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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hurricanes and the IPCC report crank up climate catastrophe talk

The devastation resulting from this year’s hurricane season has once again spurred the climate change faction into action. Combined with a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), these horrible storms regenerated the predictions of doom and gloom from that group of scientists who get paid lots of money, green money, and work overtime to convince us to ignore the substantial contrary scientific data that the end is going to come, and now it is even closer than the last time they cranked up the Scare Machine.

The IPCC report suggests that a 2-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures over the next 22 years would be catastrophic. The New York Timestook this to mean that we face “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.”

Weighing in on this renewed crisis, political commentator Ben Shapiro addressed it in his column “No, Global Warming Isn’t The End Of The World. Here’s Why,” last week.

“The report urges a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2010 levels by 2030 in order to prevent that imminent doom,” he wrote. “The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.” 

Shapiro added that the consequences of this approach would be devastating. “Some of those changes could include an attempt to direct 5-10 percent of global capital revenues toward investment in public works projects, plus a $27,000 tax on each ton of carbon by 2100 – equivalent to roughly $250 per gallon tax on gasoline.”

All of which made Eric Holthaus and other confused socialists break out the champagne. Holthaus, of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, cheered the dismantling of capitalism that will follow this really foolish idea: “If you are wondering what you can do about climate change: The world's top scientists just gave rigorous backing to systematically dismantle capitalism as a key requirement to maintaining civilization and a habitable planet. I mean, if you are looking for something to do.”

Imagine that: a creature of academia that wants to do away with capitalism! 

Some interesting data addressing emissions is the “BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2018” chart showing the ten countries with the largest reductions of CO2 emissions and the ten countries with largest increases in CO2 emissions.

Leading the world in reductions in CO2 emissions in 2017 is – wait for it – the United States with more than 40 tons of reductions. The next three are the Ukraine, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. At the other end the four with as much or more in increases as the U.S. had in reductions are:
* the European Union - 40+ million tons
* Turkey – 40+ million tons
* India – 90+ million tons
* China – nearly 120 million tons

America leads the world in CO2 reductions, but four contributors each negate America’s efforts. One contributor produces twice as much as we reduced, and another produces four times what we reduced. And yet, America must do more, they say. 

The Earth has been heating and cooling for thousands, probably millions, of years; warming and cooling periods are not unusual. The terms “global warming” and “climate change” do not adequately illustrate how the Earth’s global temperature behaves. 

To provide some understanding, a chart produced by climatologist Cliff Harris and meteorologist Randy Mann covering temperatures from 2500 B.C. up to the present and looking ahead to 2038 A.D. shows the warming and cooling cycles, and should assist in understanding what is happening. 

In this 4500-year period, there have been at least 75 major temperature swings, the chart explains. The warmest temperature occurred in 1100 B.C., and the coolest temperature, by far, occurred in The Little Ice Age sometime near 1600 A.D. The warmest “recent” temperature occurred in about 1300 A.D. For most of the 4500 years, no numbers are used to indicate temperatures.

The normal temperature is 57°F. The warmest temperature using actual numbers was 58.3°F in 1998, and the coldest was estimated at 54.3°F in The Little Ice Age in 1600 A.D. The recent temperature span indicated by these two data points was approximately 4°F.

On the chart, the projected high temperature in 2038 is approximately the same as the high temperature in 1100 B.C., but is not represented by a number.

“Why shouldn’t we be quite as worried,” Shapiro asks, “as the Left would argue about global warming? Because people are good at adapting. The changes that we’re talking about don’t happen overnight – they happen over the course of decades. And that means that the impact is spread out over the course of decades, too, and against a backdrop of global growth.”

Certainly, this information must be willingly received and considered. But given the strong scientific data challenging the catastrophic predictions, the past manipulation of data and the “green money” influence enjoyed by the climate change scientific community, and America’s world-leading record of CO2 emission reductions, any sacrifice needed to combat climate change must come from other nations.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Leftists take protected rights to their illogical extreme


Gertrude Himmelfarb, a brilliant observer of society and culture, had this to say about the state of American society many years ago: “The litigious temper of the times is a consequence of the decline of civility and the concomitant proliferation of ‘rights’ — legal rights in place of the manners and morals that once arbitrated disagreements and disputes. In this sense the law has become not so much the aid and abettor of manners and morals as a substitute for them.”

Those who want to focus on “rights” as if they are sacrosanct and exist in a vacuum will instantly jump upon this insightful piece of reality. Do they truly believe that the mere fact that a person has the right to do something absolves that person of the repercussions of exercising that right, particularly when they push the limits beyond reason?

The answer is “yes.” That is precisely what they believe, because nothing is as important to these folks as their own desires. It’s okay, they say, to have a “society” as long as what’s good for the many does not interfere with what’s good for “me.”

