Saturday, May 16, 2015

Watcher's Council Forum: Who Are Your Three Favorite Heroes In American History?

Each week the Watcher's Council hosts a forum as well as a weekly contest among the members for best post. This week's forum question is "Who Are Your Three Favorite Heroes In American History?" I have been kindly invited to respond.

The first great American hero is our deity, God, or at least our relationship to him through religion. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew was the first, in 1750, to argue that the source of our British rights was God and to articulate a doctrine that can be summed up in the phrase "resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." His writings spread throughout the colonies and were adopted in various forms by most of the "dissenting" religions. When, in 1775, Boston royalist Peter Oliver wrote of the causes of the Revolution, he placed the blame squarely on the "Black [robed] Regiment" of clergyman who so roused the colonists in righteous defiance against the British. It is fair to say that the dissenting clergy, from Georgia to Massachusetts, played an indispensable role in driving the Revolution. To paraphrase one Hessian soldier, this was not an American Revolution, it was a Presbyterian Revolution.

As late as January, 1776, it was not clear what we intended by our fight with the British. Most colonists still wanted no more than an adjustment of our relationship with Great Britain, not an independent nation. Yet in January, 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the best selling book our nation has ever seen on a per capita basis but for the Bible. In it, Paine used largely biblical arguments against the divine right of Kings to rule. His arguments electrified the nation, and set us almost immediately on the path that ended less than six months later in the Declaration of Independence.

And then there were at least two "acts of God" during the Revolution that were so fortuitous and unusual as ought to leave in the most hardened atheist with a bit of uneasiness. The first was at The Battle of Long Island. The British had decimated our forces and had surrounded Washington and his 9,000 men. Had the British completed their attack, the Revolution would likely have ended there. Washington ordered a night withdrawal by boat. That night, a very unusual fog descended on the area, one so dense that soldiers said they couldn't see further than 6 feet to their front. The fog allowed the withdraw to continue through night to the dawn and after, until all 9,000 soldiers had crossed to safety.

The second "act of God" occurred as the British, in June 1776, attempted to capture the wealthiest port city in the colonies, Charleston, S.C. Had Britain succeeded, the whole nature of the Revolution would have changed. The centerpiece of the colonist's defense of Charleston was a half built fort on Sullivan's Island that the British expected to easily defeat with an infantry attack across the ford separating Isle of Palms from Sullivan's Island, a ford at low tide that virtually never exceeded three feet. Yet in June, 1776, a highly unusual wind pattern developed and, even at low tide, the water at the ford was over 7 feet deep. With the British infantry stopped cold, the fort survived the most devastating bombardment of the war even while the colonists wreaked destruction on the British ships, saving Charleston from occupation for a critical three years.

And then, of course, it was this view of God as the source of our rights that animated our Founders. Our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not bestowed by man. They are natural rights that come from God. The first and most important hero of our nation must be God.

The second most important person in American history is George Washington. People who study the Revolution call him the "indispensable man," and that he was. He took charge of an army of amateurs and led them against the world's superpower of the era. He was in an impossible situation against impossible odds.

Washington was never a great military commander. He was outfoxed all too often on the battlefield. Indeed, by December 1776, he had been beaten so badly over the preceding six months that everyone on both sides thought the Revolution was over but for the signing of surrender documents. Yet Washington, a man whose persistence and refusal to surrender was inhuman, on Dec. 25, 1776, led a beaten force of 2,500 across the Delaware River in horrendous conditions. The next morning, his soldiers surprised the best light infantry forces in America, the Hessians at Trenton, and won a victory so stunning that it literally saved the Revolution.

And while Washington's command of the Continental Army over the next seven years was critically important, it was his actions at and after the end of the war that proved of importance equal to his victory at Trenton. The history of revolutions was equally a history of successful military commanders taking power as dictator or King, from Caesar to Cromwell. But not with George Washington, who not merely voluntarily relinquished all power at the end of the war, but put an end to a revolt of officers who had not been paid.

Then it was Washington, called out of retirement, who lent his credibility to the Constitutional Convention that resulted in the drafting of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. And while all knew that Washington would be elected President - he was elected to two terms with 100% of the electoral college votes - Washington easily could have chosen to be President for life. But instead, he opted to go back into retirement after two terms. Washington was a hero and perhaps the single man indispensable to the creation of our nation.

The third choice for American hero is harder. There are so many who could legitimately take this position. Let me just give it to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The history of America's treatment of blacks is indeed a mark on this nation. Even after the end of slavery and the enshrinement of equal rights in our Constitution at the end of the Civil War, racism and unequal treatment were still rampant in this nation. Rev. King was born in 1929. He did not start the Civil Rights movement, but he became its most important voice. He shamed white America with their failure to live up to the promise of this nation, enshrined in our first Founding document, The Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal." Dr. King brought a moral message that our nation could not ignore, and he pushed it relentlessly, at great danger to himself, and he did so with non-violence. His speech in 1963 in Washington D.C., now known as the "I Have A Dream" speech, is perhaps the most recognizable speech in our nation's history, and rightly so. He finished the speech with a stirring call for an America where people are judged "not . . . by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

In our unique nation, Rev. King's call for equality was not only a moral clarion call, but a necessity if we are to survive as a melting pot. Since Rev. King's death, the movement he started has been wholly bastardized by the left for their own ends. That does not in any way detract from Rev. King's message, indeed, it only increases the need for us fulfill his vision.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Toxic Fruit Of Race Hustling - Seeing The World "Through A Glass, Darkly"

Having spent a good portion of my life in the infantry, a true melting pot of races, I never saw racism nor the toxic effects of the left's racial politics until I left the military and entered civilian life. We were brothers and sisters in arms and all Americans. Nothing so perfectly captures that as this video of a retired MSG during the Baltimore riots.

The attitude displayed by that man is pervasive throughout the military. There is no victim group mentality among minorities in the military. Tragically, the same cannot be said of our nation outside the military. Blacks in the civilian world are fed a steady diet of propaganda that they are victims of pervasive racism in this country and that any problems common to their group are all as a result of external racism. They are literally programmed to view everything in life through the lens of their skin color and to interpret anything negative that occurs to be the result of external racism. It is a deeply distorted, toxic vision of life.

Exhibit No. One, from Walter Hudson writing at PJM:

A Facebook friend of mine just set the above image as his profile cover photo. He’s an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement whom I became acquainted with while working on an election issue in my state.

I look at this picture, and the first thing I think is: Wow. That’s… that’s really offensive.

Then I look at it some more. I think about it. Then I realize that for some people, like my Facebook friend, this accurately represents how they perceive the world in which they live.

We can criticize that. We can tell them that they are wrong to view the world that way. We can insist that things aren’t as bad as an image like this makes them out to be. And we may be right. But maybe we should stop and consider how terrifying life has to get for this to become your perception.

What do we do with that? How can we have anything approaching a productive conversation about race relations and criminal justice issues when starting from such divergent perceptions of the status quo?

What do we do indeed. The left's message, that racism is pervasive in America and the single major problem blacks face in this country is believed throughout, it would seem, much of the blacks in this nation at every socioeconomic level.

