Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is Senator Joe Biden the answer to candidate Obama’s faltering campaign?

Every hockey team has what's known in the game as an "enforcer." Barack Obama evidently believes he needs someone to protect him like a hockey team's star so he chose Senator Joe Biden. As Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny wrote recently in a New York Times article:

"Mr. Biden, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination himself this year before pulling out after performing poorly in the first contest, in Iowa, has shown himself to be a tough political brawler, a characteristic that many Democrats say Mr. Obama has not displayed against Mr. McCain. That is something that presidential candidates typically look for in a running mate."

So Obama has his enforcer but with the pugilistic ability of Biden, the messiah also has someone who doesn't think much of him as a possible president. In one commentary sure to be exploited by the McCain campaign, Biden inadvertently spoke the truth in August, 2007:

"I think he (Obama) can be ready, but right now, I don't believe he is; the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

If that wasn't bad enough, Senator Biden evidently thinks he or John McCain would be a better president than Obama. On The Daily Show in 2005, Biden said while talking about Senator John McCain:

"I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off."

Some think Biden is not the best choice for Obama because of his tendency to "shoot from the lip." For example, he was quoted as describing Mr. Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," a remark that was regarded as racially insensitive. In addition, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Biden said "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

Main stream Democrats may overlook Biden's careless comments because the senator led the fight against confirmation of Justice Bork and Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court but if they have any sense the McCain camp won't let the public forget what the chosen VP candidate said about the man he is running with for the top leadership position in the country, if not the world.

Of course the question remains how much good Joe Biden will do for the election prospects of Barack Obama; since Obama may be his own worst enemy. Obama is the epitome of the classic "tax and spend" Democrat, but in this case "socialist." In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Obama said that he was trying to put together tax and spending policies that deal with two challenges; competition from developing countries, like India and China and the U.S. becoming what he called a "winner-take-all" economy, where "the gains from economic growth skew heavily toward the wealthy."

But that's not all Obama has to hide in his campaign and hope his friends in the news media don't point out. According to Michelle Malkin:

"· Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed." The actual death toll: 12.

· Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: "Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go."

· Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement: "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born." Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965."

Just for fun I invite you to take the following "test." Don't look at the answers below before deciding who said the following:

1. "A new day is dawning. Our country is at a turning point. This is a time of great possibility. Across the land, people are coming together to reshape our nation's priorities to make government 'of, by and for the people' a reality."

2. "From the Midwest to the south, from coast to coast, in big cities and rural communities voters have turned out in record numbers for change."

3. "While wages remain flat, the costs of basic necessities are increasing. The cost of in-state college tuition has grown 35% over the past five years. Health care costs have risen faster than wages."

4. "Voters are demanding a new kind of politics to rebuild our country for the common good. A democratic spirit of unity is inspiring millions to get involved."

1. Communist Party of the United States.
2. Communist Party of the United States.
3. Obama's Platform for Change.
4. Communist Party of the United States
(With thanks to Human Events)

How did you do? Is Obama running for the Democrat Party or the Communist Party of the United States?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not only is freedom of speech threatened by Muslims, so is freedom of religion

Persecution of Christians and Jews is not new in this world. Although such condemnation for religious beliefs goes back thousands of years, Nazi Germany developed it into an art form with the wholesale murder of Jewish people. Of course, the Nazis didn't limit atrocities to Jews, they spread their horror around but Nazis were mainly interested in eliminating the Jewish population.

In their hatred of Jews, they were not alone; Muslims aided and abetted the Nazis since they shared a belief system that relegated Jews to the category of "dogs and apes", as the Koran teaches Islamic adherents. However, unlike the Nazis, Muslims disdain all religions other than Islam. While Muslims complain bitterly about any perceived insult to Islam and any acts of disrespect for the Koran, it is not only accepted but prescribed by Islam to destroy the Holy Bible and those who worship the word of God as opposed to the Islamic reverence of Allah.

Muslims have succeeded in intimidating much of the world so that by actual and the threatened violence the Western World accepts restrictions on freedom of expression lest Muslims be offended. The prime mover of this pressure on the world is the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). With the help of endless petrodollars and fear of violating political correctness, the OIC has managed to have their way across the globe; they have also become the largest lobbying body of nations within the United Nations and are urging an anti-Christian and Jewish agenda with full force.

The Organization of the Islamic conference has actually succeeded in attaining passage of UN resolution in the General assemble called "Combating Defamation of Religions." This harmless sounding title is in reality a deceptive name for targeting men and women of faith who speak out in any way against Islam or reveal the atrocities committed in the name of Islam on behalf of Allah. If Muslims had their way, not only would discrimination against Christians and Jews be practiced universally but any proclamation of a faith other than Islam would be punishable by imprisonment or even death. Supreme Court Justice Scalia said in a recent dissent, "America is at war with radical Islamists"; in this he was not only correct, he was issuing a warning to the world that to overlook or ignore the intrusion on civil rights by these enemies of freedom would result in the worst form of tyranny not seen since the Nazi regime.

As the American Center of Law and Justice wrote recently:

"We are seeing worldwide persecution of Christians as part of the radical Muslim mission to "take the world for Islam" - by purging Christianity from the face of the earth.

"In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim father violently cut out his young daughter's tongue and burned her alive upon learning she had become a Christian. In Africa, a leading Gospel singer was seized, stuffed into a cargo box - with a single hole for air - and left for a month to go crazy or die. After two years, she was released, fled her captive country, and was granted political asylum in Denmark. In Iran, a couple was tortured for reading the Bible. Two men in Algeria were tried and convicted for possessing Christian books. And today we face extremely dangerous threats everywhere because of the one posed by the OIC."

Dr. Andrew Bostom, editor of the book The Legacy of Jihad about Islamic anti-Semitism, warns that the 57 Muslim nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are trying to impose Islamic blasphemy law -- which includes the death penalty for those who "blaspheme" the Muslim prophet Muhammad -- as the universal standard across the world. These sentiments of the OIC were repeated more brazenly by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. During a sermon in response to the Danish Muhammad cartoons which were published February 2006, Qaradawi demanded action from the United Nations in accordance with Sharia-based conceptions of blasphemy: "…the governments [of the world] must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets-to the prophets of the Lord and his Messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places."

Can you imagine if Christians and Jews made such "demands" with respect to the Bible or the Torah; they would be ridiculed, or worse, in the news media and by socialists everywhere, including right here in the United States.

Many sober people warned about forthcoming events after publication of the Danish cartoons; one example is German journalist Henryk Broder who noted back then:

"Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the 'clash of civilizations,' a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilize the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording."

However instead of condemnation of Islamic violence, the West eagerly sought to call for understand and "diversity" through promotion of multiculturism. Dr. Doudou Diène, the United Nations Special Envoy for racism, xenophobia and intolerance, urged the media to actively participate in the creation of a Multicultural society, and expressed concerns that the democratic process could lead to immigration-restrictive parties gaining influence in Western nations.

Diène said that it is a dangerous development when increasing numbers of intellectuals in the West believe that some cultures are better than others, and said "The media must transform diversity, which is a fact of life, into pluralism, which is a set of values. Getting diversity accepted is the role of the education system, and acceptance is the role of the law. Promoting and defending diversity is the task of the media. Societies must recognize, accept and promote diversity," which always seems to mean Sharia. Mr. Diène represents Senegal, an African Muslim country which is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest voting bloc at the United Nations, sponsored by Arab oil money.

