For Those Of You Interested–The Money In Political Campaigns

The following is from

aaaaaacampaignspending2014aaaaaaacampaignspending2014bMy point in posting this is to illustrate that the money in politics comes from both sides. As much as all of us hate to see the amount of money spent on political campaigns, we need to remember that the money spent does provide jobs for people working on the campaign, jobs for people in various forms of media, jobs for publishers, and other people directly and indirectly related to the political season. I don’t think you can limit the amount of money spent on political campaigns without interfering with free speech rights. The only way to look at these numbers and retain your sanity is to realize that much of this money provided jobs for people who might have been otherwise unemployed.

Cutting Congress Out Of The Iran Deal

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the ongoing negotiations with Iran. The Washington Free Beacon has obtained the audio of a talk to progressive activists last January by Deputy National Security Adviser and MFA in creative writing Ben Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes told the group that a deal with Iran is very important to President Obama as he attempts to establish some sort of positive legacy. Unfortunately, as is usual with this administration, President Obama is willing to take some shortcuts.

The article reports:

“Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office, and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war,” Rhodes said. “So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.”

Rhodes made the comparison as the White House was reeling from the botched rollout of the $2 billion Polls continue to show that the health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, remains unpopular.

Rhodes also said the White House wants to avoid congressional scrutiny of any deal.

“We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away,” Rhodes said. “And there are ways to do that.”

That is similar to what an unnamed senior administration official told David Sanger of the New York Times last week for a piece headlined “Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress”: “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years.”

Those in the Obama Administration need to remember that we do have a Constitution. The U.S. Constitution has very definite rules on Congressional approval of treaties.

The article concludes:

According to Rhodes’ logic, any move by the Americans that strengthens the hardliners at the expense of the other two groups decreases the chances of a deal. Our foreign policy is left hamstrung, in a vain and counterproductive and quite likely futile attempt to put Obama in the history books as the man who reestablished ties between the United States and Iran.

A Republican Congress would not only find itself ignored by the White House. It would find itself powerless to stop détente. The Democratic Congress voted repeatedly for timelines for withdrawal from Iraq. Bush vetoed them. Obama would do the same.

But there is one x-factor: Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose anti-Americanism is as deep as his Shiite radicalism. He has thwarted the ambitions of past American presidents who hoped to reconcile our two nations. There is no reason to assume he has had a change of heart. He is as aware as anyone of the president’s waning political fortunes.

Repudiated, isolated, ineffective, stymied, Obama cannot persuade the Iranians of the strength of the American position. So he will move as far as he can in the direction of the Iranian one. Unable to make Iran pro-American, he will settle for making America pro-Iranian. It is part of his dismal, pathetic, ill considered, shortsighted, and injurious “legacy.”

For the sake of America, I hope Congress will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to any attempt to allow Iran to go forward with its nuclear program.

How Did We Get Here And How Do We Get Away From This?

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about some of the tactics being used by the Democrat party in New York to turn out voters.

The article reports:

The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.

“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.

“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”

It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”

The letters were sent out to 1 million registered Democrats who had failed to vote in previous midterm elections.

The article further reports:

Such attempts to shame people to vote — what politicos call “social pressure” or peer pressure — has become more common place and was used by the Obama campaign in 2012, sources said.

A Yale University study in 2008 found that voter participation increased substantially after lazy voters received letters telling them their spotty voting history was a public record that would be scrutinized.

The notice includes a “vote report card” rating New Yorkers’ voting records as “excellent,” “good,” “fair” or “incomplete.”

“Many organizations monitor turnout in your neighborhood and are disappointed by the inconsistent voting of many of your neighbors,” it says.

I am totally in favor of encouraging people to vote, but I think voter intimidation is not the answer. There are a number of things we can do to encourage people to vote–we can do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of our elections, and we can encourage people to get involved in local politics so that they become part of the process of choosing candidates–thus giving more people a voice in who the candidates are. We also need to remind those Americans who are Christians that their moral input is needed in American politics.

We need to remember the words of John Adams–“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If the church withdraws from politics, It is not fulfilling its role in keeping America strong.

The Numbers On ObamaCare Enrollment

This video was posted on You Tube by The Daily Signal:

The article at The Daily Signal explains:

But based on what we know already, the Affordable Care Act isn’t panning out exactly as expected. That’s because the vast majority—an estimated 71 percent—of people who gained coverage under Obamacare between January and June did so by qualifying under Medicaid’s loosened eligibility requirements.

