The Other Side Of The Dakota Access Pipeline Story

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about the protests surrounding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The story you have been told in most of the media is simply not true.

The article reports a few basic facts the media has overlooked:

• This isn’t about tribal rights or protecting cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land under discussion belongs to private owners and the federal government. To suggest that the Standing Rock tribe has the legal ability to block the pipeline is to turn America’s property rights upside down.

• Two federal courts have rejected claims that the tribe wasn’t consulted. The project’s developer and the Army Corps made dozens of overtures to the Standing Rock Sioux over more than two years. Often these attempts were ignored or rejected, with the message that the tribe would only accept termination of the project.

• Other tribes and parties did participate in the process. More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route. The project’s developer and the Army Corps were clearly concerned about protecting tribal artifacts and cultural sites. Any claim otherwise is unsupported by the record. The pipeline’s route was also studied—and ultimately supported—by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (on which I formerly served), the State Historic Preservation Office, and multiple independent archaeologists.

• This isn’t about water protection. Years before the pipeline was announced, the tribe was working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps to relocate its drinking-water intake. The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.

Further, the pipeline will be installed about 100 feet below the riverbed. Automatic shut-off valves will be employed on either side of the river, and the pipeline will be constructed to exceed many federal safety requirements.

Other pipelines carrying oil, gas and refined products already cross the Missouri River at least a dozen times upstream of the tribe’s intake. The corridor where the Dakota Access Pipeline will run is directly adjacent to another pipeline, which carries natural gas under the riverbed, as well as an overhead electric transmission line. This site was chosen because it is largely a brownfield area that was disturbed long ago by previous infrastructure.

This isn’t about the climate. The oil that will be shipped through the pipeline is already being produced. But right now it is transported in more carbon-intensive ways, such as by railroad or long-haul tanker truck. So trying to thwart the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas could have the opposite effect.

We would probably know exactly who was paying the protesters (many of them are paid) if we knew who owns the railroad or the tanker trucks currently transporting the oil. In the case of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the railroad could be traced to Warren Buffett, a friend of President Obama. Things are often not as they are portrayed in the major media. Please follow the link above to read the entire story. It is very different to what you have been told.

An Idea To Replace ObamaCare

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about a plan to reform ObamaCare suggested by James Capretta and Scott Gotlieb of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The article lists four suggestions to make healthcare affordable and practical for Americans:

1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans.

2. Accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions.

3. Allow broad access to health-savings accounts.

4. Deregulate the market for medical services.

These reforms would bring healthcare closer to a free-market system. The suggestions would also take away the provisions in ObamaCare that require people to pay for healthcare coverage they do not need (most couples over the age of 50 don’t need maternity coverage).  The Little Sisters of the Poor should not be required to pay for birth control coverage–they are Catholic nuns. Under ObamaCare they were sued by the federal government to provide coverage for things that went against their Christian beliefs. The idea that the government can tell people what coverage they have to have needs to go away quickly.

President-elect Trump has promised to end ObamaCare. We have heard that promise before from Republicans–give us the House and we will repeal ObamaCare; give us the Senate and we will repeal ObamaCare; give us the White House and we will repeal ObamaCare. Well, President-elect Trump, I suspect you have less than two years to make good on your promise. The anger of the American voters did not disappear when you were elected–that anger is simply waiting to see if you will keep your promises. It is a pretty safe bet that if ObamaCare is still with us in two years, the Republicans will lose the House and the Senate. At that point the Republican Party will go the way of the whigs.

A Valiant Marine Wins His Court Case

In December 2015, I wrote a story about Major Jason Brezler, a Marine reservist being discharged from the Marine Corps.

I quoted a Marine Corps Times article which reported:

A Marine veteran in Congress has called on the country’s top law enforcement agency to investigate a senior Navy official’s decision to force out a Marine officer who tried to warn his comrades in Afghanistan about a suspected Taliban conspirator.

In a Dec. 3 letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the FBI should look into the case involving Maj. Jason Brezler, a Reserve civil affairs officer who sent classified information from a personal email account in 2012.

