Thursday, February 28, 2008

Caution - "danger ahead"

How else can one describe laws passed recently by congress except as "tyrannical"? From petty laws dictating what kind of light bulbs we may use to essentially banning popular automobiles to raising taxes as our economy appears to be stumbling, very bad left-wing ideas control legislation now as they have sometimes in the past. (Who can forget the 55-MPH speed limit?)

The tragedy is that angry Democrats are voting in record numbers; far outpacing Republicans at the polls this primary season. Democrat fundraising soars well above amounts raised by Republicans; and this has ominous implications. In both Iowa and North Carolina, and all other state voting primaries, Republican turnout was way down.

But the real problem in November, 2008, in addition to loss of the white house, is the potential acquisition of a Democrat veto-proof majority in the senate. Almost half of the Republican Party's 49 senate seats are up for reelection in 2008, as compared to only 12 seats Democrats have to defend. At least 11 of the Democrat seats are considered by "experts" as safe and in seven of 11 seats the incumbents are unlikely to lose because they have been in the senate four or more terms.

A Democrat gain of three to six seats is more than possible and a turnover of nine Republican seats gives Democrats a filibuster-proof majority. In the event of a close case scenario, Republicans would have to rely on RINOs like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to sustain a filibuster. Couple this with the likelihood Nancy Pelosi will lead a House with an even bigger Democrat majority, and a Democrat president, and we have an unavoidable disaster for our country ahead.

A Washington Times analysis January 21 gave a realistic appraisal of Democrat prospects in the house:

"While it is surely far too early to make definitive judgments about the vote itself, a rash of Republican retirements in competitive districts has left the party standing on defensive terrain."

With the real possibility of the Democrat left-wing taking over government, here are some of the entirely likely legislative results we will see:

- a "sun-setting" of the Bush tax cuts (favorable rates on capital gains and dividends will expire in 2010) and increased taxes for tax payers, (all of whom Democrats regard as "the wealthy among us" or "rich")

- a mandatory universal healthcare program (the differences between Obama and Clinton proposals are slight) with coverage for illegal immigrants

- bailout of imprudent home loan borrowers, punishing the responsible home buyers and rewarding the irresponsible

- possible Puerto Rican statehood to add two Democrat senators and six to eight Democrats in the House

- a "comprehensive" illegal immigration law granting citizenship to illegal aliens while leaving our borders wide open

- global warming initiatives that will further diminish our freedom and lifestyle

- a turn over of some inherent national rights and prerogatives to the United Nations or some other international authority ("light bulbs and cars came first, what's next, gun rights?)

- increasing and expanded entitlement programs paid for by tax payers as gifts to those not paying taxes

Democrat plans for socialized medicine under the rubric "universal healthcare" alone will cost trillions of dollars and would likely bankrupt the country. Clinton herself estimates the cost at $1 trillion but remember when Medicare was created in the 1960s proponents said the program would cost $9 billion by 1990; in fact it cost $66 billion by 1990. Applying this 700% unanticipated increase to Clinton's plan suggests a more reliable $7 trillion cost for her mandatory health coverage program. Obama's healthcare scheme costs about the same; so if either becomes president and they successfully work with a Democrat congress to produce socialized medicine, our present flirtation with a recession will seem like an economic boom in comparison.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"We have a real chance to solve the illegal immigration problem"

Although illegal immigration continues to plague the United States, few Americans are aware that some patriots in congress have introduced legislation to address the problem, “The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act” [The act was introduced in 2007 by Representative Heath Shuler, Democrat from North Carolina] . The legislative effort has languished in the House under the leadership of speaker Nancy Pelosi and many in the Democrat Party who choose to take no action to stem the flow into the United States of what they see as potential Democrat voters. It’s no secret that the Democrat Party base is made up of those dependent upon the government and the huge illegal immigrant population certainly make up a large segment of the government-dependent community and, thus, likely future Democrats when amnesty is accomplished. Republicans going along with Democrats on this issue may foolishly believe their support of Democrat illegal immigrant policies will attract them to the Republican Party but that is not going to happen. Other Republicans supporting amnesty and the Democrat failure to protect our borders may do so in a misguided belief that this is somehow done to be “fair” are equally in error because these policies are not in the long term best interests of our country.

The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4088) aims at reducing the presence of illegal immigrants in the U.S. through increased border enforcement and by bolstering several existing interior enforcement measures. While the SAVE Act does not address all of the problems in our immigration system, it tackles a major cause of illegal immigration—the ease with which illegal aliens obtain employment—by mandating the use of the E-Verify system. [That this approach succeeds is not empirical, it is actually working in Arizona and Okalahoma; see “Forget the carrot and stick approach, just eliminate the carrot” on]

The SAVE Act would increase border enforcement by adding technology, infrastructure and personnel at the border. It also provides grants to border towns and counties to assist with enforcement of criminal law. These objectives are accomplished by revising the alien smuggling and harboring provisions of INA §274.

The Act increases the use of technology at the border by:

- Developing and implementing a plan for the use of Department of Defense equipment at the border (SAVE §102(a));

-Providing border patrol agents with 2-way satellite communications and GPS positioning (SAVE §§102(c)&123(b)&(c)), sport utility vehicles (SAVE §103(a)(1)), access to helicopters and power boats (SAVE §122(b)), portable computers (SAVE §123(a)), night vision equipment (SAVE §123(d)), body armor (SAVE §124(a)) and additional weaponry (SAVE §124(b);

- Testing a program utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles, additional sensors and satellite command and control to oversee the border (SAVE §104);

- Acquiring other technology to establish a security perimeter — a virtual fence — along U.S. borders (SAVE §104(e)

- Targeting the physical infrastructure along the border by authorizing the construction of additional fencing in urban areas and vehicle barriers (SAVE §103(a) (4) & (5)); and

- Authorizing the construction or acquisition of additional detention facilities with a total of 8,000 new beds (SAVE §304).

In, addition, SAVE raises the number and efficacy of border agents by:

- Authorizing an increase in border patrol agents by a total of 8,000 over five years (SAVE §101(a));

- Increasing investigators dedicated to smuggling activities by 350 (SAVE §101(b)(1));

- Increasing the budget of the task force used to pinpoint smuggling tunnels by 50%
(SAVE §101(b)(2)); and

- Encouraging recruitment of former armed services personnel to work along the border
(SAVE §101(c)).

The act provides grants to local towns and counties to mitigate the impact of criminal activity by aliens crossing the border and to assist them in transferring illegal aliens to law enforcement authorities (SAVE §132).

SAVE significantly amends the alien smuggling and harboring provisions
currently in force by:

- Increasing many penalties for violation of the law;

- Adding penalties of up to 30 years where the smuggler or person harboring the alien either knew or had reason to know the alien was engaged in terrorist activity; and

- Removing statutory prohibitions (1) for conspiracy to harbor or smuggle an alien and (2) for aiding and abetting the harboring or smuggling of an illegal alien (SAVE §141).

SAVE would also create incentives for illegal aliens to repatriate to their home countries by reducing employment opportunities and making participation in the E-Verify electronic employment verification program mandatory on all employers within 4 years of enactment (SAVE §201).

Under the Act Federal agencies, federal contractors and employers with more than 250 employees would be required to comply immediately; employers with 100 or more employees would be required to comply in 2 years; employers with 30 or more employees would be required to comply within 3 years; and all other employers would be required to comply within 4 years.

Although employers are not required by statute to terminate an employee whose employment eligibility cannot be discerned by E-Verify, but they face a rebuttable presumption that it knowingly hired an illegal alien and therefore would have the burden of proving it had not violated the law.

To assist in enforcing the law, employers would have to inform employees for whom the name and social security numbers provided to the Social Security Administration do not match the Social Security Administration’s records that they must correct the no-match within 10 days or be terminated. (SAVE §202(a)). It would be also be required that any individual whose social security account number income has been reported by two or more employers to submit proof to the Social Security Administration that the individual is the person to whom the social security number was issued and that he or she worked for those employers.(SAVE §202(b)). Deductions would be disallowed to employers for wages paid to unauthorized aliens. (SAVE §211)

Two versions of Rep. Heath Shuler’s SAVE Act were introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu, both enlightened Democrats from Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively, and Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. The Pryor/Landrieu bill is S. 2368 and Sen. Vitter's bill is S. 2366.

Both the House and Senate versions of SAVE employ the principle of Attrition Through Enforcement, the premise of which is that living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when the government enforces all of the laws already on the books. It is also imperative that the government with the full cooperation of the private sector, implements certain workplace enforcement measures. The goal is to make it extremely difficult for unauthorized persons to live and work in the United States. There is no need for the government to spend billions of their dollars to round up and deport illegal aliens ; illegal immigrants will arrange their own transportation to go home if they can no longer earn a living here.

As I said before, we know Attrition Through Enforcement works because, in states that have passed tough new laws to penalize employers of and deny public benefits to illegal aliens, the illegal aliens began to move out of those states, often before the new laws are even implemented. Almost 200,000 illegal aliens self-deport from the United States every year, but one can expect many more would leave if our government refused to grant illegal aliens amnesty, mandated all employers to verify a person’s eligibility to work here, cracked down on identity fraud and enabled local police to easily transfer illegal aliens in their custody to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

I believe Attrition Through Enforcement is the true “middle ground” in the illegal immigration debate. President Bush and the rest of the open borders contingent constantly tell the American people that there are only two solutions to our nation's illegal alien crisis – give illegal aliens amnesty or round them up and deport them. This is a diversionary tactic to draw public attention away from the most effective solution for the illegal immigration problem.