America cannot afford ObamaCare. We can afford to help people with the purchase of health insurance in the free market through tax credits and other programs. ObamaCare needs to go.

The Government Has Entered Your Living Room

Yesterday posted a story about two students at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School who have been suspended from school because of a picture taken in their living room. The picture shows Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira dressed for the school’s homecoming dance and holding Airsoft rifles. The caption below the picture, which was posted on Facebook by their father is “Homecoming 2014.”

The article reports:

School district superintendent Dr. Richard Gross said he didn’t have a problem with the Airsoft guns, and he understands free speech. However, he “takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads ‘Homecoming 2014.'” He added: “When you tie that to a school event, that’s something to be concerned about.”

Velez defended the couple’s photograph on CBS Boston, explaining that the guns are toys that shoot plastic pellets. Yet Dr. Gross said the entire homecoming dance would have been canceled had police discovered the photo prior to the start of the event. 

They are toy guns that shoot plastic pellets. If they had been nerf guns, would the students have been suspended?

The article further reports:

According to, Pereira said, “We took [the pictures] with the Airsoft guns because that’s our hobby, and we wanted to include them.” But school officials argue that the photo caused “a disruption at the school.”

I’m sorry, but this just seems really ridiculous to me. I can understand other students asking the couple questions about the guns and about their hobby, but how did this picture cause “a disruption at the school.” I think this is just another example of the basic Massachusetts hysteria regarding guns.

Are You Enjoying The Current Price Of Gasoline?

On Sunday, Stephen Moore posted an article at The Daily Signal about the recent decline in gasoline prices. The article reminds us that in June, oil reached a peak price of $103 a barrel. Since then, the price has dropped 25 percent. American motorists are seeing the results of that drop in gasoline prices at the pump that have dropped below $3.00 per gallon. At their present levels, gasoline prices are saving American consumers and businesses $200 billion a year.

The article reports:

Oil prices are falling because of changes in world supply and world demand. Demand has slowed because Europe is an economic wreck. But since 2008 the U.S. has increased our domestic supply by a gigantic 50 percent. This is a result of the astounding shale oil and gas revolution made possible by made-in-America technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.  Already thanks to these inventions, the U.S. has become the number one producer of natural gas. But oil production in states like Oklahoma, Texas and North Dakota has doubled in just six years.

Without this energy blitz, the U.S. economy would barely have recovered from the recession of 2008-09. From the beginning of 2008 through the end of 2013 the oil and gas extraction industry created more than 100,000 jobs while the overall job market shrank by 970,000.

President Obama, you didn’t build this recovery (such as it is)–it happened in spite of you! The energy blitz in America is breaking the back of OPEC. They can no longer blackmail western countries with threats of cutting off their oil supply.

The article further reports:

Yet the political class still doesn’t get it. As recently as 2012 President Obama declared that “the problem is we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and we only have 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.”  Then he continued with his Malthusian nonsense,  “Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’d still have to rely disproportionately on other countries for their oil.” Apparently, neither he nor his fact checkers have ever been to Texas or North Dakota.  And we don’t have 2 percent of the world’s oil. Including estimates of onshore and offshore resources not yet officially “discovered”, we have ten times more than the stat quoted by the president–resources sufficient to supply hundreds of years of oil and gas.

If the President and his Democrat allies would get out of the way, the American economy would recover. Please remember that when you vote next week.


Human Nature vs. Common Sense

Remember when you were a teenager and you got grounded? Nobody likes being told they have to stay in one place and not move. In America, where we are used to having freedom of movement, it is even worse.

Hot Air posted an article today about the feelings of Americans regarding the quarantine of those exposed to Ebola versus the feelings of those who have been exposed to Ebola.

The article reports:

This should be perfectly intuitive for anyone who has had even fleeting exposure to human nature, but it is easy to suspect that an administration that reflexively bleats “science” in lieu of a cogent argument may lack the requisite experience to know that people will instinctively resist internment.

The media appeared certain that they had in nurse Kaci Hickox a figure they could transform into a victim of the imperious bully Chris Christie when she was involuntarily quarantined after returning to the United States from West Africa where she aided Ebola victims. In creating an object of pity out of Hickox, the press perhaps believed they could take some of the heat off of President Barack Obama who, in opposing the quarantining of those returning from West Africa, is on the wrong side of 80 percent of the public just days before a national election.

