Why Obama Doesn’t Love America

The Left hates to have their patriotism questioned, regardless of how much contempt they openly display of it. They can call it “a congenitally racist country,” as The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates did; or say that “We began America with genocide, then built it with slaves”, as Michael Moore did; or “The U.S. is the world’s leading terrorist state,” as Noam Chomsky declared it to be – but if you respond by asking if they love this racist, genocidal, and terrorist state, they inevitably take great offense at the suggestion that they may not.

This is especially true of President Obama. His allies in politics and in the press reacted to Rudy Giuliani questioning his love of country as if the Mayor had commented blasphemy against the Lord Himself (which, I suspect, in many of their eyes, is precisely what Giuliani had done).

“Thou Shalt Not Question Another’s Patriotism” is then a new commandment. Such questioning is “racist,” according to a number of observers. It was a “ghoulish, repulsive, race-baiting assertion,” said US News & World Report. He has fallen from his role as America’s Mayor, laments CNN. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he felt sorry for Giuliani, “It’s sad to see when somebody who’s attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly.”

Of course this commandment is a very specific one. It only applies to Democrats whose patriotism is challenged by Republicans. How else can one explain the lack of outrage elicited from Senator Harry Reid calling the Koch Brothers “un-American,” or Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez accusing Tea Partiers of being “unpatriotic,” or Bill Nye “The Science Guy” calling those who don’t accept his views on climate change as gospel “unpatriotic?”

Senator Obama called President Bush’s deficit spending “unpatriotic.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called both President Bush’s and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s actions regarding the Iraqi War “unpatriotic.” Yet, neither has been called “racist” for their opinions. Josh Earnest isn’t weeping over their tarnished legacies, as far as I can tell.

Yet more than just calling out Giuliani’s critics for their hypocrisy, it is also important to acknowledge the accuracy — even the ordinariness — of his remarks.

To speculate that anyone with mentors like terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorhn, communist Frank Marshall Davis, or firebrand Jeremiah Wright; or has a wife who was not “really proud” of her country until she was in her mid-40s, is not patriotic hardly qualifies as a leap of reasoning. Obama was, after all, the Presidential candidate, who, in 2008, initially refused even such perfunctory displays of patriotism such as wearing a flag pin, or placing hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. But, what provides best evidence to support Giuliani’s remark is not so much Obama’s associations, but rather who he is.

Who he is is a Progressive. Progressivism is an anti-Western philosophy. The United States is a Western nation. It only follows that Obama would not love America.

America’s political philosophy is marked by a belief in a government limited by federalism, the separation of powers, a constitution, and a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. It is a belief in free markets and the right to private property. Perhaps most of all America’s Western view is rooted in the belief in the natural and God-given rights of the individual.

America’s political philosophy is marked by a belief in a government limited by federalism, the separation of powers, a constitution, and a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. It is a belief in free markets and the right to private property. Perhaps most of all America’s Western view is rooted in the belief in the natural and God-given rights of the individual.

This has been so since the publication of a number of enormously influential works, especially that from St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, Edward Coke, Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Frederick Douglass, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and many others. It was these men and women who helped shape Western civilization – from the writing of the Magna Carta to the formation of the U.S. Constitution to even the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.

Progressivism is a rejection of these views. Instead of this Western tradition, Progressives favor the more Eastern approach to government, which is – though this may be an oversimplification – that of a political and economic collectivism under the guidance of a Benevolent Dictator.

Rather than a central government with limited powers, Benevolent Dictatorships takes power from the individual, the states, and the legislative and judicial branch as well, all for (and they never seem to feel they’ve emphasized this point heavily enough) the greater good. As President 0bama says, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation to in order to make sure that we are providing Americans with the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”

We see America’s shift towards Benevolent Dictatorship exhibited in a myriad of forms almost daily; including Obamacare, Common Core, Net Neutrality, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and minimum wage laws. All of these concentrate power in the hands of the executive. But we see it particularly in the rise of what is often called ‘the fourth branch of government’. These are the government agencies such as the EPA and the FCC that have been increasing in strength since the Franklin Roosevelt administration which now seem unaccountable to anyone except for the will of the President.

As law professor Jonathan Turley argued, “the rise of this fourth branch represents perhaps the single greatest change in our system of government since the founding. We cannot long protect liberty if our leaders continue to act like mere bystanders to the work of government.” (A good discussion on administrative law can be found here).