In Denmark in 2008, while their country was threatened by Muslims across the world, a public broadcaster on "Danmarks Radio," (the local equivalent of the BBC and with the same left-wing bias), decided to hold a "Miss Headscarf" beauty contest for women with the only requirement being that they are over 15 and wear a headscarf or veil, "the way proper Muslim women are supposed to do."

As the writer Fjordman noted: "The United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that 'There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence.' Does that mean that the UN is now going to ban the Koran? Earlier in March, the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Muslim countries, passed a resolution saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it. The only religion specified was Islam. The document was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference."

I have been writing for a long time that trying to export "democracy" to Islamic countries is absurd. The only result of "democracy" in an Islamic nation is one free vote, one time. Islam is simply not compatible with freedom and democracy.

How incredibly horrible it is that American soldiers are being killed in an effort to export "democracy" to Iraq and Afghanistan while Muslims are exporting Sharia law to western Countries. To us freedom is free speech and free religion. Muslims are using the UN to limit criticism of Islam globally, which basically means putting the entire world under Islamic rule and denying religious freedom in the process.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Silence of the Lambs

U.S. could learn a lot from Putin

What would the world say if the United States invaded a country, like for example Iraq? Indeed, what would domestic socialists, i.e. Democrats, and the news media say about this transgression of sovereign national rights? Oops, we did invade Iraq and we do know what the Democrats and their news media allies said; they said it was dastardly, or words to that effect. For virtually the entire administration of President Bush the Iraq war has been front and center in the battle for political advantage. Never mind that the whole world at the time we invaded Iraq believed that country and its dictator were a threat to everyone, or that Saddam Hussein and his psychotic sons were terrorizing the people with torture and other unspeakable crimes, or that Saddam had a history of aggression against other states; the United States was the villain and that was that.

On the other hand we have the independent democratic country of Georgia with a population of 4.6 million picturesquely located at the foothills of the scenic Caucus Mountains being invaded by a superior world power, killing and destroying in its wake, invading the country with alacrity, and what is the world reaction - it is like the silence of the lambs.

Of course everyone is "outraged" at the transgression. So the world pulls out its collective wet noodle and strikes back at what Ronald Reagan properly called - the evil empire. But to what effect; Russian tanks go merrily along?

What is Georgia's "crime" that warrants such punishment from the Russian bear; Georgia, who only gained freedom from the Soviet Union in 1991, has the temerity to have a democratic government, free elections and is friends with the United States. Georgia has two provinces that would rather separate from the country and seemingly return to the communist orbit of mother Russia. Georgia, like the United States government in the 1800's, didn't like its' states making unilateral decisions like that and sought to exert control to keep these provinces within the country. However, the big neighbor to the north thought this was a good opportunity to accomplish three important objectives and overwhelmed Georgian forces in a short time. Not only did they oust Georgia military from one of the break-away provinces, they kept the motor running until they were deep into the country while destroying infrastructure along the way.

The ultimate goal of Russia is to replace the ruling Georgia government with one more friendly to Russia and that will be an ally against the United States. For that reason, though giving lip service to the idea of a cease fire, terms for concluding their assault include replacement of the democratically elected president with someone else, or they won't pick up their marbles and go home. Naturally they don't come right out and say this so they place a condition of the cease fire that they won't negotiate with the current president; what a clever bear.

I said there were three objectives Russia sought by invading Georgia. One has been mentioned, regime change, but not the good kind. A second objective is to show bordering countries of Russia that things haven't changed much since the 1980's when the Soviet Union was in charge. Lesser states of the former Soviet Union must still toe the mark set by Moscow or they may suffer a similar fate as Georgia; the vision of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia comes to mind. The lesson is don't play footsie with the U.S.; first we are your neighbor and bigger than you and second the United States won't help you resist us.

However the third reason for Russia taking the risk of "disappointing" the world by invading Georgia is oil. Russia has a lock on Western Europe which it can open and close at will. A great portion of oil and gas fueling Western industry and warming western homes comes from Russia. Whenever it suits them for political reasons Moscow can shut the valves and coerce their customers into whatever political outcome they desire; this may not be nice but it's very effective.

A couple of large pipelines pass through Georgia from other energy sources. Neither the pipelines nor the sources are under Russian control so there is a risk that Russia may lose its dominance over energy supplies to Western Europe. If Georgia comes back into the Soviet, excuse me the Russian, orbit, then this threat is removed.

The United States is always terribly worried by what the world thinks of us. To keep on good terms with countries that don't like us anyway, we are willing to subvert our national interest and Democrats are the leaders in this Charge of the Light Brigade. Unfortunately republicans have lost whatever spine they ever had and go along with Democrat efforts to devalue our country in the eyes of the world by passively reacting to national threats, be they Islamic, Russian, Iranian or others.

Certainly we don't want to war with Russia, but mutually assured destruction worked in the past and will work again. When do we play that card, do we wait until Putin decides to place missiles in Cuba again or give ICBM's to Chavez in Venezuela? The United States must do something to make Putin and Russia pay. What can that be; well for one we can take all Eastern Europe countries, including the Ukraine, into NATO as soon as possible? Another thing is to deny Russia entry into the WTO and a third is to reform the "G-8" group of economic powerhouses into a G-7 without Russia. We should also tell Russia we and other Western countries will not participate in the Olympics in 2014 when they will be held in Russia. These steps may seem mild but Putin's Russia wants to remain a player in the international stage and denying Russia that role will have a significant effect on Putin's plans for the Russian future. Furthermore it will at least give our allies threatened by Russia a bit of comfort to know the U.S. is trying to come to the aid of Georgia in ways additional to providing needed supplies and arms.

But the best thing we can do is to learn from Putin. World opinion never won any war and putting it ahead of our national interests is dangerous business which can only lead to our demise. Vladimir Putin doesn't give a damn what the world thinks when Russian interests are involved; and we shouldn't either. If we don't do as the bear does, the eagle won't fly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The mislabeled “United Nations Human Rights Council”

A recent report that the United Nations Human Rights Council has banned criticism of Islam and Shariah law prompted me to look into this nefarious group a bit more. Refusing to allow Islam to be criticized is to condone the stoning to death of women, beheading of men, and all the 6th century demands of Muslims in the name of Allah which remain tenets of Shariah law and Islamic tradition.

By the recent resolution preventing criticism of Islam, the United Nations is endorsing a worldview in which free and democratic countries are guilty of abusing human rights whereas its member countries, and other similar dictatorships, are not. Wags have suggested that perhaps we should rename the United Nations and call it the “Nations of Islam - United in Unique and Ineffable Perfection.”

There is no evidence that the Council banned criticism of any other religion and certainly mocking and criticism of Christianity and Judaism abound without condemnation by the Council or any other institution, domestic or international. Since the United States pays the largest share to support the corrupt and ineffectual anti-American UN, we the taxpayers are also supporting its agency's Islamophile rulings.

As an indication of the Council's leanings, following publication of the Danish cartoons spoofing Islam, the Council passed a resolution in March 2007 that expressed "deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations" and urged states to "to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance."