All of us should get behind congressional approval of SAVE. As you can see from the parties of those who introduced the bill in the house and Senate, this is a bipartisan effort. Please contact your representatives and senators to call the bills up for action and encourage them to vote for its approval.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It’s all in a day’s work

Many of us get up in the morning and get ready to go to work; another day just like many others, just a routine to be followed day after day. It’s not only Americans that follow this practice; workers around the world do this also.

So you can imagine Palestinians in the Gaza strip doing the same thing. Mohammad wakes up in the morning, gets ready to go to work, kisses his wife (wives?), pats his 18 children on the head, jumps on his bicycle and off he goes. The only difference from the rest of us is that his ‘job’ is to go to a mortar or rocket launcher and begin the days shelling into Israel.

Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 until the end of December 2007, 475 missiles and 631 mortars were fired at Sderot and the surrounding region. Since January 16, 2008, (just over a month ago) well over 200 Qassam rockets and mortars have been fired by Palestinian ‘workers’ (their job titles are ‘terrorists’) from Gaza.

Suppose you and I were living someplace where everyday as we go off to work, we leave our families knowing Mohammad will arrive at his ‘job’ that day to begin using your family and home as target practice. Since your government will do nothing to stop it, all you can do is pray Mohammad’s aim will be as bad as it usually is and your family and home will be spared, at least one more day.

You also know that people in small towns or cities like yours around the globe will never know the tragedy of leaving your family to the whims of fate every morning because no one will tell them; so effective has been the Palestinian brain wash of the news media. All that is reported is how Palestinians are ‘starved’ by Israel and that Israel is causing a humanitarian crisis. Picking up the New York Times you will also read that Israel shuts off electricity and prevents food shipments to the unfortunate Palestinians living under ‘Israeli occupation’. You may be also told that hospitals are ‘dangerously low’ on fuel, putting patients’ lives at risk. What you won’t read about is that Hamas members steal most of the fuel coming into Gaza to fill their vehicles or that from time-to-time bakeries are told not to make bread to create the impression there is little or no food on Mohammad’s table to feed his brood.

Even the Palestinian health ministry of the Ramallah-based caretaker government has said (unreporterd in the western press) "Hamas militias" have looted the fuel stores destined for hospital vehicles in the Gaza Strip. A statement released by the health ministry said that fuel from the European hospital in the Gaza Strip had been stolen by the director of the hospital drivers to supply the Hamas-affiliated Executive Force. The official also said that contrary to Hamas's claims, there is enough fuel and flour to keep the bakeries in the Gaza Strip operating for another two months. "Hamas members have stolen most of the fuel in the Gaza Strip to fill their vehicles," he said. But you won’t see that in your local papers either; so good are the Palestinian propaganda efforts.

Take the recent Hamas ‘invasion’ of the Egyptian border for an example of media bias; not to give the impression that Palestinians were in the wrong, here is what the Associated Press said about the incident:

“It started last week with what Israel says was the inadvertent killing of a son of Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar in an Israeli arrest raid. Hamas retaliated with rocket barrages on Israel, and Israel struck back by sealing Gaza hermetically and cutting off fuel shipments. Several days later, Gaza militants blew down the border wall with Egypt, effectively ending the Israeli blockade, which had been tacitly backed by Egypt.”

Even though Israelis live every day on the receiving end of mortars and rockets, most of the media chose to attribute Israeli security measures as the cause of the Gaza situation rather than the continuous Palestinian terror that necessitated an Israeli response. The AP story is written as a Palestinian reaction to an act by Israel but does not mention Israel was reacting to unprovoked assaults on its people. Why did the media fail to add the vital context?

The western press may have been off guard on this story but the Arab press was not. Al-Jazeera was ready with live coverage of candle-bearing Palestinian children and an immediate reaction from across the Arab world indicating the Arab news network had coordinated its coverage in advance with the Hamas leadership.

"They were so prepared, it's hard to believe they didn't know this was going to happen," said one official. "Although it's already dark in Gaza by 6 p.m., they waited two hours to shut their generator down so that the lights going out in Gaza could be carried live on Al-Jazeeera during prime-time viewing."

Amir Mizroch wrote in the Jerusalem Post:

“The footage was powerful and unforgettable: thousands of people gathered to light candles in a Gaza City plunged into darkness. The possibility that Hamas itself had switched off the lights in the densely populated city to create the impression of an urgent humanitarian crisis was likely not considered by many watching the broadcast. Naturally many viewers associated the darkness with Israel's decision to reduce fuel shipments. But the media downplayed the fact that Israel's Ruttenberg power station in Ashkelon was still streaming electricity into Gaza and that there had been no Israeli action that shut the city's lights off.”

Hamas continued to manipulate a cooperative media for its own ends. Also as the Jerusalem Post reported:

“On at least two occasions this week, Hamas staged scenes of darkness as part of its campaign to end the political and economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists said Wednesday. In the first case, journalists who were invited to cover the Hamas government meeting were surprised to see Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his ministers sitting around a table with burning candles.In the second case journalists noticed that Hamas legislators who were meeting in Gaza City also sat in front of burning candles. But some of the journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.”

If some journalists saw that they were being manipulated, why was it only the Jerusalem Post that reported this? Were these journalists really so lacking in integrity that they preferred to play along with the deception?

Typical of many media's explanation of events was The Daily Telegraph:

“The wall fell after a nearly week-long Israeli blockade of fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza … “

In fact however, as written in the McClatchy News:

“They had apparently been planning the attack for weeks. With the knowledge of locals, militants had spent weeks methodically using blow torches to cut along the bottom of the 30-foot-tall corrugated iron wall along the Egyptian border.”

McClatchy News Jerusalem bureau chief Dion Nissenbaum wrote:

“Israel is pumping in some fuel for Gaza's only power plant and offering some diesel, but Palestinians are actually refusing to accept the small shipments of diesel to protest Israel's policies.”

The Christian Science Monitor did correctly report on Gazan 'hunger': “While starvation has not been a problem there – most of the strip's residents receive food aid from the UN – it's proved a powerful idea in the propaganda war over Gaza's fate.”

A Palestinian guard also told The Times of London that he saw people surreptitiously working to undermine the wall "for months."

But except for brief mentions as in the Christian Monitor’s piece, none of this could be read in the New York Times or other major papers in the United States. Some media will not admit that they have been manipulated by Hamas. Others prefer to stick to their rigid analysis where Israel bears sole responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians and any related crises.

Meanwhile, Mohammad continues to go to ‘the office’ every day secure with the knowledge that as far as the world is concerned – ‘shelling Israel is all in a day’s work’.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Global warming dupes on both sides of the aisle want to change how we live and bring down our country in the process

Last year as an introduction to submitting the ‘Climate Security Act’ along with Senator John Warner, Senator Joseph Lieberman said:

"With all the irrefutable evidence we now have corroborating that climate change is real, dangerous, and proceeding faster than many scientists predicted, this is the year for Congress to move this critical legislation. If we fail to start substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next couple of years, we risk bequeathing a diminished world to our grandchildren. Insect-borne diseases such as malaria will spike as tropical ecosystems expand; hotter air will exacerbate the pollution that sends children to the hospital with asthma attacks; food insecurity from shifting agricultural zones will spark border wars; and storms and coastal flooding from sea-level rise will cause mortality and dislocation."

And so, on December 5, 2007, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) was approved 11-8 by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

This was not the first senate effort to legalize the global warming hoax but it is the first to have a chance of passage. Likely success is assured because it is labeled ‘bipartisan’ and has the support of numerous Republican senators who are also taken in by the socialist/liberal agenda to reshape the United States by diminishing our quality of life and bring America down to if not the lowest common denominator, one close to it.

In January , 2007, a global warming bill was introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer (good socialist/liberals) along with nine other senators which would set targets to cut the alleged “heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming” (‘The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act’). Its intention was to freeze global warming emissions in 2010 and then gradually cut emissions each year, reaching about 83 percent below current levels in the year 2050 (80 percent below 1990 levels). The ‘cost’ in impact on Americans’ lives would be devastating. Two years ago the McCain-Lieberman bill was introduced but that was voted down by the senate. It seems with each passing year new ‘solutions’ to ‘man-made’ global warming are produced with ever-expanding ‘costs’ and the likelihood of passage increases with the cost to Americans.

Here is what Senator Inhofe, one of the few Republican senators resisting the surge to protect the planet:

“We have had approximately 20 climate hearings on the impacts of climate change, but none on so called ‘solutions.’ Differing approaches to reducing emissions were never discussed. Instead, the Committee rushed to a single approach, without the aid of government analyses. Within seven years, electricity prices are estimated to skyrocket 35 to 65 percent and will have a huge economic hit on households. These costs are far greater than the McCain-Lieberman bill that was voted down by the Senate two years ago. Additionally, the poor will be the hardest hit as they pay about five times more per month, as a percentage of their monthly expenditures, compared to wealthier Americans. By 2015 this bill is estimated to cost up to 2.3 million jobs, and these lost jobs will go to China, India, and other emerging nations without carbon limits.”