Exhibit No. Two is Michelle Obama. She is a woman who sees racism in innocent events and ready to claim racism at the drop of a hat. Indeed, as Ian Tuttle points out, for Ms. Obama, and indeed, for all of the left's victim's groups, the mere feeling of alienation is taken as proof positive of it's reality. In Ms. Obama's case, racism exists because she subjectively feels it, irrespective of reality.

Michelle Obama has led a charmed life, from attending Princeton and then Harvard Law to a successful career and now to First Lady. Racism has not held this woman back. And yet, in giving the Commencement Address to Tuskesgee University last weekend, she spoke of how hard her life has been having to endure racist sleights. It was astounding.

Exhibit No. Three is Saida Grundy, newly hired professor at Boston University, who seems quite the reverse racist -- something wholly tolerated on the left. Indeed, our universities seem full of such people, who teach grievance, hatred and the canard of pervasive racism as part of a curriculum. As to Ms. Grundy:

. . . [T]he Boston Globe reported some of the tweets: "why is white america so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?" and "every MLK week i commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible."

This is yet another woman who has apparently not been held back by racism, yet she sees all white males as a "problem?" Not merely is Ms. Grundy's philosophy abhorrent and insane, it is equally as abhorrent and insane that Boston University fully intends to employ this women to teach at the institution.

The left's goal is to keep America balkanized. They are certainly succeeding. And while the extinguishment of racism on any sort of appreciable scale in this country has seen significant portion of blacks in this country advance into the upper and middle class, there is a large substrata of blacks that have not:

By virtually every metric, while the lives of blacks have improved, and while many black individuals have been able to embrace the opportunities this country has to offer, a very substantial portion of blacks have not. It is obscene that, in America, some 25% of blacks live in poverty. It is obscene that, where in 1965, less than 30% of black children were born into a single parent family,that number is now over 70%. It is obscene that that 30 to 40 percent of inner city kids don’t graduate from school, and a very substantial number who do graduate are functionally illiterate. It is obscene that blacks are seven times more likely to commit violent crime than other races. And it is obscene that these problems are cyclical. Nothing the left has done for blacks has broken this cycle, and it all portends to get much worse as cities, where large numbers of blacks congregate and many of whom take public sector jobs, fall into bankruptcy and economic chaos from the failure of the blue political / economic model.

As toxic as the fruit of race hustling is on the left to keep blacks balkanized and feeling victimized by racism, the penultimate cost of that effort is being paid first and foremost by blacks themselves. And for every black in the civilian world that climbs into the middle or upper class, one has to wonder how many are held back nursing grievance politics instead of focusing on the opportunities available to them.

When the blacks rioted in Baltimore last month, doing millions of dollars in damage to the businesses and stores that serve their neighborhoods, they were acting out over perceived racial conflict with the police that led to the death of Freddie Gray. To put that into perspective, there are a host of problems affecting blacks in inner city Baltimore, from poverty to unemployment to single parent homes and high crime. Freddie Gray was one of 87 homicides having occurred in Baltimore City already this year. The reality is that a black living in Baltimore City has exponentially more to fear from other blacks than they ever have to fear from the police. Yet none of these other homicides send people out into the street or raise the community in arms to try and stop this devastation in their communities. It is only because blacks are fed a steady diet of victimhood and grievance politics that they are primed to riot, rather than address the real problems they face.

We'll give the last word to a man living in "the hood," as he describes it, Mr. Eric Thomas:


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Bovine Revolution Has Begun

One of my favorite novelty songs of all time, Cows With Gun. Enjoy:


Twenty Two Climate Truths & One Rant (Updated)

From WUWT, a particularly good summary of the gaping holes in Anthropogenic Global Warming theory (hereinafter, "AGW"):

The 22 Inconvenient Truths

1. The Mean Global Temperature has been stable since 1997, despite a continuous increase of the CO2 content of the air: how could one say that the increase of the CO2 content of the air is the cause of the increase of the temperature? (discussion: p. 4)

2. 57% of the cumulative anthropic emissions since the beginning of the Industrial revolution have been emitted since 1997, but the temperature has been stable. How to uphold that anthropic CO2 emissions (or anthropic cumulative emissions) cause an increase of the Mean Global Temperature?

[Note 1: since 1880 the only one period where Global Mean Temperature and CO2 content of the air increased simultaneously has been 1978-1997. From 1910 to 1940, the Global Mean Temperature increased at about the same rate as over 1978-1997, while CO2 anthropic emissions were almost negligible. Over 1950-1978 while CO2 anthropic emissions increased rapidly the Global Mean Temperature dropped. From Vostok and other ice cores we know that it’s the increase of the temperature that drives the subsequent increase of the CO2 content of the air, thanks to ocean out-gassing, and not the opposite. The same process is still at work nowadays] (discussion: p. 7)

3. The amount of CO2 of the air from anthropic emissions is today no more than 6% of the total CO2 in the air (as shown by the isotopic ratios 13C/12C) instead of the 25% to 30% said by IPCC. (discussion: p. 9)

4. The lifetime of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere is about 5 years instead of the 100 years said by IPCC. (discussion: p. 10)

5. The changes of the Mean Global Temperature are more or less sinusoidal with a well defined 60 year period. We are at a maximum of the sinusoid(s) and hence the next years should be cooler as has been observed after 1950. (discussion: p. 12)

6. The absorption of the radiation from the surface by the CO2 of the air is nearly saturated. Measuring with a spectrometer what is left from the radiation of a broadband infrared source (say a black body heated at 1000°C) after crossing the equivalent of some tens or hundreds of meters of the air, shows that the main CO2 bands (4.3 µm and 15 µm) have been replaced by the emission spectrum of the CO2 which is radiated at the temperature of the trace-gas. (discussion: p. 14)

7. In some geological periods the CO2 content of the air has been up to 20 times today’s content, and there has been no runaway temperature increase! Why would our CO2 emissions have a cataclysmic impact? The laws of Nature are the same whatever the place and the time. (discussion: p. 17)

8. The sea level is increasing by about 1.3 mm/year according to the data of the tide-gauges (after correction of the emergence or subsidence of the rock to which the tide gauge is attached, nowadays precisely known thanks to high precision GPS instrumentation); no acceleration has been observed during the last decades; the raw measurements at Brest since 1846 and at Marseille since the 1880s are slightly less than 1.3 mm/year. (discussion: p. 18)

9. The “hot spot” in the inter-tropical high troposphere is, according to all “models” and to the IPCC reports, the indubitable proof of the water vapour feedback amplification of the warming: it has not been observed and does not exist. (discussion: p. 20)

10. The water vapour content of the air has been roughly constant since more than 50 years but the humidity of the upper layers of the troposphere has been decreasing: the IPCC foretold the opposite to assert its “positive water vapour feedback” with increasing CO2. The observed “feedback” is negative. (discussion: p.22)

11. The maximum surface of the Antarctic ice-pack has been increasing every year since we have satellite observations. (discussion: p. 24)

12. The sum of the surfaces of the Arctic and Antarctic icepacks is about constant, their trends are phase-opposite; hence their total albedo is about constant. (discussion: p. 25)