The discredited United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to replace the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has declared that the new body represents the "dawn of a new era" in promoting human rights in the United Nations. The General Assembly President Jan Eliasson, who was involved with the creation of the Council called it "a new beginning for the promotion and protection of human rights." Arbour also said that the council would be "principled, effective and fair." However after two years of existence the UN Human Rights council has proven to be a dangerous farce and tool of anti-American critics. To its credit the United States, along with three other countries voted against creation of the Council because of fears, proven to be correct, that the agency would be misused and be not only anti-American but anti-Israel as well.

Since replacement of the former commission, the Council has counted among its membership those stalwarts of freedom, democracy and examples of human decency such as Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. If the council did not focus on protecting Islam, condemning the United States for "human rights abuses" and criticizing Israel, it would have nothing to do since a majority of the Council's resolutions are concerned with Israel and the United States.

Ironically the United Nations Charter includes a pledge by member states "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women." Consistent with this promise international treaties, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which the General Assembly passed in 1948, provide the standard by which the world should conform to affirm that there would be no human rights abuse in the world by members of the United Nations. These treaties are constantly and continually violated by the Arab world and other dictatorships that are members of the United Nations and of the Human Rights council.

Action by the Council's predecessor became so bad that even former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged, "We have reached a point at which the commission's declining credibility has cast a shadow on the repu­tation of the United Nations system as a whole, and where piecemeal reforms will not be enough." Unfortunately the replacement has proven to be no improvement and merely continues its biased incompetent performance.

Although many real reforms were intended to be a part of the "reformation", the General Assembly rejected many of them as well as proposals designed to make sure that the council would not repeat the mistakes of the commission. For example, the U.S. wanted a much smaller body than the 53-member commission to enable it to act more easily; a high threshold for election to the council (a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly); and a prohibition on electing nations to the council that are under U.N. Security Council sanction for human rights abuses, all of which would be regarded as necessary and appropriate if the Council were to be truly reformed into a worth while agency. The result was the General Assembly produced a 47-member council that is only slightly smaller than the previous commission, approved a simple majority vote for election to the Council instead of a two-thirds requirement, and did not ban human rights violators from becoming members of the council. Furthermore, even the requirement for a majority vote was undermined by instituting a secret ballot voting process that shielded governments from accountability for their votes and enabled horse trading for approval votes to council membership.

Some of the world's worst human rights abusers regularly use their positions on the Council to block scrutiny of their own human rights abuses and to make specious attacks on other countries like The U.S. and Israel for political reasons because they speak and condemn their human rights violations. According to UN Watch, a Geneva-based nongovernmental organization that monitors the work of the Human Rights Council, "To date, there have been 12 country-specific HRC resolutions: nine censures of Israel and three non-condemnatory resolutions on Sudan." The prior commission had a better record; over a 40-year period, only 30 percent of its resolutions condemning specific states for human rights violations were directed at Israel.

It is also noteworthy that the council has not adopted a single resolution or decision condemning human rights abuses in 19 of the 20 "worst of the worst" repressive human rights situations as identified by Freedom House in 2007. These 19 countries where abuse is rampant are Belarus, Burma, China, Tibet (China), Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Libya, Western Sahara (Morocco), North Korea, Chechnya (Russia), Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.

The UN Ambassador at the time of the Council's creation, John Bolton, said the United States could not agree with the resolution forming the Council because "We did not have sufficient confidence in this text to be able to say that the HRC would be better than its predecessor." Well-known human rights abusers Burma, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe voted in favor of the new council and many ultimately became Council members. Ambassador Bolton noted, "The real test will be the quality of membership that emerges on this council and whether it takes effective action to address serious human rights abuse cases like Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and Burma." The council has obviously failed on both counts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Russian bear is alive and well – following a brief period of hibernation

Georgia is a small country bordering the Black Sea and sandwiched between Russia and Turkey. Two regions of Georgia bordering Russia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - declared independence in the 1990s. After bloody battles both regions did manage to achieve de facto independence. But there's an important difference between the two struggles. Abkhazian separatists engaged in large-scale ethnic cleansing to make their state, which previously had a plurality of Georgians, more ethnically pure whereas South Ossetia remains a diverse region with some villages aligned with the separatists and others with Georgia.

Few people even knew South Ossetia existed before last week. But the pipelines that run through the region supply an enormous amount oil and gas to Europe.
"Whatever political reasons exist for what happened in South Ossetia," says Chris Mayer, an investor advisor, "the oil and gas markets find themselves right in the cross hairs of the whole thing. Resource wars -- fought over oil and gas, pipelines, water and other key resources -- seem likely to have a bigger role in the future. Politicians, though, will be quick to dress up any such war as being fought over something else."

All the talk about Russia protecting the rights of residents of South Osettia from Georgian aggression is utter nonsense; that's like saying the North protected the rights of people in the northern states from invasion by the south during the American Civil War. KGB hero of mother Russia Vladimir Putin doesn't give a whit about the people of the break-away Georgian province, there are very much bigger fish to fry.

The Russians now supply about 25 percent of the European Union's crude oil needs and half of its natural gas. Moscow's attack on the former Russian state of Georgia is a response to a threat to the energy monopoly it uses for political intimidation of Western Europe. There is a key U.S.-backed pipeline that carries oil out of Caspian and Central Asian fields to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean; it was nearly hit in recent attacks. This pipeline and access to oil outside of Russian control is the real prize the KGB-trained Russian leader wants.

Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in an interview with the Associated Press "It is unlikely that aggression against our NATO allies will occur with aircraft and tanks and troops," "A nation could achieve the same and worse effects simply by turning off the taps-- people freeze, industry stops."

The United States is fully aware of the Russian scheme. President Bush sent special envoy C. Boyden Gray to Central Asia to try to get agreement for new routes running through Georgia in addition to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline that was almost hit by a Russian bombing raid during its foray into Georgia. This pipeline carries Caspian crude oil from suppliers not controlled by Russia or OPEC to international markets. Smaller amounts of oil flow through the Baku-Supsa line, which ends on the Black Sea. The Caspian Sea port of Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan, another former Soviet republic that has control of major petroleum reserves. Russia is desperately seeking to buy all of Azerbaijan's natural oil and gas exports at market prices through Russia's energy giant Gazprom.

If Russia succeeds in snapping up all oil and gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan., where they are also actively seeking long term contracts, American efforts to deny Russia unlimited power to dictate oil and gas prices, and control over energy supplied to Western Europe, will be greatly setback. By use of energy control, Russia can inject itself into American alliances through a divide-and-conquer strategy in the oil and gas market, particularly with gas which is urgently needed in the West. Russia has made expansive deals with individual European countries and companies to extend Russia's distribution throughout the continent. For this reason it is very important for America to establish more pipelines from Central Asia to Europe.

Russia has a history of using oil and gas as a political weapon. In the winter of 2006, Russia's Gazprom threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Georgia. Russia also reduced its oil supply to the Czech Republic after the country agreed to allow a U.S.-provided missile defense radar system in the country over Russian objection. In previous shows of strength Russia has cut gas supplies to Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. Of course Russia denies political motivation.

It is understandable why the U.S. wants pipelines built from Turkmenistan, across the Caspian to Azerbaijan, then through the Caucasus to Turkey and on to Western Europe to bypass both Russia and Iran.

Senator Lugar said "Given the characteristics of Russian diplomacy, which have been not only competitive but sometimes gripping people by the throat, they are likely to feel irritated that someone else is in the field."