Such a philosophy makes it impossible to maintain a society that, by definition, requires individuals to sacrifice a “few” of their abundant rights for the good of the many, or for a few, or even for one. For example, maybe Dan doesn’t have to remind his friend Julie at her mother’s funeral that her mother had too much to drink over the last three decades, even though he has the right to do so.

Personal selfishness and the assertion of individual rights to the exclusion of what is good for the whole of society, or parts of it, is a recipe for societal collapse, and we see substantial movement toward that frightening possibility every day.

And there is likely no better example of this than the atmosphere surrounding the nomination and confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Such behavior has been on the increase in recent years, and peaked – hopefully – in this disgusting display of individual rights being taken to their ridiculous extreme.

I’m not arguing here about the nomination itself, or whether the judge should have been confirmed or not, but about the crazed behavior of those poor, misguided souls who not only oppose the confirmation, but who do so from a position of ignorance of civics and fairness, and the idea that they can do as they please.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees us “the freedom of speech … and the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

None of which guarantees anyone the right to say anything they want at any time or at any place, or do anything they want in the name of free speech, and it specifically limits assembly to being peaceable.

It does not, for example, encourage people to attend a formal proceeding of the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives, or a function of a committee thereof, and scream and interfere with the conducting of a formal process.

It also does not protect a group that confronts a peaceable assembly and attempts to intimidate the group, or worse to commit violence against its members, such as what the fascist Antifa gangs do, particularly when private property is destroyed. Prosecution is needed.

Many of these folks are factually challenged, having insufficient knowledge of our system and how it works.

The #MeToo movement is prime territory for serious errors. In response to inexcusable sexual assaults against females, society has largely accepted an accusation as truth. Many times – perhaps most times – such an allegation is true and accurate, but not always.

Let’s travel to Zelienople, Pennsylvania, where five female schoolmates accused a high school boy of sexual assault on two separate occasions in a 27-page complaint filed against him. One instance was said to have occurred at the Zelienople Community Pool where he worked, and the other at a private home.

The boy was fired from his job at the pool, endured multiple court appearances, was placed in a juvenile detention facility and also in home detention, was subjected to months of bullying from kids at school, had his reputation forever damaged, and faced the possibility of criminal penalties.

After some time had passed, some of the girls admitted that they had conspired to mount false accusations against the boy.

In this instance, some of the worst that could happen did happen. Fortunately, the boy’s parents have taken action to deliver justice to the parties who slandered their son, and to hopefully restore his reputation.

They have filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh against the Seneca Valley School District in Butler County (which did nothing after learning that the charges were false), District Attorney Richard Goldinger, and the parents of the five teenage girls who falsely accused the boy of sexual assault.

Perhaps some criminal statutes were also breached.

Let us hope for this unfairly damaged family that all of these scoundrels are severely punished. Perhaps the news of severe and just punishment against false accusers will serve to dampen future false accusations.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Fraud and circuses: the political trashing of Brett Kavanaugh

Perhaps the only thing Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, can agree on concerning the ongoing saga of Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court is that it has not closed the divide between the sides, but has driven them further apart.

Picking up where they left off after Borking a nominee in 1987, and conducting a high-tech lynching of another four years later, the Democrats on the Committee have a new theme: Obfuscate, assassinate, dance to the music. So far, they are 1 for 2 in this disgraceful game.

On the claim of one woman about a tragic event she said was perpetrated on her by the nominee 36 years ago, but who was unable to identify the exact time or place of the event, and had zero supporting evidence, Committee Democrats undertook to use this allegation to oppose the nomination. 

Kavanaugh is a man who has served in some high profile positions in our government, including 12 years on the bench of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, all of which required him passing an FBI background check – six, to be exact – none of which turned up even the faint odor of bad behavior, which agrees with the scores of people who attested to his high character.

This horribly flawed process obviously had horrible effects on the nominee and his beautiful family, but also did great harm to the star witness, who apparently originally sought anonymity, but whose identity Democrats revealed.

This most recent ploy in this Delayocrat circus illustrates dramatically the high level of desperation over the possible seating of Kavanaugh on the High Court. He is an originalist, and he will tilt the Court toward actually following the Constitution and laws as they were written and intended.

The Left understands all too well that their plan to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” cannot be achieved, or will certainly be much more difficult and take much longer, if the judiciary follows the intent of the governing document of the nation and its laws.

They hoped to delay confirmation until the mid-term election is over, after which they may take control of the Senate and will sack the nominee and not confirm anyone except additional activist justices. 

Or better yet, trash his character to the point he may withdraw as the nominee, President Donald Trump may withdraw the nomination, or the Senate will reject him.

People who have been assaulted should be heard, of course. If their story is credible, it should be investigated. 

Credibility, however, involves not only presenting one’s self in a strong, sincere manner, but also having some supporting material.

