Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kill the VAT Now and Forever

Kill the VAT Now and Forever
Bruce Bialosky
Sunday, June 28, 2009

The current rage amongst the intellectual elite is that we should join our European friends and put in place a national sales tax, commonly referred to as a Valued Added Tax (VAT). If we adopt this form of taxation, you might as well prepare for the death knell of both our economy and our freedom.

It should be noted that some smart people are in favor of this tax form and they have good arguments. A few years back, I saw Arthur Laffer give a speech to the California Republican Party where he whole-heartedly endorsed the VAT. If you are not familiar with him, Dr. Laffer is the creator of the Laffer curve and quite a brilliant man. He is also a wonderfully nice and personable man, especially noteworthy for an economist most of whom can be duller than the typical CPA.

When I went up to him, I told him he was dead wrong about the VAT. Instead of blowing me off, this internationally-known economist said he would love to hear my thoughts. What ensued was a series of correspondence between him and me. Laffer sent me these wonderful letters with charts and graphs explaining why the VAT made sense. There were arrows and square root symbols flying all over the place. I in turn sent him my thoughts. Despite the fact he is a lot smarter than I am, he was wrong and I was right.

The major issue is that the VAT is an invisible tax. You never see it. The rate can be adjusted and you would only blame retailers for the increased prices. Think of gasoline taxes. If you stand around the pump and asked people about the cost of gas, they would say things about oil companies which make their mothers want to get the nearest bar of soap. But if you state that the government is making a lot more on a gallon of gas than the oil company is, they are clueless. The oil company even posts signs on the pump delineating the taxes, but people ignore them.

Review your phone bill and see how you are getting raped. And this is not even a totally invisible tax. It sits in front of your face and most people don’t even see it. The VAT is totally invisible. You never see it directly in your cost unless you collect it. Therefore, it can be easily manipulated. For instance, the rate in Denmark has gradually been raised from 9% at its inception in 1962 until today where it is 25%.

Yet the Danes love it because when they go to restaurant, they pay the price on the menu for their meal. Included is the tax plus the service. In the U.S. the sales tax slaps you in the face and then you have the choice of what you may additionally leave for service (tip) based on the waiter’s performance. This is the difference between a socialist society where decisions are being made for you and a free society where you make your own decisions.

Every tax revolt in this society has been over transparent taxes. The two taxes most rebelled against are auto license fees and property taxes. The reason is simple: people write a check for these taxes and know how much they are paying. When they know how much they are paying, people realize they are not getting what they are paying for in taxes. Why don’t people revolt against income taxes more? The answer is also very simple. Most have their taxes withheld from their paycheck. The ones who really get upset are the ones who write quarterly checks. Unfortunately, when it comes to filing their taxes, even the smartest people don’t ask how much they are paying in taxes. They ask whether they have a refund coming. When that question is asked, you know that the taxman has them under his boot.

Dr. Laffer accepted this argument that in my mind is good enough to stick a knife through this evil incarnate. The biggest problem with Dr. Laffer’s arguments is that he wants to replace the income tax system with VAT. That will never happen. The crowd who wants to put this in place wants this to supplement the current income tax system with the VAT. They promise a reduction in other taxes, but do you trust Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi when they tell you that? Enough said there.

Lastly, you have to understand where this tax comes from to understand why it is so bad. First, it was invented by a Frenchman, Maurice Laure. Not everything the French have every done is bad. After all, there was Louis Pasteur and Lafayette. But do you see the French as a model for running a government? The Nordic states love it, but they are all on the edge of socialism and choice has gone out the window in those countries.

The big promoter of the VAT these days is Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of President Obama’s political henchman, Rahm Emanuel. Just what the world needs right now is another Emanuel fishing for our money. This Emanuel is a bioethicist who is advising Obama on nationalizing our health care system. He states he wants the VAT so they can have more revenue to pay for the health care system that needs all that new money that Obama will not be saving by nationalizing our health care.

The more taxes are transparent, the less people are willing to have their freedom taken away by having their money taken away. Politicians like invisible taxes which you don’t see or write a check for; thus they are not bothersome. The VAT would not replace our income tax system; it would just give more of our money to the power freaks in Washington. Kill this ugly tax before it gets off the ground and throws our economy into a tailspin.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Obama Could Work for The New York Times

Obama Could Work for The New York Times
Burt Prelutsky
Monday, June 29, 2009

Back in 2008, New York Times correspondent David S. Rohde, along with Afghan reporter Taki Luden, were abducted in Pakistan by the Taliban. Because they felt it might adversely affect hostage rescue efforts, the Times requested a news black-out. The Associated Press and other news agencies respected the request and only broke the story recently, after Rohde and Luden had scaled a wall and made their escape. It would be nothing other than a story with a happy ending, except that the Times has time and again ignored the government’s requests that it not report the specific ways in which we were combating Islamic terrorists.

It’s enlightening to know that so far as the New York Times is concerned, censorship is not only moral, but mandatory, when the life of one of its employees might be at risk, but is not to be condoned when the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians might hang in the balance.

However, when it comes to hypocrisy, the Times isn’t alone. For instance, when George W. Bush fired eight U.S. attorneys, the outrage voiced by the media would have had you believe that he’d personally ripped the Constitution into a thousand tiny pieces. Compare that to the silence that greeted Obama’s dismissal of Inspector General Gerald Walpin. It had been Walpin’s responsibility to oversee government-subsidized volunteer programs, such as AmeriCorps. Walpin’s team of investigators discovered serious irregularities at St. Hope, a California non-profit run by former NBA star Kevin Johnson. It seems that an $850,000 grant, which was supposed to go towards tutoring Sacramento students and supporting theater and art programs, instead was used to pad staff salaries, meddle in a local school board election and pay AmeriCorps members to perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car.

When Walpin recommended that Johnson, an assistant and St. Hope, itself, be cut off from federal funds, he was fired by the president. Did I mention that Mr. Johnson is a friend and was an early supporter of Barack Obama? I guess you can take the man out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the man. Not even when he’s sitting in the Oval Office.

Some of us have been puzzled by the personal animosity that Obama has shown towards those, like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who oppose his radical left-wing agenda. Clearly, the man is so narcissistic and thin-skinned that he can’t conceal his contempt for anyone who doesn’t openly adore him. I don’t entirely blame him, though. Like a little brat who is never disciplined by his parents when he misbehaves, Obama is the inevitable result of a media that has mollycoddled him ever since he came on the scene.

Frankly, I can’t figure out what it is that people find admirable about the president. I, myself, was profoundly upset that he couldn’t even muster up a few inspirational words for those brave souls in Tehran who were standing up to the murderous mullahs and their hand puppet, Ahmadinejad. But, on further reflection, it occurred to me that maybe he just didn’t want Americans to get any funny ideas about freedom and liberty.

In fact, I found myself wondering if the spark that ignited the demonstrations in Iran wasn’t supplied by the example of democracy taking hold in nearby Iraq, in much the same way that the French revolution was inspired by our own.

Some people have suggested that the reason Obama kept silent during the popular uprising is because he is a Muslim. The truth is, I have no idea how much he was influenced by his early years in Indonesia or by the wish to please his absentee Islamic father. I figure it’s bad enough that he calls himself a Christian, but attended a racist church for his entire adult life, spending a thousand Sundays listening to a creepy minister heap curses on Jews, white Christians and America. While I don’t know what the man believes in his heart, I do know that he would have heard the exact same message if he’d been kneeling on a prayer mat for all those years in a Baghdad mosque.

It appears to me that Obama is bent on destroying our economy, our military and our missile defense system; while, at the same time, he promotes socialized medicine, hires a racist attorney general and nominates a Supreme Court nominee who parrots the party line of La Raza. This is a man who brags about nonexistent Muslim accomplishments, while taking every opportunity to denigrate America’s character, her sacrifices and her awe-inspiring achievements.

Ronald Reagan saw America as a shining city upon a hill. President Obama sees it as a slum that needs to be torn down as part of a massive reconstruction project.

If there were ever a site like Mt. Rushmore, dedicated not to heroic leaders, but rather to those who were unfaithful to their nation’s highest ideals, Barack Hussein Obama could take his rightful place alongside the likes of Vidkun Quisling, Henri Petain and Benedict Arnold.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

“And Iran, Iran So Far Away, I Couldn’t Get Away,”

“And Iran, Iran So Far Away, I Couldn’t Get Away,” Sung by Barack Obama
Doug Giles
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Obama said in his latest hem-hawing, foreign policy bloviating, what-the-hell-is-he-talkin’-about press conference that “we need to have a vigorous debate” regarding Iran’s current tyrannical Muslim-based governmental crushing of young people who desire a touch of freedom.