13. The measurements from the 3000 oceanic ARGO buoys since 2003 may suggest a slight decrease of the oceanic heat content between the surface and a depth 700 m with very significant regional differences. (discussion: p. 27)

14. The observed outgoing longwave emission (or thermal infrared) of the globe is increasing, contrary to what models say on a would-be “radiative imbalance”; the “blanket” effect of CO2 or CH4 “greenhouse gases” is not seen. (discussion:p. 29)

15. The Stefan Boltzmann formula does not apply to gases, as they are neither black bodies, nor grey bodies: why does the IPCC community use it for gases ? (discussion: p. 30)

16. The trace gases absorb the radiation of the surface and radiate at the temperature of the air which is, at some height, most of the time slightly lower that of the surface. The trace-gases cannot “heat the surface“, according to the second principle of thermodynamics which prohibits heat transfer from a cooler body to a warmer body. (discussion: p. 32)

17. The temperatures have always driven the CO2 content of the air, never the reverse. Nowadays the net increment of the CO2 content of the air follows very closely the inter-tropical temperature anomaly. (discussion: p. 33)

18. The CLOUD project at the European Center for Nuclear Research is probing the Svensmark-Shaviv hypothesis on the role of cosmic rays modulated by the solar magnetic field on the low cloud coverage; the first and encouraging results have been published in Nature. (discussion: p. 36)

19. Numerical “Climate models” are not consistent regarding cloud coverage which is the main driver of the surface temperatures. Project Earthshine (Earthshine is the ghostly glow of the dark side of the Moon) has been measuring changes of the terrestrial albedo in relation to cloud coverage data; according to cloud coverage data available since 1983, the albedo of the Earth has decreased from 1984 to 1998, then increased up to 2004 in sync with the Mean Global Temperature. (discussion: p. 37)

20. The forecasts of the “climate models” are diverging more and more from the observations. A model is not a scientific proof of a fact and if proven false by observations (or falsified) it must be discarded, or audited and corrected. We are still waiting for the IPCC models to be discarded or revised; but alas IPCC uses the models financed by the taxpayers both to “prove” attributions to greenhouse gas and to support forecasts of doom. (discussion: p. 40)

21. As said by IPCC in its TAR (2001) “we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Has this state of affairs changed since 2001? Surely not for scientific reasons. (discussion: p. 43)

22. Last but not least the IPCC is neither a scientific organization nor an independent organization: the summary for policy makers, the only part of the report read by international organizations, politicians and media is written under the very close supervision of the representative of the countries and of the non-governmental pressure groups.

The governing body of the IPCC is made of a minority of scientists almost all of them promoters of the environmentalist ideology, and a majority of state representatives and of non-governmental green organizations. (discussion: p. 46)

Do read the entire post along with the explanatory appendix. This is as good a summary as I've seen in some time. The first two facts noted by the author are really the meat of it all. The foundational theory of AGW is that, as more CO2 is pumped into our atmosphere, temperatures will rise proportionately. There is no support for this theory in the historical record predating modern temperature records, nor does the theory find any empirical support in the modern records, given that we have been pumping large amounts of CO2 into the air since 1997 with NO corresponding rise in temperature.

I am always amazed when the left, most of whom seem to embrace the AGW theory, accuse the right of being "anti-science" or "science deniers." It stands reality on its head. In a sane world, the gaping holes in AGW theory would lead scientists to discard the theory and start anew. The reality is that, as more facts show the fatal flaws with AGW theory, the left just becomes more strident in trying to shut down debate and in their claims that "the science is settled."

The truth is that there is much more than science at stake for the AGW crowd. For a very significant number of players, there are hundreds of billions of dollars at play in this scam, whether from carbon credits, renewable energy scams, cushy jobs at foundations, or even outright transfers of wealth from wealthy countries to third world nations (all to be administered by the UN, of course). And there seem to be more than a few watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside) pushing this AGW canard for whom the thought of saving Gaia comes with an underlying motivation to do away with capitalism and democracy. Then there are the scientists riding the gravy train of grants and recognition who have, in some cases, falsified or presented deeply misleading research, as well as attempted to severely restrict the voices of any who would raise questions about AGW. And lastly, there are the useful idiots at the bottom who unthinkingly embrace AGW and go to bed thinking themselves not only morally superior for doing so, but as they are constantly told by AGW cheerleaders, much smarter than those on the right who object to AGW on the basis of unreliable and contrary data.

No area of science is more bastardized than "climate science." I have no problems following science experiments wherever they might lead, so long as the scientific method is practiced. But all too often in climate science, there is a complete failure in this regards. It is criminal the number of climate scientists who fail to adhere to the scientific method, trying to claim peer review as the gold standard of reliability rather than a complete posting of their experiment in such detail as to allow for reproduction and verification by other scientists. Even as I write this, the EPA is preparing to issue regulations that will cost our economy tens of billions of dollars, and which regulations are based on "secret science" that has never been made public so as to subject it to reproduction or verification. It is a mockery to call it "science." It is faith being sold as science.

Yet another significant concern I have is with the numerous unexplained changes to the historical record of our temperature data, something that Jim Hansen, then at NASA, started doing in the late 90's and which continues to this day. As it stands, I have no faith whatsoever in the historical temperature record relied upon by the UN IPCC. Though, it should be noted, those records only begin about the 1880's, with the first relatively reliable efforts to collect data from thermometers.

This is not an academic debate about AGW. People's lives across the world are being effected by this scam. Hundreds of billions of dollars that could be used productively are being wasted in this fraud. Economies are being strangled by regulations designed to drive out a trace gas necessary for life on this planet. It is a travesty and, indeed, criminal. A very large number of people need to be jailed over this fraud.

Update: A perfect illustration of why such green energy scams are unforgivable in their impacts on people's lives comes from Germany:

According to EU data, Germany’s average residential electricity rate is 29.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This is approximately double the 14.2 cents and 15.9 cents per kWh paid by residents of Germany’s neighbors Poland and France, respectively, and almost two and a half times the U.S. average of 12 cents per kWh. Germany’s industrial electricity rate of 16 cents per kWh is also much higher than France’s 9.6 cents or Poland’s 8.3 cents. The average German per capita electricity consumption is 0.8 kilowatts. At a composite rate of 24 cents per kWh, this works out to a yearly bill of $1,700 per person, experienced either directly in utility bills or indirectly through increased costs of goods and services. The median household income in Germany is $33,000, so if we assume an average of two people per household, the electricity cost would amount to more than 10 percent of available income. And that is for the median-income household. The amount of electricity that people need does not scale in proportion to their paychecks. For the rich, $1,700 per year in electric bills might be a pittance, or at most a nuisance. But for the poor who are just scraping by, such a burden is simply brutal.