In this case, Cristine Blasey Ford’s statement, while compelling, was weak on facts: she didn’t know when or where the assault occurred; didn’t know how she got there or got home after; it lacked corroboration; no actual evidence, let alone proof, was offered; there were no witnesses provided; people cited to support her story denied having been there or knowing anything about it.

Furthermore, there are inconsistencies, such as this world traveler claims she is afraid to fly. 

People believe Ford because she was compelling, convincing. Have you ever gone to a movie, a play. Those folks are compelling, too. A compelling story isn’t proof; it is just a compelling story. Whether someone did or did not do something must be based on facts, not emotion.

All of which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but the claim is not supported, and certainly does not justify denying Kavanaugh this seat on the Supreme Court, or trashing his reputation and his family. 

The Committee Democrats know this – the whole world knows this – but they will not be dissuaded by reality. Politics is more important to them.

In America, people are not punished for unsubstantiated accusations against them. This is the stuff of third world hellholes.

In America, we believe in the presumption of innocence. Some Democrats on the Judiciary Committee actually stated that this applies in court activities, but not in this hearing. Which is, of course, absurd and stupid.

Any Senator who actually believes this, or who pretends to believe it for political purposes is not fit for the office and should be removed.

It ought to scare the daylights out of every real American to realize that people serving on the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate do not understand or believe in this fundamental principle.

Are these the people we want in important positions in our government?

The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have totally redefined the idea of “rock bottom.” Their desperation is palpable. Kavanaugh must be stopped. Integrity be damned. The ends justify the means; anything goes, even character assassination and unproved accusations.

In the meantime the third in this series of gutter behavior has forever damaged the nomination process. Who, facing a similar slanderous and defamatory spectacle that makes the Salem Witch Trials look like a kindergarten exercise, will be willing to endure having their life turned upside down for a judicial position?

Brett Kavanaugh’s excellent credentials mean that he should be unanimously confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. Immediately. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The negative stigma of addiction is hampering effective treatment

Our country faces some serious problems today, as it has throughout its history. One of the most serious, one that claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year, is death from opioid overdoses.

This comes as no surprise to most of us, but perhaps the scale of the problem and the difficulties faced in addressing it might surprise many of us.

Facts about opioid abuse:
** In 2016 opioid overdoses killed 13 of every 100,000 people across the nation.
** America makes up about 4 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 27 percent of the world’s drug overdose deaths.
** On average, 175 Americans die every day from overdoses.
** Someone dies every 8 minutes from an opioid addiction.
** Overdoses kill more people than gun violence or car crashes.
** In 2017, more people died of an unintended drug overdose than in the entire 20-year Vietnam War conflict.
** Opioid prescriptions dispensed in 2006 were about 213 million, but rose to a peak of more than 250 million in 2012, before returning to 2006 levels four years later.

Where do people get these dangerous drugs?  Most get them from friends or relatives, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that those at highest risk of overdose are as likely to get them from a prescription issued by a physician.

Illegal drugs sales are also an important element, and synthetic drugs like fentanyl and other super-potent opioids pour into the U.S. through international mail and private carriers, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports.

Obviously, better control of legally dispensed drugs is needed, and stronger enforcement of drug laws is a must. But the other side of this coin is the way drug addicts are treated medically, and much work needs to be done there, too.

Treatment of addictions is difficult, and made more so by obstacles to using treatments effectively. Not the least of these is that our healthcare system regards addiction as a mental health problem, not a physical health problem, and the two are treated differently. Mental health problems have a lower priority than physical health problems, and therefore are underfunded, under-treated and less actively researched.

Given the lower priority, it is not surprising that the treatment protocols are antiquated. While the recent frightening increase in addiction and addiction-related deaths has brought long-needed attention to the problem, there is much to do in using available methods and effective drugs to maximize effective treatment. Surprisingly, abstinence programs and programs similar to Alcoholics Anonymous do not work well with opioid addiction.

The reality is that most people with addictions are not receiving any medical treatment, and many or most of those who are being treated are not receiving the most effective care.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only about one in ten people with a substance use disorder receive any type of treatment.

In his most recent book, Trump’s America,Newt Gingrich, in a chapter titled “Let’s Trump Addiction,” explains that there is a better way to treat the drug addicted. “The research is unequivocal that behavioral therapy combined with recovery medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and Suboxone, is the most effective way to treat opioid addiction.” This type of treatment, studies show, can reduce the mortality rate of drug-addicted patients by half or more.

Strangely, despite the strong support for this type of treatment, fewer than 3 percent of treatment programs offer all three of the effective medications available to fight opioid addiction.

Gingrich comments, “This is a problem because each of the three recovery medications in the market has its own benefits and drawbacks. There is not a one-size-fits-all opioid addiction medication.”