Studies by the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) issued February 19, 2008 analyze the economic costs of the Lieberman/Warner Climate Security Act (S.2191) at the state and household level for the 19 states and for the USA as a whole. They report the bill would enforce a nationwide cap and trade program for the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Here is a summary of the results stated by the ACCF (and taken from the report) based on current projections of baseline greenhouse gas emissions and other recently passed legislation which are incorporated into the analysis (1). Among the findings directly from the report are:

  • Energy prices would rise
  • Higher energy costs would reduce jobs
  • Household income would fall as energy and other prices rise
  • Economic growth would slow
  • Higher energy prices would reduce jobs

"The United States would lose 3.7 million jobs in 2020 and 13.1 million jobs by 2050 relative to the baseline forecast (in other words, what would happen without cap and trade or carbon tax legislation).

Household income falls as energy and other prices rise

Costs per household rise over time as emission caps become more difficult to meet. Relative to its current real spending power (year 2010), an average house hold would lose, 760 per year in 2020, rising to $3,476 by 2050 (2).

Energy prices rise

Prices rise because the additional cost of carbon emissions directly impacts the prices paid by consumers for energy. It is estimated U.S. consumers will have to pay 49% more for natural gas and 30% more for retail gasoline by 2020. By the year 2050, those prices will be twice those of the baseline. The wholesale price of electricity rises by 94% relative to the baseline in 2020. Households and businesses will pay more at the retail level.

Why do electricity prices rise?

Electricity prices rise between 2010 and 2020 for two primary reasons: 1) the L/W bill adds a cost for emitting CO2, and 2) there is a related shift away from coal-fired generation (53% decrease by 2020) to higher cost natural gas-fired generation (97% increase by 2020). In the long term, however, natural gas-fired generation falls to 90% below the 2020 level as coal-fired generators equipped with carbon capture and storage replace more carbon-emitting natural gas.

Economic growth would slow

The loss in the gross national product (GNP) causes the U.S. economy to grow more slowly over time, falling to 2.6% below the baseline forecast in 2020. GSP will remain well below baseline levels after 2020 unless new, affordable GHG-control technologies become available over time.

Most industries suffer losses in production

The output of goods and services would decline in almost all U.S. industries. The largest sector, services, falls almost 1% by 2020 relative to the baseline. The greatest impacts are on the electricity and oil sectors, which decline 17% and 21% respectively by 2020. There is a small gain in the gas industry by 2020 that is significantly reduced by 2030. The U.S. agriculture sector’s output falls 3% by 2020."

"1 These are preliminary results using the MRN-NEEM model that Dr. Anne Smith used as the basis of her November 8, 2007 testimony to the Senate EPW Committee concerning the costs and impacts of S.2191. The results\summarized above reflect provisions of S.2191 as it was reported out of the EPW Committee; as originally introduced. For more information on the model, see
2 All dollar figures in this summary are presented in constant 2007 dollars."

It should be clear from the report summary above, the projected increases in U.S. population and energy use will make GHG emission reductions unlikely since more people means more energy needed for home heating and cooling, job growth, transportation, etc.

Forecasts of baseline covered emissions show emissions growing by 30 percent from 2012 to 2030. Sharp cutbacks in U.S. energy use would be necessary to close the 55 percent gap in 2030 between projected emissions and the Lieberman-Warner bill target. To meet the emission reduction targets in S. 2191, U.S. per capita emissions would have to fall by 50 percent from 2000 to 2030.

The bill’s required reductions in per capita emissions are about 25 to 35 times greater than what occurred from 1990 to 2000. Technologies do not exist to reduce emissions over the next 17 years by the amounts mandated in S .2191 without severely reducing the growth in the U.S. economy and in employment.

Contrary to the popular belief, and the premise of the Lieberman-Warner bill, that the European Union's Emission Trading System is a model for the U.S., the cap and trade approach of Kyoto Protocol isn't working as reported by the EU's own data. Europe has negligible population growth so the EU-15 countries are having extreme difficulty meeting their targets.

I have found in researching this subject that the European Environmental Agency's latest projections show that without strong new measures, the EU-15's greenhouse gas emissions will be 7.4 percent above 1990 levels in 2010 which is far short of the 8 percent below required by Kyoto. These EU countries would have to pay an extremely high economic cost to meet their emission reduction target as much as 3 percent of GDP by 2010, according to economic research firm Global Insight, Inc.; and yet that is what the Lieberman-Warner 'Climate Security Act' would do to us.

If you want to read what some other misguided senators, and the usual suspects, said about this subject, continue on below (do so at your own risk of getting ill); but you will likely lose respect for these folks unless you have also bought into the global warming hoax.

"The science is clear and compelling -- we must act to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Senator Harkin. "This bill is an excellent starting point for formulating a national climate change strategy. I am especially pleased that it recognizes the critical role that the agricultural sector can play in that strategy through reductions in farm emissions and sequestration of carbon in soils."

"The solution to this serious problem is not inaction," said Senator Elizabeth Dole. "We must ensure clean air for future generations, and this is a responsible, market-driven approach that strengthens our economy, competitiveness and security."

"Climate change is one of the most daunting challenges we face and we must develop reasonable solutions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. That is why I am pleased to be an original co-sponsor of the Lieberman-Warner America's Climate Security Act. This bi-partisan bill presents a practical, economically-sound approach to reducing America's greenhouse gas emissions 70 percent over 2005 levels by 2050," said Senator Susan Collins.

Several key environmental groups, companies, and other organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense and the National Resources Defense Council, have unsurprisingly also expressed support for the Lieberman-Warner bill.

Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation:

"This is a bipartisan breakthrough on global warming that takes us a giant step closer to a historic vote in the United States Senate. I commend Senator Lieberman and Senator Warner for drafting a strong bill to protect wildlife from global warming."

John Rowe, Chairman and CEO, Exelon Corporation:

"As an early and vocal advocate for climate change legislation, Exelon applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senators Lieberman and Warner to introduce a bill that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address global warming as soon as possible. The legislation represents another important step towards developing the bipartisan consensus necessary to enact legislation this Congress. We are especially pleased that the bill recognizes the need to protect electricity consumers by allocating part of the allowances to local utilities for the benefit of their customers."

Steve Cochran, National Climate Campaign Director, Environmental Defense:

"Lieberman and Warner have paved the way for a historic committee vote on a bill that promises to make great strides toward climate security and economic growth. Thanks to their thoughtful approach we're moving beyond talk and quickly toward action."

Steven Kline, Vice President for Corporate Environmental and Federal Affairs, PGE Corp:

"We believe America's Climate Security Act provides a solid starting point for constructively advancing a comprehensive, national response to and policy on climate change. Senators Lieberman and Warner have developed a thoughtful proposal that recognizes the urgent need for action by designing a program to achieve significant emission reductions from all sectors of the economy. The bill includes provisions that prioritize energy efficiency and technology development and deployment, as well as innovative ideas to protect electricity consumers, manage overall program costs, and provide states with the resources to help address the unique needs of their communities and citizens as we transition to a low-carbon economy and adapt to a changing environment. America's Climate Security Act takes significant steps toward recognizing that a national program must balance the economic, technology, and environmental challenges of combating climate change."

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council:

"The introduction and planned markup of America's Climate Security Act by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) represents an important step forward in the overdue process to enact comprehensive, mandatory global warming legislation. Committee consideration of this legislation will help move us toward the substantial reductions in global warming pollution we need to protect our climate. The bill also recognizes the need to direct proceeds from the pollution allowance market to important policy objectives, including promoting clean energy solutions, protecting the poor and other consumers, ensuring a just transition for workers in affected industries, and preventing impacts abroad that lead to conflicts and threats to security."

The Members of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies:

"[O]ur organizations, representing millions of American sportsmen and sportswomen, thank you again for working with us to help address the challenge of climate change by both reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and providing important new resources to assist fish and wildlife survive in the face of this unprecedented challenge."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Forget the ‘carrot and the stick’ approach; just eliminate the carrot

Arizona and Oklahoma have shown us how to reduce the number of illegal aliens in our country. Since the federal government does not have the will power to take effective action, both states have taken it upon themselves to deal with the problem and results indicate their approach is effective. What they do is simple; instead of the carrot and stick approach, they just eliminate the carrot.

For the first time, Mexican officials in these states admit there is hard evidence illegal immigrants are preparing to leave because new employer sanctions laws are making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to keep a job.

In Phoenix, Arizona, illegal immigrants are flooding the Mexican consulate for documents that will allow them to return to Mexico to enroll their children in school, according to the consul to Arizona, Carlos Flores Vizcarra. They are also requesting a document called "menaje de casa," which allows illegal immigrant families living in the U.S. to cross into Mexico without paying a tax on their furniture and personal belongings. Vizcarra said 94 families asked the embassy for students transfer documents last month, compared to only three last year. He said several thousand immigrants asked for the tax document.

Edmundo Hidalgo of the non-profit immigrant support group Chicanos Por La Causa, told Fox News 30,000 illegal immigrants said in a survey last week that they planned to leave Arizona sometime before March 1, when the state's tough new employer sanctions law goes into effect. Under the law, employers can lose their business licenses if they hire undocumented workers.

