Thursday, July 29, 2010

Democrat's reckless energy policies
are damaging the country

There seems to be no vision of the results of the Democrats’ fatally flawed energy policy horrible enough to dissuade them from continuing down the path that will wreck the current energy system.

Congress and the President are determined to put into effect policies and regulations that will have a substantial negative impact on our current means of producing the energy the American people and their economy require without fully considering the consequences of their actions. The six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico stands as grim testimony to the damage caused by these ill-considered policies.

A study of the effects of moratorium in the Gulf, which ends in late November, shows it will cost more than 8,000 jobs in the Gulf states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas; nearly $500 million in wages will be lost because of the ban; and $2.1 billion dollars in economic activity and approximately $100 million dollars in state and local tax revenues will be lost. Louisiana State University finance professor Joseph Mason’s study also shows that at a minimum 12,000 jobs may be lost nationwide, and that will cost the federal government around $200 million dollars in tax revenues.

Summing up the damage caused by the moratorium, John Young, chair of Jefferson Parish Council in Louisiana, has called the moratorium "a death blow to Louisiana."

"The decision appears to have been made in an uninformed manner that borders on recklessness. It has increased our risk to the environment, it has increased our national security risk and it has increased the risks to job security. It must be reversed now," said Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu.

“The moratorium was imposed without proper economic analysis and I think the administration will be shocked when they understand how many people this action has put out of work and how many thousands of small businesses are being jeopardized by this action," Sen. Landrieu said.

If these are the results of only six months of no drilling in the Gulf, how much worse will it be to extend the ban or to put crippling policies into effect?

American Petroleum Institute (API) President Jack Gerard predicts a measure being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “will cost American jobs, slow economic growth and will place our energy security at risk.”

A serious element of the bill is a requirement for an extremely high level of insurance coverage on projects on the Outer Continental Shelf, so large as to be unattainable, and insurers say that will force many American companies out of U.S. waters, costing thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity that the country cannot afford to lose. While large companies may be able to self-insure, they will see costs increase precipitously, and will likely look elsewhere to invest their money in drilling projects.

API estimates that continuing down this path will cost more than 175,000 jobs and billions of dollars in federal oil and natural gas revenues.

Mr. Gerard said, “Legislation that raises the cost of production to uneconomic levels; that renders deepwater oil and natural gas areas off limits to production; drives small- and mid-sized firms out of business; shuts down access to domestic energy resources; or singles out our industry for punitive tax increases—all of which have been part of various bills in the House and Senate—will have significant impacts on jobs and economic growth.”

When 53 percent of American voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama in November of 2008, do you suppose they understood that this is what he meant when he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America”?

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Media dishonesty and complicity
are in the news once again

Not too long ago the light of truth shined on climate scientists who cheated in trying to persuade the world that its end is near when a series of emails were made public revealing their fraud and deceit.

Now, a series of online discussions between journalists, academics and others of a similar mind have been discovered in which the dialogue centered on how to manipulate the voting public, and other matters equally out of bounds. The journalists represent several media outlets, including The Washington Post, Time Magazine, the Guardian (Britain), National Public Radio, The Nation, The New Republic, Bloomberg News, Salon, and Harper’s. The emails were posted at an online meeting place, a list-serve called “JournoList.”

Some people defend the activities of JournoListers as nothing unusual. Mike Hoyt, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, asserts that the communications are normal interaction between associates. To him there is nothing unusual or improper about journalists discussing how to distract the American public from the negatives of one candidate in a presidential election. Boys will be boys, you know.

But journalism professor Jim Campbell of the State University of New York at Buffalo finds the JournoList troubling. “At one level it could be thought of as just colleagues throwing ideas out to one another, but from another standpoint it almost looks like collusion … where virtual talking points are shared and solidified in a group.” “That can’t be healthy for the country – or for the media, for that matter,” he added.


One useful tactic of the JournoListers was to distract attention from negative Obama news with some sensational charge against a prominent conservative. Someone named Spencer Ackerman, at the time on the staff of the Washington Independent, suggested to participants that to distract attention from Barack Obama’s racist and anti-America minister Jeremiah Wright, pick a conservative like “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists.”

Manipulating information for political and ideological gain wasn’t the only topic these folks discussed in this virtual smoke-filled back-room. They also thought freedom of the press should be done away with, because it allows Fox News to exist. Daniel Davies, a columnist at the Guardian, commented that “I am genuinely scared” of Fox because it “cannot be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation.” Imagine that: a news outlet that can’t be “controlled.” He continues: “In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.”

We need a “legal framework” to control Fox News, while the media outlets where the JournoListers work continue to operate unfettered? That sounds both fair and constitutional, doesn’t it?

