The articles posted on this page are written from a conservative, Christian worldview. Patriot Post publications are usually posted M, W, & F. Others are posted as discovered by yours truly. These posting are meant to instill a love for God, family and country as well as to educate, equip, enlighten, and challenge to good deeds for the betterment of mankind, those who visit these pages.

 


 

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.   It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.    The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.   Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.  The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool.   It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." Author Unknown

 


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The Patriot Post

Thursday’s Daily Digest

Apr. 17, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.” –Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

‘A Broken Record’

After five years of the Obama “recovery,” unemployment remains relatively stagnant. Jobs are being added to the economy, but far too slowly. So Barack Obama has the answer: more stimulus. That’s right, he has announced another $600 million for “job training” programs. National Review’s Veronique de Rugy highlights the problem1, writing, “According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal government spends $18 billion a year on 47 duplicative job training programs across nine federal agencies. But the White House isn’t just adding to this host of repetitive rackets – it’s effectively creating a new program that will duplicate other programs already put in place at the state level.” Even he admitted that “we sometimes sound like a broken record” on the economy. He’s right, and somebody needs to stop the record player.

Climate Vacuum Cleaner

Just when we thought the UN couldn’t get any more ridiculous in its climate change warnings and prescriptions, they exceed our expectations. According to UPI, the third report in a series from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “suggests vacuuming up vast amounts of CO2 from the skies and storing it underground” as a “viable solution for mitigating the greenhouse gas effect in the short term.” That would have to be quite a Dirt Devil. But they’re serious, they insist, that something must be done. IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri says, “The high speed mitigation train needs to leave the station very soon and all of global society would need to get on board.” Uniformity or bust, that’s the climate alarmists' way. But if you’ll pardon the pun, we think this idea sucks.

Al-Qaida Video Surfaces

A new al-Qaida video is out and it shows a Yemen gathering of numerous top-level agents and perhaps 100 armed fighters. Nasir al-Wuhayshi, known as al-Qaida’s crown prince, appears prominently in the video, and declares, “We must eliminate the cross. … The bearer of the cross is America!” CNN notes that “the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about [the meeting] or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike,” though there may be other intelligence reasons for not taking a shot. Drone strikes in Yemen are a relatively common occurrence, as the Obama administration has chosen those pinpricks as its preferred method of battle. But the president has also made a bad habit of spiking the football after dispatching Osama bin Laden, as if that was the end of al-Qaida. This brash meeting should make clear, however, that the danger is clear and present.

Bloomberg’s Theology

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend $50 million in a campaign against the NRA on gun control. “We’ve got to make them afraid of us,” he declared. We suppose it’s too obvious to point out that the NRA has all the guns, so they’re probably not afraid of a nanny stater like Bloomberg. He also spoke about his policy preferences in relation to his mortality. At 72, perhaps he’s thinking more of the end of his life now, but he’s not worried because his work to take away gun rights, as well as to fight the menaces of sugar and smoking, is his ticket beyond the pearly gates. He says, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” What unbelievable and utterly obnoxious arrogance. But then again we knew that about him. Only such incredible hubris can explain why he thinks he knows better than everyone else – including God – about so many things.

PC Common Core

You’ll notice a rather important principle missing in New York state Common Core standards being drafted for grades K-8 – the concept of Liberty. Under the section “Civic Ideals and Practices,” the draft reads, “Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community.” However, as Education Action Group’s Kyle Olson observes, “What happened to ‘liberty’? You know, a word that actually appears in the Declaration of Independence? It’s a word that means more than just about any other word in our national history. It refers to personal freedom, and the right of citizens to live their lives without the intrusion of tyrannical government.” Like the type of tyrannical government currently reigning over our vanishing republic. The draft adds, “Students will examine … how citizens can demonstrate respect for authority.” In leftist speak, that means teaching students to relinquish their rights under the guise of “equality” and “fairness” to undermine Rule of Law.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Rescuing Detroit From Its Own Folly

“It is not the business of government … to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly,” said Henry George, a 19th century American writer and politician. Unfortunately, that advice is rarely heeded today.

The Detroit Free Press reports6 that the federal government is considering providing $100 million to ease the pain of Detroit’s ongoing city pension reforms. The money technically would not be provided directly to the city’s pension program, instead going to Michigan’s state fund for “blight remediation,” which would allow the state to provide the same amount to Detroit. But the practical result is the same – the U.S. taxpayer getting stuck with part of the bill for Detroit’s decades of foolish, unsupportable pension promises. In our current environment where billions and even trillions are common reference points, $100 million may seem like small potatoes. But the precedent set by such a bailout would be far-reaching and potentially devastating to the nation’s already shaky financial health.

Why? Because Detroit is just one example of a major city with unsupportable public-employee pension obligations – in fact it’s only number 10 on the list of the worst offenders. The top 10, in order of pension debt per capita: Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Columbus, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Denver and Detroit. Considering that public employees are among the most loyal and vocal of Democrat constituencies, the risk of political favoritism is obvious.

As if that’s not alarming enough, consider that looming larger behind these cities are states with the same pension debt problems, led by California’s estimated $170 billion sea of red ink (and that is the LA Times' “best case” estimate – the worst case is more than $500 billion). Note, that is not California’s total debt; just its un-funded pension obligations. Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois is next with more than $100 billion in un-funded pension debt. If the federal government begins handing out money to save major cities from their pension debts, you can bet the states will come begging soon after. And the worst pension shortfalls at the state level are concentrated, unsurprisingly, in blue states like California. As Mark Alexander wrote last year7, it’s no coincidence that Detroit is in the shape it’s in.

Regardless of the politics of the cities or states in question, there is the larger question of why the ordinary taxpayer should have to bail out a public employee pension system. Why does a farmer in Idaho or a construction worker in Oklahoma have to fork over money to support a retired city worker in Detroit or Los Angeles? The great majority of Americans are private sector workers whose taxes have always supported the salaries of public employees in their state. Are they now to be forced to pay for the foolish retirement plans promised to state and local public employees?

Yet there is still some room for optimism in the public pension debt problem. In December the Illinois legislature passed a bill that would implement major reforms to the pension system, and did so in the face of enormous resistance from public-employee unions. Other states have also been forced into making difficult pension choices in recent years. But the temptation of seeking federal money to pay for local or state pension debt will always exist so long as the federal government is willing to provide it. Which makes Detroit an important test case in whether the government – meaning the taxpayers – have to rescue the fools from the consequences of their folly.

Lerner Sought DOJ Prosecution of Conservative Groups

Some say the devil’s in the details. Turns out, he’s in the emails, too. Recently released IRS emails – made public, incidentally, only after Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request – show that former IRS official Lois “Plead the Fifth” Lerner was in direct contact with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice regarding prosecuting conservative tax-exempt groups for “lying about political activity.”

OPINION IN BRIEF

Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948): “Freedom is not worth living if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that previous right.”

Columnist George Will: “The fundamental division in American politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected. … The argument is between conservatives who say American politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders' premise, which was: Liberty pre-exists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when ‘instituted’ to ‘secure’ natural rights. … With the Declaration, Americans ceased claiming the rights of aggrieved Englishmen and began asserting rights that are universal because they are natural, meaning necessary for the flourishing of human nature. ‘In Europe,’ wrote James Madison, ‘charters of liberty have been granted by power,’ but America has ‘charters of power granted by liberty.’”

Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “‘[C]omprehensive immigration reform’ is shaping up as little more than another divisive campaign opportunity in 2014 to call opponents all sorts of names rather than to seek real compromise. Too many special interests have profited from the present mess, which is illiberal and reactionary to the core – involving a perfect storm of inexpensive labor, ethnic-identity chauvinism, political cynicism, selective enforcement of the law, and de facto discrimination against immigrants who play by the rules. The obstacles to reform are not bogeymen who want to deport everyone, but the disingenuous who prefer to deport no one. The culprits are not mustachioed villains who want to close the border, but the more sophisticated who want it to stay wide open. And the real reactionaries are not those seeking to make ethnicity incidental to legal immigration, but those who want to ensure that it remains absolutely essential.”

Fred Thompson: “A new report shows that crime is up 30% in New York City public housing projects. It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s mostly people over-salting their French fries.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.


Obamacare Must Go Regardless of Who is Obama’s Next HHS Nominee!

Tim Scott

4/17/2014 12:01:00 AM - Tim Scott

At the end of the day, we all want Americans to have access to affordable, quality healthcare, but Obamacare is the wrong path to get to that goal.

As we begin to review the qualifications and record of President Obama’s new nominee to become HHS Secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will have to answer a number of very important questions during her upcoming confirmation hearings before both the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. And while Ms. Burwell was unanimously confirmed to become OMB director, running OMB is vastly different from being HHS Secretary. Frankly, our current state in healthcare demonstrates a complete need to start over—it is unclear whether Ms. Burwell or anyone else could clean up the Obamacare shambles.

Obamacare’s soaring premiums, lost coverage, and the questionable sign up numbers have all become familiar since the law’s enactment. Families and young adults are routinely being priced out of the market, hourly workers are seeing their workweek slashed, and individuals are losing access to a doctor in their community. We know now the promise that if you liked your healthcare, you could keep it turned out not to be true, and even after sinking $1.4 trillion dollars into this program over the next 10 years, there will still be 31 million uninsured Americans.

Throughout this mess, my position has remained clear—I am in favor of a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. My voting record speaks for itself and I am proud of my position. I fully believe that the free market has the solutions that we need to help more Americans gain access to healthcare, and the last thing our economy needs is a more intrusive and controlling federal government.

Many on the left, including President Obama, have said there is no alternative to Obamacare. I am here to tell you that isn’t the case. Among the alternatives is the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (CARE) Act by my colleagues Senators Burr, Coburn, and Hatch. Their ideas provide a conservative framework of guiding principles for making healthcare work for people—beginning with repealing Obamacare.

The CARE Act combines commonsense free market ideas, including giving small businesses more purchasing power, allowing more competition across state lines, increasing medical price transparency, and medical malpractice reform in order not only to expand healthcare access, but also to address the underlying causes of increasing medical costs.

At this point, $6.9 billion taxpayer dollars have been spent on the healthcare law, and no one, not the White House, HHS, or the members of Congress who voted for the bill, seem to have a clear idea where all of our money has gone. A full $2 billion has been spent just on efforts to “boost” enrollment and on Healthcare.gov. Of all this, not a single dollar has actually reached a doctor.

Obamacare seeks to make sure everyone has health insurance, though 31 million Americans are projected remain uninsured in 2024, but the negative side effects are huge, and there are a lot of aspects of the problem that it doesn’t address—specifically access to medical care, medical costs, and the formulas we’re using to pay for healthcare.

Healthcare should work for people, not politicians. I have and will consistently oppose Obamacare in my efforts to relieve the American people of the burden this bad law has imposed—for our families, our small businesses, our seniors, and our communities.


Sunrise Service

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

4/17/2014 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Growing up in rural Georgia, Easter meant not only the resurrection of Jesus, but also a new Sunday dress, a hat, gloves and more chocolate than I could eat, at least at one time.

