Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street gives honest and legitimate protest a bad name

The ability to speak one’s mind and protest things one doesn’t agree with, particularly the actions of government, was one of the rights considered so important by early Americans that several of the states insisted on a special statement guaranteeing those rights before they would ratify the U.S. Constitution. The resulting Bill of Rights guaranteed this right in its first Amendment, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Trouble arises, however, when those peaceably assembled and speaking freely – like participants in a protest such as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and its various incarnations – are so focused on their complaints and on their right to express their displeasure that they ignore their responsibility as good citizens to behave sensibly and obey the law.

This is what has occurred with the OWS movement that has spread across the country: participants either are ignorant of the laws and don’t understand there are limits to “assembling,” or they just don’t care. While exercising their right to assemble, they interfered with the rights of others. The right to peaceably assemble does not allow protesters to deny other people their rights, no matter how important the issue they are protesting. Protesters may not prevent people from traveling on a street or sidewalk, or from entering buildings, or using public spaces.

And when protesters took up residence at the protest sites in tents and sleeping bags they crossed the line separating peaceful protesters from slovenly trespassers. Stories are common of protesters urinating and defecating on streets and sidewalks, leaving massive amounts of trash behind, and indulging in violent behavior, including assault and rape. One gets the idea that sex, drugs and rock-n-roll have become the order of the day. The Woodstock Generation has returned.

What happened to the righteous anger at the greedy bankers and corporate bigwigs, the hated one percent? When night falls, the focus apparently changes from “work” to “play.”

All of the irresponsible behavior and lawlessness has cost 18 cities where protests have been taking place $13 million, money that these cities were obligated to spend, because the police had to be on site, due to the lawlessness and bad behavior, and the mess had to be cleaned up because it presented a health hazard. For officials to simply look the other way would have been irresponsible and therefore unacceptable.

The protesters, of course, don’t like the police interfering in their fun and games, and they apparently have the support of allies in the media.

A recent TV news story showed a group of young people on a college campus, sitting down with arms linked, being sprayed with pepper spray by a police officer like he was watering plants. The story generated a great deal of sympathy for the protesters and great anger against the police.

As often happens in the mainstream media, however, the TV coverage told only part of the story. As it turns out, the protesters had been given ample warning that police would use pepper spray if they did not obey the order, and the alternative to spraying them was for police to forcibly drag the protesters away, which arguably could have been worse, particularly if the protesters resisted.

It is too much of a generalization, and probably partially inaccurate, to say that the OWS folks don’t understand how their country works, have refused to take part in being responsible for their own well-being, then expect others to take care of them. But there is a strong undercurrent of that present in the movement, and when the public became aware of this, support for the movement began to dissolve.

The protesters blame Wall Street and the big banks for the current economic trouble, and a good bit of the blame is rightly theirs. But businesses have to operate in the environment that exists, and the environment that the OWS protesters so despise was created by government, not Wall Street. Rules and regulations for banking not only made it possible for the housing bubble to expand and then burst, but virtually made it certain that this would happen.

The protester’s poor understanding of the US economy and current economic conditions, and their illogically focused anger has produced an incoherent message and harmful actions. The holiday shopping period is what turns a bad year into a successful one for many retailers. Yet, the movement sought to subvert Black Friday shopping activities, which would harm a lot of the people the movement claims to represent, the 99 percent.

But cooler heads prevailed. Millions of Americans – acting in their own best interest, in the best tradition of free market economics – ignored the irrational pleadings of the OWS protesters, and flooded retail outlets last Friday, producing a six percent increase over Black Friday numbers from last year.

That doesn’t signal a healing economy, that goal won’t be met until sensible economic policies are put in place. But it is a good sign.

Please leave a comment

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Watching the decline of the late, great United States of America

The idea that America is in a steep decline is wide-spread among people old enough to know what our country was like before the 1970s. The country had been in decline for a while, but back then it was a slow process. Then liberalism burst forth, the flower children and their fairy tale ideal of peace and love came along. There is nothing wrong with peace and love and other liberal ideals, but their implementation is nearly always unrealistic and mostly makes things worse.

