enough to pay the monthly electricity bills for 124 million Americans. How about putting that up for a referendum? Do we continue to benefit one favored industry, or do we pay the electricity bill for 124 million Americans? You know, I don’t think that would be a close vote for the American people. And what’s interesting: it’s not a close vote in Washington. Because the only people voting in Washington are the lobbyists with bags of cash. And the lawmakers in both parties eager to get that cash.
“For decades, the federal government has teamed up with specific industries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. Aside from further complicating an already Byzantine tax code, this type of corporate welfare has only distorted the price of energy and empowered failed companies like Solyndra.”
Regarding sugar subsidies, Sen. Cruz said:
“This form of subsidy seems particularly un-American. After all, before the Tea and Stamp Act came the Sugar Act in 1764… and it was then that the cry of ‘no taxation without representation’ was widely voiced by the colonists. You know what, we do have representation, but our representatives are not representing us.
“The Wall Street Journal reported last December that at the time, sugar was 58 percent more expensive here at home than at the global market…. This price control increases food costs for businesses and families, particularly low-income households…. From 1997 to 2011, nearly 127,000 jobs were lost in domestic sugar-using industries.”
Regarding the Internet sales tax, Sen. Cruz said:
“The Internet has been an incubator for new ideas. It has been a haven for entrepreneurial opportunity. It has allowed millions of people to create small businesses…. Today, parents can purchase Christmas presents for their kids with the click of a button; a teenager can design an app that revolutionizes the way things were done; a mom can sell her hand-made cards on Etsy; with a few taps, an Uber can come to your doorstep.
“And yet Congress is talking about passing the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act, we’ve seen the pattern of Washington fairness. What is Washington fairness? Hammer the little guy, help the big guy… [The Marketplace Fairness Act] would take every online retailer in America and tell them you must now collect sales taxes for over 9,600 different tax jurisdictions all across the country.”
Sen. Cruz concluded, “How do you break the Washington Cartel? You make the political price of doing the wrong thing higher than the price of doing the right thing, and that can only come from ‘we the people.’”
Here is the full speech by Senator Cruz at the Heritage Foundation:
Transcript of Sen. Cruz’s Remarks at the Heritage Foundation:
Thank you for the warm welcome. It is great to be with so many friends back at Heritage yet again. Today, what I want to address is the people versus the Washington Cartel. Restoring liberty in an age of cronyism. I want to start by thanking my friend Jim DeMint, who’s a big part of the reason that all of us are talking about Washington’s cronyism. Jim, when he was in the Senate, saw his colleagues eagerly packing pork into just about every bill. And he stood up and led a valiant fight against earmarks. When Jim started that fight, it was viewed as Don Quixote: tilting at windmills. And yet, today, thanks to his leadership, a Republican conference has officially sworn off earmarks.
But yet, that hasn’t solved the problem of cronyism in Washington. Indeed, just yesterday, the Senate voted for cloture for the Trade Promotion Authority Act. To leadership’s dismay, yesterday, I voted against it. Now I have always been for free trade, I campaigned on free trade. Free trade, I believe, creates more opportunities for Americans; when we open up foreign markets, it helps farmers, and ranchers, and manufacturers. And so I intended to support TPA. Indeed, when it first came up for a vote a couple of months ago, I did support TPA. But unfortunately when the package came back to the Senate floor, it had gone far beyond simply being about trade.
Once again, Congress has become enmeshed in backroom deals, and they were using TPA as an opportunity to promote, among other things, reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank and potentially even enabling President Obama’s illegal expansion of immigration.
And this seems to be an all-too-common trend in Washington. That whatever is happening, corrupt backroom deals dominate the end product.
When American families, when small businesses, and when the most vulnerable among us are hurting, Washington has a tendency to jump to action – but not to help those who need it the most. Washington is looking for solutions – for Washington. Not solutions that empower citizens across the nation to succeed.
Instead, Washington’s solutions invariably help the rich and well connected.
When the 2008 housing crisis hit millions of Americans leaving families with real estate at a fraction of the value, sunken savings accounts, and mortgages they couldn’t pay back, what did Congress do? Bail out big business. It handed out hundreds of billions of dollars to banks and institutions that were deemed “too big to fail.” Sadly the American workers is never deemed too big to fail.
This enabled the banks to concentrate even more power and, in fact, to buy out “weaker banks.” For example, PNC received $7.5 billion while National City didn’t receive anything, which then gave PNC the advantage, and then they turned around and bought out National City.
Since 2008, the big banks have only gotten bigger: As the Fed noted at the end of 2011, five banks held more than 8.5 trillion in assets… equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy and that’s up from 43 percent five years earlier. Remember, Dodd-Frank was sold to the American people as stopping “too big to fail”. What do we see today? The big banks are even bigger.
As car-owners struggled with high gas prices in 2009, the federal government responded by handing over $80 billion to GM and Chrysler and its suppliers.
In 2010, as many hard-working Americans crawled out from under the financial crisis to revive their communities and regain their financial footing, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, with 19,000 pages of regulations. No bill that large, no regulation that voluminous, could possibly be good for any small institutions. And since then, hundreds of community and regional banks have closed.
Now it’s important to understand, that was not an unintended consequence. That wasn’t, “oops, we didn’t know that was going to happen.” The lobbyists for big banks were sitting at the table when Dodd-Frank was written. It was designed by Washington to favor the big guys over the little guys. And I would note, the proponents of that regulations, inevitably, they claim they’re helping the little guy. Now, either they’re not telling the truth, or they’re really, really bad at what they do. Because every single time they jump in with massive regulations, it helps the giant corporations, and the people that get hammered are the little guys.
In 2013, When Obamacare went into effect it imposed huge burdens on small business owners and young people, union bosses and members of Congress received special favors and exemptions. The very people who wrote the law-Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats–they wanted out of it- and this administration was only too happy to oblige. Today, the taxpayers subsidize their platinum plans while millions of Americans across this country have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, are facing skyrocketing premiums. Members of Congress retain their illegal exemptions from Obamacare.
Washington’s favors have gone on for far too long.