My sister Kathy and I would wake up before dawn, rush to our Easter baskets, eat a few bites of chocolate, get dressed in our brand new Easter dresses and head out for the sunrise service, with candy stashed in our purses.

It seemed as though the services were more bearable since we were able to unwrap the candy during the service and pop it into our mouths in ever shortening intervals throughout the service.

When we were older, we not only grabbed candy out of the Easter baskets but would also grab the stockings that the Easter Bunny had brought us (in the L'eggs egg container), before getting dressed for church. Eventually, we stopped wearing hats and gloves and stopped receiving L'eggs, but taking candy to church would continue, even as we grew older.

My clearest memory of Easter is not of all the candy that I ate, but of the beauty of the morning as we celebrated Easter during a sunrise service on top of a mountain. I'm not even sure where we were. We had gotten up early and driven a while. It was quite chilly, and I had a sweater wrapped around my shoulders.

The woods surrounded us, and the view was of the valley below. Azaleas were in bloom, and the trees were bright green. As the sun rose, fog came up from the ground, making the cross behind the altar barely visible. The area surrounding the cross was both hazy and bright: hazy from the fog, bright from the sun. The cross became clearer as the sun ascended in the sky and the fog burned off.

As the cross became clearer, the colors of the flowers and trees appeared brighter. The contrast of the cross, the symbol of Jesus' death, and the new growth of the trees and flowers were stark at the time, but now seem a perfect juxtaposition.

As a child, Easter seemed to be more about Jesus' death and his burial. Time was spent wondering during the service: What would a crown of thorns feel like, how would Jesus have been able to carry the cross, how could his mother have borne the loss of her son? Jesus' resurrection was, of course, mentioned, but not focused upon.

As an adult, I find myself spending more time thinking about Jesus' resurrection, what it meant to his disciples and what it means to me. Possibly as the balance of my life becomes shorter and my eventual demise more evident, it is natural to focus on the life hereafter, rather than focus on death that is coming closer and closer.

The cycle of life includes both new birth and eventual death, leading to rebirth and new life. In the phases in between birth and death, there are numerous times for changes, transitions, for interim steps, for one phase of life to be over and for another to begin.

For me, these past three years have been ones of twists and turns. My father's presidential primary run, quickly followed by my mother's stroke and then her passing away a year later.

It's these times of change that produce conflicting feelings: feelings of sadness over what was lost or is now gone; feelings of hope of the new life to come.

So it is with Easter. The sadness of the cross, of Jesus' death, juxtaposed against his resurrection and the joy of receiving God's gift of eternal life.

This focus on new life is reinforced in the Northern Hemisphere by the backdrop of spring. The backdrop of new life reminds us that Easter is more than a season of death; it is a season of new life, a time to be joyful, thankful for God's gift of eternal life and to look forward with anticipation of what is to come.

This year I am looking forward to waking up early, before the first light, walking out into the dark and awaiting the sunrise, and the service with my family.


Who Are the Real Saboteurs of Immigration Reform?

Victor Davis Hanson

4/17/2014 12:01:00 AM - Victor Davis Hanson

Solving the illegal immigration problem should not be hard. No one knows how many foreign nationals are residing illegally in the United States -- estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. But everyone understands that it is an untenable situation that must be addressed.

The two extreme positions of the Left and Right probably have little public support -- on the one hand, blanket amnesties and open borders, and on the other, deportation of all foreign nationals who reside here without legal authorization.

Polls show that most Americans want something in between.

Close the border. Allow entry only to those who have legal permission. Ensure that employers hire only those foreign nationals who have valid green cards. Permit those who have resided here for a while, who are without criminal records and are employed, to apply inside the U.S. for either a pathway to citizenship or legal residence.

Require that those residing here unlawfully pay a fine for breaking the law and wait in line until immigrants who followed the law are first processed. Reform legal immigration to make it ethnically blind and predicated on skill sets and education rather than on proximity to our borders or on family connections to those residing here unlawfully.

Most would agree with those sensible reforms, but I doubt that we will see any such grand bargain. The trouble is not, as the Democratic and Republican establishments allege, because of xenophobic and nativist bigots. Only a minority now favor sending every undocumented immigrant home without a chance for the hard-working and law-abiding to stay here while they apply for citizenship.

The problem instead is that the establishments of both parties talk in high-minded fashion but in fact act selfishly. Unfortunately, identity-politics elites and Democratic Party activists, along with employers of undocumented workers, do not support such a grand bargain.

Why not? Because Democrats and the members of the identity-politics industry believe that they have gained millions of new constituents. The more slowly huge surges of undocumented immigrants assimilate, the more they are likely to remain bloc constituents for particular causes and politics.

Some employers have profited from employing some of the millions of inexpensive, unskilled workers without legal documentation. The desperation of millions of undocumented workers drives down costs for manual labor, both legal and not.

Other employers do not necessarily want future legal immigrants to be selected mostly on the meritocratic basis of skill sets, or for those already here to integrate quickly into American society and move beyond low-wage jobs.

Mexico is also heavily invested in the present system of unmonitored immigration that has ensured it billions of dollars annually in remittances. Millions of impoverished Mexican citizens heading northward serve as a safety valve for political disenchantment over Mexico City's reactionary policies. The Mexican expatriate population in America also seems far more supportive of Mexico when it resides far from it.

So Mexico would object vehemently if U.S. immigration enforcement were to mirror Mexico's own tough immigration laws, which demand strict border enforcement and prohibit unlawful residence or employment within Mexico.

Already we can see immigration compromises evaporating. While many conservatives are now willing to allow working foreign nationals to remain in the country while seeking legal citizenship, many liberals are against finishing the promised border fence. They do not wish to deport those who have committed a felony or a serious offense like driving under the influence. Indeed, some liberal politicians are already horse-trading to allow two or more such crimes before deportation.

They also want to grant amnesties to those who are not working and on public assistance -- despite the common assurance that all foreign nationals supposedly came to the U.S. only to work.

So far, La Raza activists and Democratic operatives do not seem eager to divorce immigration policy from ethnic considerations and preferences. They do not support the idea that all potential legal immigrants be judged equally on criteria such as job skills or education that ensure those living abroad a fair shot at immigrating and more likely a smoother transition to profitable U.S. citizenship.

Instead, "comprehensive immigration reform" is shaping up as little more than another divisive campaign opportunity in 2014 to call opponents all sorts of names rather than to seek real compromise.

Too many special interests have profited from the present mess, which is illiberal and reactionary to the core -- involving a perfect storm of inexpensive labor, ethnic-identity chauvinism, political cynicism, selective enforcement of the law, and de facto discrimination against immigrants who play by the rules.

The obstacles to reform are not bogeymen who want to deport everyone, but the disingenuous who prefer to deport no one. The culprits are not mustachioed villains who want to close the border, but the more sophisticated who want it to stay wide open. And the real reactionaries are not those seeking to make ethnicity incidental to legal immigration, but those who want to ensure that it remains absolutely essential.

 

 


The Patriot Post

Wednesday’s Daily Digest

Apr. 16, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.” –Samuel Adams, Loyalty and Sedition, essay in The Advertiser, 1748

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Census Changes Uninsured Tally

The Census Bureau is pretty sure that ObamaCare will mean fewer people are uninsured. The trick is in the counting. A new questionnaire1 the Bureau is planning to use includes a “total revision to health insurance questions” that, in a recent test, counted fewer uninsured. The Census Bureau called it “coincidental and unfortunate timing” that the measurement overhaul will take effect at the same time as the health care law. “Ideally, the redesign would have had at least a few years to gather base line and trend data,” the Bureau said. Ideally ObamaCare would never have passed. But hey, the administration specializes in making up numbers, so this Census report will be right at home.

A Rosier Deficit Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office foresees a narrower federal deficit than previously thought, both near and long term. This year’s estimated budget shortfall dropped by $23 billion to $492 billion. Assuming the trend holds, this would be a seven-year low. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this stems from cuts to defense; absent true reforms overhauling entitlements and wasteful spending, any reduction is temporary at best. (Remember, defense spending is one of the few functions federally mandated under the Constitution, yet it’s the only area hit by Obama with major budget cuts.) ObamaCare’s reduced price tag2 and Medicare spending cuts lowered the long-term deficit outlook. CBO now predicts $7.6 trillion in more debt over the next decade – $286 billion less than January’s projection. However, CBO’s analysis is speculative, and ObamaCare’s actual price tag – like all federal behemoths – will be far higher than anyone anticipates.

Obama’s Taxes

As many records as Barack Obama has broken as president, the sheer number of his proposed new taxes certainly ranks near the top. According to Americans for Tax Reform, since 2009 he has proposed 442 taxes, which don’t include the 20 new taxes actually enacted. For FY 2010 he proposed 79; for 2011, 52; for 2012, 47; for 2013, 34; for 2014, 137; for 2015, 93. In addition to these, he has said he’d like to investigate taxing soda and sugary drinks and that the VAT (value added tax) is an idea we should be exploring. Obviously, were all these enacted, they would bankrupt America, but then he’s already doing well on that score.

Romneys Take Shot at Reid

In 2012, Harry Reid asserted, “The word is out that [Mitt Romney] has not paid any taxes for ten years.” That, of course, was a big lie, as tax documents prove. But hey, it made for a good PR distraction – just like Reid’s current obsession over the Koch brothers. Yesterday, Mitt’s son, Josh, took a shot at the Senate leader with this epic tweet: “Hey @SenatorReid here’s a shot of @MittRomney paying taxes. Does it every year. It’s how you get your paycheck.” And for the record, much to Reid’s chagrin, the Koch brothers pay their taxes too.

Biden to Boston

Addressing the crowd in Boston gathered Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 200, Joe Biden once again showed why he can’t be trusted in public. He lavished praise on tribute organizers before going off script and saying, “[L]et me say to those quote ‘survivors,’ my God, you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it. I mean this sincerely – just to hear each of you speak. You’re truly, truly inspiring. I’ve never heard anything so beautiful as what all of you just said.” Surely he meant only to compliment the ceremony, but good grief – many of the survivors of the bombing have gone through life-changing recoveries. Some may even be stronger for it, but we doubt very many of them would say a ceremony is “worth it.”

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR LIBERTY?

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But we need your financial support to keep that coming. Our voice is your voice – make it heard with a secure online donation today4. We still need to raise approximately $33,790 by April 19th.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

‘No Executive Action on Immigration Coming’

Barack Obama met with several “faith leaders” about immigration reform Tuesday, and they claim he told them that Congress needs to lead on immigration and that there would be no immediate unilateral executive action on the issue. And by no action, Obama has so far meant no enforcement5, which makes all the more laughable the moniker given him by some Hispanic leaders: “Deporter in Chief.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spun yesterday’s meeting: “I think the president believes that there is an opportunity that still exists for House Republicans to follow the lead of the Senate, including Republicans in the Senate, and take up and pass comprehensive immigration reform. And [Tuesday’s] meeting that the president had with faith leaders demonstrates and reinforces the fact that there is a broad, unusually broad, coalition that supports that effort, that supports comprehensive immigration reform and all the benefits that making reform the law would provide to the country, to our security, to our economy, to our businesses. I think it highlights the isolation that House Republicans find themselves in when so many, not just politicians or advocacy leaders, but folks across the country support doing the right thing here and the irony, of course, is that there is a really strong conservative argument to be made on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform.”