The foolish thinking that blossomed in the mid-60s and 70s, and continues today, produced ideas and policies that have accelerated the decline. All of this is completely unrecognized by the vast majority of younger souls who don’t know, either through experience or through education, what the United States was all about, and what made it special among the nations of the world.

People came to the English colonies for different reasons, and there were many things the colonists did not agree on. But as time passed, the growing sense of nationhood was strong enough to surmount those disagreements. The colonists came to see themselves as Americans, not as British subjects who lived in America, and the sense of unity, self-reliance and national independence had grown so strong that the colonists rose to armed rebellion against the English Crown, citing a long list of grievances and abuses in the Declaration of Independence.

Here is how history professor Dr. John Ferling described the revolution: “... the American Revolution was the birthday of a new world. The new epoch that they wished to create was one that would sweep monarchs and titled nobility from power, loosen the bonds of society, and open the way to greater opportunities, so that a man could rise as high as his merits could take him.”

“That age left us with two documents that remain crucial today,” Dr. Ferling wrote, “the Constitution, our fundamental charter, and the Declaration of Independence, with its ringing message of liberty – with many notable participants who continue to inspire, from the obvious Founding Fathers to obscure farmers, workers, and soldiers who struggled and sacrificed to win Independence and achieve the new world.”

The American Revolution and the formation of a government whose scope and power were strictly limited by the United States Constitution set the country on a course that over the next 150 years led to its being the freest, most successful nation in history, a magnificent accomplishment.

It’s too bad we haven’t had the good sense to honor the wisdom and sacrifices of our Founders by maintaining that system. Having traveled a long way down the road of decline we now stare straight into the face of the possible collapse of the American idea; our once great republic is on the precipice of disintegrating into another failed effort at big-government socialism.

We’ve lost our good sense and our soul. We have failed to teach the young of recent generations why America is special, its values and ideals, how it works, and why it was set up the way that it was. Instead we have taught them that families and commitment are not important; that there is no downside to having children out of wedlock to grow up without a father; that it is permissible for people to sit on their backsides and expect to be taken care of. We are able to fund only 60 percent of everything the government does by taxing the earnings of the people, but only half of them contribute. And we borrow the rest, mounting up a colossal, murderous debt in the process.

Instead of preparing our children to exist in an unforgiving and often unfriendly world, we have taught them that how they feel about themselves is more important than learning to cope with adversity, that hurting someone’s feelings or making them uncomfortable is worse than nearly anything else, and that politically incorrect thoughts must be punished.

We no longer recognize that some things are wrong, absolutely. We attempt to excuse the worst behavior, like pedophilia, by trying to blame it not on the evil predator but on some overwhelming force, and excuse violent crime not as the fault of the criminal, but of the society in which he grew up.

We have abandoned the ideas of limited government, honor and integrity in government, fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. The government tells us what light bulbs we can buy, what kind of energy we should use, where we can open businesses, and what kind of food we should eat. It takes Joe’s home and land and sells them to Mary for Mary’s personal benefit. It is enormous, expensive, wasteful, inefficient, abusive and corrupt.

Worst of all, we have lost our heart. We no longer believe that America is at its best when its people are allowed to be free and produce on their own merit and initiative, not because of the government, and often in spite of it.
We have traded our freedom for the false comfort and the bondage of Big Brother.

Perhaps because of our stupidity and our faithlessness we deserve the horrible future we are racing toward.

Please leave a comment

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Thanksgiving in the future

“Winston, come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband. “In a minute, honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered. Actually, Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington.

Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world,” Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting.

Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another Tofu Turkey. Even though it was the best type of VeggieMeat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mincemeat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey. And, ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Atonement” in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats – which were monitored and controlled by the electric company – be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or, at least, most of the family. Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of life-saving medical treatment. He had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium (RHC), spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government health care program. And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort. “The RHC’s resources are limited,” explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. “Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement. At least he had his memories. He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life “fair for everyone” realized their full potential. Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn’t happen all at once, but gradually, so people wouldn’t realize what was happening.
He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2011, when all the real nonsense began. “Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today if we’d just said ‘enough is enough’ when we had the chance,” he thought.

Maybe so, Winston…maybe so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Installment II: From the Human Events calendar

No. 304 of 365

Agree that JFK was one of our greatest presidents, part two. Ask your liberal friend which part of JFK's agenda he liked most: JFK's pledge to increase defense spending to close the "missile gap" with the Soviets, his supply-side tax cuts, his commitment to halt communism in Indochina, or his rousing anti-welfarist line, "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."

No. 307 of 365

Tell a joke: An elderly senator, exhausted and ill from enacting Obama's health-care plans, goes to the doctor. Doctor says: "I have bad news, good news, and bad news, Senator. The bad news is that you only have six months to live. But the good news is that there's an operation that is 100 percent successful in curing this illness." "That sounds great. So what's the other bad news?" asks the senator. Replies the doctor: "The Department of Health and Human Services says the first available slot is seven months from today."

No. 308 of 365

Tell them they're WRONG. Liberals hate being told they're wrong: a) because the truth is always painful; and b) because in their warped, liberal world, "right" and "wrong" are alien, almost forbidden concepts. That's why liberals prefer terms like "appropriate" and "inappropriate," because they're non-judgmental. So go ahead. Judge them. Because they're WRONG.

No. 312 of 365

Patiently explain to a liberal why their hero Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story depends on an entirely false premise—that capitalism is the same as corporatism. Most of Moore's targets in the movie are the unwieldy, corrupt corporations that his hero Obama has spent so much taxpayer money bribing and bailing out. They've got about as much to do with the free markets that conservatives favor as Michael Moore has with charm, wit, or healthy salads. And if he really has such a problem with capitalism, what was he doing allowing movie theaters to charge audiences eight bucks a ticket? Shouldn't he have used some of the vast fortune he has earned from books and movies railing against capitalism so that his vital public service announcement could be put out for free?

No. 313 of 365

Pick a fight with a liberal on: SELF-ESTEEM.
One of the great excuses made for the poorer performances by certain ethnic groups is their "lack of self-esteem"—which comes, of course, from the sense of inferiority imposed on them either consciously or unconsciously by the white, elitist, capitalist, male hegemony. Much of this stems from research conducted by black socialist Kenneth B. Clark using his infamous "doll" tests. He showed black children in segregated schools a black doll and a white doll and asked which they preferred. When a majority chose the white doll, he argued that segregated schooling lowered black self-esteem. But Clark was a professional grievance-monger and a fraud. What he did not mention was that in research he had conducted in integrated schools, black children were shown to be even more likely to choose the white doll over the black doll. Clark's junk sociology was the basis for sweeping legislation forcing integration in schools through wildly unpopular school busing programs that tore communities apart; and it's also responsible for more recent findings that American kids do worse than many of their international counterparts on academic tests—but think of themselves as being great, and much smarter than they really are. What self-esteem really is, is another liberal assault on a Christian virtue: namely, humility. We could all use a lot more of that.

No. 314 of 365

Pick a fight with a liberal on: LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS.
Quote the "great"—and remember to use the air quotes—Walter Cronkite: "I think most newspaper men by definition have to be liberal; if they're not liberal, by my definition of it, they can hardly be good newspapermen."

No. 316 of 365

Tell a joke: Q. Why should liberals be buried 100 feet below the ground?

A. Because deep down they are really good people.

No. 318 of 365

Quote Competitive Enterprise Institute Founder Fred Smith Jr. "The threat posed by humans to the natural environment is nothing compared to the threat to humans posed by global environmental policy."