Scott Lutterloh, the acting assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, recently upheld the decision that Brezler be honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. But Hunter said Brezler’s case received “inadequate attention by the Department of Defense Inspector General and Navy criminal investigators.”

In his letter, Hunter urged the Pentagon to take steps to launch an FBI investigation of the case, to include the U.S. military’s relationship with Sarwar Jan, a corrupt Afghan police chief and the man at the center of Brezler’s email warning.

Unfortunately, the American military has allowed the actions of sexual predators in Afghanistan to continue, turning a blind eye or accepting it as part of the culture. That was the system Major Brezler was fighting.

The Marine Times updated the story today.

The article reports:

A federal judge has overturned a Marine Corps decision to discharge Marine Maj. Jason Brezler, who was accused of mishandling classified information after he warned Marines in Afghanistan about an Afghan police chief days before a deadly insider attack in August 2012.

A board of inquiry recommended in December 2013 that Brezler be discharged for using his personal email account to send classified information to Marines in Afghanistan about an Afghan police chief accused of sexually assaulting young boys. Brezler was also accused of taking classified documents home from Afghanistan so he could write a book.

But Brezler filed a lawsuit contesting the Marine’s decision, claiming the Corps wrongfully retaliated against him for contacting Capitol Hill about his concerns.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in New York ruled that the government had not granted Brezler full access to records related to his claim. Brezler was referred to the board of inquiry, which adjudicates claims of officer misconduct, after a story published in Marine Corps Times reported that Brezler asked for help from Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

“For example, if communications prior to the Marine Corps Times article indicate that the Navy did not contemplate a BOI [board of inquiry] , or indicate an affirmative decision not to initiate a BOI, such communications would be highly relevant to Major Brezler’s claim that the BOI was retaliatory,” Bianco wrote in Tuesday’s decision.

Hopefully this is the end of the story. I will stay tuned in case it is not.

Contrary To What The Media Is Telling You…

CNS News posted an article today about the discussions the mainstream media has been having about the Electoral College. Many of the mainstream pundits are convinced (and have tried convincing Americans) that the Electoral College is something we no longer want or need. So how is the public reacting to being told to abolish the Electoral College? We are not impressed.

The article includes the following graph:

electoralcollegeI guess there were a lot of people who were actually happy with the way things worked out!

The article further reports:

In all ten surveys done by Gallup, the greatest support for amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College came in a November 1968, just after that year’s election.

“Support for an amendment peaked at 80% in 1968, after Richard Nixon almost lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College,” Gallup said in its analysis. “Ultimately, he wound up winning both by a narrow margin, but this issue demonstrated the possibility of a candidate becoming president without winning the popular vote. In the 1976 election, Jimmy Carter faced a similar situation, though he also won the popular vote and Electoral College. In a poll taken weeks after the election, 73% were in favor of an amendment doing away with the Electoral College.”

So much for the media coverage of the Electoral College.

What Excessive Government Looks Like

If you own an outdoor cat, you understand that property lines and boundaries don’t hold a lot of meaning for these animals. As the owner of two indoor cats, I can say from past experience that there are some cats that are simply not capable of being indoor cats. That being said, I am here to inform you about the war on pet cats that is currently going on in Florida (Doesn’t the government have better ways to spend its money?).

Last Wednesday The Daily Signal posted an article about the war on pet cats that is taking place in Florida.

The article reports:

In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service implemented a pest management plan designed to trap cats that the agency perceived as a threat to the Key Largo woodrat. The furry targets of this sting operation were accused of trespassing on federal land, which is a woodrat habitat, and doing what cats do best: hunt and kill rats.

Instead of focusing only on the large swaths of feral cats that pose the primary threat to the rats’ survival on the island, the Fish and Wildlife Service went overboard. Resident cat owners complained that agents set baited traps adjacent to the private property of the owners who live next to the federal park.

Then, Fish and Wildlife Service agents trapped Rocky, a pet cat to Spencer Slate, a Key Largo businessman who runs a scuba diving center. According to Slate, the traps “were all about 50 feet from [his] property” when Rocky was lured in one night. As a result, Slate said that “Rocky’s face was so bloodied by the trap’s spring-shut door that he did not recognize his pet.”