He cites examples of the “simple bias” against mental health issues being applied to physical health problems, noting that these barriers would be “absurd, illegal and unethical” if applied to physical health problems. But they are somehow acceptable when applied to addiction and other mental health problems.

Both insurers and Medicaid have not yet realized that their current approach to treating addiction actually prevents the most effective treatments for these problems because they interfere with the use of the three medications. Or, if they have realized it, they have not yet removed those barriers.

Doing so would save thousands of lives – which is the most important outcome – but they would also save millions of dollars that are now spent on the drug addiction problem.

Citing the Surgeon General’s Report, Gingrich explained that every dollar we invest saves money, listing these findings:
** $1 for brief primary care addiction intervention saves $27 across the system;
** $1 for addiction intervening at a hospital saves over $36 or $9 in the emergency room;
** $1 for treating substance abuse saves $4 in overall health care costs, and $7 in criminal justice costs by preventing the cycle of recidivism that often accompanies addiction.

Many people view addiction as something other than a disease, but Gingrich summarizes this chapter by saying, “Addiction is not a moral failing or a lack of strong will. It is not a choice, it is a disease.” That negative stigma plays a significant role in hampering effective treatment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Left’s behavior of late is unworthy of elected officials

Many Democrats and liberals are driving themselves, and everyone else, crazy over Donald Trump, not because he’s so bad, but because they simply don’t like him, and as president good things have been accomplished.

Sure, he’s far out of the mainstream of recent presidents, although there is history on his side of presidents behaving ungentlemanly. And he is objectionably crass, at times, in his public comments on Twitter. His thin-skinned responses are often brattish.

This behavior greatly aggravates what seems the likely basis for the Left’s historic hysterics: Trump, whose candidacy was laughed at and roundly ridiculed, won the election, beating 16 Republican hopefuls as well as the person whose turn it was to be POTUS and the first of her gender to hold that office. They haven’t been able to muster the character needed to accept the decision of the American people.

This reaction to Trump has resulted in at least one dramatic turnaround: Once a major source of fun and comedy – with folks like Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Robin Williams and others – TV, particularly late night TV, has become dismal “one-trick pony” dreck, and humor these days comes instead from a former president who thinks he was the greatest.

The worst thing on this Earth, for the Left, is for Trump to succeed by doing almost the exact opposite of what they want for the country. The economy is good, jobs are being created, worker satisfaction is up, unemployment is down, and people like those “crummy” tax cuts, to name a few things.

And then there is the Neil Gorsuch confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court and now the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

The horror of merely imagining what might happen with two new justices who understand and follow the language and meaning of the U.S. Constitution and our laws is great, indeed, for the Left. This judicial philosophy is a substantial barrier to their desire to transform America into a virtual opposite of its original design, the greatness and originality of which are unmatched in history.

And so, the Left designed methods to disrupt the hearing and delay the process of confirmation.

They scripted disruptive questions by committee members in the first minute of the formal hearing, and then screaming protests from employed protesters, as well as demands for even more than the huge number of documents on Kavanaugh’s past judicial performance already provided to satisfy the Democrat Committee members who, before he had even been chosen, pledged to vote against the nominee. They asked foolish questions and falsely bragged of an “I am Spartacus” moment.

The number of documents “demanded” compared to other nominees: 2.5 times the number for any other nominee had been provided as of Sept. 4. But, of course, if Democrats can’t see everything related to him, he’s not qualified. Conceivably, they would like to see Kavanaugh’s elementary school notes passed to classmates.

Committee Democrats and the hired hands did themselves proud, were perfect clowns in the confirmation hearing, sans the floppy shoes and bulbous noses, behaving like fifth graders (with apologies to actual fifth graders).

But even with the self-satisfaction they experienced, the best was yet to come. There was another trick up their sleeve – the September Surprise – which was needed since their previous plan failed to convince the Republican majority to ditch the nomination, or to delay the process while new obstructions were developed.

Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, delivered the prize. She had a letter accusing Kavanaugh of some sort of improper relationship with a girl in high school more than three decades back. Initially, the accuser insisted on remaining anonymous, and details were not provided. The letter had been in Feinstein’s possession for about three months. Then suddenly, at almost the last possible moment, the accuser agrees to go public.

Feinstein turned it over to the FBI for investigation, and the Committee Democrats, having been given a heart transplant to prolong the life of their desperate attempt, want delays or, better yet, a withdrawal from the nominee.

It is possible there is truth behind this accusation. But this last-minute development raises several questions. If Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior actually happened, why wasn’t it important enough to report it 36 years ago? If it was actually a valid complaint, why provide the letter but not allow its use during the hearing when the Committee was looking for the good and bad things about Kavanaugh? After six FBI background checks on Kavanaugh for federal positions, why did this never come up?

At best, this event looks bad It’s a case of she said, he said, and there seems to be no actual evidence. It supports the idea that the Democrats are in desperation mode. Even Feinstein’s home-state newspaper, theSan Francisco Chronicle, criticized her. 

