U.S. Congress Acts to Replenish Israel’s Iron Dome

Israel’s war on its 25th day saw a UN- brokered 72 hour humanitarian cease fire dissolve in less than 90 minutes after going into effect. An IDF team was ambushed  by Hamas commandos emerging  from a tunnel near the Rafah frontier.  Two IDF soldiers were killed in the suicide attack. The Hamas bomber killed himself and two other Hamas fighters were killed in the ensuing fire fight. Unfortunately, a young 23 year old IDF 2nd Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was captured by the remaining Hamas fighters in the tunnel attack. His status and whereabouts are not known. The IDF retaliated with artillery and aerial bombardment on Rafah.  IDF forces in Rafah spread a search for the missing officer.  Hamas rockets returned with a vengeance to rain down on southern Israel.  An estimated 65 Palestinian civilians were killed in the Israeli retaliation.

The death toll to date in Operation Protective edge is 1,500 Palestinians,an estimated one third of whom are believed to be Hamas fighters, 63 IDF soldiers and three Israeli civilians.   At a White House Press conference President Obama condemned the kidnapping and Hamas’ violence requesting the immediate unconditional release of the kidnapped IDF officer.  Noting that this was the sixth breach of a truce by Hamas, Obama said that  made prospects “challenging”  for any possible cease fire and that both sides should restrain actions that might result in further civilian casualties.

Israel may have won a media battle for the moment because of Hamas’ duplicity.  Operation Protective Edge is turning out to be one of the toughest actions for Israel reminiscent of the October War of 1973.  During that War with Egypt, President Nixon ordered the replenishment of tank and aircraft parts flown directly from the US to Israel.  In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Israel requested replenishment of the Tamir anti-rocket missiles and ammunition, the later from the US War Reserve Stock in Israel.  Secretary of Defense Hagel had requested $175 million for Iron Dome in an Emergency Supplemental Appropriation.  Subsequently, the request was increased to $225 million by US Senate Appropriations Committee led by Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland).

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on July 30, 2014, Mikulski told of receiving a letter from a friend who had made aliyah to Israel, She and her husband, a Professor at Hebrew University, live in Ashkelon near the border of Gaza in southern Israel. Her friend told of the daily rain of rockets that sent her and her husband scampering to find shelter in less than two minutes with the sounding of a wailing red alert siren.  Her friend said that Iron Dome was their only protection from death from the skies sent from Gaza.  Senator Mikulski then noted that Hamas has launched over 2,700 rockets.  The nine Iron Dome Batteries had intercepted 515 of them aimed at Israeli population centers for an effective shoot down rate of 90 percent. She further noted that each Tamir anti-rocket missile in the Iron Dome System costs $50,000 to produce. Do the math; the 515 interceptions cost $25,750,000. Mikulski noted that Israel had developed Iron Dome at a cost of $1 billion. The US has provided previous funding of $900 million for this defensive anti-short range rocket system. Earlier this year Congress had appropriated $235 million for further Iron Dome research.

Watch this Senate Appropriations video of Sen. Mikulski’s floor speech:

But there was a catch, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill (S. 2648), besides funding replenishment of Iron Dome included other funds.  There were  funds for Emergency Humanitarian Crisis caused  deluge of unaccompanied minors flooding our Southern Borders and funding to combat wildfires out West.  That is known as “Christmas treeing” in the argot of Congressional legislative legerdemain.  That was objected to in a statement by the Zionist Organization of America, who urged Israel supporters to contact Senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to sever the legislation, in fear that the Republican minority would reject the packaged Supplemental Appropriations bill.

According to the Washington Jewish Week, that warning by the ZoA may have worked. On Thursday night, July 31st, the Republican minority  blocked the packaged legislation by a vote of 50 to 44.

On Friday morning, August 1st, the Supplemental Appropriations of $225 million for replenishment of the Iron Dome System was passed by unanimous consent by the Senate, virtually assuring passage by the House. The only addition was funding to combat wildfires in the US West.  The Times of Israel reported that Friday night, August 1st, the House passed the Iron Dome Emergency Supplemental by an overwhelming vote of 395 to eight, with four Republicans and Four democrats voting against it.  House Speaker John Boehner  was quoted saying:  “Israel is our friend and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Perhaps, a motivation for Congress to act quickly before the August recess was the Hamas violent rejection of the 72 hour truce.

The Iron Dome system, development arrangements and funding between Israel and the US are tied into the overall missile defense umbrella that includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow II and III anti-ICBM systems. See our NER article, The Iranian Missile Threat (August 2011).

The Israel  developer Rafael designed and built its existing “Iron Dome” defense system with funding from the US.  However, the critical need now is to replace the Tamir missiles already fired.  That led Israel to approach Massachusetts company Raytheon to help expand its missile defenses. According to a report in The Boston Globe, the venture would be likely to succeed because:

Raytheon’s contracts with Israel would indirectly help the US economy recoup some of the nearly $1 billion in US aid that enabled Israeli designers to develop the Iron Dome system in recent years. The Obama administration requested $175 million for Israel’s Iron Dome in the 2015 budget, and that amount has been doubled by congressional defense committees. The House measure required that much of that money be spent on US components, which is likely to be beneficial to Raytheon.

This is all related to the structure of US aid to Israel, comprised largely of loans and buy backs. This would contribute to the buy-back program.

The Iron Dome is not the entire missile shield – it is one layer of it. It is only intended to tackle missiles with ranges between 2.5 to 43 miles. The second layer is David’s Sling, or “Magic Wand,” which targets ballistic missiles and medium-range rockets, unmanned and manned aircraft, cruise missiles and guided weapons in the 43 to 155 mile range. This layer has been under development with Raytheon and has, from all accounts, been very successful in tests. It is slated for operation later this year. The third layer is the Arrow missile system which will be used to bring down long-range ballistic missiles. The Arrow system uses the two-stage Arrow 2 interceptor with a fragmentation warhead to destroy an incoming target. This is unlike the Tamir, which only knocks the missile out of the sky, but doesn’t destroy the warhead, according to an MIT Professor Ted Postol in a recent MIT Technology Review report. Its successor, Arrow 3, is also a two-stage interceptor and destroys an incoming threat with an exoatmospheric kill vehicle. This generation uses a “hit-to-kill” approach instead of a fragmenting warhead. It will expand the engagement range up to potentially four times.

There was one note of lunacy courtesy of the United Nations, Human Rights Council related to Iron Dome. FoxNews reported:

The United Nations slammed Israel for possibly committing war crimes in its fight against Hamas — and then backed that accusation by suggesting the Jewish nation ought to be sharing its Iron Dome defensive technology with the very terror group it’s fighting.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a Southern African Judge of Tamil Indian origin,  said to members of the media at an “emergency” meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council that Israel was falling short in its duty to protect citizens in the Gaza Strip from getting killed by its rockets.

Ms. Pillay also condemned the United States for helping to fund the Iron Dome for Israel, but not granting any such accommodations to those in Gaza.

Ms. Pillay is delusional that Israel would provide its protective missile shield to Hamas. That would completely seal the destruction of the Jewish state. Perhaps she ought to trying living in Ashkelon for a day to experience what Senator Mikulski’s friend has to live through, but for the protection of Iron Dome.  But this is the UN Human Rights Council presided dominated by Human Rights violators.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Israeli children looking at the Israeli military′s Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed in Gush Dan, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Roni Schutzer.

RELATED VIDEO: Shaping Tomorrow Together: Iron Dome

Spontaneous Overflow: Usury and the birth of money by Sarah Skwire

Ben Jonson: To Penshurst (1612)

Thomas Carew: To Saxham (1640)

Robert Herrick: A Panegyrick to Sir Lewis Pemberton (1613–1634)

Downton Abbey and its nonfictional counterpart Highclere Castle have inspired a new rush of interest in the elegance and beauty of the English manor house. These aristocratic country homes have been subjects of fascination from the first, and there is even an entire genre of poetry dedicated to describing them and the way of life that centers on them. It will come as no surprise to fans of Downton Abbey orManor House or any of Jane Austen’s novels that, alongside all the pastoral beauty, there are some interesting economic issues at play in these poems. When we read them we are taken right into a debate about charity, responsibility, and disparities in wealth.