HT: Instapundit

While here at home, we are but a half step behind Germany:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to finalize its Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 30% from 2005 levels over the next 15 years. Looking at some of the best-case scenarios for CO2 reductions, the plan could potentially cut roughly 300 million tons of CO2 annually. Because global man-made CO2 emissions reach roughly 30 billion tons annually, it’s estimated that the EPA plan could result in a possible 1% reduction in annual man-made CO2. Overall, man-made CO2 accounts for only 4% of total atmospheric CO2. So the true atmospheric reduction in CO2 from the EPA plan would be approximately 0.04%. The cost for this plan is estimated at $50 billion annually, with the loss of roughly 15,000 U.S. jobs each year. Increases in household utility bills could reach $100 billion annually.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Wolf Bytes: The Freedom To Draw Mohammed

The picture above, drawn by former Muslim Bosch Fawstin, was chosen as the winner of the Draw Mohammed contest held in Garland, Texas on 3 May 2015.

UN Reveals Horrifying Islamist Sex Markets

From Allen West's blog:

Yes, Islamists are terribly offended by pictures of Mohammed, but they don’t seem to have much problem with enslaving, raping and brutalizing women. Nope, that’s just business as usual – at least according to a report prepared by a United Nations official.

As reported by the Daily Mail, “an Islamic State terrorist group forced a sex slave to marry 20 fighters and even made her undergo surgery each time to restore her virginity, a United Nations official said.

The group paraded and traded Syrian and Iraqi girls in ‘slave markets’ before the victims were shipped to other provinces, according to Zainab Bangura, special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, who travelled to five countries and interviewed dozens of women and young girls who had survived brutal sexual abuse.

She said the girls were routinely stripped naked before being categorized and shipped off.

‘ISIL have institutionalized sexual violence and the brutalization of women as a central aspect of their ideology and operations, using it as a tactic of terrorism to advance their key strategic objectives. . . .

I am waiting for all the neo-Stalinist left, including the radical feminists in the U.S., to immediately rush to condemn these atrocities and the Salafi ideology being used to justify them in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

"PAM GELLER IS AN ISLAMAPHOBE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF TWO MUSLIM MEN (who wanted to commit mass murder)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Okay, not the condemnation I was expecting. Actually, for the most part, that has been the response from the left. But to give credit where credit is due, see the next eye-opening entry below:

Salon Author Says It Is Time Progressives Faced The Truth About Islam

After a full throated defense of Pam Geller, and in between a slander of all three monotheistic religions, Jeffrey Taylor at Salon writes:

What is it about Islam that simultaneously both motivates jihadis to kill and so many progressives to exculpate the religion, even when the killers leave no doubt about why they act? The second part of the question is easier to dispense with than the first. Progressives by nature seek common ground and believe people to be mostly rational actors – hence the desire to blame crime on social ills. Unfamiliarity with Islam’s tenets also plays a role, plus, I believe, the frightening future we would seem to be facing as more and more Muslims immigrate to the West, and the world becomes increasingly integrated. Best just to talk of poverty and the like, or a few “bad apples.” But to respond to the question’s first part, we need to put aside our p.c. reading glasses and examine Islam’s basic elements from a rationalist’s perspective. Islam as a faith would not concern progressives, except that some of its adherents choose to act as parts of its dogma ordain, which, to put it mildly, violates the social contract underpinning the lives of the rest of us. . . .

The canonical glorification of death for the sake Islam, or martyrdom, similarly belies those who would argue that the religion’s nature is pacific. . . .

All those who, à la Reza Aslan, maintain that Muslims today do not necessarily read the Quran literally have lost the argument before it begins. What counts is that there are those (ISIS, say, and al-Qaida) who do, and they are taking action based on their beliefs. To the contention, “ISIS and al-Qaida don’t represent Islam!” the proper response is, “that’s what you say. They disagree.” No single recognized Muslim clerical body exists to refute them. . . .

Islam’s doctrinaire positions on women are infamous enough to merit no repetition here. Their sum effect is to render women chattel to men, as sex objects and progenitors of offspring, and foster the most misogynistic conditions on the planet: nineteen of twenty of the worst countries for women, according to the World Economic Forum, are Muslim-majority. Some Muslim countries are deemed more progressive than others, but their progressivity varies inversely with the extent to which Islam permeates their legal codes and customary laws – the less, the better. Not liberal at all, that.

The above are the stark doctrinal and practical realities of which no honest progressive could approve, and which form the bases of the religion. Regardless of what the peaceful majority of Muslims are doing, as ISIS’s beguiling ideology spreads, we are likely to face an ever more relentless, determined Islamist assault. We can delude ourselves no longer: violence is an emergent property deriving from Islam’s inherently intolerant precepts and dogma. The rising number of ethnic Europeans mesmerized by Islam who set off to enroll in the ranks of ISIS attests to this; and may prefigure serious disruptions, especially in France, the homeland of a good number of them, once they start returning. There is nothing “phobic” about recognizing this. Recognize it we must, and steel ourselves for what’s to come.

This is no call to disrespect Muslims as people, but we should not hesitate to speak frankly about the aspects of their faith we find problematic. . . .

. . . We must stop traducing reason by branding people “Islamophobes,” and start celebrating our secularism, remembering that only it offers true freedom for the religious and non-religious alike. And we should reaffirm our humanistic values, in our conviction that we have, as Carlyle wrote, “One life – a little gleam of time between two eternities,” and need to make the most of it for ourselves and others while we can. There is nothing else.

This is not a battle we have chosen; the battle has chosen us.

It’s time to fight back, and hard.

Amen. That should be required reading for all the progs in this land, as well as, it would seem, several blowhards on the right. Yes, Congressman King and Bill O'Reilly, I'm talking to you.

Kirsten Powers & How The Left Is Killing Free Speech

Today's left can best be described as neo-Stalinist. They are enemies of freedom of speech and would much prefer to demonize rather than debate. Gone from the left are such American icons as Scoop Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. But their breed is not completely extinguished. Some exemplars remain, most notably Kirsten Powers, a Fox News contributor as well as a columnist for USA Today and the Daily Beast. She and her new book, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, are the subject of very good article by Peter Berkowitz at RCP.

. . . This is not to say that all members of the left today are instinctively intolerant and bent on stifling liberty of thought and discussion. Yet all too rare is the contemporary liberal who is instinctively appalled by the contempt for speech emanating from Democratic Party politicians, the university world and elite media, and who is willing to call his or her comrades to account.

Kirsten Powers is one of these rare liberals. In "The Silencing,” she methodically documents—and exposes the hypocrisy, incoherence, and sheer contempt for evidence and argument that underlie—the delegitimization of dissent that has become the stock in trade of what she characterizes as the "illiberal left." . . .

Kirsten Powers is one of these rare liberals. In "The Silencing,” she methodically documents—and exposes the hypocrisy, incoherence, and sheer contempt for evidence and argument that underlie—the delegitimization of dissent that has become the stock in trade of what she characterizes as the "illiberal left."

Because she is intellectually honest, while I disagree with her more often than not, I always have to make sure that my disagreements are on sound footing and give due consideration to her arguments. She is a voice of reason to be taken seriously by people on both sides of the aisle.

The Regulatory Bureaucracy

Nothing pushes my hot button more than talk of our regulatory agencies and their unconstitutional abuse of power, something I bang the drum about constantly. But beyond that is their practical effect. Powerline explains here:

The regulation of low-cost competitive street retail isn’t limited just to food service where legitimate health concerns come into play; according to a report from the Institute for Justice, 45 of the nation’s 50 largest cities maintain extensive regulation of mobile vending of a wide range of products with no health risks at all (such as handmade clothing), “making it needlessly difficult or even impossible to set up shop in many cities.” Somehow the “disparate impact” these regulatory schemes have on lower-income minorities never reaches the threshold of a civil rights issue.

