Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cartoon of the Day!

Tax Cuts

Dan Mitchell on Tax Plan

Grading the AiP House-Senate Republican Tax Plan

December 14, 2017 by Dan Mitchell
In early November, I reviewed the House’s tax plan and the Senate’s tax plan.  I was grading on a curve. I wasn’t expecting or hoping for something really bold like a flat tax.  Instead, I simply put forward a wish list of  a few incremental reforms that would make an awful tax system somewhat less punitive.  A few things to make April 15 more bearable.  Some changes that would give the economy a chance to grow faster and create more jobs so that living standards could improve. Is that asking too much? It wasn’t even a long list. Just two primary goals.
And two secondary goals.
Based on those items, I think House and Senate GOPers did a reasonably good job (at least compared to my low expectations earlier in the year).  Now let’s look at the agreement in principle (AiP) that was just announced by House and Senate negotiators and assign grades to the key provisions. And we’ll start by looking at the items on my wish list.  Is there a big reduction in the corporate tax rate?..........To Read More....


What’s the Best Tax Policy for Working Families?

December 15, 2017 by Dan Mitchell
Adopting tax reform (even a watered-down version of tax reform) is not easy.
  • Some critics say it will deprive the federal government of too much money (a strange argument since it will be a net tax increase starting in 2027).
  • Some critics say it will make it more difficult for state and local governments to raise tax rates (they’re right, but that’s a selling point for reform).
  • Some critics say it will make debt less attractive for companies compared to equity (they’re right, though that’s another selling point for reform).
  • Some critics say it will cause capital to shift from residential real estate to business investment (they’re right, but that’s a good thing for the economy).
Now there’s a new obstacle to tax reform. Senator Marco Rubio says he wants some additional tax relief for working families. And he’s willing to impose a higher corporate tax rate to make the numbers work.  That proposal was not warmly received by his GOP colleagues since the 20-percent corporate rate was perceived as their biggest achievement.  But now Republicans are contemplating a 21-percent corporate rate so they have wiggle room to lower the top personal tax rate to 37 percent. Which prompted Senator Rubio to issue a sarcastic tweet about the priorities of his colleagues.
"20.94% Corp. rate to pay for tax cut for working family making $40k was anti-growth but 21% to cut tax for couples making $1million is fine?"
Since tax reform is partly a political exercise, with politicians allocating benefits to various groups of supporters, there’s nothing inherently accurate or inaccurate about Senator Rubio’s observation......To Read More....

 

An Anti-Semitic Allahu Akbar in Amsterdam

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 0 Comments Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ Sultan Knish Blog
 

 
 
Amsterdam’s HaCarmel restaurant sits between two other restaurants. The Jewish kosher eatery whose big blue sign boasts fish, meat and vegetarian options is sandwiched between a sidewalk café with its inevitable Heineken umbrellas on one corner of Amstelveenseweg and an ice cream place on the other corner. There’s an Italian restaurant across the street with some very nice front windows.

If the Muslim refugee had wanted to smash up any eatery, he had plenty of options. But he went to the Kosher restaurant. Inside were wooden chairs, white tablecloths and red roses. Outside came the guttural shriek of, “Allahu Akbar.” This was the battle cry with which Mohammed had inaugurated his massacre and enslavement of the Jews. The cuisine inside HaCarmel is Middle Eastern, but the attack showed why there are few Jews (or Christians) left in the Middle East outside Israel.

The Amsterdam cops had plenty of warning. The “Palestinian” was wearing a Keffiyah on his head, waving a large PLO flag in one hand and brandishing a club in the other while shouting, “Allahu akbar.”

Even in a city where 1 in 4 are Muslim, the attacker was putting on a hell of a display. He had done everything but put an ad in the paper announcing that he’s an Islamic terrorist. And so the police were already on the scene by the time the Islamic thug reached the Jewish restaurant.

Synagogues, kosher restaurants and any recognizably Jewish buildings in Europe are at risk of being attacked. Police officers and, in some countries, soldiers usually aren’t too far away from potential targets in nicer areas. But being there and actually stopping the attack is not at all the same thing.

Video shows the police officer arriving on the scene just in time. The Muslim refugee goes on shouting. Then he smashes HaCarmel’s front windows. The police, in typically European fashion, do nothing. Instead they stand there watching the Muslim thug as he smashes the glass with blow after blow as if they were attending the opening of an interesting art exhibit instead of a violent racist attack.

He starts smashing the door and the Amsterdam cops amble over for a better view. Their body language is casual and loose. They’re interested in the attack in the way that sightseers are. Maybe they’re admiring his Kosher restaurant window smashing techniques. But they’re not about to intervene.

A Muslim’s got a right to smash up a Jewish restaurant’s windows, is their attitude. Or maybe those are their orders. Their job is the usual job of cops to see that the situation doesn’t get out of control.

European cops do have their red lines. Even when it comes to outbursts of Muslim anti-Semitism.

Watching the video makes it clear what those red lines are. Muslims can safely smash Jewish windows while screaming, “Allahu Akbar”. It’s only when he finishes kicking through the glass and actually moves into the restaurant that one of the officers unhurriedly approaches him and urges him to come outside.

Then he’s finally tackled and arrested.

The European red line for anti-Semitism is that you can smash Jewish windows while the cops watch, but you won’t be allowed to potentially attack Jewish people. At least while the cops watch.

Once he was de-flagged, de-keffiyahed and taken down to the local police version of downtown, the “Palestinian” refugee told the police that he’s not anti-Semitic. It was just another of those Muslim attacks on Jews that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Lefty politicians and the media rushed to blame Trump. But the Muslim refugee never mentioned Trump or Jerusalem. Muslims have been attacking Jews in Amsterdam long before Trump’s announcement.

Things were bad enough that cops dressed as Jews had been deployed to stop anti-Semitic attacks.

Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, the Chief Rabbi of Holland, has had rocks thrown at him, he’s been called a dirty Jew and was nearly hit by a car. His house not far from Amsterdam has been vandalized five times. And the police have warned him not to travel by train. All this was before Trump had recognized Jerusalem.

Who’s doing all this?

According to the Jewish community’s anti-Semitism watchdog, 70% of anti-Semitic attacks in the Netherlands had been carried out by immigrants. And we aren’t talking about the Chinese.

Muslim harassment isn’t new at HaCarmel.

Passerby routinely spit at the windows. Nazi salutes and middle fingers are also commonplace. But the good people offering Nazi salutes to a Kosher restaurant aren’t the ones that the left expects. When a Jewish broadcaster filmed a Rabbi walking through a Moroccan neighborhood in Amsterdam, the men offering them Nazi salutes were as Aryan as Arafat, but as Muslim as Mohammed.

Supporting Muslim migration is the new Nazi collaboration. It’s smashing Jewish store windows, firebombing synagogues and driving Jews out of the cities of Europe.

HaCarmel isn’t located in a Muslim no-go zone. It’s a trendy area full of trendy eateries. The Heineken Experience and the Van Gogh Museum are less than 2 miles away. The Vondelpark is a few blocks away.

If this is what it’s like on Amstelveenseweg (“the new place to be in Amsterdam Old South”) imagine what it’s like in areas where the police won’t show up to stop the tourists from being too rattled. Imagine what it’s like to be in a synagogue that looks like an unremarkable concrete fortress and still gets vandalized every few weeks. Imagine what it’s like for ordinary Jews when even the Chief Rabbi regularly gets called a dirty Jew and has rocks thrown through his windows.