We need to debate? “We” who, BHO?

I’m guessin’ he is talking about American liberals and conservatives because—from what I can deduce from the YouTube vids—it appears as if the Iranian dissidents aren’t looking for lively banter with the death dealing, lying through coffee-stained teeth religious whack jobs who look like a group of angry, homeless Santa Clauses on crack.

A debate, Mr. O? Really?

FYI to the Whitehouse: Ayatollahs, mullahs, and Ahmadinejads don’t discuss stuff. They shoot you in the face. You don’t believe me? Well, then just ask Neda, a beautiful freedom-loving 26-year-old Iranian protester who lives in Tehran. What’s that? The Tehran terror cops, the Basij, shot her? See, I told you so. Uncut Islam doesn’t debate; it deals death to dissenters and, it seems, Mohammed is cool with that. Jesus isn’t okay with it, but Mohammed is.

Yes, El Presidente, you kind of need two intelligent parties that are able to chill in order to actually have a profitable discussion.

From what I’ve seen, historically speaking, a vigorous and beneficial chat is the perk that a Judeo-Christian based nation, which has an armed citizenry, gets to enjoy. Oppressive, mucked-up Muslim nations like Iran don’t argue about their bogus elections or dictates with intelligent, liberty-loving, non step-n-fetch rebels. As stated, they pistol whip them, split their skulls with a night stick, drag non-compliant co-eds around by their scalps, or simply pull out their guns and double tap the center mass of the unarmed non-compliants. God only knows what we’re going find out about the June 24th, 2009 massacre in Baharestan square. I heard they used axes and threw protestors off pedestrian bridges.

Ah . . . Islam in action. How peaceful. What an awesome religion.

Y’know, after watching the past two weeks of Ayatollahs Gone Wild, slamming their zealous fists on their podiums, spewing more propaganda than Robert Gibbs does during his weekly presser, and pummeling any and all dissenting voices, I’m sure many people around the world are lining up to become Muslims and move to a country governed by mullahs. It looks fun, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s a little bloody and oppressive and all, but hey . . . nobody is perfect.

From a PR standpoint, Iran is for Islam what Perez Hilton is for homosexuality.

And Barack wants to have a debate? A debate? Puh-lease.

It must be nice to live in la-la-land where trees are made of chocolate, where cigarettes fall from heaven, where you can print trillions of dollars and idiots approve it, where your administration can Pac Man the private sector, tax the crap out of our people, rob their health care, hard sell us bogus energy bills, while gutting the constitution—a place where you get to be the leader of the most powerful place on the planet simply because you can read a mean teleprompter.

I don’t believe the Iranians who’d like a free election (shame on them) want us to mediate a spicy round table spat. I think they desire a little more. I think they want us to meddle on a Guns & Ammo type level. Thus the protest signs in English. Kinda seems odd they’d go English with their placards if they didn’t want our attention and involvement.

I, for one, believe that we should meddle in such slave states. The “we” I believe that should intervene is the old America spelled with a “c” and not the new Amerika spelled with a “k”.

The reason I think it’s a good thing Obama and his admin stays the hell out of this Iranian throw down is two fold: If the young Iranians can topple their crap government, it’ll be a real morale boost, eh? I know it was for America’s founding fathers, God bless ‘em.

Secondly, if I were a Neda in Iran, I wouldn’t trust Obama as far as I could spit a loogie. Why? Well, it seems as if he has a soft spot for Muslim terrorists. Yep, this President is the same guy who, just before Iran’s election, sent the Ayatollah a good luck letter, is releasing 250 of the worst SOBs on the planet (the terrorists from Gitmo) to foreign countries (I hear the recidivist rate among terrorists is rather high), whose DOJ appointees want to prosecute CIA operatives who crack down on terrorists (hello), and who’s giving, I believe, over a billion dollars in aid via the UN to frickin’ Hamas. Yes, if I were a dissident I would tell BHO and his boys thanks, but no thanks.

Finally, mad to props to GWB for spawning hope for free elections in the heart of young Iranians as they watched their next-door neighbors enjoy real democracy in Iraq.

Oh . . . and one more thing. I don’t hear too many “moderate Muslims” condemning Iran’s murderous mullahs. Hmmm. That’s interesting. You’d figure they’d be on those mooks like stink on a monkey. But maybe they’re just too busy. Who knows?

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Waxman-Markey is Hilarious, but the Joke is on Us

Waxman-Markey is Hilarious, but the Joke is on Us
Myron Ebell
Monday, June 29, 2009

Of all the proposals in President Barack Obama's breathtakingly ambitious agenda to foster long-term economic decline, by far the biggest is the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill, which the House of Representatives passed with the narrowest of majorities late Friday evening. This bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is more damaging than the $787 billion stimulus, the proposed huge increases in federal spending and corresponding increases in the national debt, the takeover of GM and Chrysler, and the proposed tax hikes on the wealthy - combined.

Enacting Waxman-Markey (H. R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act) would almost certainly make America a second-rate economic power. However, the bill is full of ironies and amusing touches. Were it not a looming disaster, the whole situation would be hilarious.

The bill is supposed to be about saving us from global warming. Yet its supporters have stopped talking about global warming. This might be because global temperatures stopped rising a decade ago. More likely it's because the pollsters have told Democrats to shut up about global warming and green jobs. The new slogan: get America running on “clean energy.”

The bill’s advocates view it as merely a first step, as former Vice President Al Gore told “super-activists” (all 11,500 of “us”) on a conference call Tuesday night. It’s the biggest tax increase in the history of the world, the largest government intrusion in people's lives since the Second World War (which was the last time gasoline was rationed) and, at 1,201 pages, a whopper of a bill. Requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 is just the beginning.

The reason given for why it has taken years to pass major climate legislation is the bajillion dollars spent by fat cat corporate special interests--Big Oil, King Coal, etc. But a major push behind Waxman-Markey is the United States Climate Partnership (USCAP), whose members include two dozen or so major corporations (including Duke Energy, Dow, GE, Shell, BP, Ford, GM, Alcoa, PG&E, Exelon, DuPont, PepsiCo, even Caterpillar) and some of the same environmental pressure groups that blame big business for stymieing energy-rationing legislation.

Adding to the irony, the corporate CEOs who support cap-and-trade are fawned over for putting the good of the planet ahead of short-term profits. This is a shameful racket that is all about short-term windfall profits. When testifying before Congress, several CEOs of USCAP member companies said that passing Waxman-Markey was imperative but that they would have to oppose it if they had to buy the ration coupons at auction rather than be given them for free. Al Gore, too, could make hundreds of millions of dollars from his investments in alternative energy companies if Waxman-Markey makes them profitable.

The bill’s proponents talk about protecting consumers while intermittently acknowledging that cap-and-trade can only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by dramatically raising the price of energy derived from coal, oil and natural gas. President Obama said during the campaign last year that "under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." Dr. Peter Orszag, now head of the White House Office and Management and Budget, testified last year when he was head of the Congressional Budget Office that "price increases would be essential to the success of a cap-and-trade program."

When Waxman announced that they had given away 85% of the ration coupons to the various powerful special interests, he added that the purpose was to protect consumers from price increases. If that were true, then consumers would have no reason to reduce their energy consumption, nor would they be forced to use more expensive alternative energy, which would mean that the entire purpose of the bill (the reduction of greenhouse gases) would be rendered moot.

The unacknowledged truth in this charade is that the real reason for giving the ration coupons away is to buy enough political support to pass the bill. Some people are going to become very wealthy from cap-and-trade, but it isn't going to be consumers.

Supporters of Waxman-Markey are now claiming it won't cost anything and have found official support for their claim. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget Office have estimated that it will cost each of us only pennies to reduce emissions drastically with Waxman-Markey. We can save the planet "for the cost of a postage stamp" a day--or even less.

If that were true, why did Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee defeat Republican amendments to suspend Waxman-Markey if gasoline reached five dollars a gallon or electric rates doubled or unemployment topped fifteen percent?

The debate on the bill is ongoing. Though it has passed the House, it must pass a few more steps before it is forcibly imposed on Americans. Of course, if it's ever enacted, the joke will be on all of us.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Saying One Thing, Doing Another

Saying One Thing, Doing Another
Rich Tucker
Thursday, June 25, 2009

In a political landscape littered by multi-billion dollar bailouts, massive protests in Iran and an attempted federal takeover of the health care system, one story recently passed with barely a ripple.