If you take a look at a map of the U.S., our office took every county in the country and color coded it, for whether median income had gone up or gone down. It’s quite striking, that map looks almost exactly like a geological map of shale formations across this country. Indeed on the Senate floor, I put that map up with a clear plastic overlay of the shale formations. You can see up in the Bakken, North Dakota, the counties, all of those counties median income is static. You can see the Barnett shale, and the Permian and the Eagle Ford, median income has skyrocketed, you can see the Marcellus shale, median income has skyrocketed.
Although it’s interesting; Marcellus shale doesn’t end at the Pennsylvania border, the jobs do. Because the politicians in New York have decided, apparently, New Yorkers don’t want jobs, they don’t want to provide for their family; or their idiot politicians are going to stand in the way and prohibit them. So even though they have resources in New York, the very same resources that are in Pennsylvania, the line between the states is like the finger of God drew in on the ground. South of that line, there are jobs, median income has gone up. North of that line, not a single one of those counties’ median income has gone up.
You look at the Monterey shale in California-abundant resources. None of those counties have gone up because the California politicians, just like the New York politicians, think California men and women don’t want to provide for their families. But do you know the one notable exception to that rule? The counties in and around Washington, D.C. are bright, bright green. Six of the 10 most affluent counties in the country are located in the D.C. metropolis. Those who live off the federal government are getting fat and happy, and almost every other county in America, median income has stagnated.
Washington has done a great job of one thing: picking winners and losers. Except, it’s all too clear who the losers are each time; it’s American families, who are struggling to pay skyrocketing health care premiums and tuition costs; it’s our community banks and marketplaces that are going out of business; it’s young entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The majority of Americans don’t have the time, don’t have the resources to lobby Washington politicians. They are too busy going about their daily lives, working hard to provide for their families and take care of their kids.
For example, when Tesla successfully lobbied Washington for a $1.3 billion taxpayer subsidy, average Americans were hard at work, and certainly weren’t spending their time thinking about the need to subsidize rich yuppies to spend $100,000 to buy an electric car. Look, If rich people want to buy an electric car, knock yourself out. But why should we be hammering hard working taxpayers to add another car to the 4-car garage? That doesn’t make any sense.
While big government looks out for the powerful and well-connected, average Americans, over and over again, get the short end of the stick. With a ruling expected any day now in King v. Burwell, the Obama Administration has already, at the behest of the insurance companies, crafted a contingency plan that allows insurers to cancel plans in the event that their subsidies go away. But the fat cat insurers are taken care of by big government. ‘You guys are fine, here’s the contingency plan.’ But the average American taxpayer? They don’t have a contingency plan. The Obama Administration has no credible claim whatsoever for the millions of Americans who will be left to pay the full price of Obamacare’s big-government mandates.
The rich and well-connected keep getting more and more favors at the behest of hard-working Americans. And we have got to stop this. Here is a very simple rule of thumb, and it is contrary to everything our friends in the media tell us. Big government benefits big business. Small government benefits small business and hard working men and women. You will never hear that on the nighttime news because the purveyors of big government always promise they’re helping the little guy, and yet they keep getting the fat cats richer and richer and richer.
Lobbyists and career politicians today make up what I call the Washington Cartel. And it operates very much like other cartels. It operates like OPEC. I don’t know, like sheikhs, if they actually wear robes. But they nonetheless, on a daily basis are conspiring against the American people. Let me explain to you how it works:
A bill is set to come before Congress, and career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder. Corrupt backroom deals result in one interest group getting preferences over the other–although you give the other a chance to outbid them–or even worse, a very, very small interest group getting special carve-outs at the expense of taxpayers.
And those who don’t oblige, well, they are shunned by the Cartel – effectively locked out.
Just this week, we saw a shameful example of this as House leadership threw Representative Mark Meadows out of his chairmanship because of his principled objections to TPA. Just this morning, news broke that leadership is seeking to strip Ken Buck, another conservative in the House, of his leadership position. Why is it that Republican leadership always, always, always cuts deals with the Democrats, and with Washington, and throws overboard the conservatives that, come October and November in an election year, they are desperately asking to turn out at an election?
The Washington Cartel has amassed more and more power at the expense of the American taxpayer with the same recipe repeated over and over again.
So today, I want to look at four examples of the Washington Cartel at work. I want to talk about who their schemes are hurting. And how we can restore freedom, bring back jobs and growth and opportunity, and how we can defeat the Washington Cartel.
It is hard to imagine an institution that is more emblematic of cronyism than the Export-Import Bank.
The Export-Import Bank is essentially welfare for big corporations, both foreign and domestic.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who as you all know is the source of much of progressivism, instituted the Bank.
What does the bank actually do? It provides loans and loan guarantees to hand-picked corporations. It’s one of the favored methods of cronyism: Washington handing out taxpayer money to selected giant corporations.
Now, on principle, there’s nothing wrong with loans being given except it’s not private investment. It’s not people actually risking their own capital and assessing the risk and reward. Rather, it’s funded on the taxpayer’s dime. Prior loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank have benefited such paragons of corporate virtue as Enron and Solyndra. As it stands now, taxpayers are currently on the hook for over $100 billion in loan guarantees. If the projects succeed, the giant corporations make a profit. If they fail, the taxpayers foot the bill. Now those are pretty good odds. In Vegas, that’s called playing with the house.
As it stands, today the Ex-Im Bank funds roughly 2 percent of American exports.
And yet, of that 2 percent, from 2007 to 2013, the majority of the benefits have gone to 10 select companies. It’s good to be the king and it’s good to be a major donor to the king and to be gathering billions of taxpayer dollars because of it. Along with subsidies that support foreign companies it’s not just domestic companies. Foreign companies do very well with the Ex-Im bank, at our expense.
For example: Air India, a state-owned company, that’s right now putting at risk approximately 7,500 American jobs with the help of Ex-Im. Or Australian Roy Hill mine, to the detriment of our manufacturers and ultimately resulting in an estimated loss of $1 billion of iron ore sales here in America. That’s the taxpayers funding the government, funding foreign corporations, to hurt American workers.
Ex-Im kills American jobs, and often favors foreign investment over American investment.
It also has this terrible record of subsidizing unfriendly regimes with problematic human rights records.