I listened to parts of an interview with Kaci Hickox on the radio today. She was talking about her decision not to be quarantined. Her argument was that she is healthy, feels good, and there is no reason to quarantine her. I am sure the doctor who is currently hospitalized in New York City with Ebola felt the same way.

The article reminds us of Doctor Spencer’s story:

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

The refusal of Ms. Hickox to be quarantined for twenty-one days is an example of someone who is so wrapped up in what they want that they are unconcerned about the safety of those around them. Hopefully, Ms. Hickox will not come down with Ebola, but if she has been exposed to the disease, she needs to do everyone a favor and stay in quarantine for twenty-one days.

Common Sense From The Huffington Post

I missed this article when it came out, but the Huffington Post posted an article in early August that makes an important point.

The article reports:

The story about Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education is startling. His role and the role of the U.S. Department of Education in drafting and imposing the Common Core standards on almost every state should be investigated by Congress.

The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A Congressional investigation is warranted.

The close involvement of Arne Duncan raises questions about whether the law was broken.

Just the idea that the federal government is taking over local education is frightening.

The writer of the article explains why she opposes Common Core:

The revelation that education policy was shaped by one unelected man, underwriting dozens of groups. and allied with the Secretary of Education, whose staff was laced with Gates’ allies, is ample reason for Congressional hearings.

I have written on various occasions (see here and here) that I could not support the Common Core standards because they were developed and imposed without regard to democratic process. The writers of the standards included no early childhood educators, no educators of children with disabilities, no experienced classroom teachers; indeed, the largest contingent of the drafting committee were representatives of the testing industry. No attempt was made to have pilot testing of the standards in real classrooms with real teachers and students. The standards do not permit any means to challenge, correct, or revise them.

In a democratic society, process matters. The high-handed manner in which these standards were written and imposed in record time makes them unacceptable. These standards not only undermine state and local control of education, but the manner in which they were written and adopted was authoritarian. No one knows how they will work, yet dozens of groups have been paid millions of dollars by the Gates Foundation to claim that they are absolutely vital for our economic future, based on no evidence whatever.

The article points out that at a time when local districts are struggling to fund education adequately, they are now being asked to spend additional money on Common Core materials, testing, software and hardware. This does not make sense.

Diane Ravitch, who wrote the article at the Huffington Post is a Research Professor of Education, New York University; and Author of the book, ‘Reign of Error.’ She is calling for a Congressional investigation into Common Core.

Common Sense During An Election Season

Dave Chadwick describes himself as a 59-year-old African American man, born and raised in Jacksonville (North Carolina), and now living with my family in New Bern (North Carolina).

He recently wrote a letter to the New Bern Sun Journal stating his thoughts on the current election cycle. After reading the letter, I am convinced we need this man in public office.

This is the letter:

I am a 59-year-old African American man, born and raised in Jacksonville, and now living with my family in New Bern.

I am insulted by the arrogance of the Democratic candidates during this election because they talk to us through their advertisements as if we are stupid.

My kids attend public schools here in New Bern. Not only are the staff and teachers at the schools outstanding, my kids have plenty of books.

I seriously doubt if money is really being transferred from the schools to yacht owners. But each time someone purchases a yacht, jobs are created and secured at companies like Hatteras Yachts located right here in New Bern.

I was shocked to hear the radio commercial that featured a couple of ladies suggesting the Republicans were trying to take away the rights of African Americans to vote. The voter ID initiative,(if that’s what they’re referring to) is to preserve the integrity of the vote, and a photo ID can be acquired for free through the North Carolina DMV.

And recently, the commitment of the incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan to a strong military and American security was questioned by the Republican candidate. In her rebuttal commercial, the Democratic Senatorial candidate cited her relatives who have served in the military and her support for the administration’s current strategy regarding the terror group ISIS.

Well, almost everyone in Eastern North Carolina has relatives currently serving or who have previously served in the military. Despite all the “support of the administration’s ISIS strategy,” it doesn’t seem like much progress is being made at stopping them. I just finished watching a CBS, 60 minutes story on Benghazi which is completely inconsistent with the administration’s story.

These things do not invoke trust within me or many of my friends for the current Obama administration. The Democrats are spending an awful lot of money on negative ads designed to discredit Republicans.

Why would anyone choose that kind of strategy over one that highlights their own accomplishments?