Bookworm Room, in a brilliant post several years ago that I cannot find at the moment, made the point that the only legitimate use of regulation was to protect us against those dangers that are not open and obvious to a reasonable person. All too often, regulations are misused to protect business from competition or to enforce ideological goals, neither of which is a legitimate use of the regulatory power. Were we ever to apply Ms. Bookworm's rule of thumb, I would imagine we could do away with upward of 75% of the regulations now crushing down upon us.

Malarial Parasites With Woodies

There is an article today at Real Clear Science, "Viagra Could Halt Malaria By 'Stiffening' Infected Cells." Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that enters the human blood stream through the bite of a mosquito. It then reproduces in vast numbers, causing debilitating, potentially even deadly illness. It is a scourge in many countries, particularly Africa, so this is big news.

If you read into the article though, you'll find that the viagra isn't affecting cells, it's affecting the parasites. It is, in essence, giving them a woody, which, it just so happens, makes it easier for the spleen to trap the parasites, stopping reproduction. There is something just so, so wrong about giving any male the gift of wood, then using said woody to entrap him. But I guess that is human nature, is it not. From humans to parasites apparently, males sporting wood oft are easily led astray.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Watcher's Council Forum: How Will The Supreme Court Rule On Same-Sex Marriage?

Each week, the Watcher's Council hosts a forum on a topic du jour, as well as a weekly contest among the members for best post. This week's forum question is "how will the Supreme Court rule on same sex marriage?" I have kindly been invited to respond.

Update: The forum is now posted here. Do click over to see how the rest of the respondents answered this question.

The Supreme Court is currently considering same sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. I expect that they will decide the case by discovering that there is a right to gay marriage in the Constitution. It has been, they will claim, perfectly hidden in plain sight in the Constitution for a century and a half.

I also expect the Court's decision to break the camel's back as these supremely arrogant judges force left wing social policy down the throat of this nation and begin a final, direct assault on the rights of conscience of the religious in our land. If you thought the activist Roe v. Wade decision caused turmoil, I can assure you, you haven't seen anything yet. As Bookworm Room pointed out some time ago, unlike with abortion, this decision will, for the first time in our nation's history, make it unlawful to live by the same Judeo-Christian beliefs that have been part of our nation since the Founding.

As I pointed out in The Supreme Court: Originalism, Judicial Activism, & America's Future, there are two schools of Constitutional interpretation, originalism and activism:

Originalists attempt to interpret the Constitution by determining what the people who drafted it and voted for it understood it to mean at the time. An intellectually honest originalist does not announce new policy, he or she interprets history and precedent. That is a bit oversimplified - originalism is certainly not always that clean and can become muddled as precedent builds (and see the discussion here). But because there is always a strong bias to stay limited to what the Constitution says and what the drafters meant, it provides a carefully circumscribed role for unelected judges, thus paying the maximum deference to democracy.

When a Court stops interpreting the meaning of the Constitution and starts to impose its own policy views under the color of a "living constitution," it transforms into a Politburo legislating by fiat. Judicial activists and the left who champions them are the people who see an activist Court as a way around democracy and an irreplaceable tool to remake society.

The left has been relying on judicial activism for the past century to work fundamental, unconstitutional and non-democratic changes to our society, and they have engaged in what has amounted to a jihad on the Judeo-Christian religions. Finding that a right to homosexual marriage has been hiding in the Fourteenth Amendment for the past 147 years would set the stage for the last step in that jihad.

The Fourteenth Amendment holds, in relevant part, that "[n]o State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" - the so called Equal Protection clause. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, in the wake of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, for the purpose of insuring that blacks were treated to no legal disability in this nation. There is no evidence whatsoever that those who passed this law intended its provisions to extend to homosexuality. To the contrary, homosexuality was then under legal disability throughout most of the states. To claim now that the Equal Protection clause includes homosexual marriage in its ambit is to make an utter mockery of the Constitution and our system of government. This is not a nation of laws; it is now a nation subject to the whims of activist judges who, in acts of supreme arrogance, corrupt our entire government when they impose social policy at odds with the will of the people of this nation and their elected representatives.

What should happen is that the nine members of the Supreme Court should examine intent of those who drafted and voted for passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. That would inevitably lead to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a "right" enshrined in the 14th Am., and that that there is no Constitutional right to homosexual marriage. The only way to change that at the federal level is through a Constitutional Amendment as set forth in Article V. Barring that, because the Constitution does not concern itself with homosexuality or marriage, this is an issue of social policy that, per the Xth Amendment, should be left to the states. Period.

But what we have on the Court today are at least four judges who live to impose their left wing social policy preferences on our nation, and Justice Kennedy, who has shown himself ready to join the four in support of homosexuality and against the rights of the religious in this nation. Two years ago, Kennedy and the other four struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and refused to hear an appeal seeking to uphold California's referendum on Section 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Last year the Supreme Court let stand a New Mexico decision punishing a Christian photographer targeted by the gay mafia for refusing to photorgaph a gay wedding ceremony. The handwriting is on the wall on this one. We'll see what follows after.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Missing The Salafi Forest & The War Of Ideas Through Pam Geller's Trees

Seth Leibsohn: I want to get to . . . the appropriateness . . . of [Pam Geller's "Draw Mohammed" contest] on Sunday even before the shooting began. . . .

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser: Well, I do think, the analogy I like to use is a drunk who's walking through the streets and has anger and violent tendencies. Then someone decides to go up and poke him in the eye and . . . where is the problem? The problem is in the drunk. Why is he drinking, why does he have a substance problem and why is he violent. And that's what I'm dedicated to. Now, was it smart to poke him in the eye? I guess yes. He's running fifty-six countries and a quarter of the world's population, and he's distributing in an organized fashion that toxin that I call political Islam through a draconian form of Shariah [law] that needs reform, I think it's relevant . . .

Russ Douthat said it the best, in the NYT of all places, in January when he wrote a piece on the "blasphemy we need." He wrote that, if a large enough group . . . is willing to kill you for saying something, then it is something that certainly needs to be said. . . .

The greatest blasphemy in Islam is denying God, and these people aren't killing atheist conventions. . . . If you go to the Supreme Court in [Washington, D.C.], there are busts of people who have contributed to Western law. There is a bust in the Supreme Court . . . of Mohammed - at our Supreme Court. No one is having a big deal out of that. So the issue is Islamo-nationalism. The criticism of the Prophet Mohammed through a caricature is like burning the Islamist flag, and that's why they get all enraged. It's nothing about major theological offense. Yes, we can't have images of the prophet because of fear of deification of Mohammed, but it's all about theo-politics and not about, necessarily, theology. . . .

Seth Leibsohn radio interview of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, 5 May 2015.

