The Stolen Election of 2012

The April 2, 2014 edition of National Review Online contains a blockbuster story detailing the results of a widespread vote fraud investigation conducted by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. In their review of the 2012 General Election, the board searched some 101,000,000 voter records in databases of 27 other states, using the same names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of individuals who voted in the North Carolina General Election.

What they found provides convincing proof that Democrats were not going to take any chances in 2012; they were not going to allow Mitt Romney to ruin Barack Obama’s chances for a second term. What the study of the 2012 election shows is that 35,570 North Carolina voters shared the same first names, last names, and dates of birth with individuals registered to vote in other states. Another 765 North Carolina voters had the same first names, last names, birthdays, and final four digits of a Social Security number as those who voted in other states, stretching credulity to its absolute limits. Barack Obama carried North Carolina in 2012 by a margin of just 14,177 votes (0.33%). To what extent were those voters residents of North Carolina who also voted in 27 other states, or were many of them residents of 27 other states who also voted in North Carolina?

In another recent study by the State of Virginia, it was found that some 44,000 Virginia voters are also registered to vote in Maryland. Of course, fraudulent voting by Democrats is not unique to North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. For Democrats, vote fraud is a way of life… standard operating procedure. And if the Republican Party had any leaders fit to be called leaders, they would see to it that the voting statistics of every state in the nation are evaluated in exactly the same way as the North Carolina voting age population.

For starters, the North Carolina attorney general should hold a press conference, extending an invitation to the 765 North Carolinians with the same first names, last names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers as individuals who were found to have voted in other states to come forward and identify themselves. Those individuals should be allowed to plead guilty to felony vote fraud, pay a hefty fine, and lose their voting rights for a period as prescribed by law.

Of course, not all those who engage in vote fraud could be expected to self-identify themselves. In such cases, the North Carolina attorney general should conduct forensic examinations of absentee ballots held in North Carolina and other states, lifting latent fingerprints from absentee ballots and subjecting signatures to expert handwriting analysis. Those who fail to self-identify, but whose latent fingerprints are later found on absentee ballots should be indicted, tried, subject to a heavy fine, and sentenced to prison. Upon being sentenced for felony vote fraud they should also lose voting rights as prescribed by law.

Federal law requires that all state election boards retain absentee ballots for at least twenty-two months following an election. Many states require ballots to be retained for twenty-four months, or longer. So it is essential that investigators conduct studies of double voting within two years following an election or much of the evidence of vote fraud will be destroyed.

In a recent speech before Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Barack Obama attempted to rally his base by charging that Republicans are attempting to suppress the black vote in the coming 2014 General Election. Demonstrating once again that he is the dimmest bulb on the porch, he said, “The principle of one person-one vote is the single greatest tool we have to redress an unjust status quo.  You would think there would not be an argument about this anymore.  But the stark, simple truth is this:  The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago.”

Of course, as is the case with almost everything Obama says, he was not speaking the truth; he was only saying what he thought would appeal to his low-information base. The fact is, except for Democrat-sponsored fraud, the right to vote has not been threatened at all in recent decades, compared to the years between the Civil War and the mid-1950s. In those years Democrats used the KKK to intimidate and/or murder thousands of blacks for no other reason than that they insisted on the right to vote. Yes, the one person-one vote principle is a critical concept in our system, but that means one person-one vote, not one Republican-one vote and one Democrat-two votes or three votes, as most Democrats see as their birthright.

He went on to say, “Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote…” So if that is a true statement, it must also be correct to say that Republicans have led efforts to make it impossible to board an airplane, to cash a check, to make purchases with credit cards, to enter public buildings, to sign up for food stamps, to sign up for unemployment benefits, and to purchase beer, wine, liquor, and cigarettes. But we all know that’s not the case, so once again Obama is caught telling untruths to people who are either too dumb or too gullible to know that they’re being propagandized by a four-Pinocchio liar.

The truth is, since the vast majority of those behind prison bars are registered Democrats… those who’ve either attempted to disrupt the social order or who’ve attempted to enrich themselves at the expense of others… it is only fair to say that it is Democrats who are directly responsible for most of these impositions on our time and integrity.

He said, “Now, I want to be clear! I am not against reasonable attempts to secure the ballot.  We understand that there has (sic) to be rules in place.  But I am against requiring an ID that millions of Americans don’t have.  That shouldn’t suddenly prevent you from exercising your right to vote.  So, yes, we’re right to be on guard against voter fraud.  Voter fraud would impinge on our democracy, as well.  We don’t want folks voting that shouldn’t be voting.  We all agree on that. Let’s stipulate to that, as the lawyers say.”

Unfortunately, with an attorney general like Eric Holder, Obama can stipulate all he wants to. It means about as much as a doctor stipulating that a patient suffers from a terminal, but curable, disease, but then prescribes no course of treatment. Eric Holder has been handed irrefutable evidence of vote fraud crimes by Democrats, all of which have been filed in the “round file.”

Then, suggesting to his gullible listeners that vote fraud is not a problem, he offered a few statistics. He said, “One recent study found only 10 cases of alleged voter impersonation in 12 years… 10 cases.  Another analysis found that, out of 197 million votes cast for federal elections between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters… out of 197 million… were indicted for fraud…”

Since a great many Democratic precincts regularly produce far more than ten cases of in-person voter impersonations, the people who put words on Obama’s teleprompter must have searched long and hard to find a source that would attest to only 10 cases in the entire United States in a 12 year period. Since Obama failed to cite the source for his statistics, one might suspect that they came either from Eric Holder or from the PR office at the Democrat National Committee.

It apparently escaped Obama’s attention that, in 2012, in precincts all across the country, in major cities with heavy Democratic majorities and powerful Democratic machines, Mitt Romney was completely “skunked,” receiving not a single vote out of hundreds of thousands of votes cast. This, of course, is not only a statistical improbability, it is a statistical impossibility, but it went completely unchallenged by Romney and the Republican National Committee.

Giving a tip-of-the-hat to a former racist Democrat president, Obama told his nearly all-black audience that, at the time Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, some of his advisors were recommending caution, saying, “Well, all right, just wait.  You’ve done a big thing now; let’s let the dust settle, don’t stir folks up.” But Obama quotes Johnson as replying, “No, no, I can’t wait.  We’ve got to press forward and pass the Voting Rights Act.  About this there can and should be no argument.  Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.”

Of course, that represents only Obama’s sanitized version of what Johnson may have said at the time. According to two Democratic governors who flew with him on Air Force One, what LBJ actually said was, “I’ll have those n_ _ _ ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

The point is, African-Americans are rarely told the truth about where white Democrats actually stand on the issue of race. If the Republican Party had leaders worthy of the title, they would begin to tell them the truth, treating them as if they are grownups.

To the best of my knowledge, only one fraudulent voter in the entire state of Ohio went to jail for vote fraud in 2013. According to a story in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Melowese Richardson was convicted of voting 5 times for Barack Obama in 2012. She was released on March 11, 2014, after serving only eight months of a five year sentence on the grounds that she is mentally ill… a condition not uncommon among Obama voters.