Jumping on the anti-Fox News bandwagon was Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, who suggested a more strong-arm solution to the Fox News dilemma: “[I]s there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?” This man is a law professor?

Journalists are supposed to be in competition with one another, not in collusion, formulating “talking points” with each other. It is, obviously, a glaring conflict of interest when journalists pick a side and conspire to support one candidate or one side of an issue over the others. Such conflicts are scrupulously avoided by ethical professionals.

And what a horrid concoction of arrogance and insecurity these media people have. They are so arrogant as to think their ideas are more important than those of their fellow Americans, and yet are so insecure about their ideas that they believe they have to fool the American people into supporting them.

This perverse exercise has revealed such curious creatures as journalists who want freedom of the press for some but not others, and who conspire to manage information, and a law professor who believes Fox News has an FCC “permit” that can be revoked at will.

Good grief!

We are witnessing another once-honorable profession abandoning its integrity and hawking a personal agenda as it takes its place in the Hall of Shame alongside climate science.

At its best, news journalism is a noble and vital profession that adequately informs the public by objectively supplying accurate information so people can be well informed in order to make good decisions. It makes a point of covering controversial issues fully, because controversial issues are the ones most in need of public discussion. It does not favor one side over another, and leaves the picking of winners and losers to the American people, where it belongs.

At its worst, it is a corrupt and dishonorable perversion that controls information on events and issues to fit an ideological agenda. It ignores stories that will damage its chosen beneficiaries and over-emphasizes its point of view on important issues and its chosen candidates. It focuses extra attention toward its opponent’s negatives and ignores the positives. All to the detriment of the country and the citizens it is ethically bound to serve. Such integrity-challenged “journalists” throw ethics on the trash heap, and reduce themselves to partisan players in the political game.

Today, it seems there is much more “journalism at its worst” than ever before.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Have you noticed how many more
racists there are these days?

The word “racist” describes someone with an irrational dislike for people of a different race. In its worst forms racism involves unfair treatment of members of that race and sometimes violence against them.

Most Americans probably believe that racism has been in decline for several decades. However, news reports indicate that racism is not only alive and well in the United States, but has experienced a strong resurgence. In fact, if those making racism charges are correct, there are racists lurking behind every tree.

Examples abound: During the presidential primary campaign of 2008 we learned that anyone who opposed Democrat contender Barack Obama opposed him because he is black. By extension those who supported his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, and presumably even Mrs. Clinton, herself, are also racists. Since his election we are informed that those who do not support Mr. Obama’s policies are racists, too.

We have also learned that people who think America’s borders need to be secured to prevent illegal entry by drug dealers, kidnappers and others who sneak into our country, and think laws to prevent such entry should be enforced, are racists, as well.

We’ve been told that the people associated with the tea party movement are racists. These evil people object to what they see as government running amok, spending and taxing with abandon and exceeding its constitutional bounds. The Tea Party Patriots brazenly claim they want to “attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.” That is a radical concept, to be sure, and these grandfathers, grandmothers, plumbers, doctors, electricians, soccer moms and scout leader dads, and other normal American tea partiers are clearly racists.

And you, dear reader, are likely a racist, too, unless you voted for Barack Obama AND support Cap and Trade AND want another stimulus program AND want socialized medicine and the rationing of care AND favor government taking over industries one at a time AND don’t care who comes into our country, even kidnappers and murderers AND support every tenet of the radical leftist agenda. Presumably, if you don’t like tacos, Gen. Tso’s chicken and/or chocolate ice cream, you are a racist.

Leftists are intolerant of opposing ideas; are incapable of accepting that some people simply disagree with them; are impotent to mount serious intellectual arguments against opposing points of view, and are therefore condemned to defeat political enemies by debasing them, rather than debating them. Thus they stoop to name calling. Being a racist is one of the most damnable, despicable, loathsome, contemptible and vile things that one can be, so that is naturally the insult of choice.

After all, labeling your enemies as racists is easy, requires no thought, calls up awful visions of detestable behavior, and is effective. At least until you stop to examine the charge and realize it is usually devoid of substance. In other words, when leftists call their political enemies “racists” it is an empty, intellectually vapid charge.

In every large faction of people there likely are some jerks, some geeks, some crooks, and even some racists. An example of this truism is Mark Williams, leader of the Tea Party Express, who wrote a blog post that was at best offensive, and at worst racist. Leaders of the National Tea Party Federation, an organization seeking to represent the tea party political movement, responded by expelling Mr. Williams and the Tea Party Express from their organization.

If the tea party movement is as racist as the leftists would have us believe, why would it police itself and cast out bad apples?

It is a cheap political trick to accuse the entire tea party movement of being racist. That charge fails both the laugh test and the smell test and, more to the point, it is unsupportable.