. . . Salafism robs young Muslims of their soul, it turns Western communities against them, and it can end in civil war as Muslims attempt to implement shari'a in their host countries. A peaceful interpretation of Islam is possible, but the Salafi establishment is currently blocking moderate theological reform. The civilized world ought to recognize the immense danger that Salafi Islam poses; it must become informed, courageous and united if it is to protect both a generation of young Muslims and the rest of humanity from the disastrous consequences of this militant ideology.

Tawfiq Hamid, Egyptian born physician, former terrorist and now author, 2008, Interview in the Jerusalem Post

Pam Geller's 'Draw Mohammed' contest does not raise a legitimate issue of freedom of speech. No one can contest that, under the First Amendment, she has a right to hold such a contest. That is a no brainer. The argument that has been raised by some on the left is that Geller's speech is likely to cause violence by those who are perpetually outraged. Anyone who knows the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence knows that such is not a legitimate ground to stop Ms. Geller's speech. What is really going on here is that our neo-Stalinist left would like to shut down any speech that they don't agree with or that in any way criticizes one of their victim's groups. Give them the finger and move on; their arguments are not worthy of anything more than ridicule.

Update: Megyn Kelly, Alan Dershowitz and others agree with my assessment of Constitutional law on this issue:

Everyone seems to be missing the far more important issue - that what is going on here is a "war of ideas" in Islam and our government has ceded that war to the enemy. Pam Geller's contest demonstrated it. Dr. Jasser explains what is actually happening -- that the Salafists' who demonstrate murderous outrage over the Draw Mohammed contest have no moral standing and their outrage is not theological in its nature, it is political. It is the murderous outrage that comes from Salafist Muslims bent on stopping any criticism of their toxic, triumphalist, and politicized interpretation of Islam and bent on preventing any reform, even as they spill blood by the tons around the world in an effort to impose a caliphate. Countering that requires engaging in the war of ideas.

There is little doubt that Obama has - and continues to - completely mishandle of our engagement in the Middle East. But even more harmful has been his utter retreat from any engagement in the war of ideas, to the point, one, of refusing to call Islamic terrorism by its name, and two, by excusing Islamic terrorism on the grounds of moral equivalence with the Crusades of near a millennium ago.

As I wrote in 2009 and as still very much applicable today:

The physical war on terror is necessary to stop the [threat] of immediate [attacks to our nation]. But it is in the war of ideas that the true battle lies, for if we do not stop the radicalization of Muslims, then the war on terror will never end. Ultimately, as Tom Friedman recently opined, this is a battle that must be fought within the four corners of Islam itself. But that said, we have an existential motivation to insure that the "good side" wins. This is made all the more critical because the good side, if you will, is not winning. The ideology at the heart of [ISIS,] al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups is very much still on the advance.

The threshold issue in the war of ideas is to identify who, as a group, constitutes “radicalized Muslims.” Islam, like Christianity, is subdivided into numerous different sects, many of which, such as Sufi for example, are peaceful and counsel coexistence. Individually, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world, most of whom would make good citizens, good friends, good neighbors and good family members in the West. Only a portion of them become “radicalized” whether as members of al Qaeda, [ISIS,] or some of the other radical Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and Jamat-I-Islami to name but a few. Those who belong to these groups do in fact share a common thread – virtually all are adherents to the Salafi/Wahhabi school of Islam or a school, such as Deobandi, that has been heavily influenced in all relevant respects by Salafism.

There was a time when Salafism was confined to the back waters of Arabia. That changed when the tribe of Saud, in partnership with the tribe of Waahab, conquered Arabia in the 1930's. Within decades, the Sauds became incredibly wealthy on oil. Now, they spend billions annually exporting Salafi clerics, schools and textbooks to the four corners of the world. Consequently, Salafism is becoming the dominant form of Islam and is effecting every major school of Islam. As I wrote in a prior post:

According to official Saudi information, Saudi funds have been used to build and maintain over 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic Centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. The North American Islamic Trust - a Wahhabi Salafi organization, owns between 50% and 80% of all mosques in North America. And Salafists are, in many cases, taking over existing Mosques throughout the world. Some very informative expamples include Belgium, Somalia, and Indonesia. And indeed, the Saudi Salafi Islam now exerts significant influence on our educational system, all the way from grade school to university. . . .

The West's premier orientalist, Professor Bernard Lewis - the man who coined the term "clash of civilizations" half a century ago and who predicted the rise of Islamic terrorism years prior to 9-11 - writes in his book "The Crisis of Islam" that the ideology of [Saudi Arabia's] Wahhabi / Salafi Islam is many times worse than that of the“KKK” in terms of bigotry and violence (p. 129). . . . The NYPD, in a 2007 report, “Radicalization In The West” documented Salafism as the common thread and motivating force behind terrorist attacks in the West. Zhudi Jasser, a Muslim reformist, writes on the dangers of Salafism and the efforts to engage it in the war of ideas here. The Center For Islamic Pluralism, a "a think tank that challenges the dominance of American Muslim life by militant Islamist groups," maintains a section on their website called "Wahhabi Watch." Perhaps the most cogent description of Salfism goes back a century, to the observations of Winston Churchill:

A large number of Bin Saud's followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the fiercest times of [Europe's] religious wars.

The Wahhabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahhabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.

It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood-thirsty, in their own regions the Wahhabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Salafism has remained virtually unchanged since Churchill's observations. It was only a few years ago that the Saudi courts, applying Salafi Sharia law, ordered the victim of a brutal gang rape to suffer 200 lashes and six months in jail for being outside of her home without the escort of a male family member. To this day, hunting witches and breaking spells are the top duties of the Salafi religious police and, when witches are "caught," they are ritually slaughtered. In the Salafi culture of Saudi Arabia, it has been less than 20 years since the kingdom's senior cleric, the Grand Mufti issued a fatwah declaring "the earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment." And then there is the well known Salafi edict that anyone who converts from Islam is to be slaughtered.

As I pointed out in a post here, Islam, unlike Christianity, is a religion that has never gone through a Rennisance, a Reformation or a Period of Enlightenment. And while the mechanism - itjihad - exists that could lead to such an event, the reality is that Salafists are fighting any change to their interpretations of the Koran and Sunnah with every tool at their disposal, up to and including "slaughtering the takfirs." Moreover, they are using the UN to push for blasphemy laws that would shut down all criticism of Salafism in the Western world.

The vitriol, bigotry, and triumphalism of Salafism are taught to students in schools and madrassas across the world – including in American Islamic schools and Salafi prison ministries. Salafi Islam teaches that its adherents can freely murder non-Muslims or enslave them and rape them. Moreover, Salafists hold that challenging their existing Salafi Koranic interpretations are "redda (apostasy) punishable by death . . ." And indeed, for specific references to these doctrines being taught in a Saudi school in Virginia, read the USCIFR report here.

Salafism is the religion of [ISIS], the religion of [al Qaeda], the religion of all the 9-11 hijackers. That said, nothing that I write here is to suggest that all or a majority of Salafists should be stigmatized as radical. But the simple reality we ignore at our peril is that it is from the wellspring of Salafism that virtually all the radicalism of the Muslim world arises.