Slate discovered this after a Fish and Wildlife Service agent showed up at his business to serve him with a written citation threatening jail time for allegedly allowing Rocky to enter federal land. When delivering the citation, the agent neglected to return the captive kitten, instead depositing Rocky at an animal shelter nearly 15 miles away.

Thank goodness a federal judge dismissed the citation.

The article further reports:

As Mark Miller, managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Atlantic Center in Florida, explains, “when [Fish and Wildlife Service] agents prowl off of federal land to trap private citizens’ cats on private land, these agents’ actions implicate a number of constitutional clauses” that could make the agents’ actions unlawful.

Furthermore, the fact that Slate was threatened with jail time for the instinctive response of his baited cat is a gross misuse of government power. This tactic represents the phenomenon of overcriminalization, the use of the criminal law and penalties to punish every mistake and to solve every problem—including a pet cat wandering around Key Largo.

Someone should point out to the Fish and Wildlife Service agent that cats perform a service to humans in keeping the population of rats and other vermin under control.

This is not about cats–this is about government over-reach and bullying private citizens. Cats are not known to respect property lines and the cat may not have read the sign explaining that he was about to enter federal land. This was a waste of time, energy, and money on the part of the government. This kind of abuse of power needs to end.

This Is An Amazing Choice

The Associated Press is reporting in the Boston Herald today that Dr. Ben Carson has been chosen by President-elect Trump to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is a wonderful choice for many reasons. Dr. Carson is brilliant and not tainted by previous Washington experience. Therefore, his thinking will not be ‘inside the box’ of the usual Washington elites. Also, because Dr. Carson grew up in a one-parent household headed by a mother who could not read, he is personally acquainted with the struggles that accompany poverty in America. The other part of this choice is that Dr. Carson believes in helping people escape poverty–not simply paying them to stay there. Our welfare system has not improved the poverty rate, and we have been throwing money at poverty for fifty years. It is time to find a solution to poverty that might actually work, and I believe that if it can be found, Dr. Carson will find it.

This is a wonderful choice.

Why We Need The Electoral College

Michael Barone posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about the Electoral College. There has been a lot of discussion about the Electoral College lately because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 Presidential election, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote and the election. So how does this work and why do we need it?

First of all, the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place to protect the rights of the smaller states.

According to the government website archives.gov, this is how the Electoral College works:

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Read more about the allocation of electoral votes.

Under the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution, the District of Columbia is allocated 3 electors and treated like a state for purposes of the Electoral College. For this reason, in the following discussion, the word “state” also refers to the District of Columbia.

Each candidate running for President in your state has his or her own group of electors. The electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are. Read more about the qualifications of the Electors and restrictions on who the Electors may vote for.

The presidential election is held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. You help choose your state’s electors when you vote for President because when you vote for your candidate you are actually voting for your candidate’s electors.

The article at The Washington Examiner reports:

…All of which prompts renewed arguments about the Electoral College. The case for abolishing it is simple: Every American‘s vote should count the same. But it won’t happen. Two-thirds of each house of Congress and 38 of the 50 state legislatures will never go along.

The case against abolition is one suggested by the Framers’ fears that voters in one large but highly atypical state could impose their will on a contrary-minded nation. That largest state in 1787 was Virginia, home of four of the first five presidents. New York and California, by remaining closely in line with national opinion up through 1996, made the issue moot.

California’s 21st century veer to the left makes it a live issue again. In a popular vote system, the voters of this geographically distant and culturally distinct state, whose contempt for heartland Christians resembles imperial London’s disdain for the “lesser breeds” it governed, could impose something like colonial rule over the rest of the nation. Sounds exactly like what the Framers strove to prevent.

Can you imagine the Presidential campaign without the Electoral College?

This is a county-by-county map of the 2016 Presidential election:

2016countymapelectionHow many of the states would have had a chance to meet the candidates if the Electoral College did not exist? Would Hillary have campaigned in the Midwest? Would Donald Trump have campaigned in Florida? Would a candidate ever come to Kansas, Oklahoma, or Nebraska? Would those states every be represented in a Presidential election? As you can see, the Electoral College protects the rights of the smaller states. Without it, we would be governed by New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts–states that are having problems keeping their state budgets under control. Do we really want them to take charge of the country?