When G. R. Hibbard defined the country house poem genre in his 1956 article, “The Country House Poem of the Seventeenth Century,” he argued that the idea of sponte sua was central to these poems. Sponte sua, as he put it, means that “The things of nature … find their proper end and pleasure in being put to use.” In the country house poems, this trope is evidenced by the (often literal) voluntary self-sacrifice of fish, birds, and beasts in order to serve as food for the residents of the country house. While the sponte sua trope is sometimes subtly portrayed with images of endlessly fruitful trees, ever-full roasting spits, or horns of plenty, it is never absent. And it is, I think, at its most economically interesting when it is at its most explicit, as it is in Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” and Thomas Carew’s “To Saxham.”

Jonson writes:

The painted partridge lies in ev’ry field,
And for thy mess is willing to be kill’d.
And if the high-swoln Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loth the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
And Carew, emulating him, gives us:
The pheasant, partridge, and the lark
Flew to thy house, as to the Ark.
The willing ox of himself came
Home to the slaughter with the lamb,
And every beast did thither bring
Himself, to be an offering.
The scaly herd more pleasure took,
Bathed in thy dish than in the brook.

Many critics have seen the sponte sua trope as a way of preserving order. Nature is here to serve man. But I want to suggest another function for these passages. They give the country house poet yet another way to engage in the apparently endless early modern debate over Aristotle’s comments about money in thePolitics.

The most hated sort [of money-making], and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural use of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term usury [τ?κος], which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of making money this is the most unnatural.

Regardless of whether Aristotle is “right” about money, early modern poets seized on the vivid imagery of breeding and birth offered in the passage and replicated it throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Aristotle is speaking specifically of money and of the unnaturalness of increasing it, as it is not—like animals or plants—naturally given to increase itself. The natural things—birds, fish, plants, etc.—that are so productive and self-sacrificing in the country house poems should not be, speaking strictly logically, open to this Aristotelian charge of unnatural reproduction. But one of the most pressing concerns of the country house poem is finding ways to praise the wealthy in a time of great economic instability and inequality. In times such as those, possession of even the most “natural” forms of wealth can leave one open to severe critique, no matter how irrational.

Nervousness over this kind of critique of wealth certainly explains the country house poem’s focus on the comparative modesty of the country houses that are being praised. From Jonson’s “Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,” to Carew’s “the architect/Did not with curious skill a pile erect/Of carved marble, touch, or porphyry/But built a house for hospitality,” the country house poem is laden with assertions that these houses, though large, are not grand or showy. They are built in the proper fashion and of the proper size to fulfill the duties of hospitality that their owners are obligated to perform.

Piled on top of these assertions about the appropriately modest use of wealth in the country house are reassurances that the constructing of these houses causes harm to no one.  Penshurst is reared with “no man’s ruin, no man’s groan/There’s none that dwell about them wish them down.” And when Herrick writes his Panegyrick to Sir Lewis Pemberton, he carefully notes, “No widow’s tenement was rack’d to gild/ or fret thy ceiling, or to build.…” This is wealth and beauty that is consciously separated by the poet from concerns about inequity.

But the country houses do much more than simply fail to cause distress. In an attempt to alleviate (not eliminate) the inequalities of wealth for which they are so explicitly not responsible, they actively nourish those around them through continual acts of charity. Penshurst is laden with “free provisions, far above/The need of such whose liberal board doth flow/With all that hospitality doth know!” Saxham, in winter, would have been surrounded by starving neighbors “If not by these preserved/Whose prayers have made thy table blest/With plenty, far above the rest.” Pemberton’s home welcomes “the lank stranger and the sour swain/Where both may feed and come again.”

All of this sounds really great. But there are problems.

These poetic statements about modest display of wealth, about labor-free and cost-free construction, about effortless and continual charity are made amid the context—nicely outlined by critics like Hugh Jenkins and Kari Boyd McBride—of great social and economic disruption as well as an increasing willingness and need for the landed gentry to engage in that most shocking of occupations, trade. This means that possessing the kind of superfluity detailed in these poems, the kind of superfluity necessary to engage in a near-continual outpouring of charity, is suspect. To have so much one must have been hoarding, or grinding the faces of the poor, or participating in shameful commerce. There has been—and here comes Aristotle again—simply too much increase, too much muchness, for everything to be quite natural and honest.

And it is here that we return to sponte sua. Because in this troubling context what sponte sua does is to make superfluity entirely natural. The fish, birds, game, and plants not only reproduce entirely of their own free will, they give themselves up to be used charitably in the same way. This means that, while the owners of the country houses can still retain spiritual and moral credit for acting charitably—they did not, after all, keep all this excess to themselves—they are simultaneously excused from any taint of work or trade or Aristotelian unnaturalness that might otherwise lurk behind the level of wealth required for this level of hospitality. If the fish leap into the net, the birds fly into the house, and the ox and lamb offer themselves for slaughter, the owners of these houses serve merely as a conduit for this natural outpouring. They have not undertaken to produce it.

What is going on here, I think, is a poetic attempt to address concerns about the unnaturalness of wealth, excess, and profit—and possibly even trade and commerce in general—by creating an aggressively natural image of them as a response. The irony is that the hypernatural images of sponte sua aren’t natural at all. It is entirely against nature for an animal to sacrifice itself willingly in order to provide humans with food. These are the contorted positions produced by valuing charity in a time when it could be seen as morally suspect to try to create the superfluity of money and goods that are necessary in order to perform charity.

20121127_sarahskwireABOUT SARAH SKWIRE

Sarah Skwire is a fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbookWriting with a Thesis.

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

Pot coming to Florida: Is this the end of “No Smoking Zones” in the Sunshine State?

Floridians are prohibited from smoking in most public places. Go to any restaurant, school, hospital or government building and you will see “No Smoking” or “Smoke Free Campus” signs prominently posted. Since 1984 there has been a national campaign against smoking. It does not matter what you smoke, it is prohibited, in many cases by city and county ordinances.

That may all change if the Florida marijuana Amendment 2 passes in November.

Citizens of the Sunshine state may be subjected to secondary smoke from “medical” pot users. How is this possible? I spoke with Dr. Robert McCann about this issue. He is concerned if Amendment 2 passes that smoking pot in public places will occur. Dr. McCann asks, “Who is going to deny any person from taking their medicine?” If pot is dispensed for “medical purposes” what prevents a person from lighting up in a hospital, on a bus or airplane, in a restaurant or at an elementary school?

The only thing that would stop that person from lighting up in a public place is their respect for their fellow citizens. Would someone high on pot even worry about their fellow citizens? Many think not. Should a business deny a person their right, under Amendment 2, to “take their medicine” then the specter of a lawsuit looms large.

There are three things Floridians need to understand about Amendment 2:

  1. The language of Amendment 2 is so vague that it will lead to the recreational use of pot.
  2. Anyone, regardless of age, may obtain a doctor’s recommendation for using pot. There is no “prescription.”
  3. Pot can be dispensed statewide by pot shops, not just pharmacies. The devil is in the details.
  4. Doctors may recommend the use of pot for a broad range of physical conditions including back pain and depression.

Dara Kam from The News Service of Florida reports, “The [Florida] Department of Health held a workshop Friday as it races to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to implement a new law that legalized strains of marijuana that purportedly do not get users high but can dramatically reduce or eliminate life-threatening seizures for children with a rare form of epilepsy. Patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer would also be eligible to get cannabis that is low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD, if their doctors order it.”