Left-wing politicians were quick to blame Trump. Reinier van Dantzig of D66, who touts Muslim refugees, blamed the “ill-considered statements of the leader of the free world.” But Trump didn’t come down to Amsterdam to smash a Jewish restaurant’s window. A Muslim migrant did that.

But meanwhile conservative Dutch politicians visited the restaurant in a show of solidarity.

That’s the usual shameful pattern in which the left excuses and defends Muslim anti-Semitism by blaming the Jews. “A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Howard Gutman, Obama’s disgraced ambassador to Belgium, had argued.

The distinction is really an exception and a justification. Anti-Semitism is wrong unless Muslims do it. And Muslim anti-Semitism is just really a response to their oppression by the Jews.

The Kosher restaurant wasn’t the victim. It was the perpetrator.


Blaming Trump for anti-Semitic violence in Europe really blames the Jews. Trump just recognized the reality that Jerusalem is the center of Jewish religious, historic and political life. He didn’t create that reality. And so blaming Trump for recognizing the reality of Jewish Jerusalem just blames the Jews.

After the HaCarmel attack, Daniel Baron, the owner’s son, began sweeping up the mess. Friends from the Jewish community came by to help. But the customers haven’t come drifting back. Muslim terror has already depressed the nightlife in Paris and other European cities. And Jewish restaurants have long been the targets of Muslim violence. The closing act to the Charlie Hebdo attack was the massacre at a Kosher supermarket in Paris before the Sabbath. Obama famously described it as a random attack on “a bunch of folks in a deli." There have been lots of those "random” attacks by “lone wolves.”

But HaCarmel isn’t giving up.

“For what Trump did, they can break the windows ten more times,” Daniel Baron stated. “Jerusalem will still be Israel’s capital.”

The anti-Israel lobby of J Street, If Not Now, T’ruah and the rest of the gang often claim that they’re standing up to racists. But this is what actually standing up to racists, instead of collaborating with them, looks like.
 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Shall Every Knee Bow?

By Rich Kozlovich

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, its presumed our thoughts turn to issues of faith, so for the last few years between Thanksgiving and Christmas I have published this article, and will continue to do so most years, with additions expanding on the logic and factual foundation.

One of the things that started this was an article I read where a science commentator stated - with great confidence - the Theory of Evolution was now bullet proof. Really? My personal motto is De Omnibus Dubitandum - Question Everything, and I think this is worth questioning. So, let's do that together!

There was an article I came across entitled, "Many atheist scientists take their kids to church”! The article went on to say:
“about one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions even if they do not agree with the teachings, according to a study done by Rice University and the University at Buffalo.” The article pointed out “The findings surrounding atheists shouldn't be too surprising, since the Pew Forum Religious Survey taken back in 2008 that showed 21 percent of self-described atheists responded that they believe in God.”
Does everyone really find this to be all that extraordinary? Anthropologists have noted that in every culture in the world, and in all of human history, religion has played an important role in people’s lives. There was one prominent atheist, Antony Flew, who claimed at the end of his life he was now a believer. Why? Is it true "there are no atheists in foxholes"? Of course the explanation was that he had lost his mind - yet even Albert Einstein, who was not a religious person in any sense and absolutely rejected the idea of a personal God, also rejected the idea of atheism.

For the believers among my readers the explanation is simple; we are designed to believe. For the unbelievers among my readers the explanation is simple also. There is no other logical explanation!

The other thing that triggered this effort was a political debate on television where the moderator asked the Republican candidate, running for some office or other, if he believed in the Theory of Evolution. The candidate looked foolish because he was obviously flustered by the question, which clearly was the moderator’s goal.

The first thought from everyone should have been - why can’t any reasonably intelligent person answer this question intelligently? Yet many of those who profess to be believers would be equally flustered to provide a rational intellectual response in that situation. So let me help everyone!

Here is the answer and the correct response.

I wish to state categorically that I believe in the Theory of Evolution because that theory presents clear and incontrovertible scientific evidence there must be an Intelligent Designer!

Wow! I’m willing to bet that’s a shocker for many – on either side of the aisle -so let’s explore this.

For years I’ve been saying, “everything is the basics”. What's that mean? It means in order to understand anything we must explore the foundational thinking of what it is we’re trying to understand. If the foundation is flawed, then the entire structure of thinking that it’s built on is a false premise, and will collapse under scrutiny from its own weight - that is if we wish to really see the truth. And that is the crux of the matter isn’t it?

Believing takes on many forms. For some it has to do with a higher power. For others it can take on the worship of oneself, for others it can take on the worship of some philosophy or other; but humanity has the desire to look to some higher explanation for existence, and human existence in particular. But one thing seems clear, ‘believing’ is inherent to our genetic code. Otherwise how can anyone explain why so many have believed so much over so long a time of human history, and in so many different cultures?

Of course, the problem for the unbelievers among my readers with this explanation is that they would then have to explain how that genetic code was designed in that manner - or designed at all for that matter - if there is no higher power.

I do find it fascinating how some can believe that Intelligent Design is “a pig that won’t fly”! The design is so complicated that it defies explanation as to how infinitely small mutations over millions of years could bring us (and all else in the universe) to what now exists. Whether one disagrees or agrees with evolution, I question how anyone can say that there is no designer.

Some feel that an intelligent designer used evolution. Some feel evolution is a mistake constantly making more mistakes and changing everything all the time all by accident. I wonder how anyone can explain how this can happen by accident and develop successful organisms since "geneticists estimate that  99 out of 100 mutations are harmful, and about 20 out of the 99 are lethal."

Then there are those who [chap. 14] state there is so much “statistical data that they were at last able to confirm what they had suspected all along: Mutations were not 99 percent harmful to the DNA and the organism; they were 100 percent harmful! It was discovered that in EVERY instance, mutations caused some kind of damage—always! Out of it all, the researchers learned that DNA coding in the genes simply will not tolerate much change. More than just the slightest amount will ruin the code and the organism will be greatly weakened.”

According to the Theory of Evolution life started when electricity, in some form such as lightening, charged some molecules existing in a chemical rich ocean soup and thus became cellular life. Of course no one can explain where these mythical molecules came from or the chemical rich ocean. In point of fact - there is absolutely no evidence that this ever occurred, and there is no evidence that it can occur since no one has been able to duplicate this mythical event in a lab - ever.
"Abiogenesis is the idea of life originating from non-living material (non-life). This concept has expanded a great deal as mankind’s understanding of science has grown, but all forms of abiogenesis have one thing in common: they are all scientifically unsupportable."  
"Modern ideas of abiogenesis can be very complex..........from deep-sea lava vents to meteoric impact sites and even radioactive beaches. In general, all modern theories of abiogenesis imagine some scenario in which natural conditions create, combine, and arrange molecules in such a way that they begin to self-replicate.  
These theories vary widely as to the nature of these conditions, the complexity of the molecules, and so forth. All share at least one common factor: they are implausible to the point of impossibility, based on established science, including a DNA molecule which can’t form without a preexisting protein.  There is no “prototype first cell.”...........Life either had a natural origin (abiogenesis) or a supernatural origin (intelligent design).

They've been able to get molecules to group together, but it isn’t life! Especially since no one has ever been able to generate more than four of the twenty amino acids needed for life. These “cells” are all lacking in all the things that make life possible, including a DNA molecule which can’t form without a preexisting protein.   A molecule that's so complex they're now finding a " within the DNA code.