House Speaker John Boehner has explained on multiple occasions that Obama can’t be trusted to enforce the law6, and, in light of that, House Republicans have no intention of being suckered into passing reform. Though that doesn’t mean they won’t actually be suckered into it. Democrats are working on a discharge petition7 to force their hand.

In truth, we too think immigration reform is needed – we just don’t think any form of amnesty ought to be part of the discussion. Reform should center on border security and the legal entry process. But as Boehner said, it’s hard to negotiate with the other side when they’re not enforcing existing law. That mistrust is compounded given that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says that illegals have “earned the right to be citizens” and that Joe Biden says they “are already American citizens.” How can we then take them seriously?

The real reason Democrats want “reform,” of course, is for votes. The Center for Immigration Studies has a new report8 on the political effect of immigration – both legal and illegal. Long story short, immigrants vote heavily Democrat. As the study’s author, James Gimpel, writes, “Immigrants, particularly Hispanics and Asians, have policy preferences when it comes to the size and scope of government that are more closely aligned with progressives than with conservatives. As a result, survey data show a two-to-one party identification with Democrats over Republicans.”

That’s yet another reason why Democrats focus on “income inequality” and class warfare. Immigrants tend to be poor, and it makes a difference when the first thing that they hear is that one major party “hates the poor.” The answer for immigrants and native-born alike is Liberty, free-enterprise and limited government. The hard part is convincing people that the easy road of government dependence isn’t the right road.

Ukraine Takes Action Against Russian Subversion

The situation in Ukraine may have reached the boiling point, as its forces make moves in the eastern part of the country to counter Russian-instigated uprisings. “We won’t allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of the country,” said acting President Oleksandr Turchynov. But some of Ukraine’s forces may actually be working for the other side.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Anglo-American economist and philosopher Thomas Cooper (1759-1839): “The law, unfortunately, has always been retained on the side of power; laws have uniformly been enacted for the protection and perpetuation of power."

Columnist Terence Jeffrey: "86,429,000. That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work – in the private sector – and did it week after week after week. … The liberal media has not made them famous like the polar bear, but they are truly a threatened species. It is not a rancher with a few hundred head of cattle that is attacking their habitat, nor an energy company developing a fossil fuel. It is big government and its primary weapon – an ever-expanding welfare state. … All told … there were 151,014,000 who ‘received benefits from one or more programs’ in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers. … As more baby boomers retire, and as Obamacare comes fully online … the number of takers will inevitably expand. And the number of full-time private-sector workers might also contract. Eventually, there will be too few carrying too many, and America will break.”

Columnist Burt Prelutsky: “[I]f Obama weren’t black, would so many Americans have ignored his promise in 2008 to destroy the oil and coal industries and to redistribute our wealth in ways reminiscent of Lenin and Stalin? Also, if he weren’t black, wouldn’t his vow to personally lower the ocean and heal the planet have been viewed as the ravings of a mad man? I grant that not voting for someone simply because he’s black is racist. But how is voting for him because he’s black not also racist?”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “The reason I like a mugger over a tax collector is that a mugger never acts like you’re supposed to thank him.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

 

 

 


Equality in Discipline

Walter E. Williams

4/16/2014 12:01:00 AM - Walter E. Williams

George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline Rates Must Be 'Proportionate.'" (http://tinyurl.com/mxnlg9h). Let's examine some of the absurdity of the Obama administration's take on student discipline.

Last January, the departments of Justice and Education published a "guidance" letter describing how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. Its underlying threat is that if federal bureaucrats learn of racial disproportionality in the punishments meted out for misbehavior, they will descend upon a school's administrators. If schools cannot justify differentials in rates of punishment by race or ethnic group, they will face the loss of federal funds and be forced to undertake costly diversity training.

The nation's educators can avoid sanctions by adopting a racial quota system for student discipline. So as Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, predicts, "school officials will either start disciplining students who shouldn't be, or, more likely, will not discipline some students who ought to be." I can imagine school administrators reasoning this way: "Blacks are 20 percent of our student body, and 20 percent of suspensions this year have been of black students. In order to discipline another black student while maintaining our suspension quota, we will have to suspend some white students, whether they're guilty or not." Some administrators might see some injustice in that approach and simply ignore the misbehavior of black students.

Leef cites Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald, who wrote in City Journal (http://tinyurl.com/9k648fj) that "the Departments of Education and Justice have launched a campaign against disproportionate minority discipline rates, which show up in virtually every school district with significant numbers of black and Hispanic students. The possibility that students' behavior, not educators' racism, drives those rates lies outside the Obama administration's conceptual universe." She quoted Aaron Benner, a black teacher in a St. Paul, Minn., school who abhors the idea that school officials should go easy on black students who act up because (as a "facilitator" said) that's what black culture is. "They're trying to pull one over on us. Black folks are drinking the Kool-Aid; this 'let-them-clown' philosophy could have been devised by the KKK." Benner is right. I can't think of a more racist argument than one that holds that disruptive, rude behavior and foul language are a part of black culture.

If Barack Obama's Department of Justice thinks that disproportionality in school punishments is probative of racial discrimination, what about our criminal justice system, in which a disproportionate number of blacks are imprisoned, on parole or probation, and executed? According to the NAACP's criminal justice fact sheet, blacks now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people who are incarcerated. Blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. The NAACP goes on to report that if blacks and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rate as whites, today's prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50 percent (http://tinyurl.com/7g2b32h).

So what to do? For example, blacks are 13 percent of the population but over 50 percent of homicide victims and about 46 percent of convicted murderers. Seeing as the Obama administration is concerned about punishment disproportionality, should black convicts be released so that only 13 percent of incarcerated murderers are black? Or should the Department of Justice order the conviction of whites, whether they're guilty or not, so that the number of people convicted of murder by race is equal to their number in the general population? You say, "Williams, that not only is a stupid suggestion but violates all concepts of justice!" You're absolutely right, but isn't it just as stupid and unjust for the Obama administration to seek punishment equality in schools?

 


Johnson-Crapo Signals the Triumphant Return of Barney Frank to Washington

Amy Frederick

4/16/2014 9:15:00 AM - Amy Frederick

With so many Democrat retirements this year, one might think Republicans on Capitol Hill would seize the offensive in promoting a conservative agenda with the political winds blowing at their back. The public's distaste for all things big government is well-established on issues such as Obamacare, runaway deficits, NSA spying, the IRS, and even the crackdown on overly large beverages. Polls consistently show that voters find 'big government' the most ominous threat to their happiness and well-being.

Fast-forward to the inner chambers of the Senate Banking Committee, which is poised to pass legislation in the coming weeks that creates a monolithic successor to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, funnels millions to a new slush fund to finance liberal community organizers, confiscates private shareholder investments and earned profits, and for the first time ever puts taxpayers on the hook to guarantee trillions in mortgage securities. While such legislation isn't a shock coming from Harry Reid's Democrat majority, the real head scratcher is why some Republicans are championing this bill.

Dubbed Johnson-Crapo for its authors, Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking member Mike Crapo (R-ID), this legislation masquerades as a bi-partisan solution to winding down Fannie and Freddie and getting the government out of the mortgage business. Given the attributes listed above, it's obvious that this legislation does as much for getting government out of the housing industry as did retirement from office getting Bill Clinton out of the media spotlight.

With the housing crash and financial crisis of 2008 still fresh in our minds if not still smoldering on America's economic landscape, winding down and divesting Fannie and Freddie is an idea whose time came ten years ago. A major contributor to the housing bubble which helped sink the economy through easy lending and laws demanding banks make bad loans, Fannie and Freddie were also rife with corruption and mismanagement, paying millions in bonuses to its crooked officers while hiding $5 billion in accounting irregularities and $11 billion in misreported financial statements. Needless to say, few are sorry to see the Uday and Qusay of the mortgage industry join the trash heap of history's failed ideas.

But like a phoenix, Fannie and Freddie return under Johnson-Crapo, this time in the form of one giant mega-GSE (Government-Sponsored Enterprise) called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC). Johnson-Crapo supporters protest that the FMIC will be nothing like F&F, requiring private guarantors for Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and employing a host of federal agencies to regulate the housing and securities industries. But if you take a closer look at the details, your devil alert will set off like an air-raid siren.

As proposed, FMIC will require that private investors eat the first 10% of any losses before government guarantees (i.e., the taxpayers) kick in. As John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, that still leaves taxpayers on the hook for 90% of the remainder of losses, giving private capital funds an incentive to make risky investments. Even this paltry 10% loss obligation of private investors is diluted in the bill's fine print, making taxpayer guarantees potentially even bigger. As if that weren't bad enough, FMIC is authorized to grant itself power to "repeal, amend or modify" its own rules or regulations. Does that sound like government getting out of the housing industry?

Johnson-Crapo may as well summon Barney Frank to come bounding back to the House Financial Services Committee, where he served as Chairman during the height of the mortgage meltdown. Frank, the colorful former Congressman with the signature accent of part Cambridge, Massachusetts and part Sylvester the Cat, was the one who assured us all that Fannie and Freddie were financially sound. Frank surely would applaud FMIC's continued mission to ensure 'fair' lending and continued facilitation of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that requires banks make loans based on political, not financial, criteria.

And Frank surely wouldn't object to FMIC's unaccountable housing Trust Fund, which he labored for years to create until he got his wish in 2008. Slush funds were central to the operations of groups like ACORN and other 'housing advocates' to fund their political activities and lobby for liberal lending policies. They are not just a form of taxpayer abuse, but helped pay for the rudder that steered us right into the crash. It's a safe bet that this new Trust Fund will be equally popular with many groups that won't have the words 'Tea Party' in their name.

Frank also has a taste for using other people's money to fund failure, saying after the '08 crash, "there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax... and recover some of this money." Well he's in luck, as Johnson-Crapo codifies an administrative “okey-doke” pulled by the Obama Treasury Department that authorizes the federal government to flat-out confiscate all private property of Fannie and Freddie shareholders, many of whom are retirees and pension funds who were encouraged by Uncle Sam to invest in F&F post-bailout. At the time, Fannie and Freddie were still reporting losses, but now that they're actually turning a profit, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ordered all profits back to the U.S. Treasury in perpetuity, even though the bailout loan has been repaid. Johnson-Crapo makes this stick-up permanent, which begs the question of how does it help spur private investment in the mortgage industry if government sets an example of confiscating whatever it wants without regard to private property rights? And these are the same politicians who said Enron was corrupt!

Democrats like Barack Obama and Barney Frank made it abundantly clear leading up to the housing crash that the purpose of GSEs like Fannie and Freddie was to make risky loans to push social change, and if everything should crash, well, we'll just soak the rich some more. The fact that the President favors Johnson-Crapo should serve as a red flag, and upon first glance this legislation embodies all the shady elements of cronyism and government fiat that, when under the name of Fannie and Freddie, have already done immeasurable harm to our nation. Johnson-Crapo is a great piece of legislation, if you are wistful for the days of Chairman Barney Frank.