In the war of ideas, one of the most important steps that Obama could take would be to publicly shine a light on Salafism, both as the feeder for radical Islam and for the barbarity of some of its dogma. That would go very far to starting the type of discussion that could actually bring some semblance of evolution and peaceful change to Salafism. Ignoring Salafism - which, according to ex-CIA agent Bob Baer we have done ever since the 1970's when the Saudi's first began to buy influence in the American body politic - allows it to metastasize in the dark. And it is metastasizing at rapid speed today on the back of Saudi petrodollars. That is a recipe for disaster.

No one should be asking, as a result of Pam Geller's "Draw Mohammed" contest, whether anyone has a First Amendment right to criticize, in any way, shape or form, Saudi Arabia's Salafi Islam. They should be asking why our President is not engaging Islamists in the war of ideas and why he is ceding that ground to the Salafists. It is a mistake that our children and their progeny will be paying dearly for in the decades to come.

Update: Pat Condell discusses a related Mo-toon incident in the UK. It is an exceptional rant.


Hangovers, They Are Not Just For Humans

Sad to say, but humans aren't the only species with a taste for alcohol, nor the only species to suffer hangovers in the aftermath of a bender. This is the carnage wrought in the animal kingdom the morning after a really fun party at the zoo (H/T Bookworm Room):


The Disaster That Is The Obama Recovery

This from the WSJ:

The U.S. economy reported a 1.9% drop in productivity in the first quarter of the year, underscoring the trend of historically slow productivity growth in the current recovery. The slowdown isn’t entirely understood, but one certain cause is slower than usual business investment. Money that could go to wealth-creating innovations is going instead to financial deal-making.

Companies have announced more than $1.3 trillion of mergers and acquisitions world-wide so far this year, a surge of 23% from the same period last year and the most since the financial crisis. It’s not irrational exuberance that’s driving many of today’s deals—just the opposite. With fewer opportunities for growth but plenty of credit available to fund deals, mergers are often the most sensible way for a company to expand. . . .

In the U.S., the combination of loose monetary policy and restrictive government has created one of the great ironies of the Obama era. The labor-force participation rate of 62.7% persists at a 1978 level, and Americans who have jobs see little wage growth. But it’s a boom time for the Wall Streeters Mr. Obama vilifies, especially the attorneys and financiers who arrange corporate mergers.

Small companies are also struggling to find new customers and markets. A recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Business shows that the availability of credit is not the problem; business owners aren’t borrowing because they don’t know what to do with the money. Merely 5% of business owners reported that all their credit needs weren’t met. NFIB says that interest “rates are low, but prospects for putting borrowed money profitably to work have not improved enough to induce owners to step up their borrowing and spending.”

It is the story of this era. The Kauffman Foundation, which tracks new businesses, says its data show 2013 was “the second consecutive year to show an entrepreneurial activity decline in the United States.” Being an entrepreneur always takes guts. It takes special courage during an Administration that has twice set the annual record by issuing more than 81,000 pages of regulations.

But you wouldn’t know the challenges of the overall economy by observing the financial economy. The boom in corporate mergers has investment banks reporting surging advisory revenue. Dealogic reports that, world-wide, markets posted the best first quarter ever for equity capital deals, with initial public offerings, secondary stock sales and convertible bond offerings up 27% from the same period last year. Corporate debt issuance remains robust.

What are companies doing with all the money they raise? Not necessarily funding future prosperity. A recent note from Strategas Research Partners points out that much of the money flowing into companies in recent years was directed to “financial, rather than economic, risk-taking.” Strategas says that as of the end of last year the dollar volume of stock buybacks had soared 287% since the post-crisis low and the value of mergers and acquisitions was up 179%.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left want to blame all this on the companies. But what she doesn’t understand is that this is a perfectly rational market response to the sheer weight of the Obama regulatory apparatus that punishes innovation and risk-taking. The progressive urge is to command businesses to make more investments, but if there’s an opportunity, no one needs to be commanded to exploit it. Washington simply needs to allow it.

Capital expenditures support business expansion. In the U.S. they shrank in the first quarter by 3.4%, according to the Commerce Department’s measure of nonresidential private fixed investment. Such investment is needed not only to create new productive capacity, but to replace assets that are worn-out and obsolete. A separate Commerce measure, tracking net investment—meaning new investment minus the capital assets that are consumed—shows that even in an era of easy money, American businesses aren’t eager to spend on expansion.

Commerce has data through 2013 for this statistic. And in constant dollars, over the first five years of the Obama Administration net private nonresidential fixed investment was the lowest since the mid-1990s when the economy was much smaller. Even near-zero interest rates haven’t been able to offset ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, new EPA emissions rules, the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and myriad other threats from Washington.

This White House has offered an abundance of taxpayer-funded stimulus plans. But the only true and lasting economic stimulus is one that gives people a reason to invest their own money. That will require a sharp reduction in the regulatory and tax burden that continues to inhibit business activity. Workers far from Wall Street desperately need relief.

And with yet more bad news on the Obama economy, this from Zero Hedge:

In what was an "unambiguously" unpleasant April jobs payrolls report, with a March revision dragging that month's job gain to the lowest level since June of 2012, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force rose once again, this time to 93,194K from 93,175K, with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called "market" which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus - the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy. . . .

If anyone from the left quotes the bullshit unemployment rate to you of 5.4% as a sign that Obama is providing good stewardship of the economy, feel free to beat them bloody, since they are either partisans lying to you or idiots lying to themselves. Either way, they are in need of an epiphany.

Yet another aspect of the Obama economy that bears mention is that, while we have hemorrhaged good paying middle class jobs under the Obama economy, we have created a lot of low wage positions. Thus, it is not surprising to find that virtually all job gains since the 2007 Recession have gone to immigrants.

Since the beginning of the recession in December of 2007 — said to have ended in June 2009 — the foreign-born population has seen a much greater net employment growth than native-born Americans.

In December 2007 the number of foreign-born workers was 22,810,000. By April 2015, the number had increased to 24,819,000 or a net job growth of more than 2 million.

For native-born workers that number in December 2007 was 123,524,000 by April of this year the number of employed native-born Americans was 123,769,000 or a net job growth of 245,000. . . .

Governments cannot create prosperity. The long history of failed socialist and crony capitalist experiments of the 20th and 21st century are proof positive. What governments can do is create the conditions for prosperity with the minimal necessary laws and regulations. Or they, like Obama and the left are doing now, can strangle economies with heavy regulation and punishing taxes.

Why well meaning people on the left cannot grasp these concepts is beyond me? The closer one comes to free market capitalism, the more wealth is created and the better people fare at all economic levels. The closer one moves towards socialism or crony capitalism, the more regulations and punishing taxes one imposes, the more the economy suffers. There is a reason that the Obama years have been an economic disaster for all but the wealthiest Americans. Talk of economic redistribution sounds wonderful, but in Obamaland, the lower one is on the economic scale, the more one suffers under his administration. Indeed, the only thing that has kept this nation afloat for the past several years is the Fed's near zero interest rates and quantitative easing - i.e., spinning the printing presses at high speed. And the only people that is good for are those in the top few percent of economic wealth who are able to take advantage. We are seeing huge stock market bubbles form here and in Europe. Yes, there is an income gap and the wealthy are becoming wealthier while the middle class has suffered actual declines in economic well being, not to mention record or near record jobless levels. Blame for that rests squarely with Obama and the left.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Obama & The Death Of Our Republic

The people of Fairfax County, Virginia are up in arms. They have every right to be. Obama's federal government has dictated that they adopt a new, controversial social policy which they never voted to approve, nor did their representatives in Congress:

A plan to add “gender identity” to a Virginia school’s nondiscrimination policy has enraged parents and preachers, but leaders of the nation’s tenth largest school district say unless they make the change, the U.S. Department of Education could withdraw federal funding.