Kan notes, “Friday’s workshop — which started with a standing-room only crowd of lobbyists, lawyers and others — offered more evidence about how quickly a medical-marijuana industry has grown in the state. The department plans to hold another workshop after it publishes a proposed rule, though it is not clear when that meeting will occur.”


Diocese of Palm Beach rejects Common Core for Catholic Schools

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, the Diocese of Palm Beach, has decided to placed the defense of faith and the welfare of Catholic children first over government pressures and money handouts by rejecting Florida State Standards.  For the school year, 2014-2015, all of Palm Beach County Catholic schools will not be following the Florida (Common Core) State Standards.

Bishop Palm Beach

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito

Florida Catholics Against Common Core (FCACC) states in an email:

We thank you for sending the petition letters to the Florida Bishops and to the courageous families in the Palm Beach area for starting the removal of Common Core from our Catholic schools.  We thank Bishop Barbarito for being “Bold for his Faith” by standing up for our beloved school children and saying NO to the curse of Common Core!  Thank you and God Bless You, Bishop!

We still need more petitions, we have many other Bishops that need to be as courageous as Bishop Barbarito and put a stop to this takeover of the Federal government on the education of our children.

We are asking you to share our request for petitions with your family, friends and neighbors.  Remember that they do not have to have children in Catholic schools to send a petition to the Bishops.  A shared concern is sufficient.

In order to stop Common Core everywhere we need to start some place and the Florida Catholic schools have been a first-line defender for education and moral values being taught to our children.

We will be contacting the Bishops personally as soon as enough petitions are sent.

The more we learn about Common Core, the more concerned we become, and we know for sure that we need to stop Common Core everywhere.  Our children are our future,  We must protect them and give them every opportunity to succeed.

Those concerned citizens wishing to sign the FCACC petition my do so by clicking on this link.

BREAKING NEWS: Huge victory for pro-family citizens in deep blue Massachusetts

As deadline passes, ALL radical bills in Massachusetts Legislature stopped cold — after heavy lobbying by both sides. This is what hard-hitting pro-family activism looks like!

At the close of the day on Thursday, July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature –- arguably the “bluest” in the country –- finished its formal sessions. All week the House and Senate were meeting and passing bills to beat the deadline.

The Mass. Legislature met all week to pass bills before the Thursday night deadline.

Right up until the end, the homosexual/transgender movement and Planned Parenthood were lobbying hard to push their contentious, radical legislation still pending. Some bills were in a committee and could have been brought to the floor at any time; others were in a “study” but could have been lifted and brought to the floor if the leadership so decided.

MassResistance was fighting till the end to make sure all of those bills stayed off of the House floor. It’s been a rough week! A lot of people -– from all around the country-– got involved.

(We know what that “last-minute” fight to pass a bill is like! Back in 1995, despite the homosexual lobby’s efforts, we got our Parental Notification Law passed on the final day -– July 31 -– thanks to fierce lobbying from parents.)

We’re happy to say that we were 100% successful! All the radical bills got stopped.

Here are the top bills that (thankfully) didn’t make it:

(1) H3907 – Would have banned therapy for youth on homosexual issues

Result: Stopped in Ways and Means Committee

Passing this was the major goal of the homosexual movement in Massachusetts for this year.  MassResistance lobbied hard against it. This was a terrible bill that the national homosexual movement has been attempting to pass around the country.  It would have banned counseling for youth under 18 concerning sexual-orientation or sexual-identity issues. This could have caused horrific problems for innocent, vulnerable youth — many of whom were molested or experienced some sort of sexual trauma and who need professional help to heal and properly cope. Children and teenagers who desperately want and need counseling would have beed denied it if this had become law.

MassResistance had temporarily derailed the bill back in June. But last week the Ways and Means Committee announced the bill was back in play. So we immediately got back to work on it.

More about the bill and MassResistance’s effort to temporarily derail it.

Major “gay” figures converged at bill’s well-orchestrated public hearing.

Well organized. Homosexual and transgender activists filled the room at the public hearing last August. At right is Arline Isaacson, lesbian lobbyist and organizer of the testimony. Waiting to testify, at left is Dr. Norman Spack, who runs a “gender-change” clinic for children at Boston Children’s Hospital. [MassResistance photo]

(2) H3793 – Planned Parenthood’s bill that would have forced homosexuality and abortion “education” into schools

Result: Stopped in Ways and Means Committee

Getting this passed was Planned Parenthood’s major goal for the year. MassResistance lobbied hard against it. Planned Parenthood called it “An act relative to healthy youth.” It was just the opposite.

Planned Parenthood was determined to push this through and set up a special web page to help their people lobby for it.

This bill would have forced all schools to teach sexuality, birth control, abortion issues, homosexual and transgender issues, and similar subjects, in grades K-12, according to the “Massachusetts comprehensive health framework” – a document written by radical activists for the Department of Education.  Right now, using that document is only voluntary for schools. This law would have made it mandatory.

Even worse, this bill also re-wrote – and watered down — the current Parental Notification Law, which we worked so hard to pass back in 1995!

Planned Parenthood was VERY serious about this. They had a special
table at the Boston Gay Pride Parade Festival just to sign up volunteers to lobby for this bill. Their sign-up sheets were labeled “Sex Ed Matters.” [MassResistance photos]

(3) H1589 – Update to “transgender rights” bill to include public accommodations

Result: Stopped in Judiciary Committee – sent to “study”

This bill was the #1 goal of the transgender movement in Massachusetts this session. MassResistance lobbied hard against it. It would have extended the outrageous mandates and harsh punishments of the current “transgender rights and hate crimes” law to include restaurants, stores, health clubs, rest rooms, amusement centers, and all other places of “public accommodation.” For example, restaurants would have been forced to let men wearing dresses be “waitresses”, health clubs would have been forced to allow men to use the female locker rooms and showers, etc.

Big push for transgender bill at public hearing.

This man came to the public hearing for bill H1589 — to give his support to force the “transgender rights law” provisions to extend to public accommodations.
[MassResistance photo]

Other bills stopped:

 (4) H547 – Require all elder care workers to go through thorough homosexual and transgender diversity training

Result: Stopped in House Ways and Means Committee

Titled “An Act relative to LGBT awareness training for aging services providers”, it would have mandated that all elder care workers in the state to undergo diversity training in “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” as a requirement for state certification.

This was yet another part of the latest LGBT efforts across the country to force everyone to accept their behaviors or be denied employment.

(5) H135 – State funding for housing for (alleged) “homeless youth”

Result: Stopped in House Ways and Means Committee

Titled, “An Act providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth,” this bill sounded innocuous enough. But it was being heavily lobbied for by homosexual groups — because it was actually a front for something much more devious:

If a middle school or high school youth decided to “come out” as a homosexual (or transgender) and his parents didn’t approve, radical activists planned to place him in alternative housing (with other homosexuals) paid for by the state, and legally take him from his parents’ home.

(6) H1592 – Repeal of the so-called “sodomy laws” and laws regarding “lewd and lascivious acts”

Result: Stopped in Judiciary Committee – sent to “study”

Current Massachusetts law describes homosexuality as “the abominable and detestable crime against nature.” Of course, that really angers certain special interests.  But we don’t think it’s a conversation most legislators wanted to engage in, and we weren’t going to let it go without a fight. The activists will have to try again next year.

Pro-family citizens can make a difference!

All this shows that pro-family citizens can make a difference. As you can see, some of these bills would have been devastating if passed. But many legislators simply follow the lead of the radical lobbies, and others just don’t pay attention. It’s absolutely necessary that pro-family people (1) educate the politicians, and (2) pressure them relentlessly. It’s quite amazing what that combination can accomplish. And it’s often horrible what happens when we don’t do it.