Progressivism also largely rejects religion, especially Western religion. Although Obama himself is Islamophilic, rejection of Western religious values – such as the sacredness of the life of the unborn – is commonplace among the Left.

In fact, according to Gallup faith in God is significantly lower among Liberals than Conservatives. Jews, one of America’s most reliable Progressive voting blocs, is — again according to Gallup — the least theistic of all religious groups, with 54% of Jews describing themselves as non-religious.

Western faith is an object of scorn to most of the intelligentsia of the Progressive movement. Saul Alinsky, for example, who is yet another of Obama’s mentors, was an agnostic who described the Catholic Inquisitions as one of ‘the greatest crimes in history perpetrated by religious fanatics.’ Socialist Noam Chomsky describes “the God of the Bible” as a genocidal “creature” who was “ready to destroy every living creature on Earth because some humans irritated Him.” Frank Marshall Davis, according to his biographer Paul Kengor, disdained both God and Christianity.

So it is no surprise to hear President Obama display such open contempt for Christianity, the primary faith of the West, as he did when he compared the Crusades to Islamic terrorism, while he promotes the ‘religion of peace,’ Islamism, – the faith of the East.

Biblical faith is antithetical to Progressivism because the Benevolent Dictatorship cannot tolerate fealty to anything other to itself. If “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God,” as President Kennedy argued in 1961, what role is left for the Benevolent Dictator? He becomes the mere protector of those rights, rather than the benefactor of them.

More than his educational background, it is Obama’s Progressivism that made Giuliani’s comment resonate so loudly. Many Progressives do love an America – but they love the America they are fundamentally transforming America into rather than the America of Western values that presently exists.
– DK

Posted in Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Healthcare, Progressivism, Quotes, Race/Racism/Race Relations, racism, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the West

On Sunday, February 15, 2015, almost immediately after a Jew was murdered outside of a synagogue in Copenhagen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a Facebook message that amazed much of the world:

“Radical Islamic terror struck again in Europe, this time in Denmark. We send our condolences to the Danish people and the Jewish community in Denmark. Again in Europe Jews were murdered just because they are Jews in a wave of attacks that is expected to continue, including also murderous anti-Semitic attacks.

“The Jews are entitled to protection in each country and state, but we say to our brothers and sisters to Jews: Israel is your home. We are calling for the integration of immigrants from Europe. I would like to say to all European Jews, and Jews everywhere: Israel is the home of every Jew.”

This offended a number of Europeans leaders and several have come forward to say so, but few will fail to see the reasoning behind Netanyahu’s comment – not when even French President Hollande is standing in front of a cemetery with over 250 desecrated Jewish graves and asking “Must we put soldiers in front of cemeteries?”

Nor can many argue Netanyahu’s point while a viral video has emerged of an Israeli journalist, Zvika Klein, walking the streets of Paris wearing his yarmulke and being put upon with insults, spitting, and threats.

Statistical measurements of anti-Semitism are a bit fuzzy, as different countries measure anti-Semitic incidents differently (and I also suspect that many incidents such as the ones Klein encountered are too commonplace to report) but it is clear anti-Semitism is at a dangerously high level in the West. And I contend that this high level of anti-Semitism is linked to the West’s increasing Progressivism.

Today’s anti-Semitism is not quite the anti-Semitism of old. Today’s Jew-haters are not predominately people who think Jews killed Christ or Jews control the world economy. Nor are today’s anti-Semites all Islamists. Today’s anti-Semites in Western countries are primarily Progressives who in fact hate the West. And to much of the world Israel is a Western state as much as it is a Jewish one.

As activist Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency for Israel states, “There is a strengthening of the Islamist community and a growing hatred of Israel from the direction of the liberal community. The two things together make Europe a very uncomfortable place for Jews.”

It wasn’t always this way. Through much of Israel’s early decades, the Left embraced Israel. But as Joshua Maravchik wrote in his book “Making David Into Goliath: How The World Turned Against Israel” Israel displayed such power in defeating the combined might of the Arab world during the 1967 Six-Day War that Israel would never again be seen as a sympathetic sort of retirement home for Holocaust survivors. Israel instead was seen as it was, and is – a major force for Western values. From there it was easy for those who consider the United States an imperial super-powered oppressor of the world’s poor to start seeing Israel in this same light. And the world’s poor (the Davids) became the people who called themselves Palestinians.