Thank you for allowing me to voice this opinion.

 David Chadwick, New Bern

Thank you, Mr. Chadwick, for introducing some common sense into the race.

Mr. Chadwick was recently interviewed on NewsMax TV. This is the interview:

Parents Need To Pay Attention To What Their Children Are Being Taught In School

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a paper a Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton, Tennessee student brought home.

The article reports:

The handout asked “What does it take to be on Mount Rushmore?

The handout then explains that George Washington hailed from Virginia, a “prime breeder of black people.” Of Theodore Roosevelt, it was alleged he called Africans “ape-like.” There were also disparaging remarks made of Thomas Jefferson (he enslaved 200 Africans) and Abraham Lincoln.

Obviously this sort of handout does not encourage racial harmony in the classroom.

The article continues the story:

She (Sommer Bauer) said her jaw dropped when she followed the link to a website that was listed on the handout. Imagine her surprise when up popped the Nation of Islam home page.

The Nation of Islam believes there is no God but Allah. They also aren’t all that keen on white folks or Jewish folks. 

“It raised a number of red flags,” she said. “They are basically saying our Founding Fathers are racists.”

Sommer told me she reached out to the teacher for an explanation – hoping it was an honest mistake.

“At first, she did not recall which paper it was,” she said. “Later in the day, she found the paper and told me she didn’t like what it said – and said she must have printed it by mistake.”

The teacher also told Sommer that her son was not supposed to take the Nation of Islam handout home. It was supposed to stay in the classroom. That bit of news caused her great alarm.

Mrs. Bauer had the common sense to reassure her son that he could bring any papers home from school to his parents because they have his best interests at heart.

The story continues:

The school’s version of events is somewhat different.

Alexander (Superintendent EC Alexander) told me the handout was never meant for public distribution. He said the child took the handout from the teacher’s work station without her permission. He said the teacher had been preparing for a presentation on Mount Rushmore and had discarded the controversial handout.

“It was not an authorized handout,” Alexander said.

Julie West is the president of Parents For Truth in Education, a Tennessee-based group that is opposed to Common Core.

At this point there is no indication the Nation of Islam assignment was connected to Common Core. However, West said she is alarmed by whatever happened at Harold McCormick Elementary School.

“The fact that students were cautioned against allowing their parents to see anything is deeply troubling,” West told me. “The only reasonable explanation is they don’t want parents to know what it is their children are learning.”

I certainly don’t mean to be an apologist for the school – but what if it was just an honest-to-goodness mistake?

“Whatever the reason it came into the classroom, it’s not okay,” she said. “These are not advanced high school students. This is third grade. They should be learning the basics of our country.”

What in the world was a handout from the Nation of Islam doing in an American elementary school classroom?

An Unlikely Hero

On Friday the Daily Signal posted an article about the Ebola vaccine currently being tested. It is somewhat ironic that after the Democrats attempted to politicize the Ebola virus’s arrival in America, it turns out that the person responsible for the research into the vaccine is Dick Cheney.

The article reports:

From the time scientists first discovered the deadly virus in 1976 to 2012, two dozen outbreaks of Ebola claimed the lives of roughly 1,500 people–far less than the nearly 5,000 killed in the current outbreak in West Africa.

Bloomberg News reports that little money had been available to scientists to work on finding a cure to the disease. But after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Cheney, anticipating the potential for bioterrorist attacks, became the Bush White House’s point man advocating more spending to protect the nation from deadly pathogens.

One of the potential vaccines is currently being tested on humans. The additional money for the development of a vaccine was the result of the fear of a biological warfare attack after the 9/11 attack.

The Bush Administration has been criticized for many things, and some of the criticism is valid; but we need to remember that after the 9/11 attack, the Bush Administration set a high priority on the safety of Americans. They tried to be forward thinking in the steps they took. It would be very nice if the current administration was focused on the safety of Americans rather than election politics.

The Fight For Honest News Continues

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story today about Sharyl Attkisson, the investigative reporter who resigned from CBS’s Washington Bureau in March of this year.

Ms. Attkisson tells her story in her book Stonewalled: My Fight For the Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

In the book, Ms. Attkisson describes the hacking of her computer while she was at CBS:

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.

It is scary that our government is involved in this sort of thing.