Before this accusation came along, two of Kavanaugh’s former law clerks enthusiastically supported the way he treated them. And since the accusation sixty-five women from his past have signed a letter of support for his treatment of females.

Whether Kavanaugh is confirmed or not, let us hope that this is the last episode of this circus-like behavior that Americans are subjected to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Corporate deep pockets attract attention in legal actions

Millions of Americans hate big corporations, suspect them of acting in their own best interest, to the detriment of the rest of us, and delight in corporations being put in their place. Sometimes they have good reasons for this; sometimes not. But let’s face it: legal actions against these corporate giants are sometimes justified, and give people harmed by a product or action of a corporation deserved monetary compensation.

With that in mind, this item from farmfutures.com tells about “Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper whose doctors didn’t think he’d live long enough learn the verdict, prevailed Friday in San Francisco state court after jurors deliberated for three days” on his damage suit.

The story went on to say that the “trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating thousands of other claims” over Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

Johnson got less than he was asking; being awarded only $39 million of the $412 million he sought in damages. An additional $250 million was added to punish Monsanto after finding it liable for a design defect and failing to warn consumers of Roundup’s risks. Monsanto has said it will appeal the award in this the first trial over claims that the Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

Roundup is the world’s most popular and widely used herbicide, and its main ingredient – glyphosate – was approved for use way back in 1974. Monsanto defends the ingredient as perfectly safe, however, a cadre of opponents of glyphosate that includes environmentalists, regulators, researchers, and lawyers, hotly challenge that claim.

The Wall Street Journaladded some important information to this story. An editorial described the plaintiff’s attorneys’ approach to persuading the jury of Monsanto’s responsibility in Johnson’s cancer, as “junk science.”

The Journalwent on to explain that “the problem … is that there’s overwhelming scientific evidence that glyphosate does not cause cancer,” and quoted the Journal of National Cancer Institute study of 45,000 licensed pesticide applicators exposed to glyphosate which found “no evidence of an association between glyphosate use and risk of any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

The editorial further cited the Environmental Protection Agency as concluding that glyphosate is safe. “In December 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency released the draft human health risk assessment for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup,” according to North Carolina State University’s Patrick Maxwell, M.S. and Travis Gannon, Ph.D. “The human health assessment concluded that ‘glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ and found ‘no other meaningful risks to human health’ when used in accordance with label instructions,” they wrote.

This seems to be a classic case of “he said, he said.” Both sides have advocates with solid credentials who advocate each position.

Sometimes, however, emotions trump factual evidence. And who isn’t sympathetic to Lee Johnson, whose cancer may end his life early. And there is also the factor of which legal team did its job best.

But then there’s the very real factor that big companies have deep pockets, and therefore are prime targets. A good example of this is the current rampant overuse of drugs, and the blame often being laid at the feet of Big Pharma.

Pharmaceutical companies’ business is identifying serious medical problems affecting lots of people, and working to develop drugs to help them, not to hurt them, and our government has implemented a long, slow process to require drugs to meet strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards before they are approved for use.

Even the government, however, cannot prevent the misuse of items for sale, and virtually everything can be dangerous under the right circumstances. Step ladders, baseballs, automobiles are all sometimes dangerous.

It also cannot guarantee that drugs might not end up in the hands of someone who is allergic to one or more of them. People are allergic to milk, vitamin C and sunshine, and nearly everything else.

A single drug getting to market on average results from100 or more formulas developed for testing. Promising formulas must get through a process that takes on average 12 to 15 years, and costs one-to-two billion dollars. And they only get patent protection for a maximum of 20 years from the time it is applied for, which frequently occurs early in the testing process.

This leaves a relatively short time to recoup the sky-high research costs, so that the company has money to invest in finding the next needed drug.

Why would companies send out millions of doses of an expensive product, as they are accused of, without someone ordering and paying for it? Yet, state attorneys general and other attorneys are suing drug companies, blaming them for the drug epidemic.

It seems more reasonable to look at prescribing physicians, drug distributors, and outright criminal conduct for how and why these drugs are available to people to use them improperly, resulting in much suffering and needless death.

All of which is not to say that large companies don’t sometimes do things wrong. And when that happens, they should be punished.

But they should not be an automatic target of lawsuits, as they often are.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Many on the left are cheating; tipping the scales in their favor


Why is it that those on the left feel it’s necessary to put their fingers on the scale to tip it in their favor, or will work to change the rules to achieve their purposes, and have little or no hesitation in doing so?

We saw this when the Obama IRS punished conservative applicants for non-profit status with a grossly slow and difficult application process.

Activist judges often reinterpret the Constitution and laws to mean something more to their liking than what was originally intended.

We are now learning how the Department of Justice misused procedures in an effort to influence the 2016 election.