My friend Mike Shaw of Shaw’s Eco-Logic once commented:
"When I was at MIT I used to drive them nuts with this simple question: Where does the information whereby the transfer RNA is able to decode the Messenger RNA sequence into a protein come from? After all, there are enzymes (proteins) that help synthesize the DNA and RNA sequences into their particular coding, thus creating those enzymes, right? As such, we have an untenable case of circular logic. Somehow, the nucleic acids just seem to "know" the proper sequence of their nucleotides; or, the protein (enzyme) seems to "know" the proper sequencing."
Protein molecules are amazingly complex, and are absolutely necessary for life. Furthermore, in order for a cell to function it takes 2000 protein enzymes. If life started in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, through some accidental electrical discharge then how did that cell, or group of cells, survive long enough to replicate themselves? That's foundational!

Evolutionary thought would require millions of years of mutations before the next step to propagation would come into being. If that’s so - how did they replicate? If we are to believe what proponents of evolutionary theory claim, then we have to recognize that these mythical cells would have died within seconds, minutes or days, but they would have ceased to exist long before they could have reproduced. How do I know that?

Let's go back to the foundational question once again!

If life could only advance from active cells in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, which came into being as a result of some accidental electrical discharge; how did that cell, or group of cells, replicate themselves to become what we are all now through a series of mutations occurring over millions of years?

As we explore this we must realize there is a very serious crack in the foundation of their theory - and logic. When you think this out correctly the very foundation for the explanation propounded by scientists gets even more complicated and incomprehensible. If such an event really did take place, the first order of business would not be propagation - the first order of business would be survival!

Survival means that this mythical cell, or cells, would have already had an advanced biological system in place allowing them to recognize the need for nutrition. In order for any of this to occur the cells would have to be self aware to some extent, no matter to how small a degree, which in itself would require some sort of advanced design. Which leads to the next obvious question - “How does matter become conscious of itself?”

Then it would not only have to be able recognize the need for nutrition, it would also have to be able to recognize what was nutritional and what was not. These mythical cells would then need a system for absorption, i.e., some way to eat! That would then require a digestive system, which would require an internal biological mechanism allowing the organism to recognize and separate that which was nutritional from what would become waste during the absorption process. Then the cells would require an energy storage and utilization system, and the ability to recognize what was food, where it was and a form of locomotion to get to it - and finally - after all of that, this mythical organism would require a system for waste elimination.

Then and only then would propagation come into play!

That's a definition of a complex organism with advanced biological systems completely in tack and functioning together harmoniously from the very first second of its existence. What organism could possibly survive long enough without these advanced fundamental functions that would allow it to live long enough to propagate? But then we come to the next crack in the "science" and logic of Evolution: How many millions of years of mutations would it take to allow for enough development to allow for propagation? Millions of years and millions of small mutations, all of which would have to be beneficial mutations. So what happened in those millions of years between origin and propagation?

Does it seem rational this could possibly occur if it takes millions of years of tiny mutations to create a next step in the developmental process as scientists claim? And - once again - we are expected to believe this came about as an accident after an electrical discharge of some sort?

Okay, let’s say, for the sake of argument, it did happen - it still means the organism had to have some seriously advanced biological functions to survive past a very short time. If that’s the case, and it clearly must be, then doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence?

Do we really think these advanced systems could come into existence at once without some predetermined design?

Which brings me back to the beginning!

Evolutionally thought requires millions of years of mutations before any of these absolutely necessary biological systems would come into being before the organism could advance to the next step of propagation. So assuming these organism’s survived, we have to wonder how any organism could know which tiny mutations were beneficial, or even needed, over a million years or so, and decide to save them for a next step, which presumably was another accidentally mutation. The complexity of that kind of design would require some kind of organizational planning and implementation. With the rate of detrimental versus beneficial mutations it could not be accidental and still be beneficial!

Now let’s take a look at propagation!

Take a woman’s monthly cycle. It is amazingly complex! The right amount of chemicals, hormones and enzymes would have to come into play in exactly the right sequence of time in order to begin the cycle and finish the cycle. However, if a woman becomes pregnant during the cycle another whole set of chemical conditions would come into play. How could any organism know how to plan for two diametrically opposing end results?

Remembering that there are untold numbers of species in the world that have cycles unique unto themselves, that means that this would have to be done an incalculable number of times in an incalculable number of organisms and all be beneficial. One negative mutation would seemingly doom the organism. Yet, we are to believe that this happens through a series of positive accidents that would overcome all of these deadly accidents! Isn't that a form of belief, i.e. faith? It does seem to defy logic...or science as it were!

How would any organism know what chemicals to develop over millions of years? How did the organism know that hormones and enzymes were needed along with other chemicals? How would the organism know how to organize them? How did the organism know which chemicals would work harmoniously together and in conjunction with enzymes and hormones? How would these organisms know how to ‘create’ them? And finally, how did the organism know what end result would follow without some sort of plan?

However, even with a design - how could incredibly small mutations be of value during the whole process of millions of years? In point of fact, it seems reasonable that these mutations would hinder continued existence, not enhance it. But even if you accept the idea of small changes over millions of years the question still remains  -  how could all of that come into being without intelligence behind it?

How could so many complex systems come into being all at once without some sort of design and an application of the design? Wouldn’t the presumption be that these cells already had an amazingly complex chemical make-up that would create an end result? If so, doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence? And if these events actually did happen, and cells came into existence with all these complicated biological systems in place; what would you call it? Creation?

Dennis Prager wrote an article on June 18, 2013 titled, “Why Some Scientists Embrace the'Multiverse'”,  where-in he cites views held by prominent scientists regarding this universal complexity and just how fragile it is.

He quotes:
“Michael Turner, astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab: "The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side."  
"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly." Paul Davies, professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University  
Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and an anti-religious agnostic, notes that "the existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places. This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not: 1 followed by 118 zeros…but instead: 1 followed by 118 zeros and a 1, there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe."
Dennis goes on to say:
“Unless one is a closed-minded atheist (there are open-minded atheists), it is not valid on a purely scientific basis to deny that the universe is improbably fine-tuned to create life, let alone intelligent life. Additionally, it is atheistic dogma, not science, to dismiss design as unscientific. The argument that science cannot suggest that intelligence comes from intelligence or design from an intelligent designer is simply a tautology. It is dogma masquerading as science.”  
"The universe is far more massive and complex than previously thought. The observable universe boasts at least 10 times as many galaxies as originally estimated......This means that the cosmic census of galaxies, which has been conventionally pegged at around 100 to 200 billion, may be closer to a whopping two trillion individual galactic systems."....... “It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the universe have yet to be studied".
Which brings me to what I consider a central point in our exploration of the Theory of Evolution - where and how did the theory really originate?

Darwin wasn't the originator of this theory, as one writer noted - "Darwin was primarily the enthusiastic collector of the ideas of others", and probably stole his theory from his grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) who had "already had pretty much developed a full theory of evolution."

But it goes back much further to ancient Greece with Pythagoras, a searcher of enlightenment who traveled all over his known world. It's believed he was influenced by Hindu religious thinking and the transmigration of the soul - migrating from lower forms to higher forms. This pattern of thinking continued through the centuries to Darwin.
"The Hindus were Spinozas 2,000 years before the birth of Spinoza, Darwinians centuries before the birth of Darwin, and evolutionists many centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been accepted by the Huxleys of our time, and before any word like 'evolution' existed in any language of the world." - Sir M. Monier-Williams, Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford University
It appears the Theory of Evolution is in reality nothing more than a tenet of pagan religion, and an article of faith for unblievers.  Interesting dichotomy, don't you think? 