 


President Pinocchios' Nose Is Growing Longer and Longer

Donald Lambro

4/16/2014 12:01:00 AM - Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - President Obama and the Democrats have been peddling some whoppers lately about women in the workforce and Obamacare that are patently untrue, or based on questionable, exaggerated data.

Obama and his party are betting they can get away with such falsehoods because the news media swallows them whole, regurgitating their charges as facts. Washington's ultra-liberal press corps rarely digs into the veracity of his claims.

The first is the White House's election year claims that average working women are paid a great deal less than men, often for the same amount of work.

Here's what Obama said April 8 on equal pay for equal work: "Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns in 2014, that's an embarrassment. It is wrong."

When Obama and the Democrats get into trouble, they usually reach for the weapon they've used so many times before: demagoguery. And that's what they're doing now to boost the women's vote, as midterm election polls show they're going to get a shellacking in the Senate races in November

Is the president's statement true? Well, on Sunday, the Washington Post's highly respected "Fact Checker", Glenn Kessler, gave his statement "Two Pinocchios" out of four, but said he said he was "tempted to go one step further to Three Pinocchios."

Pinocchio is the 19th Century tale, made into a 1940 Disney film, of a little boy whose nose grows longer when he doesn't tell the truth.

Kessler's been warning Obama about his wage gap claim for quite awhile. In the 2012 presidential election, he looked into the math "and found it wanting." He questioned Obama's statement again when he used it in his 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses.

But "he keeps using it, as do many other Democrats. So now it's time for a reassessment," he writes.

What he found is that his claim is based on very simple math that does not account for a wide and complex variety of factors and differences "in the life choices of men and women" that "make it difficult to make easy comparisons."

June O'Neill, the former Congressional Budget Office director who has been a critic of the 77 cent statistic, says the gap is due to many varying, statistical factors. Among them: the average woman has less work experience than the average male; more of the weeks women work tend to be part-time instead of full-time; women tend to leave the workforce for periods of time to raise children; they often want and obtain flexible work hours with lower pay; and tend to choose lower paying work.

Kessler points out that the U.S. Bureau of Labor's data "show that women who do not get married have virtually no wage gap; they earn 96 cents for every dollar a man makes."

Moreover, a 2011 study by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis found the wage gap is much lower when women are compared to men with similar characteristics.

Kessler agrees there "appears to be some sort of wage gap, but adds, "it's a bit rich for the president to repeatedly cite this statistic as an 'embarrassment.'"

Notably, after an earlier online version of his fact check column appeared, Obama dropped any mention of the "77 cents" wage gap in his weekly radio address Saturday.

Another questionable figure Obama boasted about last week was his flat statement that under the Obamacare law, "7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans..."

Kessler has deep problems with this claim, too. "Note the phrase 'signed up," he cautions us.

As he and other health care experts have said before about the sign-up numbers, they're not all they're cracked up to be. Signing up is not the same as "paying up" month after month.

The key test for Obamacare will be "how many people actually pay the first month's premium." While no one yet knows what the payment trend will be, Kessler applies an 85 percent payment rate, the same rate that's occurring in California.

"An 85 percent payment rate would translate into about 6 million actually paying premiums," he writes, well below the much ballyhooed White House figure. That's closer to CBO's downwardly revised forecast after it learned that many more people were on the plan for only one month.

There are other statistical misinterpretations sprinkled throughout Obamacare's figures. "When all is said and done, the administration might only just meet the CBO's revised estimate of 6 million people...or even fall short," Kessler says.

Obama made another shaky claim about sign-ups last week, as when he said the new number was "on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family's plan..."

It turns out this is a questionable, two-year-old statistic from a government estimate that has not been updated. "The factoid is therefore fairly dubious," says Kessler. The "administration's claims about the under-26 enrollment should be treated with extreme caution."

"Are Obama's latest health-care enrollment figures accurate?" the headline over his column asked its readers.

Clearly his figures are deliberately exaggerated -- or worse -- for political purposes in the belief that no one is going to check these numbers, least of all the network news shows that never question any of Obama's claims.

He's made a practice of playing fast and loose with the facts throughout his presidency, and the base of his party is all too willing to swallow them whole.

In a a 2008 presidential debate, he talked of the death of his mother from cervical cancer, saying she spent "the last months of her life in the hospital arguing with insurance companies because they're saying this may be a preexisting condition and they don't have to pay for her treatment." That story was repeated in his 2012 campaign film.

It was eventually revealed that the dispute wasn't about her health insurance which covered her medical bills.

More recently, the policy falsehoods keep coming and President Pinocchio's nose is growing longer and longer.

 


Recovering America's Exceptionalism

Dr. Ben Carson

4/16/2014 12:01:00 AM - Dr. Ben Carson

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French historian, came to America to study our nation. Europeans and others were fascinated with the success of the fledgling nation, then barely 50 years old and already competing on the world stage.

Such a thing had never before occurred, and Tocqueville was determined to discover the secret. He was duly impressed by our governmental structure, including the separation of powers, but he was in awe of the public educational system, which rendered its recipients completely literate by the completion of second grade. This depth of education was generally only found among the aristocracy in Europe.

Let's put aside the diversionary arguments about lack of educational access for all, which was a huge mistake, and concentrate on the tremendous advantage afforded our predecessors by education. Early settlers not only mastered reading, writing and arithmetic, but also shared practical skills, all of which enabled them to traverse and tame a rugged and frequently hostile terrain from sea to shining sea.

As isolated communities sprang up throughout the nation, they were able to thrive through innovation, industry and compassion. The "can-do" attitude involved hard labor, but it also included a sense of responsibility for those who through injury or other hardships could no longer care for themselves. The spirit of caring, although diminished, remains an important part of who we are today.

Tocqueville was impressed by the fiery sermons that emphasized the word of God and not the social mores of the day. He concluded his American analysis by saying, "America is great because she is good. If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." America was different because we openly acknowledged the role of God in our lives.

Some will say, "Carson is a religious fanatic because he believes in God and the Bible." Interestingly, the very same people are quick to invoke the name of God and recommend prayer at times of national and personal tragedy. Hypocrisy is their frequent companion.

Some will say America can never make claims of "goodness" owing to her history of slavery. Although it was by far the worst atrocity in our history, we paid a horrendous price in lives lost or destroyed in a Civil War that all but incapacitated a young nation. The guilt, shame and humility that resulted from this dark American episode will teach us and stigmatize us well into the future. Learning from mistakes is a sign of wisdom and goodness.

What is disturbing in the pursuit of goodness is the turning of a blind eye toward corruption, much like the Romans did before the fall of their empire. Episodes such as the Internal Revenue Service scandal should alarm all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. The fact that one party has characterized it as a "phony scandal" tells you a great deal about the loss of honesty in our society.

The fact that one party is willing to use its majority status to cram a health care bill down the throats of the minority party and the American people and then refuses to acknowledge the obvious illegitimacy of a bill passed largely on the basis of false information provides a barometer on the lack of importance placed on virtue in our society today. How can such a society in any way claim to be good?

How can a society that kills millions of innocent unborn babies and then labels anyone opposing the practice "anti-woman" claim even a modicum of goodness? How can a nation that uses its news media to subtly trash traditional families, promote a drug-filled lifestyle and ridicule faith in God claim the mantle of righteousness?

I could go on pointing out how far we have strayed from our Judeo-Christian roots. For some, such a departure cannot come soon or dramatically enough. However, I believe the majority of Americans understand that we are different from everyone else, and that difference had a great deal to do with our rapid rise to the pinnacle of world power and wealth.

As we depart from our former values of decency, honesty, compassion and fairness, our status as a blessed nation will also be diminished.

Our decline is not necessary if we can learn from the mistakes of others and reclaim the values upon which our nation was built. I am not advocating for a national religion, but I do think we should seriously consider the words of John Adams, who said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."

America can be great, but it requires real courage and conviction to resist the urge to be "cool." None of this means we should impose Judeo-Christian values on those who wish to adopt a different kind of lifestyle, but it does mean we should not allow an alternative lifestyle to be imposed upon us.

Fairness is a two-way street, and so is tolerance. If the majority refuses to fight for its rights, while a vocal minority uses a compliant media to try to fundamentally change America, we will have only ourselves to blame.

 

 


The Patriot Post

Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Apr. 15, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” –John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Reid Says Ranch Battle ‘Isn’t Over’

Harry Reid weighed in on the standoff at the Nevada ranch1 after federal authorities at least temporarily retreated, saying, “Well, it’s not over.” He added, “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.” What’s he talking about? People that habitually violate the law currently run the country. But that’s not over, either.

Stevens' Amendments

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a new book titled, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” Naturally, coming from a leftist jurisprude like Stevens, the recommendations are a bit out of line with our Founders' vision. For example, Stevens' Second Amendment would be amended to read, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.” That, of course, would gut the real meaning of the right to keep and bear arms. He has other changes, including virtually dispatching with federalism. All in all, we’re glad he’s no longer on the bench, even if his replacement Elena Kagen also leaves much to be desired.

‘Hate Crime’ in KC

Glenn Miller, a KKK extremist and founder of the White Patriot Party, was arrested and charged for the murder of three Jewish Christians in Kansas City. The Leftmedia was quick to brand the crime a “hate crime,” in part because he reportedly yelled “Heil Hitler” upon his arrest, and authorities will charge him with one. Of course it’s a hate crime – he murdered three people. Miller has a checkered political history, running for office as both a Democrat and a Republican at different times. He also wrote in 2012 that Israel was trying to “buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican [sic] establishment.” There is no doubt some confusion about where Nazis and neo-Nazis fit on the political spectrum. The Nazi party of Germany was socialist, and therefore a party of the Left, though many Americans are under the delusion that Hitler was “far-Right.” Neo-Nazis are better defined by their racial animus than by philosophy of government. But that won’t get in the way of Leftmedia insinuation – or worse – that Miller is somehow on our side.

Solar Firms Seek More Cash

Two California companies, Sequoia Pacific Solar and Eiger Lease Co., are suing the Treasury for withholding $14.6 million in cash grants after the parent company, SolarCity, burned through $244 million in tax incentives dating back to 2009. Despite the quarter billion in taxpayer dollars, all they have to show for it is a whopping $166 million in debt. No wonder they’re desperate. According to the lawsuit, Treasury “improperly changed the rules.” Federal officials, however, say that SolarCity inflated sales contracts to retrieve more taxpayer dollars. They’re also accused of deceiving its shareholders and releasing erroneous financial reports. The fact the feds are providing “green” incentives at all is ridiculous enough, especially in the wake of boondoggles like Solyndra. But as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw adds, “is this a private company which is intended to show a profit in the marketplace or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer? Well, okay… the ‘non-profit’ part is probably pretty obvious.”