It’s long past time that Republicans moved forward with a national voter registration database, tying every registered voter to a name, address, birth date, and Social Security number. It’s also long past time that we began making a lot more Melowese Richardsons, whether Democrats or Republicans. And if we don’t have Republican leaders with the stomach for the task, then it’s time to get new Republican leadership. We don’t have to jail all Democrats who commit fraud… we could never build enough jail cells… we only have to jail enough of them to make the rest wonder if perhaps they’ll be the next to hear a knock on their door.

RELATED STORY: Judges and Voter ID If the state provides free IDs, is there really an “unjustified burden” on poor voters? 

Secure property rights: Hold government to the law by Ron Arnold

Cliven Bundy marched into my life one Friday morning in January 1992 in a protest bound for a federal courthouse in Las Vegas. He held up one side of a street-width banner that asked, “Has the West been won or has the fight just begun?”

To my great relief, just as Bundy promised, nearly 200 ranchers from all over the state marched behind him, yelling “Property rights!” Nearly a mile later, the marchers fell silent and filed into the courtroom where Wayne Hage of Pine Creek Ranch faced arraignment for the felony of cleaning brush out of his ditches without a U.S. Forest Service permit.

The Forest Service had already confiscated Hage’s cattle and left him bankrupt, just as the Bureau of Land Management would try with Bundy 22 years later.

Hage had already filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service in the U.S. Court of Claims, just as Bundy now has cause to do against the BLM – last week, during their failed attempt to confiscate Bundy’s cattle, agents wantonly bulldozed his water supply into oblivion without court authority.

Wayne Hage did not stand in that courtroom alone because I was honor bound to prevent it – I had published his 1989 book, Storm Over Rangelands: Private Rights in Federal Lands, which unleashed the federal fury.

The message terrified abusive bureaucrats: There are private rights in federal lands – vested rights, not privileges.

His book, the product of three intensive, grueling years consulting with dozens of experts and sifting through many archives, found the dirty little secret that could destroy the abusive power of all federal Western land agencies – by making them obey their own laws.

It was so stunning that a sitting Supreme Court justice secretly sent Wayne a message marveling at his shining intellect – burnished with a masters degree in animal science and honed by academic colloquies as a trustee of the University of Nevada Foundation – and warning of the titanic battle to come.

How true: Hage was convicted of brush cutting but acquitted on appeal. His own lawsuit against the United States took almost 20 years, but proved there are private rights in federal land. He died of cancer in 2006 before he could see how great a victory he had won – and how the battle is still just beginning, as Bundy foresaw.

Wayne’s son, Wayne N. Hage, now manages Pine Creek, and his daughter Ramona Hage Morrison is his intellectual heir. She helped research his book, lived the courthouse agonies with her father and assisted with his seminars on protecting ranchers’ rights. Morrison said:

Private rights in federal lands were recognized in an 1866 water law. It says, Bundy cattle“… whenever, by priority of possession, rights to the use of water have vested and accrued, and the same are recognized and acknowledged by the local customs, laws, and the decisions of courts, the possessors and owners of such vested rights shall be maintained and protected in the same.”

That Act was passed a long time ago, but every federal land law since then contains a clause with language similar to, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to impair any vested right in existence on the effective date of this Act.”

Most ranchers don’t know that and federal agencies exploit their ignorance with harassment that runs them off the land. Actually, understanding vested rights is not too hard – they’re absolute rights not subject to cancellation – but proving up those rights by assembling your chain of title and other technicalities and then making the government protect them is very hard.

The agencies know they don’t own the water rights, so their lawyers fight viciously with misdirection to save their empire from the owners. Ranchers lose in court because they don’t know how to prove up their vested rights and they don’t get lawyers who know the precision required to plead a vested rights case. Very few lawyers know.

Ranchers, get smart. Don’t assume anything. You probably believe a lot of things that aren’t true. Get busy and prove up your vested rights as we did. Get a court to adjudicate them as we did. Yes, your whole life will be one battle after another, like ours. Seek help to develop an army of supporters, as we did. You can shout freedom slogans all you want, but only the courts can destroy the root power of federal abuse.

The BLM has now withdrawn. Bundy has his moment of triumph. The cries of victory are thrilling.

But we know it’s not over yet. The BLM did not leave because angry citizens outnumbered their assault force by 100 to 1. Nothing has touched the BLM’s ability to return.

Get real: the BLM invaders left when it got ugly because it’s an election year and they’re all Democrats. They’ll be back.

Supreme Court 3Property rights defenders can stop them. We can go on the attack in the courts with organized funding to adjudicate protection for every last vested right in the American West. We have the laws to do it. We now need organization, money, brains, and the will to make it happen. Every vested right that we protect will destroy that much federal power to abuse.

Let no ranching family go unprotected.

That’s the hard way, but it’s the only way that works. Stay on target: the federal power to abuse must be destroyed.

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.

About the Author: Ron Arnold

Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

EPA’s McCarthy Defends Hiding Secret Science from Public

In a speech filled with more straw men than a corn field in the fall, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy fired back at critics, like the U.S. Chamber, who have called out the agency for its lack of transparency and openness involving scientific data and analysis that it uses to impose costly air regulations on the economy.

The debate stems around access to data on the health effects of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) on humans. While EPA and researchers have blocked public access to the data, the agency has used it to justify nearly all (98%) of the benefits of EPA air regulations between 2002 and 2012.

“People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. You can’t just claim the science isn’t real when it doesn’t align well with your political or financial interests,” McCarthy said to the National Academy of Sciences, “Science is real and verifiable.”

See what I mean about straw men?

No one disagrees with any of this. What EPA critics want is public access to the data in order to scrutinize, verify, and reproduce the conclusions.

For instance, William Kovacs notes a major problem with the data:

The studies used to support the 1997 PM 2.5 standard have never been independently reproduced or validated, and EPA has successfully resisted all attempts – including a 2000 Freedom of Information Act request from the U.S. Chamber – to obtain the data underlying the studies upon which EPA based its standards.

Nevertheless, in her speech to the Academy, McCarthy reaffirmed her agency’s refusal to make the data available to public scrutiny.

Science is an iterative process. It builds on previous work and assumes that no one has all the answers. EPA shouldn’t be afraid to open the data to public inspection.

This is especially important when regulators use this data to impose tremendous costs on the economy—especially inelectricity generation–keep jobs from being created, and hold back investments. The public should be able to see the data and not merely take the word of a federal agency.

Despite McCarthy’s claim that EPA critics are attacking science itself, by advocating for openness and transparency we’re defending the scientific process that’s delivered progress to humanity for centuries.

“When we follow the science — we all win,” McCarthy told the audience, and she’s right. However, that requires that the data be open so the public can examine it.

[via memeorandum]

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

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is by photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg.

Pentagon to destroy $1 billion worth of ammo. This makes sense because?