John Hinderaker comments on Ms. Attkisson’s story:

If the Obama administration hacked into a reporter’s computers, used them to spy on her, and even prepared to frame her for a potential criminal prosecution by planting classified documents, aren’t we looking at the biggest scandal in American history? Perhaps I’m forgetting something, but I can’t come up with anything to equal the stunning lawlessness on display here–if what Attkisson says is true (which I don’t doubt), and if the administration is the guilty party.

John Hinderaker suggests that she file a lawsuit against the offending agency. Ms. Attkisson’s story is another example of a government that is out of control.

The Propaganda Machine Rolls On

On Saturday, Haaretz reported that a Palestinian-American was killed on Friday in the West Bank as he attempted to throw a firebomb.

The story reports:

According to the military, the boy, 14, was about to throw a firebomb towards Route 60; an IDF unit positioned nearby opened fire after he had lit the firebomb’s fuse, and was preparing to hurl it. Palestinian officials denied these claims.

A relative identified the teen as Orwa Abd al-Wahhab Hammad and said he was born in New Orleans and came to the West Bank at age six. Hammad’s cousin Moath said he was among a group of Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli army spokesman told Reuters Israeli forces “managed to prevent an attack when they encountered a Palestinian man hurling a molotov cocktail at them on the main road next to Silwad. They opened fire and they confirmed a hit.”

This is the U. S. State Department response:

The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24.  Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem are in contact with the family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. We call for a speedy and transparent investigation, and will remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation.  We continue to urge all parties to help restore calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of the tragic recent incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

How about telling the Palestinians not to train their children to throw rocks and firebombs at soldiers? This was not a ‘tragic recent incident.’ It is the result of years of indoctrination of hatred toward Israel in the Palestinian educations system.

Below is a picture of some kindergarten children at the graduation in Palestine that I posted in June 2012. Until this sort of training in school stops, there will not be peace between Israel and its so-called Palestinian neighbors.

As usual, the State Department is on the wrong side of this conflict.

It’s A Little Late To Discover This

The Sun Journal in New Bern, North Carolina,(no link–current article available only to subscribers) posted an article today about a state audit of voters in North Carolina that indicates that hundreds of people on North Carolina voter rolls aren’t U.S. citizens — and are ineligible to vote.

The article states:

The State Board of Elections said in a news release late Friday that it found 1,425 registered voters who are likely non-citizens in an analysis of data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security.   

The announcement comes less than two weeks before an Election Day that features the close race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger Thom Tillis. The contest will help determine which party controls the Senate.   

“We are working to ensure that no ballot cast by a noncitizen will count in this or any future election,” Kim Westbrook, the board’s executive director, said in a statement.   

The board is preparing instructions for local elections officials to challenge ballots under a process that would give the voters a chance to prove their citizenship. The board says it’s a crime for a noncitizen to register or vote.

The article further reported:

On Friday, a coalition of voting rights groups expressed concern about the audit in a letter to state elections officials. It cited laws regarding maintenance of voting rolls and urged caution when comparing voter rolls to data from the DMV and federal immigration officials.

 The letter was signed by Project Vote, Demos, Fair Elections Legal Network, American Civil Liberties Union, NALEO Educational Fund, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Action NC.

 “Our organizations are deeply concerned about maintaining access to the polls for all of North Carolina’s voters in keeping with the requirements of the NVRA,” the letter said, referring to the National Voter Registration Act.

There are requirements in the NVRA that voter lists be periodically audited and purged of people who have died, moved out of an area, or for some reason are ineligible to vote. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice under Eric Holder chose not to enforce these laws.

Judicial Watch is an organization that has worked tirelessly in recent years to ensure the integrity of the vote in America. Their latest victory has been in Indiana, where 700,000 voters were moved to “inactive status” as a result of a May 2014 statewide mailing to all registered voters. This mailing was the result of efforts by Judicial Watch and True the Vote. They had been advocating in court for two years to get this mailing to take place. Statistically, nearly 1 in 5 Indiana voter registrations are for people who have moved and no longer live at the address associated with that voter’s outdated registration. That is a scary statistic.

Who Is Setting Up The Voting Machines?

Last Wednesday I posted an article ( about voting machines in Schaumburg, Illinois, registering a Republican vote as a Democrat vote. That story was based on a Fox News story. Yesterday the Examiner posted a story about voting machines in Maryland that are refusing to let voters vote for Republican candidates.

The article reports:

“When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose — a Republican — but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” reported Donna Hamilton.