The reckless use of the term “racism” has now entered the mainstream of American politics. Unable to defend the ineffective, irrational and dangerous policies of President Barack Obama and the Congressional leadership, leftists resort to attacking virtually anyone who disagrees with any of their positions, and labeling them “racists.” Saul Alinsky would be proud.

However, this gutter tactic has a downside, a very substantial downside: When you carelessly throw around the term, when you call everybody a racist, you render the term meaningless. and real racism, the target we all should want to eliminate, gets lost in the demagoguery.

And there’s a high degree of hypocrisy here; all incidents of racism are not equal, it seems. The NAACP recently attacked the tea party movement for its supposed racism, but ignored the overt racism by the New Black Panthers whose members have advocated killing “crackers” and white babies. We’ve seen that the tea party people oppose racism on the right; what about the NAACP? Isn’t all racism bad, or just racism by white people?

We can’t gain ground against racism by condemning some instances and ignoring others, or by degrading the term through misapplying it to political enemies.

Which begs the question: Does the left really want to fight racism, or just score cheap political points?

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Americans are poorly prepared for citizenship

Pathetic. That’s the word for it. A huge number of Americans don’t have the faintest idea what their country is all about. Most know that the 4th of July is also known as “Independence Day,” but too many have no idea of its significance.

Tonight Show host Jay Leno did a “Jaywalking” feature in which he posed questions about July 4th to random Americans on New York streets. The degree of ignorance about their country’s origins was nothing less than astonishing.

Susan, a woman of about 30, thought we won our independence from America. Asked what country King George ruled, Susan struggled to find an answer and finally said … “Greece.”

A younger woman named Molly thought Martha Washington sewed the first American flag, and when prompted by Jay with the first name “Betsy,” Molly supplied the last name: Ford. When asked, “And what did Paul Revere say when the British were coming?” Molly didn’t know.

An unidentified young man thought the general who led the colonial soldiers was named “Churchill.”

“Why did Washington cross the Delaware?” Jay asked a bearded fellow. After some thought, he ventured, “To get to the other side?”

Jennifer identified herself as an instructor of college business, general education and computer courses. When asked what was celebrated on July 4th, she answered, “The 4th of July,” and thought we achieved our independence in, “oh … 1922?” She wisely declined to identify her employer.

A middle-aged fellow said the number of original colonies “right now, I guess, thirty?” His wife was called in to help. Jay asked if she helps her teenage son with his homework, and she said she did. He asked what happened on the 4th of July. “I have no clue,” she replied. The son was called in, and answered the question “What happened on Independence Day?” with, “Independence broke out.” The three stumped family members then summoned grandpa, a man probably in his 60s. He knew the answer to every question, including where the Statue of Liberty came from (France), and what bird appears on the Great Seal (bald eagle), all without stopping to think.

If you think these are isolated examples that were edited for effect and do not represent how little Americans know about their country’s history, you would be wrong.

In 2005 The Washington Post published an article by Naomi Wolf that said, “…only 47 percent of high school seniors have mastered a minimum level of U.S. history and civics, while only 14 percent performed at or above the ‘proficient’ level…” She added that middle school students in most states are not required to take classes in civics and government. More recent statistics are not much better.

Every American over age 15 ought to know the answer to those basic questions, like that grandfather did. What do these dismal performances say about our culture; our education system; our future?

Once upon a time there were year-long civics and US history classes in junior high or high school, and students learned about their country’s foundations, how the government works and their role as citizens. Are these subjects no longer taught in public schools, and if not, why not? If they are, why are so many people ignorant about civics and US history?

Americans also don’t know much about basic economics. They don’t understand how business works; what happens to the money that people spend and how it circulates through the economy creating jobs, paying salaries, buying more products to sell or raw materials with which to produce new products, and producing profits that make it worthwhile for the owners to keep businesses operating.

They don’t understand that when government is too big and spends too much, it undermines economic growth by transferring resources needed by the productive private sector to drive the economy to the unproductive, inefficient public sector. Government cannot exist without a strong, vibrant private sector, which suffers when excessive taxation is imposed to support unnecessary and unauthorized bureaucracy.

Economist Henry Hazlitt explained the problem of economic ignorance in his brilliant book Economics in One Lesson: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy … tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

It is serious enough that millions of Americans are poorly educated about their country’s founding principles and basic economics, but when that ignorance infects those running our government – as it does today – our future and our liberty are in danger, as we now see. Elected public servants have failed to follow Mr. Hazlitt’s rule.

Recent economic policies and those favored by the Congress and the Obama administration demonstrate that ignorance of economic principles is pervasive among most Democrats and more than a few Republicans. Some of them also don’t know their history and civics.

A prime example of excessive government is the federal Department of Education that controls public education, which has failed miserably in the critical need to teach civics, history and economics.