Everybody’s hero, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has set up a hotline for citizens to report on employers who hire illegal aliens. He has said enforcement will begin when the law goes into effect. Many deputies have also been given arrest authority by Customs and Border Protection to enforce federal immigration law. So in the course of a traffic stop, illegal immigrants without a driver's license could ultimately face deportation. These factors, combined with a slowing economy, are forcing many illegal immigrant workers to consider leaving Arizona. According to a study last year, 12 percent of Arizona's workforce is in the U.S. illegally, the highest percentage in the nation.

Rosa Soto Moreno, who runs a Catholic shelter that provides food and lodging for illegal immigrants, said in the last month, for every five immigrants trying to enter the U.S., four were crossing back in the other direction. "Many of their supervisors are upset by the law, but have told their workers they have no choice," she said.

Oklahoma has had similar results after enacting laws to penalize employers for hiring illegal aliens.

According to ‘Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000; Office of Policy and Planning, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1999)’, the number of illegal aliens ‘self deported’ in 1999 (the last year for which statistics are available) is 183,000. This number will surely grow as laws like those recently passed in Arizona and Oklahoma take effect. Imagine the result if the federal government actually enforced its similar laws.

Since Washington won’t do what it should, California should also pass laws to curb the growth of the illegal immigrant population. The Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies reported that not only does the state have the largest number of illegal immigrant residents at just fewer than 10 million, but the highest proportion in all states at 27.6 percent.

The data are found in what CIS characterizes as “a profile of America’s foreign-born population,” a 40-page compendium of data, that overall, immigrants, both legal and illegal, account for 12.6 percent of the nation’s population, less than half of the proportion in California. When the children of immigrants are added, the numbers grow larger, approaching 38 percent of California’s nearly 38 million residents. Other data on births, deaths and domestic migration patterns indicate that more than half of the 500,000-plus babies born in California each year have immigrant mothers and that those babies and immigration together account for virtually all of the state’s population growth.

The CIS study also found in its analysis of census data that Latin America – and especially Mexico – is the largest single source of immigration to the United States. Mexico alone accounts for nearly a third of legal and illegal immigration to the country and its share after 2000 is climbing. Among other things, the study found that immigrants are somewhat more likely to be in poverty than native-born U.S. residents (15.2 percent vs. 11.4 percent) and immigrants’ median incomes (full-time workers) are also about one-fourth lower. That being the case, although it is often said that illegal immigrants come to the United States for a ‘better life’, the reality is that the dream they leave their country and family for, may be illusory.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It looks like it’s global cooling we need to worry about, not warming

It is easy to understand why so many people have bought into the idea that you and I, along with most everyone else living on the planet, are the cause of global warming. The news media, governments and ‘respected’ leaders have been relentless in preaching this message which has taken on religious fervor.

Since changing their tune of the 1970s that an Ice Age was coming to the complete fiction of dramatic global warming due to greenhouse gases, global warming fanatics have been able to influence policy at the international and national level. The problem for them should be that science does not support their extreme message but they and their syncophants ignore real scientific information. They have an unreasonable sense of moral superiority, contempt for anyone who disagrees and resistance to all forms of energy replacement except those not relying upon use of fossil fuels.

Scientists tell us that planet Earth is billions of years old and during that time it experienced many periods of extraordinary climate changes without the presence of humans. To claim that humans actually cause climate change is utter nonsense inasmuch the Earth reminds us almost every day how vulnerable the planet is to natural events. The news is full of reports of tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and wild fires; all of which have drastic effects on the environment and mankind.

Not long ago Investors Business Daily had an editorial entitled “The Sun Also Sets” in which it cited the views of Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council. In essence, Tapping says that global temperatures and events closely reflect solar cycles and solar cycles tend to last about 11 years. The researcher also says that solar activity such as sunspots, i.e., magnetic storms, “have been disturbingly quiet” of late. The lack of activity “could signal the beginning of what is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’, an event that occurs every few centuries, which can can last as long as a century, and causes the Earth to cool. While solar cycles tend to last a relatively short time, the lack of normal or increased activity can trigger the Maunder Minimum".

The most recent Maunder Minimum was the mini-Ice Age that climatologists date from around 1300 to 1850. In the midst of this there was a distinct solar quiescence from around 1650 to 1715. Tapping reports there has been "no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.”

The fear of ‘global warming’ is not as rational and scientifically based as the prospect of global cooling. If the events described continue, there will be a major threat to the Earth’s population because it means that food crops will fail and, with them, the means to feed livestock, and the rest of us.

Those paying attention to global weather reports, know that many places in the world have experienced unusual cold events. For example, China has had the heaviest snowfall in at least three decades. David Deming, a geophysicist, in a December 19, 2007 article in The Washington Times, noted that, “South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918.” This occurred across the entire Southern Hemisphere. “Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever.”

Unbelievably, cold events like these have been attributed to affects of global warming. It seems that any change in normal weather patterns anywhere on Earth, whether of warming or cooling, are ridiculously dismissed by global warming zealots as due to the effect of ‘global warming’.

Although climate changes of these kinds do not predict the coming of an Ice Age, a whole series of events should suggest a cooling cycle and that claims of drastic oncoming warming due to our emission of greenhouse gases is nothing more than a global warming hoax.

Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, Merited Scientist of Russia and fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, is staff researcher of the Oceanology Institute. Sorotkhtin recently published a commentary that a global cold spell could replace global warming and noted that the Earth has been warming about one degree Fahrenheit since the last mini-Ice Age ended around 1850. He believes “The real reasons for climate change are uneven solar radiation”, and he referred to the reports of others that there have been changes in the Earth’s axis gyration and of instability of oceanic currents.

Sorokhtin believes that - “Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012. Real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, it will last for 50-60 years or even longer. There are two solar activity cycles, of 11 and 200 years experienced by the Earth and the Sun itself goes through periods of change”.

Until now the reality of the Earth’s known prior heating and cooling cycles has been ignored by global warming proponents in and out of government and the mainstream media. They have revered the ranting of Al Gore with his endless lies about imminent warming. It is understandable that people not aware of the contrary science believe the worst and fear the future so much they are willing to accept draconian changes to their lives.

Even reports by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change are not based on hard science such as observations of solar activity, but on flawed, false computer models. These reports have also been the driving force behind the global warming hoax. There is no better way to gain political and economic control over the Earth and economies of successful nations than to create a global crisis.

Large numbers of scientists receive millions of dollars in research grants in return for issuing global warming lies but increasingly other scientists have been telling the truth. On March 2-4, several hundred ‘global warming deniers’, as they are called, will meet in New York for the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change and will offer papers disputing and debunking the global warming hoax.

In the United States politicians are seeking to impose all manner of regulation and limits on energy use based on the false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. Unfortunately all of the likely contenders for the presidency in the November election have fallen for the nonscientific conclusions that those in our country need to change their lifestyle to ‘save the planet’. They want to mandate a “cap-and-trade” scheme that will make some people and industries wealthy selling credits that will permit greenhouse gas emissions based on the false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. But it is not greenhouse gases we need to fear, it is the action of the politicians.

Ironically, at the very moment the Earth is on the verge of what is likely to be a very long cooling and possibly a full scale repeat of the last Ice Age, the government of the United States is restricting the discovery, extraction, and use of energy reserves that will be needed to cope with climate changes that will impact everyone in the country.

Wind turbines and solar panels will not keep you warm in your home when a short or long term cooling of the Earth occurs, or help you drive away to escape the cold (if that is possible), only continued availability of fossil fuels will do that. Environmentalists worry about ‘endangered’ polar bears in the Arctic; but polar bears are far more likely to survive than humans if we face an Ice Age.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Using the tax code to solve energy problems won’t work

We have a problem of depending upon foreign sources for energy supplies but the government is not helping to improve our situation; and neither Senator Hillary Clinton nor Senator Barack Obama will provide a solution.

Hillary Clinton, Speaker Pelosi et al want to tax oil companies seemingly out of revenge for operating successfully; something the government has never, and will never, be able to do. Taxing successful energy sources and subsidizing unsuccessful ones is the essence of what passes as an energy policy. This was tried in the 1970s and early 1980s and is about to be repeated in the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (‘REECTA’), recently introduced in the House. This bill would effectively raise taxes on the oil and natural gas sector and use the revenue (at least as much as won’t be diverted for other social programs) on alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and biofuels. The only sure thing about this approach is that it will raise prices for consumers while not improving energy security.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there any authority for the government to use our tax code to force a social result desired by socialists, their friends and other sycophants; but that is exactly what the government has done time and time again. In this case the aim is to punish oil companies for being profitable enterprises; which industry will be next, perhaps manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs.

Provisions of REECTA requires taxes paid by oil companies be increased by eliminating or reducing some existing deductions against income from energy production, including the manufacturer's deduction under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Presently this deduction against income applies to all domestic industries but the proposed bill would exclude major oil companies producing oil and gas in the United States. The tax increase is estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation to be $13.5 billion but other tax increases in the bill would bring the total to $18 billion.

Of course proposals to increase taxes on oil companies is prompted by consumers’ anger at higher gasoline prices and the belief by congress that oil companies are under taxed. However, oil companies have tax rates comparable to, or higher than, those of other industrial sectors. For example, the average effective tax rate for major integrated oil and natural gas companies is actually higher then the average rate of 32.3 percent for the market as a whole, according to the Tax Foundation. Moreover, oil company’s profits produced record tax bills. According to the Energy Information Administration, gross revenues from the 27 biggest energy companies was a record high $220 billion in 2006, which is above the $188 billion in 2005 and $129 billion in 2004. Income taxes paid also rose to a record high of $81 billion in 2006, compared to $67 billion in 2005 and $45 billion in 2004. This effective tax rate of 37 percent in 2006 is in line with (and actually a bit higher) than large corporations in general.