I can understand anyone’s reason for not subscribing to any religious group. The sanguinary history of the world’s religions has not done much to inspire confidence over the course of human history. So I can understand someone being un-religious, and I can understand why someone would believe that there may be a higher power that doesn’t interfere in the lives of humanity. I can understand why people might not be sure and proclaim they're agnostic - although I consider that to be pragmatic atheism.

What I can’t understand is how anyone cannot believe there must be a planner behind this phenomenally complex reality we call - existence! And that's why I say I believe in the Theory of Evolution because it scientifically proves that there must be an Intelligent Designer! A Creator!

I will leave it to you to decide for yourself if there is a benevolent God. But there must be a creator.

That’s foundational!   That’s “the basics”!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hollywood is Shocked, Shocked I Tell You.

By Rich Kozlovich

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. posted an article at American Spectator yesterday entitled, The Revolution Eats Its Own, saying:
As I ponder the lengthening list of alleged sexual offenders drawn from Hollywood, the arts, the media, and politics, I am moved to wonder why are the overwhelming majority of the accused prominent luminaries of the left.  
Those accused on the right claim utter innocence including Bill O’Reilly, who nonetheless paid out a fortune to accusers — go figguh, as they say in Brooklyn.  
At any rate, the lefties constitute the growing multitude. At the top of the list — at least for me — is Bill Clinton, aided and abetted by his lovely wife Bruno. In the 1990s many of the same people who are out for the blood of today’s sexual assailants were among Bill’s proud defenders, but I will bet that he is not sleeping easily today.
When The American Spectator was on the prowl in the 1990s we had dozens of other women — shall we say? — under surveillance quite aside from those we did report on?  
What if those taciturn ladies from yesteryear were to step forward now to join Juanita Broaddrick (she claims rape), Kathleen Willey (groped), and the loquacious Paula Corbin Jones (“kiss it”)? Of course, today’s list of accused assailants began with the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose problems, incidentally, began just months after he sat down with the Clintons, post-election, to plot a documentary about how Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary.  
Harvey was very tight with the Clintons, though in a few months Hillary would banish him, saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations” — ahem."
Everything the author says here is largely true, and logical.....but.....so what? Hillary was "shocked and appalled"  Really? Really?  So was Captain Louis Renault... SHOCKED! Shocked I tell you!

Leftists who've been guilty of condemnation without validation have chortled and toasted themselves, but they're now being hoisted on their own petards. Let me say it..............schadenfreude! But just a little schadenfreude can go a long way.

This will play out like all of the latest outrages of the day and things will be different, especially among the media's leftists.....at least those who are left. At some point the public will tire of all of this. At some point someone will sue the companies who are firing them without due process. At some point someone will sue their accusers.....and win.......and it will all stop. Why? Because most people don't conduct themselves in the low way as have these prominent political, entertainment and media people.  Let's face it, making claims about average people don't get the publicity or payouts as it does when a prominent person is "outed".   And all of this has already become tiresome.

This sordid behavior has gone on forever - not to diminish the fact this conduct is unacceptable - but this isn't really new.....really.....it isn't. Hollywood has been notorious for this from the beginning, and that's been well known forever. So, are we to assume these Hollywood stars who have come forth now were stunningly ignorant about how an industry that's promoted every sort of despicable behavior actually conducted itself? And now an industry full of immoral behavior is outraged at.... immoral behavior?

These stars must have known what the game was and chose to play it. They must have known the price and chose to pay it in order to take a short cut to fame and success, don't you think? After all, they would have us all believe their smarter than America as a whole since they constantly telling us what positions Americans should take on every political, moral and environmental issue facing America.  If that’s true, then they must have been aware of what they were getting into.  Don't you think?  Or are they stupid, disingenous or both?    

Will there be benefits to society overall over this? Sure! All companies will institute directives to try and ameliorate such behavior.

Will there be a downside to all of this? Sure. From this point on attorneys and activists will stir up the pot against anyone they dislike whether the facts support such action or not.

 Gloria Allred is already feeding at the trough, and she'll be followed by a lot more soon enough.

One more thing. 

This will be my only post today because even a newsie like me can stand only so much. 

Best wishes, Rich

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What the War Over Jerusalem is Really About

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 4 Comments Monday, December 11, 2017 @ Sultan Knish Blog

Hamas has announced that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the “gates of hell.” Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an “enemy state.”

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move “will fuel extremism and result in violence.” The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would “trigger anger” and “fuel tension.”

“Moderate” Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the “extremists”.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a "blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations."

The last time the OIC was this mad, someone drew Mohammed. And wasn’t stoned to death for it.

According to the Saudi ambassador, it will “heighten tensions”. The Deputy Prime Minister of Islamist Turkey called it a “major catastrophe”. And the leader of the largest Muslim country in Europe, France's Emmanuel Macron "expressed concern" that America will “unilaterally recognize Jerusalem."

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

The Palestinian Authority’s boss warned that recognizing Jerusalem will “destroy the peace process”. The PLO’s envoy in D.C. threatened that it would be the “final lethal blow” and “the kiss of death to the two-state solution”. A top PA advisor claimed it “will end any chance of a peace process.”

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that “chance” doesn’t amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can’t threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat.

Peace wasn’t killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

"The world will pay the price," warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia judge.

Habash isn’t just the bigwig of Islamic law, he’s also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization’s leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, “can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims.”

While the official warnings from the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and assorted other Islamic organizations have claimed that recognizing Jerusalem threatens the non-existent peace process, Habash had in the past had made it quite clear that the issue wasn’t land, it was Jihad.

“The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat," Habash had declared.

Ribat means that Israel is a frontier outpost between the territories of Islam and the free world. The Muslim terrorists who call themselves “Palestinians” have, according to the Abbas adviser, been chosen for “Ribat” to stand guard on the Islamic frontier and expand the territories of Islam.

The sense of Ribat is that the Jihadists may not yet be able to win a definitive victory, but must maintain their vigilance for the ultimate goal, which a Hadith defines as performing Ribat “against my enemy and your enemy until he abandons his religion for your religion."

That is what’s at stake here.

It’s not about a “piece of land here or there”, as the PA’s top Sharia judge clarifies, it’s a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It’s another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America.

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.

“It isn't possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem,” Habash had said. “In politics there can be compromises here and there... In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises.”

There’s an extremely thin line in Islamic theocracy between politics and religion. But what Habash is really saying is that there might be room to negotiate how many times a week the garbage truck comes to pick up the trash, but not who gives him the orders. Islamic supremacism is non-negotiable.

The Supreme Sharia judge warned Trump that moving the embassy is “a declaration of war on all Muslims.” Why all Muslims? Because the “Palestinians” are a myth. Islamic conquests are collective.

And it’s not as if any of the Muslim leaders disagree.

Why is Jerusalem their business? It’s not empathy for the “Palestinians”. Kuwait ethnically cleansed huge numbers of them. They aren’t treated all that much better in other Arab Muslim countries.

It’s not about them. The Muslim settlers in Israel are just there as “Ribat”. They’re the frontier guard of the Islamic conquest. Much like the Sharia patrols in the No-Go Zones of Europe or the Jihadists in Kashmir, the Rohingya in Burma and all the other Islamic Volksdeutsche variants of occupying colonists.