 

The Real Unemployment Numbers

The Obama Administration has proudly announced an unemployment rate of 4.6% for November 2016. That’s nice, but that isn’t the real story.

CNS News posted a story yesterday explaining the 4.6 % number and using some other numbers to put that number in perspective.

The article explains:

Although the “unemployment rate” in the United States for November is 4.6% — a rate last reached 9 years ago in August 2007 – the “real unemployment” rate is much higher, more than double at 9.3% nationwide. 

Real unemployment, or the U-6 number, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers” and part-time workers age 16 and over.

As the BLS explains on its website, the “unemployment rate,” or U-3 number, “includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks.”

The other number that is important is the workforce participation rate. The chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates how that number has changed during the Obama Administration:

workforceparticipationrate1

The article at CNS News concludes:

While the unemployment rate for November 2016 was 9.3%, the last time it was at a level close to that, 9.2%, was in April 2008. From June 2008 through September 2015, the real unemployment rate was in double digits, fluctuating from 10.1% to a high of 17.1% and finally back down to 10.0% (in September 2015).

The real unemployment rate has been in the 9’s since October 2015

The 4.6% unemployment rate sounds wonderful, but since it does not include those Americans who are out of work and no longer looking for work, it is not a meaningful number. The American economy has not prospered under President Obama. Hopefully, putting a successful businessman in the White House will change the American economy for the better.

Sometimes Reality Is Just Not Fun

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for its fight for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. The union chooses to ignore the fact that these are entry-level workers learning the basics of holding a job–showing up on time, being conscientious, treating people with respect, etc. Recruiting these people into the SEIU provides a larger base for union dues (and bigger donations to Democratic candidates), but where has the battle gotten the workers?

Ed Rensi posted an article at Forbes on Tuesday talking about the consequences of the push for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers.

The article points out a few of the unintended consequences:

Let’s start with automation. In 2013, when the Fight for $15 was still in its growth stage, I and others warned that union demands for a much higher minimum wage would force businesses with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. At the time, labor groups accused business owners of crying wolf. It turns out the wolf was real.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.

…Of course, not all businesses have the capital necessary to shift from full-service to self-service. And that brings me to my next correct prediction–that a $15 minimum wage would force many small businesses to lay off staff, seek less-costly locations, or close altogether.

…The out-of-state labor groups who funded these initiatives aren’t shedding tears over the consequences. Like their Soviet-era predecessors who foolishly thought they could centrally manage prices and business operations to fit an idealistic worldview, economic reality keeps ruining the model of all gain and no pain. This brings me to my last correct prediction, which is that the Fight for $15 was always more a creation of the left-wing Service Employees International Union (SEIU) rather than a legitimate grassroots effort. Reuters reported last year that, based on federal filings, the SEIU had spent anywhere from $24 million to $50 million on the its Fight for $15 campaign, and the number has surely increased since then.

This money has bought the union a lot of protesters and media coverage. You can expect more of it on November 29. But the real faces of the Fight for $15 are the young people and small business owners who have had their futures compromised. Those faces are not happy ones.

I suspect that over time many of the businesses involved would have switched to kiosks anyway, but the drive for $15 an hour definitely helped speed up the process. The fact that the SEIU was able to gather (or pay) protestors and that the news covered this story in a positive light is evidence that we are not teaching people basic economics in school. Somehow we have lost sight of the fact that businesses are in business to make a profit. When businesses are no longer profitable, they go out of business. In this case even the businesses that could afford to automate cut back on their workforce because of increasing labor costs. This is another example of shortsightedness on the part of the unions and of the law of unintended consequences.

The Trump Cabinet So Far

This chart is from The Daily Signal showing how the Trump cabinet is progressing:

cabinet-picksI guess things were not as chaotic as the press was reporting.

The article notes:

Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Nov. 18 made him the second-fastest president-elect in recent history to pick a Cabinet nominee. He added another on Nov. 23 with Besty DeVos as education secretary.