We won’t always win in the State House, of course, especially if enormous amounts of money,  political power, and/or a flood of media pressure are brought to bear. Examples of that are the new buffer zone law and also the transgender rights law, which we had stopped for three sessions in a row until the homosexual lobby brought in overwhelming political force.

But we’re getting better at this. And with your help our movement is making more and more of a difference.

Looking Ahead to November

In an October 30, 2008 campaign rally on the campus of my beloved alma mater, the University of Missouri, Barack Obama uttered words that will define him for all time.  He said:

 “After decades of broken politics in Washington, and eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush, and 21 months of a campaign that’s taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.  In five days, you can turn the page on policies that put greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.  In five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, and create new jobs, and grow this economy, so that everyone has a chance to succeed, not just the CEO, but the secretary and janitor, not just the factory owner, but the men and women on the factory floor.  In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to pit region against region, and city against town, and Republican against Democrat, that asks — asks us to fear at a time when we need to hope.”

It was all a big lie.  Since entering the White House on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama has done the exact opposite of everything he promised in that tirade.  And now, after five years, six months, and twelve days of his destructive leadership, the only hope the American people are left with is the hope that the next two years, five months, and nineteen days will pass quickly.

His idea of fundamentally transforming the United States was a clear miscalculation on his part.  What he clearly fails to understand is that the American people yearn not for transformation, but for fundamental improvement in the quality of our government and common sense solutions to a host of difficult and intractable problems.  They were not looking for someone to fundamentally transform what has been the greatest, most prosperous nation on Earth.

He leaves in his wake a longer list of failures than any president in history.  His most significant “contribution” to the nation is the all but certain reality that he will be forever remembered  as the worst president in American history.  No previous president, of either party, has been responsible for the kind of self-inflicted damage that Obama has done to his own party.

During his first two years in office his greatest accomplishment was passage of the Affordable Care Act, taking control of seventeen percent of the nation’s economy, while running up more national debt and creating more joblessness than all of his predecessors combined.  As a result, the 2010 general elections proved to be an unmitigated disaster for the Democrat Party.

In that election, Republicans reversed their losses of 2006 and 2008, gaining a net sixty-three seats in the House of Representatives.  It was the greatest loss of House seats experienced by either party in more than seventy years.  In the Senate, Republicans gained a net of six seats, expanding their minority from forty-one to forty-seven seats.  Republicans took control of twenty-nine of the fifty governorships, while gaining a total of 628 seats in the state legislatures.  The state legislative victories gave Republicans control of twenty-six state legislatures, making it possible for right-to-work legislation to be adopted in heavily unionized “rust belt” states such as Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

It was a whuppin’ of epic proportions, but it likely will pale in comparison to what awaits Democrats in November 2014.  With Obama’s job approval ratings bouncing around in the thirties and low forties and a long list of messy scandals that surpass the worst of the worst among “banana republic” dictators, there’s not much for Democrat candidates to run on.

In the 2014 Senate races, Democrats are forced to defend twenty-one seats to the Republicans fifteen.  Of the twenty-one Democrat seats, only eight can be seen as solidly Democratic, while fourteen of the fifteen Republican seats will almost certainly remain in Republican hands.  Most likely pickups of Democrat seats by Republicans are in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.  Those six seats alone would give Republicans a simple majority of fifty-one seats in the Senate.

However, of the remaining fifteen Democratic seats, Republicans are within striking distance of capturing seats in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Oregon.  Republicans are also looking forward to potential wins in Minnesota and Montana where incumbent Democrats Al Franken and John Walsh, respectively, have been devastated by charges of plagiarism.  The one seat currently held by Republicans that is in some doubt is the Georgia seat of Saxby Chambliss, where Republicans will face Michelle Nunn, daughter of the late senator Sam Nunn.

It is easy to see how Republicans could gain a total of ten seats, perhaps eleven or twelve if all of the “stars are in alignment” on Election Day.  But what is seldom mentioned by political prognosticators is the possible outcome of House races in the shadow of a highly unpopular president and a do-nothing Democrat-controlled Senate.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans now hold a thirty-three seat majority over Democrats, 234 to 201.  However, a cursory analysis of House races, using 2012 margins as a benchmark, it appears as if Republicans could pick up a total of nineteen Democratic seats in the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.  Those nineteen seats would give the GOP a comfortable 253 to 182 vote majority in the House.

Taken together, those gains in the House and Senate would represent Obama’s worst nightmare, making his last two years in office a living hell and giving minority leader Nancy Pelosi the ever-shrinking minority that she so richly deserves.  And while some observers may consider my predictions to be overly optimistic, I would remind them of the likely impact of major increases in healthcare premiums to be announced by insurers during the month of October, just days before Barack Obama’s Waterloo; the federal court’s ruling that the Department of Justice must turn over documents relating to the Fast & Furious scandal; and the beginning of televised hearings by the Benghazi Select Committee, chaired by tough former prosecutor, Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  These are issues that Democrat own, lock-stock-and-barrel, but wish they didn’t.

The importance of the 2014 mid-term elections cannot be overstated.  Although Democrats have taken the United States far down the road to a European-style socialist state, there is still time to reverse that trend so long as our electorate is composed of a majority of working men and women, tax payers, and property owners.  We simply cannot allow Democrats to import an additional ten or twelve million voters across our southern border… illegal aliens that Democrats will herd into the voting booths as they did in 1996, when they sent hundreds of thousands of letters, over Bill Clinton’s signature, to illegal aliens in California granting them the right to vote in the November General Election.

Of course, all of this depends on the ability of Republicans to recognize that, on all of the most important issues of the day, the American people agree with core Republican principles by large majorities.  One would think that the Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee would be able to develop a long list of talking points that would totally disarm Democrat candidates.  But that is far from a certainty.  For example, Barack Obama, his Kool-Ade drinkers in Congress, and their lapdogs in the mainstream media maintain a constant drumbeat on issues such as immigration reform, charging that Obama is unable to deal with the hordes illegally crossing our southern border because he is forced to deal with a do-nothing Congress.

To date, I have yet to hear a single congressional Republican pose the question: what good is it for Congress to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform when we are saddled with an outlaw president who cannot be trusted to enforce the law… not even statutes that he, himself, has signed… and a Democrat-controlled Senate that refuses to consider any Republican bill?

Nor have I heard a single congressional Republican challenge the Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as they turn the committee’s public hearings into IRS wrongdoing into a partisan political circus.  Not one Republican member has pointed out that most IRS employees are members of the 150,000-member National Treasury Employees Union… a union that gives nearly ninety-five percent of its PAC contributions to Democrats.  Is there really any doubt why Committee Democrats are so uncritical of their IRS benefactors?  The only person to make that connection publicly is Oklahoma attorney Cleeta Mitchell, who represents a number of conservative organizations targeted by the IRS.

It has become a cliché that congressional Republicans are so out of touch with Republican principles that they are often indistinguishable from Democrats.  It is exciting to contemplate what should happen in November, but given the poor quality of the Republican leadership and the meekness of the rank-and-file, the outcome is totally in doubt.  Left to their own devices, congressional Republicans can easily “screw up a one-car funeral.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of American Immigration Council and Shutterstock.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #16 – Ownership Must Be Tempered by Sharing by Lawrence W. Reed

Progressives have a problem with ownership, especially when it’s yours. The very notion seems to conjure up in their minds an anti-social acquisitiveness, selfishness, and greed. Far more quickly, they come to the defense of “sharing” because it suggests sacrificing ownership for the sake of others. Indeed, the most regressive Progressive is drawn to the idea of common ownership, in which no one owns anything because somehow we all will own and share it equally.

The Progressives’ hostility to ownership is neither well-founded nor consistent. While they have a visceral distaste for private ownership (and busy themselves taxing, regulating, seizing, and redistributing it), they have few problems with state ownership. It’s as if men are devilish with what’s theirs but angelic with what belongs to someone else. This is not a concept that explains life on any planet I am personally aware of.