Sunni may fight Shiite. Muslim countries, tribes and clans may war with each other. But the land they’re fighting over belongs to all of them collectively.

It can never belong to non-Muslims. That is the essence of Islam where conquest is religion.

That’s true of Jerusalem. And of the entire world.

That is what is truly at stake in the war over Jerusalem. When countries refuse to move their embassies to Jerusalem, they are submitting to Sharia law and Islamic supremacism. The issue at stake is the same one as drawing Mohammed. It’s not about a “piece of land”. It’s about the supremacy of Islam.

Refusing to move the embassy doesn’t prevent violence. Islamic terrorism continues to claim lives in Jerusalem. And Islamic violence has been a constant before Israel liberated Jerusalem or before there was even a free Israel. The Arab League, the Jordanians, the Saudis and the rest of the gang aren’t promising an end to the violence. Instead they warn that if we don’t obey, it will grow worse.

That’s not diplomacy. It’s a hostage crisis.

President Trump made the right decision by refusing to let our foreign policy be held hostage. We don’t win by giving in to terrorists.

We win by resisting them. Or else we’ll have to live our lives as hostages of Islamic terror.

Jerusalem is a metaphor. Every free country has its own Jerusalem. In America, it’s the First Amendment. Our Jerusalem is not just a piece of land, it’s a value. And the Islamic Jihad seeks to intimidate us into giving it up until, as the Hadith states, we abandon our religion for Islam.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do much more for America than it will for Israel.

The Israelis already know where their capital is. We need to remember where we left our freedom. Islamic terrorists win when they terrorize us into being too afraid to do the right thing.

President Trump sent a message to the terrorists that America will not be terrorized.

Previous administrations allowed the terrorists to decide where we put our embassy. But Trump has made it clear that we won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies, what cartoons we will draw or how we live our lives. That is what real freedom means.

Lessons from Portugal about Ending the Drug War

Editor's Note:  Personally, I don't have the answer, except to say this "war" on drugs isn't being fought as a real war.  If it was fought as did the Chinese Communists when they took control of China in 1949 the war would be won in five years.  They killed everyone involved in drugs!  I don't think that's an acceptable solution in America.  I hate the drug culture that's destroying so many young lives, and making a mess of American society, but I thought this should be viewed.  RK

December 6, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

When I explain to people how the government’s War on Drugs violates the rights of people to do dumb things to their own bodies, they intellectually understand but they’re usually not convinced.

When I also explain why the Drug War causes additional crime and enriches mobsters, they almost always nod their heads in agreement but resist the obvious implication that we should decriminalize.

When I then explain that the War on Drugs has led to horrific policies such as civil asset forfeiture and senseless policies such as costly and ineffective money-laundering laws, they agree that the consequences are bad but they’re generally unpersuaded about legalization.

The stumbling block in every case is that they fear decriminalization will lead to more drug use, more addiction, and more suffering families.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of real-world examples to put their minds at ease. But “a lot” isn’t the same as “any.”

This report about Portugal from the U.K.-based Guardian is must reading and may convince the doubters that we can end the War on Drugs without societal chaos and decay. It starts  with an observation about the ravages of illegal drugs.
It was the 80s, and by the time one in 10 people had slipped into the depths of heroin use – bankers, university students, carpenters, socialites, miners – Portugal was in a state of panic. …one in every 100 Portuguese was battling a problematic heroin addiction at that time… Headlines in the local press raised the alarm about overdose deaths and rising crime. The rate of HIV infection in Portugal became the highest in the European Union.
This led to predictable responses.
In the early days of Portugal’s panic, …the state’s first instinct was to attack. Drugs were denounced as evil, drug users were demonised, and proximity to either was criminally and spiritually punishable. The Portuguese government launched a series of national anti-drug campaigns that were less “Just Say No” and more “Drugs Are Satan”.
But something remarkable then happened. Rational voices began to push a libertarian-oriented message.
The first official call to change Portugal’s drug laws came from Rui Pereira, a former constitutional court judge who undertook an overhaul of the penal code in 1996. He found the practice of jailing people for taking drugs to be counterproductive and unethical. “My thought right off the bat was that it wasn’t legitimate for the state to punish users,”
And Portugal ultimately went in that direction – and got very positive results.
In 2001, …Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. …The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates. HIV infection plummeted from an all-time high in 2000 of 104.2 new cases per million to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. …The official policy of decriminalisation made it far easier for a broad range of services (health, psychiatry, employment, housing etc) that had been struggling to pool their resources and expertise, to work together more effectively to serve their communities.
Here’s a summary of the Portuguese approach, which certainly seems more humane and logical than what we do in America.
Portugal’s policy rests on three pillars: one, that there’s no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs; two, that an individual’s unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals frayed relationships with loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves; and three, that the eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal.
Want some additional evidence?

Here’s a chart from the invaluable Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute.


A 2009 study from the Cato Institute also highlighted the benefits of Portugal’s reform.
Because more than seven years have now elapsed since enactment of Portugal’s decriminalization system, there are ample data enabling its effects to be assessed. Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. …very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. …none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for “drug tourists” — has occurred. …The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. …drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. …drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. …judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success.
By the way, allow me to reiterate that my support for decriminalization is not an endorsement of drug use.

It’s not just that I’m a teetotaler and want others to make the same choice. Stories like this one from CNN genuinely worry me.
Regina Mitchell, a co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio, told The New York Times this week that four out of 10 applicants otherwise qualified to be welders, machinists and crane operators will fail a routine drug test. …”We have a 150-ton crane in our machine shop. And we’re moving 300,000 pounds of steel around in that building on a regular basis. So I cannot take the chance to have anyone impaired running that crane, or working 40 feet in the air.” …For 48 of the 50 years her company has been around, drug abuse had never been an issue, she told Smerconish.”It hasn’t been until the last two years that we needed to have a policy, a corporate policy in place, that protects us from employees coming into work impaired,” she said. …there are almost 12,000 open skilled labor jobs in Mahoning County.”There are good-paying jobs and the opportunity for people in our area. We just can’t find people to show up who can pass a drug test,” she said.
This is not good news for the country. And I’ve personally spoken to several employers in other parts of the country who have made the same point.

But I’ll simply observe that we have this problem with drugs being illegal already. Given the evidence from Portugal, I’m hopeful that decriminalization might lead to less drug use.

I also wonder whether redistribution programs enable reckless behavior. In other words, people may decide it’s okay to be stoners because they can rely on handouts to stay alive instead of staying clean and having a job.

In any event, let’s review a couple of additional stories. Here’s a column from National Review, written by Michelle Malkin, which shows continuing progress on the right.
My own interest in pediatric use of medicinal marijuana is more than academic. When my daughter, Veronica, fell ill in late spring of 2015 — unable to breathe normally, bedridden with chronic pain and fatigue — she saw of specialists. …The various drugs prescribed to my daughter weren’t working and had awful side effects. …To our surprise, the mainstream neurologist suggested Veronica try CBD. This doctor had other young patients who used CBD oil with positive results… So we did our own independent research…consulted with other medical professionals and friends — and entered a whole new world. Two physicians signed off on our daughter’s application for a medical-marijuana card. She became one of more than 360 children under 18 to join Colorado’s medical-marijuana registry in 2015. …we became pediatric pot parents. For Veronica, CBD provided more relief than all the other mainstream pharmaceutical interventions she had endured, and without the scary side effects.
To her credit, Michelle has learned that the harm of government intervention exceeds any potential benefit.
As a lifelong social conservative, my views on marijuana policy may surprise some of you. I used to be a table-pounding crusader for the government’s war on drugs. …But the war on drugs has been a ghastly quagmire — an expensive and selective form of government paternalism that has done far more harm than good. What has this trillion-dollar war wrought? Overcrowded jails teeming with nonviolent drug offenders. An expanded police state enriched by civil asset forfeiture. And marginalization of medical researchers pursuing legitimate research on marijuana’s possible therapeutic benefits for patients with a wide variety of illnesses. …let me be clear as a liberty-loving, conservative mom: Keep your hands off. Let the scientists lead. Limited government is the best medicine.
Her commentary brings to mind this snarky – but accurate – image from Reddit‘s libertarian page.