This anti-Israeli sentiment by the Left is evident in America as well. We see it in books by Jimmy Carter, at Democratic National Conventions where recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is booed, and in the Obama White House, which is organizing a boycott of the Netanyahu speech to Congress.

But it is most evident where we are most Progressive,on our college campuses, and it takes the form of the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement.

Professor William Jacobson of LegalInsurrection.com explains the BDS movement here:

“[BDS] is mostly radical leftwing faculty who hate Western civilization, who hate Israel, and who are willing to tolerate just about anything to get at Israel. … They have taken what started as an anti-Jewish call at the Durban conference. It was based on Jew hatred. It goes back at least to the 1920s in what was then the British mandate of Palestine, and now they are pushing it forward.

They don’t boycott Syria. They don’t boycott Iran. They don’t boycott China. You can take any of the excuses they use for boycotting Israel and you can apply them to a dozen or two dozen or three dozen countries. But they don’t. They only do it to Israel, and that’s where I have the problem.

You have Islamists who outwardly hate Jews and Leftists who say they don’t but are willing to align themselves with the Islamists in order to get at Israel. And so it really is a clarifying moment of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the radical Left that have taken over our universities.

If there was just one black country in the world, and it were treated differently, and it was singled out for standards applied to no one else, and if it were punished based on standards applied to no one else, you would say its racism.

So why is it when they apply it to the only Jewish country in the world it’s not anti-Semitism? ”

One can, of course, be pro-Jewish and anti-Israel, or even anti-Jewish and pro-Israel. Facebook has no shortage of these sort of “Jews Against Zionism” pages. But Israel and the Jewish people are entwined, especially in the eyes of the Progressives who hate Israel. As Dr. Martin Luther King is quoted as saying, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”

– DK

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When Will a $400 Billion Deficit Be Considered Bad News?

Déficit-300x225One of the economic facts that President Obama touted in his 2015 State of the Union address to demonstrate that his “middle class economics” policies are working, is that “our deficits [have been] cut by two-thirds.” This has been a source of great pride for the Obama administration, and for the media for some time now, as this recent White House tweet, which essentially makes the same point, demonstrates:

screenshot-twitter com 2015-02-12 13-21-14

Of course, the media, especially the especially progressive media, have picked up and amplified Obama’s message. Many of the most popular memes that left-wing sites circulate amongst themselves — variations of a picture of a cool-looking President Obama (maybe wearing sunglasses and smiling), a list of Obama’s accomplishments, and a message of “Thank You, Mr. President” — list prominently how the deficit was less than 3% of the GDP in 2014.

Even in Forbes one can find almost verbatim summations of the President’s talking points on this issue. Columnist Stan Collender writes “If you’re a troll, you refuse to celebrate the extraordinary reduction in the federal deficit that has happened in such a short time. The only comparable period in U.S. history was immediately after World War II when the budget went from a 29 percent of GDP deficit in 1943 to small surpluses in 1947-49.”

I do in fact celebrate this “extraordinary reduction,” and not merely to avoid Mr. Collender’s name-calling. The 2014 budget deficit of $469 billion does not even make the Top Ten of Budget Deficit lists (adjusted for inflation) since 1940, and is nearly a trillion dollars lower than the $1413 billion deficit of 2009.

In fact, again in inflation adjusted dollars, the deficit has been reduced an impressive average of 19.50% a year since Obama has been president. Gee, if we can just keep lowering the federal deficit every year by about 19.50% from 2014 on, then we can have a practically balanced budget by around 2040, and we would have only have added about … $700 billion to the deficit! Yay!

Unfortunately this recent deficit trend is not expected to continue. In fact, it is expected to reverse. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “annual budget shortfalls are projected to rise substantially—from a low of $469 billion in 2015 to about $1 trillion from 2022 through 2024.”

And that whole “deficit as a percentage of the GDP” stat Obama and the Progressives are crowing about turns out to be no big deal – deficits are expected to stay around 3% of the GDP. It’s just that we will owe about $7 trillion more then than we do now.

The 2014 budget deficit of $469 billion does not even make the Top Ten of Budget Deficit lists (adjusted for inflation) since 1940, and is nearly a trillion dollars lower than the $1413 billion deficit of 2009.