In the fourth week of the transition, Trump has named five nominees: Rep. Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, Elaine Chao at the Department of Transportation, Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, Wilbur Ross at the Commerce Department, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at the Department of Defense.

The speed of Trump’s choices is even more surprising given that Bush enjoyed the continuity of Republican government in 1988; two of Bush’s three nominations in November 1988 were holdovers from the Reagan administration. With his selection of Price and Chao, Trump is now the fastest president-elect in 40 years to fill four Cabinet roles.

Some of these choices have not met with overwhelming approval from conservatives, but we need to remember a few things. All of these picks have been successful in their areas of expertise. Theoretically, Trump is in charge and will set the agenda. I would like to ask that my conservative friends hold their fire until someone actually does something that  impacts some policy. Republicans (and sometimes conservatives) have a gift for forming circular firing squads. Let’s not form one now. Let’s stop adding to the media frenzy.  We need to give Donald Trump a chance to make the changes he believes will move the country in the right direction. We may not agree with all of those moves, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s see what happens next.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

The one thing that the Obama Administration should be famous for is the amount of regulations imposed on the American people through the Executive Branch of government–not through Congress, the body that is supposed to make laws–but through the Executive Branch. There is a cost on these regulations. The Washington Examiner posted a story today detailing that cost.

The article includes the following chart:

costofregulatoinsThe article reports:

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins (AAF’s Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group), came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three-quarters of the added regulatory costs.

“The Obama Administration surpassed 500 major regulations last summer, imposing $625 billion in cumulative costs. Earlier this year, regulators published the administration’s 600th major rule, increasing burdens to $743 billion. Now, thanks to data from the last term of the Bush Administration and another billion-dollar rule from EPA, the regulatory tally has surpassed $1 trillion. These figures are direct estimates from federal regulators, but it will take more than an effort from these regulators to amend hundreds of major regulations. Congress, the next president, and even the courts must participate in the next generation of regulatory modernization,” he reported.

The reason that Congress is charged with making laws is that they are accountable to the voters. The Executive Branch (other than the President) is not elected and cannot be held accountable to the voters. However, as illustrated by November’s election, the voters do have a certain amount of power in terms of who controls the Executive Branch. Hopefully the Inauguration of Donald Trump will signal the end of over-regulation in America at least temporarily.

Will The Mainstream Media Actually Report This?

Yesterday Katie Pavlich posted a story at Townhall.com about President George Bush‘s response to the attacks on 9/11. There are some amazing statements in the article.

The article reports:

According to one of the world’s most deadly and infamous terrorists, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, President George W. Bush wiped out plans for other imminent attacks by quickly invading Afghanistan after 9/11/2001. 

According to a new book detailed by The Federalist and former Bush staffer Marc Thiessen, KSM admitted during enhanced interrogation the President’s swift “shock-and-awe” action not only thwarted plans for follow up attacks to 9/11, but changed Al Qaeda‘s entire strategy. 

…Far from trying to draw us in, KSM said that al-Qaeda expected the United States to respond to 9/11 as we had the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut — when, KSM told Mitchell, the United States ‘turned tail and ran.’

‘Then he looked at me and said, ‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’’ Mitchell writes. ‘KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks.’ He was not able to do so because al-Qaeda was stunned ‘by the ferocity and swiftness of George W. Bush’s response.’

As much as I hate war, this shows the wisdom of the attack on Afghanistan following 9/11. It also shows that the ‘law enforcement’ approach to terrorism does not work. Unfortunately, at some point we are going to have to take action against the sponsors of terrorism around the world. That action should not involve ground troops, but we have enough fire power in other areas to get the point across that fomenting terror in America is a losing proposition. It is very obvious that the ‘law enforcement’ approach is not a deterrent to terrorism and that terrorism requires a stronger approach.

These statements by Khalid Sheik Mohammed are an example of why the prison camp at Guantanamo needs to stay open. The facility was very useful in gathering information and planning our strategy in the war on terror based on that information. Unfortunately, because President Obama has tried to close down Guantanamo and has not added any prisoners to the camp–preferring to kill the terrorists with drone strikes–eliminating the possibility of collecting intelligence, any information that could be gained from the prisoners at Guantanamo is at least eight years old. That is a serious problem for those trying to fight the war on terror.