A good step toward restoring government to sensible and proper levels would be to shut down the DOE.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Polls: Americans don't like what Obama is doing

New polling data shows President Barack Obama’s Job Approval continues to slide.

The Real Clear Politics average of seven polls taken from June 17 through July 8 shows that the president garnered 46.4 percent favorable and 47.9 unfavorable, for a -1.5 deficit in job approval. However, the two most recent polls show larger margins of disapproval.

A Gallop poll taken from July 6 through 8 shows only 45 percent approve of what Mr. Obama is doing, while 48 percent disapprove.

But a Rasmussen poll taken over the same three-day period shows a 7.0-point margin, with 46 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval.

Support for the Democrat’s health care reform plan has dropped to 42.3 in the RCP Average for the period May 19 through July 1, while 50.7 percent disapproved. And the new Rasmussen poll taken on July 1 shows Americans don’t like the plan by a 60 to 36 margin, a spread of -24 points.

By a two-to-one margin (62.3 vs. 30.2), Americans strongly disapprove of the direction the country is heading, as reflected by the RCP average from June 10 through June 27.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Latest from Bones

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Liberals use the courts to change the rules

A story in The Washington Post informed readers that “The Supreme Court ruled the Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments.” This issue should never have had to be decided by the Supreme Court.

The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, which is a specific articulation of what many of the Founders regarded as fundamental principles of human liberty – “unalienable Rights,” according to the Declaration of Independence – that must be guaranteed, and not left in doubt, so those rights were specifically guaranteed in the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution in 1791.

They include the right of free speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and to petition the government, freedom of religion, the right to due process and trial by jury, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to keep and bear arms, among others, which the Founders recognized as essential for a free people in a free society, and which Justice Samuel Alito confirmed in his majority opinion: "It is clear that the Framers . . . counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."

The 5-4 ruling came in response to a challenge to a Chicago law banning handgun possession. Such blanket bans are in response to the illegal use of handguns, but are poorly thought out and fraught with flaws and unintended consequences, the most obvious of which is that law abiding Chicagoans who have sold their handguns to comply with the law, or have not purchased a handgun because of the law, have had their most effective means of self-defense outlawed by the City of Chicago, leaving them vulnerable to criminals who still have their guns.

It is ludicrous to suggest that the Framers ever intended for such a preposterous situation to be created.

Gun control is another of the many areas where good intentions fall victim to reality: In the real world gun control laws do not control guns. What they do most effectively is to disarm potential victims.

The populace has nothing to fear from law abiding citizens with guns. In fact, studies show that law abiding citizens who are armed provide an effective deterrent to crime. In an article titled “Can Gun Control Reduce Crime? Part 1,” historian and writer Benedict D. LaRosa noted that “Vermont has the least restrictive gun-control law. It recognizes the right of any Vermonter who has not otherwise been prohibited from owning a firearm to carry concealed weapons without a permit or license. Yet Vermont has one of the lowest crime rates in America, ranking 49 out of 50 in all crimes and 47th in murders.”

He also said that states which have passed concealed-carry laws have seen their violent crime rates fall by from three to seven percent, which makes perfect sense: If a criminal believes his intended victim may shoot him, he might think twice before robbing attacking him or her.

All of the gun control laws in the universe cannot keep criminals from having guns. That’s sort of what the term “criminal” implies, you know? Does it make any sense to prohibit law abiding citizens from owning guns to protect themselves from criminals who ignore the law and arm themselves? That’s a no-brainer.

Still – and this is truly troubling – four of the nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court voted in this case to maintain Chicago’s prohibition against handgun ownership, which is a de facto vote against the concept of law abiding citizens owning handguns for self-defense. That defies both common sense and the intent of the Second Amendment. But more importantly, it is a serious threat to our freedom that those four Justices – Steven Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, and Sonia Sotomayor – either do not understand the intent or the plain language of the US Constitution, which they are duty bound to uphold, or they have substituted their own ideology for the intent of the Constitution. Neither is acceptable

This behavior is referred to as “judicial activism,” a theory that judges can and should creatively reinterpret the Constitution and laws in order to serve the judges' own ideas of the needs of contemporary society.

But what is the point of having a constitution if it can be reinterpreted by judges? What is the point of enacting laws if judges can interpret them according to their own personal views? And why should any of us obey existing laws, if their meaning changes from judge to judge?

For centuries people have used anchors to keep their boats from being moved around by winds and tides. Our Founders realized that the Republic also needed an anchor to keep it from being swept around by changing social and political ideas, and they created the United States Constitution for that purpose, and to establish a nation with maximum personal freedom. It has served us well for more than 200 years, making America the most exceptional nation in history.

We must be smart enough to follow it and not screw things up.

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