Of course, these are just projections, but given that President Obama has just presented a budget to Congress that will increase the deficit by 20%, it is easy to be pessimistic at the CBO’s optimism.

It is interesting how subjectively empirical data can be reported. Recently, for example, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that 2014 GDP was 2.4%, it was lauded by Lawrence Summers (one of the media’s favorite economic minds, probably behind only Warren Buffett and Paul Krugman, now that Jonathan Gruber has been demoted) as “vindication of Obama’s policies,” despite it being about 25% lower than the average GDP between 1950 and 2014, and an astounding 54.1% lower than the GDP growth we saw at this point in the Reagan Recovery.

Similarly, one wonders when a deficit of over $400 billion will no longer be seen as good news. In 1983 the US saw a deficit of $207 billion ($493 billion in today’s dollars) and this was bad, but the debt was $1.3 trillion (about $3.3 trillion in today’s dollars). But in 2015, with a debt already at $18 trillion, six times as large as 1983’s debt, and that has probably increased by about $10 million in the time it took me to type ‘$18 trillion’. I’m not saying we are at the point of it being the straw that broke the camel’s back, but another $400 billion deficit, with a debt of $18 trillion, feels a little scary.

One would think the context of certain numbers would mean more than it does. If Mike, of TV’s  Mike and Molly fame, went to one of his Overeater’s Anonymous meetings saying he only gained 5 pounds last week, I doubt if his group would be very impressed, even if he were to say, “but the week before I gained 8 pounds!” or “5 pounds is less than 2% of my body weight!”

Too bad our media and our academics aren’t as honest as Overeaters Anonymous.

– DK

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The Forgotten Man

Forgotten ManThe Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes’ famous history of the Great Depression, actually takes its title from another book, which was written by libertarian philosopher, William Graham Sumner, and titled What Social Classes Owe To Each Other.

Published in 1883, Sumner used the term “The Forgotten Man” to distinguish the men who are the creators of government’s massive social welfare programs, and those who chiefly benefited from them, from the forgotten, or the men and women who with their taxes and labor bore the price of these programs.

As Sumner writes, “The State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.”

Today Sumner would see that the Forgotten Man may not be the same man he was in the 19th century, but he has not disappeared, nor have the demands placed upon him been made any less cumbersome.  As our progressive state continues to demand sacrifice for an increasing stream of social policies and programs that will not benefit him, he continues to be the one who must bear the weight.

He is the inner city teenager who searches, perhaps, for a fast-food job to supplement his family’s income, but finds many of those jobs being given to illegals.

He is the worker who is seeking a high paying energy job, only to find politicians — in the name of the deception that these jobs will cause kitchen faucets to become flame throwers — have prevented their creation, though he will still find that he must pay his share of the three billion dollar tab left from heavily taxpayer subsidized “green companies” going bankrupt.

He is the senior who wants to supplement his retirement income by working at a retail job but finds that because employers must reduce hiring to avoid Obamacare penalties and to offset a higher minimum wage, those jobs have become increasingly scarce.

He is the taxpayer who must pay $50,000 per Obamacare enrollee, according to the Congressional Budget Office and his own premiums increasing.

Or he is the STEM worker whose wages have remained frozen for decades, but is grateful for the opportunity to work in his field as the government and Big Business interests continue to lobby to have him replaced with less expensive foreign workers with H1-B visas

Clearly Obama, despite his State of the Union shout-out to his political operative Rebecca, has put in place that have made it harder for these men. But unfortunately, their problems can not be blamed solely on the Left.  Numerous Republicans, such as Senator Bob Corker, who ran for office with tax pledges to lower taxes, now line up to impose a gas tax that will not only be massive but regressive as well. Another 10 cents a gallon will be very little to the man who is getting a $7500 tax rebate for buying a new $130,000 Tesla, but it means a great deal to the Forgotten Man.

Furthermore, examine the argument put forth by Bryan Caplan, noted libertarian economist and open border advocate. In his paper Why Should We Restrict Immigration? Professor Caplan actually concedes that “Under open borders, low-skilled wages are indeed likely to fall.”  However, this is fine, because as Caplan adds “most Americans are not low-skilled.” Open borders will not affect the salary Caplan makes as a professor, nor will it affect the salary of his friends and neighbors.  But it will affect the salary of the forgotten.

The Forgotten Man, as I am defining him, is the man who finds his taxes higher, and his employment opportunities limited, by the State. Often he is the man who can not find employment at all.