“Six Flags Declares Bankruptcy,” was tucked away on page A6 of The Washington Post on June 14. And rightly so, since the story about a failing theme park chain wasn’t nearly as crucial as the paper’s front pager on the Obama administration’s spending plan. That story included a handy graphic showing that the president intends to borrow $9 trillion in the next decade, almost three times the cost of World War II.

So why is Six Flags under water? “We inherited an unsustainable $2.4 billion debt load from the previous management team,” chief executive Mark Shapiro announced. The company plans to cuts costs and eliminate debt.

There’s a lesson there, should anyone in the administration care to learn it. In the real world, if your predecessor runs up too much debt, you have to reduce that debt to survive. Instead, President Obama insists that, while “the reckless fiscal policies of the past have left us in a very deep hole,” he still plans to borrow trillions more. Odd.

The disconnect between the president’s words and his actions is even starker when it comes to health care.

“There are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage -- they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor,” Obama recently told the American Medical Association. “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Sounds good.

However, then he announced a proposal that would, inevitably, take away millions of people’s private plans. He declared support for a “public option” that would purportedly “inject competition into the health care market so that we can force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest.”

Of course, he’s talking about a government-run health insurance plan. And it’s worth noting that the government doesn’t compete; it compels. Once Washington is offering health insurance, it’ll start setting prices for services that are lower than those services are worth. This is how it squeezes costs down in Medicare, where private insurance companies pay more to make up the difference.

Over time, private insurance companies will lose money and be forced out of business, and that means millions of Americans will, indeed, lose their current coverage. Meanwhile, small business owners will stop offering health benefits. After all, why should they pay for something that the government is willing to pay for?

The respected Lewin Group estimates that in a Medicare-style federal plan, up to 119 million of the 170 million Americans who have private coverage today could lose it. So Obama’s being misleading when he says, “When you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” Because the truth is, a “public option” means there will eventually be virtually no “private options” in health care.

Americans are becoming familiar with such verbal sleight of hand. In April the president ordered his cabinet to identify $100 million in savings -- a drop in the bucket of his debt-laden $3.69 trillion proposed budget.

In June Obama announces, “What I have no interest in doing is running GM,” after he fired the company’s CEO, named his replacement and steered the company through a special bankruptcy that benefits the United Auto Workers union.

Obama says he wants “To get GM back on its feet, take a hands-off approach and get out quickly,” then pours tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into the company with no apparent exit strategy. So what are Americans to believe: The president’s words, or his actions?

In the early days of this administration, the focus was on speed. It raced to pass a “stimulus” bill we didn’t need, for example. As Congress considers health care reform it needs to slow down and take a good look at what the president says, and consider what his policies would really mean for all of us -- before we make a mistake that cannot be undone.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

EPA's Game of Global Warming Hide-and-Seek

EPA's Game of Global Warming Hide-and-Seek
Michelle Malkin
Friday, June 26, 2009

The Obama administration doesn't want to hear inconvenient truths about global warming. And they don't want you to hear them, either. As Democrats rush on Friday to pass a $4 trillion, thousand-page "cap and trade" bill that no one has read, environmental bureaucrats are stifling voices that threaten their political agenda.

The free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington (where I served as a journalism fellow in 1995) obtained a set of internal e-mails exposing Team Obama's willful and reckless disregard for data that undermine the illusion of "consensus." In March, Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, asked agency officials to distribute his analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases. EPA has proposed a public health "endangerment finding" covering CO2 and five other gases that would trigger costly, extensive new regulations of motor vehicles. The open comment period on the ruling ended this week. But Carlin's study didn't fit the blame-human-activity narrative, so it didn't make the cut.

On March 12, Carlin's director, Al McGartland, forbade him from having "any direct communication" with anyone outside his office about his study. "There should be no meetings, e-mails, written statements, phone calls, etc." On March 16, Carlin urged his superiors to forward his work to EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, which runs the agency's climate change program. A day later, McGartland dismissed Carlin and showed his true, politicized colors:

"The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. … I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office."

Contrary comments, in other words, would interfere with the "process" of ramming the EPA's endangerment finding through. Truth in science took a back seat to protecting eco-bureaucrats from "a very negative impact."

In another follow-up e-mail, McGartland warned Carlin to drop the subject altogether: "With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and subjects. I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research, etc, at least until we see what EPA is going to do with Climate."

But, of course, the e-mails show that EPA had already predetermined what it was going to do -- "move forward on endangerment." Which underscores the fact that the open public comment period was all for show. In her message to the public about the radical greenhouse gas rules, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson requested "comment on the data on which the proposed findings are based, the methodology used in obtaining and analyzing the data, and the major legal interpretations and policy considerations underlying the proposed findings." Jackson, meet Carlin.

The EPA now justifies the suppression of the study because economist Carlin (a 35-year veteran of the agency who also holds a B.S. in physics) "is an individual who is not a scientist." Neither is Al Gore. Nor is energy czar Carol Browner. Nor is cap-and-trade shepherd Nancy Pelosi. Carlin's analysis incorporated peer-reviewed studies and, as he informed his colleagues, "significant new research" related to the proposed endangerment finding. According to those who have seen his study, it spotlights EPA's reliance on out-of-date research, uncritical recycling of United Nations data and omission of new developments, including a continued decline in global temperatures and a new consensus that future hurricane behavior won't be different than in the past.

But the message from his superiors was clear: La-la-la, we can't hear you.

In April, President Obama declared that "the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over." Another day, another broken promise. Will Carlin meet the same fate as inspectors general who have been fired or "retired" by the Obama administration for blowing the whistle and defying political orthodoxy? Or will he, too, be yet another casualty of the Hope and Change steamroller? The bodies are piling up.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Throw the Bums Out

Throw the Bums Out
David Limbaugh
Friday, June 26, 2009

Here they go again -- our faithful representatives in Washington, that is. They're about to pass, without reading its 1,200-plus pages, an incredibly expensive and destructive cap and trade bill, which has little prayer of accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish but satisfies their urgent need to pay homage to their liberal ideology and secular humanist worldview.

Do you remember when Barack Obama was forced to give an answer to justify his advocacy of a capital gains tax increase in view of such taxes' history of actually decreasing revenues? The revenue reductions are worth it because it's a matter of "fairness," he said. Spread the misery. Likewise, with cap and trade, Obama and his congressional cohorts will wreak untold destruction on the economy and get little benefit in return.

I'm not exaggerating here. Doesn't it make sense that before enacting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the purpose of reducing man-made global warming, Congress would investigate whether significant man-made global warming is occurring (as opposed to watching Al Gore's propaganda film and simply declaring, by fiat, that scientists have reached a consensus on the issue when they clearly have not)?

And if, after a thorough and balanced inquiry, they determine that it is occurring, shouldn't they next examine whether their proposed legislative remedy is likely to significantly ameliorate the problem?

But they not only have not conducted a bona fide examination of the man-made warming issue but also have not attempted to examine, in any remotely scientific way, how much their proposed bill would reduce global warming (assuming it exists to the extent they contend) or whether any such reductions would make any difference at all to humanity's short- or long-term health or happiness or anything else.

All of this would be outrageous enough if there were no economic costs associated with their proposal. But in fact, the costs would be astronomical and way beyond the calculations they are presenting -- fraudulently -- to the American people to stunt the opposition they'd encounter if the truth were revealed.

The truth is that there is no crisis, and all the hysteria they're generating is solely for the purpose of ramrodding this odious bill through Congress before the public realizes it has, once again, been duped and betrayed.

The Heritage Foundation's senior policy analyst for energy and environment, Ben Lieberman, has produced a stellar paper on these questions -- reproduced from his remarks at The Heartland Institute's Third International Conference on Climate Change on June 2.

Let me share a few of the highlights and encourage you to read the rest of his report -- and others like it -- online.

Based on available evidence and analysis, Lieberman concludes "that both the seriousness and imminence of anthropogenic global warming has been overstated." But even if we assume the problem is as bad as the hysterics claim, the proposed bill "would have a trivial impact on future concentrations of greenhouse gases. … (It) would reduce the earth's future temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree C by 2100, an amount too small to even notice." The bill would bind only the U.S., not other nations, many of which, like China, are "polluting" at a record pace. Also note that many European nations that have already imposed similar emissions restrictions have seen their emissions rise.