In 2013, just one year, the Ex-Im bank streamed $35 million to Venezuela banks and investors, $335 million to Argentina, $1 billion to Russian financiers, and $2.7 billion to communist China. Mind you, this is at the same time Russia is invading Ukraine. We’re saying, “this is unacceptable, by the way, here’s a billion dollars.” That sort of makes the foreign policy protestations of the administration a little bit hollow.
Several companies that have received taxpayer-backed Ex-Im financing even admitted to previously doing business in Iran through their subsidiaries, undercutting efforts to sanction the Iranian regime. Moreover, the Justice Department recently indicted former Ex-Im loan officer Johnny Gutierez, with bribery chargers. More charges could be coming. And this very institution, Heritage Foundation, uncovered some 74 cases of fraud and corruption at the Ex-Im since 2009.
The Washington Cartel’s favoritism and cronyism inevitably breeds corruption. When you have government officials giving out billions of dollars of taxpayer money, suddenly the people who want that taxpayer money have every incentive in the world to further that corruption both latent and blatant.
And yet, the process of passing TPA, it appears that Senate and House leadership have made a deal to schedule a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import bank, that that was part of the price of TPA. That was a major reason why I voted, “No.” Now, in response to my criticism, leadership in both chambers have said, there is no deal. Excellent. If there is no deal, we should let Ex-Im expire and let it stay expired. For once, all Congress has to do is do nothing and if Congress is good at anything, it’s doing nothing. If leadership, as it says this week, “there is no deal on Ex-Im,” then simply do nothing, let it expire, and end the gravy train for Washington lobbyists on the Export-Import Bank.
A second example, renewable energy mandates are arbitrary government regulations that distort the free markets and artificially raise the cost for American families and job opportunities.
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, and one of the provisions in it was the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires that renewable fuels be mixed into our gasoline supply.
Now, I support renewable fuels, I support biofuels, but I don’t support policies from Washington that pick winners and losers in the market.
One of the mandates included was the ethanol mandate. Over the years, it has been proven there is a demand for ethanol in the market, but ethanol should stand on its own, not atop the footstool of the government.
The ethanol mandate requires 16 billion gallons of biofuels, requiring a plot of farmland roughly equal to the size of the state of Kentucky, as a result, that has diverted corn from livestock and the food supply, and has contributed to increased food prices.
Several months ago, there was an agriculture summit in the state of Iowa. Most of the Republican candidates for president attended that summit. Every single candidate but one pledged his support for continuing the Iowa ethanol mandate. It’s very easy for conservative politicians to talk about ending cronyism, but when you’re standing in front of people who are the beneficiaries, that’s when you separate talk from action.
Big government energy mandates don’t stop with ethanol. There are tax credits for almost every form of energy. Each designed to give one industry a leg up over the other. There’s enhanced oil recovery credits for producing oil and gas from marginal wells. There’s an advanced nuclear power generation credit. Clean coal investment credits. And a credit for plugging electric and fuel cell vehicles. And of course the infamous wind energy credit.
Talking about wind: A two-year extension of wind credits alone costs taxpayers more than $13 billion, which is enough to pay the monthly electricity bills for 124 million Americans. How about putting that up for a referendum? Do we continue to benefit one favored industry, or do we pay the electricity bill for 124 million Americans? You know, I don’t think that would be a close vote for the American people. And what’s interesting: it’s not a close vote in Washington. Because the only people voting in Washington are the lobbyists with bags of cash, and the lawmakers in both parties eager to get that cash.
For decades, the federal government has teamed up with specific industries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. Aside from further complicating an already Byzantine tax code, this type of corporate welfare has only distorted the price of energy and empowered failed companies like Solyndra.
My good friend, Senator Mike Lee, has taken the lead in previous Congresses to level the playing field, to end the special interest handouts, and stop the energy cronyism. How about instead of picking one industry after the other after the other, and benefitting them all to compete against each other, we take the taxpayer out of the game and let them fight it out on a fair field. Senator Lee has introduced the Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act-a bill designed to eliminate all energy tax credits, and a bill that Senator Jim DeMint championed before Mike took lead.
A third example: sugar subsidies that artificially drive prices higher for the benefit of the few.
It should come as no surprise that another poster child for big government picking winners and losers traces its origins back to the New Deal. The Sugar Act imposed quotas on U.S. sugar production and restrictions on imports of sugar all while subsidizing U.S. production.
Now, I will note, this form of cronyism seems particularly un-American. After all, before the Tea and Stamp Act, came the Sugar Act in 1764. You’ll recall, we fought kind of a bloody revolution over that. And it was then that the cry of “no taxation without representation” was widely voiced by the colonists.
Well you know what, we, do have representation now, but our representatives aren’t representing us. They’re representing large corporations and lobbyists rather than the American people. And it’s the exact same circumstance of no taxation without representation. How about the representatives in Washington actually represent the men and women back home that we’re supposed to be working for?
The sugar program imposes restrictions on how much sugar can be sold-it provides a “benevolent” allotment for each processor and makes it illegal to sell more than the government’s designated amount.
Now, one could be forgiven for thinking this kind of centralized planning came from former Soviet apparatchiks: “You go sell that! You go sell that!” I mention the cartel. It’s what OPEC does every year. They sit around a table and say, “you go sell that. You go sell that, we’re going to conspire against the American taxpayers.” Both cartels, by the way, have the same principal victims.
Unfortunately, both Republican and Democrat administrations have kept this program essentially unchanged for eighty years-increasing the cost of sugar for Americans.
The Wall Street Journal reported last December that at the time, sugar was 58 percent more expensive here at home than at the global market. Why should Americans pay 58 percent more for sugar than people in the rest of the world? Only because the Washington cartel is taking that additional money and giving it to the select few favored lobbyists. And it’s not just sugar that you put into your coffee or your tea. Sugar is an ingredient in a great amount that we eat. From pastries to sodas-and as my two little girls will tell you, treats on a nightly basis.
And this price controlling increases food costs for businesses and families, particularly low-income households. If you’re a single mom struggling to make ends meet, if you see the food costs when you go to the grocery store and try to feed your kids, prices go up and up and up and your salary doesn’t seem to match it, part of the reason is that the Washington cartel isn’t listening to you, and they’re happy to take money from your paycheck and make fat cats even fatter. That’s the corrupt game that’s going on.