Coughing Up Climate Rhetoric

It’s spring, and that means allergies. So naturally, alarmists are attempting to identify a link between heavy pollen and global “warming.” For most of the country, a continued cool pattern has delayed the allergy season. “With temperatures finally starting to rise, New Jersey may soon experience a compressed spring, causing an allergy season that’s supercharged,” says Christopher Maag of North Jersey.com. He later adds: “Erratic weather changes and intense pollen seasons are consistent with research on global climate change by Leonard Bielory, an allergist and visiting professor at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction. In a study presented last year … Bielory predicted that annual pollen counts in many parts of the U.S., including New Jersey, will double between the years 2000 and 2040 as higher average temperatures bring longer pollination seasons.” Perhaps Maag should examine his own contradiction. Bielory cites “longer pollination seasons” thanks to “higher average temperatures,” while Maag’s entire premise is on a “compressed” and “supercharged” season shortened by cold weather. Also, earth hasn’t warmed in over 17 years. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

LODGE YOUR TAX DAY PROTEST

Unjust taxation was the catalyst for the first American Revolution. Today, once again, our fundamental rights are being violated by unjust taxation for purposes not authorized by our Constitution. One of the focal points of our mission is advocating the restoration of constitutional limits on government. This advocacy takes place in every edition, educating and reminding readers – from grassroots Patriots to influential leaders – of the threats to our Constitution.

Lodge your complaint in Washington by supporting the leading conservative journal calling for a return to First Principles. Our voice is your voice – make it heard5. We still have approximately $44,625 left to raise by April 19th.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

Income Redistribution Day – How Much, Where It Goes and Who Collects It

Today is that most mirthless of days, April 15, tax filing day, or as we in our humble shop have long dubbed it, “Income Redistribution Day.” It’s the day each year when government confiscates money from about half the nation’s citizens, and gives that money to the other half. (That’s an over-generalization, but you get the idea.) But at least they didn’t choose April 19 – Patriots' Day – for tax filing. In honor of today, here are a few things to remember about taxes and the IRS.

It will take Americans 111 days this year6 to fully pay for the burden of government. In other words, when you pay your taxes today you’ll still have to work another six days just to actually pay them off.

Where did your tax money go?7 Just shy of half of all federal tax revenue goes to major entitlements – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs. Another 20% goes to various other wealth transfer programs like unemployment benefits and food stamps. That’s more than two-thirds of the federal budget that goes from your pocket to someone else’s. See why we call it “Income Redistribution Day”?

National defense takes 18% of federal spending, but it’s one of the few things the federal government is currently doing that’s actually enumerated in the Constitution. Meanwhile, interest on the debt consumes 6% of the budget. And finally, the Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne writes, “Your 2013 tax dollars covered only 80 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government. The other 20 cents were borrowed from younger generations.”

Speaking of borrowing from younger generations, and also going back to our point about half the nation paying taxes, consider this: Some 80% of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. Payroll taxes “fund” the two biggest federal entitlements – Social Security and Medicare. For those who don’t think Social Security is an entitlement because you’re entitled to the money you paid in, please note that today’s workers are paying for today’s retirees, and there are fewer workers per retiree now than ever. There is no trust fund. If you’re retired, we’re shocked – shocked – to say that politicians lied to you and spent your money a long time ago. Social Security is quickly headed for insolvency.

No amount of revenue is ever enough to quench Democrats' thirst for Big Government. In fact, while Barack “Tax Man” Obama likes to talk a good game about getting the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share” and sparing the middle class and the poor from a big tax burden, he has sought 442 tax increases8 since occupying the Oval Office. Fortunately, most of those never made it into law. He did, however, successfully raise taxes substantially on the top two income tax brackets, while at the same time ending the temporary payroll tax break, beginning in January 2013. The latter tax hike hit the middle class and especially the poor, while the former nailed small businesses, which in turn don’t then hire workers. And ObamaCare, of course, is one of the largest tax increases ever foisted on the nation, Obama’s lies9 to the contrary notwithstanding.

The agency collecting your tax dollars, the IRS, has been guilty of serious malfeasance10 ever since Obama took office. Despite Obama’s insistence that there’s not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, former official Lois Lerner admitted last May that the IRS was targeting Tea Party and Patriot groups for additional scrutiny – all to aid in Obama’s re-election. In fact, it just recently came to light that IRS employees were urging taxpayers to re-elect Obama. The whole episode has completely undermined any confidence citizens might have had in the impartiality of the agency charged with collecting federal revenue.

In related news, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced Monday11 that the IRS will re-propose its rule change for tax-exempt groups after hearing withering criticism from both Right and Left12. The change drew a record 150,000 comments. But does anyone think criticism from the Right alone would have done the trick? Koskinen then had the gall to complain about the agency’s funding being “cut” by the sequester. What about the economic hit created by the higher taxes that his corrupt agency is collecting?

All told, today is a day to take stock of how a government that provides everything for its citizens can become a massive burden. It’s not just financial, either – it’s an issue of trust, power and the future of our great nation.

Inheriting the Sebelius Mess

Barack Obama has nominated Sylvia Burwell to head HHS. She’s a veteran of management positions in government and the nonprofit sector. According to the Left, Burwell has served with distinction as global director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But she will now have to explain in public hearings what she plans to do with ObamaCare and an HHS that is riddled with bureaucratic incompetence.

OPINION IN BRIEF

English philosopher and political theorist John Locke (1632-1704): “Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society and made by the legislative power vested in it and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, arbitrary will of another man.”

Columnist Cal Thomas: “The question remains: Why do so many people put their faith in government, when it does so few things well and with efficiency and reasonable cost? We don’t even seem to be able to win wars anymore, so why would anyone have faith that the government can do a better job of directing health insurance and inevitably dictating who gets health care and who does not than the private sector, or at best a private-public partnership? President Obama’s nominee to replace Sebelius, budget director Sylvia Burwell, might turn out to be better at fixing websites, but she doesn’t have the power to fix Obamacare. No one does because it is based on a weak foundation and the notion that government can do anything. Obamacare is the wizard behind the curtain, but without the glimmer of Oz to back it up.”

Former Heritage president Ed Feulner: “‘The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has,’ Will Rogers once quipped. Actually, most Americans try hard to fill out their taxes properly. Unfortunately, the tax code has grown so mind-numbingly complex that it seems almost as if the system is rigged to make them fail. … As businessman Robert Half once said, ‘People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can’t live within its income.’ It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right kind of tax reform, we can help the American people – and give our economy the right kind of stimulus.”

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Obama signed an executive order to encourage salary equality for women last week. The administration can always point out that among twelve percent of Americans, men and women each receive the exact same pay. That’s the beauty of unemployment benefits.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

 

 


Statistical Frauds

Thomas Sowell

4/15/2014 12:01:00 AM - Thomas Sowell

The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.

It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn -- and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

Constantly repeating the "77 percent" statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people's ignorance -- something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.

What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?

First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women's patterns and men's patterns in the labor market.

Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.

For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.

How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don't think children take up a mother's time, you just haven't raised any children.

How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?

More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don't affect income.

During my research on male-female differences for my book "Economic Facts and Fallacies," I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn't so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.

Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title -- whether doctors, lawyers, economists or whatever -- people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.

Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9 to 5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don't look any deeper than job titles.

Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.

Even when you compare women and men with the "same" education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potential.

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don't care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!

 


Aiming High

Mona Charen

4/15/2014 12:01:00 AM - Mona Charen

There's an MRCTV video circulating on the Internet that features a man with a microphone asking college students in Washington, D.C., to name just one member of the United States Senate. At least half a dozen are stumped. When he asks how many senators each state has, the same crew is equally flummoxed. One hundred percent of the students could name the hit song from the movie "Frozen," though.

These surveys about how ignorant Americans are have become hardy perennials. Survey data confirm that large numbers of Americans lack even rudimentary knowledge of what used to be called "eighth-grade civics." A survey by Common Core found that 25 percent of American high school students thought Christopher Columbus sailed after the year 1750, and about a third of them did not know the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

We can all have a good laugh at the expense of the ignorant kids, but, of course, if they are truly undereducated (and these surveys can exaggerate), it's largely the fault of our schools.

It's nice to be reminded, from time to time, about what good schools and good teachers can achieve.

In McLean, Va., a suburb of the District of Columbia, Langley High School has for the past 22 years conducted a program called "Case Day." The brainchild of teacher Steven Catlett and former clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court General William Suter, Case Day involves the entire school (but most intensively the seniors in government class) in studying a pending Supreme Court case. Government teachers Allison Cohen and Micah Herzig, both former lawyers, try to choose cases that will engage teenagers. In past years, students have argued District of Columbia v. Heller (the gun control challenge), Morse v. Frederick (the "bong hits for Jesus" case), and Grutter v. Bollinger (an affirmative action question).

Four students were assigned to argue the cases before a panel of nine "justices," which included two students and also law professors, practicing lawyers and members of the school board. Suter played the role of chief justice.

This year's oral argument was Riley v. California, a Fourth Amendment case contesting the police search of a cellphone. The students familiarized themselves with a dozen or so Supreme Court precedents. As one explained, "We were told that in six weeks we were going to get a crash course in college, law school, and 20 years of practice." All agreed that studying the precedents changed their initial impression of the proper outcome of the case. They were also unanimous in saying that they now hope to be lawyers -- with their teacher acknowledging a little sheepishly that she may have conveyed the misimpression that law school is fun.

Before the drama of the mock oral argument, guest speakers elucidated the issues by offering some context on common law privacy, search-and-seizure cases and the facts of Riley v. California. Then, as the robed justices entered the chamber (well, school library), all rose. A student clerk intoned the "oyez," saying, "All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting ... "

Sparks flew! The arguments featured exactly the sort of thrust and parry that characterizes the actual Supreme Court. Student advocates were challenged by justices attempting to probe the weaknesses of their arguments (while much of the school watched on monitors). Grace Sununu and Anna Cox, representing Riley, were asked why the digital contents of a phone deserve any different consideration from ordinary papers that the court has held may be searched incident to arrest. Was it the sheer amount of data? What if someone were carrying a paper diary with tiny printing? Of William Miner and Ben Parker, appearing for California, it was demanded, "Suppose someone is arrested for jaywalking? Does that mean their entire private life (which can be accessed on a cellphone) is open to search?"

Though they could scarcely complete a full sentence without being interrupted, the students dropped case names and legal doctrines with impressive poise and confidence. The student justices (Natalie Fahlberg and Myunghoon Kim) drilled their colleagues mercilessly.

The Langley court ruled 5-4 in favor of Riley. That other court a few miles east will hear oral argument in the case on April 29, when the six students who participated will sit in the audience as the guests of Justice Antonin Scalia, a loyal supporter of Case Day.

This is not a high-tech, expensive program. Any school with good teachers and access to a library could do it -- and should. It's amazing what students are capable of, when asked.

 


What the Left Did Last Week

Dennis Prager

4/15/2014 12:01:00 AM - Dennis Prager

In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer crossed a line. He declared the American left totalitarian. He is correct. Totalitarianism is written into the left's DNA.

Krauthammer wrote about a left-wing petition "bearing more than 110,000 signatures delivered to the [Washington] Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming."

He concluded:

"I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation -- no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian."

America is engaged in a civil war -- thank God, a non-violent one, but a civil war nonetheless. It is as divided as it was during the Civil War in the 19th century. The issue then was slavery -- a huge moral divide, of course. But today, the country is divided by opposite views about much more than one major issue. The left and right are divided by their views of morality, politics, society, religion, the individual and the very nature of America.