It will be interesting to see whatever approach President Trump uses will be more effective in preventing domestic terrorism in America that the actions taken by President Obama.

The Price Of A Porous Border

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the cost of young people illegally entering America every day.

The article quotes Center for Immigration Studies Policy Director Jessica Vaughan:

“An average of 255 illegal alien youths were taken into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) every day this month, according to the latest figures the agency provided to Congress. This is the largest number of illegal alien children ever in the care of the federal government. To pay for it, the agency says it will need an additional one or two billion dollars for the next year – above and beyond the $1.2 billion spent in 2016 and proposed for 2017 – depending on how many more arrive. For now, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where ORR resides, is diverting $167 million from other programs to cover the cost of services for these new illegal arrivals through December 9, when the current continuing resolution expires.”

So, what are the other programs? A total of $167 million will be coming from other federal programs. This includes $14 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration, including $4.5 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $2 million from the Maternal and Child Health program. I have a question. If (according to the Democrats in Congress) it is impossible to cut the federal budget, how can you cut these programs? Are you denying Americans what they need to accommodate people who entered the country illegally? Wouldn’t it be cheaper simply to send the youths home?

Let’s hope that the new Congress follows its obligation to approve a budget and stick to it. This is ridiculous.

This Is Not Really Bad News

Bloomberg is reporting today that OPEC (organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has agreed to cut oil production beginning in January. The market has already reacted, and crude prices have climbed to $50. That means that the price of a gallon of gasoline will be going up, heating oil will be going up, and the cost of electricity may also be affected. However, there is a bright side to this.

One of the things to expect in a Trump Administration is the development of America‘s gas and oil resources. The Obama Administration has blocked that development wherever possible. Theoretically, the price increase along with the end of some regulations could create energy independence for America. This would have a drastic impact on our foreign policy. There is, however, more to the picture. In the past when OPEC has seen America moving toward energy independence, they have dropped the price of oil so that development of America’s oil reserves did not make financial sense. It will be interesting to see if they do that again.

We also need to remember what the impact of American energy independence will do to the world market of oil. If America can reach a point where it exports oil, OPEC will no longer be important. It will be interesting to see at what point practicality on the part of OPEC overcomes immediate greed. Their immediate greed will encourage the growth of the American energy market. Practicality would keep prices low so that America had no incentive to develop its resources.

Something Your History Teachers Might Not Have Mentioned

In 2012, Forbes Magazine ran an article titled, “How A Failed Commune Gave Us What Is Now Thanksgiving.” The article reminds us that America was settled by Pilgrims who sincerely believed that community ownership and total sharing were the way to prosper in the New World. Unfortunately, their idealism almost caused the loss of their colony.

The article reports:

As I’ve outlined in greater detail here before (Lessons From a Capitalist Thanksgiving), the original colony had written into its charter a system of communal property and labor. As William Bradford recorded in his Of Plymouth Plantation, a people who had formerly been known for their virtue and hard work became lazy and unproductive. Resources were squandered, vegetables were allowed to rot on the ground and mass starvation was the result. And where there is starvation, there is plague. After 2 1/2 years, the leaders of the colony decided to abandon their socialist mandate and create a system which honored private property. The colony survived and thrived and the abundance which resulted was what was celebrated at that iconic Thanksgiving feast.

After watching the success of Bernie Sanders as a Socialist candidate for President, I wonder if our children are being taught this.

The article concludes:

History is the story of the limitations of human power. But the limits of power is a topic for people who doubt themselves and their right to rule, not the self-anointed.

That’s how it is now, and that’s how it was in 1620. The charter of the Plymouth Colony reflected the most up-to-date economic, philosophical and religious thinking of the early 17th century. Plato was in vogue then, and Plato believed in central planning by intellectuals in the context of communal property, centralized state education, state centralized cultural offerings and communal family structure. For Plato, it literally did take a village to raise a child. This collectivist impulse reflected itself in various heretical offshoots of Protestant Christianity with names like The True Levelers, and the Diggers, mass movements of people who believed that property and income distinctions should be eliminated, that the wealthy should have their property expropriated and given to what we now call the 99%. This kind of thinking was rife in the 1600s and is perhaps why the Pilgrim settlers settled for a charter which did not create a private property system.