No. 319 of 365

Settle down your liberal friends for a festive game that will provide hours of fun. Give each of them a copy of the Obama administration's 86-page report (produced by Clinton-era appointees Togo West and Admiral Vernon Clark) on the Fort Hood massacre committed by an Islamist terrorist and see who can be the first to find a reference to Islam.

The grand fallacy of the administration’s
green energy compulsion

In the Obama administration’s great green energy scam the president has ignored or tried to over-power two economic factors. First, green energy is a luxury in an economic downturn, and second – and the more relevant factor – there is no significant free market demand for green energy.

Writing on, Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, notes the near manic devotion to all things green in the UK and Europe, documents what the economic downturn has done there, and notes that the green mania, in fact, contributed to their economic problems.

The first glimmers showed up a couple of years ago in Spain, he said. “The government — which [President Obama] cited as his environmental role model in his last presidential bid — sought to buy support with outrageous subsidies, in the form of power purchases, to anyone who put a solar panel on his roof in sunny Seville. The government spent much more than it took in [and] sold bonds it couldn’t back,” Mr. Michaels wrote, producing costs and debts far greater than the economic benefit obtained from the solar panels.

Then, in the United Kingdom a similar program produced the installation of tens of thousands of solar projects, since the Brits also appreciate a freebie when government offers it, even though the UK is one of the cloudiest places on the planet.

The wastefulness of these programs became apparent, Mr. Michaels wrote, when the economy turned downward, and Spain announced a 40 percent reduction in wind power subsidies; the European Commission is questioning the wisdom of its go-it-alone global warming policies, citing loss of economic competitiveness; the British government gave up on its expensive carbon capture and storage facility; and Japan is reconsidering cutting carbon dioxide by 25 percent in the next 8 years, because of the wealth drain the plan produced.

Meanwhile, President Obama threw away a half-billion of your dollars supporting a failing solar panel company he called the “true engine of economic growth,” and executives of which just happened to be some of his financial supporters. The Solyndra debacle put thousands of people out of work, and wasted $535 million. It was the second time in his two and one-half years in office that Mr. Obama put job creation behind his statist ideological goals.

However, to be fair, it is not accurate to say that the administration completely ignored job creation. Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributed an article to discussing green jobs training sponsored by the US Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. She writes: “As of June 30, ETA had awarded $490 million of the $500 million provided by Congress for the program. The funds were awarded to state workforce agencies, community colleges, and nonprofits. Green jobs were defined as those ‘associated with products and services that use renewable energy resources, reduce pollution, and conserve natural resources.’"

She explained that some workers had been trained in green jobs such as “hybrid- and electric-car auto mechanics, weatherization of buildings, and solar panel installation,” while others “received job referrals, training in basic workforce readiness skills, and credentials and support services to overcome employment barriers.”

However, the grantees had spent only $163 million, about one-third of available funds. And what do we have to show for that? After six months, Ms. Furchtgott-Roth stated, only 1,336 trainees were still employed, at a cost of $121,257 per job.

Anyone thinking about forcing the United States to abandon its reliance on traditional energy production methods using fossil fuels and to instead adopt green energy technology ought to first be aware of some fundamental conditions. In typical liberal fashion, however, the administration neglected to indulge in thinking past the most fundamental questions to see the difficulties of pushing Mr. Obama’s dream on the American people.

H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and policy intern Wesley Dwyer, explain the things the doctrinaire Mr. Obama and his fellow travelers either neglected to investigate, or simply ignored.

First, they tell us that green technologies come with strings attached. While the administration thinks the answer to our energy problems is solar and wind power, both rely on rare earth elements, solar on tellurium and wind on neodymium. As it turns out, these elements are scarce everywhere on Earth.

Except in China. Consequently, China has a near monopoly on tellurium, and that makes it virtually impossible for American solar manufacturers to compete with Chinese firms. (See Solyndra, above)

And, as it turns out, the magnets used in turbines use the rare earth element neodymium. General Electric is one of the leaders developing wind energy technologies, and has to purchase all of its neodymium from China.