Why is the Pentagon to destroy ammunition for our men and women in uniform while the Department of Homeland Security is buying up millions of rounds of ammunition? As we asked last week, why are we decimating our military while many government agencies are arming up?

You really have to wonder why, according to USA Today, “The Pentagon plans to destroy more than $1 billion worth of ammunition although some of those bullets and missiles could still be used by troops, according to the Pentagon and congressional sources. It’s impossible to know what portion of the arsenal slated for destruction — valued at $1.2 billion by the Pentagon — remains viable because the Defense Department’s inventory systems can’t share data effectively, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY. The result: potential waste of unknown value.”

Everyone complains about fraud, waste and abuse of American taxpayer dollars, and I will admit there is a degree of that in the Department of Defense (DoD), the Pentagon. I firmly supported — still do –an audit of the DoD when I sat on the House Armed Services Committee. But still, it makes you wonder.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said, “Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets. This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report clearly shows that our military’s antiquated systems lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases.” The Army and Pentagon, in a statement, acknowledged “the need to automate the process” and will make it a priority in future budgets. In all, the Pentagon manages a stockpile of conventional ammunition worth $70 billion.

Now, this last part is quite perplexing to me, having spent 22 years in the US Army as a combat artillery officer and being quite involved in ammunition management as a Brigade/Regimental operations officer, a Battalion Executive officer, and a Battalion Commander. We constantly received spreadsheets that were reconciled monthly for ammunition allocation and use. In the Army we have Division and Corps level Ammunition Officers whose sole mission is ammunition management, which is forecasted out and allocated yearly.

Excess ammunition? We were begging for excess ammunition for training purposes. And I recall on several occasions when I was an Army exchange officer with the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune working out some issues on ammunition transfer and training between XVIIIth Airborne Corps, Ft. Bragg. So what is this baloney?

Folks, this is why we need more men and women serving on Capitol Hill who have served in uniform and can raise the Bovine Excrement flag. It would also behoove these Members of the House and Senate who are on Armed Services committees to have staffers who are veterans and can provide proper insight and perspective.

However, more importantly, we need former servicemen and women in civilian leadership with oversight of the military who understand the tactical level processes and procedures so that at the higher strategic level, this type of foolishness does not occur. Instead, we have political nepotism and cronyism, as too many are positioned due to their campaign contributions or agenda allegiance, not because of their military experience or expertise.

USA Today says the GAO report illustrates the obsolete nature of the Pentagon’s inventory systems for ammunition. A request for ammunition from the Marine Corps, for example, is e-mailed to the Army. The e-mail is printed out and manually retyped into the Army system because the services cannot share data directly. Not only is this time consuming, but it can introduce errors — by an incorrect keystroke, for example.

Waste, buying new ammunition while usable stockpiles exist, can occur “because the Army does not report information on all available and usable items,” the report states. The annual conference among the services — although it saves about $70 million per year, according to the Pentagon — is inadequate. The services, in fiscal year 2012, exchanged 44 million items, including 32 million bullets for machine guns and pistols. Specifically, the Army’s report does not include information from prior years about usable ammunition that was unclaimed by another service and stored for potential foreign military sales or slated for potential disposal,” the report says.

All of which begs the simple question: who is in charge? Who is tracking ammunition production, allocation, usage, and redistribution? This is why a serious audit system is necessary. If a monthly reconciliation is done at the unit/installation level, there should at least be a quarterly reconciliation at higher levels. If that is being done, then we should have fail-safe systems as well as procedures and methods upgraded to ensure effective and efficient management.

This is unacceptable and I bet you could sell the excess usable 9 mm ammunition at a reduced price to civilian outlets — and make money for the DoD. But then that would mean you’re arming civilians…

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

Bad Behavior Bonuses

Imagine you have a job and the company you work for provides you a credit card for your company travel needs, gives you a generous salary with yearly increases plus bonuses and provides you with what most would consider a generous benefits package.

All you have to do is come in, do your job and abide by the rules.

Instead, you decide to misuse the credit card, take drugs, make violent threats and claim fraudulent unemployment benefits. If lucky, you might be afforded a trip to a professional counselor and put on a performance improvement plan. But, most likely you would be sacked – fired – sent out the door.

That’s how it is in the private sector. Not so in our federal government – the same government that spends your hard earned tax dollars.

In fact, just this week the IRS Inspector General announced that more than $2.8 billion in bonuses was paid to IRS employees with disciplinary problems. Included in that $2.8 billion was $1 million paid to IRS employees who owe back taxes!

Repeat – the IRS paid $1 million of your blood, sweat and tears to IRS employees who skipped out on paying their fair share!

It gets better. At the IRS, you can misuse your travel card, take drugs, make violent threats, claim fraudulent unemployment benefits and fail to pay your federal taxes, and still get a bonus and additional paid time off.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the IRS awarded approximately “11,000 hours of paid time off to nearly 1,200 IRS employees with tax issues or official-conduct violations.” They added, “one employee who was suspended for 10 days in September 2011 received a $1,300 performance award in August 2012, the report said.”

You know ladies and gentleman this truly goes beyond egregious. It is the thumbing of the middle finger to those who toil every day to pay for their outrageous behavior. And every member of Congress who doesn’t immediately stand for the elimination of the IRS and the income tax tacitly gives their approval of this insult on the American taxpayer.

And, standing up on the floor of the House and Senate and boasting that, “I have drafted legislation that will prohibit this kind of behavior” is in a word, a cop-out. The people, especially FairTax® supporters, see through this kind of bravado.

There is only one way to solve this continuing problem. It is the enactment of HR 25/ S 122, the FairTax® Act – the only legislation before Congress that defunds and disbands the IRS in its entirety. The flat tax won’t, a VAT won’t and the much-acclaimed “tax reform” plan heralded by the Ways and Means Chairman won’t either.

Only the FairTax eliminates the IRS.  So, when someone tells you, “I am for the elimination of the IRS and the income tax – with a post card tax return” – give them the facts.

And when your elected representative gives you a canned ham response about how outraged they are about what is happening at the IRS and then proceeds to submit new legislation – remind them about the FairTax and move on. Why?

Very simply, this November you will have an opportunity to express your voice in a very meaningful way with those who support the FairTax. And I promise you, millions of people who go to work every day – who abide by the rules, do their job and pay their taxes – will thank you.

Florida: 3,000 Voter Registrations List a UPS Store as a Residence

Voter Fraud? If they’re not catching the easy stuff, what else are they “missing”?

Are some of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections skirting the law? Supervisors are tasked with maintaining an accurate voter roll. One of the requirements on the Supervisors is to ensure that voters provide a legal residence address. Yet a December 2013 analysis shows more than 3,000 voter registrations statewide listing their residence address at a UPS store, potentially illegally.

Florida Law is clear and, with minor exception, requires that voter registrations listing other than an address of legal residence should not be accepted, because they are “ineligible” (F.S. 98.045 (1)(h)). This is considered so important, that it is a felony to willfully submit any false voter registration information (F.S.104.011(2)).