But the Pilgrims learned and prospered. And what they learned, we have forgotten and we fade.  Now, new waves of ignorant masses flood into parks and public squares. New Platonists demand control of other people’s property. New True Levelers legally occupy the prestige pulpits of our nation, secular and sacred. And now, as then, the productive class of our now gigantic, colony-turned-superpower, learn and teach again, the painful lessons of history. Collectivism violates the iron laws of human nature. It has always failed. It is always failing, and it will always fail. I thank God that it is failing now. Providence is teaching us once again.

This is one example of the reason we need to pay attention to what our children are learning about American history in our schools.

My, How Times Change

A friend posted the following on Facebook. This is for all of you saying that Donald Trump’s ideas about protecting the flag were radical.

flagprotectionact2005I decided to check this. I discovered S.1911 from the 109th Congress,. Here are some screenshots from Thomas.gov:

flagprotectionfllagprotection2Any questions?

Sometimes You Just Have To Wonder What Motivates People

In the 2016 Presidential Election, the third party candidates received about 4 percent of the votes. That is a combined total. Most estimates say that Jill Stein received about 1 percent of the vote. So why is Jill Stein demanding a recount? What does she have to gain?

Fox News posted an article today pointing out that Jill Stein’s call for a recount in several states has received twelve times more news coverage from ABC, NBC, and CBS than her campaign.

The article reports:

When Jill Stein was the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. president, the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) only gave her 36 seconds of coverage. However, as soon as she launched a campaign to contest the presidential election and demand a recount of ballots in several key states, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find 7 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage for her in just four days.

On November 26’s NBC “Nightly News,” anchor Lester Holt began a story on the recount by implying that the election may not be over yet, “if you thought the presidential election was behind us, word came today from the Hillary Clinton campaign that it will back the state-wide election recount effort put on by third party candidate Jill Stein in three key battle ground states.”

So what is going on? We all remember how the media treated Donald Trump. We all remember that the media did not want Donald Trump elected or his policies to be put in place. Why? Because the news media and the Democrats have a working system that pays well and provides access. Donald Trump is a threat to that system. Any doubt that can be thrown into the election results can be used to de-legitimize the Trump Presidency and the Trump Administration. That is part of the story. But there is even more. Jill Stein ended her campaign with serious campaign debt. She has already raised more money for the recount than she did for her campaign. (It would be interesting to know where the recount money is coming from.) The excess money raised for the recount can be used to pay off her campaign debt. Hillary Clinton has signed on to the effort because it keeps her in the spotlight in the hopes of running again in 2020. That is the only way foreign governments will continue paying large amounts of money to hear Bill Clinton speak or donate large amounts to the Clinton Foundation. There is no chance that the election results will be overturned (and a strong possibility that voter fraud on the part of the Democrats in Wisconsin may be discovered–The Gateway Pundit).

Get out the popcorn–this is going to be interesting.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

CBN News posted a story today detailing some of the ways the U.S. government spends money. It’s not a pretty picture.

Some examples cited in the article:

They include “things like the NIH study of about $2 million to study how children perceive food, including testing to see when food is sneezed on, if 5-year-olds will still eat the food.” Lankford (Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.) said.  ” Now, I think we could have answered that question for less than $2 million.”

“Doing grave digging in Iceland which we had paid for recently to be able to study the cultures in the 8th century to the 12th century in Iceland,” Lankford said.  “I’m not sure what the connection to the American economy is to that and how that helps us long term to do grave digging in Iceland, but that’s one of the things we paid for.” 

The article reminds us that the federal debt is almost $20 trillion. The article also mentions that Sen. Lankford believes in setting an example–during each of the last couple of years, he and his office have returned $230,000 of the money given to him to run his office to the U.S. Treasury. We need more Senators like this.

The Media Is Not Fond Of The Truth

On November 27th, Donald Trump tweeted the following:

trumptweetThe media was outraged. How could he say such a thing? Maybe because it was true? Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the illegal alien vote in America.