But what would the costs be for this quixotic legislative paean to earth goddess Gaia? Contrary to the flawed analyses being advanced by the bill's proponents, Heritage estimates that the direct costs would be an average of $829 per year for a household of four, totaling $20,000 between 2012 and 2035. But when considering the total cost as reflected in the cost of allocations and offsets, the average cost to that family unit would be $2,979 annually from 2012 to 2035. Adding insult and hypocrisy to injury, the bill would hurt the poor the worst because they would bear a disproportionate burden of the higher energy costs the bill would trigger.

Now here's the kicker. The bill is also projected to harm the manufacturing sector and cause estimated "net" job losses, averaging about 1.15 million between 2012 and 2030. The overall gross domestic product losses would average $393 billion per year from 2012 to 2035, and the cumulative loss in gross domestic product would be $9.4 trillion by 2035. The national debt for a family of four would increase by $115,000 by 2035.

Enough already. Throw the bums out.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Liberals Don't Need No Stinking Principles!

Liberals Don't Need No Stinking Principles!
Burt Prelutsky
Friday, June 26, 2009

I often find myself thinking that if liberals didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

Consider the uproar from the left when Don Imus opened his silly yap about the black women on the Rutgers basketball team. Now compare that to their response when David Letterman made his smarmy cracks about Sarah Palin and the governor’s 14-year-old daughter. The liberals immediately sprang to his defense, pointing out that Letterman is nothing more than a TV personality and is therefore free to make offensive jokes without fear of censure. So what do they think Don Imus is? The Secretary of State?

Or consider how choleric those on the left become any time that Dick Cheney defends the former administration. Well, if Obama and his cronies didn’t constantly attack Bush and Cheney and their policies, the chances are the ex-vice president wouldn’t feel compelled to set the record straight. Furthermore, Jimmy Carter never stopped bashing George Bush during the eight years he was the president, and yet nobody on the left ever suggested he shut up. On the contrary, he was hailed at the 2004 Democratic convention, and even had the honor of being seated next to the patron saint of left-wingers, Michael Moore. Speaking of Carter, how is it that he, who is always volunteering to monitor elections anywhere on earth, including the Westminster Dog Show, wasn’t in Iran, making sure that Ahmadinejad got 110% of the vote?

Liberals never got tired of telling us how much George Bush was despised by those in other countries, although, for the record, I kept asking the loons to name those countries, but could never prompt a response. I assume even they were too embarrassed to mention Iran, North Korea, China, Yemen and Russia. Instead, they kept insisting that America should be more like Europe. Inasmuch as conservative politicians are winning elections in England and all over the continent these days, the people finally waking up to the unmitigated disaster socialism is, I could now join in the chorus. But, of course, so far as leftists are concerned, I’d now be singing a solo.

I have to wonder, though, how much non-Muslim nations trust our current president. It’s one thing, after all, to travel to other countries and talk a lot of diplomatic flapdoodle, but when Barack Obama takes every opportunity to tell the world how awful we are -- or at least how awful we were until he got elected -- it has to make people wonder if, like his missus, he had never been proud of America prior to his canonization by the media.

It doesn’t make things a lot better when he makes obviously foolish remarks, such as insisting that the U.S. is one of the largest Muslim nations, and that Muslims played a major role in the creation of our republic.

That one really had me reeling, so I went back to my trusty old history book and looked it up and, sure enough, he was correct. Right there in black and white, I discovered that among the most influential of the Founding Fathers were Abdullah Washington, Mahmoud Adams and Osama bin Jefferson.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our Presidential Tenderfoot

Our Presidential Tenderfoot
Emmett Tyrrell
Thursday, June 25, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The anti-government protests in Iran following the government's rigged elections are doubtless a little more than the "robust debate" among Iranians that President Barack Obama welcomed during the election. Some of the debaters have been shot dead. Others have been hustled off to jail. I wonder whether this is an eye-opener for our novice president.

Conservatives have objected to his Laodicean calm in the first days of the bloodshed. He fastidiously refused to take sides. Only by the weekend did he come to his wits and call "on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people." After that, the bloodshed got worse. On Tuesday, he expressed "concerns," but by then, the demonstrators had a martyr, 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, an apparently nonpolitical singer who was shot dead, presumably by government riot-control troops, though she was not actually in the protest. The videotape of her death has been circulating in news media and on the Internet ever since.

Though the nonsensical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains the president of Iran after the disputed elections, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the country's supreme leader. Having lost confidence in the police and members of the street militia, the Basij, he called out the Revolutionary Guard to clamp down on the protests. Interestingly, the head of the guard in the province of Tehran, Gen. Ali Fazli, a veteran of the Iraq-Iran war, refused to fire on his own countrymen and was arrested. The guard itself is a powerful force in the country, with its own institutions and considerable independence from the government and the Rev. Khamenei's Guardian Council.

Now it seems likely that the guard will turn Iran into a military dictatorship, with the Rev. Khamenei slipping into a gray space somewhere between political power and spiritual authority. Thus, the outcome for now of the street demonstrations in Iran might well be what we Americans call the division between church and state or between mosque and state. Whether this will render Iran peaceful and an agreeable member of the world community is dubious. The Revolutionary Guard obviously is full of angry militants. Perhaps the best that the West can hope for is the ongoing splintering of the ruling military dictatorship, with some members of the guard resisting attacks on their countrymen and others attempting totalitarian control of Iran.

Yet my question remains: Has our sententious new president learned anything from the unforeseen violent culmination of the Iranian elections? Frankly, I doubt it. He reminds me so much of our most recent sanctimonious pontificator, President Jimmy Carter, who at first attempted to end the Cold War by lecturing Americans against their "inordinate fear of communism." Then the Soviets became more aggressive. Finally, Carter began the military buildup for which his successor took justifiable credit. President Ronald Reagan knew the value of a strong military in support of resolute diplomacy.

Neither Carter nor Obama has any sense of the linkage of the two, and now it looks as if the Obama administration is going to cut back on our military, even as the dangers to world peace grow.

At the heart of our new president is, it seems to me, ambivalence. Within him exist opposite attitudes. What we have seen during the protests in Iran is not a clear sense of geopolitics, but uncertainty. President Obama has not had a clue as to what to do. His White House aides are actually claiming that his muddled Cairo speech before the Iranian elections inspired the young demonstrators. "We're trying to promote a foreign policy that advances our interests, not that makes us feel good about ourselves," an anonymous Obama administration aide told The Washington Post. That is precisely the opposite of the truth.

Increasingly, it is apparent that we have not only a very unseasoned president in the White House but also a very weak one. At a surprisingly early point in his presidency, Obama's program is in disarray. On health care, he is under fire from the left and the right. His cap and trade policy is in trouble. This week, The Hill reports that "congressional Democrats are largely ignoring President Obama's $19.8 billion in budget cuts." His Democrats on Capitol Hill are intent on cuts that he has not asked for, some of which shave funds for his priorities.

Let the mainstream media purr on about this president's mastery of government. My sense is that he is out of his depth. His dithering over the Iranian protests is but one bloody example.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Tilting at Green Windmills

Tilting at Green Windmills
George Will
Thursday, June 25, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The Spanish professor is puzzled. Why, Gabriel Calzada wonders, is the U.S. president recommending that America emulate the Spanish model for creating "green jobs" in "alternative energy" even though Spain's unemployment rate is 18.1 percent -- more than double the European Union average -- partly because of spending on such jobs?

Calzada, 36, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has produced a report which, if true, is inconvenient for the Obama administration's green agenda, and for some budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.

Calzada says Spain's torrential spending -- no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources -- on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But Calzada's report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies -- wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs that are either lost or not created in other industries because of the political allocation -- sub-optimum in terms of economic efficiency -- of capital. (European media regularly report "eco-corruption" leaving a "footprint of sleaze" -- gaming the subsidy systems, profiteering from land sales for wind farms, etc.) Calzada says the creation of jobs in alternative energy has subtracted about 110,000 jobs from elsewhere in Spain's economy.

The president's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the report's contention that the political diversion of capital into green jobs has cost Spain jobs. The White House transcript contained this exchange:

Gibbs: "It seems weird that we're importing wind turbine parts from Spain in order to build -- to meet renewable energy demand here if that were even remotely the case."

Questioner: "Is that a suggestion that his study is simply flat wrong?"

Gibbs: "I haven't read the study, but I think, yes."