But the harsh reaction by Russia against Georgia also had another reaction. In a show of solidarity with Georgia, the leaders of five former communist countries went on a stage in central Tbilisi, the Georgia capitol, and linked arms in front of thousands of demonstrators. Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian President, told the crowd: "You have the right to freedom and independence. We are here to demonstrate our solidarity . . . freedom is worth fighting for." President Kaczynski of Poland said: "This country [Russia] seeks to restore its dominance, but the time of dominance is over."

While these displays of independence from Moscow are inspiring, the fact is the Russian bear's appetite has not diminished from cold war days - only the menu has changed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A word to the unwise about the Democrat platform

A word to the wise about the Democrat 2008 platform – the wise already know it.

We all know the purpose of a party platform is to inspire party members but careful reading reveals the truth about what the party stands for and what can be expected if their candidate becomes president. The draft platform the Democrat Party’s platform committee produced now awaits approval at the Democrat National Convention. Although the platform is for party members, party leaders assume, and hope, nobody else reads it.

The platform draft is 54 pages so it is a fair assumption no one will read it critically. Because of its length it is no simple task to scrutinize the platform. A great deal of the text is devoted to bashing President Bush and the Republicans but that is to be expected; the Republican platform will probably do the same thing. However it is possible to cut through the chaff and reveal salient points of this socialist document and learn the Democrat party plans for our future.

There is plenty of money to be given away By Democrats to secure allegiance of voters. Here is a sampling right out of the Democrat play book:

"We will devote $50 billion to jumpstarting the economy, helping economic growth, and preventing another 1 million jobs from being lost. This will include assistance to states and localities."

"We will increase funding to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institutes."

"…we will raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit …"

"We will make quality, affordable early childhood care and education available to every American child from the day he or she is born."

"…if you commit your life to teaching, America will commit to paying for your college education."

"We will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans."

"We will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and will ensure savings incentives are fair to all workers by matching half of the initial $1000 of savings for families that need help."

"…we will create a $2 billion Global Education Fund that will bring the world together in eliminating the global education deficit with the goal of supporting a free, quality basic education for every child in the world."

"We will expand AmeriCorps; double the size of the Peace Corps …"

"We support art in schools and increased public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities."

"Our Children's First Agenda, including increases in Head Start and Early Head Start and investments in high-quality Pre-K …"

All the foregoing is in addition to the Global Poverty Act introduced by Senator Barack Obama which will provide $845 billion to solve poverty in the world; an amount that is equivalent to over $2,000 for every man woman and child in the United States.

Naturally Democrats would not be Democrats without expanding government so there are new government agencies which they would create according to the Democrat platform:

"…we’ll create an energy focused youth job program …"

"We will create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund … we will expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships …"

"We will start a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank …"

"We will establish a Chief Technology Officer for the nation …"

"We will create a national network of public-private business incubators and technical support."

"We will implement a market-based cap and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic change and we will set interim targets along the way to ensure that we meet our goal. We will invest in advanced energy technologies …"

"(WE will)…create millions of new, good, "Green Collar" American jobs."

"(We will)…create a new White House office on Urban Policy and fully funding the Community Development Block Grant."

"…we will create a Social Investment Fund Network that invests in ideas that work, tests their impact and expands the most successful programs."

"We will create an office to coordinate government and non-profit efforts."

"We will create a new White House Office on Urban Policy and fully funding (sic) the Community Development Block Grant."

"We will create a White House advisor on Indian Affairs; and we will host an annual summit with Indian leaders."

Democrats will do more damage than spending a lot of money and creating new government agencies. If Obama becomes president and has a Democrat congress to support him, here are some of things we can expect to drive us down the road to socialism.

"Social Security … We will not privatize it."

"We will … fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act." [Which deprives workers of a secret ballot.]

"…we support overturning the NLRB’s and NMB’s many harmful decisions that undermine the collective bargaining rights of millions of workers."

"We will continue to vigorously oppose ‘Right-to-Work" Laws’ and ‘paycheck protection’ efforts whenever they are proposed."

"We will stop the abuse of privatization of government jobs."

"Our Department of Labor will restore and expand overtime rights for millions of Americans."

"Our Occupational Safety and Health Administration will adopt and enforce comprehensive safety standards"

"We will expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to reach millions more workers than are currently covered, and will enable workers to take leave to care for an elderly parent, address domestic violence and sexual assault, or attend a parent-teacher conference."

"We will provide all our children a world-class education, from early childhood through college."

"We are committed to getting at least 25% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025."

"We’ll invest in advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol which will provide American-grown fuel and help free us from the tyranny of oil."

"We will make it a top priority to reduce oil consumption by at least 35%, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030. This will more than offset the equivalent of oil we are expected to import from OPEC nations in 2030."

And here is a special platform promise that is especially ridiculous in view of the current ongoing drop in oil and gasoline prices – "To lower the price of gasoline, we will crack down on speculators who are driving up prices beyond the natural market rate. We will direct the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to vigorously investigate and prosecute market manipulation in oil futures." Will Democrats "blame" speculators for the drop in oil prices too?

"We will make quality, affordable early childhood care and education available to every American child from the day he or she is born." "Our Presidential Early Learning Council will coordinate these efforts."

Democrats want to control even more what students are taught to make sure they get the proper politically correct information and are not troubled by contrary truth.

"We need to adapt curricula and the school calendar to the needs of the 21st century; reform the schools of education that produce most of our teachers."

Democrats want to perpetuate the idea that English is not our country’s national language. They even want to ‘vitalize’ the "American Indian Language."

"We also support transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by supporting and funding English Language Learner classes. We support teaching students second languages, as well as contributing through education to the revitalization of American Indian languages."

"We will lift the current Administration's ban on using federal funding for embryonic stem cells–"

"We will ensure every American has access to high speed broadband and we will take on special interests in order to unleash the power of the wireless spectrum."

"For families making more than $250,000, we’ll ask them to give back a portion of their income."

"We will end tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas."

"We will … generate revenue by charging polluters for the greenhouse gases they [businesses] are releasing." (Are there any businesses that don’t "release" greenhouse gases?)

Probably the most unrealistic and dangerous policy statement in the Democrat platform concerns our national security. Incredibly despite numerous and increasing acts of violence by Muslims on behalf of Islam, and increasing evidence to the contrary, Democrats continue to expect we can get Muslims to play nice by being nice to them. Here is what will be the Democrat foreign policy.

"We will pursue policies to expand our understanding of the circumstances and beliefs that underpin extremism, so that we can effectively address them."

And even worse:

"The vast majority of Muslims believe in a future of peace, tolerance, development, and democratization. A small minority embrace a rigid and violent intolerance of personal liberty and the world at large. To empower forces of moderation, America must live up to our values, respect civil liberties, reject torture, and lead by example. We will make every effort to export hope and opportunity–access to education, secure food and water supplies, and health care, trade, capital and investment."

It seems Democrats are unaware that even 10% of the world wide Muslim population of 1.5 billion is 150 million potential jihadists and murderers. It seems Democrats have great confidence in Obama’s ability to talk them out of beheading non Muslims.

This expectation about Obama does not end with his powers of persuasion as is seen in this extract from the Democrat platform:

"Barack Obama will depoliticize intelligence by appointing a Director of National Intelligence with a fixed term, create a bipartisan Consultative Group of congressional leaders on national security, and establish a National Declassification Center to ensure openness."