Accordingly, if these “ineligible” registrations are found to exist, Florida statutes also provide for their prompt correction or removal (F.S. 98.075(6) & (7)).

This correction or removal process is supposed to be enabled by Florida Law mandating that each Supervisor maintain a list of valid residential street addresses. This list is explicitly for the “purposes of verifying the legal addresses of voters residing in the supervisor’s county”, (F.S. 98.015(12)).

Yet, further review of this mandated list reveals that of the 3,000 UPS store registrations, more than:

A)     1,200 match addresses already known as commercial that were ignored,

B)      500 match addresses erroneously marked as residential,

C)      and 1,100 have no match at all.

Unbelievably, even though our Supervisors are required to submit to the State their updates for their valid residential street address lists on a monthly basis, B & C above could be fixed by the trivial repair or addition of around 120 records.

This mandated list of valid residential street addresses, combined with the simplest of today’s computers, should enable every Supervisor to easily and routinely identify these “ineligible” registrations at the touch of a button. But, it seems actually finding that button is for too many of our Supervisors a step too far.

Now an optimist might think perhaps all these UPS store registrations occurred only recently, and we just need to allow enough time for the Supervisors to do their job. But that optimism would be naive. Because more than 2,300 of the more than 3,000 recently discovered UPS store registrations had the exact same UPS store listed as their residence at least 15 months prior.

Think about that. As we approached our 2012 General Election, Supervisors across our State, for the lack of 120 records and a button press, allowed at least 2,300 likely “ineligible”, potentially law-breaking registrations to remain on the rolls, ready to vote, potentially in the wrong precincts and races.

And vote they did. Approximately 800 of those 2,300 likely “ineligible” registrations voted in our 2012 General Election.

Even more condemning, since Federal Elections occur in even years, the Supervisors are required by law to perform their primary “list maintenance” during the odd years. Yet these 3,000 UPS store registrations were identified in December of 2013 as the Supervisors’ odd year voter roll efforts came to a close. So it’s pretty clear too many of our Supervisors aren’t nearly as effective in their jobs as one might hope.

On a brighter side, of the 67 counties in Florida, 38 were clean. And of the other 29 counties with UPS store registrations, 19 have promptly responded with “Thank-you”, and/or indicate they are following the law and promptly working on the issue. Another 7 counties required phone calls before responding with claims they were making progress.

But even though the Supervisors by law must “Notify the registered voter of his or her potential ineligibility by mail within 7 days after receipt of notice or information” (F.S. 98.075(7)), the remaining 3 counties after more than a month have either not responded at all to multiple requests, or are have only responded weakly.  And these three offenders are some of Florida’s most populated counties: Broward, Orange and Hillsborough.

Broward county receives the “here’s your sign” award with fully 40% of the 3,000 potentially ineligible records, and simply responding they’re in process.

Orange County indicates, without explanation, they have sent zero letters to their 116 registrations.

And even though every one of their 117 registrations were from addresses already listed as commercial, and 83 of those have been that way for at least 2 full years, Hillsborough’s response via their County Attorney was to charge $58 for a Public Records Request to determine that zero letters had been sent out.

The Florida Division of Elections is aware of these findings and, under Governor Rick Scott, has shown an interest in following-up on and ensuring our Supervisors’ compliance with the law. But to ensure free and fair elections it clearly is the citizens who must demand all of our Supervisors go well beyond the bare minimum passiveness required by law.

Because all this nonsense leaves one to wonder: If some of our Supervisors lack sufficient skills or decency to catch the easy stuff, what else are they “missing”?

RELATED STORY: Crosschecked rolls in Virginia and Maryland find 44,000 voters registered in both states

UPDATE: The following comments were received from:

Kathy Dent, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections, “We immediately took action on the list supplied to us. Sarasota County appreciated the tip.”

Paul Lux, CERA, Supervisor of Elections Okaloosa County:

I don’t know that I would necessarily characterize it as “skirting” the law, which implies duplicitous action on the part of SOEs.  In Okaloosa County, like my counterparts I assume, we make every effort to keep abreast of new mail rooms as they crop up.

The real problem in this equation, typically, is HSMV.  They do not have access to our street index and as such, “register” voters at whatever address they provide.  We have to clean these up on the back end after those records are suspended to us from the State Central Voter System.

Likewise, voter registration forms processed at the State level suffer a similar fate.

We do find the new mail rooms as they come and go, and we do make every effort to clean up those records inadvertently registered there.

Exposed: Muslim Brotherhood Money Laundering in the US

David Yerushalmi explains how the Muslim Brotherhood linked Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a IRS approved non-profit organization, launders money from overseas entities into the United States. The details are shocking as documents list how money is moved from overseas and between CAIR organizations.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/RNjukLIHMQ0[/youtube]

The Progressive Income Tax: Backed by the envious, used by the greedy by DOUG BANDOW

Most Americans dislike the income tax, now more than a century old. The rates are too high. The provisions are unfair. The recordkeeping is onerous. The revenues are wasted.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

But there are fans. The politicians, certainly, of both parties. What good would it do to serve in Congress if you didn’t have any money to spend? There are other sources of public money, to be sure, but none so effective at plucking the geese while minimizing the hissing. Withholding means many Americans look forward to receiving a refund even though that means they have provided an interest-free loan to the very officials conscripting people’s money for dubious purposes.

The beneficiaries of the politicians’ largesse also share in the income-tax lovefest. Uncle Sam needs money to write checks. He can borrow, but there’s a limit to investors’ credulity. Borrow too much and they might doubt Washington’s ability to repay. Moreover, robust tax collections are necessary to repay debts. So creditors, too, benefit from the income tax, even if they don’t enjoy paying on the other end.

Don’t forget about the armies of tax preparers and IRS agents who, at the end of the day, end up with much of the deadweight loss.

Then there are the fans of expensive and expansive government. Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic argued that the money collected has gone for building infrastructure, cleaning the environment, and keeping us safe from foreign threats. Alas, a lot of federal building is politically driven, conservation measures spend huge amounts inefficiently to control minimal problems, and military outlays go to defend scores of foreign societies rather than our own. In all these cases, less would be more.

More dangerous may be the social engineers. For instance, Yale economics professor Robert J. Shiller suggested using the income tax to mitigate “some of the worst consequences of income inequality.” He proposed indexing taxes to income inequality.

It’s a genuinely nutty idea: Inequality measures are sensitive to data distortion based on dates chosen, units measured, and more. Moreover, they incorporate no judgments about how the inequality arose. Were opportunities obstructed, systems manipulated, wealth extracted, people defrauded? Or did a generally free society operate naturally and deliver ever-changing income and wealth patterns? If the latter, what is the government trying to “correct”? And if the former, is the government correcting the right things?