We have seen how so much of the media ignores positive stories about President Donald Trump and the good things that are happening, and instead favors stories that benefit Democrats, ignoring their duty for balance and objectivity.

This accusation is one that many dispute, of course, not wishing to give any credence to such complaints. Trump angers Democrats and a large portion of the news media by labeling the practice “Fake News.”

The Media Research Center provides some detail to illustrate this behavior with three examples.

First up: “On Aug. 8, Republican congressman Chris Collins of the Buffalo, New York, suburbs was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI. ABC, CBS and NBC played this story to the hilt, with 18 minutes and 24 seconds of coverage in just the first 24 hours.” 

Then, on Aug. 21, “prosecutors indicted California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter on charges of wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The morning and evening newscasts on ABC and CBS spent a total of 4 minutes and 44 seconds covering the story in the first 36 hours. In contrast with Collins, Hunter was ‘lucky’ that there was breaking anti-Trump news – the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former longtime Trump confidante and lawyer Michael Cohen to charges of campaign finance violations.”

But then, “These very same three networks, these champions of public integrity, were bored to tears by the indictment and trial of former Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia. During the year and a half between his 2015 indictment and 2016 conviction and sentencing for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening programs offered a measly 68 seconds of ‘news.’”

An actual conviction of a Democrat got barely more than a minute combined among the three networks over 18 months, while unproven charges brought against two Republicans earned more than 23 minutes of air time in just 36 hours, roughly 22 times more, not counting the differences in the time frames of the cases. And Collins by himself received 16 times the attention that Fattah got.

Facebook and Twitter control posts and tweets and of people who express ideas their employees disagree with, mostly conservative ideas, although they cloak this by saying these items do not comport with their community standards. Google searches produce results that reflect the left’s positions at the top, rather than a non-political set of results.

These things occur because those in charge disagree with conservative ideas and values, and work to keep people from seeing and discussing them.

America, being the Land of the Free, is a place where contradictory ideas exist and are encouraged, and where they are freely debated. Persuasion is the method by which ideas and values achieve dominance; force and coercion are against the rules. Or they used to be.

But when the Left can’t win the debate or gain support for its ideas through civil debate and discussion, and then won’t accept that its positions failed to gain traction with a huge number of people, it then resorts to other means.

Their ultimate goal is control, therefore no method is off limits: the ends justify the means. Cheating and unfair practices is now the preferred methodology of the increasingly socialist left.

And if they gain control of the Congress, the presidency, and the courts, they will be in the position to impose all manner of control over the people.

The left has already proposed some wild ideas, one of which would have made Trump’s victory impossible, had it been in effect. It wants the presidency determined by the popular vote, not through the Electoral College, which has been the process since the early days of the country, and for good reason. “It didn’t work for us in 2016,” they say, “so let’s change the process.”

Even more absurdly, they say, since this guy we really don’t like named Trump won, let’s do away with the presidency.

Other unworkable ideas include: A college education for all is no longer an option; it is now a right. Free health care, which is so expensive it would bankrupt the country, must become reality. People with no skills or training who work in the lowest level jobs must be paid $15 an hour.

This is the type of thinking that produced those wondrous and desirable places like Castro’s Cuba and today’s Venezuela, the antithesis of what America was created to be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another American is murdered: immigration reform is essential

Which of the following situations is worse? 
1. A woman and her child cross the US/Mexican border illegally, and as a result the mother is separated from her child.
2. A man enters the country illegally and remains in the US for several years, and then kills an American citizen.

Undeniably, the first situation is unpleasant and unfortunate for the mother and her child, but the mother created that situation herself by entering the country illegally. 

However, her situation is not even on the same planet as that of the mother of a young woman citizen who is senselessly murdered, and the person charged with her murder, and who led police to her body in a cornfield, is an illegal alien who has been in the country for years. He also fathered a child, an “anchor baby,” with one of the dead woman’s schoolmates. 

Someone trying to paint a picture of the horrors of illegal entry to our country due to a hopelessly inadequate border security system would face a stiff challenge to create one more horrific than the recent murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, or the similarly brutal killing of Kate Steinle in 2015.

But some prominent Democrats and liberals do not see it that way. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, was not able to say that a murdered citizen is far worse than a child temporarily separated from its mother. After saying she was “so sorry” for the family, she then said, “One of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.” And then she added, “Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers,” and described how horrible that situation is.

She did not comment on Mollie Tibbetts being permanently taken from her family by her killer.

Then a comment from the former spokeswoman for the Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, campaign. Symone Sanders tweeted “Mollie Tibbetts was murdered b/c she told a man to leave her alone while she was jogging. Her murderer happens to be undocumented. This isn’t about border security. This is about toxic masculinity. Mollie Tibbetts lost her life b/c a man couldn’t take her saying no. Full stop.”