Questioner: "Well, then. (Laughter.)"

Actually, what is weird is this idea: A sobering report about Spain's experience must be false because otherwise the behavior of some American importers, seeking to cash in on the U.S. government's promotion of wind power, might be participating in an economically unproductive project.

It is true that Calzada has come to conclusions that he, as a libertarian, finds ideologically congenial. And his study was supported by a like-minded U.S. think tank (the Institute for Energy Research, for which this columnist has given a paid speech). Still, it is notable that, rather than try to refute his report, many Spanish critics have impugned his patriotism for faulting something for which Spain has been praised by Obama and others.

Judge for yourself: Calzada's report can be read here. And here you can find similar conclusions in "Yellow Light on Green Jobs," a report by Republican Sen. Kit Bond, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy.

What matters most, however, is not that reports such as Calzada's and the Republicans' are right in every particular. It is, however, hardly counterintuitive that politically driven investments are economically counterproductive. Indeed, environmentalists with the courage of their convictions should argue that the point of such investments is to subordinate market rationality to the higher agenda of planetary salvation.

Still, one can be agnostic about both reports while being dismayed by the frequency with which such findings are ignored simply because they question policies that are so invested with righteousness that methodical economic reasoning about their costs and benefits seems unimportant. When the president speaks of "new green energy economies" creating "countless well-paying jobs," perhaps they really are countless, meaning incapable of being counted.

For fervent believers in governments' abilities to control the climate and in the urgent need for them to do so, believing is seeing: They see, through their ideological lenses, governments' green spending as always paying for itself. This is a free-lunch faith comparable to that of those few conservatives who believe that tax cuts always completely pay for themselves by stimulating compensating revenues from economic growth.

Windmills are iconic in the land of Don Quixote, whose tilting at them became emblematic of comic futility. Spain's new windmills are neither amusing nor emblematic of policies America should emulate. The cheerful and evidently unshakable confidence in such magical solutions to postulated problems is yet another manifestation -- Republicans are not immune: No Child Left Behind decrees that by 2014 all American students will be proficient in math and reading -- of what the late Sen. Pat Moynihan called "the leakage of reality from American life."

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

'45 Million Americans' Part 2

'45 Million Americans' -- Who Are Those Guys? Part 2
Larry Elder
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last week's article on why 45 million Americans go without health care insurance touched a nerve and generated many questions and assertions:

"You and your pesky statistics! Forty-five million Americans without health care is huge. And you wrote that 89 percent of the 85 percent of people with health insurance are satisfied. That means 25 percent of all Americans are unsatisfied!"

Elder: Those "pesky" statistics become especially pesky when misstated. I wrote that 45 million Americans have no health insurance, leaving 85 percent with health insurance -- but not without health care. ERs must treat the uninsured, including illegal residents. Meanwhile, 89 percent of Americans -- with or without insurance -- are satisfied with the quality of their own health care.

An 89 percent satisfaction rate sounds pretty darn high. Are people, for example, 89 percent satisfied with their jobs? Their marriages? Their financial situations? Their experiences at concerts or ballgames or restaurants or hotels or with airline travel? An 89 percent satisfaction rate is pretty impressive for most things we pay for.

And as for the remaining 11 percent -- to what degree and for what reason are they "dissatisfied"? Had bad experiences? Don't like having copays? Would prefer a complete choice of doctors but are restricted by their plans? Had to wait for appointments or sit too long in waiting rooms? (Canadians are used to eight-month-or-more waits and long lines. Americans, I assure you, are not.) A lot of people simply complain -- about most everything.

For example, 10 years ago I had laser eye surgery. I filled out a questionnaire designed to determine how fastidious I am. Why? The doctor told me the surgery would not get me 20/20 vision. Was I OK, the doctor asked, with a less than 20/20 result? I was. He said some prospective patients, however, are dissatisfied with such a result. Given their -- in his view -- unrealistic expectations, the doctor wouldn't treat them.

"Doesn't universal coverage work in Canada?"

Elder: Not exactly. Large numbers of Canadians came (and still come) to America to avoid waiting for MRIs or to get time-sensitive treatment that couldn't wait. Canada is moving toward more privatization -- which was previously illegal in Canada but is now permitted as a result of a successful lawsuit. Imagine having to sue to spend your own money in a voluntary transaction between two parties! According to a 2007 survey by the Canadian Fraser Institute, the median wait time in Canada between visiting a general practitioner and receiving treatment was more than 18 weeks -- and up to 38 weeks for procedures such as orthopedic surgery.

"What's wrong with a government-provided alternative plan to keep the insurance companies honest and more competitive?"

Elder: Here's a recent example of what happens when government sets up "alternative" plans to cover the uninsured at (supposedly) lower costs. Hawaii offered universal child health care -- for seven months. Then it dropped the plan. Why? People (and employers) with private plans dumped them to ride the "cheaper" government train. One of Hawaii's health care administrators lamented, "I don't believe that was the intent of the program." And Hawaii is a small state, without nearly the number of "health insurance needy" as we have on the mainland.

"Come on! Obviously the American health care system IS broken! That's why our life expectancy is so much lower and our infant mortality rate is so much higher than in other countries."

Elder: Ezekiel Emanuel, a medical adviser to the President (and brother of Rahm, the chief of staff), once told me, "Life expectancy is one of the dumbest ways to measure the quality of a nation's health care." Quality of medical care does not -- by itself -- determine life expectancy. For example, deaths from accidents and murders are much higher in America than in other developed countries. Texas A&M health economist Robert Ohsfeldt and health economics consultant John Schneider calculated that if accidental deaths and homicides during the '80s and '90s were removed from the calculations, life expectancy in America would have ranked at the top of all developed countries. What about personal behavior? Obesity leads to serious health problems, including heart disease. One-third of Americans are obese -- almost 50 percent more than the British and Australians, over 100 percent more than the Canadians and Germans, about 250 percent more than the French and 1,000 percent more than the Japanese.

As for infant mortality, a 2007 study by economists June and David O'Neill found that low birth weight drastically increases an infant's chance of dying. They compared U.S. infant mortality (6.8 per 1,000 births) with Canada's (5.3). Teen mothers are far more likely to have low-weight babies, and America's teen motherhood rate is three times higher than Canada's. They determined that if Canada had America's low-weight birth distribution, Canada's infant mortality rate would rise from 5.3 to 7.06. If America had Canada's low-weight birth distribution, our infant mortality rate would fall from 6.8 to 5.4.

So don't blame the "broken health care system" for lower life expectancies. American health care actually helps us cope with the consequences of unhealthy lifestyles, keeping our ranking from being even lower.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Myths, Lies and Stupidity About Health Care

Myths, Lies and Stupidity About Health Care
Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

President Barack Obama's health care plan, we are told, will spend $1 trillion over the next 10 years. But since trillion is the new billion, Americans aren't supposed to worry about that.

Obama's health care plan will cause employers to stop providing private health insurance for millions of employees and instead shift employees to public care. But Obama says that government is the best arbiter of your health, so Americans aren't supposed to worry about that.

Obama's health care plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will add only 16 million of the 46 million uninsured to the rolls of the insured. But Obama says that's an improvement, so Americans aren't supposed to worry about that.

Here's something we should worry about: Who are the current uninsured for whom all of us are supposed to sacrifice our current health care plans? And should the other 300 million of us turn to government care just to help those 46 million?

Here's a quick profile of those who are uninsured. Ten million of the uninsured are illegal immigrants -- which, by the way, doesn't mean they don't get health care. Walk into virtually any emergency room in California and illegal immigrants are the bulk of the population. Education costs and health care costs for illegal immigrants compose between 16.4 percent and 20.5 percent of California's budget deficit.

Liberal commentators are already urging that Obama's nationalized health care plan cover illegal immigrants. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post suggests that a failure to include illegal immigrants in the new health care redesign would create unemployment among U.S. citizens; businesses would not be forced to pick up the health care tabs for illegal immigrants and would therefore hire them at greater rates. This is undoubtedly true. But the solution is to prosecute businesses that hire illegal immigrants -- or, better yet, not to require employers to cover employees. Only liberals would use employer malfeasance as an excuse to sacrifice workers' current insurance plans.

Another 9 million "uninsured" have household incomes of above $75,000. That's 3.4 times the federal poverty standard for a family of four. For a married couple, that's 6.9 times the federal poverty standard. Some of these people – 30 percent -- are just temporarily without health insurance for six months or less. Others voluntarily avoid health insurance, even if they can afford it. And that's a perfectly reasonable position -- many people worry less about paying for the occasional visit to the doctor than about paying the monthly premiums. In essence, the Obama plan would force insurance on these people and force public insurance on the rest of us.