REECTA provisions are also contrary to the energy security rationale behind the bill. The tax increase on domestic oil producers gives an advantage to OPEC and other non-U.S. suppliers who are not subject to most of these provisions. The new tax measures would reduce domestic supplies of oil and gas with the result that oil imports would increase. There is also no doubt that as demand continues to grow prices for consumers will increase. Additional taxes on the producers of oil filters down to drivers and results in higher gas prices.

In 1980 the Carter administration imposed a windfall profit tax (WPT) on oil firms. After it proved to have disastrous results, it was repealed under the Reagan Administration in 1988. The impetus for WPT was also anger at "big oil" over high prices. According to the Congressional Research Service, "The WPT reduced domestic oil production from between 3 and 6 percent, and increased oil imports from between 8 and 16 percent. This made the U.S. more dependent upon imported oil." Punitive tax hikes in the proposed bill, though not labeled an excess profit tax, will have the same result.

Supporters of REECTA say the extra income to government from higher taxes on the oil industry will be used to subsidize politically correct alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. However, the history of using the tax code to encourage changed behavior shows this approach is a failure, and federal attempts to encourage alternative energy sources will be another failure. Many of the recipients of tax breaks and incentives in the bill have been subsidized for decades; for example, ethanol has been subsidized since 1978 with the expectation that ethanol would become viable within a few years and then go off the dole and compete in the marketplace. But this has never happened and instead Congress recently passed a huge expansion of the ethanol mandate to force Americans to use more ethanol even as it continues to be heavily subsidized. Wind and solar power have done no better.

After decades of special tax breaks, alternative energy still provides only a small fraction of the country’s energy needs. Wind and solar energy account for less than 3 percent of our electricity because of their high costs and unreliability and the percentage of electricity from renewable sources is not expected to increase soon, according to the Energy Information Administration.

After all these years the government fails to understand shortcomings of programs which require subsidies to continue is the wrong approach. Efforts by politicians to pick winners and losers among energy sources and giving subsidies to some has a record of failure as compared to allowing market forces to determine the direction of energy innovation.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 increases taxes on the energy sources the United States relies upon (oil and natural gas), in order to subsidize unproven alternatives. Increasing taxes on what works and giving subsidies to what doesn't work has failed in the past and would not succeed now. Congress should have a policy that trusts in the free market.

Since the tax code has nothing to do with increases in energy prices, changing tax laws would not benefit consumers. In fact, we will actually be hurt over the long term. Tax increases will reduce supplies and increase prices by discouraging investment in new domestic drilling for oil and natural gas, and in development of alternative supplies of oil. If we want our economy to grow, more domestic oil and natural gas supplies will be needed in the years ahead. Raising taxes on energy would move our country in the opposite direction because it would raise the cost of capital for exploration and production and make development of new energy projects less likely.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Immigration policy should not betray our legal immigrant ancestors

The first thing immigrants saw as they sailed in the early 1900's to Ellis Island was The Statue of Liberty and etched into her base is the poem “The New Colossus”:

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The nostalgic days of immigration based on the same notion as when my parents disembarked in New York in 1907 and 1922 from their homes in Italy are long past. Those coming here illegally simply do not have the same spirit of wanting to be Americans as those who came here legally during the earlier immigration boom.

We need to change the etching on Lady Liberty’s base to “Send us your people who believe America is great and want to become one of us”.

I am not against immigration. After all, I would not be able to write these words if it were not for our country’s belief in the value of immigration. The problem is that we are not smart about it. We don’t want to speak out and have certain expectations, because if we do, it’s not “politically correct” -- and if you’re a politician, it’s tantamount to suicide.

Recently at a campaign stop, Hillary Clinton was in the home of a Hispanic family and the husband was explaining their problem that his wife was illegal. Hillary Clinton stopped him and said, “No woman is illegal.”

Yes, the time-consuming process of immigration is difficult, but I can tell you that I and others would disagree with Hillary Clinton. Let me be clear: both of my parents spoke English, didn’t have and never had a criminal record, they worked, paid taxes and contributed to society. They also went through the process legally. We need to face facts and need to realize that the immigration policies of the 1900’s aren't the same as in today's politically correct climate; the former policies simply can't apply anymore because it is not fair to legal immigrants when too many of us, especially those in government, want to extend citizenship to people who haven’t respected our laws and did not come here because they want to become Americans. We need to make it less difficult and more welcoming for immigrants like those a century ago who want to obey our laws and become true Americans, not hyphenated Americans. Our country will lose the spirit of patriotism if this goes unchecked and not corrected.

This situation has become silly in the extreme...

I read a story that was purported to have been on the news in Miami recently. A man called DirecTV for a technician to come out and fix his satellite dish. He is American and speaks English. The operator at DirecTV asked him if he needed an English-speaking tech?

The man answered “Yes, this is America; after all, don’t you mean to ask me if I need a Spanish-speaking tech?”

No, they told him, they had only Spanish-speaking techs in his area, and nobody who spoke English was available.

We can continue to allow massive “politically correct” immigration to continue and watch as our financial resources disappear or we can get smart. If you don’t believe me or think I am exaggerating, look at some of the statistics below which come from sources I believe are correct and you will realize where so much of our hard-earned taxes goes.

  • $11-22 billion per year is spent by states on welfare to illegal aliens
  • $2.5 billion per year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens
  • $12 billion per year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally or of parents who are here illegally
  • $3 million per DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens
  • $1.9 billion per year could be spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC and free school lunches for illegal aliens

Certainly we all can understand the humanitarian aspect of these expenditures but I can only hope you will agree with me that we should not accept complacency, or worse, about illegal immigration and try to elect people to public office who will not betray our legal immigrant ancestors.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What would happen if B. Hussein Obama is elected president?

As it becomes a serious possibility that B. Hussein Obama ('BHB') may become the Democrat candidate for president in November, it becomes prudent to take a closer look at what he would do if elected to become president.

Sometimes there is a concern that a potential nominee does not have a sufficient understanding of domestic or international matters; with BHB we can worry about what he would do as president on both the domestic and foreign fronts.

Although BHB has carefully avoided actually publicly presenting his programs and policies if elected president, he has from time-to-time commented on various issues and these remarks show the direction in which he would lead the country and what could be expected from his leadership. We can also look at what those advising him and working for his election believe, say and do as an indication of the person BHB really is behind the teleprompter. It is unlikely someone seeking to become president of our country would surround himself with people who do not reflect his beliefs.

With all this in mind, it is important to consider the following:

Senator BHB has introduced a bill (the ‘Global Poverty Act’) that calls for the United States to single-handedly extinguish ‘global poverty’. A Senate committee approved the bill and sent it to full Senate. The Global Poverty Act would appropriate $850 billion, over and above what the US now spends, to eliminate poverty in the world; an amount that represents 0.7% of our country’s gross national product. [If my arithmetic is correct, assuming a total population of 300 million, this works out to cost each man, woman and child in our country $2,833.]

The Global Poverty Act also requires the president not only to accomplish that goal but, "not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this act," to submit a report on "the contributions provided by the United States" toward poverty reduction.

A statement from BHB's office said:

"With billions of people living on just dollars a day around the world, global poverty remains one of the greatest challenges and tragedies the international community faces. It must be a priority of American foreign policy to commit to eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring every child has food, shelter, and clean drinking water. As we strive to rebuild America's standing in the world, this important bill will demonstrate our promise and commitment to those in the developing world. Our commitment to the global economy must extend beyond trade agreements that are more about increasing profits than about helping workers and small farmers everywhere.

BHB further said this bill "declares" that the official U.S. policy is to eliminate global poverty, that the president is "required" to "develop and implement" a strategy to reach that goal and requires that the U.S. efforts be "specific and measurable."Among the more mundane policies BHB supports, in addition to ridding the world of poverty:

  • He said he would support federal legislation based on a California law that would facilitate immediate tracing of bullets used in crime by requiring stamping each bullet with a serial number.
  • He supports the District of Columvia's ban on handguns.
  • He blames problems with the economy on a "failure of leadership in Washington" that includes decisions by the Bush administration on taxes and the Clinton administration on trade.
  • He wants to remove American troops from Iraq immediately.
  • He wants to lead the world in combating man-made global warming.
  • He wants universal healthcare (for all people in the country, including illegal immigrants).
  • He wants to give social security benefits to illegal immigrants using false social security numbers.
  • He said he has not considered whether he would give up his Senate seat if he wins the presidential nomination.
  • There is a flag featuring Che Guevara, the South American revolutionary who became Fidel Castro's executioner after the communist takeover in Cuba, in BHB’s campaign office. Investor’s Business Daily asks the (rhetorical) question in regard to his patriotism- "How is it a front-runner for the highest office in the land can reject an American flag on his lapel but permit the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer's mug?" [Contrast this with BHB’s failure to salute the flag with his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance to the country he wants to preside over as president, and his ostentatious refusal to wear a U.S. flag in his lapel. Also, BHB dismissed his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as 'hypocrites.']