Worse, though, is the weird presumption that seizing private wealth from mostly productive taxpayers and giving it to political operators noted for their electoral skills rather than economic judgment would somehow remedy financial disparities. There is no evidence that increasing Washington’s resources would yield greater social or economic justice, improve economic efficiency or growth, or make people wealthier or freer.

To the contrary, experience demonstrates that the majority—most people outside of those who make their living from the federal trough—are likely to end up worse off. Extensive bureaucracies soak up a lot of money before it leaves government hands. Cash gets tossed at influential interest groups, such as businesses, non-profits, contractors, and unions. Benefits for the poor are dwarfed by middle class welfare, such as Social Security and Medicare. Federal largesse gets bestowed on foreigners through misnamed foreign aid, which long meant taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries. America’s defense budget is another form of foreign aid, subsidizing some of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

Providing more money to expand these and other programs is supposed to close the income and wealth gaps? The social engineers just assume that the benevolent dictator model, in which angels enact direct transfers that make people healthier and happier, can actually exist.

Unfortunately, the income tax creates additional harms. By taxing work, the levy discourages work. The higher the rate, the greater the incentive to choose leisure and invest in consumption and tax shelters. Moreover, credits and deductions give legislators the opportunity to play social engineers, providing subsidies and manipulating behavior sub rosa.

The greater the resulting complexity, the more wealth is wasted in compliance activities rather than invested in productive endeavors. Indeed, the system most benefits tax professionals who profit from the system’s failings. Today the tax code and IRS rules run nearly 75,000 pages. And there never is any certainty; my Cato Institute colleague Chris Edwards noted nearly 5,000 tax changes over the last decade. Ever-confused taxpayers are a captive audience for tax preparers and litigators.

Income taxes impose a number of other burdens. There is no financial privacy, since Uncle Sam is empowered to rummage through everyone’s personal affairs. And taxpayers are expected to maintain potentially extensive records for possible inspection for years. For instance, use a home office and you’d better keep your utility bills, home repair charges, and gasoline receipts!

Moreover, as Edwards pointed out, the entire enforcement process is built around a denial of due process. From start to finish the burden of proof falls on the taxpayer, not the government. The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is out the window. Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures don’t apply. Sixth and Seventh Amendment guarantees of a jury trial don’t cover the U.S. Tax Court.

Contrast this with the sales tax. You pay it when you purchase something and you are done with it. You don’t have to keep personal records. You don’t have to file a return. There is no government rummaging around through your bank records for enforcement.

Even social engineering usually is at a minimum. Consumption levies typically include little variations of rates among goods, with at most occasional exemptions of “necessities” and surcharges for “luxuries.” There seldom is much attempt to manipulate rates to achieve objectives other than raising revenue. Even politicians don’t claim that they can use the sales tax to solve the “problem” of income inequality.

The first income tax in U.S. history was proposed in 1814 to fund the ill-fated War of 1812. Happily, the conflict ended before Congress could demonstrate the dire consequences even of taxation with representation. In 1861, a desperate national government turned to the income tax to fund its war to conquer the Southern states seeking to separate. Americans sacrificed both independence and liberty in that conflict.

A search for revenue to replace declining tariff collections led to another income tax in 1894, but the Supreme Court declared the levy unconstitutional. Legislators probably could have met the jurists’ objections by scaling back the tax. Instead, 15 years later Congress proposed a constitutional amendment, which was approved on February 2, 1913, during the heyday of the Progressive Era. From modest beginnings it has grown into a monster.

There is a necessary role for government, but it is far more limited than today’s Leviathan in Washington. Government must be funded, but it should be by something other than today’s income tax, which has made it far too easy for politicians to mulct the public. There are many reasons for Americans’ steady and serious loss of liberty, but the income tax ranks high among them.

doug bandowABOUT DOUG BANDOW

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of a number of books on economics and politics. He writes regularly on military non-interventionism.

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

Florida Coalition Calls for Action on Ethics Reform, Open Government

On April 16th, a coalition of groups, including Integrity Florida, the First Amendment Foundation,  Common Cause Florida, the Citizens Awareness Foundation and The Tea Party Network held a press conference to call for the House to take action on ethics reform (SB 846) and open government (SB 1648HB 1151) bills that were stalled in the Florida Legislature.

Since this press conference Ethics Reform Proposal SB 846 was passed by the Florida House State Affairs Committee.

“Integrity Florida applauds our lawmakers for continuing to strengthen our state’s ethics laws,” said Dan Krassner, executive director of the nonpartisan government watchdog group Integrity Florida. “For the second year in a row, the legislature is advancing anti-corruption measures to improve public trust in government. While more work will be needed in the future to take on corruption, lawmakers are moving in the right direction.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/QZEy1tLV2TU[/youtube]

 

SB 846, as amended by the House State Affairs Committee, would do the following:

  • Allows the Florida Commission on Ethics to independently begin investigations when officials fail to file financial disclosure reports;
  • Requires lobbyist disclosure at the state’s water management districts;
  • Requires ethics training for elected city officials; and
  • Applies some of the state’s ethics code to Enterprise Florida and Citizens Property Insurance.

Declaring War on Americans

You have to be extremely stupid to send a couple of hundred armed government agents to confiscate some bullheaded rancher’s cattle without contemplating how the rest of the nation will interpret your actions.

What was obvious to voters who rejected Barack Obama’s run for the presidency the first and second time was the fact that he lacked any record of competency to be President. The rest voted for him because they wanted to say they helped elect the first black President of the United States and because they believed what this pathological liar said then and since.

The assertion that Obama’s and Eric Holder’s actions and policies are opposed because they are black is absurd. It is an insult to everyone who voted for Obama and to the rest of us.

I love the notion that Cliven Bundy lives in Bunkerville. It reminded me of Bunker Hill and you know how badly that eventually turned out for the British in 1775. What ensued was a guerrilla war led by George Washington that defeated the most powerful nation of its time. There is no way a militia with small arms can defeat the kind of arms the U.S. government can bring to bear on such a battle, but one has to admire the courage of those people who showed up to confront them. That’s quintessentially American!

Bundy should have paid his grazing rights fees. Other ranchers do. What he has done, however, is bring greater awareness the amount of land that the federal government owns in Nevada and elsewhere, particularly west of the Mississippi, and expose a regime that wants to intimidate Americans with force.

According to Wikipedia:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers America’s public lands, totaling approximately 247.3 million acres, or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages 700 million acres (2,800,000 km) of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state, and private lands. Most public lands are located in western states, especially Alaska. With approximately 10,000 permanent employees and close to 2,000 seasonal employees, this works out to over 21,000 acres (85 km) per employee. The agency’s budget was $960,000,000 for 2010 ($3.79 per surface acre, $9.38 per hectare)

what police state poster

For a larger view click on the poster.

I can understand the need for national forests and reserves, but I have concerns that those reserves are used as an excuse to deny access to massive energy sources that lie beneath their surface. If the U.S. didn’t own most of Nevada, Bundy would not need to pay grazing fees. Most certainly, his ancestors didn’t. The other excuse, that the government is trying to protect an endangered tortoise, is just part of the environmental movement’s efforts to keep energy sources from being available to all of us. Endangered species is pure fiction.