And then there are "12 million uninsured Americans … eligible for Medicaid and the State Children's Health insurance program -- but they haven't signed up," according to Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care. Again, voluntary behavior is voluntary. It's not an excuse for government involvement.

So, to sum up, of those 46 million "uninsured," a solid 31 million are uninsured in ways that require no fix from the federal government. That leaves 15 million uninsured unaccounted for. A nationalized health care plan of the sort Obama proposes therefore shifts health care for literally 95 percent of the population on behalf of 5 percent of the American population -- 5 percent who, like illegal immigrants, receive emergency care under federal law.

The media and Obama have portrayed the American health system as a system in crisis. They point to skyrocketing premiums -- the cost of a family policy is now $1,000 per month for employers. Obama says, "One out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care in a decade." Premiums for family coverage have risen 78 percent since 2001. And the government programs Medicare and Medicaid will comprise a huge chunk of the federal budget in ten years, more than any other government expenditure.

Why these exponentially higher costs? Because of increased government involvement in the health care system. State regulations have decreased market flexibility by requiring that insurers cover unhealthy individuals at lower-cost and requiring that insurers cover certain hospitals and doctors. The federal and state governments have required that health care providers care for individuals without reimbursement – which means escalating costs for those who do pay. And both federal and state health care subsidization programs have encouraged health care providers and insurance to raise costs.

The answer is more of a free market, not less of one. The answer is competition between insurers, not government monopoly. The answer is a private system, not a public one.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Vicious Academic Liberals

Vicious Academic Liberals
Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ward Connerly, former University of California Regent, has an article, "Study, Study, Study -- A Bad Career Move" in the June 2, 2009 edition of Minding the Campus ( that should raise any decent American's level of disgust for what's routinely practiced at most of our universities. Mr. Connerly tells of a conversation he had with a high-ranking UC administrator about a proposal that the administrator was developing to increase campus diversity. Connerly asked the administrator why he considered it important to tinker with admissions instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. His response was that that unless the university took steps to "guide" admissions decisions, the University of California campuses would be dominated by Asians. When Connerly asked, "What would be wrong with that?", the UC administrator told him that Asians are "too dull -- they study, study, study." Then he said to Connerly, "If you ever say I said this, I will have to deny it." Connerly did not reveal the administrator's name. It would not have done any good because it's part of a diversity vision shared by most college administrators.

With the enactment of California's Proposition 209 in 1996, outlawing racial discrimination in college admissions, Asian enrollment at UC campuses has skyrocketed. UC Berkeley student body is 42 percent Asian students; UC Irvine 55 percent; UC Riverside 43 percent; and UCLA 38 percent. Asian student enrollment on all nine UC campuses is over 40 percent. That's in a state where the Asian population is about 13 percent. When there are policies that emphasize and reward academic achievement, Asians excel. College officials and others who are proponents of "diversity" and equal representation find that outcome offensive.

To deal with the Asian "menace," the UC Regents have proposed, starting in 2010, that no longer will the top 12.5 percent of students based on statewide performance be automatically admitted. Students won't have to take SAT subject matter tests. Grades and test scores will no longer weigh so heavily in admission decisions. This is simply gross racial discrimination against those "dull" Asian students who "study, study, study" in favor of "interesting" black, white and Hispanic students who don't "study, study, study."

This is truly evil and would be readily condemned as such if applied to other areas lacking in diversity. With blacks making up about 80 percent of professional basketball players, there is little or no diversity in professional basketball. Even at college-level basketball, it is not at all unusual to watch two teams playing and there not being a single white player on the court, much less a Chinese or Japanese player. I can think of several rule changes that might increase racial diversity in professional and college basketball. How about eliminating slam dunks and disallowing three-point shots? Restrict dribbling? Lower the basket's height? These and other rule changes would take away the "unfair" advantage that black players appear to have and create greater basketball diversity. But wouldn't diversity so achieved be despicable? If you answer yes, why would it be any less so when it's used to fulfill somebody's vision of college diversity?

Ward Connerly ends his article saying, "There is one truth that is universally applicable in the era of 'diversity,' especially in American universities: an absolute unwillingness to accept the verdict of colorblind policies." Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the liberal academic elite. But the American people, who fund universities either as parents, donors or taxpayers, should not accept this evilness and there's a good way to stop it -- cut off the funding to racially discriminating colleges and universities.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

My Idea and Your Consequence

My Idea and Your Consequence
Mike Adams
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ideas have consequences. That is why it is sometimes difficult to understand how bad ideas can survive, and even thrive, in certain environments. One really bad idea that is thriving in higher education is the so-called trans-gendered rights movement. It is thriving not because of the work of trans-gendered persons but because of feminists who are willing to use them to advance their own ideas about gender and equality.

Feminists have been increasingly enamored with the idea that there are no innate differences between men and women. In recent years, they have been arguing with greater and greater frequency that all male/female differences come from the “culture” or that they are “socially constructed.” In his latest book, One Party Classroom, the always brilliant David Horowitz shows just how prevalent this very stupid idea is – at least in higher education.

The idea that culture is responsible for all male/female differences is appealing to feminists. They like it because it suggests that all such differences are the result of discrimination and oppression. It, therefore, stands to reason – to the extent that feminists actually “reason” – that these differences can be eradicated by simply changing society.

Of course, when feminists speak of changing society the desired change usually consists of the implementation of socialist policies. And, for the Marxist, creating equality is achieved not by raising oneself up to the level of others but by pulling others down – through the use of force and without the consent of the “others.” In that sense, most feminists are in favor of economic rape as a means of achieving power.

The fact that feminists have few children helps facilitate their silly views concerning the “social construction” of male/female differences. Of the six most radical feminists in my department, one has no children and the other five have only one child each. Therefore, none of the six has ever had the experience of raising both a boy and a girl. No one who has raised both a boy and a girl could pretend to hold such ridiculous views concerning the influence of “society” on male/female differences.

Nonetheless, those who are most opposed to marriages and families are the ones most likely to teach “Marriage and the Family” on our college campuses. And, unfortunately, most of those teachers are sociologists with a limited understanding of biology and a limitless desire to promote their radical political views in the classroom. These people are either ignorant of the evidence concerning male/female differences or they simply view the evidence as irrelevant.

And that is why the so-called trans-gendered persons are so beneficial to them. They appear on university-sponsored panels to explain how they feel like a man on some days and feel like a woman on others. They dress like members of the opposite sex. They even try to trump male/female differences by having sex changes. All of this is done with the full support of the feminist “scholars” who want to mask innate male/female differences for their own political purposes.

Of course, the majority of the people in the university community are annoyed by this – even if they are afraid to express their annoyance. The feminists push for “trans-gendered” or “questioning” restrooms. Where funds are not available they argue that the trans-gendered should be able to use the men’s or women’s restroom depending on their mood.

Many parents are understandably offended by the idea that a man dressed like a woman – surgically altered or not – would be allowed to go to the same bathroom as their little girl. They rightly see the trans-gendered as suffering from mental illness. But their reasonable objections are now dubbed “trans-phobia” by universities that have turned morality on its head.

But those who are normal are not the real victims, here. The real victims are the sexual deviants who are being used by the feminists instead of being given psychiatric treatment. They are brought before university panels to discuss issues regarding trans-gendered rights. The students who are forced to attend or who are lured by the promise of extra credit often laugh at the spectacle. The trans-gendered are paraded out like a traveling circus. It is all terribly demeaning to anyone with a conscience.

Some years ago a group called the Gender Mutiny Collective complained about some of my public comments about the trans-gendered. By the way, the Gender Mutiny Collective is an anarchist group that supports the use of violence to achieve equality for trans-gendered persons. Some of its members are also admitted pedophiles. In the past, one of their recruitment manuals read “I don’t trust a boy unless he knows how to suck [expletive deleted].” That statement was made by the then-president of the Gender Mutiny Collective.

Sadly, when the violent, anarchist, pedophile-friendly organization complained about me to the UNC-Wilmington administration they received full support. And it was a radical feminist administrator who sided with them. Apparently, I was the subject of an investigation to determine whether I suffer from “trans-phobia.” But there was no effort to cure those in the Gender Mutiny Collective who support violence and who like to receive oral sex from children.