In addition to being “luxury” energy and being so expensive and inefficient that it cannot develop market demand, green energy is dependent upon materials available to a very high degree from only one country. Contrast that with oil, natural gas and coal, all of which are fairly abundant in domestic reserves, which makes it both easier and less expensive to acquire them, and protects us from being held hostage by China.

Please leave a comment

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Crazy stuff

The city of Jacksonville, NC has passed an ordinance requiring pro-lifers in groups as small as 2 people to obtain a permit in order to pray outside the local abortion clinic. When pro-lifers gathered on the public sidewalk in front of the abortion clinic, the police asked them to move and sited the ordinance. When asked to justify the ordinance, the police chief cited safety concerns in case a car ran off the street, jumped the curb and hit one of the protesters.

* * * * *

A Minnesota congressman has proposed federal legislation that would impose his state’s type of voter registration – which leads the nation in voter fraud cases – on the other 49 states, according to critics who have launched online campaigns to make people aware of the dangers of Rep. Keith Ellison’s H.R. 3316 and its companion H.R. 3317.

In a commentary promoting his H.R. 3316, which would banish all photo identification requirements, and H.R. 3317, which would allow people to walk into a polling location, register and vote immediately, Ellison said his intent is to curb “voter suppression.”

“The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide for same day voter registration for a federal election. The Voter Access Protection Act would make sure election officials cannot require photo identification in order to cast a vote or register to vote,” he said.

* * * * *

A couple discovered a thief in their home recently after a man told a joke and heard a laugh upstairs.

* * * * *

Occupy Oakland has voted to deposit $20,000 with Wells Fargo & Co., just days after Occupy protesters shattered windows of one of the bank's downtown Oakland branches during the group's attempt to stage a general strike in the city.

The decision was posted at Occupy Oakland's website for its general assembly. According to the link, the group made the decision to deposit the $20,000 with Wells at a meeting Monday night.
Wells Fargo quickly trumpeted the decision.

"If this report is true, it demonstrates that even Occupy Oakland understands -- first-hand – the value and service that Wells Fargo provides its customers," Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said in an email to the Oakland Tribune.

* * * * *

Crazy stuff emanates from all over, including from people who live and work in the White House (who ought to know better).

For example, Vice President Joe Biden said the following at an event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “The other thing I’ve heard from my friends who oppose this – this whole jobs bill and this – that this is just temporary," Biden said. "Well let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 911 call comes in and a woman’s being raped if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape, it’s not temporary to that woman. It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and a gun is being pointed to his head. If a cop shows up and he’s not killed, that’s not temporary to that store owner. Give me a break, temporary! I wish these guys that thought it was temporary, I wish they had some notion what it’s like to be on the other side of a gun or a 200 pound man standing over you telling you to submit. Folks, it matters. It matters!”

Not exactly, Joe. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

* * * * *

One of Barack Obama’s great gifts is the ability to say things that are absolutely absurd and make them sound not only plausible, but inspiring. – Dr. Thomas Sowell

“The Republican plan says that what’s been standing in the way between us and full employment are laws that keep companies from polluting as much as they want,” President Obama said in a speech at the regional airport in Asheville, NC. “On the other hand, our plan [Obama’s plan] puts teachers, construction workers, firefighters and police officers back on the job.”

“That’s my plan. Then you’ve got their plan, which is, let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance. So far at least, I feel better about my plan.”

Yes, that’s right. Republicans and conservatives want dirtier air and dirtier water for their children and spouses, and fewer people with health insurance, so that they will suffer and die sooner.

It is terribly disturbing that a President of the United States would stoop to such idiotic rhetoric. But it is downright scary that so many Americans believe that crap.

Please leave a comment

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The ups and downs of Herman Cain’s
campaign for the presidency

Editor's Note: This column was written for a daily newspaper and was filed a few hours prior to the public statement of Sharon Bialek accusing Herman Cain of inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances, and therefore is based upon the circumstances existing before those accusations were made public.
The circumstances surrounding these new charges are still developing, and these charges are disputed by Mr. Cain.
We will see what develops as time passes.