Democrats would like us to believe:

"We will urgently seek to reduce dramatically the risks from three potentially catastrophic threats: nuclear weapons, biological attacks and cyber warfare."

"America will seek a world with no nuclear weapons and take concrete actions to move in this direction. America will be safer in a world that is reducing reliance on nuclear weapons and ultimately eliminates all of them. We will make the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide a central element of U.S. nuclear weapons policy." – "We will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons."

"We will not develop new nuclear weapons, and will work to create a bipartisan consensus to support ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which will strengthen the NPT and aid international monitoring of nuclear activities."

How is this for taking out the wet noodle to chastise Iran for developing nuclear weapons and to protect Israel from Iranian fanatics?

"We will present Iran with a clear choice: if you abandon your nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and threats to Israel you will receive meaningful incentives; so long as you refuse, the United States and the international community will further ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions inside and outside the U.N. Security Council, and sustained action to isolate the Iranian regime." Do you see anything about the military taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities?

"We will build the capacity of U.S. civilian agencies to deploy personnel and area experts where they are needed, so that we no longer have to ask our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to perform non-military functions." – Is this a reference to the National Police Force Obama referred to in his Denver speech?

"We support the repeal of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation."

Democrats affirm their support of the ineffective, corrupt and biased United Nations despite acknowledging deficiencies. Their answer for addressing UN incompetence is greater US commitment to the UN and enlarging the Security Council to add more anti-American countries.

"We believe that the United Nations is indispensable .... The U.N. Secretariat's management practices remain inadequate. Peacekeeping operations are overextended. The new U.N. Human Rights Council remains biased and ineffective. Yet none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission. We support reforming key global institutions —such as the U.N. Security Council and the G- 8—so they will be more reflective of 21st century realities."

Democrats don’t ignore illegal immigration in their platform but, unfortunately, they mirror McCain’s approach which includes amnesty so passage of something like what Democrats want is likely.

"We need comprehensive immigration reform, not just piecemeal efforts. For the millions living here illegally but otherwise playing by the rules, we must require them to come out of the shadows and get right with the law. We support a system that requires undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English [eventually, maybe], and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens. They are our neighbors, and we can help them become full tax paying, law-abiding, productive members of society."

Incredibly Democrats still want to give money to "victims of Katrina", the hurricane of some years ago. How many natural disasters have occurred since Katrina where those affected dealt with the problems themselves without huge government assistance?

"We will partner with the people of the Gulf Coast to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina and restore the region economically. We will create jobs and training opportunities for returning and displaced workers and contracting opportunities for local businesses to help create stronger, safer, and more equitable communities. We will increase funding for affordable housing and home ownership opportunities for returning families, workers, and residents moving out of unsafe trailers. We will reinvest in infrastructure in New Orleans: we will construct levees that work, fight crime by rebuilding local police departments and courthouses, invest and hospitals and rebuild the public school system. [Haven’t we "invested" quite a bit already – will this go on forever?]

Of course bogus global warming caused by us is not neglected by Democrats.

"We will implement a market-based cap and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic change and we will set interim targets along the way to ensure that we meet our goal." "The U.S. must be a leader in combating climate change around the world…"

There is something for their gun control base.

"We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce common-sense laws and improvements, like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals." [Democrats apparently believe by passing new gun laws criminals will not be able to get whatever firearms they want.]

"We will make the United States a signatory to the U.N. Convention on 2 the Rights of Persons with Disabilities—the first human rights treaty approved by the U.N. in the 21st century." [This will be an enormous intrusion on citizen rights at the state and federal level and without recourse at the voting booth. Democrats favor diminishing our constitutional right by signing onto treaties which take precedence over ALL federal and state laws.]

"We reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment." [The amendment already rejected by the states.]

"We will pass the [NATIONAL] Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, because hate crimes desecrate sacred spaces and belittle all good people." [And make crimes against some victims more "undesirable" and penalized greater than the same acts committed on members of unprotected classes – thus overriding state laws.]

"We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us."

"We support affirmative action, including in federal contracting and higher education…"

"We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years. We will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law. And we will ensure that law-abiding Americans of any origin, including Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, do not become the scapegoats of national security fears."

"We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and 30 should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, to challenge the terms of their detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court. We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years." [Really, constitutional violation of non citizen terrorists?]

The Supreme Court will swing way to the left under an Obama presidency. Though couched in broad freedom-loving terms, there is no doubt what Democrats have in mind.

"For our Judiciary, we will select and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character, who firmly respect the rule of law, and who listen to and are respectful of different points of view and who represent the diversity of America. We support the appointment of judges who respect our system of checks and balances and the separation of power among the Executive Branch, Congress, and the Judiciary and who understand that the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and the powerless. [Code words for ignore the constitution and "do what’s right."]

"We will call for a national standard for voting that includes voter-verified paper ballots." [Why paper ballots if other voting is safe and secure?]

Here we go folks; Democrats say "let’s make sure our voting base of illegal immigrants and duplicate voters are not prevented from voting for us."

"We oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote, which create discriminatory barriers to the right to vote and disenfranchise many eligible voters; we oppose tactics which purge eligible voters from voter rolls."

"We support the efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians." [This way Democrats can disenfranchise non native Hawaiians who might still vote Republican and also create a group of people with superior rights within the United States, because that somehow is good for us (Democrats), though unfair to everyone else.]

"American Indian and Alaska Native tribes have always been sovereign, self-governing communities, and we affirm their inherent right to self-government as well as the unique government-to-government relationship they share with the United States." [Separate "sovereign Nations within the United States" – does this make any sense to anyone?]

Well there you have it - if you actually took time to read this whole thing. Those who got this far have quite a bit of information to combat the Democrat spin machine and their house organs in the press and on TV news broadcasts - good luck, and thanks to those who read all of this blog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why do people refer to Barack Obama sarcastically as the messiah; because he thinks he is?

Question to Obama by Chicago-Sun Time religion columnist Cathleen Falsani:

"Do you believe in sin"?

Answer by Obama:


Question to Obama:

"What is sin"?

Answer by Obama:

"Being out of alignment with my values".

God gave us the Ten Commandments to live by but Obama has added an 11th: "Believe as I do or you will go to hell". Do not align with my values and you will be guilty of a sin. Only the Messiah has the ability to establish commandments for life so in establishing his definition of "sin", Obama takes on the role of messiah; is there any wonder why Obama is referred to by his opponents sarcastically as the "messiah" or that many say Obama has a "messiah complex"?

Many think Obama is a Muslim, which in presidential politics today would assign him to the dust bin of losing candidates, but Obama says "I am a Christian". But he also says an untruth for political expediency:

"I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith".

Both his biological father and his grandfather were Muslims yet Obama has the gall to label his father from Kenya as an "agnostic". What do you suppose the Muslim Brotherhood would say about that? To put cream on the cake and show us his religious universality, Obama says he has "drawn" from Judaism.

Of course Obama tells us he is a "Christian" by answering the question "Have you always been a Christian"? Thusly "I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian". (Do you notice he never actually says he is a christian?)

Obama seems a little bewildered when asked what type of Christian was he? The answer Obama gives".

"My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church".

Listening to this answer one might say a couple of things – he’s not sure what type of Christian he is and he seems to believe Methodists may be "slightly" superior to "Baptists" – (all you Baptist voters take note).