Investor’s Business Daily had it right in an editorial:

"The display of the Castroite flag with Che's picture on it sends a particularly disturbing message about his campaign. Apparently, Obama tends to attract the kind of people who think of mass murderers like Che and Fidel as romantic revolutionaries. Those same people see Obama as a man with a messianic message. These are the voters he'll be indebted to should he win higher office”.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An essay on discontent

Much has been written about discontent in the Republican Party. Conservatives are disappointed no one having conservative views on all issues of importance has been in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. The presumptive nominee, John McCain, has been on the ‘wrong’ side of many matters before the Senate and has joined with Democrats to sponsor undesirable legislation, thereby causing conservatives to be unenthusiastic about his success. Newt Gingrich, who conservatives had placed some hope in carrying their banner did not enter the race and a substitute, Mitt Romney, did poorly in the primaries, ultimately backing out for ‘the good of the party’ in an eloquent speech.

But nothing has been written about Democrat discontent. Democrat allies in the news media have dutifully acclaimed the Party’s candidates’ attributes but have side-stepped the serious problem of discontent among the Democrat rank and file.

With much hullabaloo, Hillary Clinton was originally proclaimed the sure winner of the Democrat Party’s nomination derby. The Clinton machine, finely honed during the Bill Clinton administration, was seen as invincible, and Hillary as inevitable. No one dared to challenge the might of the machinery lest they be cast into political oblivion in the future; the Cuomo family being just one example.

Yet amidst some murmurings among party supporters, such as David Geffen, there arose some voices of discontent with more Clintonism. A few even mumbled concern that the next Clinton in the line of succession might not be able to win a national election.

Suddenly, out of the political cloud (and the Chicago political regime) there arose a clatter for a Party savior, a black true liberal, “an articulate, clean African-American” riding on a horse provided by the reverend Farrakhan, pranced out of the rubble of Camelot to save the day and the Party.

No one gave the black savior much hope to shatter the Clinton machine at first, but a persona with the unlikely name of Hussein Obama starting slowly at first, gathering momentum and a growing following, rose up to put a monkey wrench into the machine.

The schism in the Democrat Party and success of her rival brought tears to Hillary’s eyes (on at least three occasions, but who’s counting). Even husband Bill Clinton expressed a quandary; who to support – the first black (a real one, even if only 50%) or a women as the first president of their kind? William Jefferson Clinton, out of a sense of respect (for the first time) of his wife decided to throw his substantial hat, which becomes ever larger in proportion to his growing ego, onto the head of his pant-suited, tearful wife. Perhaps his decision was made a bit easier because many considered him to be “the first black president”.

With time real Democrat discontent began to grow. Unlike Republican discontent which arose out of ideological differences among the choices presented to Republicans, discontent among Democrats was generated by the qualities and character of the candidates themselves. On the one hand there is the shrieking, ill-tempered, conniving, disingenuous, lying, shrew (but a woman nevertheless) with an idolized spouse; and on the other hand there is a handsome, “articulate and clean”, charismatic, smooth talking (as long as the teleprompter doesn’t break down), rock-star-like darling of a candidate with a militant spouse (a cross between Serena Williams and Maxine Waters).

The dilemma of the Democrat Part regulars, the news media and ‘independent’ voters is palpable. Independents, who eschew ideology but like smiles and stature, are very likely to give their votes to Hussein but loyalty by Party stalwarts dictates selection of Hillary as second in the line of succession. However, Party pragmatists see in the swooning crowds at Hussein’s gatherings a person with a real chance of winning the presidential lottery. Couple that with ‘white guilt’ and who can say the time is not right for a partial Muslim victory, not Party regulars for sure. One can almost hear the cheers of support for Hussein around the world, especially in the Mid East. Furthermore, support of black voters in the presidential election that follows is very likely to increase from 95% to 99%.

With these difficult choices to make, it is easy to understand the reason for discontent in the Democrat Party, even if the liberal press is blind to it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Socialized Medicine is not the cure for what ails us

Star Parker recently wrote a fine article telling us that "Hillarycare is Not the Answer"; she might have said ‘socialized medicine is not the answer’. Hillary and her friends are not the first to propose the government knows what is best for us. In modern times the concept was the brainchild of the former Soviet Union and then perfected by the Peoples Republic of China.

Another point made in Parker's article is that the core behavioral problems of immorality and promiscuity, and poverty and risk of illness, are not only ignored but subsidized. The loss of our historic sense of morality; the idea that we should take responsibility for our lives and be self reliant, chiefly drives our dependence on government. Star says:

"Our health-care ills are symptomatic of our social ills. And our social ills reflect a society where the link between personal responsibilities and costs and personal rights and benefits has been largely severed. According to Dr. David Gratzer of the Manhattan Institute, in 1960 about half of health-care expenditures were directly controlled by consumers. Today, it is about 15 percent. Over the same period in which consumers have relinquished control, per-capita health-care spending has quintupled and costs have skyrocketed. Soviet-style mandates like what Clinton wants will simply dig the hole into which we are sinking deeper. The approach is morally repugnant, the antithesis of everything that a free society is about, and, like the former Soviet Union, does not work".

In the case of health care, Hillary and others have proposed that government decide what we should have and then mandate it for us to buy. If we think we can’t afford it, that’s not a problem because the government will provide tax payers’ money to pay for medical care.

Socialized Medicine requires us to allow government to tell us what an acceptable level of health insurance is and force us all to buy it. In order to make this work a government bureaucracy has to be created staffed not by medical professionals but by untrained bureaucrats who will make sure we are doing what we are told. Not only that, but If we don’t buy into the government program voluntarily, the government won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. If you doubt this, Hillary answered a question on television by George Stephanopoulos who asked how this would be enforced, her answer - "We will have an enforcement mechanism. ... you know, going after people's wages."

Supporters of socialized medicine need not worry about the possibility Hillary may not become the Democrat presidential candidate, her opponent Hussein Obama, (who has the most liberal voting record in the Senate), also wants the government to regulate, control, define and set the cost of our health care. Thus, whoever is the Democrat candidate, we can look forward to a Democrat effort to have the government take over this one-seventh of the country’s economy. Regardless whether one does or does not like the opposing Republican candidate, election of the Republican is the only possibility of avoiding this particular catastrophe.

‘Free’ health care as even now dictated by the government is of course not free except to those who are the recipients of cost-free medical care; their health care is paid for by tax payers. Since most people don’t pay taxes, they think socialized medicine is a great idea whose time has come. Whenever there is no cost for a service, it will be abused and the cost of providing the service will inevitably increase and become higher and higher.

Another reason for our growing cost of heath care is lawyers. Trial attorneys like one-time Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards, want the medical profession to pay for ‘medical injuries’, physical or emotional (in return for their one-third of the jury award in compensation). Since Democrat legislatures and their trial attorney supporters see to it we don’t have the luxury of tort reform, it is unlikely this cause of the problem of increasing health care cost will not be solved any time soon.

Too many among us have come to accept the idea that government is the answer to all our problems. We do have a problem of increasing cost of health care in the country but the government is not the solution, it is the problem. If we want cheaper health care, we need less, not more, government. Individual freedom, choice and responsibility have made our country great, now is not the time to abandon these traditions.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Are we our own worst enemies?

Gasoline costs $3.00 or more a gallon, we are being required to replace incandescent light bulbs with those expensive curly things, environmentalists have made us shut down any program that would increase our oil supplies and decrease dependence on foreign countries that want us dead or worse; and what does our government want to do now, increase our federal gasoline tax and put polar bears on the endangered list?

Why are our leaders doing this to us, because of global warming of course? And guess what; all the remaining candidates for their Party’s nomination today are caught in the global warming trap, hook, line and sinker (to coin a phrase) so we don’t stand a chance to avoid what is in store for us.

Even though the number of polar bears has increased substantially from an estimated 9,000 in the 1960s to 22,500 today, the Department of the Interior speculates that global warming may someday reduce the amount of summer ice in the Arctic, thereby threatening the bears’ existence. Note: the operative word is “someday”, not today or even in the foreseeable future, but “someday”.

The Endangered Species Act has been used to deprive property owners of their rights and has hampered economic activities of developers, farmers, ranchers, and loggers in the rural West and elsewhere but it has done little to actually protect species. In its decades-long existence, only a small percentage of the listed species has actually been threatened or, if threatened, has actually recovered or even shown any increase in numbers. The only impact adding polar bears to the list will be to hinder energy development in Alaska.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is estimated to contain 10 billion barrels of oil or nearly 15 years worth of current imports from Saudi Arabia. Listing bears as threatened would prematurely remove any chance of developing potential oil and gas resources in that region which will cause an increase in energy prices and make us continue to be reliant on foreign oil.

Those that do not want us to disturb the increasing number of polar bears propose that we use ‘biofuels’ to lessen our foreign oil dependence. However, environmentalists now have a proverbial ‘catch 22’ because reports are that biofuels actually will cause an increase in ‘greenhouse gasses’ and, thus, we are back to square one.

Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these "green" fuels are taken into account according to two recent studies. The studies were published in the journal Science and report a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects on land being converted to biofuel cropland globally to support biofuels development. Destruction of rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed for land clearing, but also depletes available plant life which provide natural absorption of carbon emissions. Cropland absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces.

The conclusion reached in the report is that greenhouse gas contribution is significant and, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels results, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in additional land being cleared which was previously used either for food or carbon absorption. Timothy Searchinger, one of the researchers in environment and economics at Princeton University, and authors of the reports, said "When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially. Previously there's been an accounting error: land use change has been left out of prior analyses."