In fiscal year 2013, the average price for American raw sugar was 6 cents per pound higher than the average world price. As a result, Americans paid an unnecessary $1.4 billion extra for sugar. Now, there’s some Americans who don’t even make 1.4 billion in a year. That’s real money. And every time Washington picks winners and losers, the winners are concentrated, but the losers you could identify.
From 1997 to 2011, nearly 127,000 jobs were lost in domestic sugar-using industries. 127,000 jobs-think of the men and women who were working in chocolate factories, working in bakeries, working in soda factories, who now are unemployed, and one of the reasons is, the federal government is driving up the cost of their inputs, and valuing the interests of the lobbyist more that your job.
According to a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, for every sugar-growing job that stems from artificially high sugar prices, approximately three manufacturing jobs are lost. Now that’s math that makes sense only in Washington, D.C.
And here’s the kicker – you want to understand the concentration: Sugar companies make up just 0.2 percent of the farms in America, anyone know what percentage of the crop industries total lobbying expenditures come from sugar? 40 percent. 0.2 percent of the farms generate 40 percent of the lobbying. Why?
Because if your lobbying is yielding 1.8 billion dollars, that’s good math. And the single mom who’s paying higher food prices, the chocolate factory owner who’s laying off, neither one of them have lobbyists. Neither one of them have a whole lot of representatives who are listing to them.
The fourth and final example: Internet sales tax.
We’ve looked at one example of how the Washington Cartel helps foreign nations and foreign investors, how it chooses winners and losers among American industries.
Now let’s look to an industry that’s been-blessedly-largely free from government regulators: the Internet. I want to turn to how it wants to make its network even broader and more intrusive – what’s the one thing that’s been left largely unmitigated by the government until now – the Internet.
The Internet has been an incubator for new ideas, it has been a haven for technological creativity. It is allowing millions of people to create small businesses. And by the way, the people who are the most freed up on the internet are the most vulnerable. It’s young people, Hispanics, African Americans, single moms, people who want a better life.
You know, it used to be, 20 years ago, if you wanted to start a business, you needed some capital. You needed to be able to buy an inventory. You needed a warehouse. You needed a distribution system. That took money. If you’re just getting started, if you’re a teenage immigrant, like my dad was in 1957, washing dishes, making 50 cents, an hour you’re not likely to have the capital to start a business. What does the internet do? It transform it. You have a good or service you want to sell– You can set up a website and suddenly you have a worldwide market. Someone clicks on the website says, “I want to buy your good or service, you can send it on Fed-Ex and boom, you can send it anywhere in the world, You know who that terrifies? Politicians in Washington. This freedom thing is very, very scary for politicians in Washington. Washington is all about power.
Today, parents can purchase Christmas presents for their kids with the click of a button. A teenager can design an app that revolutionizes the way things are done. A mom can sell her hand-made cards on Etsy. Or with a few taps, an Uber can come to your doorstep.
And by the way, the next time you take Uber-I’ll let you know, I don’t have a car in Washington. Uber is transformational. The next time you take an Uber, ask the Uber driver how he or she likes his job. I have yet to find an Uber driver who isn’t thrilled at the freedom of becoming a small business owner that the Internet has enabled.
And yet, what is Congress talking about doing ? It’s talking about passing the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act. Now, we’ve seen the pattern of Washington fairness. What is Washington fairness? Hammer the little guy, help the big guy. That’s very fair to lobbyists.
What would the Marketplace Fairness Act do? It would take every online retailer in America and tell them you must now collect states taxes for over 9,600 taxing jurisdictions all across this country, in real time. I want you to think about it. Let’s suppose you’re that single mom who started the business you’re selling online. You’re supposed to collect the Albany school taxes. Now Bret, do you know what the Albany school tax is? Do you know there’s a hearing scheduled next week to try to change it? Well, if you decide to start a small business, you’re expected to know.
And you could face an audit from 9,600 jurisdictions across this country if you haven’t correctly collected the Albany school tax, and you don’t know that they raised it by a quarter point in their last vote., which I have no idea if they did or not.
Why does the Marketplace Fairness Act have support? It has support because it’s a perfect storm for lobbyists. Number one, the Big Box stores, a major bricks and mortar retailers, they want to hammer the heck out of these online retailers. But here’s the interesting thing that’s shifted, so do the big online retailers. Of the 20 largest online retailers, 19 of them have physical presences, and so collect sales taxes in each of the states that has sales taxes. So suddenly you have the big box stores, the brick and mortar retailers, the big guys, and the giant online retailers, joining forces and suddenly they have a common enemy: all of these pesky little startups that have the temerity to try to take their customers.
And in Washington, there’s nothing more beautiful than when the lobbyists all align. When all the money is pointing in the same direction. Suddenly you see Republicans, and Democrats saying, “that is an inspired policy.” And yet, all of the millions of young people, of entrepreneurs, of people with an idea that want to topple the next giant company, they don’t have a single lobbyist. The American people are with us on this. The 2013 Gallup poll showed 57 percent of likely voters opposed taxing the Internet. Among young people, the demographic that represents the future of this country, 73 percent oppose a tax on the Internet. We should stand with the people. It is time to break the Washington Cartel.
We should stand with the people. It is time to break the Washington Cartel.
Instead of cutting blue-collar jobs by investing millions in foreign mining corporations, we should welcome jobs and production here at home. Instead of giving ethanol producers an automatic check, we should let the market determine their viability, and stop hurting farms from Connecticut to California. Instead of forcing restaurants and bakers and families to pay more for sugar – and undercut competition – we should welcome lower prices. And instead of handing over more power to big corporations and regulators, let’s keep the Internet free and encourage young entrepreneurs to keep innovating and to keep government’s hands off the Internet.
How we beat back the Washington Cartel, how do we restore power to the people?
The answer is simple – Americans across the country rise up, they engage on the issues, and we bring back the voice of the people.
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us there’s nothing new under the sun. I think where we are today is very much like the late 1970s. I think the parallels between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are uncanny: the same failed domestic policy, the same misery, stagnation, and malaise, and the same feckless and naiveté foreign policy. In fact, the very same countries, Russia and Iran, openly laughing at and mocking the President of the United States. The one person in America thrilled with the job Barack Obama’s doing is Jimmy Carter.