As economic professor (and AACON guest) Peter Morici wrote “The [December 2014] unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, but that may only be because so many working age Americans quit looking for work and are no longer counted in the official jobless tally. If the same percentage of adults were in the labor force today as when Presidents Obama took office, the jobless rate would be about 9.9%.”

As The New York Times put it: “Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent. More recently, since the turn of the century, the share of women without paying jobs has been rising, too. The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list.”

He is made more expendable by technology. Companies like Amazon are building robots which can eliminate the need for thousands of warehouse workers at companies, and the computer screens will eventually replace cashiers at McDonald’s the way ATMS have replaced bank tellers. Financial Advisor quotes a study that claims 47 percent of workers could be put out of work by robotics. “If you have self-driving automobiles, will you need cab drivers, truck drivers, auto insurers and chiropractors?”

However, the consequences of such a large segment of society not working has not yet been fully seen, although we have seen glimpses of what that would portend. The Heritage Foundation, in their most recent Index of Dependence on Government, writes “America is increasingly moving away from a nation of self-reliant individuals, where civil society flourishes, toward a nation of individuals less inclined to practicing self-reliance and personal responsibility. Government programs not only crowd out civil society, but too frequently trap individuals and families in long-term dependence, leaving them incapable of escaping their condition for generations to come. Rebuilding civil society can rescue these individuals from the government dependence trap.”

Perhaps it will be more than increased government dependency. At the economic summit in Davos, the experts bemoaned the youth unemployment in nations like Italy of more than 50%, and reminded that high unemployment rate in Greece were partially responsible for their 2008 riots. In the US, there are counties in which the non-employment of men ages 25-54 is as high at 74%.  And many of the counties with high employment are so because of drilling jobs which are disappearing now that oil is selling for less than $45 a barrel.

Liberal economists and politicians are fond of obsessing over the income gap, but ironically they continue to favor the Quantitative Easing and low-interest rates remedies that have exasperated the gap. Perhaps their proclamations of social unrest caused by the income gap are not as sincere as they pretend. If they were, they would warn less about the societal effect of having a working class of CEOs who can earn more in a day than his employees can earn in a year, and more on the societal effect of having a working class that is no longer working.


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In Memorium: Dr. Timothy F. Johnson

Dr. Timothy F. Johnson

Dr. Timothy F. Johnson

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my friend and colleague, Dr. Timothy F. Johnson. Tim was founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, an organization for which I proudly served as Communications Director for California’s state chapter for three years.

Like many conservatives of note, Tim appeared on our show, and discussed his passion for Christian principles, limited government, free market principles and Republican values, the cornerstones upon which the Frederick Douglass Foundation is based.

Unlike many of the guests on the show, I was blessed to meet Tim in person, and was struck with his easy friendship, his fierce conservatism and his passion for making a difference in our community and our country.

However, though he may be gone in body, his legacy lives on through the amazing work of the many dedicated men and women he has mentored and impacted, and the Foundation he has left behind to carry out his mission.

If you wish to make a donation in his memory, you may do so at the fund set up in his honor by the family.

Of course, the most fitting tribute any of us can give, is to live a life of service dedicated to God and country, and continue on in the work Tim started.


UPDATE: This afternoon, The National chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation issued an official statement.

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How Much is Obamacare Going To Cost Us, Anyway?

healthcareusaIt is a tribute to President Obama and his allies that we are entering 2015 without a clear idea of how much Obamacare will cost us.

It was the President after all who said as a presidential candidate in 2007 that “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year,”  and continued to make promises of cost reduction even while his Obamacare adviser Jonathan Gruber was warning him and others that almost everyone who didn’t have employer-sponsored or public insurance would be hit with a 41 percent increase. It was the President and his allies who also skillfully manipulated the CBO scoring of the Affordable Care Act to – as Gruber puts it – “get credible savings on cost control that the Congressional Budget Office would recognize and score as savings in this law.” So with the White House putting its full weight  towards pushing a lie, then perhaps we can be forgiven for finding the “how much is it gonna cost us?” question so confusing.

But we got a reminder this week that not is it going to cost us, it is cost us a lot. In The New York Times Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel suggested  skipping the ‘worthless annual exam’ as a way to cut health costs. Why this is significant is that Dr. Emmanuel is yet another “Obamacare architect,”  which had promised that “As part of the health care reform law, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost. It saves lives and it saves money. It’s a lot cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.”