The left seeks to, as candidate Barack Obama promised five days before his first election, "fundamentally transform the United States of America."

That is what the left is doing. There is almost no area of American life in which the left's influence is not transformative, and ultimately destructive.

Beginning with this column I will periodically, perhaps regularly, devote this space to that transformation and destruction. My reason for doing so is that most Americans, including more than a few Republicans and more than a few Democrats, simply do not know what the left is doing to their country.

So, here is some of what the left has done in the last week or two.

--The left-wing directors of Mozilla, the parent company of the browser Firefox, compelled their CEO, Brendan Eich, to resign after he refused to recant his support for maintaining the man-woman definition of marriage. Even though his gay employees acknowledged how fairly he treated them individually and as couples, the mere fact that he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman rendered him unacceptable as an employee of Mozilla/Firefox. (For more details, see my column of last week, "Uninstall Firefox.")

The Wall Street Journal condemned Mozilla. The New York Times has not taken a position.

--Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, perhaps the world's foremost activist on behalf of women in the Islamic world. Hirsi Ali, an African woman born into a Muslim family and raised Muslim, who now teaches at Harvard, was scheduled to receive an honorary degree at the forthcoming Brandeis graduation ceremony. Brandeis rescinded its invitation after protests led by a Muslim student and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamist organization, erupted over Hirsi Ali's criticism of the way women are treated in many parts of the Muslim world.

The Wall Street Journal condemned Brandeis. The New York Times has not taken a position.

--The University of Michigan canceled a showing of the documentary "Honor Diaries." The film features nine women who are either Muslim or come from a Muslim country. They speak about honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriages at young ages, and the denial of education to women in Muslim communities. They praise moderate Muslims. But the University of Michigan cancelled the film lest a non-moderate Muslim organization, CAIR again, label the university "Islamophobic."

--Six weeks ago, a University of Wisconsin student released a video he had made of a guest lecturer in the freshman general education course "Education 130: Individual and Society." The lecturer, the political and organizing director for Service Employees International Union Local 150, delivered a diatribe, with obscenities, against conservatives, whites and Republicans. Last week. When confronted with the evidence that classrooms at their university were being politicized, the faculty of the University of Wisconsin reacted with indignation -- at the student who made the video. And then the faculty passed a resolution demanding that the university ban recording any of its classes.

It's hard to blame the faculty. Given the intellectual shallowness and the left-wing politics that pervade so many liberal arts classes, the University of Wisconsin faculty has every reason to fear allowing the public to know what professors say in class.

--Today is the cutoff date for public reactions to the California Supreme Court's ethics advisory committee's proposal to forbid California judges from affiliating with the Boy Scouts, which the left deems anti-gay. Given the Left's animosity to traditional value-based institutions, it is not surprising that it loathes the Boy Scouts. What is remarkable -- actually, frightening -- is how easy it has been for the left to make it (SET ITAL) illegal (END ITAL) for a judge to be a leader in the Boy Scouts. This is the now case in 22 states. It will soon be the case in California as well.

This was just one week -- and only selected examples -- in the left's ongoing transformation of America.

 


Sharyl Attkisson Details the Obama 'Chilling Effect,' Laments Lack of Investigative Reporting in News

Katie Pavlich

4/14/2014 3:30:00 PM - Katie Pavlich

Over the weekend former CBS Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson appeared on Fox News' Media Buzz to talk in detail about why she left the news network.

Now there have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it. Why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?

After watching the first part of the interview (part two will air this weekend), it seems a few major points were made.

1. News networks, not just including CBS, are lacking an appetite for deep, long-term investigative reporting. In the age of new media, Twitter and the incredibly fast pace of news, it seems newsrooms aren't investing the time or resources in projects that can't be done immediately.

2. The Obama administration has created an atmosphere in Washington of fear and intimidation toward reporters, hence the reason why investigative work isn't being pursued as aggressively as it was under the Bush administration. First we have the revelations that the Department of Justice spied on reporters from the Associated Press, Fox News and other outlets and went so far as to monitor the phones lines belonging to the parents of Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen. Second, we know the White House and Department of Justice regularly work with a certain tax-exempt group (that shall not be named) to smear reporters who dare look into and report on Obama administration scandals. Third, the White House been sued multiple times for failing to properly respond to Freedom of Information Requests. Fourth, President Obama has used the Espionage Act to punish people inside government for talking to reporters more than any other president in U.S. history. When the sources dry up, so do the investigative stories.

3. Corporate interests in bed with big government have a heavy hand when it comes to pushing back on newsrooms and reporters for exposing corruption and relationships with public officials and agencies.

4. Calling scandals "political" is a way to shut down debate and a tactic used to frame an issue as unimportant and irrelevant.

As an outside observer, I'm not willing to let the majority of reporters and their bosses slide on the fact that under the Bush administration they were extremely interested in every aspect of what the administration was doing (as they should have been) while under the Obama administration are willing to ignore major scandals like IRS targeting, Benghazi, Fast and Furious and others. It isn't only because of Obama's chilling effect, but because Obama is a Democrat and Bush was a Republican. Not to mention, the President of CBS News is David Rhodes. His brother, Ben Rhodes, serves as a deputy national security advisor at the White House.

 


It's Time for the Poor to Pull Their Own Weight

Armstrong Williams

4/15/2014 12:01:00 AM - Armstrong Williams

All too often, rich individuals in this country are demonized for simply being rich. If some sort of financial catastrophe happens, such as the latest recession in 2009, the rich are to blame. If the government is running large deficits, the rich are not paying their “fair share”. If an individual is poor and cannot find employment, it is because the rich hoard all their profits and don’t share with anyone else.

It’s time to set the record straight by looking at the facts. The top 1% of all individual income earners in this country pay nearly37% of all federal income taxes. The top 50% of individuals pay98% of all federal income taxes.

The so called “greedy corporations” and big businesses get it even worse. The current corporate tax rate on big business in the United States is the highest in the industrial world, set at 39.1%. Despite providing work for over 45% of American citizens and contributing to 65% of new jobs created in America, big businesses get punished with the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. They certainly pay their “fair share” and then some.

The poor on the other hand, defined as the bottom 50% of income earners, pay essentially no federal income taxes. Many of these poorer Americans enroll in Medicare and receive free healthcare. If they don’t qualify for Medicare they can now, thanks to Obamacare, receive taxpayer funded federal subsidies to pay their own healthcare expenses.

But this is not all government does; it also provides funding for poorer American’s food. Today, one out of every six Americans receives food stamps. Recently renamed SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal government now spends almost $80 billion helping feed the poor.

Last year the CATO Institute came out with a study named “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013”. In their study, CATO found that individuals receiving all government welfare benefits make more money than they would working a minimum wage job in 35 different states. In 13 states, government welfare benefits are more lucrative than a $15 per hour full time job. Our current welfare system is completely backward. Government should be encouraging work and independence, not trapping individuals in the welfare system.

Poorer individuals in this country are certainly not left to fend for themselves, but many democrats would have you think this. The entire income inequality discussion continually brought up by democrats is simply another way to promote more government policies that take even more from the rich and give to the poor.

The solution to poverty in America is not to take from the “have’s” and give to the “have not’s”. The real solution is to encourage Americans to work. Working a minimum wage job or a job that isn’t exactly what you want is part of life. Millions of Americans across the country have had to do this.

Congressman Paul Ryan recently commented on this exact topic in an interview with Bill Bennett: “We have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”

While campaigning for President in 2008, candidate Barack Obama offered a similar analysis specifically among minorities: “Fewer young black and Latino men participate in the labor force compared to young white men. And all of this translates into higher unemployment rates and poverty rates as adults.”

Work is the solution to poverty, not government handouts funded by the rich.

The destructive pattern of the poor blaming the rich for all their problems must end. Productive and successfully citizens don’t blame other people for their problems. They find a job, even if it’s a tough one, they work hard, especially when the going gets tough, and they move up the economic ladder.

The rich should not be treated as a scapegoat. It’s time for the poor to pull their own weight.

 

 


The Patriot Post

Monday’s Daily Digest

Apr. 14, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1795

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

ObamaCare Is ‘So Big’

Of course ObamaCare was bound to have some problems, explains Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). “We were reordering one-sixth of the American economy – you don’t do that without some bumps along the road,” Murphy said. “I’m certainly forgiving of the president making some decisions to try to implement in a way that makes sense,” he added, defending the dozens of times Obama has changed or delayed the law. “This thing is so big – the only way to do it was to make it big.” We’d consider this damning with faint praise, since taking over one-sixth of the economy was a really good reason not to pass ObamaCare.

Sebelius' Parting Glitch

You couldn’t ask for a more fitting and ironic farewell. Kathleen Sebelius delivered her prepared resignation speech at the White House today – well part of it, anyway. A glitch crashed her presentation midway through, which clearly wasn’t ready for launch. “Unfortunately, a page is missing,” she admitted after a brief shutdown. She did finally manage to piece together her final remarks before handing the reigns over to Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Clinton Favors Voter ID

Bill Clinton has come out in favor of photo ID. As long as it’s on your Social Security card, that is. He didn’t call for executive action on the issue, but he said adding photos to Social Security cards represents “a way forward that eliminates error,” without having to “paralyze and divide a country with significant challenges.” Actually, that’s a virtual national ID card that could do the opposite of “eliminating error.” In other words, it might just “divide the country.” Democrats oppose voter ID for one reason: They need fraudulent votes and being forced to present one makes that a little bit harder.

No to Iran Ambassador

Iran sees clearly the weakness of the Obama administration, and the rogue nation sought to test it by nominating Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador to the UN. Aboutalebi played a key role in the 1979 hostage crisis, in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days at the U.S. embassy. Upon hearing of his nomination, both houses of Congress quickly passed a bill demanding the administration deny the visa, though Barack Obama hasn’t yet signed it. Still, the White House got this one right, saying Aboutalebi’s nomination was “not viable” and that he will not be granted a visa. That means he cannot then serve as Iran’s ambassador since the UN is based in New York. We hope he sticks with his decision.

NLRB Subpoenas Corker, Others

The United Auto Workers lost the February election1 to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But they’re not going quietly, appealing to the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the results. As part of that appeal, 20 people were subpoenaed, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. The hearing is set for April 21, and the UAW accuses these people of wrongfully interfering with the voting at the plant. As we wrote at the time, the UAW had nearly every advantage and they still couldn’t close the deal. Corker’s comments about inside knowledge of the benefit of rejecting the union, however ill advised, were almost surely not decisive in the vote, and the union’s effort to throw out results based on something he said should go nowhere.

SUPPORT THE CRUCIAL BATTLE FOR LIBERTY

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Please ensure that the Internet’s leading conservative voice keeps speaking the truth and take a moment to support our 2014 Patriots' Day Campaign3 today. This campaign allows us to bridge the annual budget gap between Patriots' and Independence Days. We still have approximately $45,750 left to raise before April 19th.