Leftist political pundit Sally Kohn also complained, but not about the crime and the tragedy for the family, but instead on the fact that Fox News was covering it: "#1 story is about undocumented immigrant who is *SUSPECT* for murder of a white girl," she tweeted. "Way to stay predictable, Fox." 

An MSNBC guest, Fordham University Professor Christina Greer, also criticized Fox rather than condemn the circumstances that made this murder possible: "Fox News is talking about, you know, a girl in Iowa," she said on MSNBC, instead.

And no crazy story would be complete without the Hollywood crowd weighing in. Author Stephen King tweeted: “Mollie Tibbetts may well have been killed by an undocumented alien, and that's a terrible thing. But we might remember that Stephen Craig Paddock was an American citizen. He killed 58.” So, it’s a shame that an illegal alien has been charged with murdering an American citizen, but that’s not important because a white guy killed even more people?

And, of course, others had to criticize those who denounced this incomprehensibly horrible act. They are using the murder of a citizen for political purposes because the suspected killer is an illegal alien.

There is great confusion among the Democrats/liberals/socialists about immigration in general, and about the terminology for those that are in the country illegally. 

Merriam-webster.com defines an “immigrant” as “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” In the United States, there is a process to immigrate. Those who do so by that process are “immigrants.” 

The dictionary defines an “alien” as one “relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government.” An alien in the country without following the process is not here legally, and therefore is an “illegal alien.”

Those in the country illegally are not “immigrants,” and while they possess no documentation, they are not “undocumented,” they are “illegal aliens.” 

Playing word games for any reason only complicates things. Honesty is best, however cruel or inhumane it may seem to some. Those who like to twist words so that the message sounds better are doing harm by masking reality.

It is generally agreed that most of these illegal aliens come here to find a better life. If so, they can find that better life by following the rules for entering the country, and by becoming a true American after they are granted legal status.

We must not forget or ignore that tens of thousands of Americans have been robbed, assaulted and murdered by illegal aliens over many years. This must stop. Our borders must be made secure, for the protection of all Americans, including those who illogically prefer open borders, citizenship for all, and other ideas that are dangerous and poorly thought out.

America is at its best when it sets and observes standards, and that includes controlling who enters our country.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Left’s rejection of American values is a very real threat

A recent poll reflects that 53 percent of Democrats now view socialism favorably, while 47 percent view capitalism favorably, almost an exact flip from a 2012 poll.

This should be no surprise to those who pay attention to things political, given the relative success of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary campaign in the 2016 election, and the unexpected arrival on the scene of the unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a Democrat incumbent in a New York congressional primary. Both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are openly socialist.

Democrats prominently display their dissatisfaction with America’s capitalist success, sometimes embarrassing themselves in the process. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo drew broad but deserved criticism when he stated, “We’re never going to make America great again. It was never that great.”

"We have not reached greatness," he said. "We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone, and every woman's full potential is realized and unleashed, and every woman is making her full contribution."

Cuomo is confused on this issue, as he is on many others. Greatness to him is perfection, as he said, an impossible goal to achieve. Heaven knows he has missed that mark by miles.

Next up is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The 2017 tax cuts helped tens of millions of Americans, and as Cato’s Chris Edwards explains, those making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year saw a 46 percent reduction in taxes paid. The tax cuts also allowed companies to raise wages and give bonuses.

Pelosi, however, calls these benefits “crumbs,” and pledged to take them away if Democrats regain control of the House. You see, millionaire Pelosi, one of its wealthiest members, knows better how to spend people’s money than they do.

And then there is former CIA Director John Brennan, complaining that his free speech has been infringed because President Donald Trump rescinded his security clearance.

This seems much ado about nothing: He no longer works for the government, and Trump does not value his input and will not ask him to consult on matters requiring a security clearance, so he does not need one. 

In case you are wondering, the president has the authority to remove a security clearance from any administration employee who has one.

Furthermore, a security clearance has nothing to do with one’s right to free speech. In fact, having a security clearance may actually cause a sensible person, which Brennan plainly is not, to be more careful about what they say than someone without a clearance.

Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, let the cat out of the bag regarding security clearances held by former government employees, and this makes it clear why so many former and present government employees rushed to Brennan’s defense.

“One of the reasons you’re going to see a lot of pushback and a lot of screaming on this issue of security clearances is that it goes to the heart of their ability to cash in,” Schweizer said on Fox News’ “Hannity” program. “If they don’t have a security clearance, they cannot cash in with [government] contractors in this way,” he said, referring to the revolving door between government workers who move to employment by government contractors.

A former government employee with a security clearance can work with private sector contractors on classified government projects; a former employee without one cannot. Both Brennan’s feelings and pocketbook have been hurt.

And Brennan’s shadowy and possibly criminal behavior while a government employee, and since, justifies taking away his clearance.