This is what I call a Newlywed Transition – during the courting it’s a regular table at Spago, now that the honeymoon is over we’re lucky to get DiGornio’s.

Former AACONS radio guest Avik Roy says that, “The average U.S. county saw a rate increase of 49%” in individual market premiums.  That’s not the $2500 decrease we were told to expect.

However, the greater sticker shock comes from another AACONS radio guest, University of Chicago professor Casey B. Mulligan who wrote compellingly in his new book Side Effects: The Economic Consequences of the Health Reform that “I predict that that the ACA’s impacts – that is, the difference between the economy with the ACA and a hypothetical and otherwise similar economy without the ACA – will include 3 percent less employment, 3 percent fewer aggregate work hours, 2 percent less GDP, and 2 percent less labor income.”

Let’s focus on the “2 percent less GDP” part.  This is staggering. To put this into perspective, Newt Gingrich once argued that “1 percent increase in our economic growth rate would shrink the federal deficit by $640 billion over the next seven years, would increase federal tax revenues by $716 billion without a tax increase, and that each and every adult citizen would earn $9,600 more than they would in the current growth projection.”  If this is so, and one percent in economic growth equates to about $100 billion in tax revenue a year, it may follow that a 2 percent decrease in economic growth would equate to a decrease in tax revenue of about $200 billion a year.

Like two fighting eagles, unemployment and low GDP will find themselves entangled by the talons and locked together in a downward spiral. Low GDP growth begets high unemployment, and high unemployment depress GDP growth.  And together they both decrease the amount of money in tax revenue our government takes in and increases the amount it must pay out (in unemployment insurance, EBT, Medicaid, etc., for example). This at a time when we are already facing a budget debt of over $18 trillion dollars, that is increasing almost $2 million dollars a minute.

As Professor Mulligan’s book reminds, in economics and business,  disincentives matters.  We can also be reminded of this by sports teams.  Look at the number of awful teams, such as the NY Knicks or LA Lakers, who are disincentivized from winning. Why struggle to finish the season with a mediocre record, putting Kobe or Carmelo out there for 30 minutes a game night after night, when one can coast through the season and perhaps have a shot at drafting the next Wilt Chamberlain?

Similarly,  businesses are disincentivized by Obamacare into hiring fewer full-time workers since they must pay the fee of having to provide health insurance for at least 95% of their employees if they hire 50 or more full-time workers. Workers are disincentivized from working full-time because they will be ineligible for Obamacare subsidies if they work full-time.  Professor Mulligan gave an example in which a part-timer working 29 hours per week with a gross salary of $37,700 will actually have a greater net salary (after taxes, expenses, and subsidies) than a full-time  worker with a gross salary of $52,000 a year.

Again, disincentives matter. And the disincentives Obamacare puts on our economy are overwhelming.


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Blood On Their Hands

According to a recent Gallup poll “the percentage of Americans naming ‘race relations’ or ‘racism’ as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%”.

This is the highest figure Gallup has recorded on this question since 1992, when the nation was responding to the Rodney King verdict that originally acquitted four police officers on charges of the use of excessive force and assault with a deadly weapon, despite a widely circulated videotape of police officers using excessive force and assaulting Mr. King with deadly weapons.

Interestingly, this December 2014 poll spike, from 1% in November 2014, is the result of another  court verdict and videotape. This one involves the lack of indictment of police officer Daniel Pantaleo for his actions in the death of Eric Garner and a widely circulated videotape of Officer Panteleo using a controversial hold on Mr. Garner that lead to his death.

Also interesting is that while the 1992 spike happened at the beginning of the administration of Bill Clinton, who some called ‘the first Black president’, this recent spike is occurring during the middle of the second term of Barack Obama, the actual Black president. One would think such spikes would have occurred during the administrations of Clinton’s and Obama’s successors. George H.W. Bush after all was widely accused to exploiting racism to get elected because of the Willie Horton ads by the NAACP, and George W. Bush was widely accused of being racist during his election by the NAACP for not signing into law hate-crime legislation during his tenure as Texas governor. Yet American concern about race relations remained low during both Bush administrations.

There are interesting differences as well. While President Clinton had as little to do with the beating of Rodney King as President Obama did with the killing of Eric Garner, Obama is not as divorced from responsibility of the resulting uptick in perception of racial tension.