What worries me and many of my blogger colleagues is the prospect of a renewed effort by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding what is essentially a fairly minor dispute between it and Bundy. Showing some common sense, the BLM backed off its initial effort.

I don’t think the BLM response to Bundy was exclusive to the agency. That decision needed to be sent up the line as far as the White House. Indeed, it was likely initiated by the White House.

Even more scary is the fact that only Fox News channel had reporters on the scene. No other major television news outlet set journalists to record the event. How much in league with the White House does the media have to be to ignore two hundred armed government agents descending on a ranch in Nevada?

I suspect that a lot of Americans and most certainly those who live in the rural areas of the nation are going to remember the Bundy face-off with the BLM come the November midterm elections. While most voters are crowded into the cities on the East and West Coasts, there are a lot of others in “flyover country.’

When you add in all the folks who lost their healthcare insurance and others who have discovered they can’t even buy a policy until next January, that’s going to be a voting bloc that could decimate Democratic Party candidates.

All tyrannies over-reach at some point and we are seeing that occur in the White House. The nation is fortunate to have the House controlled by Republicans and now needs a Senate as well in order to dispense some much needed justice on behalf of Americans.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the White House responds to the May 16 “Operation American Spring” being organized to bring a million or more to Washington, D.C. to participate in an event that will demonstrate the breadth of the unhappiness that has spread since Obama’s first election and is gaining momentum since his second.

The White House response will tell us all a lot about its current state of mind. Whatever it has in mind is likely to leak. The best thing about Washington, D.C. is its inability to keep a secret. The worst thing is the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORY: BLM Attacks Again: From One Rancher to the Next, The BLM Targets 90,000 Acres They Say Doesn’t Belong to Texas

RELATED VIDEOS:

The Truth About the BLM – Bundy Ranch Dispute Explained

[youtube]http://youtu.be/tAwALTdrMZ8[/youtube]

 

The Patriot Factor by Bill Finley

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6iNFW39wHHA[/youtube]

 

Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

REMARKS TO THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB

by Michael Crichton – San Francisco – September 15, 2003

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can’t be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It’s about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die. Let’s examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine, fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself. The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man’s invention to demonize the indigenous peoples. (Only academics could fight such a battle.) It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does indeed occur among human beings. Meanwhile, all during this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe. And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don’t, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your romantic fantasies. Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on your skin, you’ll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears, you’ll have infections and sickness and if you’re not with somebody who knows what they’re doing, you’ll quickly starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won’t experience nature so directly, because you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It’s all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it’s uninformed talk. Farmers know what they’re talking about. City people don’t. It’s all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven’t the least knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on holiday because they can’t conceive the real power of what we blithely call “the force of nature.” They have seen the ocean. But they haven’t been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be tivo-ed. The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn’t give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock. Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don’t, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn’t deep—maybe three feet at most. My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a time, with extreme care. I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river. He said, well, supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it’d still be at least three days before he could return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I’d probably be dead from my injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.

But let’s return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn’t ever noble and kind and loving, if we didn’t fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if we all don’t get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it’s interesting. You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately. Although the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion, to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less. There are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not. Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They were never there—though they still appear, in the future. As mirages do.

Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they’re human. So what. Unfortunately, it’s not just one prediction. It’s a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it’s a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn’t quit when the world doesn’t end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven’t read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don’t report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn’t carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn’t give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigeous science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won’t impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependant on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It’s not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth—that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won’t. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There’s a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren’t true. It isn’t that these “facts” are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all—what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better. That’s not a good future for the human race. That’s our past. So it’s time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thank you very much.

Corruption in Florida Public Schools: A Perverse Disparity of Justice

On the opposite ends of Miami-Dade County, there are two high school United Teacher of Dade Building Stewards who suffered adverse action for varied reasons.

On the northern end of Miami-Dade County, Trevor Colestock, the November Watchdog Citizen Journalist, was illegally removed from Miami Norland Senior High School on October 24, 2013, for reporting a massive standardized test cheating scandal concerning industry certification exams to the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Education and their Office of Inspector General, and the United States Department of Education  Office of Inspector General.

The Miami-Dade OIG Final Report concluded that, “Miami Norland has benefited in the form of attaining a higher school grade and may have received financial compensation or other benefit resulting from its high pass rate on the industry certification exams” (page 13).

With the assistance of cheating, undertaken by Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, Miami Norland’s school grade went from a “C” for the 2010-11 school year to an “A” for the 2011-12 school year.

As a result, total federal funds (SIG, RTTT) given out due to a grade influenced by cheating was $100,560; the total state funds per FSRP was between $130,000- $140,000; the total overall combined federal and state incentive funds were $230,560- $240,560.

Each teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School received $1730.41 from all three payouts.

For his efforts in reporting and uncovering this scandal as a citizen journalist, Mr. Colestock lost his job as the Library Media Specialist and as a union steward at Miami Norland Senior High School as in currently suing the School Board of Miami-Dade County in state court.

Meanwhile, one of the teachers, Emmanuel Fleurantin (union member), has been suspended pending termination, whereas the other teacher that was involved, Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, returned back to work at Norland on January 8, 2014, after a 30 day suspension without pay.

Mr. Reginald Lee was the assistant principal over the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department during and after the Adobe industry certification exam cheating incident for the 2011-2012 school year. Over the summer of 2012, he was made principal of Charles Drew Middle School, as the investigation was going on. The superintendent brought Lee back to be principal at Norland SHS school in late November 2012.

Most crimes, such as theft and homicide, have varying degrees; test cheating does not and state law is straightforward and clear. In any given instance of test cheating, a role is a role; there is no distinguishing a major role from a minor role. Either one was involved or they were not.

Both Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick, according to the Miami-Dade OIG Final Report, allegedly “knowingly and willfully” violated test security rules irrespective of quantity of students in their respective roles.

When one reads that document and the Department of Administrative Hearings brief, issued by the School Board Attorney on January 8, 2014, justifying Mr. Fleurantin’s termination, one can reasonably conclude that Mrs. Muchnick is equally culpable and a reasonable person would think her employment was up for termination as well.

In the meanwhile, the State of Florida or the USDOE, not to mention the Miami-Dade State Attorney and/or the U.S. District Attorney, declined to take action even though various crimes appear to have taken place akin to the test cheating scandals in Georgia and Texas, which have landed school administrators and teachers in jail.

In Georgia, the state went after the cheaters in the Atlanta test cheating scandal which nabbed the superintendent, Beverly Hall, who like the Miami-Dade Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, is a recipient of the National Superintendent of Year award and close to President Obama.

The Federal and Florida state officials were nowhere to be found.

In Texas, the FBI directed the test cheating investigation which nabbed the El Paso superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia.