Now let’s add some economic analysis to the discussion.

Here’s some insight from the Foundation for Economic Education about how the Drug War is increasing the potency and danger of drugs.
One issue that is often mentioned but rarely explained is the increasing potency of illegal drugs, whether it be cannabis with a high percentage of THC in the US or super potent MDMA (Ecstasy) in Europe. What’s behind this phenomenon? …economic theory might have the answer. …The theory that can explain rising drug potency under prohibition was first described in 1964 by Armen Alchian and William R Allen. It states that when the price of two substitute goods is increased by a fixed per-unit amount (such as transportation or taxation) the consumer will opt for the higher priced, higher quality good because the price of the more expensive product has sunk in proportion to the price of the less expensive product. …In the particular case of illegal drugs, two different kinds of drugs–let’s say two different kinds of cannabis–act as the substitute goods. When buying illegal drugs on the black market, you do not only pay for the drug itself. On top of the monetary price comes the potential social cost you pay. This can range from a small regulatory offence, where you must pay a fine, to a felony where you can face a prison sentence. This comes with other problems: losing your job, family, social status and so on. This is the fixed per-unit cost added on top of the price of the drug itself.
All of which leads to yet another reason why prohibition is backfiring and another reason why decriminalization is the answer.
It is not worth the risk to buy a low-quality product regarding the potential price you must pay. …Drug cartels have recognised this behaviour and increased the potency of their drugs (i.e. improved the quality of their product) so you get more value for the potential fixed per-unit cost you pay. …What sounds good in economic theory becomes a massive public health problem in real life. The potency of many drugs has increased too much. As it is in most prohibitionist countries, many consumers don’t know exactly what drug they are taking and in which dosage they are consuming the drug: not to mention added substances that increase quantity. …If drugs were decriminalized, customers would have knowledge about the contents of their MDMA, their cocaine, their cannabis. Drugs that are too potent could easily be avoided. Legalized drugs would include packaging with the specific content. Sales in specialized stores would allow customers to receive medical help if they show signs of problematic consumption, without fear of being imprisoned over it.
And since we’ve veered into some economic analysis, one of the reasons I favor legalization is that I don’t want law enforcement resources being misallocated.

Which is why this column resonates with me.
Police in Ohio are blaming a lack of resources for the fact that unsolved homicide cases greatly outnumber the cases that are solved, yet they seem to have the resources to arrest thousands of suspected cannabis users. …in the state of Ohio…an average of over 20,000 people are arrested on charges of cannabis possession each year. …despite the fact that they seem to have plenty of resources when it comes to arresting and detaining nonviolent offenders, police in Ohio are blaming a lack of resources for the fact that the number of homicide cases they solve continues to decline. …How did police in the United States go from solving over 90 percent of homicides in the 1960s to around 60 percent today, with cities like Columbus solving as little as 30 percent of homicides? It was not a change in resources—it was the introduction of the Drug War. …“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” an ACLU and Human Rights Watch report found last year. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year.” In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined. …As states like Ohio find that the number of unsolved homicide cases greatly outnumber the cases that are solved, it makes you wonder—what more could they accomplish if they were able to use their resources to track down violent murder suspects, instead of wasting them on nonviolent individuals who are found in possession of a plant?
Let’s close with some wisdom from Milton Friedman (h/t: Reddit).


As was so often the case, Friedman was right. If you look at the real-world consequences of the War on Drugs, the net effect of prohibition has been to enrich some very bad people.

P.S. It’s an open question whether the War on Drugs has been more damaging or less damaging than the War on Poverty. I guess the moral of the story is that there are a lot of “friendly fire” casualties when politicians declare war.

Cartoon of the Day

Your Daily Reminder That Mueller’s Investigation is Doomed

Melissa Mackenzie  December 11, 2017

At this point, Robert Mueller could find authentic video of Vladamir Putin whispering sweet communist nothings into the ear of Donald Trump while both were shirtless and putting a pin into a Hillary Clinton voodoo doll, and half of America would believe that Trump was being set up by a malicious, politicized Special Counsel. Mueller’s credibility has been lost and the latest revelation cements it:
A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election. 
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
Mueller’s team, including Mueller himself, is a who’s who of lefty politicos. They went to Hillary’s victory rally (that didn’t happen.) They are married to or sleeping with lefties with a shared and stated hatred of Donald Trump. They are married to people working for Fusion GPS who paid for the Steele dossier at the behest of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.........To Read More....

Scott Pruitt: No More Basting the Gravy Train

Environmental lawyers are furious as their access to easy money runs dry.

Greg Walcher December 13, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently issued a directive to end a 20-year string of “sue and settle” cases that have funneled untold millions of tax dollars to environmental organizations. Predictably, those groups and their allies are apoplectic about it. Many of these groups have grown from grassroots citizen movements to gigantic cash-flush conglomerates, with much of the cash coming from the government they appear to be fighting. Many now have separate legal arms with hundreds of attorneys, whose primary job is to sue the government and keep the cash flowing.

These organizations vehemently object to the phrase “sue and settle,” saying it oversimplifies a very complex legal procedure. But in fact, the strategy isn’t really very complicated at all.

Congress has created a mess, with all sorts of processes and procedures agencies must follow in making rules and decisions. Every step of the way, those decisions are subject to potential lawsuits. For entirely different reasons, Congress also authorized the government to pay the legal bills of people who are forced to sue to defend their interests against government overreach. It didn’t take long for clever organizations, and their allies in government, to figure out how to turn that combination into a massive public policy ATM.........“Sue and settle” is a gravy train never envisioned by Congress, and it cannot withstand public scrutiny. These attorneys ought to recall the ethics of Paper Chase star John Housman, who once touted financial managers who “make money the old fashioned way — they earn it.”...........To Read More.....

Leftists: Establishing a Religion

By Tom Trinko December 13, 2017

In the case of Jack Philips, the baker who doesn’t want to be forced to support a gay “wedding,” leftists have revealed their freedom-hating fascist fanaticism and their desire to establish their faith as a government-mandated religion.

Religion interacts with politics by defining moral and behavioral codes. For example, Catholics believe murder is wrong, a moral code, and that you shouldn’t eat meat on the Fridays of Lent (a penance that was ended in 1984, but is recently making a comeback), a behavioral code. Hence establishing a religion in the context of the 1st Amendment would involve providing preferential treatment to the moral and behavioral code of one particular faith, as the English government did with the Church of England.

The Constitution was specifically designed to provide freedom of religion while preventing the government from picking one religion as the winner. Historically Americans were more divided based on behavioral issues than on morality; the Ten Commandments has always been something most Americans agree on. As a result, the morality of our laws hasn’t been much of an issue, apart from slavery, of course, until very recently. Even better, most Americans have no interest in using the power of the government to impose their behavioral beliefs on the rest of America; Catholics don’t want to force people to eat fish on Fridays, Jews don’t want pork banned from restaurants, and Protestants don’t want to require people to go to services.