Why does that analogy give me so much hope? Because we know what comes next. The late ‘70s and 1980s, there was a grassroots movement of millions of men and women who rose up and became the Reagan revolution, and it didn’t come from Washington – Washington despised Ronald Reagan. If you see a candidate who Washington embraces, run and hide. And in 1980, Reagan rose up to break the Washington Cartel. How did he do it? He changed the rules: 1978, 1979, Reagan didn’t get on a plane and fly to Washington and sit down with the old bulls in Congress, sit down with Republicans and say, come on guys, you got to stand for something. He recognized that then and now they weren’t listening to the American people. Instead, he took the case to the American people. And it transformed this nation. How do you change, how do you break the Washington Cartel. You change the rules. You know, there’s an old saying that politics is Hollywood for ugly people.
But there is nothing that focuses the minds of elected politicians like the prospect that they might be voted out of office and have to find an honest job. How do you break the Washington Cartel? You make the political price of doing the wrong thing higher than the political price of doing the right thing, and that can only come from ‘we the people.’ It’s the only power strong enough. That’s what the Reagan revolution demonstrated. Washington despised Reagan until the revolution swept in, and suddenly a bunch of politicians said holy cow, ‘I’m not messing with that,’ and magically they supported lower taxes and lower regulations and stopped the favoritism and standing up and defeating the Soviet Union.
I think 2016 will be an election like 1980. As Reagan said, we win by painting in bold colors and not pale pastels.
I am going to close with a story.
We all know the story of the Wright brothers.
But a name we don’t as often hear is that of Samuel Langley. The Department of War gave him $50,000 to create a flying machine. Upon its launch, “it fell like a ton of mortar,” according to one reporter.
On December 17, 1903, only 9 days after Langley’s second experiment failed, two young Ohio boys with only $2,000 set out at Kitty Hawk, and to become the first men to sail in the air.
$50,000 on failed government programs picking winners and losers versus two entrepreneurs, two brothers with a vision and a dream and just $2,000. One a miserable failure; the other transformed the world.
That is power of American innovators free from the government. It’s the can-do spirit that has propelled scientists and entrepreneurs and immigrants who came with nothing, pioneers, and farmers to make this land the greatest nation on earth.
And it remains just that if we come together and break the Washington Cartel that is telling us far too much about what we can do and can’t do. And if we instead return the power to the people so they can do what they have always done best – achieve the unimaginable and leave a landscape of greater opportunities for generations to come.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/cruz-pointing-e1427227385287.jpg427640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2015-06-26 05:09:482015-06-26 05:46:34VIDEO: Senator Ted Cruz on Washington, Congress and “The Age of Cronyism”
“Think of liberalism … as a collection of ideas or principles which go to make up an attitude or ‘habit of mind.’” – Arthur A. Ekirch
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville was keen to observe that “once the Americans have taken up an idea, whether it be well or ill founded, nothing is more difficult than to eradicate it from their minds.”
Reflecting upon my experience as a first-generation immigrant who grew up in the United States, I concur with Tocqueville; this inherent feature of the culture and character of the American people holds true even today.
In America, there are no sacred cows, no one is above criticism, and no one has the final say on any issue. It is worth emphasizing that today, the United States stands virtually alone in the international community in upholding near-absolute freedom of personal expression, largely thanks to the constitutional protections provided by the First Amendment.
As cliché as it may sound, it is important to recognize that our cherished freedom to think, speak, write, and express ourselves should not be taken for granted. Defending the principle of free speech is a perennial conflict that has to be fought in the court of public opinion here and abroad.
Unfortunately, a number of recent developments have greatly alarmed civil libertarians and may very well carry long-term negative repercussions for the United States as a free and open society.
It is a disturbing trend that is not limited to the United States:
People all over the globe are coming to expect emotional and intellectual comfort as though it were a right. This is precisely what you would expect when you train a generation to believe that they have a right not to be offended. Eventually, they stop demanding freedom of speech and start demanding freedom from speech.
While the United States is fortunate enough to have the First Amendment [to] prevent outright government regulation of the press, cultural attitudes play a greater role in maintaining a healthy civil society.
Lukianoff reserves special criticism for American higher education for “neglecting to teach the intellectual habits that promote debate and discussion, tolerance for views we hate, epistemic humility, and genuine pluralism.”
We now hear on a regular basis of campus outrages involving a controversial speaker or perceived injustice, and the “offended” parties responding with a frenzied social media crusade or a real-world attempt to shame, bully, browbeat, censor, or otherwise punish the offender.
With the endless stream of manufactured outrages, perhaps it is fitting that George Mason University law professor David Bernstein would raise the question, “Where and when did this ‘makes me feel unsafe’ thing start?”
Luckily, not allprogressives have sacrificed the basic principles of liberalism to the altar of radical identity politics and political correctness. One liberal student at NYU courageously pointed out the grave dangers posed by the ideology embraced by many of his peers:
This particular brand of millennial social justice advocacy is destructive to academia, intellectual honesty, and true critical thinking and open mindedness. We see it already having a profound impact on the way universities act and how they approach curriculum. …
The version of millennial social justice advocacy that I have spoken about — one that uses Identity Politics to balkanize groups of people, engenders hatred between groups, willingly lies to push agendas, manipulates language to provide immunity from criticism, and that publicly shames anyone who remotely speaks some sort of dissent from the overarching narrative of the orthodoxy — is not admirable.
It is deplorable. It appeals to the basest of human instincts: fear and hatred. It is not an enlightened or educated position to take. History will not look kindly on this Orwellian, authoritarian perversion of social justice that has taken social media and millennials by storm over the past few years.
I, too, am convinced that these activists, with their MO of hysterical crusades, are one of today’s biggest threats to free speech, open inquiry, and genuine tolerance, at least on college campuses. The illiberal climate fostered by these their ideologues seems to be spreading throughout academia and is continuing to dominate the headlines.
As of this writing, Northwestern professor (and self-described feminist) Laura Kipnis is undergoing a Kafkaesque Title IX inquisition for writing a column in the Chronicle of Higher Education and making comments on Twitter that offended a number of students. The aggrieved mobilized in full force to have her punished under the federal sex discrimination law.