In October 2012, Lorenzo Garcia, former superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District, was sentenced by a federal judge to three and a half years in prison for his participation in a conspiracy, along with other district and school administrators, to improve the district’s high-stakes tests scores, as measured by state assessments, by identifying and removing low-performing students from participating in testing.

As part of his plea deal, Mr. Garcia also was ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution and fined $56,500 – the amount he received as a bonus from the district for its success on test scores.

Were the FBI involved in Texas, but not Georgia and Florida, as both the Atlanta and Miami–Dade superintendents with test cheating scandals were close to President Obama and supporters of his education policies?

In particular, Alberto Carvalho appointed by former Governor Charlie Crist as the Race To The Top Working Group Chairman for Florida and a strong Common Core supporter.

Too bad that Florida Governor Rick Scott did not exercise leadership, like former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, seeking prosecution against the Miami-Dade test cheaters as Perdue did in the Atlanta test cheating case.

Moreover, how does President Obama’s Federal Government prosecute test cheaters in El Paso; former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for taking a loan from a friend without breaking any state laws; and Governor Chris Christie for a bridge closure in New Jersey but not investigate and prosecute the two identified test cheaters, Emmanuel Fleurantin and Brenda Muchnick, and possibly unknown others, in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which led to a payout of close to $250,000 in state, federal, and corporate (test vendor Certiport) incentives?

On the southern end of Miami-Dade County, Christine Kirchner, Language Arts teacher and union steward at Coral Reef Senior High School, as well as an Obama supporter, made students uncomfortable by discussing sex, simulating orgasms, and gave students massages according to a Florida Department of Education ethics complaint.

Unlike Mr. Colestock and Mr. Fleurantin, Mrs. Kirchner is an Executive Board member of the United Teachers of Dade and was represented by a Florida Education Association attorney who arranged a settlement with the Florida Department of Education in which she was reprimanded, given two years of probation, paid a $500 fine, but got to keep her job.

To regain their jobs, Mr. Colestock and Mr. Fleurantin had to hire outside counsel.

Mr. Fleurantin had to retain an attorney for his DOAH hearing, though he was a union member.  The union should stand by its members in times of trouble; though Mr. Fleurantin’s termination is justified, he should still be entitled to legal representation from the union.

Apparently, being one of 22 UTD vice presidents (Executive Board members) has its perks as exemplified by Mrs. Kirchner. ‘

Too bad Mr. Colestock or Mr. Fleurantin were not on the United Teachers of Dade Executive Board as they could have kept their jobs like Mrs. Kirchner.

How else can it be explained?

How does an upright steward, Mr. Colestock, who clearly was in the right, lose his job and union steward position when he did nothing wrong and Mrs. Muchnick and Mrs. Kirchner, who engaged in reprehensible behavior, keep theirs?

Furthermore, two UTD members, Linda Garcia (Reading Coach) and Mary Morcos (English teacher) at Miami Norland Senior High School engaged in a professional development scandal last November in which Ms. Garcia gave Mrs. Morcos seven Master Plan Points while she taught a course- the exact same day.

Thus far, no action has been taken against them.

For its part, the United Teachers of Dade has been stunningly silent for varied reasons, thereby failing to advocate for Mr. Colestock and the faculty and students at Miami Norland Senior High School and colluding with the school district to cover this affair up, by being silent. UTD defended Mrs. Kirchner by quietly arranging a settlement with the FEA and FLDOE and shielding her from attention and the limelight.

Enid Weisman, the Chief Capital Human Officer for M-DCPS, is responsible for disciplinary practices in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

She led the effort to remove Mr. Colestock from Norland; fired Mr. Fleurantin while reinstating Mrs. Muchnick at Norland though they both were charged by M-DCPS with the same offenses word for word; and she does nothing to Mrs. Morcos, Ms. Garcia, or Mrs. Kirchner when action is clearly warranted.

In February, her office mishandled the Race To The Top payouts which shortchanged teachers $2 million.  Though she has a troubling record at M-DCPS, she is running for the post of Mayor for the City of Aventura.

Is this a classic case of screw up and move up?!

As exemplified by Mr. Lee, Mrs. Kirchner, Mrs. Weisman, Mrs. Morcos, and Ms. Garcia, meritocracy seems to be dead in M-DCPS, while corruption abounds.

And they teach and lead children.

No wonder why we have cheating scandals that plagued the U.S. nuclear force of the Air Force or the Navy.

The military has accountability as officers have lost their jobs.

Will accountability ever take hold in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the sake of the children they have sworn to serve and the country?

Miami-Dade is Florida’s largest school district and the fourth largest in the U.S.

Ignoring corruption in the Miami-Dade County Public School District sends a message to all the other sixty-six school districts. That message can be detrimental to our children, undermine trust in our public schools system and soil Florida’s credibility.

Governor Rick Scott fully supports in-state tuition for illegal aliens

Governor Rick Scott, Governor Jeb Bush and Governor Bob Martinez called on the Florida Senate to lower tuition for all Florida students and their support SB 1400. This means Governor Scott has caved into pressure to provide illegal aliens in-state tuition. All Florida students means illegal aliens at the expense of legal resident students.

According to a press release Scott, Bush and Bob Martinez are advocating for lowering tuition by advancing SB 1400, which would allow all Florida students, regardless of their background (illegals), to qualify for the in-state tuition rate.

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) notes that, “When immigration is viewed only racially and culturally, limits and legality will never be imposed.  The debate must focus on limitations and lawfulness, otherwise open borders will make the United States a marketplace and not a country.”

FILMEN states, “The bottom line nationally is that illegal immigration continues to hurt American families, take away jobs and depress wages of fathers and mothers who desperately want to support their children without going on welfare. The bottom line here in Florida is HB851/SB1400 will cause an unknown number of legal students to be displaced from college by illegal alien students. There is absolutely no estimate of the fiscal cost of college tuition subsidy for illegal aliens.”

Governor Scott said, “Students who have spent their childhood here in Florida deserve to qualify for the same in-state tuition rate at universities their peers and classmates do. We want our students to stay here in Florida when they go to college and when they choose a career, and that means we must make college more affordable for all those students who call Florida home. The Florida Senate should take immediate action to move SB 1400 forward.”

Forget the US and Florida Constitution. If you come to Florida you are now “entitled” to in state tuition.

Governor Bush, supporter of Common Core and potential presidential candidate in 2016, said, “We must keep and capitalize on the talent of all Florida students who want to attend our exceptional colleges and universities.  Punishing some children for their parents’ acts by creating obstacles to a college degree isn’t in their interests, or ours.  I urge the Florida Senate to do the right thing for our state and pass SB 1400.”

Governor Martinez said, “For Florida to continue to be a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom to people from all backgrounds, we must ensure our future generations are prepared for success. As a university trustee, I know this often starts with having access to a great higher education. I hope the Florida Senate and the full Florida Legislature support SB 1400 as a critical measure to continue to move our state forward.”

Nice sounding words but lackluster in defending resident and legal student slots in Florida universities and colleges.