“The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” –Patrick Henry

RIGHT ANALYSIS

Nevada Ranch Dispute Cools as Feds Retreat

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has retreated from the standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over cattle grazing on federal land. Newly installed BLM director Neil Kornze said in a statement, “Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.” Yet that hardly means this conflict is over.

That “serious concern” no doubt arose because after armed federal agents descended on the area, tasing and arresting his son among other thuggish behavior, Bundy threatened a “range war” and invoked Ruby Ridge and Waco. On top of that, thousands of people gathered around the ranch to show their support for Bundy, and many of them were armed. They greatly outnumbered federal personnel, and rather than risk an incident, the feds backed off.

For background, BLM agents had confiscated hundreds of Bundy’s cattle, alleging they were trespassing on the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area north of Las Vegas. Bundy claims his family has homestead rights in the area going back more than 100 years. “I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life,” he said. “Why I raise cattle there and why I can raise cattle there is because I have preemptive rights.”

The federal government began regulating the land in the 1930s because of supposed overgrazing, and they’ve been working to drive ranchers out of the area ever since. For example, BLM demanded Bundy reduce his herd to an unsustainable 150 cattle. So Bundy quit paying the federal government for grazing rights in 1993 because, he said, “BLM was supposed to be land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business.” Bundy has paid fees to Clark County, Nevada, however, but BLM claims Bundy owes more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. Then in 1998 the feds declared the land off-limits altogether in order to protect the desert tortoise. Bundy has lost in court, including a key case in 2013 in which a U.S. District Court upheld federal claim to the land as dating to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Of course, the federal government owns 84% of Nevada…

There are two noteworthy things about the contested land. First, radio host Dana Loesch explains4 that the endangered desert tortoise is “so ‘endangered’ that their population can no longer be contained by the refuge constructed for them so the government is closing it and euthanizing over a thousand tortoises.” Second, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) sought to bring in a massive solar farm not far from Gold Butte, but still in desert tortoise territory. BLM director Neil Kornze is Reid’s former senior adviser, and one of Reid’s big donors, Harvey Whittemore, was behind the proposed solar development, though he’s currently behind bars for illegal donations to Reid. As Loesch put it, “If only Clive Bundy were a big Reid donor.”

Among other things, this standoff demonstrates how agencies of the federal government have twisted their mission to fit particular political agendas rather than the purpose for which they were instituted. In this case, when one political agenda didn’t work they threw in another one – phony protection for a tortoise. It also confirms the dangers of “militarizing” civilian agencies that should not have paramilitary teams. If BLM has a problem, they can call the Nevada State Police or any number of other agencies that have armed law enforcement teams and authority.

Another point: The Leftmedia is calling the gathered citizens a “militia,” which, of course, they mean in the pejorative sense. Our Founders used the word “militia” to mean “the people,” as is clear in the Second Amendment. And the people succeeded in getting the government to back down – at least for the moment.

Paying for the Sins of the Father

With the federal government at $17 trillion in debt and counting, its thirst for revenue is strong. But even increasing tax rates on wealthy taxpayers, slapping fees on those who don’t voluntarily purchase health insurance, or using any of the myriad other ways the federal government extracts dollars from Americans' wallets isn’t enough. Now the Social Security Administration is seizing tax refunds to pay for the “debts” of taxpayers' parents.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Economist Lawrence Kudlow: “[I]f you do want faster growth and higher employment, slash the business tax rate. Move to a flat tax for individuals. Lighten the regulatory burden. Most especially, get rid of Obamacare. That will incentivize everyone in the economy and open the door for faster growth. And while we’re at it, let’s keep the dollar sound. In fact, I’d like to see King Dollar appreciate by 10 to 15 percent. That will hold down inflation while supply-side reforms reignite the economy. (By the way, oil prices would probably drop to $75 a barrel, pulling the rug out from under the evil Vladimir Putin.) Get rid of QE3, move to the 1.5 percent Taylor rule fed funds rate and institute pro-growth economic reforms. This policy package will keep inflation low and drive economic growth higher. It worked in the ‘80s and '90s. But it’s been forgotten in recent years.”

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): “In questions of law or of fact conscience is very often confounded with opinion. No man’s conscience can tell him the rights of another man; they must be known by rational investigation or historical inquiry.”

Columnist Burt Prelutsky: “Even if I were to bang my head on something, knock myself out and wake up thinking I was a Democrat, I’d like to think I would question how it is that Barack Obama can keep taking multi-million dollar vacations, only to come back in time to lecture his guests at $35,000-a-plate fund-raisers about the horrors of income inequality. When you get right down to it, if poor people didn’t exist, the Democrats would have had to invent them. In that respect, as well as others, they resemble drug dealers who are constantly turning dummies into addicts.”

Fred Thompson: “A new report shows that the government has spent nearly $700 million just trying to get people to sign up for Obamacare. That’s just crazy. They could’ve gotten a perfectly good bankrupt solar company for that.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

 

 

 


Shakedown: Treasury now seizing tax refunds from adult children to pay parents’ decades-old Social Security debts

 3:21 PM ON APRIL 11, 2014 BY ALLAHPUNDIT

When I say “debts,” I don’t mean loans that the parents willingly sought from SSA. It would be bad enough to hold a kid responsible for that (since when are children responsible for their parents’ obligations?), but at least it would have been voluntarily incurred by mom/dad. The “debts” here are overpayments of Social Security benefits, the product of SSA’s own errors. The parents who received them might not have even realized they were getting money they weren’t supposed to have. And now, somehow, it’s junior’s problem.

But wait. It gets worse.

When [Mary] Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery…

“It was a shock,” said Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”…

Social Security officials told Grice that six people — Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew — had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

SSA insists that they did send notice — to a P.O. Box that Grice hasn’t owned for 35 years, even though they have her current address.

How can they demand restitution for a mistaken payment made in the late 1970s, let alone from someone who didn’t even receive it? Because: The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds. Treasury has collected more than $400 million since then on very old obligations, many of them below the radar of public scrutiny because the amounts are often small enough, i.e. a few hundred dollars, that the targets find it’s cheaper to pay up than to fight. It’s a shakedown, based on the flawed assumption that a child not only must have benefited from the overpayment to his parent but that he/she received the entirety of the benefit, with little proof offered that the debt even exists. (One man who was forced to pay demanded a receipt from SSA affirming that his balance was now zero. The SSA clerk told him he’d put in the request but that the man shouldn’t expect to receive anything.) The only reason you’re hearing about Grice’s case, I think, is because they went after her for thousands, not hundreds, of dollars, which was enough of a hit to make her get a lawyer. Turns out that the feds had seized and then continued to hold her federal and state refunds, an amount greater than $4,400 — even though they were only demanding $2,996 from her to pay off her father’s debt. Lo and behold, once WaPo found out and started asking questions, the $1,400 excess was promptly returned to her. Amazing how fast bureaucracy can move when someone looks behind the curtain.

The whole thing is Kafkaesque —(characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka's fictional world.) opaque, oppressive, arbitrary, and sinister in its indifference to making sure the right person pays so long as someone does. After reading the story, it’s not obvious to me what’s stopping Treasury from demanding a payment from every taxpayer whose parents are dead. If the chief witnesses are gone and the feds don’t have to prove that a child actually received any benefits from overpayment, the only “check” on this process is SSA’s willingness to tell the truth about who owes them money and how much. You trust them, don’t you?

Exit question from Karl: Isn’t holding children responsible for their parents’ retirement debts the governing model of the Democratic Party?

 


By 2024, The Democrats Will Be An Atheist Party

Kurt Schlichter

4/14/2014 12:01:00 AM - Kurt Schlichter

Democrats are waging war on the faithful and are even comfortable booing God on national TV. Give it three more presidential election cycles and the Democrat Party’s platform will be expressly antireligious.

Today, they still pretend not to hate the concept of faith or hold those who have it in contempt. You’ll see Hillary hitting plenty of black churches in 2016 – after all, that condescending empty suit is in no ways tired. But otherwise, Democrats are delighting in their opportunity to burden, harass and humiliate the believing. They use Obamacare to try to force the faithful to breach their consciences. They demand that believers be silent or lose their livelihoods. Their liberal academic flunkies do everything possible to marginalize those of us who feel that life must mean more than dreary obedience to liberal orthodoxy.

They are getting closer to outright admitting what we all know they really think. Part of it is fashion – boutique atheism is trendy. Part of it is snobbery – the same people who think socialism is a viable system like to look down on others for believing in “fantasies.” But mostly, liberals worship Government and don’t like the competition.

It's important to distinguish between regular atheists and the militant liberal atheists. There are plenty of conservative atheists who don't feel a connection to God but share conservative values. The Democrats are militant atheists. They are atheists because they imagine they are smarter and wiser than people like Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and about 85% of the rest of America.

They are proud believers in “Science.” That’s different from science. Science is the one where you take evidence and draw conclusions from it. “Science” is the one where you figure out what gives liberals the most power and shriek at anyone who dissents. This explains how the “Science” is settled that cold weather proves global warming.

The Democrat Party’s changing composition makes it possible to be openly anti-God. It’s now made up of a very rich urban elite and the poor. The urban elite despises God. They aren’t even lapsed faithful – you had to have faith once to have it lapse and most of them grew up in the secular world of elite universities and liberal coastal enclaves where you’re more likely to encounter some feminist babbling about Gaia than someone who has attended mass non-ironically.

Plus, being God-free lets liberals take advantage of the moral ambiguity of situational ethics. It provides them with the kind of wiggle room they need to do exactly what they want without any annoying principles obstructing them.

Among the rest of the Democrat base, some are still notable for their religious engagement, particularly the black churchwomen we always see the liberal icon du jourpatronizing at election time. It will be interesting to see whether they choose God or Mammon when their party rulers come out and say what they really think – that the religious are suckers and freedom of religion only applies if it doesn’t interfere with progressive prerogatives.

Sure, we occasionally see a few liberal evangelicals get trotted out by the mainstream media to tut-tut believers who actually believe in something more than free money for the lazy. Their ideology is just socialism with a thin veneer of Jesus. And it’s a Jesus who appears nowhere in the Bible, a gutless hippie who runs from fights and thinks that the Gospel requires you to keep fishing while giving away your catch to the dude kicking back on the beach because he doesn’t feel like casting his own net.

In the coming years, we will hear a lot about how progressive Europeans are leading the way in casting off the shackles of religion. But not everyone in Eurpoe is casting them off. Europe may be losing Christians, but it’s gaining Muslims. You can tell them because they're the ones with the babies.

Europeans are leading the way to progressive extinction. When your society believes in nothing beyond the next statutory six-week paid vacation and your guaranteed pension at age 42, you don't have much incentive to invest in the future of mankind. Accordingly, you don't make babies. The thing is, though, societies tend to belong to those who reproduce. So get out there and make more babies, American conservatives.

It’s only a matter of time before the Democrat Party comes out and proudly admits to being what it inarguably is today, the party of hopelessness, the party of no future, the party of “Just give me money until this whole thing called life ends in oblivion.”

We'll soon find out how the allegedly religious react to a party that loves their votes but think they are fools for believing. We will soon know where their faith really lies, in government checks or the word of God.