“This happened multiple times with multiple selections. Every time my choice flipped from Republican to Democrat. Sometimes it required four or five tries to get the ‘x’ to stay on my real selection,” the Frederick, Md., resident said Thursday.

…two voters in Anne Arundel County experienced the same problem: A touchscreen voting machine switched their Republican votes to Democrats. The voters had to cancel theirs votes and start over.

Joe Torre, election director in Anne Arundel, called it a “calibration issue” involving a single machine.

Hamilton said she notified officials of the problem she encountered at the Frederick County Center, where she voted. “I’m not sure what was done about it. If someone is not paying close attention, they could end up voting for the wrong candidate,” she said.

No kidding. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue–this is an honest elections issue. Both parties need to make sure voting machines are calibrated correctly so that votes get counted correctly. As Americans, we need to be able to trust the integrity of our elections.

Is American Free Speech In Danger?

The Daily Caller posted an article today about a letter written by FEC Vice Chair Ann Ravel about her plans to deal with the issue of internet political advertising. The concern is that her plans will severely limit political speech of any kind on the internet.

The internet has made a significant difference in the political climate in America. People who do not trust the mainstream media have a place they can go to investigate news stories on their own. Since many of the internet news sites lean conservative, there are those in the Democrat party who consider this a threat. The significance of the internet in the political dialogue in America is almost on the level of the significance that talk radio has been in recent years.

The article reports:

The Republican members of the commission cited a 2006 ruling which provided a so-called “Internet exemption” which allows for the publication of free political web videos.

But according to her letter, Ravel, an Obama appointee, hopes to change that.

“A re-examination of the Commission’s approach to the Internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue,” she wrote, adding that “the Commission has not adapted with” a changing world.

Warning against “turning a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena,” Ravel said that “this effort to protect individual bloggers and online commentators” has been “stretched to cover slickly-produced ads solely on the Internet.”

The fact that FEC Vice Chair Ann Ravel has written this letter tells us that the Democrats are concerned about the growth of the new media. The new media is doing the job that the traditional media used to do. Hopefully, the FEC will not be successful in shutting down free speech.

This Is Not The Time To Ignore The Ongoing Nuclear Negotiations With Iran

The Center for Security Policy posted an article yesterday about the ongoing negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. The article listed the developments this week in the negotiations:

1. NYT says Obama plans to sidestep Congress on an Iran deal. An October 19th article in the New York Times stated that the Obama administration “will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress have a vote” on a final nuclear deal with Iran.

2. Do Iran’s recent steps to dilute some of its enriched uranium mean Tehran is serious about reaching a deal on its nuclear program? This question is based on a Monday Reuters report that a new IAEA report said Iran diluted 4,100 kg of 2% enriched uranium to the natural uranium level (0.7% uranium-235). The article at the Center for Security Policy points out that a September 2014 IAEA report specified this was a separate batch from Iran’s 12,464 kg of reactor-grade uranium (enriched to 3 to 5%). Iran can still make 7-8 nuclear weapons from its reactor-grade uranium stockpile if this uranium was further enriched to weapons-grade.

3. New U.S. Concessions. The Iranian news service Mehr reported this week that the Obama administration has offered to allow Iran to operate 4,000 uranium centrifuges. Iran is using centrifuges to enrich uranium to reactor-grade and could easily adapt them to enrich to weapons-grade. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges but only about 9,000 are currently operational.

If this report is true it is consistent with previous reports of U.S. offers allowing Iran to operate 1,500-4,500 centrifuges if it converted any uranium it enriched to uranium power. As I explained in an October 2 National Review Online article, these previous concessions would do little to stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

4. Dennis Ross Thinks There Could be a Partial Nuclear Deal with Iran. Ross thinks a partial deal which “contains” Iran’s nuclear program and prevents Tehran from moving closer to a nuclear “breakout” capability – the ability to produce enough weapons-grade fuel for one nuclear weapon – would be a good outcome for the nuclear talks. Ross says this might also be achieved by a “muddling through” strategy under which Iran would agree to limit its nuclear program and the West would not impose additional sanctions. Under such a scenario, the nuclear talks would be suspended for a few months but bilateral talks with Tehran would continue….The current understandings with Iran allow Tehran to continue to enrich uranium and keep a huge stockpile of reactor-grade uranium which could be used to fuel 7-8 nuclear weapons if this uranium was enriched to weapons-grade. Iran also has been permitted during this year’s nuclear talks to install new centrifuge designs that may be four to 16 times more efficient. These are unacceptable concessions that Ross is proposing be made permanent under a partial deal with Iran or through a muddling through strategy.