Feminists applaud, rather than treat, trans-genders who go to the extreme of permanently mutilating their genitals. And they do so in the name of gender equality. It’s almost as bad as applauding the dismemberment of children in the name of sexual liberation.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Who's Funding the Obamacare Campaign?

Who's Funding the Obamacare Campaign?
Michelle Malkin
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you believe the White House, there are 30 million Americans who support a government health care takeover. But if you look at the funding behind the Obamacare campaign, it's the same few leftist billionaires, union bosses and partisan community organizers pushing the socialized medicine agenda. Let's connect the dots.

On Thursday, a national "grassroots" coalition called Health Care for America Now (HCAN) will march on Capitol Hill to demand universal health care. The ground troops won't have to march very far. HCAN, you see, is no heartland network. It is headquartered at 1825 K Street in Washington, D.C. -- smack dab in the middle of Beltway lobby land.

In fact, 1825 K Street is Ground Zero for a plethora of "progressive" groups subsidized by anti-war, anti-Republican, Big Nanny special interests. Around Washington, the office complex is known as "The Other K Street." The Washington Post noted in 2007 that "its most prominent tenants form an abbreviated who's who of well-funded allies of the Democratic Party. … Big money from unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as the Internet-fueled MoveOn, has provided groups like those at 1825 K Street the wherewithal to mount huge campaigns."

MoveOn, of course, is the recreational political vehicle of radical liberal sugar daddy George Soros. The magnate's financial fingerprints are all over the HCAN coalition, which includes MoveOn, the action fund of the Center for American Progress (a Soros think tank) and the Campaign for America's Future (a pro-welfare state lobbying outfit).

HCAN has a $40 million budget, with $10 million pitched in by The Atlantic Philanthropies -- a Bermuda-based organization fronted by Soros acolyte Gara LaMarche. Also in the money mix: notorious Democratic donors Herb and Marion Sandler, the left-wing moguls who made billions selling subprime mortgages and helped Soros fund his vast network of left-wing activist satellites. By their side is billionaire Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, whose "Progressive Future" youth group has dispatched clueless volunteers armed with clipboards and literature bashing Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to scare up support for Obamacare.

And two more left-wing heavyweights joining the HCAN parade: the corruption-plagued SEIU (which has battled numerous embezzlement scandals among its chapters across the country while crusading for consumer and patients' rights) and Obama's old chums at fraud-riddled ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

ACORN and HCAN are linked by left-wing philanthropist Drummond Pike, who heads the nonprofit Tides Foundation/Tides Center. As the tax disclaimer for HCAN discloses, "HCAN is related to Health Care for America Education Fund, a project of The Tides Center, a section 501(c)(3) public charity." For decades, the Tides Center and its parent organization, the Tides Foundation, have seeded some of the country's most radical activist groups of the left, including the communist-friendly United for Peace and Justice, the jihadist-friendly National Lawyers Guild and the grievance-mongering Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Pike is the same philanthropist who assisted ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his brother, Dale, was caught embezzling nearly $1 million from the group. Wade Rathke sits on the Tides Foundation board of directors. In a conspiracy to cover up Dale Rathke's massive theft of funds, Pike volunteered to buy a promissory note worth $800,000 to cover the debt. These are the populist do-gooders supposedly looking out for you and your health.

Why do they want Obamacare? An internal ACORN memo I obtained from August 2008 makes the motives clear: "Over our 38 years, health care organizing has never been a major focus either nationally or locally for ACORN," wrote ACORN Philadelphia regional director Craig Robbins. "But increasingly, ACORN offices around the country are doing work on health care." The goal: "Building ACORN Power."

The memo outlines the ACORN/HCAN partnership and their strategy of opposing any programs that rely on "unregulated private insurance" -- and then parlaying political victory on government-run health care "to move our ACORN agenda (or at least part of it) with key electeds that we might otherwise not be able to pull off."

The objective, in other words, is to piggyback and exploit Obamacare to improve and protect their political health. The "grassroots" movement is not about representing Main Street. It's about peddling influence and power at 1825 K Street.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