The brilliant columnist Wesley Pruden puts the increasingly socialist mindset of Democrats into perspective: “The latest polls show that Democrats now prefer the socialism that wrecked the economies of Europe to the capitalism that built America. Capitalism is an imperfect economic system, too, as Winston Churchill famously said, but its lasting virtue is that it is better than all the others.”

From the very beginning of the American idea, our Founders expressed concerns about how it all would end. Both our first and second presidents, George Washington and John Adams, had concerns.

Washington used his farewell address to warn that partisan "factions" could tear the country apart. "Democracy never lasts long," said Adams. "There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide."

And James Madison, president number four, was afraid that liberty could be lost by "gradual and silent encroachments of those in power."

Everyone who thinks socialism is better than capitalism should be required to spend a month in Venezuela, once the crown jewel of South America, now a place with bare store shelves, a starving population, and the highest rate of inflation in the world at 27,364 percent on May 31.

Here at home, the fascist Antifa protestors chant “NO borders NO wall NO USA AT ALL” at their demonstrations.

Is all of this a signal of deliberate abdication of founding principles and ideals, or merely illustrate gross ignorance of them?

If you really want to complete America’s suicide and turn it into Venezuela, vote for radical socialist Democrats.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Training school shooters; election oddities; fires; and the media

Did you see anything in the news of the compound in New Mexico where 11 young people ages one to 15 years old were being held in squalid conditions, and at least one of them was being instructed on how to shoot up a school? This is not just speculation; the information came from court records filed last week.

News reports – which were fewer in number than the situation called for – said that one of the five “extremist Muslims” arrested at the compound, which had neither electricity nor plumbing, was training one or more of the children to commit school shootings. And, the children and captors are all related.

Prosecutors allege that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the New York Post.

One report noted that Taos County officials became tired of waiting for the federal government to act against the compound, and took matters in their own hands. Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the children “looked like third world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes … and basically dirty rags for clothing.” The remains of one child were found at the compound.

*******

Ohio’s U.S. House special election featured Republican Troy Balderson versus Democrat Danny O’Connor in a race Balderson was expected to win handily, as O’Connor had been trailing Balderson in the polls and early vote counts.

And then, “Ohio election officials on Wednesday found 588 previously uncounted votes in the hotly contested special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District,” The Hill reported, narrowing the lead to only 1,564 votes.

Still left to count at that time were 3,435 provisional ballots and 5,048 absentee ballots, meaning the final result was sure to change.

Some wondered where these votes had been hiding since Election Day, and it was explained that “the votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” at the polling place, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections. No one explained how or why this irregularity occurred.

Further casting a shadow on the legitimacy of the vote from this Buckeye State district was the revelation that there are 170 registered voters over 116 years of age still on the rolls of the 12th District, and 72 of them cast ballots in the 2016 election.

This raises legitimate questions of how many votes are still floating in electoral space, waiting for someone to discover them, as well as how many other voters are on the roles improperly.

*******

The horrible wild fires in California are inflicting misery and causing great damage to thousands of state residents. Unfortunately, this tragedy has once again been used by the politically motivated Left to push one of their favorite themes: Climate change/global warning.

With an estimated 600,000 acres already destroyed by fire, and thousands of residents displaced because their homes have been destroyed, or face that very real and urgent threat, the radical environmentalists are heeding the words of former Obama White House Chief of Staff and now-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

But someone with actual knowledge of effective woodlands management takes a different view. Forester Bob Zybach said that when President Bill Clinton introduced a plan that was aimed at saving the spotted owl and ancient trees back in 1994 by restricting logging in the old-growth forests, that plan was a mistake. 

He knew how ecosystems thrive, flourish, die and are reborn. “We knew exactly what would happen if we just walked away,” he told The Daily Caller. Years of mismanagement have served to turn the forests into a ticking time bomb. 

Zybach said that when Native Americans lived on the land and practiced human management of forests, they used controlled burns to clear pastureland and undergrowth for hunting. Without human management, nature will do the pruning, and we see now how that works. “You take away logging, grazing and maintenance, and you get firebombs,” Zybach said.

*******

The news media in general may not be the “enemy of the people,” as President Donald Trump’s words have been twisted to suggest by some in the media, but many in the industry are the enemy of the president. The troubled Boston Globeis working to organize a “day of editorials” on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a ‘‘dirty war against the free press.’’

And then there’s the opinion piece by Tina Dupuy in USA Todaysuggesting amending the U.S. Constitution to abolish the presidency. She wrote that since this president is a tyrant who will not be removed through the constitutional process of impeachment, the presidency must be abolished.

The only way to get rid of Trump is to get rid of the presidency itself?

Clearly, many in the news media have abandoned journalistic ethics, and now believe it is just fine for them to become the story rather than to merely report the story.

More and more one word is becoming especially applicable in politics today. That word is “unhinged.”