Parents usually are the ones who start their children on the road to spirituality. But in Obama’s case he admits this was lacking in his childhood:

"So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We’d go to church for Easter. She wasn’t a church lady".

Although acknowledging his stepfather was a Muslim and lived in Muslim-dominated Indonesia, Obama says he went to a Catholic school but he did not have "a structured religious education" and that "I probably didn’t get started getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago."

Now we come to the core of what Obama chose as his career – becoming a political messiah who by himself or with the guidance of others would rise to political heights. Though he may not at first had being president of the United States as his goal, eventually it became clear to him and those behind Obama that assuming the position of leader of the free world was not beyond the realm of possibility.

So with going up the political ladder as his ambition, he identified how he would do this; by using a powerful black church in Chicago and association with those he would later distance himself from but who were instrumental in refining his political ideology. In Obama’s own words:

"So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church."

Who did Obama look to for "guidance" in addition to Reverend Wright; Father Michael Ffleger of course.

"Well, my pastor is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for. I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend and somebody I interact with closely".

"And they’re good friends. Because both of them are in the public eye, there are ways we can all reflect on what’s happening to each of us in ways that are useful". "I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure".

We have heard and seen the kind of "guidance" Wright and Pfleger provided Obama on television. Dismissing these advisors while on the campaign trail for political expediency is hardly a rejection of all he learned from these guidance counselors.

In fact, Obama candidly acknowledges now that it is important to distance himself from these socialist anti-American advisors. When asked about this and reminded that his Republican political opponent at the time, Jack Ryan, said talking about your faith is fraught with peril for a public figure, Obama unabashedly announced:

"Which is why you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it on the stump". "As I said before, in my own public policy, I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics".

Obama says it wasn’t an epiphany that led him to religion, it was a gradual process. This in itself is not unusual; it is the same for most people who gravitate toward religion and God. However for Obama, the "messiah", it was "a certain self-consciousness that I possess … ." There was no single moment when it all came to Obama but as a messiah he says "I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me."

To Obama it is not a messiah "complex" he has, he evidently believes he is the second coming.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wind power is just a lot of hot air

At first glance, the energy proposals of Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens for wind power and increased gas usage sound good. "We can't drill our way out of this crises"; I happen to disagree with this statement. We still need to drill to make ourselves "independent from foreign oil." But the real issue is what is behind the clamor to expand wind power in lieu of increasing oil drilling.

To understand this you have to read between the lines. Not only does Pickens’ firm, BP capital, have significant investments in natural gas, but last June he announced plans to build the world’s largest wind farm in west Texas, capable of producing 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

The federal government subsidizes wind farm operators with a tax credit worth 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour — potentially making for a tidy annual taxpayer gift to Pickens based on his anticipated capacity. But Pickens and wind power investors have a problem: since congress didn’t renew the wind subsidy as part of the 2007 energy bill, it will expire at the end of this year unless reauthorized. Government subsidies are the most important incentive for wind power usage and expansion; without them, wind can’t compete against fossil fuel-generated power.

As pointed out by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 9, "In 1999, 2001 and 2003, when Congress temporarily killed the credits, the number of new turbines dropped dramatically."

President Bush and Senator McCain have both called for renewed offshore oil and gas drilling. With gasoline prices around $4 per gallon, something needs to be done. However why is there opposition to offshore wind development? The Wall Street Journal notes that although there is no formal moratorium against offshore wind power, environmentalist and NIMBY opposition has stalled every sea-based wind project proposed in the U.S. thus far. Europe, on the other hand, has over 20 offshore wind farms in operation. Even the esteemed environmentalist, Senator Ted Kennedy, objected to a wind farm in his backyard.

Pickens is waging a $58 million PR campaign to promote his plan. If it works, his investment in propaganda he stands to make more than a tidy profit with tax payer money. The opinions of many that this rhetoric is motivated by profit rather idealistic notions of "energy independence".

Don't worry about the cost, Pickens says, "It will be accomplished solely through private investment with no new consumer or corporate taxes or government regulation" but this is not true.

Government subsidies of almost any sort are problems for me because I am a believer in the market. A good product or service can stand on its own; if it can't survive on its own merits then it shouldn’t succeed. Subsidies by their nature give unfair advantage to that which the market itself won’t reward. The government has been subsidizing ethanol production for a long time and all it has done is damage food production and raise prices on all sorts of things. All we have seen is higher food prices, less land use for food crop production, and a dirtier than expected emissions problem with the refined product (to name a just a few issues).

When subsidies are taken away the industry collapses. Just one example is the support for solar energy in Japan. The solar power industry in Japan effectively collapsed within two years of the government stopping subsidies because the government subsidies were artificially keeping solar power competitive. Without the subsidies, people could not afford the buy or install solar panels and the industry collapsed.

Granting price supports, i.e. subsidies, have been crucial to the development of wind power everywhere. European countries like Denmark, Germany, and Spain became world leaders after they passed long-term, generous subsidies for wind. Major industry players like Vestas, the Danish turbine maker, have long called for the U.S. to support the industry over the long haul, not year-to-year and the recent effort by Pickens carries on these demands for tax payer money to reap huge profits. However despite this hemorrhaging of government money, according to the IPCC, after 25 years of world-wide subsidies, wind and solar have managed to deliver only 1/2 of 1% of the world’s energy. At this rate, it will take 5,000 years for wind and solar to replace coal.

To put that in context, on average in the United States in 2007 the residential retail price of electricity was about 10.65 cents ($0.65USD) per kWh. A typical 2 MW turbine running at 30% capacity for a year will produce 2000 kWh; at 24 hours and 365 days, this equals 5.265 million kWh per year. At retail that's a half million dollars. The revenue from the subsidy is bigger than the revenue from selling the electricity. That seems pretty ridiculous.

Along with T. Boone Pickens and the wind power industry, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wants a continuation of the wind Production Tax Credit of 2 cents per kWh. The 2005 energy bill provided exactly the kind of multiyear support the wind industry says it needs. The production tax credit, or PTC, now pays utilities about 2 cents for every kilowatt of wind power they produce over the first 10 years of a project's operation. Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the cost to taxpayers is billions a year. Incidentally, those 5.244 GW of wind towers built in 2007 will probably run at about 30% of capacity so we are really talking about the equivalent of a 1.57 GW.

In their rquest for a 5 year extention of the U.S. Production Tax Credit, the American Wind Energy Association claims at least in New York State wind energy displaces mostly natural gas. However a recent New York study found that if wind energy supplied 10% (3,300 MW) of the state’s peak electricity demand, 65% of the energy it displaced would come from natural gas, 15% from coal, 10% from oil, and 10% from electricity imports. Do you still think wind power will reduce our dependence on foreign oil?

Let’s take a look at the real profit behind wind power.

Wind power's primary federal-based incentive is the production tax credit (PTC) -- that is, a credit for each kilowatt-hour that a wind energy facility produces for the first 10 years of the facility's life. Wind also receives funding for research and development to help further advance the technology. Wind energy's FY 2006 R&D funding: $38.3 million. although one of the federal incentive mechanism for wind power is the PTC, government subsidies are also a major incentive. Just in 2006 alone, government subsidies to wind farms was $500 million.

T. Boone did not just try to spread a false word about use of wind power and gas to solve our energy dependence problems, almost every claim to justify wind power subsidies he is seeking for his wind energy investments is wrong.