6-23-09 Wisdom

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

~~~ The late Dr. Adrian Rogers , 1931 to 2005 ~~~

Presumption and Assumption

Presumption and Assumption
Cal Thomas
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some people have certain presumptions -- for example, that government is better suited to handling problems than individuals or private entities. And then there are the accompanying assumptions that government, for those who have faith in its supposedly superior capabilities, will always produce the desired outcome.

Nowhere has the failure of presumptions to produce results from assumptions been more evident than in public education. In an essay for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), excerpted from their book "Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools," Eric A. Hanushek and Alfred A. Lindseth write that many, including the courts, have blindly accepted the assumption that more money will improve student performance. "Almost no one has seriously examined the empirical evidence to determine its validity." They have.

The authors look at four states -- Wyoming, Kentucky, New Jersey and Massachusetts -- where courts ordered the legislatures to appropriate more money for public schools on the presumption that increased spending would improve performance. Their conclusion: court-ordered funding does not necessarily improve test scores and African-Americans, despite the increased spending, are even worse off.

The authors write that, "Even when judging the effectiveness of their own previously ordered remedies, courts rarely examine the remedy's effect on student achievement." They cite the Wyoming Supreme Court's dramatic 1995 ruling that the state's education funding system was unconstitutional, ordering the legislature to spend whatever it took to make education in the state the "best." "Despite these unprecedented increases in school funding," write Hanushek and Lindseth, "the achievement of Wyoming's students has largely failed to keep up with the nation or even with its much lower-funded, although demographically similar, neighboring states." The court has paid little attention to the outcome of its spending order, apparently because it just assumed it would work.

In Kentucky, the 1989 Rose decision resulted in a court order for certain structural changes and increased funding. The structural changes were implemented, but they produced no improvements in classrooms. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, sometimes referred to as the nation's report card, showed little or no progress in Kentucky public schools. Of special significance was the impact on black students, who comprise 11 percent of the state's public school enrollment. The authors write that black students in Kentucky "have fallen even further behind the nation" during the court-ordered remedy.

New Jersey has been wrestling with its education system and court orders to fix it since 1970. There are more than 600 school districts in the state. Thirty-one are known as "Abbott districts," named after the court case that resulted in $1.5 billion in additional education spending (per pupil spending in New Jersey exceeded $20,000 last year). The Abbott districts contain about half the black and Hispanic students in the state. What's the result of all this new spending? The authors write, "The picture we find is a mixed one, with little evidence that the state's black students have progressed much, if at all, relative to black students nationwide." They do note that Hispanic students have made "significant progress," but they don't see a direct connection between spending and achievement.

In Massachusetts, education spending has increase from $3 billion to $10 billion over the last decade because of a court order, but it has been accompanied by major structural changes that include "a rigorous regimen of academic standards, graduation exams, and accountability."

The argument for school choice is strengthened when one reads the data and conclusions by Hanushek and Lindseth. African-American parents, especially, should protest in the streets because too many of their children are being denied their right to a good education. Politicians who care more about campaign contributions from the education lobbyists than they do about children should be thrown out of office and replaced with people who put children first and allow them and their parents to choose better schools for a better future.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Five More Myths the Left Has Created About Itself

Five More Myths the Left Has Created About Itself
John Hawkins
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Liberals care about the poor: Almost every program the Left supports to "help" the poor in this country is surreptitiously designed to de-motivate them and keep them dependent on the government. The Left saps their will to work with welfare and food stamps, the Left reduces their income and puts them out of jobs by encouraging illegal aliens to enter the country, and the Left fights voucher programs that would allow poverty-stricken students to go to the same schools as the rich Americans. Liberals incessantly ramble on about how much they care about the poor -- and they do, the same way a Venus Flytrap cares about a random bug that happens to fly into its maw.

Liberals care about education: Actually, educating our kids comes last to the Left -- behind indoctrinating students and supporting their political allies in the teachers’ unions. This is why the Left has supported laughable nonsense like teaching Ebonics and bilingual education programs. It's also why the Left opposes vouchers and even merit pay for good teachers -- because the teachers’ unions don't want the sad sacks in their ranks to look bad by comparison. Liberals love to talk about education, but education in what? Global warming? Gay marriage? Self-esteem exercises -- or reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and history?

Liberals care about Hispanic Americans: It's fascinating to see the ideological ju-jitsu that liberals have managed to do on the illegal immigration issue. They portray themselves as champions of Hispanic Americans because they want to bring in millions of illegal immigrants who depress wages and take jobs disproportionately from Hispanic Americans who are already here. The liberals will tell you they're the best friends Hispanic immigrants have ever had because they believe anyone who manages to sneak across the border should be made into a citizen. Meanwhile, Hispanic immigrants in this country who spent years waiting and spent thousands of dollars in fees to get through a bureaucratic nightmare because they loved and respected this country, are being played for chumps. It's ironic really: liberal support for illegals puts Hispanic Americans out of jobs, takes food off of their families’ tables, and makes a mockery of their willingness to obey our laws -- and then the liberals demand that they be treated like heroes by the same people they're selling out so they can hire gardeners and nannies on the cheap.

Liberalism is the ideology of science: The Left cares nothing about actual science. Now, using scientific issues for political gain? That, the Left cares about quite a bit. Pick any scientific issue that the Left talks about incessantly and you inevitably will find that it lines up perfectly with its political views. This has led the Left to embrace all sorts of quackish positions over the years. The Left supported global cooling before latching onto the equally fictitious global warming. Its ban on DDT has led to the death of millions in Africa. Liberals clapped along when Paul Ehrlich predicted that we'd all be starving to death in the eighties and nineties. For all their insufferably smug talk about science, for the liberals, the pursuit of knowledge is always secondary to their political agenda.

Liberalism is non-violent: There's a new myth in the making that the Left is trying to establish in the wake of the Holocaust Museum shooting and the assassination of abortionist George Tiller. According to liberals, the Right encourages fringe nuts to murder people while the Left is all about non-violence. That's a particularly funny assertion given that the current President is notorious for palling around with Bill Ayers, a domestic terrorist. Then, of course, there are the eco-terrorists: the Unabomber and ELF. We also can't forget the Animal Liberation Front or liberal cause-celebres like cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, who murdered two FBI agents. Heck, there were liberals like Maxine Waters who went so far as to publicly support the L.A. riots. You can go on ad nauseum with these examples, but what you will find again and again, is that not only does the Left have more than its fair share of violent fringe lunatics -- it often gets more than a little support, along with jobs as university professors, from the liberal mainstream.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

The uninsured: A bogus excuse

The uninsured: A bogus excuse for trillions in new welfare spending
Star Parker
Monday, June 22, 2009

The Democrats' health care initiative reminds me of the joke about the Boy Scout fighting on a street corner with an old lady.

When a passerby asked what was going on, the scout said, "I'm trying to help her across the street but she refuses to go."

Health insurance, so far, is not mandatory by law, and we've got 16 percent of the population -- 47 million or so -- without it. Auto insurance is mandatory by law, and according to the Insurance Research Council, 14 percent of drivers nationwide still don't buy it.

Government can't make people do what they don't want to do. And it can't change human nature. Political freedom and capitalism work so well because they reflect the truth that human beings have free choice. But this means individuals take personal responsibility.

The left has always been in denial about this, which is why they're endlessly trying to expand government and reduce freedom. They see individuals as hapless victims the state must take care of.

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said "The reason people don't have health insurance isn't because they don't want it. It's because they can't afford it."

This is largely not true.

According to a new study from the Employment Policy Institute, authored by two economists from City University of New York (one, June O'Neill, spent four years as head of the Congressional Budget Office), 43 percent of the 47 million can afford insurance and choose not to purchase it.

According to 2007 census data, 20 percent of uninsured households earn over $75,000.

Regarding the remaining 57 percent, the authors call them "involuntarily" uninsured because they can't afford insurance. But "involuntarily" is also a misnomer, because it implies no connection in how they choose to live to the fact that they can't afford insurance.

The study provides the following portrait of this population: About a third are high school dropouts; they are disproportionately young; about a third are immigrants, mostly Hispanic non-citizens; about half are single without children; about 40 percent did not work during the year.

Pulling immigrants out of the equation, we're left with an uninsured population that can't afford insurance that is about a third the size of the widely quoted 47 million. It's a population that is generally poor, young, uneducated, and not working.

We're already set up to deal with these folks. Either through Medicaid or covering their emergency room visits. The operative question is do we want to further institutionalize this reality into a new national health care plan involving trillions in new taxes and programs.

I think the answer is clear: No.

What should we do?

A recent study by consulting firm McKinsey & Company on American education estimates our annual GDP would increase by $500 billion if the educational performance of black and Latino kids is raised to the national average. Otherwise stated, it is costing us $500 billion per year to not do this.

This dwarfs the excessive costs in health care that our president now calls our No. 1 economic problem.

It is simply not credible for Obama to propose taxing Americans trillions to subsidize health care when he refuses to come to grips with why so many are poor.

Open the door to millions of poor kids out of broken families, broken public schools, and the cycle of poverty through school choice. Give them the opportunity to go to church schools.

Rather than perpetuating poverty through further institutionalization of the welfare state, expose poor kids to the values and education necessary to enable them to make the right choices for their lives.

There is no future for a nation of victims, whether we're talking about health care or anything else. But there is a great future for a country of responsible, free people.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Man who Would Be God

The Man who Would Be God
Burt Prelutsky
Monday, June 22, 2009

A while back, I heard Obama bragging about his first few months in the White House. When he claimed he had done as much in that period as any president in history, my initial thought was that for the first time in his life he was being modest. Frankly, I think he’s done more, much more, and I only wish that some of it had been good for America.

He’s taken over car companies, banks and lending institutions. He’s printed so much currency that he’s the envy of counterfeiters and con men everywhere. He’s buried the nation in so much debt that children born 40 years down the road will be greeted with a slap on the butt and a lien on future earnings. For good measure, the Community Organizer in Chief has created more czars than the Romanovs.

Still, we’re told, a majority of Americans like Obama. That would absolutely confound me if I wasn’t already aware that a lot of people think David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are funny.

But liberals are always, in the words of the Siamese king, a puzzlement. For instance, when I was five years old, my family still lived in Chicago. One day, I recall, a cousin came running up the stairs and pounded on the door to breathlessly announce that President Roosevelt was dead. The way my parents and older brothers reacted, you’d have thought the Nazis had just stormed ashore at Lake Michigan. My parents were grief-stricken. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. I remember thinking how odd it was that my family was so sad over the death of someone who’d never even visited our apartment.

Well, of course that’s the way a child would think. But the truth is, I’m now 69 years old and I still can’t figure it out. To this day, FDR holds a warm spot in the hearts of most Jews for reasons I can’t begin to imagine. There is nothing in FDR’s record that shows he had positive feelings about Jews. Some people have even suggested that, with his patrician background, he probably had a negative attitude. But the fact remains that he refused to let the Jews aboard the St. Louis disembark, and instead forced the ship and its passengers to return to Europe, back into the hands of the Nazis. For good measure, FDR, although urged by many, also refused to bomb the railroad tracks leading to the concentration camps.

Although FDR’s apologists like to point out that there were a great many isolationists in and out of Congress who opposed our entry into World War II, the fact remains that in the end Hitler declared war on us and not the other way around.

I know many Jews who think that because Rahm Emanuel, a Jew, has Obama’s ear, it means Israel can rely on Obama’s better instincts. What they are ignoring is that Mr. Emanuel is a longtime veteran of Chicago politics, which means that power and influence are an end in themselves. And as every tyrant and left-winger will tell you, the ends justify the means. With friends like Obama and Emanuel, Israel doesn’t need any enemies, although God knows they have plenty.

One of the things that annoys me the most about Obama is how easily he lies. One of the things that annoys me about the media is the way they enable him to get away with it.

For instance, when he jammed through the trillion-dollar pork pie, he claimed it was so urgently needed, he couldn’t spare the legislators even 48 hours to plow through the 1,100 pages. However, once they passed the bill, Obama waited four days before flying off to Denver to sign it.

Lately, there’s been a video making the rounds on the Internet showing one of Obama’s female bureaucrats being grilled by a congressional committee that was trying to find out where a couple of trillion dollars might have gone missing. I almost felt sorry for the lady as she shuffled her papers around, as if the money might be hiding between the pages. After six or seven minutes of this hilarious, but chilling, charade, I fully expected her to say her dog ate it.

A second lie that recently went unquestioned by the media was Obama’s claim that he had only given President Sarkozy short shrift when he was in France because it was essential that he get back to the Oval Office and make those tough decisions that only he can make. And, sure enough, it turned out that within an hour of his return to Washington, he was on the golf course, making one of those gut-wrenching executive decisions -- deciding whether to use a putter or a sand wedge from the edge of a bunker.

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