Sadly, leftists are trying to impose their behavioral beliefs on all Americans.........To Read More....

What's Wrong With National Review?

By Rich Kozlovich

If there ever was a President of the United States that could rattle the establishment more than President Trump – I don’t know who. Trump declared at “the National Prayer Breakfast last week that he would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment.”

First, you’ve heard of the “Johnson Amendment” haven’t you? No? Well, let’s fix that!

On December 9, 2017 the National Review posted an article by Alex Entz entitled, , Republicans Should Keep the Johnson Amendment,  saying: “The political payoff of repeal is dubious, and there are strong philosophical reasons for churches to avoid politics.”

The author goes on to explain the “1954 Johnson Amendment, though seldom enforced, currently bans tax-exempt groups — including churches — from directly endorsing political candidates." But the question we should be asking is – Why was such an “amendment” ever passed in the first place?

For the first 178 years of American independence America’s "rabbis, priests and preachers could stand in their pulpits and say anything they wished”. What horrible harm did that bring to the nation? Try the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, but the left can even find harm in that because the Freedom of Speech is being attacked on universities by leftist students, teachers and administration all over the nation. 

However, as time went by it became obvious to Johnson, they - that being the real target of the Johnson Amendment, the churches - didn’t necessarily like what Johnson liked - or Johnson for that matter - so they had to be prevented form opposing him by rule of law.

First off, the term “Amendment” is a misnomer. In reality in 1954 as Majority Leader in the Senate  Johnson snuck this in the Tax Code with a voice vote.  It was never debated by Congress. All of which was to prevent those with tax-exempt status from discussing political candidates in the way they had been capable of doing since the founding of the nation. 

And with this came the “threat of an IRS investigation, fines or loss of tax-exempt status”. From this point on “501(c)(3) nonprofit entities, including churches,” had to live under fear of their right of free speech, which now placed the IRS in a position that could, and would, allow them to monitor perfectly legal actions of nonprofits and churches.

But make no mistake about this - it was the churches Johnson was really targeting - and we've seen IRS abuses under the Obama administration in recent years.  Make no mistake about this – Lyndon B. Johnson was a cad whose corruption ran deep - a man who would use any means to rig elections - and had a history of doing so.  If that meant finding a way of using government force against those who opposed him – he would create law to do it.

There are those who claim this would “subsidize” religion, but that’s a logical fallacy, since they're already “subsidized” with their tax free status.  Employees of institutions who receive funding (another nice term for subsidies) such as hospitals and universities have no such prohibitions and are not threatened by the IRS for their political speech.  And in the case of freedom of speech at universities - which mostly amounts to rioting and intimidating anyone who disagrees with them – all illegal I might add. - but a peaceful church leader encouraging his flock to take a stand on a politician or is subject to attack by the IRS.  I often wonder if the IRS is going after Muslim leaders for making declarations of death and destruction of ..... well.....take your pick.......there  seems to be an endless list of those they want to kill and nations they wish to destroy.

Let’s dismiss this clabber about the “wall of separation between the church and state.” That’s not anywhere in the Constitution and has become a mythical principle. When Jefferson said that he meant the state could not interfere with the churches, not the other way around. Churches are part of the community and have every right to express their views without any interference from the government and any individual or group of individuals, and their tax status is immaterial.

As for the claim this would turn the churches into “super PAC funds” my answer is – so what? It’s not the business of government to decide whether or not this is acceptable. As for those church leaders who claim the vast majority of church members are opposed the changing the law as they don’t want their churches being political during a sermon.  Well, then let them act accordingly in their church! Their views shouldn't be incumbent on all the other churches as to what they can do. 

This cannot and should not be an issue of majority opinion.  The Constitution makes it clear every American should be able to express their opinions and act freely on their conscience and convictions, no matter where they work, or their tax status, and all the clabber that’s being spewed out over this misses two fundamental points.

First, Freedom of Speech is a constitutional right, and according to the founding fathers of this nation – that right is an unalienable right bestowed on humanity by God.! It’s not a privilege to be granted or taken away by government whimsy or political expediency. It’s a right that belongs to the people of the United States!

Secondly, how could this become an issue in the first place?  The 16th Amendment!  If the 16th Amendment is repealed that will be the end to income tax, and the IRS will become meaningless, and any potential abuses by them will cease to exist.  Income tax gives the government untold power to control anything and everything.  That's the real issue - not the Johnson Amendment - the Johnson Amendment is merely a symptom of the real problem - government corruption and abuse. 

As for National Review - This is an example of how far they've strayed into the leftist fever swamps in recent years.  I often wonder if William F. Buckley is rolling over in his grave.
 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We’re the Type of Americans They Want to Go Away

John Hawkins  Dec 10, 2017

I am the type of American they want to go away.

I get along with cops, soldiers, preppers and country boys -- the sort of guys who know how to shoot, know how to take care of themselves and would watch your back in a fight if it came to that. I don’t much like the government, but I do like small town government better than government in D.C. If someone has to be in charge, better the sort of guy you can run into at the grocery store who will give you an answer when you want to know why the potholes on your street haven’t been fixed. D.C.’s different. I know the Democrats there hate me because I’m a straight, white, Christian, Southern conservative and the people that run the Republican Party today would only care what I think if I had hundreds of thousands of dollars to give them.

That’s why if I can make trouble for either group, I’m game...............We live in a country run by politicians and bureaucrats who can’t do anything right and yet they think the solution to that problem is to give them even more power over our lives. You feel the same way I do? Then you’re one of the Americans the elites in D.C. want to go away..........To Read More.....

Dear Jonah Still Doesn't Get It

By Christopher Chantrill December 12, 2017

I feel for Jonah Goldberg and the rest of the #NeverTrumpers at Conservatism Inc. The awful truth is that their Resistance to the leftward ratchet has failed, and the world has moved on.

So last week Jonah’s G-File is “ Against One-Thingism complaining that we are becoming like our lefty friends for whom politics is everything, what with Republican and Trump support for Roy Moore, candidate for United States Senator in Alabama and all.

Okay, Jonah, so what is Baldrick’s cunning plan for dishing the left?

Let’s do the Eisenhower thing and make the problem bigger. What do you do when you are faced with a millennarian movement for which politics and power and cultural hegemony is indeed the holy One Thing.

The truth is that you have to come pretty close to your own One Thing. Otherwise you just go under the knout and bend the knee to the One Thingers and their political and cultural commissars, and your children go with the New World Order, as taught by regime thugs in the schools and in entertainment.

That is why the Reformation inspired a Counterreformation, the French Revolution inspired various anti-French Coalitions, the Bolshevik Revolution inspired a movement of anti-Communism, and it wasn’t pretty.

And that is why lefty progressivism has inspired Trumpism. It is no use complaining about life narrowing down to One Thing. We are in another big fight with the left, whether we like it or not........To Read More....

My Take - Tomorrow I'm posting an article about what's wrong with National Review.  Goldberg is an example of what's transpired there.  I read a couple of his books and was thoroughly impressed.  As the years have gone by - not so much any longer - to the point I no longer read his G-File.

The Swamp Against the People

By James Lewis December 12, 2017

Anybody who still believes that there is no Deep State in America might recall three major Deep State rebellions against constitutionally elected administrations in recent history.