America has not yet prevented a country that desires to obtain nuclear weapons from going nuclear. I suspect that we will not be able to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Unfortunately, the change in the balance of power in the Middle East that would result from Iran going nuclear is not a pleasant one.



A City Recognizes Freedom Of Religion

On Sunday I posted an article ( about Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who run the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel.

I quoted a Daily Signal article which reported:

Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

It seemed to me that the ruling did not respect the Knapps right to practice their religious beliefs freely. Evidently the town in Idaho had second thoughts on the decision and has changed its mind.

The Washington Post is reporting today:

The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers doesn’t have to perform same-sex marriages….

[City Attorney Michael] Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.

“After we’ve looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained.

One has to wonder who the city attorneys talked to before they decided that the ministers were not breaking any laws.

The article concludes:

As I’ve argued before, I think more than just religious freedom is at stake here — the Free Speech Clause protects the right not to participate in verbal ceremonies, whether religious or otherwise, and whether they are pledges of allegiance (even ones without “under God”) or the conducting of wedding vows (even ones that are secular). A secular freelance writer, for instance, has a Free Speech Clause right to refuse to write news releases for religious groups that he disapproves of (even if he generally takes commissions from the public), or articles praising ceremonies that he disapproves of. Likewise, a wedding officiant has a Free Speech Clause right to refuse to lead wedding ceremonies that he disapproves of. But at least I’m glad that, in this instance, the city has agreed that the ordinance doesn’t apply.

I believe that the freedom to practice religion is under attack in America. The Bible is very clear on the subject of homosexuality, and those Christians who believe in the Bible should be free to practice their religion. If the state chooses to marry homosexuals, that is a civil matter. If the state orders Christian pastors to perform gay weddings, the state is then infringing on the rights of Christians.That is the problem with the homosexual agenda–it discriminates against people who have a Christian worldview.

Facing A Real Problem In New York City

Recent mayors of New York City have been concerned with such things as decreasing the size of soft drinks, taking salt shakers off the table at restaurants, and taking the carriage rides out of Central Park. Generally they have been involved in trivial pursuit instead of dealing with some of the major problems the city has. Well, now they have a genuine problem to deal with.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Craig Spencer, a doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders.

The article reports:

While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.

If the Center for Disease Control is correct and the Ebola virus cannot be contracted from anyone until they start having symptoms, the virus may be contained at this point. Hopefully that is the case.

I hope that the mayor and public officials of New York City will give this situation the attention it deserves. It is frightening to think of the consequences of an Ebola epidemic in New York City.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

CBN News posted an article today about the release of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn‘s annual “Wastebook” report, which lists 100 examples of wasteful government spending totaling $25 billion.

The article reports:

Examples of wasteful federal spending include the following:

$10,000 to watch grass grow at a Florida reserve

$19 million in paid vacations for government workers, about a third of whom were placed on “administrative leave” for disciplinary reasons, including criminal offenses

$350 million to build a launch pad tower that was mothballed immediately because the rockets it was designed to test had been scrapped years ago

The report also found the State Department used part of its $3 million counterterrorism communications budget to debate terrorists on Twitter.

Why are we debating terrorists on Twitter? Why not use their smart phones to located them and deal with them in a way that prevents terrorism (use your imagination)?

This is another reason we need a new Congress that will put a stop to this foolishness.

Socialism Doesn’t Work

In November of last year, the government of Venezuela seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

On November 3, I posted an article about the takeover (

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

So where are we now? The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that despite being an oil-rich nation, Venezuela has now introduced food rationing.

The article states:

Here at Maracaibo’s supermarkets, hot and cranky consumers who were waiting in line recently pointed to the irony of Venezuela, a country with $114 billion in oil sales last year, having to ration toilet paper.

“It sort of makes me want to laugh, but I can’t,” said Nayibi Pineda, a hotel housekeeper. “How is it possible we’ve gotten to this extreme?”

Shoppers said the time waiting in line can stretch to more than five hours, a delay they chalk up to malfunctioning fingerprinting machines.

“I’ve spent hours standing in line, suffering in the sun,” shrieked a tearful Luzmarina Vargas, clad in a bright pink robe typical of the area’s Wayuu Indians.