The article reports:

True the Vote, a group dedicated to rooting out vote fraud, issued a statement supporting the charge by President-Elect Donald Trump that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election.

And there’s this…
A 2014 study found that 25% of illegal aliens polled were registered to vote. The study found that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent voted in the off-year 2010. The vast majority of non-citizen votes went to Democratic candidates, according Earnest and Richman.

If only 2% of non-citizens voted in a population of 20 million non-citizens in the US we are talking about 400,000 illegal alien voters. And that is on the low side.

Illegals are already deciding elections.

We not only need voter ID, we need to make sure that those voters with identification are American citizens. Just as an aside, True the Vote and its founder were targeted by the IRS during the Obama Administration in an effort to intimidate them and discourage them from investigating voter fraud.

How Do You Identify A Terrorist?

The DC Caller posted an article today about the attack on students at Ohio State University this morning. The attacker was Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali refugee who came to America (after fleeing to Pakistan from Somalia in 2007) in 2014. As a refugee, he was granted legal permanent status. This morning he drove a car into a group of people and exited the car, attacking people with a knife. He was killed by a police officer during his attack.

The article reports:

Furthermore, “The Lantern” — OSU’s campus newspaperran an interview with Artan just a few months ago, in which he criticized the school for not having Muslim prayer rooms on campus.

“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media,” he stated. “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be.”

“I don’t blame them,” he cotinued. “It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it, and it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable.”

How do we vet refugees so that this does not happen again? How many ‘lone wolf’ incidents do we need before we see a pattern? What role should the government play in keeping American citizens safe?

We Might Have To Stand Up To This Bully

Reuters is reporting today that an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel pointed its weapon at a U.S. military helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Recently there have been a series of similar incidents, but this is the first such incident since the election of Donald Trump.

The article reports:

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place when a Navy MH-60 helicopter flew within half a mile (0.8 km) of two Iranian vessels in international waters. One of the vessels pointed a weapon at the helicopter, the U.S. officials said.

“The behavior by our standards is provocative and could be seen as an escalation,” the officials said. At no point did the crew of the helicopter feel threatened, they added.

Years of mutual animosity eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran in January after a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences still remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program, and over conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

President Obama has chosen to overlook bad behavior on the part of the Iranians–even thanking them for the return of sailors they took prisoner. President Obama has even loosened the economic sanctions on Iran, something I am hoping President Trump will undo.

Ronald Reagan got it right when he advocated for ‘peace through strength.’ Weakness invites war–it does not prevent it.

 

Disturbing Statistics

When the Supreme Court made abortion legal in the United States, they had no idea that they were opening a Pandora’s Box. Aside from the fact that the issue was settled by the courts rather than left to the states was probably unconstitutional, there are also the medical advances that show us how early a baby in the womb feels pain. Also, disturbing are the statistics showing who is getting abortions in America.

CNS News posted an article today listing the abortion statistics for America in 2013.

The article reports:

Although black Americans make up 13.3% of the U.S. population, they comprised 35% of the total abortions “reported” – 128,682 babies killed — in 2013, according to the latest Abortion Surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

That number, 128,682 black abortions, comes from only 29 reporting areas, according to the CDC. It does not include black abortions from the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Those states “did not report, did not report by race/ethnicity, or did not meet reporting standards,” said the CDC in Table 12 of its report. The header for Table 12 reads, “Reported abortions, by known race/ethnicity of women who obtained an abortion and reporting area of occurrence — selected reporting areas, United States, 2013.”

…For those abortions known by race, in addition to the 128,682 black babies killed, there were 134,814 white babies, or 37.3% of the total reporting. Whites make up 77.1% of the population, according to the Census Bureau.

For Hispanics, who comprise 17.6% of the U.S. population, there were 68,761 abortions reported, which was 19% of the total.

I am not in favor of making abortion illegal–I am in favor of ending abortion as a million dollar industry. Abortion needs to be available when it is a medical necessity. It should not be available as a method of birth control. The acceptability of abortion in America has had a negative impact on the way our culture views life. Life is no longer precious–it is something that can be ended for convenience. Unless we eliminate abortion as a million dollar industry, we can expect the value of life to continue to diminish.