Critics warn the Fairfax County Public School policy would allow boys who identify as girls to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice – as well as participate on athletic teams of their choosing.

Martin Baker, the pastor of Burke Community Church, warned that “the damage and destruction to our children, teens and impacted adults will be incalculable.”

“Everything from locker rooms to bathrooms will be potentially open for people who simply feel that their inner sexuality does not match their outer, physical sexuality,” he wrote in an email to the 3,000-member congregation.

“This is not just shocking, it is morally and spiritually abhorrent, and that is why I am convinced this is one cultural issue where we, as a church, must speak up and out with clarity, compassion and conviction,” he added.

But the deputy superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools said they have no choice but to provide specific protections for transgender students. A vote on the issue is expected Thursday night.

“The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education is requiring that school divisions revise their non-discrimination policies to include gender identity,” Deputy Superintendent Steven Lockard wrote in a memorandum to school board members.

He also said the federal government was requiring the district to hire a consultant to advise them on how school divisions should handle individual cases of transgender students.

“If FCPS refuses to amend its policy, OCR has the right to recommend the termination of federal funding to FCPS,” Lockard wrote.

There is not a law that has been passed through Congress providing civil rights for the transgendered. That is an issue of social policy on which the people have the Constitutional right to be heard through their elected representatives, period. So how has it come to pass that the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has bypassed Congress and unilaterally opted to impose this new social policy on our nation and on Fairfax County, Virginia?

In 2014 the Title IX civil rights law was updated to address sex discrimination “based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” and protect students “who do not conform to sex stereotypes.”

Title IX, when it was passed by Congress in 1972, was directed to providing equality in educational opportunities between the male and female gender. This new update is nothing more than an outrageous reinterpretation by the Obama DOJ that goes far beyond the Congressional intent of the law as passed. It is now being used to force leftist social policy on our nation.

Art. 1, Sec. 1 of the Constitution provides that Congress is the sole body with the authority to legislate. The problem posed by the DOJ's willingness to interpret laws so ridiculously divorced from their intent as to constitute new legislation is one part of the problem of our out of control federal government.

Yet a second problem is posed by President Obama himself. He has caused an existential Constitutional crisis with his plan to grant rights and a path to citizenship to millions of illegal aliens. It is a legislative act for which he has no Constitutional authority. Acting without the consent of Congress, that amounts to tyranny. We fought a revolution over that to become a nation in the first place.

The third problem - the rise of agencies with the authority to pass regulations with the full force and effect of law, yet which have never been voted upon by our elected representatives. Particularly abhorrent is the FCC's recent unilateral decision to assume regulatory control over the internet based on a 1934 law that applied to monopolistic phone companies. But perhaps the most damaging of the out of control agencies at the moment is the EPA. The EPA has claimed vast powers - some of which failed to pass Congress as recently as 2009 - to regulate our energy sector. This from City Journal:

. . . [T]hough Congress refused to pass a law addressing climate change, Tribe points out, the EPA is behaving as if it has the authority Congress refused to give it, wielding the Clean Air Act in ways Congress not only didn’t authorize but also expressly forbade in the Act itself. Moreover, though Tribe doesn’t say so, it is clear that this executive-branch agency is trying to use its non-existent legislative-branch mandate to carry out a highly contentious, highly partisan policy of the Obama administration. As the New York Times quotes one anonymous former administration official, “Whether he intended it or not, Tribe has been weaponized by the Republican Party in an orchestrated takedown of the president’s climate plan.” Moreover, Tribe reports himself mystified as to how the EPA has the gall to contravene the federal government’s “promotion of coal as an energy source,” and to envision, in contravention of the Fifth and Tenth Amendments, shutting down not just a major industry, but also the way of life of whole communities and indeed a whole region of the country.

What is most important about Tribe’s involvement in this case is that he lends his considerable professional authority and impeccable liberal credentials to an increasingly loud chorus that questions the constitutionality of the Administrative State that has developed ever since the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887. Unlike the Founding Fathers, Progressive politicians, with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the lead, envisioned government not of, by, and for the people, but rather by highly trained, nonpartisan experts who would use the latest scientific knowledge to make better regulations for people than they could make themselves through their elected representatives.

This enterprise was unconstitutional, even un-American, in itself. But as the administrative agencies developed — as they violated the Madisonian principle of separation of powers by merging together executive with legislative power, which the legislature had no constitutional right to delegate, and with judicial power, which the legislature most certainly had no right to delegate — promulgating rules, charging people and corporations with violations of them, and exacting penalties without the benefit of grand or petit juries, in defiance not only of the American Bill of Rights but even of the Magna Carta, they evolved into an utterly unaccountable government that is nothing like the democratic republic the Founders envisioned. What’s more, with lobbyists having so much sway over them and often writing their regulations, the administrative agencies turned into the guarantors of crony capitalism, protecting giant corporations against competition from upstarts, just as the ICC protected the railroad cartel 132 years ago.

The fourth problem is perhaps the most dangerous -- unaccountable, activist judges who feel free to impose their social policy preferences on our nation under the guise of Constitutional interpretation. We've seen this in countless areas, such as with religion and abortion. The issue of the hour is "gay marriage." One federal court after another has struck down laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman using a laughable interpretation of the Equal Protection clause. No one can claim with a straight face that, when the Equal Protection clause was enacted shortly after the end of the Civil War, that the people voting for it meant it to apply to homosexuals. Homosexuality was under legal disability throughout most of the states at the time and remained so for over a century. That makes gay marriage an issue of social policy for each state to decide on its own unless and until our Constitution is amended in respect thereof. In no event is this an issue to be decided by five unelected judges sitting as a sort of politburo and dictating to our nation what they personally want our new social policy to be.

In 1787, as Ben Franklin emerged from behind the doors of the Pennsylvania State Hall, at the conclusion of secret deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin famously replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

For over two centuries, we did manage to keep it, more or less. But no longer. Our Founding Fathers would not recognize our form of government today, despite the fact that there have been no substantive Constitutional Amendments to alter its design.

While our Republican form of government managed to coexist with activist courts and a parallel legislature in the regulatory bureaucracy for decades, it is only under the Obama regime that the left has truly come to warp and exploit the entire panoply of our government institutions to work non democratic fundamental changes to our nation. We have ceased to function as a republic and now function as a sort of hybrid tyrannical regulatory bureaucracy. This needs to end and the course corrected soon else we will never be able to return this nation to a republican form of government absent bloodshed. The 2016 election will be one of existential importance to our nation.