These groups and their tactics represent what Jonathan Rauch would describe as the “humanitarian” challenge to free speech. In his must-read book, Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Rauch identified how these “humanitarians” sought to prevent “offense” to “oppressed and historically marginalized” peoples. In the name of “compassion,” words became conflated with physical action.
As speech codes spread and the definition of “harassment” (reading a book in public, for instance) became broader within the bureaucracy of academia, an “offendedness sweepstakes” was cultivated and turned into the norm.
Rauch’s book was published in 1993, but his diagnosis and arguments still apply today, if not more, in the age of social media when the “offendedness sweepstakes” are amplified to new levels.
Nowadays, PC grievance mongers can organize much more effectively and more often than not, get rewarded for their efforts. The future of a free society looks very bleak should these types become a dominant force on the political landscape. I can’t help but shiver at the prospect of seeing the chronically-offendedeggshells of my generation becoming tomorrow’s legislators and judges. The chilling effects are already being felt.
Even as numerous challenges emerge from all corners, free speech has unparalleled potential for human liberation in the Digital Age. The eternal battle is still that of liberty versus power, and the individual versus the collective. I remain confident that truth can still prevail in the marketplace of ideas. It is for this reason we should treasure and defend the principles, practices, and institutions that make it possible.
Last month marked the birthday of the brilliant F.A. Hayek, the gentleman-scholar who made landmark contributions to fields of economics, philosophy, political science, and law, and established his name as the twentieth century’s most eminent defender of classical liberalism in the face of the collectivist zeitgeist.
What we have to deal with in the case of “social justice” is simply a quasireligious superstition of the kind which we should respectfully leave in peace so long as it merely makes those happy who hold it, but which we must fight when it becomes the pretext of coercing other men [emphasis added].
And the prevailing belief in “social justice” is at present probably the gravest threat to most other values of a free civilization.
Hayek did not predict that “social justice” would be first used to silence dissent before moving on to its long-term agenda, but it would not have surprised him. Weak ideas always grasp for the censor in the face of sustained criticism — and feeble ideas made strong by politics are the most dangerous of all.
Humanitarians with guillotines can be found from the French Revolution to present day. Modern day defenders of individual liberty would do well to heed Hayek’s warning and resist the Siren song of “social justice,” the rallying cry of collectivists who cannot realize their vision without coercion.
Aaron Tao is the Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Editor of The Beacon at the Independent Institute.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/woman-with-hand-over-mouth-e1435263116690.jpg317640Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2015-06-25 16:13:232015-06-25 16:31:01Blurred Lines: The Humanitarian Threat to Free Speech by Aaron Tao
What happens if the Iran Nuclear agreement goes bad? Ever wondered what a bad nuclear deal looks like?
Change the Channel is a fast-moving look through the eyes of our news channels at the growing turmoil and eventual destruction wrought by a nuclear Iran on the Middle East and beyond.
What if what happens in Iran doesn’t stay in Iran!
Even America isn’t safe.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/clarion-project-video-change-the-channel-e1435242971291.jpg320640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2015-06-25 10:36:212015-06-26 16:53:06IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: It’s Not Too Late To Change The Channel
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) released a major policy statement signed by a bi-partisan group of former nationally prominent legislators, Bush and Obama Administration national security, diplomatic officials and the former deputy of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency blasting the emerging P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, perhaps just days away from possibly being concluded on June 30th. The statement also condemned the Administration appeasement of Iran’s state-sponsored regional hegemony and the failure to develop a coherent strategy to combat the rise of Daesh, the Islamic State. The WINEP statement encompassed policy recommendations on these important national security issues. Among the signatories are former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), former California U.S. Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), former CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus, former special negotiator Ambassador Dennis Ross, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Cavanaugh, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director of the IAEA, Stephen Hadley, former Bush Administration National Security Director, WINEP own experts and its executive director, Robert Satloff.
Among the key points in the WINEP-sponsored statement addressing the problems with the emerging P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran is the following:
Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the “IAEA”) charged with monitoring compliance with the agreement must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. This must include military (including IRGC) and other sensitive facilities. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere in the country that the inspectors need to visit in order to carry out their responsibilities.
Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities (“Possible Military Dimensions” or “PMD”). This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.
Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period. The goal is to push back Iran’s deployment of advanced centrifuges as long as possible, and ensure that any such deployment occurs at a measured, incremental pace consonant with a peaceful nuclear program.
Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran’s performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.
Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access. In addition, the United States must itself articulate the serious consequences Iran will face in that event.
The group also addressed the inchoate Middle East strategy addressing Iran’s regional support for state terrorism and the failed strategy to combat the Islamic State:
In Iraq: Expand training and arming not only of Iraqi Security Forces but also Kurdish Peshmerga in the north and vetted Sunni forces in the West. Allow U.S. Special Forces to leave their bases and help coordinate air strikes and stiffen Iraqi units. Sideline Iranian-backed militia and separate them from Shiite units (“popular mobilization units”) that are not under Iranian control.
In Syria: Expand and accelerate the U.S. train and equip programs. Work with Turkey to create a safe haven in northern Syria where refugees can obtain humanitarian aid and vetted non-extremist opposition fighters can be trained and equipped. Capitalize on Bashar al-Assad’s increasing weakness to split off regime elements and seek to join them with U.S. trained opposition elements. Interdict the transshipment of Iranian weapons into Syria in coordination with the Kurds and Turkey, and consider designating as terrorist organizations Iranian-backed Shiite militias responsible for egregious atrocities.
In Yemen: Expand support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in pressuring the warring parties to the negotiating table while seeking to split the Houthi elements away from Iran.
Regionally: Interdict Iranian arms bound for extremist groups and continue to counter its efforts to harass commercial shipping and our naval forces. Reaffirm U.S. policy to oppose Iran’s efforts to subvert local governments and project its power at the expense of our friends and allies.