Herman Cain, one of several candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, is an interesting political character. Mr. Cain has achieved the American dream, rising from humble beginnings as the son of a domestic worker mother and a father who worked as a janitor and chauffer. After that modest start he has achieved great success, working as a civilian mathematician for the U.S. Navy, chosen as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. He also has been a syndicated columnist and radio host.

As a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who has never held elective office, Mr. Cain rose from relative obscurity to sit atop Republican polls ahead of better-known candidates like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachman, and Rick Perry, all of whom are experienced in the fine art of politics.

Despite the large number of Americans upset with careerism in politics, that rare individual who dares to enter national politics without first paying dues or learning the ropes in some lower office is often the object of disdain.

However, Mr. Cain’s lack of political experience is one thing people like about him. A frequent complaint about American politics focuses on how many elected officials make a career of holding elective office, many spending decades in elected positions, and more than a few tending to focus on being re-elected more than on serving the people who put them in office.

Another thing they like is his clear thinking, learned as a successful businessman running a large corporation, which also taught him to identify problems and cut through the fog to find practical solutions to them.

Whether it is Mr. Cain’s experience in the private sector rather than in government, or his no-nonsense approach to problems, the Republican rank and file seems to like it, and that has the other Republican candidates on edge. It also has gotten the Democrats’ attention, and the way they have reacted tells us just how nervous they are.

“I can’t imagine that he wasn’t given a hand—whether it was through state policy or affirmative action,” says Stacey Abrams, the Democratic leader of the Georgia House, downplaying Mr. Cain’s success. Harry Belafonte, who was a popular calypso singer forty years ago, said on the Joy Behar show that Mr. Cain was a “bad apple,” a “false Negro,” someone “denied intelligence,” and then praised Fidel Castro as a supporter of democracy and people’s rights.

And then there is the week-old story of 12 year-old sexual harassment allegations by former employees of the restaurant association.

As things stand now, this story is an indictment of the news media more than of Mr. Cain. The lack of detail and real information in this story is breath-taking; a textbook case of what not to do in journalism, but it is nonetheless being used by Democrats and the media to attempt to destroy a political enemy.

First published by the left-wing news organization Politico as a story of a formal complaint filed with the restaurant association, the story was based on anonymous sources and furnished virtually no detail. Cases of this nature involve confidentiality provisions that protect the parties, so information about the claims is not available. Responsible journalists would not have published a story with so little factual information available, and it is shoddy journalism like this that produced the terms “lame-stream media” and “drive-by media.”

Then there are the allegations themselves, which may represent actual cases of sexual harassment, or they may not. Right now no one really knows. An allegation is just an allegation, and settlement agreements keep the details of the claims private.

But even a settled claim does not mean that sexual harassment occurred. Any attorney can tell you that legal settlements result because settling is frequently less expensive than the cost of going to court, and amounts of $35,000 to $45,000 are considered “nuisance value.”

Sexual harassment is a very real problem, but not every charge is true sexual harassment. A female employee may complain that a male co-worker stood too close to her and made her feel “uncomfortable.” But just because she was uncomfortable doesn’t mean she was “harassed.” A casual comment intended as a compliment can be misinterpreted, and a harassment charge may result. The definition is foggy, but the legal standard is that the alleged conduct be “severe or pervasive.”

Mr. Cain, who denies that he has ever harassed anyone, handled this situation very poorly, perhaps due to his lack of political experience. However, under the standards of American justice he is innocent until proven guilty. Until some actual proof of true sexual harassment comes out, this firestorm is a tempest in a tea pot, and is best ignored by everyone.

Whether Herman Cain is the best of the Republican candidates will be determined over the next several months. He has some very good ideas, a refreshing non-political perspective, and the insight of a successful private sector performer.