1. The Stalin period, when communists, both overt and covert, had deeply infiltrated the State Department; the White House; and, most dangerously, the Manhattan Project of DOD, which built the first two nuclear bombs. At that time, the Communist Party of the USA was directly controlled by Stalin's Comintern in Moscow, the international center for worldwide infiltration, sabotage, espionage, and agitation-propaganda aiming to destroy the United States and its allies. Stalin's Comintern was especially powerful in Hollywood, in universities and the media.

2. The Watergate period, when historically anti-communist President Richard Nixon was destroyed by a revenge campaign, combining the NYT-WaPo media axis with the FBI's Mark Felt and the Democrats (among them Hillary Clinton) to bring down the duly elected president of the U.S. by unconstitutional means. The extra-constitutional office of the special prosecutor was made up at that time, with no constitutional warrant or standing, and indeed in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution (USC Amendments I-IV).

3. Today, we are seeing a third example of an attempted coup d'état by the Deep State and the left-controlled media, both monsters that were never imagined by the Founders.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton was openly endorsed by the Communist Party USA, and Hillary never rejected that endorsement.  That fact speaks for itself.............To Read More......

My Take - Let's not forget Nixon was guilty, but the problem with that is - Bill and Hillary, Comey, Mueller, Lerner, the Podesta's and the rest are far more guilty of more egregious illegal activity than anything Nixon did.  Let's get this right - Nixon was one of the most left wing Presidents in history irrespective of his previous anti-communist stands, and much of the swamp Trump wants to drain originated with Nixon.  But if he'd had been a Democrat he would have never been attacked

Throwing Good Money after Bad Doesn’t Improve Government Schools

December 11, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
Whenever I discuss education policy with one of my leftist friends, it usually follows the same script.
They’ll ask whether I want good education for kids. I’ll say yes. They’ll then say we should devote more money to government schools.

I then show them this powerful chart and point out that we’ve been following their approach for 40-plus years and that it hasn’t worked.

Cato Education Chart


None of them has ever had an effective or coherent response.

I then point out that the United States spends far more than other developed nations, on a per-pupil basis. Yet our national test scores are dismal compared to other developed nations.

Once again, none of them has ever had an effective or coherent response.

The simple reality if that giving more money to government schools is a foolish gesture.
Today, we’re going to look at some additional evidence.

Research from the World Bank pours cold water on the notion that more money for teachers leads to better outcomes for students.
…countries sometimes implement large increases in public-sector salaries to attract higher-quality applicants to government jobs and to better motivate existing employees. …understanding the extent to which unconditional pay increases make incumbent public-sector workers more motivated and productive is a key consideration in evaluating the cost effectiveness of such salary increases. …In this paper, we provide experimental evidence on the impact of a large unconditional salary increase on the effort and productivity of incumbent public employees. Our study was conducted in the context of a policy change in Indonesia that permanently doubled the base pay of eligible civil-service teachers… The reform moved teacher salaries from the 50th to the 90th percentile of the college-graduate salary distribution. Civil-service teachers in Indonesia also enjoy generous benefits and high job security, and quit rates were very low even before the pay increase. Thus, the teachers in our study are typical of public-sector employees in many low- and middle-income countries, who hold highly coveted jobs and enjoy a significant wage premium relative to their private-sector counterparts.
So what were the results of this experiment? The good news, as you might expect, is that teachers were quite happy.
The experiment significantly improved measures of teacher welfare: At the end of two and three years of the experiment, teachers in treated schools had higher income, were more likely to be satisfied with their income, and were less likely to report financial stress.
But for those of us who actually want better education for children, the results were not very satisfactory.
…despite this improvement in incumbent teachers’ pay, satisfaction, …the policy did not improve either their effort or student learning. Teachers in treated schools did not score better on tests of teacher subject knowledge, and we find no consistent pattern of impact on self-reported measures of teacher attendance. Most importantly, we find no difference in student test scores in language, mathematics, or science across treatment and control schools. …Finally, we use the school-level random assignment as an instrumental variable for being taught by a certified teacher in a given year, and find no improvement in student test scores from being taught by a certified teacher (relative to students in control schools taught by similar “target” teachers). These effects are also precisely estimated…our results are consistent with other studies finding no correlation between teacher salaries in the public sector and their teaching effectiveness (Muralidharan and Sundararaman 2011, Bau and Das 2017), and with studies finding that contract teachers who are paid much lower salaries than civil-service teachers are no less effective (Muralidharan and Sundararaman 2013, Duflo, Dupas, and Kremer 2015, Bau and Das 2017).
Indonesia is not similar to the United States, so some people will want to dismiss these finding.  But the authors note that U.S.-focused studies have reached the same conclusion.
Our results are consistent with prior studies finding no correlation between in creases in teacher pay and improved student performance in the US (Hanushek 1986; Betts 1995; Grogger 1996).
If giving teachers more money doesn’t work, is it possible that spending more money on facilities will help?

Let’s look at another academic study, published in the Journal of Public Economics, for some insight. Here’s the approach used by the scholars.
In this paper we provide the most comprehensive assessment of achievement effects from school facility investments initiated and financed by local school districts. The first part of the analysis examines the impact of nearly 1400 capital campaigns initiated by 748 school districts in the state of Texas over a 14-year period. …We examine the impact of capital campaigns on student outcomes using information on all tested students in the state over this time period, which includes all 3rd through 8th graders and 10th or 11th graders that take the state’s high school exit exam.
And here are the very disappointing results.
…the second part of the study directly measures the effect of capital investment on students actually exposed to it by analyzing more than 1300 major campus renovations. Controls for lagged individual test scores permit us to address changes in student composition resulting from capital investment, analogous to “value-added” models of teacher effectiveness. With or without this adjustment, we find no evidence of achievement effects of major campus renovations, even for renovations that appear to have generated large improvements in school facility conditions. Our estimates are sufficiently precise such that we can rule out positive effects larger than about 0.02 for math and 0.01 for reading for the first four years following a campus renovation.
By the way, I’m not arguing that pay and facilities are irrelevant. I think the takeaway from these studies is that more money doesn’t help when the underlying structure of the education system is faulty. So long as we have a centralized monopoly, more money isn’t going to help.

Unfortunately, American politicians are part of the problem.

Under President George W. Bush, the federal government spent more money on education and grabbed more control of the sector as part of the so-called No Child Left Behind initiative. That didn’t yield good results.

Under President Barack Obama, the same thing happened. Thanks to Common Core, the federal government spent more money on education and grabbed more control of the sector. That didn’t yield good results.

Indeed, a report last year for the National Center for Policy Analysis notes the dismal impact of the federal government.
Over the years, federal funding of primary and secondary education has increased, while students’ academic performance has flatlined. For instance, the high school reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress show that student performance has remained flat for the past 20 years… education reform initiatives by several administrations produced, at best, minimal improvements in student performance at a high price to taxpayers. Given its track record, the federal government should get out of the education business. Federal education reforms have failed to achieve their goals and failed to have a positive impact on education performance.
Amen. The Department of Education in Washington should be eliminated. It’s part of the problem.

Let’s close with a Reason video that looks at some absurd examples of how taxpayer money is wasted by the government school monopoly.



P.S. Let’s close with a bit of humor showing the evolution of math lessons in government schools.

P.P.S. If you want some unintentional humor, the New York Times thinks that government education spending has been reduced.

P.P.P.S. And you’ll also be amused (and outraged and disgusted) by the truly bizarre examples of political correctness in government schools.