The fact is, “ownership” as a general concept is never really at issue in any society. It is neither possible nor desirable to construct a society in which people or the material things they create are not “owned.” Either you will “own” yourself or someone else will own you. As far as material things are concerned, somebody must own them, too. Those “somebodies” will be those who either created them, received them as a gift, or traded freely for them, or they will be those who take them by force. There is no middle ground, no “third way” in which ownership is somehow avoided.

Indeed, ownership is both a virtue and a necessity. What is yours, you tend to husband. If it belongs to someone else, you have little incentive to care for it. If it belongs to “everyone”—the nebulous, collectivist approach—then you have every incentive to use and abuse it. That’s why over thousands of years of history, experience continually reinforces this essential axiom: the more the government owns and thereby controls, the less free and productive the people are.

Ownership is nothing less than the right to shape, use, and dispose. Even if you have legal title to something, you wouldn’t think you really owned it if the government told you what you could do with it, how, and when; in that instance, the government would be the de facto owner. In a real sense, ownership is control and the actual owner of anything is the controller.

For thoroughly trashing the resources of any society, no more surefire prescription exists than to take resources from those to whom they belong (the rightful owners) and give them to those who are convinced in the fantasyland of their own minds that they have a better idea of what to do with them. Think “Soviet.” Socialist regimes, which take from some and give to others at the point of a gun, have their cockamamie schemes for how to squander the loot, but they display an infantile ignorance of how to create wealth in the first place.

Much has been made in the past about alleged differences between fascism and communism. Sure, the Nazis invaded Stalinist Russia (after the two had made a deal to squash and divide Poland), but that was a dispute between thieves that proved the old adage that there’s no honor among them. On the question of ownership, the difference was a cosmetic one that ultimately mattered little to the ordinary citizen.

Communists didn’t let you own a factory, and if you did own one, when they came to power you were shot. Fascists often refrained from nationalizing a factory, but if you as the alleged owner didn’t do as you were told, you were shot. Under either system, real ownership was in the hands of the omnipotent State, regardless of what any scrap of legal title paper said.

The myth of “common ownership” only muddies the issue. Public parks are thought of as held in common (“the people’s property”), but that really means that the government owns them, the taxpayers pay the bill, and the public gets to use them according to the rules established and enforced by the government. Some have argued that the post office is another example of common ownership. That would mean that theoretically, each American owns about one-three-hundred-millionth of it, but show up at the counter and try to redeem your share and you might be surprised how fast the response can be.

From the remote but fascinating country of Mongolia comes an ownership story told to me by the country’s current president (as of 2014), Elbegdorj Tsakhia (known by his friends as “E. B.”). He earlier served as Prime Minister twice, and visited me in Michigan between those terms. I asked him during that visit what he was most proud of having accomplished as PM. He said, “I privatized Mongolia’s 25 million yaks.”

Yaks are large, furry cattle that wear their hair in bangs. For decades under communist rule, the poor creatures were owned by the government, which claimed they were “the people’s property.” Their total population hardly budged from the 1920s to the 1990s. E. B. decided that yaks were not a core function of government, so he worked up a formula whereby all of them would be sold to the individual herdsmen. Three years later he was Prime Minister the second time. I visited him in his office in the capital of Ulan Bator and asked him, “What’s the latest on the yaks?” Excitedly, he replied, “Remember when I told you we had 25 million for seven decades? Well, now we have 32 million!”

When it’s your yak, not “everybody’s” yak, wonderful things happen. You have a personal interest in the investment, in the capital value of the asset. You take care of the yak and make more yaks, which you then “share” with more and more people in an endless stream of peaceful, mutually beneficial trades of yak products.

Progressives yak a lot about sharing, but you can’t share it if you don’t produce it and take care of it in the first place. Private, personal ownership of material things we create and trade for is unsurpassed as a source of the wealth that Progressives want to share.

Moreover, we should ask ourselves, “Is it really ‘sharing’ if I have to do it at gunpoint?” I was always taught that sharing was an act of free will. When you give half your sandwich to a friend who forgot to pack his lunch, you’ve shared it. If he threatens to beat you up if you don’t give it to him, “sharing” is no longer the operative term.

So when it comes to this thing we call “ownership,” it’s either you or somebody else. Who should own your retirement savings—you or the government? Who should own your health-care dollars—you, the government, or some third-party payer you’d prefer to avoid? Who should decide where your child goes to school—you the parent or a handful of other parents different from you only by virtue of the fact that they work for the government? Who should decide what charitable activities you support—you or some congressman or bureaucrat who prefers the social welfare department over the Red Cross or your local church?

Those questions should not be answered solely on utilitarian grounds. In a free society, Person A might choose a better school or make a better investment than Person B—a fact that can’t be known for certain in advance. But in any event, that does not mystically grant Person B the right to make Person A’s choices for him. If freedom means anything, it means the right to make your own choices even if you make what others regard as mistakes. When someone argues that we cannot allow people more choices over their retirement, health care, or schools, we should demand they tell us, by what right do they make these decisions for us?

Make no mistake about it: The more someone else controls you or the important decisions that govern your life or the material things that sustain it, the more they own you. We used to call that slavery, and no gauzy, self-righteous calls to “share it” made it any less inhumane.

If you’re a principled and articulate defender of private ownership of property, be ready for some Progressive social engineer to lay a guilt trip on you if he thinks you’re not “sharing” enough. I suspect that the preponderance of Progressives will not be satisfied until their coercion-based policies effectively own the rest of us lock, stock, and barrel.

Own or be owned. Take your pick.

Lawrence W. Reed
Foundation for Economic Education


  • Progressives are two-faced when it comes to ownership. They are suspicious of it when it’s private and personal but supportive when it’s politicized and centrally directed.
  • Whether it’s people or property, it will be owned. It’s just a matter of whether it’s owned by those to whom it belongs or those who simply want to claim it for some alleged higher cause.
  • Private ownership of property is both a virtue and a necessity. Get rid of it and you flush civilization down with it.
  • “Common ownership” is largely impractical and meaningless, even destructive.

For further information, see:

“The Economics of Caring and Sharing” by Dwight R. Lee
“Experiments in Collectivism” by Melvin D. Barger
“Little Lessons in Larceny” by Russell Madden
“The Puritan Experiment in Common Ownership” by Gary North
Plus previous Clichés #6 and #9: http://fee.org/publications/page/cliches-of-progressivism

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this essay appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of The Freeman under the title, “To Own or Be Owned: That Is the Question.” The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

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

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

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

See the index of the published chapters here.

Gallop: Democrat minority women without a high school degree are pro-HAMAS

According to a Gallop poll minority women without a high school degree who are Democrats or Independents trend toward being pro-HAMAS. Gallop’s July 24, 2014 poll on America’s reaction to what is happening between Israel and HAMAS has some very interesting findings. Gallop’s Jeffrey M.  Jones writes, “Americans are divided in their views of whether Israel’s actions against the Palestinian group Hamas is ‘mostly justified’ or ‘mostly unjustified,’ but they widely view Hamas’ actions as mostly unjustified.”

This Gallop poll has three charts that make the strong case that low information minority women who are Democrats and did not complete high school are pro-HAMAS.

This chart shows more Democrats, and Independents, see Israels actions against HAMAS as unjustified.



This chart shows that younger minority women with less than a high school diploma are pro-HAMAS.


This chart shows that those who follow the conflict closely are anti-HAMAS. Those who do not are pro-HAMAS. This chart indicates that the pro-HAMAS media bias is not having an impact on those who follow the conflict.



It appears from this poll that low information Democrat/Independent minority women without a high school degree are pro-HAMAS. Many speak about low information voters. This poll confirms this concern that too many Americans are disengaged from events both domestically and internationally. That is a dangerous and long term problem.