President Obama’s administration has been marked by an agenda that seemed deliberately designed to increase racial tensions almost exactly from the start. One of the first official actions of the Obama administration was to refuse to prosecute the New Black Panther members who stood at a Philadelphia polling station with billy clubs to attempt to intimidate voters into voting for Barack Obama. Given this administrations’ accusation of voter intimidation against those who would require voters show a valid ID, Obama’s refusal to charge the weapon-wielding Panthers with voter intimidation struck many — especially non-Blacks — as discriminatory.

This perception of a pro-Black Obama Department of Justice was bolstered by the book Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department by former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams which accused Eric Holder of refusing to prosecute civil rights cases in which the violators of civil rights were African American.  Our interview with Adams can be found by clicking here.

President Obama further exacerbated racial tensions by assuming the Cambridge police officer for ‘behaving stupidly’ in temporarily arresting Professor Henry Louis Gates, after Gates’ breaking into what turned out to be his own home.  Obama’s comment, that “there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately” may have been true, but given that the police were only responding to a neighbor’s call, and that Gates likely would not have been arrested at all if Gates did not insult one of the officer’s mother, insulting the police was unnecessarily provocative.

Later, when some reacted (overreacted?) angrily to Obama’s comment following the Trayvon Martin case that ‘if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,’ the perception that there were “Two Americas” with one being Blacks as a special protected class was palpable, and racial resentment was an undeniable problem.

Although it did not cause the Gallup poll spike the Gardner case did, the Martin case may be remembered as more significant catalyst for racial tensions during the Obama administration. To some, Martin was an unarmed and innocent teenager, who was accosted and eventually shot by an overzealous and racist neighborhood watchman.  To these, Martin became a symbol of Black persecution. To others, Martin was a typical Black thug, casing homes while on his way somewhere to get high, who thought nothing of bashing a stranger’s head against cement for following him. To these, Martin became a symbol of Black prosecution.

Whatever the truth of the case may be, there was a clear line drawn, as some protested Martin’s killer George Zimmerman’s acquittal, while others lined up for Zimmerman’s autograph at gun shows.

A similar pattern followed after the Michael Brown shooting.  Despite the unlikelihood that someone would charge a gun that was firing at him, especially if only to avoid being arrested on a minor robbery charge; and the conflicting testimony of witnesses – some of whom testified that Brown had his hands up in surrender, while one bipolar witness with a history of racism was allowed to testify to the grand jury that Brown was charging at the office “like a football player” even though the prosecutor knew beforehand that she was “clearly not telling the truth” and not even present at the time of the shooting — the case was not deemed worthy of trial

The rising anger by the Black community and against the Black community also became especially evident on the Internet during this period. Progressive sites became filled with exaggerated stories of police brutality against Blacks (so that their audience could complain against police racism) while Conservative sites decided it was conservative to post almost daily examples of Black ‘thuggery’ (so that their commentators could ‘wish they would go back to Africa with the rest of the gorillas’).  These websites got lots of hits, but it is easy to see how they helped inflame racial tension as well.

Obama’s most visible response to the recent racial tensions has been to make Al Sharpton his unofficial Secretary of Race Relations. Poor choice. Sharpton’s entire career – from the Brawley hoax (which led to the suicide of an innocent cop), to the Freddie Fashion Mart protest (which led to the death of eight), and to the Crown Heights riots (which led to the stabbing death of a rabbinical student) -  has shown “Rev. Al” to be less a Man of God than an Angel of Death. Sharpton did not earn his pay from bringing the races together – as Obama surely recognizes.  That Obama has reportedly met with Sharpton 84 times and has given him such status calls into question who sincerely Obama wishes to bring the races together as well.

As an African American, I have known what it is like to be a victim of racism. I have had Whites call me “n****r,” had employers deny me jobs because of my skin color, and have been stopped by police and security guards for ‘looking suspicious.’ I once even had a landlord try to evict me from an apartment because a neighbor complained about a Black person living in the neighborhood.

Yet I do not complain about my racial experiences because I always remembered my father telling me that when he was growing up he was not allowed to eat at the Woolworth’s where he was employed — not where he would be visible to the White only customers, at least — and how he and most other Blacks had to step off the sidewalk when a White man was coming. Or of my grandfather’s experiences, which involved facing burning crosses, lynchings, and knowing men and women who were born into slavery.