Believe it or not, a group of 10 of the United States' most eminent ecologists and environmental biologists (by at least by their own estimate) sent a letter to President Bush and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, urging a reform of biofuels policies – the letter said "We write to call your attention to recent research indicating that many anticipated biofuels will actually exacerbate global warming”.

Of course, facts do not hamper national and world bureaucrats from their desire to change the western world into the third world. For example, Nicholas Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program, said the United Nations had recently created a new panel to study the evidence, "We fully believe that if biofuels are to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, there urgently needs to be better sustainability criterion." (Do you know what that means, I don’t.) The European Union has set a target that countries use 5.75% biofuel for transportation by the end of 2008 and the United States’ energy package requires that 15% of all transportation fuel be made from biofuel by 2022.

Isn’t it amazing; when man tries to outsmart ‘Mother Nature’ all he does is make matters worse.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

While the world ignores the threat, Islam is taking over

The inroads Muslims are making in the western world are achieved inch-by-inch so the changes become difficult for westerners to fully comprehend and to recognize the slow marginalization of all we hold dear in a free society. Muslims practice the clever use of political correctness to classify any mocking or criticism of Islam as ‘racist’ (remember the Danish cartoons), including the obvious need to critically examine people from Muslim countries entering the United States as well as those in the category of highest potential threat who enter the transportation system. (It is trite to say, but a little old lady from Winnetka is not as likely to pose a potential terrorist threat as the bearded Imam from a Mosque preaching that Islam should take over the world.)

Muslims have flexed their muscles in banking as well as the industrial world using petrodollars earned from the accident of oil beneath the camel dung in the Middle East.

Dr. Steven Watts, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Institute for the Study of Culture, Economics, and Strategic Resource Management at Pepperdine University is one of several men making the rounds in America. Kuwait, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are using various agents to soften up the ‘kafirs’ on the subject of Sharia banking. For those unfamiliar with Muslim terminology; a ‘kafir’ “is an infidel or unbeliever” of Islam as the one “true” religion. The kafirs are getting Sharia one morsel at a time and Dr. Watts is one of those advancing it. He assures his audiences that Sharia banking is good and even Christian, since it forbids investment in alcohol and gambling.

Dr. Watts and those Islamic apologists like him think they understand the Koran and Islam's theology. They are certain that the good Islam is the right Islam and that the bad Islam of the jihadists is not the real Islam. Watts and others of similar mind 'know' that their version of the Koran is the right one because some Imams have agreed with their limited reading of the Koran; but they ignore the multitude that think and preach otherwise.

However, upon examination of the apologists’ statements about knowledge of Islam, it is clear they have neither knowledge of the ‘Sira’ (Mohammed’s biography) nor the 'Hadith’ (Mohammed's Traditions). To hear them tell it, Islam is the Koran and Islam has nothing to do with Mohammed. Even though someone like Watts may teach about Sharia finance, he doesn't know very much about ‘Sharia law’. (Sharia law includes the subjugation of 'kafirs' and women.) Dr. Watts knows a few "good" Koran verses that agree with his views but ignores the rest of the Koran that contradicts the "good" stuff. Watts is also unaware of the Islamic principle of ‘abrogation’ whereby subsequent Koranic verses that contradict earlier ones take precedent. For example, violent verses in the Koran that occur during Mohammad’s time in Medina supersede the ‘moderate’ verses of the ‘Mecca’ period of Mohammad's life.

To rationalize this incongruity, some Muslims say in Islam where there are two contradictory ideas, both are true. To them, and most Muslims, the Koran is built on the logic of the truth by contradiction. So when the jihad verses contradict the peace verses, both are correct. Why? Both came from Allah. Allah is never wrong by definition, so both sides of the contradiction are true. Western minds simply are unable to comprehend such ‘logic’.

Islam extends the olive branch with one hand and the rapier for slashing and beheading with the other hand. Apologists of Islam want us to focus on the olive branch and would have us forget the jihadist’s sword. As difficult as it may be for us kafirs to believe, Muslims think the Koran teaches peace through jihad. On one level this makes some kind of sense; if you kill all your enemies, you will have peace. Westerners are unwilling to adopt the same course of action and, hence, are at a fatal disadvantage.

The world witnesses almost daily, Arab leaders saying one thing to westerners and exactly the opposite to fellow Muslims. It is hard for most of us to understand the dualistic Islamic ethics. They can say one thing in, for example, ‘peace’ negotiations with Israelis and the opposite to the jihadists. Mohammed encouraged deception of the kafir and the Koran echoes these sentiments. But to Islam apologists, Islam is only a religion and an Islamic religious leader would never lie to us. They do not see that political Islam has no honorable meaning and they have no understanding of Islam's political/religious duality. God help us.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Can Bill Clinton become our president again?

Whoever thinks Bill Clinton can’t be president again is sadly mistaken. I don’t mean a ‘de facto’ president when his wife Hillary is elected; I mean an honest to God actual president on his own. I can hear the gasps of Republicans, and some Democrats, everywhere; but what I say is really true as I shall explain.

A lot of people think a president can only have two terms but that is not the case. The basis of this thought is the belief that a Constitutional Amendment, (Amendment XXII ratified February 27, 1951), prevents a president from serving two terms, consecutive or not; this is also not true my friends.

The 22nd Amendment was passed in the aftermath of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election to an astonishing fourth term which defied the tradition, but not the law, that presidents should only have that office for two terms. This was not intended as a slap to FDR, it was an effort to return to the tradition and make the tradition a legal limitation.

When the 22nd Amendment was written, it was assumed that in order to become president, a person had to be “elected” to that position. We all know what assumptions do, “they make an ass of you and me”; and that certainly was the case in this instance. The scenario of a person unqualified to become an elected president because of this Constitutional prohibition, nevertheless attaining that office, was never contemplated. However, one may indeed become president in ways other than being elected to that office.

There are many examples in our history. Without going too far back, we may remember that Vice President Lyndon Johnson first became president upon President John Kennedy’s death and Gerald Ford became president upon the resignations of Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon.; and neither Johnson nor Ford was “elected” to the presidency.

Now that I have your attention; let me explain. Here is the 22nd Amendment as it stands in our Constitution, in relevant part:

“Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. … " (
Emphasis added)

Since former president Bill Clinton was elected president twice, he cannot be elected president again, according to the 22nd Amendment. However, if Bill somehow became Vice President, during Hillary’s term or otherwise, the most unethical president in our history would have another shot at the oval office (a potential hazard to interns but an absolute catastrophe for the rest of us). The 22nd Amendment would not then apply because Bill was not 'elected' to the office of the presidency.

With the scruples the Clintons have, would you sell life insurance to Hillary if she is elected president and hubby somehow became Vice President?

We need a renaissance of nuclear power

During the first Arab oil boycott in 1973, President Richard Nixon declared Project Energy Independence. Nixon promised an ambitious nuclear power program that would lead to 1,000 reactors deployed across the nation by the end of the 20th century. However, today only 104 commercial reactors are in operation within the U.S. and of these 48 were granted license extensions that are typically for 20 years beyond their original “useful life” cycle, and utilities have filed or plan to request extensions for another 33 plants; a far cry from the 1,000 nuclear power reactors anticipated.

In 1954, Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission), issued a prediction that nuclear power would provide “electricity too cheap to meter.” However with no new reactors having come online since 1996 and with the rapid collapse of new construction in the 1980s, a nuclear revival would represent a return from the dead for the nuclear power industry.

Nuclear Power represents a realistic opportunity to reduce, but not eliminate, dependence on foreign oil. A significant number of electric power plants use oil as fuel for power generation therefore expanded use of nuclear power would enable power generation without need of oil as a fuel source. However, nuclear power has been regarded as a danger to the public because of some nuclear accidents and bad public relations precipitated by news media hyperbole.

For those taken in by global warming alarmists, it is also noted that fossil fuel-based electricity has been projected to account for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Dr. John Deutch of MIT has said "In the U.S. 90% of the carbon emissions from electricity generation come from coal-fired generation, even though this accounts for only 52% of the electricity produced. Taking nuclear power off the table as a viable alternative will prevent the global community from achieving long-term gains in the control of carbon dioxide emissions."

Environmentalists are also responsible for lack of respect for nuclear power. They exploit myths about nuclear power to discourage its use but all are false. Typically said is that nuclear power is “dangerous, wasteful and too expensive”. Here are the arguments against using nuclear power and the reasons these contentions are incorrect.

1) Uranium (a fuel for nuclear reactors) is running out

According to environmentalists, uranium reserves are ‘relatively limited’ and they say that a significant increase in nuclear generating capacity would reduce reliable supplies from 50 to 12 years.

In fact, there is 600 times more uranium in the ground than gold and there is as much uranium as tin. Even with no new major uranium exploration for 20 years, at current consumption levels the known uranium reserves are predicted to last for 85 years. Geological estimates from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that at least six times more uranium is extractable – enough for 500 years’ supply at current demand levels. Moreover, modern reactors can use thorium as a fuel and convert it into uranium – and there is three times more thorium in the ground than uranium.

Uranium is the only fuel which, when used, generates more fuel. Not only existing nuclear warheads, but also the uranium and plutonium in radioactive waste can be reprocessed into new fuel, which has been estimated to supply a significant portion of our electricity needs for many years. In short, there is more than enough uranium, thorium and plutonium to supply the entire world’s electricity for several hundred years.