The WINEP statement concludes:
Collectively, these steps also strengthen U.S. capability against Daesh (the misnamed “Islamic State”). Acting against both Iranian hegemony and Daesh’s caliphate will help reassure friends and allies of America’s continued commitment. And it will help address Israel’s legitimate concerns that a nuclear agreement will validate Iran’s nuclear program, further facilitate its destabilizing behavior, and encourage further proliferation at a time when Israel faces the possible erosion of its “qualitative military edge.” We urge the U.S. administration to create a discreet, high-level mechanism with the Israeli government to identify and implement responses to each of these concerns.
Taking the actions we propose while the nuclear negotiations continue will reinforce the message that Iran must comply with any agreement and will not be allowed to pursue a nuclear weapon. This will increase, not decrease, the chance that Iran will comply with the agreement and may ultimately adopt a more constructive role in the region. For the U.S. administration’s hopes in this respect have little chance so long as Iran’s current policy seems to be succeeding in expanding its influence.
The President’s ideological mindset regarding a rapprochement with an untrustworthy Islamic Regime in Tehran coupled with Secretary of State Kerry’s appeasement of the red-lines diktats issued by Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei portend a disastrous emerging agreement, should one be concluded in its current form. We fully anticipate the Administration will issue its own statements rejecting these compelling and cogent recommendations contained in the WINEP statement signed off by a broad array of bi-partisan national security experts, diplomatic negotiators, former national legislators and international nuclear weapons inspectors. With the clock winding down on a final Joint Plan of Action, Americans of all political stripes and Members of Congress should heed the WINEP-sponsored recommendations concerning the emerging P5+1 agreement under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015. The Congress will have a daunting task to respond in less than 30 days under INARA with the President poised to veto any negative vote, not easily overridden.
Why is Ahmad Zaidan, Al Jazeera’s Islamabad bureau chief, tacitly endorsing a terrorist organization?
In an op-ed for Al Jazeera’s English website on June 2, entitled “Nusra Front’s quest for a united Syria,” Zaidan writes that the Islamist militant rebel group in Syria is distancing itself from Al-Qaeda and “positioning itself as the natural heir of jihadi ideology.”
The Al Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Syria, is one of the largest, most powerful and best-organized rebel groups fighting the Assad regime, and in December 2012 it landed on the U.S. State Department List of Terrorist Organizations. Officially designated as an alias of Al-Qaeda, Al Nusra was branded for the more than 600 attacks it had claimed responsibility for since November 2011, many of which had taken the lives of innocent Syrian civilians. Recent victories as part of a rebel coalition against the Assad regime in the northwest province of Idlib have further bolstered Al Nusra and strengthened the group’s leadership position among Syria’s anti-government forces.
Zaidan’s bias in favor of Nusra is clear almost immediately, when he notes that when he was covering Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, his “hosts” from those two terror organizations never offered him more than “simple tea and bread for breakfast,” whereas his Al Nusra hosts had generously laid out a “dozen dishes” for him. However, his appreciation of a wider range of breakfast options quickly turns to using his position as a leading reporter for the most influential news network in the Middle East — and the larger Muslim world — essentially to act as a mouthpiece for Al Nusra.
Ahmad Zaidan, Al Jazeera’s Islamabad bureau chief, is shown here reporting from Damascus, Syria. (Image source: Al Jazeera video screenshot)
Zaidan recounts and quotes extensively from a separate interview conducted by Al Jazeera Arabic on May 27 with Al Nusra’s leader, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, to emphasize differences between Jolani’s leadership tactics and those of Al-Qaeda under Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Zaidan writes that Jolani “defies al-Qaeda’s legacy of going after minorities,” highlighting a promise from Jolani that if the Alawites (an offshoot sect of Shia Islam to which Syria’s ruling family and many of its supporters belong) were to abandon the Assad regime, they “would be welcome” in a new Syria.
Jolani, according to Zaidan, also promised that Druze communities in Syria would be protected; as a result of that statement, he has received support from Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze.
The problem with Zaidan’s translation of the interview with Jolani from Arabic to English is that he leaves out a critical caveat that Jolani made regarding protection of the Alawites, considered by many Sunni Islamists, including Al-Qaeda and Al Nusra, not to be true Muslims, but apostates of Islam. A Guardian article, reporting on Jolani’s interview with Al Jazeera, accurately translated Jolani’s relevant quote as: “If the Alawites leave their religion and leave Bashar al-Assad, we will protect them.” [Emphasis added.]
Zaidan seemingly manipulated the original quote to obscure that Al Nusra is, in fact, not tolerant of other religions or religious minorities, and that only religious conversion would allow Alawites to remain safely in Syria under Al Nusra leadership.
Also absent from Zaidan’s characterization of Al Nusra as more tolerant than Al-Qaeda, is any mention of Syria’s significant Christian minority, which makes up about 10% of the population.
The Guardian article, however, does translate Jolani’s remarks on Christians; his words are far from accepting. The Guardian paraphrases Jolani as saying that “in a future state ruled by Islamic law, the financially capable would pay ‘jizya,’ or tax reserved for non-Muslims.”
Zaidan’s misleading translation and editing of Jolani’s interview reveal more than bias: they demonstrate a violation of a basic principle of journalistic ethics: not to manipulate quotes from sources in a way that fundamentally changes their meaning. Zaidan has done just that — and to support a terrorist organization, no less.
Many who commented on Zaidan’s article noticed his deceitful omission. Journalist Evan Hill, who speaks Arabic and has covered the Middle East for both Al Jazeera and the Guardian, tweeted, “Is it me or does Zaidan leave out the part of the Alawite quote where he said ‘give up your beliefs’?”
Having less-than-subtly revealed his support for Al Nusra, Zaidan continues sounding off as an unofficial media spokesman for the group. He cites “recent leaks” that Al Nusra leaders have decided to leave “the al-Qaeda umbrella and operate exclusively as a Syrian party aiming to establish an Islamic State,” although a public announcement of such a break has yet to happen.
According to Zaidan, “[S]uch a move, whenever made, would not only satisfy Nusra’s followers,” of which Zaidan certainly seems to be one; it would “also pull the carpet from under the feet of ISIL.” In other words, as his article’s subtitle, “Nusra Front is positioning itself as the natural heir of jihadi ideology,” makes clear, Al Nusra sees itself as the group that will upstage the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) to control Islamist jihadi ideology in Syria — hardly a comforting alternative to Assad and ISIS.