It is clear by now that oil imports are not the cause of high gasoline prices. Actually, oil imports keep gasoline prices down. If we were to limit our oil to that produced in the U.S. at this time, it would make domestic energy producers (like Mr. Pickens) far richer and would cost consumers far more, and the GDP would be reduced as well. Until we overcome the Democrat block on oil drilling to increase domestic supplies, we have no choice but to import oil. As for the price of oil and gasoline, the rule of supply and demand has not been repealed by Democrats so we still have the ability to control our energy destiny by drilling and increasing oil production.

If wind energy were a sensible economic investment, it would not need federal and state subsidies already in place or the additional subsidies inherently needed in the wind power expansion directly and inferentially sought after by Pickens. Similarly, if compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are really an economically viable alternative to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, they would have succeeded in the market place and no government subsidy would be necessary.

We can wish T. Boone Pickens well in his wind energy business, but there is no reason for taxpayers, ratepayers or consumers to pay him for his investments.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More on EFCA – California reveals the future we can expect in an Obama Administration with the passage of “The Employee (not so) Fairness Act”

In California’s unionized school districts teachers cannot work unless they are a member of the approved union. They must pay dues or the district must fire them. Is this freedom of choice? And how are their dues used - part of their forced dues are used to lobby for raising taxes, including on teachers? If that isn’t bad enough, the required dues are used to defeat tax cutting ballot measures and candidates who oppose tax increases and other teacher union agendas. After EFCA is passed during an Obama administration the practices described below can be expected to be replicated wherever unions get the expanded control of business as the proposed law envisions.

Teachers’ unions have had great success representing union interests and convincing the public that union’s interests and the interests of public school students are one and the same. Teacher members of the National Education Association (NEA) as part of their dues pay each year into a "Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund" that allows the union to spend tens of millions of dollars on state and national political issues. According to Steve Frank, "Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency, a longtime union watchdog, has tracked this fund’s spending. In the 2007-08 fiscal year, not surprisingly, the NEA spent $2.3 million — on top of $1 million spent the previous fiscal year — fighting a school voucher referendum in Utah." Of course political spending by teachers’ unions in California is considerably greater because of the larger number of NEA members in the state.

It is also interesting that this national NEA fund is separate from PAC contributions that must adhere to federal campaign-finance laws; spending this money is not accountable and is used for a variety of left-wing political causes. Mr. Antonucci reports that during the current fiscal year the NEA sent the Hawaii State Teachers Association $20,000 to conduct polling on a state constitutional convention. It sent the Massachusetts Teachers Association $60,000 to oppose state income-tax repeal, $20,000 to the Florida Education Association and an additional $200,000 to oppose property-tax cuts in the Florida.

Again, according to Steve Frank,

"Expect more of the same going forward in a state near you. ‘Unlike most previous years,’ writes Mr. Antonucci, ‘NEA finished 2007-08 with a surplus of nearly $5.9 million, which means the union will enter the 2008-09 school year with almost $20 million available to spend.’ It’s a shame the NEA doesn’t spend as much money and effort trying to improve lousy schools as it does trying to keep taxes high."

The NEA often operates like one of the Tony Soprano controlled unions. You may not be aware because liberal news media is loathe to publish anything critical of labor unions but a teachers union in California has been caught illegally spending $110,000 on politics. One of the first audits of a teachers union shows corruption and abuse of the members, including those forced to join the union just to be allowed to work.

It was discovered that the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) seems to have used general fund money for political expenses and may have spent at least $110,000 more on its election campaigns than authorized; according to an audit obtained by the Press-Telegram.

The audit firm Hemming Morse Inc. based in California was hired to investigate allegations of fiscal mismanagement at the NEA Long Beach chapter. The audit was unsealed as part of a lawsuit and TALB finances were analyzed to determine whether the union properly managed the funds earmarked for election campaigns in 2006 and 2008. The union spent funds to elect school board candidates in 2006 and 2008 and on one of the Long Beach City Councilwoman's successful run for council two years ago.

TALB is supposed to maintain separate accounts for union operations its general fund and for its political affairs. Teachers can choose not to have their dues spent on political causes and this money is to be kept in a non-political fund. But auditors found that it looks like TALB used $39,629 from its nonpolitical accounts for campaign purposes, according to the audit. Because union members designated specific amounts of their dues for non political activities, the use of TALB’s financial funds from these designated funds for political activities "would be considered a misappropriation of funds," according to the auditors.

Campaign finance filings by TALB with the state show an even greater amount of union campaign spending for the 2006 election: $543,481, according to an audit for that year. The total is more than $53,000 greater than that shown in the union’s general ledger and about $163,500 over what the board budgeted in January for the 2006 races, much of which seems also to have been taken from funds which were to be designated for non political purposes.

In an Obama administration passage of the EFCA is virtually assured. Expansion of unions into businesses as will occur under the law will greatly increase union influence on the political process for the benefit of Democrats - the circle of self interest will get larger and larger. As an old Austrian friend used to say "one hand washes the other and together they wash the face."

Monday, August 4, 2008

“The Employee (not so) Free Choice Act”

Isn’t it just like liberals to mislabel legislation to make it seem harmless? What else can you think about the phony "The Employee Free Choice Act?" This sounds like an effort to impart fairness to unionizing elections but of course it is the opposite.

Although free secret elections are the foundation of our democratic society, Democrats see it as an obstacle to expanding their power and that of the labor unions supporting their agenda. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is Democrat-sponsored legislation which would change federal law with regards to the rights of workers to unionize. Specifically, it would make it easier for unions to unionize businesses by eliminating secret elections for workers when they vote to decide whether or not they want union representation. It was introduced in the House and Senate during the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congress. It passed in the House on March 1, 2007 for the first time, but was filibustered by Senate Republicans in June 2007. But Obama and Democrats want to resurrect it and their chances in the next congress are unfortunately better than anytime in the past.

The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require certification of a union as a bargaining representative on the basis of the number of worker-signed cards designating the union as its bargaining representative. Under existing law employees have the right to decide by secret ballot and not on the basis of signed cards which obviously may be the result of coercion and intimidation. In many cases in the past despite obtaining many signed cards, union representation was defeated in secret balloting.

It is obvious to all but unions and Democrats that authorization cards which potential members would sign to supposedly express their desire to unionize are not in the interest of workers. Employee decisions and votes would not be confidential whereas the existing law allows employees votes to be done in secret and without recriminations. The openness of the cards subject workers to peer pressure, harassment, coercion, and misrepresentation.

Representative John Kline (R-Minn.), said "It is beyond me how one can possibly claim that a system whereby everyone – your employer, your union organizer, and your co-workers – knows exactly how you vote on the issue of unionization gives an employee 'free choice . . . . It seems pretty clear to me that the only way to ensure that a worker is 'free to choose' is to ensure that there's a private ballot, so that no one knows how you voted. I cannot fathom how we were about to sit there today and debate a proposal to take away a worker's democratic right to vote in a secret-ballot election and call it 'Employee Free Choice.'"

Another problem with the proposed bill is that it requires workers to make their decision to unionize before employers have the opportunity to tell them why it is not in their best interest.

The Heritage Foundation points out "The Employee Free Choice Act would strip American workers of their right to a private-ballot vote, require companies to submit to binding arbitration, and increase penalties for unfair labor practices committed by employers but not by unions. Each of these provisions would be bad for American workers."