2) Nuclear power is not a low-carbon option

Anti-nuclear campaigners claim that nuclear power contains ‘hidden emissions’ of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from uranium mining and reactor construction. But so do wind turbines, built from huge amounts of concrete, steel and plastic.

The OECD analyzed the total lifetime releases of GHG from energy technologies and concluded that, taking into account mining of building materials, construction and energy production, nuclear is still a ‘lower carbon’ option than wind, solar or hydroelectric generation. For example, during its whole life cycle, nuclear power releases three to six grams of carbon per kilo Watt hour (GC kWh) of electricity produced, compared with three to 10 GC/kWh for wind turbines, 105 GC/kWh for natural gas and 228 GC/kWh for lignite (‘dirty’ coal).

3) Nuclear power is expensive

As with all power generation technology, the cost of electricity depends upon the investment in construction (including interest on capital loans), fuel, management and operation. Like wind, solar and hydroelectric dams, the principal costs of nuclear reactors is in construction. Acquisition of uranium accounts for only about 10 per cent of the price of total costs, so nuclear power is not as vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of fuel as gas and oil generation.

Furthermore, like many existing power plants, any new reactor designs will have to be pre-approved for operational safety however construction costs will be less and they will produce 90% less volume of waste and have lower decommissioning and waste management costs.

4) Nuclear reactors produce too much waste

Contrary to environmentalists’ claims, the United States is not overwhelmed with radioactive waste and the ‘problem’ of radioactive waste is minimal. The largest volume of waste from the nuclear power programs is low-level waste – concrete from outbuildings, construction materials, and soil from the surroundings and so on. The amount of such waste comprises a relatively small volume to deal with. Production of all the electricity consumed in a four-bedroom house for 70 years leaves about one teacup of high-level waste and new nuclear construction will not make any significant contribution to existing radioactive waste levels for many, many years. Additionally, new technologies are being developed continually that will enable nuclear waste to rendered harmless.

5) Decommissioning nuclear reactors is too expensive

Existing reactors were built with no regard for future demolition. New reactors will be constructed from modular designs with the need for decommissioning built-in. The costs of decommissioning and waste management will be incorporated into the price of electricity to consumers. New nuclear plants are expected to have a working life of 40 years so the cost of decommissioning is spread over a longer period.

6) Building nuclear reactors takes too long

This is perhaps the most ironic of the anti-nuclear arguments, since the legal actions in court by environmentalists are actually responsible for almost all delays in expanding use of nuclear power generation and this opposition will cause most of the future delays.

The best construction schedules are achieved by the Canadian company AECL, which has built six new reactors since 1991; from the pouring of concrete to criticality (when the reactors come on-line), the longest construction took six-and-a-half years and the shortest just over four years. This schedule could be duplicated in the United States if law suits by environmentalists were not obstacles.

7) Nuclear reactors lead to weapons proliferation

More nuclear plants could actually reduce weapons proliferation. Atomic warheads make excellent reactor fuel; decommissioned warheads (containing greatly enriched uranium or plutonium) currently provide about 15 per cent of world nuclear fuel. Increased demand for reactor fuel would reduce the number of warheads potentially available to terrorists. Also, nuclear plant construction is closely monitored by the IAEA, which polices anti-proliferation treaties.

8) Wind and wave power are better sources of power than nuclear reactors

If, as environmentalists say, new nuclear power plants cannot come on-line in time to prevent climate change, how much less impact can wind, wave and carbon capture make? Environmentalists claim offshore wind turbines can make a significant contribution to electricity supply. Even if that were true – which it isn’t – environmentalists should realize the environmental impact disqualifies wind as ‘sustainable’. The extensive use of wind turbines requires the building of a huge industrial infrastructure and is often opposed by residents; the most famous of which is the opposition by environmentalist ‘champion' Ted Kennedy who opposed building wind turbines in his backyard.

Wave power is still highly experimental and unproven as a method of generating electricity and the costs and time delays make this possibility unrealistic and its problems make those of the nuclear industry look cheap by comparison.

9) Nuclear reactors are a terrorist target

Since 11 September 2001, several studies have examined the possibility of attacks by a large aircraft on reactor containment buildings. The US Department of Energy sponsored an independent computer-modeling study of the effects of a fully fuelled Boeing 767-400 hitting the reactor containment vessel. Under none of the possible scenarios was containment breached.

Only the highly specialized US ‘bunker busting’ ordnance would be capable – after several direct strikes – of penetrating the amount of reinforced concrete that surrounds reactors and this could not occur because our military would prevent it. Moreover, terrorists have already demonstrated that they prefer large, high visibility, soft targets with maximum human casualties (as in the attacks on New York, London, Madrid and Mumbai) rather than well-guarded, isolated, low-population targets. Any new generation of nuclear reactors will be designed with even greater protection against attack than existing plants, and with ‘passive’ safety measures that work without human intervention or computer control.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard presented a number of recommendations which I believe should be considered for making the nuclear energy option viable. I have modified these recommendations a bit and if these recommendations are followed, nuclear power generation can become a reality.

  • Placing increased emphasis on the once-through fuel cycle (removing plutonium generation as a dangerous byproduct unless controlled) as best meeting the criteria of low costs and proliferation resistance;
  • Offering a tax-credit to private sector investors who successfully build new nuclear plants. This tax credit is currently extendable to other carbon-free electricity technologies and should apply to the nuclear industry as well;
  • Advancing a U.S. Department of Energy long-term waste management R&D program. Urging DOE to establish a Nuclear System Modeling project that would collect the engineering data and perform the analysis necessary to evaluate alternative reactor concepts and fuel cycles using the criteria of cost, safety, waste, and proliferation resistance;
  • Giving countries that forego proliferation- a preferred position to receive nuclear fuel and waste management services from nations that operate the entire fuel cycle, but under a “trust and verify” basis.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

“We the people of the United States … “

The Constitution of the country begins with the preamble:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for a common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

- and then continues to prescribe a country with a government having only limited powers in order to maximize liberty and freedom of its citizens.

Yet you would not believe that today if you take time to consider all of the things in our lives that are controlled by the federal government, despite the original intention of those writing our Constitution to actually limit the power and authority of the government.

Messrs. James Madison et al had the right idea in their belief that government power would get out of hand and become all encompassing unless expressly restrained. Unfortunately all three branches of the government, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have too often expanded the authority of the federal government well beyond the original intention. This has occurred for several reasons.

Many among us believe that we, the people of the country, are better off if the government is empowered to ‘take care of us’, The motivation of these people may be well intentioned but is nevertheless devastating to our freedom and generally outside the scope of the Constitution.

Another group of people are less well intentioned. They are true power seekers who will do and say anything to get and retain power. Perhaps in times past they were labeled differently but in these times they are primarily leftists and Democrats.

Although it may be that Democrats of decades ago were of a different mind, today most adherents of the Democrat Party, and especially those in leadership roles, clearly seek power for powers’ sake and to inflict their view of the world on the rest of us. For the most part they seek to control our lives through governmental action, of course in accordance with their version of ‘what’s best for us’ because they think we are incapable of deciding that question for ourselves. Most commonly this power is derived by making as many people as possible dependent upon government. In so doing, a large segment of the population becomes ‘disincentivised’ to make any significant effort to help themselves and they become increasingly reliant upon government for their quality of life. It also makes them blindly supportive of those that advocate government assistance to them; hence, they vote to keep these people in power and against those who want them to try to help them help themselves and become more self-reliant. Whether they know it or not (or whether they care or not), the cost of this is great; loss or diminishment of their liberty and freedom. Unfortunately for the rest of us, their cost is also our cost.

If you find it difficult to believe we started our with a limited federal government, consider what the Constitution actually proscribes as the powers of the federal government, all other powers being retained by the states or the people (the 10th Amendment).

Michael Mitchell of Alaska compiled this list from Article I of the U.S. Constitution. These are all the powers that the Congress has.
  1. Borrow money
  2. Regulate commerce among the states
  3. Regulate naturalization
  4. Regulate bankruptcies
  5. Coin money
  6. Fix weights and standards
  7. Punish counterfeiters
  8. Establish post offices
  9. Establish post roads
  10. Record patents
  11. Protect copyrights
  12. Create federal courts
  13. Punish pirates
  14. Declare war
  15. Raise an army
  16. Provide a navy
  17. Call up the militia
  18. Organize the militia
  19. Makes laws for Washington, DC
  20. Make rules for the Army and Navy
And that's it! According to the 10th Amendment, all other powers are “reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.” The additional power ceded to the federal government has been by fiat by congress itself with the concurrence of the Judicial and Executive branches of government. Simple clauses of the Constitution such as the power to “regulate commerce among the states” have been interpreted so broadly as to enable Congress to regulate portions of our lives well beyond the original intention of our country's founders.

Take a look again at the “enumerated powers” above and consider for yourself in how many ways congress has exceeded the authority granted by the Constitution; how many can you think of? That is the reason it is very important to have federal judges and Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that will abide by the constitution and not make ‘laws from the bench’ in accordance with their concept of ‘what is good for you’; and the reason we must elect a president who will appoint judges who will take their oath to defend and preserve the constitution seriously (and in these days senators who will “advise and consent” with such appointments).