 


Repeal and replace Obamacare

Star Parker

4/14/2014 12:01:00 AM - Star Parker

The announced departure of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius marks the end of a chapter of American history. Sibelius, aside from President Obama, has been the most prominent public face on the signature initiative of the Obama administration – the Affordable Health Care Act.

The question before Americans today is whether we are concluding the first chapter of a dream come true or whether this may be the beginning of the end of a nightmare.

I’m hoping Americans will wake up and see Obamacare for the nightmare it is.

Victory dances are taking place in the “dream come true” camp that over seven million have now signed up for Obamacare plans through federal and state insurance exchanges.

A lot of analysis is pouring forth about what this seven million actually means and to what extent this has anything to do with the claims of what Obamacare was supposed to do – deliver more affordable quality health care to more Americans.

But sometimes too much data and analysis gets you lost in in the forest.

The headline that should be flashing in front of us is that today, well into the sixth year of the Obama presidency, the American economy, once a dynamic engine of growth, is still is a wheezing, struggling, underperforming clunker of an economy.

We should be making a direct connection between this and the imposition of the Affordable Care Act on the American public.

Amid the celebration of the seven million plus have who have signed up, let’s not forget the Congressional Budget Office report in February projecting that Obamacare will shrink the American economy by 2.5 million jobs.

The specific factors CBO points to that will cause this shrinkage of jobs are the exchange subsidies, expansion of Medicaid, penalties on employers, and new taxes on labor.

We don’t have to sit and wonder about the reasonableness of CBO’s estimates. We’re already seeing these factors at work today.

Again, well into the sixth year of the Obama administration, unemployment is still at 6.7 percent, well above what has been historically considered the unemployment rate of a “full employment” economy – 5 percent.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the percentage of working age Americans who are working or actively seeking employment stands at 63.2 percent - “the lowest in three and half decades.”

According to Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellin, “While there has been steady progress, there is no doubt that the economy and the job market are not back to normal health.”

Now, certainly, the American economy is not all bad news.

But just look at where the incredible things are happening. They are happening in areas where individuals are left free to innovate. Where government is not controlling what businesses and individuals do.

The world is changing in front of us due to technological innovations that no one – certainly no government bureaucrat - could have dreamed of.

Technology is leading America to energy independence, something no one would have dreamed even 10 years ago.

When individuals are free to innovate and create, and when there are rewards to be gained commensurate with risks taken, miracles happen.

The same thing could be happening in health care.

But it’s not and won’t because government has taken it by the neck and is making this critical sector of our economy more like the US Postal Service than like Apple or Google or Amazon.com.

Making innovation and creativity impossible, penalizing business, taxing work in one fifth of the American economy is no formula for a great American future. Bureaucratization of health care is dragging down our whole economy.

Better, cheaper, more innovative health care won’t be delivered by government and politicians. It will be delivered by the American people if politicians will get out of the way and let them do it.

Let’s face it. Obamacare was a huge mistake. We should repeal and replace it.

 


Thought police on patrol

Charles Krauthammer

Posted 4-14-2014

Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Post, demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.

Sometimes the word comes from on high, as when the president of the United States declares the science of global warming to be “settled.” Anyone who disagrees is then branded “anti-science.” And better still, a “denier” — a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust.

Then last week, another outbreak. The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage.

To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally.

Like the CEO of Mozilla who resigned under pressure just 10 days into his job when it was disclosed that six years earlier he had donated to California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

But why stop with Brendan Eich, the victim of this high-tech lynching? Prop 8 passed by half a million votes. Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of “privileging” traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage.

Yet under the new dispensation, this is outright bigotry. By that logic, the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.

The whole thing is so stupid as to be unworthy of exegesis. There is no logic. What’s at play is sheer ideological prejudice — and the enforcement of the new totalitarian norm that declares, unilaterally, certain issues to be closed.

Closed to debate. Open only to intimidated acquiescence.

To this magic circle of forced conformity, the left would like to add certain other policies, resistance to which is deemed a “war on women.” It’s a colorful synonym for sexism. Leveling the charge is a crude way to cut off debate.

Thus, to oppose late-term abortion is to make war on women’s “reproductive health.” Similarly, to question Obamacare’s mandate of free contraception for all.

Some oppose the regulation because of its impingement on the free exercise of religion. Others on the simpler (nontheological) grounds of a skewed hierarchy of values. Under the new law, everything is covered, but a few choice things are given away free. To what does contraception owe its exalted status? Why should it rank above, say, antibiotics for a sick child, for which that same mother must co-pay?

Say that, however, and you are accused of denying women “access to contraception.”

Or try objecting to the new so-called Paycheck Fairness Act for women, which is little more than a full-employment act for trial lawyers. Sex discrimination is already illegal. What these new laws do is relieve the plaintiffs of proving intentional discrimination. To bring suit, they need only to show that women make less in that workplace .

Like the White House, where women make 88 cents to the men’s dollar?

That’s called “disparate impact.” Does anyone really think Obama consciously discriminates against female employees, rather than the disparity being a reflection of experience, work history, etc.? But just to raise such questions is to betray heretical tendencies.

The good news is that the “war on women” charge is mostly cynicism, fodder for campaign-year demagoguery. But the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you’re a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people.

Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend the dissenters, even if — perhaps, especially if — you disagree with their policy. It is — it was? — the American way.

 


Harry Reid’s Crony Capitalism Behind Showdown With Nevada Rancher?

Rachel Alexander

4/14/2014 12:01:00 AM - Rachel Alexander

The major news media, with the exception of Fox News, has been deafeningly quiet about the federal government’s thwarted raid last week on a Nevada rancher. Heavily-armed agents from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) descended upon Cliven Bundy’s ranch, seizing 389 of his 900 cattle. The BLM shut off access to federal lands, claiming he was illegally using them, and a no-fly zone was established for a 3-mile-square area around Bundy’s ranch. A sign was posted - unconstitutionally - limiting the First Amendment to a small designated area. The feds flew helicopters overhead to chase the cattle, knowing full well it could cause them to collapse from running in the 90-degree heat.

Outraged over the heavy-handed tactics, about 1,000 states’ rights activists traveled to Mesquite to support Bundy. Many gun owners showed up lawfully carrying firearms, and local cowboys came riding in on horses. They were afraid that they could be the next targets of a federal government overreach, and felt it was time to take a stand. A few protesters stormed the gate that had been erected to block off federal land, while the crowd chanted “open that gate.” At one point, the protesters blocked all traffic on Interstate 15.

Bundy’s son, Ammon, was shot with a stun gun by law enforcement until he bled, and his sister was pushed to the ground, which was caught on video. Bundy’s son, Dave, was arrested for taking pictures along State Route 170, which had been closed, and his camera was confiscated. He is now reporting a concussion and kidney problems after being stomped on. One man from Utah who joined the protest said he was handcuffed and injured by BLM agents when he attempted to walk through a gated area. Bundy estimates there were approximately 100 law enforcement vehicles and 200 law enforcement officials involved with the raid.

The protesters did not draw their weapons nor attack law enforcement, and Ammon prohibited rifles within the camp. Bundy likened the siege to the 1993 disaster in Waco, Texas, where mostly federal law enforcement agencies descended upon the Branch Davidians compound, resulting in the deaths of 76. It has also being compared to federal law enforcement agents staking out militia members at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, where an unarmed woman holding a baby was shot. Taking place in the Nevada town of Bunkerville, patriots are noting similarities to the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Bunker Hill.

In response, commissioners in Utah threatened to remove one wild horse for every cow seized of Bundy’s. In Utah, the federal government has been attempting to reduce cattle grazing in order to protect wild horses. Escalating the showdown was a remark Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins made to Utah County Commissioner Darn Bushman. He warned supporters of Bundy planning to come from Utah that those “inbred bastards” “better have funeral plans.”

The dispute began in 1993, when the BLM interfered with Bundy’s grazing rights, citing protection of the Mojave Desert tortoise. It is not clear how cattle are a threat to the tortoise. As Dave Barry would say, “I am not making this up.” They capped his herd to 150 animals on a 250-square-mile rangeland allotment. When Bundy saw his grazing fees were no longer being used to help ranchers, but to thwart them, he stopped paying monthly federal land fees of $1.35 per cow-calf pair, insisting that local government, not the BLM, should be in control of the lands.

Bundy claims that other ranchers were bought out by the federal government. He is now the last remaining rancher left on a 600,000-acre portion of land known as Gold Butte, managed by the BLM. Bundy said he attempted to make payments to the county, as he’d done in the past until the BLM unilaterally took over, but the county turned him down.

Bundy’s family has raised cows on the land since the 1870s. The BLM was established much later in 1946. Cozy with federal judges, beginning in 1998, the BLM began to get rubber-stamped court orders requiring Bundy to remove his animals.

Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval denounced the BLM for its heavy-handed tactics, saying the federal government had created an atmosphere of intimidation. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) decried the restriction of First Amendment protests, saying it “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.”

This siege likely has very little to do with protecting the desert tortoise, but is something much more nefarious. Journalist Dana Loesch reports that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) purposely pushed the BLM to initiate the power grab, intent on controlling Nevada land as a payback to his top donor and special interests. It is no coincidence that the current director of the BLM, Neil Kornze, is a former senior advisor to Reid.

The federal government already owns 84 percent of the land in Nevada. The BLM frequently gives waivers for wind or solar power development in areas where the desert tortoise is found. The desert tortoise has the least serious designation of endangered species, “vulnerable.” It is not considered “critically endangered” or even “endangered.” In fact, in 2013, the BLM announced it was going to euthanize hundreds of tortoises due to budget restrictions.

This is not the first time ranchers have had conflict with the federal government’s increasingly expansive control over government lands. The Sagebrush Rebellion during the 1970s and 1980s frequently pitted cattle ranchers against the BLM and environmental activists. No doubt many of these current land grabs are being done in order to force people out of rural areas and into the cities, as part of Agenda 21’s vague goals of making the earth more “sustainable.”

In 2012, investigative reporter Marcus Stern blew open a deal Reid and his son had arranged with a Chinese company to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert. The BLM helpfully expressed its opinion that trespassing cattle would need to be removed in order to make way for the deal. Although the project ultimately failed, it represents part of a pattern by Reid to seize land to give to special interests in order to benefit himself, his family and campaign contributors. Similarly, in 2010, Reid’s campaign received thousands of dollars in donations from a Texas wind farm’s backers, which Reid rewarded with $450 million in federal stimulus funds.

The BLM admits that Bundy is not the only rancher who is violating federal grazing regulations, just one of the more serious cases. Clearly, Bundy was singled out and targeted. Senior BLM rangeland management specialist Bob Bolton said that the BLM only performs about four livestock impoundments a year, involving only a few dozen animals at most. He observed, “What we're doing this week in Nevada is not the norm at all.”

Although federal agents finally backed off and returned the cows, the BLM says Bundy still owes over $1 million in grazing fees and penalties, and will try to collect it administratively. Why wasn’t this approach taken initially, instead of wasting $3 million of taxpayers’ money on the failed heavily-armed seizure? Bundy thinks it is because he’s not a Reid donor.