Salvador González, the Zulia state finance director who oversees machines, said officials were requiring machines to be installed at each checkout point in order to shorten lines. Supermarkets must bear the cost of the machines, around $150 each.“Our objective is to guarantee cheap food,” he said in an interview.

It isn’t just food that’s rationed here. Officials shut off water to homes for up to 108 hours a week, say residents, because of problems with the water delivery system.

In the birthplace of Venezuela’s oil industry—the first well was drilled here in 1914—the sale of gasoline is also tightly controlled. Scanners read bar codes that are required on car windshields to limit drivers from filling up their sedans more than twice a week. The measure is designed to curb the sale of Venezuela’s heavily subsidized gasoline—which costs less than a penny per gallon—in neighboring Colombia, where a gallon goes for $4.50.

America learned in the days of the Pilgrims that communal property was not a good idea. The Free Republic has an article entitled “How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims” on its website.

The article states:

Bradford’s history of the colony records the decision:

 At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number.
So the land they worked was converted into private property, which brought “very good success.” The colonists immediately became responsible for their own actions (and those of their immediate families), not for the actions of the whole community. Bradford also suggests in his history that more than land was privatized.

The system became self-policing. Knowing that the fruits of his labor would benefit his own family and dependents, the head of each household was given an incentive to work harder. He could know that his additional efforts would help specific people who depended on him. In short, the division of property established a proportion or “ratio” between act and consequence. Human action is deprived of rationality without it, and work will decline sharply as a result.

There are a number of basic principles that can be followed by a country that lead to prosperity. One of these principles is private property rights, another is free markets. When the government attempts to control the economy of a country, they find that they are in charge of an increasingly shrinking economy. Human nature says that people work the hardest when they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. If governments want financially successful countries, they need to remember that.

Even The Census Bureau Is Fudging Numbers

Yesterday the New York Post reported that workers in the Census Bureau in the Los Angeles area have been have been manipulating the economic data.

The article reports:

Contact information for the veteran Census worker — who reached out to me by e-mail recently and whom I interviewed by phone — has been turned over to congressional investigators who are looking into data falsification in other parts of the country.

“Everybody knows falsification is going on,” the whistleblower told me, adding the malfeasance in the LA region is so obvious that it’s hard to miss.

She said she’s coming forward now because she “applauds” the others who have spoken up already.

Census employees have blown the whistle on the Denver and Philadelphia regions. A Denver whistleblower recently turned over information to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Part of the problem here is that Americans have evidently grown tired of answering surveys and have become very wary of anything that might invade their privacy. Meanwhile, some of the Field Service Areas (FSA’s) are reporting a 100 percent response to their surveys–something that is highly unlikely at any time.

Why does this matter? Aside from the obvious fact that our government is lying to us, why is this important?

The article explains:

The stakes are high, of course. The Bureau of Labor Statistics requires a 90 percent success rate for interviews that go into the Current Population Survey, which Census conducts on BLS’ behalf. It’s those results that are used to calculate the nation’s monthly unemployment rate.

“To be perfectly honest, the BLS should be questioning the data, not just you alone,” the LA whistleblower said.

Who knows what the real unemployment rate actually is.

Sometimes Facts Are Simply Inconvenient

Yesterday the Washington Post published the following chart:


The graph was also posted at Power Line by Scott Johnson. So what is the value of this graph?

The article at Power Line reports:

On two occasions this campaign season, against all the odds, President Obama has said something useful and, even more improbably, something true. On those occasions he advertised the fact that the Democratic Senate candidates running for election or reelection in states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Alaska, North Carolina, and Arkansas are in the bag for him. When their vote is needed, Obama can count on it, and when they tell the voters of their states they wake up every day thinking how best they can protect their interests, as Jeanne Shaheen did last night in her debate with Scott Brown, they are playing the voters for chumps. 

The article at Power Line also includes the following footnote:

FOOTNOTE: The layers of fact checkers and editors at the Post apparently failed to observe that the Colorado Senator’s first name is Mark, not Tom (who is Mark’s first cousin and the Senator from New Mexico). Tom Udall is not to be confused with Mark Udall. Tom Udall only votes with Obama 94 percent of the time.

The current Democrat party does not allow for voting independence on the part of its elected officials–they are required to follow the party line. If we want a Congress that represents the people it is supposed to represent, we need to change our voting habits.