RELATED STORY: Latest Trick for Illegal Immigrants: Granting Amnesty in Return for Military Service

Florida high school teacher fakes orgasm in class — and keeps her job by Allen West

Parents today have so many factors and variables working against them when it comes to a quality education for their children. As we all know, America has unfortunately fallen behind other countries in the world when it comes to academic achievement.

As a result, my wife Angela and I decided to invest in our daughters’ future by sending them to private parochial schooling. Aubrey graduated from a Catholic high school and Austen attends a Christian high school — not only is a quality education important but a moral one as well.

Hence the backdrop for another sad story coming out of Florida. Hat tip to LTC (Ret.) Dr. Rich Swier who reports that a language arts teacher at a Miami-Dade public high school actually simulated an orgasm in front of her students.

According to a recent Education Practices Commission of the State of Florida report, Christine Kirchner, who teaches at Coral Reef Senior High, regularly discussed sex, virginity and masturbation, simulated orgasm and gave massages to students in her language arts class during the 2012-13 school year.

Kirchner is no weird outlier. In 2008 she was appointed by the Miami-Dade School Board to the Lesson Plan Development Task Group. Kirchner was elected Vice President At-Large and sits on the Executive Board of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD).

For her actions, Kirchner was found guilty of “gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude” and in violation of “the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession.” Gee, ya think?

Her punishment? The Florida Department of Education accepted a “Settlement Agreement” which consists of a letter of reprimand and placing Kirchner on two years probation. Kirchner accepted the Settlement Agreement and will return to her classroom at Coral Reef High School and retain her position on the Executive Board of the UTD.

I’m quite sure the teacher’s union had a play in this case. Now, you can understand why parents are seeking out charter schools and homeschooling is on the rise. As well, you can understand why our public schools are failing our children and not preparing them with quality instruction promoting critical thinking skills.

So what’s your assessment? Should Ms. Kirchner return to the classroom, and is this just another case of dismissing and rewarding abhorrent behavior?

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

Climate Change: “Shut up!” is not very convincing science

It’s becoming difficult to keep up with the latest in man made climate change alarmism and the attempts to convince, intimidate, or persuade the rational among us. Following 2013’s admission by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that there has been a “pause” of over 17 years in “global warming”, confirmed by NASA, NOAA, and the UK Meteorological Office, the hysteria on the Left is rising. I don’t think I’m alone in recognizing this, Dr. Charles Krauthammer sees it too:

Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Post, demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced. (The Washington Post, April 10, 2014)

Some media outlets – unlike The Post – have already instituted the totalitarian policy as regards “climate disruption”, such as the LA Times and ABC, CBS, and NBC. This is being done because – according to the totalitarians – “the science is all settled” (Al Gore). Mr. Obama at least came up with a new (and insulting) formulation: “We don’t have time to argue with members of the Flat Earth Society.” This is, of course, completely contrary to the first principle of the Scientific Method, the motto of the Royal Society: “nullius in verba” (don’t take anybody’s word for it).

“Shut up!” is not very convincing science.

So now the propaganda is becoming more emotional, more devoid of any pretense of science. An example is a new Showtime Series, Years of Living Dangerously. The first episode aired Sunday, 13 April, featuring Harrison Ford and Don Cheadle of Hollywood, and Thomas Friedman, NY Times Columnist. Showtime apparently put $20 million into this effort and hired James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar to mastermind it. Cameron claims to support efforts to minimize climate change due to carbon dioxide (CO2), though his “carbon footprint” (like Ford’s and Friedman’s) is huge. In case you missed it, you can see it . Perhaps some people will find this approach more appealing than being told to shut up. I hesitate to say “more convincing.”

In YoLD, Don Cheadle (who apparently drew the short straw) goes to visit Plainview, Texas, where a meat-packing plant has closed, throwing many out of work and devastating the local economy. Drought has decimated cattle ranching; no cattle, no meat-packing. Cheadle determines to get to the bottom of this disaster, to determine whether this is “merely part of the natural cycle, or an Act of God, or could it have been caused by us?” Cheadle goes to visit an activist professor, Katherine Hayhoe, at nearby Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Katherine assures him it’s our fault – all that CO2 we emit, of course. Although west Texas is notorious for drought, as Hayhoe often points out, she says we’ve made it worse. Hayhoe even lists the possible “culprits” – natural cycles, the Sun, changes in Earth’s orbit, and geology (i.e. volcanoes) – before concluding it must be us and our CO2, because none of those other possible causes are responsible.

So what does cause West Texas to suffer through cycles of drought and flood?

Somehow Professor Hayhoe overlooked a natural cycle that every meteorologist and climatologist is aware of – a natural, 60-year cycle of warming and cooling in the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). You’ve probably heard of the individual events within the PDO, El Nino and La Nina. The below graphic, from NOAA, illustrates the circulation over the eastern Pacific during both conditions.

main_elnino1_080128_HI (1)

For a larger view click on the map.

During El Nino (top figure) the eastern Pacific is warm, allowing storms (with lots of evaporated moisture) to come straight onto the Southern California coast and to sweep across the Southwest – into West Texas and on into Florida. The very strong El Nino of 1983/1984 destroyed the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California; I believe it also suffered damage in the strong El Nino of 1997/1998. (El Nino – meaning in Spanish, “the child” typically forms in December and lasts into the next Summer.)

During La Nina (bottom figure) the eastern Pacific is cold, and many storms are routed northward into Oregon and Washington. That pattern leaves West Texas dry. We have been in a weak La Nina pattern for the last three years, because the PDO shifted into its cold phase around 2005. When the PDO is cold, La Nina is more common (though El Ninos do occur). And when the PDO is warm, El Nino is more common – though La Nina occurs occasionally.

Looking back through our recent climate history, the PDO was cold from about 1945 to about 1975. Texas suffered serious drought in the 1950’s. Remember the front page articles in TIME and Newsweek about the coming Little Ice Age? Climatologists didn’t recognize the 60 year PDO cycle until the mid-1990’s, at the University of Washington-Seattle. If you’d like to know more, visit their And from 1976 until 2005, the PDO was warm.

Does your memory go farther back? From 1945 back thirty years takes us to 1915, encompassing a warm PDO and the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930’s. Summers in the 1930’s were hot; in those years before air conditioning, hundreds of people perished of heat stroke across the country. Winters were very cold, like the Winter of 2013-2014, with many strong outbreaks of Arctic air, following the storms moving across the upper Midwest. As I’ve said before in these columns on climate change – and the phony claim that CO2 causes it – none of this is a secret.

There will be seven more episodes of Years of Living Dangerously, exploiting the misery of people who’ve lost their livelihood, or even their lives, due to natural climate change. Ironically, it looks like an El Nino is now forming in the Pacific – hopefully strong enough to push some Spring and Summer storms across the Southwest into Texas. Even if so, the trend for the next twenty years is not good for Plainview’s drought.

RELATED STORY: In Defense of Free Speech