RELATED VIDEO: NewsMax TV has two political commentators debate the demographic shift of young Jewish voters who now are apparently more inclined to vote Republican. They also discuss who is more to blame on the conflict in Gaza — Israel or Hamas?

Israel, the TEA Party and the Media

I am probably not alone in noticing that the mainstream media’s deplorable and unfair treatment of Israel is strikingly similar to how it treats the TEA Party. In both cases, the MSM has chosen a side, spinning its reporting to brand the victims intolerant, racist and hate-filled aggressors.

Israel was minding its own business when it was attacked by Hamas, showering Israeli towns with thousands of rockets. Hamas seeks the total destruction of Israel. If it were not for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, millions of Israelis would be dead.

Now get this folks. It does not get more cold, calculating and satanically evil than this. Hamas stores and launches its rockets from civilian sites, schools, hospitals, mosques and more.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the situation perfectly when he said Israel is using its Iron Dome to defend its people from missiles launched by Hamas who use their people to shield their missiles. So when Palestinian civilian casualties obviously far exceeded those of the Israelis, the MSM went postal on Israel; machine-gunning Israel with negative stories.

The truth is Israel has shown remarkable compassion and restraint, going above and beyond to avoid harming civilians.

Before bombing a Hamas target, Israel texts, makes phone calls and even fires warning firecrackers to alert civilians, begging them to evacuate the premises. Who in the world fights a war in such a humane manner?

Still, the MSM flooded the worldwide airways with images of suffering and dying Palestinian women and children, purposely deleting crucial facts to misrepresent the truth to shape public opinion against Israel. This is exactly what the MSM has done to the TEA Party.

By the way, Israel’s lifesaving Iron Dome system is the same technology launched by Ronald Reagan (Strategic Defense Initiative) that was heavily mocked by liberals and the Democrats. Senator Ted Kennedy laughed at Reagan describing his initiative as a misleading Red-Scare tactic and reckless Star Wars scheme.

The TEA Party which consist of mostly middle-aged adults, seniors, parents and grandparents was birthed in response to Obama’s shock-and-awe attacks on our freedoms and unprecedented unlawful power grabs.

Obama’s desire to fundamentally transform America was hidden in plain sight before his historic election. The millions of white voters who put the first black man in the White House were blinded by MSM hype and their desire to make amends for America’s sin of slavery.

Because the MSM is in favor of Obama’s transformation of America, MSM fellow “transformers” demonized the millions of white former Obama supporters in the TEA Party.

The MSM’s goal is to brand all opposition to Obama’s socialist/progressive agenda hatred for a black president. Blatantly and shamelessly the MSM is shaping public opinion against the TEA Party, instilling division and racial hate.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

I pray that our TEA Party leaders will take a cue from Israel’s strong, brave and courageous Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regardless of worldwide public opinion and slings and arrows launched by the MSM, Netanyahu will not be intimidated into not defending, protecting and making decisions in the best interest of his people.

We do have a hand full of character driven leaders who have consistently displayed the same backbone as Netanyahu. My list of TEA Party conservative all stars include Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ken Cuccinelli, Steve Lonegan, Mike Sullivan, Trey Gowdy and Joe Carr to name a few.

These people are human beings. They need our encouragement and support to remain strong; keeping their heads down to avoid the Left’s punches while landing right hooks to the head of our evil relentless Nemesis.

The MSM obviously seeks the destruction of Israel and the TEA Party. Like He is with Israel, God is on the side of the TEA Party. I thank God for giving Israel Netanyahu.

With great anticipation, I await the emergence of our charismatic conservative leader who will boldly articulate conservatism; someone who will lead the charge to restore our great nation to a new day of American Exceptional-ism.

As Much as You’d Like To, Don’t Fall Into the Impeachment Trap

You just have to hand it to the Democrats. They are not incompetent – evil, yes — but not incompetent. They’ve now successfully made the word “impeachment” verboten in America. In fact, they’ve managed to turn it into political heyday as they celebrate fundraising records based on generating fear among their base over something that’s not happening. They’ve been successful in forcing Americans to accept a lawless president, all for political gain. The Democrats have manipulated America in such a way that elevates one man to be indeed greater than the rule of law in our Constitutional Republic.

To borrow a word from Oprah Winfrey, brilliant.

So now President Barack Hussein Obama can march on and even issue an executive order granting amnesty to the illegal aliens who have defied our sovereign border — basically remaking the demographic balance of America in his ideological favor.

And in doing so, dares the GOP — actually any law-abiding American — to do anything to stop him. We are politically teetering on the verge of dictatorship as a result of paralyzing fear. Democrats have effectively outmaneuvered the fail safe measures entrusted to us by our Founding Fathers to replace the rule of law with the rule of one.

So what do we do to stop it? Simple, we must do that which the Democrats truly fear: ensure they lose control of the U.S. Senate and expand the GOP House majority. Obama foments the idea of “impeachment” and therefore it’s not what he really fears. He would want nothing more than for his final two years in office to be a repeat of the first two. We cannot allow that to happen. As well, this must leak over to the 2016 presidential election. We must ensure voters are reminded of Democrats’ insatiable hunger for absolute rule and exile them from the White House for at least 24 years.

American people must come to understand Barack Hussein Obama cares less about America than his own accumulation of power. In other words, this bear must be caged. Obama’s incessant unilateral actions violate our fundamental separation of powers and idea of coequal branches of government.

Do not take the bait from Obama and the Democrats, even though we all know his unilateral negotiations with a terrorist organization to release five senior members of the Taliban truly represent a high crime and misdemeanor.

But let’s outsmart Obama as he creates the ruse of a constitutional crisis for his political gain. I appreciate Obama’s useful idiot Dan Pfeiffer coming out and singing the accolades on impeachment. As Politico reported, “White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer warned last Friday that the possibility of an impeachment of the president shouldn’t be discarded.”

In addition, it’s a big moneymaker! As the Washington Post reports, The Democrats’ congressional campaign arm pulled in $2.1 million in online donations over the weekend – the best four-day haul of the current election cycle – largely propelled by fundraising pitches tied to speculation that House Republicans could pursue the impeachment of President Obama.

There’s nothing better than an arrogant enemy who overplays his hand. And that is exactly what the Democrats have just done!

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

Keep Them Down, Keep Them Dependent: How to prevent the young and poor from succeeding by Issac M. Morehouse

Let’s face it. I’m not that young anymore. I’m also not poor anymore, and I live a comfortable middle-class American life. Most older, better off middle-classers like me got where we are through the dynamic market process. The trouble is, now that we’re doing pretty well, that same dynamic process is a threat. I don’t want some young whippersnapper or poor immigrant to outwork me. What if they succeed faster than I do? What if they create more value than I can, and so outcompete me for a job?

Take heart, well-heeled middle-agers. I have a plan. My scheme for keeping younger and poorer people from succeeding—and possibly making us have to work harder to stay on top—is two pronged: We’ve got to affect both supply and demand.

We need to restrict the supply of economic opportunities. We need to make those opportunities more costly and thus out of the reach of many young and poor. We also need to suppress the demand for jobs and entrepreneurial ventures. We need to make it more beneficial to stay out of the market than to participate in it.

Let’s get to some specifics.

Restricting the supply of opportunities

The biggest advantages young and poor people have over us are very low opportunity costs and a low-cost lifestyle. This means they don’t have to give up much to work a job, and they don’t need to earn much to cover their expenses. Because of these major advantages, they can work for very low wages, and thus become attractive for employers to hire and train. At low wages, they’ll always find work, and worse yet, they’ll be constantly learning and improving—adding to their stock of human capital.

The obvious solution is to make it illegal to work for low wages. Working for free is absolutely out of the question. If young and poor people could simply offer to work for little or no pay, they’d soon be gaining valuable skills and competing with us for jobs! Let’s cut that first rung off the ladder, lest they climb over us some day.