The Middle East — especially Syria and Iraq — needs a great deal of humanitarian aid just now; what it does not need is competition between brutal, seventh century-styled Islamic states. Nevertheless, Zaidan seems to be of the opinion that the way to take down ISIS is a competing caliphate.
Certainly, the half-hearted U.S.-led strategy for fighting ISIS has thus far failed to produce any promising signs that ISIS is on the retreat — especially since the loss of Ramadi in Anbar province last month. Leaving terrorist groups to duke it out, however, has also failed to end the conflict.
The excuse Zaidan offers for his support of Al Nusra is that the international community — as well as any non-Islamist rebel forces on the ground in Syria — have failed to help citizens under siege from the Assad regime, and that these failures have led to increased sympathy among the population for Islamist rebel groups who “exercise real power.”
While this is an accurate, although overly simple, assessment of the situation in Syria, it hardly seems a sufficient reason for Zaidan, as a leading reporter for a major global news network, with unparalleled media influence in the Muslim world, to endorse the cause of a terrorist organization.
To Zaidan, however, not only is the current situation in Syria reason enough to throw his support behind Al Nusra, it is also a reason to chastise the United States for not having already gotten on the group’s bandwagon. Comparing Al Nusra to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Zaidan writes: “Washington used to depict the PLO as a terrorist outfit — but then took a U-turn.” Zaidan’s use of the word “depict” is telling; to him, Al Nusra is not a terrorist group; rather it is unfairly being labeled one by the United States.
Instead, he suggests that the U.S. should repeat history and change its tactics toward Al Nusra. However, this change would entail the U.S. supporting a group that does not believe in religious tolerance even among Muslims; that views Christians as second-class citizens, and that uses terrorist tactics, including the attempted use of chemical weapons, in its fighting against the Assad regime, just as the regime has done.
Zaidan draws another parallel to support Al Nusra: between Al Nusra and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He notes that the group was “once the main target of the US military, but is not currently designated as a ‘terrorist organization’ by either the UN, UK or the US.” Finally, he reminds his readers that Washington no longer brands “Hezbollah or Iranian Quds Force’s Qassem Soleimani” as terrorists.
Zaidan argues that since the United States has changed relationships with these current or former terrorist organizations, it should take another extremely dangerous militant Islamist group off its terrorist list.
However, Zaidan’s comparisons should raise concerns about whom the Obama administration designates as terrorists — or even chooses as strategic partners: If these groups are not America’s enemies, who is?
Zaidan proceeds to call the Obama administration hypocritical for supporting “alien” Shia militias “fighting on behalf of Baghdad,” but not demonstrating the same support for “Syrian fighters — such as those who make up Nusra’s ranks” waging war against Assad. Again, Zaidan’s argument should give the White House pause as to whom the U.S. is partnering with in Iraq. Iranian-backed Shia militias, while they may be committed to fighting ISIS, can hardly be considered long-term partners for a stable Iraq.
In his closing thoughts, Zaidan makes a half-hearted attempt to mention the importance of “tolerance” and “build[ing] bridges” in Syria, although given his support for a group whose goal is supposedly to convert everyone to its extremist brand of Sunni Islam or force discriminating taxes on them, honest reconciliation does not seem to be a priority for him.
More alarming than Zaidan’s support for Al Nusra and his editorial dishonestly is that Al Jazeera allowed this article to be published. Zaidan is entitled to express his opinions, regardless of how unsettling they might be. This was, after all, an op-ed piece; the disclaimer at the bottom clearly states that the views presented in the article do not represent the views of Al Jazeera. So while Al Jazeera should not have censored Zaidan for the content of his piece, it was irresponsible and unethical to have published an article that, through deceitful editing practices, grossly misrepresents Al Nusra’s ideology.
As for Zaidan, whatever sympathies he may have for Al Nusra, his loyalty to the ethics of his profession and his responsibility to his readers evidently do not outweigh his loyalties to a terrorist organization.
MERRIFIELD, Va., /PRNewswire/ — The 2016 Committee, a political action committee raising awareness and support for Dr. Ben Carson’s candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, today announced that Sam Pimm, an experienced campaign manager and expert political consultant, will serve as the Committee’s executive director.
“Sam brings over 30 years of high level campaign and political experience to our committee,” said John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman for The 2016 Committee. “He understands that in order to succeed you need a plan, a strategy, tactics and objectives. In coordination with National Director Vernon Robinson and our regional directors, Sam will immediately begin developing a tight business plan around our existing strategies to help ensure success.”
As executive director for the Committee, Pimm will report directly to the board and oversee all field activities in support of the 2016 Committee’s efforts to send Dr. Carson to the White House. He will be responsible for grassroots organization and provide oversight and strategy for state and regional directors across the country, including in early primary states.
Pimm is the owner and founder of Consultant in a Can, a firm that leverages Pimm’s 36 years of campaign experience to provide consulting services on an affordable basis for state and local Republican candidates. His extensive campaign experience includes hundreds of state legislature campaigns, as well as congressional, senate, and presidential campaigns including Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson, Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich.
“I’m excited to join the 2016 Committee and be part of its important mission because I know Dr. Ben Carson is the best hope we have for healing America’s deep economic and social wounds,” Pimm said. “I’m looking forward to working with John Sousa, Vernon Robinson, Chuck Muth, the Committee’s staff and our thousands of amazing grassroots volunteers across the country to win Dr. Carson the keys to the White House.”
Dr. Carson has repeatedly polled at or near the top of a crowded field of Republican candidates in presidential polls around the country. A recent Monmouth University poll showed Dr. Carson leading all other GOP candidates among Republican and Republican-leaning voters.
About the 2016 Committee
The 2016 Committee is a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It was founded in August 2013 by John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson as the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, and works to raise awareness of Dr. Carson’s qualifications and to engage grassroots conservative activists in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president. For more information, visit www.2016committee.org or connect on Twitter @DraftRunBenRun or Facebook/RunBenRun.org.
https://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/140713-Ben-Carson-ftr-e1443173411664.jpg398388Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2015-06-25 06:16:072015-06-25 06:16:07Sam Pimm to Head Ben Carson for President Super PAC