"Congress should instead protect the privacy of American workers and guarantee their right to vote in an election before joining a union. Congress should also guarantee every worker the opportunity to hear arguments from both sides and time to reflect before voting."

Rather than holding a secret-ballot election, the EFCA would institute a card check system, creating a union if a majority of workers submitted cards requesting that one be created. These cards would not protect the identity of submitters, making it clear who was in favor and who was against the creation of a union. Union supporters of the bill say secret-ballot elections would still be held but this is totally untrue. Clearly supporters of the EFCA give misleading information when saying that secret-ballot elections would still occur; union organizers would choose the way such elections would be organized and conducted and secret balloting is not in the cards (no pun intended).

Unions would have an unfair advantage in negotiations with employers because the card signing drives are put together by union organizers, employees would be given a one-sided pitch, and put into a high-pressure signing situation. Again, from The Heritage Foundation a quote by one former union organizer:

"We rarely showed workers what an actual union contract looked like because we knew that it wouldn't necessarily reflect what a worker would want to see. We were trained to avoid topics such as dues increases, strike histories, etc. and to constantly move the worker back to what the organizer identified as his or her "issues" during the first part of the house call."

The EFCA would also impose severe penalties on employers for violations of the law while employees are attempting to form a union or attain a first contract. For example there would be civil penalties with fines of up to $20,000 per violation against employers found to have willfully or repeatedly violated employees’ rights during an organizing campaign or first contract drive. In addition, there would be an increase in the amount an employer is required to pay when an employee is discharged or discriminated against during an organizing campaign or first contract drive to three times back pay.

The NLRB would be required to seek a federal court injunction against an employer whenever there is "reasonable cause" (undefined) to believe the employer has discharged or discriminated against employees, threatened to discharge or discriminate against employees or engaged in conduct that significantly interferes with employee rights during an organizing or first contract drive; courts would be authorized to grant temporary restraining orders or other appropriate injunctive relief.

As bad as the Employee Free Choice Act is for large employers, it may be fatal for small businesses. Under current law, organizing small employers is not very cost effective - small employers are rarely worth the effort and expense given the number of new members the union will get. However under the EFCA only a few organizers will be needed so many employers who were previously ignored by unions will now be directly targeted.

The prospect of becoming an involuntarily union company should be particularly frightening to small employers as they tend to have more personal relationships with their employees. Furthermore, employees in small businesses generally better understand how the business operates and the pressures the business is under.

The EFCA threatens to undermine employer-worker relations in a small company by raising the very real possibility of a union imposing itself between employers and their employees. If a union comes in, the small business owners will lose control of how the business is run. In a union company environment employers would be unable to communicate directly with their employees, on a personal basis. They would have to go through the shop steward and union leadership. In some industries like construction, they would even lose control over employee hiring because "the union would provide the employees according to their priorities such as seniority or how much they favored that particular contractor." (The Heritage foundation)

In the environment of the EFCA the employer will always lose. The union will make promises to get workers’ signatures, e.g. higher wages, greater benefits, more job security, etc. Typically the employer responds with what they can give and then an arbitrator will choose the middle ground that will be more than the employer can provide and the union has loses nothing. Employees get less than promised and the employer pays more than can be afforded so the business is jeopardized. Binding arbitration always rewards the union and worker and disadvantages the employer because whatever is decided is more cost to the business. The worker may get a little more but it is likely it would be not as much in the long run as the employer would have willingly given while preserving worker-management relations. Union management is the biggest winner because they can move on to the next victim with a "victory" to boast about.

Another effect of EFCA is that whatever contract is created is imposed on the company for a minimum of three years without employee approval or further review. Under normal contract negotiations employees have the opportunity to ratify the contract but under the EFCA there would be no ratification by employees. This is another deprivation of workers rights since they have nothing to say about the final settlement under EFCA.

The Employee Free Choice Act will have devastating affects on our economy as small employers are driven out of business leaving employees with the only free choice they have; finding a new job if they can.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stand in line for your government apology

You probably never heard of T.D. "Daddy" Rice, but he is responsible for "Jim Crow" laws. Actually, not the laws themselves but the label they have. Ironically, "Daddy" was a white person, not a "person of color", but he played one on the stage. We are not allowed to use the term now but he did so while in "blackface" during the mid-1800s.

After many previous attempts, the forces of righteousness finally mustered sufficient number of voices to pass a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow. The nonbinding resolution passed on a voice vote; it was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.

For those who went to school before the era of political correctness and therefore did not learn these facts, "Jim Crow," or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans say they were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites. The legally segregated part is a matter of public record and was clearly unjust. Denial of voting rights however rest on the premise that requiring voters to meet certain requirements applicable to all voters is somehow improper. To the extent denying access to public institutions is a denial of civil rights, as now defined, such acts are properly labeled.

In passing the resolution "the House acknowledged" the "injustice, cruelty, [and] brutality" sustained by blacks in the past. Blacks were singled out in this instance because Congress apparently believes no other people have been subjected to "injustice, cruelty, [and] brutality" in the past.

The resolution states that "the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to this day":

"African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow -- long after both systems were formally abolished -- through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity."

Passage of the resolution because "African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery …" requires us to believe that the Civil Rights Laws (passed only because Republicans supported the legislation since Democrats were opposed but now get the credit for these laws), have had no impact and that in the year 2008 the battle for civil rights has been lost. We must also believe there is a need for a congressional resolution of apology despite the trillions of dollars spent in the "war on poverty" declared by Lyndon Johnson. Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendents of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery.

It is fashionable for those living in the 21st century to apologize for wrongs committed in past centuries by others as long as the "victims" are members of a protected class. Thus, in April the Senate passed a resolution that apologized to Native Americans for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect." [I wonder if the Indian Nations will also pass a resolution apologizing for the many early settlers massacred by them in the effort to build our country.] In 1993 the Senate also passed a resolution apologizing for the "illegal overthrow" of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. [By the way, who overthrew the King of Hawaii; was it the United States?] Congress passed an act apologizing to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were held in detention camps during World War II. The 60,000 detainees who were alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government. [I suspect 3rd and 4th generations of black ancestors who lived during the "Jim Crow" era will soon be getting checks paid for by you and me.]

As you might expect, Democrat messiah Barack Obama was quick to praise the House-passed resolution of apology to African-Americans. However to maximize political capitol Obama referred to the need to apologize to Indians as well. Obama evidently was not present for the vote in April apologizing to Indians or his handlers forgot this fact when he spoke to a group of minority journalists and said the country should acknowledge its history of poor treatment of certain ethnic groups.

"There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for. "I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged."

Obama did not stop at expressing approval of the idea we all should apologize to African-Americans and Indians, he set the stage for the next step to be undertaken during his presidency.

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

The audience of black journalists thought this is a good idea; they leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically in the McCormick Center, probably in part for the prospect of being paid for their skin color.

Reparations! In addition to all his other spending proposals, Obama wants to make a gift to African-American alive today for "the sins of the past." Somehow paying money will absolve the country for slavery and other mistreatments suffered by their ancestors. If monetary reimbursements should be paid for past abuses, we will have to open the treasury and Fort Knox because African-Americans are not the only people who have been abused by our government – how about the tax payers?