Young and inexperienced workers don’t have a lot of expertise. They make mistakes. Of course, if they’re allowed to participate in the trial-and-error process of the market, the incentives will soon drive them to develop expertise and be reliable suppliers of goods and services. That would be a travesty for us. We need to keep them unskilled and unreliable. The solution is to create a labyrinthine web of licenses and regulations that make it illegal for anyone but experts to sell goods or offer services. Since we’ve already banned working for low wages or apprenticing for free, it will be almost impossible for these novices to learn from a seasoned expert until they gain the necessary skill. We can make it even harder by adding lots of fees and costly training sessions to obtain licenses.

There needn’t be just one law making low wages illegal or just one licensing and regulatory regime. We need a wide variety of complex and ever-changing barriers. High taxes on productivity and profit, union dues and demands, work restrictions, rigid job categories, seniority bias, massive credential requirements, health and safety rules to cripple upstarts, consumer protection laws to hamper smaller producers, no access to capital or ability to stay in line with the law without costly lawyers and accountants, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

My recommendations are myriad, but they all boil down to a simple principle: Do anything we can to make economic opportunities more costly and rare. This reserves most of said opportunities for us.

Now for the second prong.

Reward non-participation

We don’t want to seem callous and cold toward those less comfortably situated. Indeed, we harbor no ill will toward the young and poor. We just don’t want them to compete with or catch us.

Since we care—and especially because want people to believe that we care—we can’t be all “stick.” We need some “carrot,” too. It’s not enough to restrict the supply of opportunities, because some people will break the rules or work around them. We also need to suppress demand by offering some sweet incentives for young workers to stay unproductive and uncompetitive. We need to make non-participation in the market more attractive than participation.

First, I recommend a strict policy of forced education for the first few decades of life. We’ve already discussed making it illegal for the young to work or the poor to work for low wages. But we also need to make it mandatory that they do something else, and something that won’t make them more likely to compete with us now or later. We should create giant institutions where we send them all day to follow rules and do what they’re told without question. We don’t want them becoming innovative, or pursuing passions and interests that they might become experts in and thus supplant us in the market. They must only learn what the bureaucrats who run the system tell them to. (Oh, and the people who run the system should only be those who don’t really know much about competing in the market, because we wouldn’t want them passing on such knowledge.)

We can’t just make school mandatory. Many would still play hooky if it cost too much. We also need to hide the cost by paying for the whole thing through taxes and borrowing. We need to subsidize it so much that alternatives can’t compete. We need to weave a narrative about its glory so that no one wants to opt out.

But 18 years isn’t enough. We need to keep these young, hungry individuals out of our way as long as possible. I say we artificially lower the cost of otherwise very expensive degree programs and advanced studies. We can guarantee low-interest loans, throw a lot of grants and subsidies around, and always, always parrot powerful propaganda about the inestimable value of classroom learning. Let’s make the most attractive option—socially and economically—the one that keeps them from the commercial world as long as possible.

The longer we can make the education process, the better for us. Defer, defer, defer the time at which young people start entering the productive sector. The more loans they take on in the process, the better. Maybe they’ll even get married, get a nice house (we can incentivize the buying of expensive consumer goods via debt as well!), and have kids. All of these things are good because they take away one of the major advantages the young have in the workforce—their low cost of living and hence ability to bid for lower starting wages. We want them saddled with so much debt that they have to earn high wages to get by, and thus have to compete with workers that are a lot more experienced for those higher wage jobs. We need them coming out of college looking for salaries that don’t comport with their skill levels. This increases the odds that older workers like us will win.

We’ll need to address those too old or too poor for school as well. We need basic income guarantees, food stamps, and all manner of welfare to cover the costs of low-income life such that no part-time entry-level job could pay quite as much. Again, we need to make not working worth more than working.

The best part

Here’s the best part: By the time these young and poor find themselves unable to compete, with costly lifestyles and loans to maintain and little skill or experience, they’ll be older. They’ll join our ranks. They’ll lobby for even harsher restrictions on those even less experienced and less well-off than they are. They’ll demand to get the low-skill jobs they’re qualified for, but demand the pay be raised to high-skill wages. They’ll make the list of degrees and credentials they’ve accumulated the new barrier to entry to artificially raise their market value. They’ll help us perpetuate the very policies that caused their plight!

As with the first prong, these are but a few examples. Ideally a massive and shifting bundle of incentives to not enter the market as a producer can be put together: education mandates and subsidies, tax incentives to spend rather than save and to purchase education rather than other goods or business tools, housing and healthcare as long as you don’t work, and rewards for any activity that makes one less likely to try to compete with us in the market.

These policies will subtly turn the attention of nearly everyone away from value creation, innovation, and serving customers—all of which might threaten our dormancy. It will turn everyone’s attention and energy to fighting over the details of these policies and programs, to who gets which slice of the artificially limited pie and at whose expense. Some of us can really take advantage by running for political office and dividing up the warring interests we’ve created by promising them more restrictions and subsidies.

Above all, with both prongs of this strategy, we need a narrative that calls these policies noble, compassionate, and wise. We need them to be perceived as humanitarian aid to the young and poor, not as ways to keep them from succeeding. We need to make these programs universal values in themselves—regardless of the outcomes they produce. Who could oppose better wages? Who could oppose more education? Who could oppose more loans for homes or college? Who could oppose work rules and consumer safety regulations? Middle-aged, middle-class people certainly won’t, if we know what’s good for us.

We cannot abide an America in which plucky newcomers outperform us at every turn. Join me in securing our future.


Isaac Morehouse is an entrepreneur, thinker, and communicator dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He is the founder and CEO of Praxis.

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

Priceless: The Evolution of Teaching Mathematics in Public Schools

A reader sent me a commentary on teaching in public schools using mathematics as the example. I was taken by the simplicity and power of this commentary and decided to share it. This look at teaching mathematics from the 1950s to the present today was written by Kirk F. MacKenzie, founder of Silent No More Publications.

On his website MacKenzie says he, “[I]s a proud citizen of the United States and the son of a career Air Force Colonel. He has degrees in electrical engineering and business administration, and spent most of his career in high-tech. He decided to stand up, make a difference, and remain silent no more. His growing body of work is the result of his commitment to do what he can to restore the ideals our government was founded upon.”

Here is MacKenzie’s commentary on teaching mathematics in public schools:

I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1960s:

  1. Teaching Math In 1950s (when I was in school) A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?
  2. Teaching Math In 1970s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
  3. Teaching Math In 1980s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit? Yes or No
  4. Teaching Math In 1990s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
  5. Teaching Math In 2000s A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s Okay).
  6. Teaching Math In 2014 Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho? ANSWER: His profit was $375,000 because his logging business is just a front for running drugs across the border.Mathematics

The issue of a traditional education versus Common Core has become the hot button issue for parents, teachers, academics and concerned citizens in Florida and across the United States. In the battle for the control of the heart and soul of education this commentary by Mackenzie is priceless.

To learn more about Kirk F. MacKenzie and Silent No More Publications click here.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Encourage STEM in Early Education | Kids STEM

Republican Candidate for Sarasota County Commission reads tarot cards, palms and speaks to the dead

Perhaps one of the stranger backgrounds for someone running for the Sarasota County Commission, or any public office for that matter, is that of Lourdes Ramirez. Ramirez is running in the District 4 Republican primary on August 26th.

lordes ramirez

Lourdes Ramirez, Republican primary candidate, Sarasota County Commission, District 4.