If he does not prevail in the nomination process it must not be because of this shameful journalistic misadventure.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Idiocy often reigns in pursuit of
non-discrimination and tolerance

The United States has been under assault for years by the Political Correctness nannies, who regularly complain about what they see as intolerance and discrimination. And good Americans, being the fair-minded souls that they are, have given in to this onslaught to a far more than reasonable degree, accepting “solutions” that are themselves intolerant and discriminatory in response. And as a result, the country is awash in senseless policies and practices that frequently trample on common sense and individual freedoms in order to make a relative few people feel better.

Case-in-point number 1: Vanderbilt University has notified four Christian student groups that they are on “provisional status” and are in danger of being thrown off campus. What horrible wrong have these young Christians committed? Fighting or drunkenness? No. Cheating on tests? No. What, then?

Vanderbilt charges the groups are out of compliance with the school’s nondiscrimination policy. Those organizations logically want leaders that share the group’s beliefs, goals and values, but the university says that is intolerant and discriminatory.
Presumably, the school’s administration thinks that a Christian group should be led by a Jew, Buddhist, Muslim or atheist, or that a women’s group should be led by a man, or a Democrat group should be led by a Republican, or a Muslim group should be led by a Christian or a Jew.

The idiocy of such a policy ought to be self-evident, but in today’s upside-down world, apparently it is not.

Case-in-point number 2: Muslim students at Catholic University of America (CU) claim that their human rights have been violated by the school because it did not provide them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers, and this allegation is now being investigated by the Office of Human Rights.
The complaint alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism … which many Muslim students find inappropriate.” How could a Catholic institution be so intolerant of others and so arrogant as to fill its campus with Catholic symbols?

The attorney who filed the complaint said not providing special prayer rooms “may not be illegal, but it suggests they are acting improperly and probably with malice.” Muslims “do have to pray five times a day, they have to look around for empty classrooms and to be sitting there trying to do Muslim prayers with a big cross looking down or a picture of Jesus or a picture of the Pope is not very conducive to their religion.”
But isn’t religion about one’s relationship to a supreme entity and religious beliefs? Isn’t the prayer itself more important than the surroundings in which it is offered?

The president of an organization that promotes Catholic identity responded that “one wouldn’t expect a Jewish institution to be responsible for providing liturgical opportunities for other faiths and I wouldn’t expect a Catholic institution to do that,” he said.

That sounds sensible, doesn’t it?

The attorney’s admission that CU is not breaking the law tells us something about his motives. We may presume that the Muslim students want to attend a university based in Catholicism, a religion about as different from theirs as one could be, because of its high educational quality. But they apparently expect the institution to accede to their desires to change it to their liking.

More pertinent is why the federal government should have anything to say about how a successful and respected private institution adorns its rooms, and why it should potentially be able to alter how it operates.

Another complaint filed by this attorney charges that “eliminating all mixed-gender dormitories on campus, and henceforth forcing students who live on campus to reside in single-sex segregated residences, constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex against female students, since students will be assigned to dormitories solely on the basis of their sex, and many will be denied their residence of choice solely because of, and on the basis of, their sex." Does the attorney believe this policy discriminates only against female students? Is that position itself also discriminatory, and should that attorney therefore be sanctioned?

Case-in-point number 3: An Illinois middle school math lab instructor in her first year on the job asked for a three-week unpaid leave to take a religious trip just before exam time. The school district denied the request because the teacher was the department’s only instructor, and also stated that the contract under which she was employed did not provide for such leave. The instructor, a Muslim, filed a complaint against her employer claiming religious discrimination for refusing her time off for a trip to Mecca.

The Justice Department has forced the school district to pay the teacher $75,000 and implement a sensitivity training course throughout the district.

These examples illustrate that the inmates have taken over the asylum. Government and other nannies labor mightily to alter the realities of life to assuage the easily offended who expect everything to suit them, always. People must learn that despite the efforts of the nannies, life isn’t perfect and no one can make it so. They need to adjust to reality and figure out how to succeed despite the occasional bumps in the road.