The Ramirez campaign website has a short resume:

Raised in New York City, I received my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Iona College. I have worked for Fortune 500 companies marketing metals and semi-conductors. I moved to Sarasota in 1999. I’m currently the president of CONA (Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations), representing neighborhood interests throughout the county. Importantly, I strongly advocate a more fiscally responsible Sarasota County government based on citizen, neighborhood, and municipal interests. I have a proven record of listening to the people and becoming their advocate. My integrity, solid business experience, and common sense are well known. Eric, my husband, and I have been happily married for 14 years.

What is missing from her campaign website is her most recent “solid business experience.” According to Ramirez’s Linked in profile she owned the “specialty retail shop” Isle of Avalon from from March 2005 to February 2010. Her Sarasota 2013-2014 business license shows she is currently a practicing Fortune Teller/Reader.  The Isle of Avalon is the Druidic site in Glastonbury, England. According to the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, “Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life.” It appears so does Ramirez. The March 2012 edition of Natural Awakenings says this about Ramirez:


Lourdes Ramirez, former owner of the Isle of Avalon, is a professional Medium and Tarot Card Reader. For years, Lourdes has connected with Spirit to deliver healing messages. For appointments, call Elysian Fields at 941- 361-3006 or visit her website.

isle of avalon logoRamirez hosted “Psychic Sundays” at the Tea House of Asian Arts in Sarasota. Psychic Sundays events included these topics: “psychic, intuitive, counseling, art, metaphysics, tarot, reading, new-age, metaphysical, therapy, wholistic, holitic, shaman, inspiring, conscious, teahouse, asian, arts, transformation.” A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing.

Ramirez did at one time publish The Avalon Herald on the Love and Light Psychic Healing website. The Isle of Avalon website is no longer active. However, The Isle of Avalon Facebook page states it was “a state of mind. A place of peace & healing.” Natural Awakenings has this information about Isle of Avalon:

8111 Cooper Creek Blvd.
University Park (near Bonefish Grill)

Inspirational tools for your soul’s journey. Books, gifts, aroma-therapy, candles, crystals and more! Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm.

We wonder if Ramirez can read her tarot cards and tell us who will win the District 4 seat? Perhaps she has given up talking to the dead, although some would consider some politicians are zombie like. We need some aroma-therapy on the Sarasota County Commission. Crystals may help Ramirez deconstruct the county’s failed 2050 plan.

Sarasota county voters may want to go on a “soul’s journey with shaman Ramirez to a “place of peace & healing” or then again, maybe not.



For a larger view click on the image.

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Florida Senator Bill Nelson blames border crisis on budget cuts that he voted for in 2011

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) responded to a constituent about the growing crisis on America’s Southern borders and the influx of illegals into cities and towns across the United States and in Florida.

Nelson responded on July 28, 2014 stating:

I’ve received your correspondence about the recent surge of undocumented children crossing the U.S. border.

Part of the reason we’re seeing this influx is an increase in violence associated with the drug cartels and people fleeing the region as a result. And part of the reason we’re seeing an increase in violence with the cartels is forced budget cuts made to the U.S. drug interdiction efforts. What we’re dealing with the children at the border is one of the consequences.

The law requires that we locate the families of these children and try to send them home unless they qualify for asylum. I’ve spoken with the administration and have been told that is what they plan to do.

As always, I appreciate hearing from you and will keep your views in mind. If you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Bill Nelson

Senator Nelson blames the increased violence along the border and the influx of “undocumented children” on “budget cuts made to the U.S. drug interdiction efforts.” What is noteworthy is that Senator Nelson voted for The Budget Control Act of 2011 (S 365) that is cutting these very drug interdiction funds. Senator Marco Rubio voted against S 365.

Nelson is blaming the crisis on something that he and Congress created – sequestration.

Senator Nelson then states these children will be sent home “unless they qualify for asylum.” He assures his constituent “I have spoken with the administration and have been told that is what they plan to do.” However, on July 30, 2014 Fox News’ White House correspondent reports:

President Obama is considering executive actions to reduce the number of illegal immigrant deportations, including issuing work permits to some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a White House official, reported that an announcement on any executive action is expected to take place soon after Labor Day. The paper also reported that the president began considering such an action after congressional Republicans said that they would not take up immigration reform during this session.

Obama has already exempted from deportation approximately 500,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The Journal reports that any new action could expand the protections to their parents or other illegal immigrants, such as those whose children have become U.S. citizens, who have been in the U.S. for a certain amount of time, or who have gainful employment.

Read more.

It appears that Senator Nelson is lying to his constituents about what is happening, why and who is to blame? What do you think?

Interested readers may send a message to Senator Nelson, using the form on his website:  http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill.


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Charlie Crist’s First Major Policy Announcement a Disaster

“Former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday [July 29th] unveiled one of the first concrete policy proposals in his campaign to reclaim his old job, promising to use the state’s contracting power to boost wages for some workers and bar discrimination against gay and transgender Floridians… the plan relies almost entirely on the governor’s ability to influence state contracting. Companies that do business with agencies controlled by Crist would have to boost the minimum wage for workers to $10.10; face new policies on differences in pay between men and women; and be barred from discriminating against gay, bisexual or transgender employees,” reports Brandon Larrabee from The News Service of Florida.

This is Crist’s “First Day of Fairness” policy initiative. This policy announcement is a disaster because Crist does not understand the five basic principles of human nature.

John Hawkins published a column titled “5 Obvious Principles of Human Nature That Baffle Liberals” on the same day that Crist made his first major policy announcement. Hawkins states, “Liberals are forever struggling to understand the basic tenets of human nature that most other people just take for granted… Since it’s easier for light to escape a black hole than it is for a liberal to entertain a new thought, it’s probably hopeless to try to make them aware of what they’re missing. However, if you’re aware of the mistakes they habitually make, you may at least be able to keep more open-minded people from following them over a cliff.”

Republicans followed Crist over a cliff when they elected him governor. Let’s hope Democrats are smarter and more open-minded than that?

What are the 5 obvious principles of human nature that Crist ignores? Here is the short description of each principle as presented by Hawkins:

  1. People respond to incentives: This isn’t just Humanity 101; it’s Life On Earth 101. Want to teach a dog a trick? Get him to do the trick and then pet him on the head and give him a treat. Repeat it enough times and you can get the dog to sit, roll over, and give a high-five on command.
  2. Personal responsibility is good for people: The easiest way to foul anything up is to put someone in charge of it who won’t pay any price if it goes wrong. That’s one of the many reasons children are so hopelessly incompetent compared to adults. They’re not earning money, they’re don’t have any big responsibilities on their shoulders, and if things go wrong, Mommy and Daddy are at fault because they were in charge!
  3. Human beings are not angels: As James Madison said, If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Yes, people will come to this country specifically to get welfare and food stamps. Yes, people will commit voter fraud. Yes, there are an awful lot of poor people who DESERVE to be poor because they’re lazy, waste their money, or keep popping out kids by different daddies. Yes, there are just bad people out there who will murder you for no other crime than being American, Jewish, or even just “not Muslim.”
  4. Nobody cares as much about other people as they do for themselves: The modern Left’s intellectual forefathers in the Soviet Union never could wrap their heads around this one. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” may sound nice in theory, but in principle it can never work because of the ugly truth about human nature.
  5. Men and women are different: Rather famously, Time Magazine did a cover story in 1992 called, “Why are men and women different? It isn’t just upbringing. New studies show they are born that way.” Congrats to the liberal who finally figured something out in 1992 that cavemen who didn’t know how to make fire already grasped instinctively.

Read Hawkins full article by clicking here.

Crist in his first major policy announcement violates all five of these principles of human nature. Will Democrats follow him over the cliff?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is an edited graphic of an interview Charlie Crist had with the LGBT magazine Watermark. In the interview Crist now supports big government, unions, homosexuals and abortion. He states, “As a Republican, on social issues I always felt I was a round peg in a square hole. I just didn’t fit. But I tried, until I couldn’t do it any more… until I had to say, ‘Enough is enough.’” Crist got that right.