My assumption based on my experience then, is that the country was largely coming together.  After all, our president was Black. And the teens I see making far too much noise at the local library where I used to go to read free stuff all seem to think as little about race than they do about me having enough peace and quiet to concentrate.

Yet only days ago two minority police officers who were assigned to protect minorities from other minorities in a largely minority community were assassinated by a deranged Black gunman, inspired perhaps by chants of “What do we want? Dead cops!” from Garner protestors and a mayor telling audiences how he had to warn his biracial son to fear the police.


Posted in Cultural, Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Media & Media Bias, Progressivism, Race/Racism/Race Relations, racism, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Integrity in Voting

I co-founded African-American Conservatives six years ago, because I was angry about something: the direction our country was going in. My husband and I would have many animated dinner table discussions with our children; yet I realized there had to be a better way to model my dissent – thus the idea for AACONS was born.

I revisited that line of thinking recently when I witnessed what I perceived to be yet another injustice. After seeing my dear friend Allen West robbed of his election in Florida two years ago, and, in the last Presidential election, seeing ACORN bus voters in, committing numerous acts of voter fraud by using the rolls of dead, fictitious characters; and poll workers voting multiple times, I got angry, wondering just what happened to our just and fair system of voting with integrity.

So what happened to raise my ire? It had to do with voting for sure. An office that would tip the scales of justice and have far reaching impact long after the last ballot was cast? Hardly.

As a mother, one of the hardest things to do is sit by when you feel your child has been wronged. The kid may or may not care at all, but there is something about a parent’s heart that feels keenly about things like this, and so the spirit that drove me to co-found AACONS, is driving me to right this wrong in the correct way, and not by retaliating in the way “the other side did” just because I can. And trust me, “the wrong way” would be easier and quicker, but I am not that kind of person. I would know and God would know – and besides, who wants to win that way, by fraud and deception?

If you’ve seen me at all lately on social media, you know that my son’s blog is up for the Best Student Blog Award. Now the rules on the front page clearly state that you can only vote once per finalist per category. My son’s blog fairly garnered votes in this way. Several times his blog was in the number one position. One can look at the likes and see the names and see maybe one duplicate. However, each time he went ahead, the blog that was previously in the number one spot would catch up and go ahead, but when one looked closely, one would (and still can) see duplicate after duplicate name. Then the tactic switched to Google accounts (gmail accounts are notoriously easy to obtain).

But the kicker was when we actually went to the blog in question and saw two posts in which the student blogger asked people to vote multiple times, in clear violation of the rules. Not only that, but in one of the posts, the student enumerated how to do so step by step, even giving directions on how to clear your browser cookies, etc. This was done in clear violation of the rule stating one vote per finalist per category!

We asked Edublogs several times if the names would be vetted before a winner was declared this week, and we were told twice they didn’t “have the resources to police” every vote that came in, and even given tacit permission for us to do the same. Today they gave me their final answer that they acknowledge my “frustration and disappointment” and agree that it’s an “unfortunate” situation, however, they don’t plan to do anything further, such as disqualify anyone actively soliciting multiple votes in violation of the rules. I don’t know whether it’s just a ruse to get more traffic for their site, consumers for List.ly, all of the above or none of the above. But, because of what I have seen in the political world, and because of what I believe about integrity in voting – little contests like a blog contest to big contests like the leader of the most powerful country in the known world – I am using “the might of right,” the power of the pen, in an attempt to correct this injustice.

What happened to our just and fair system of voting with integrity?

It’s illustrative of why voter ID is so crucial. We need identification to bank, to fly, to drive, to work, to do almost anything in this country, except to vote. At the site where the blog voting takes place, there is a mechanism in place, supposedly, to prevent this, as it says at the bottom of the home page. Yet, when confronted with “ballot stuffing” a blind eye is turned. Don’t bother writing to them about it, Dear Angry Conservative – one) it will get you nowhere; two) I don’t want to ruin things for my child who is fighting on with the only tool at his disposal: his integrity.

Now, maybe to you I’m a mom who is carrying things too far. And, sure, to some, I’m sure I come off that way. I see myself as the mother of a child with a chronic health condition who has written about it in an attempt to help other children. I am a mother who has sacrificed years of sleep to stay up with that child doing blood sugar checks in the middle of the night when he was younger, staying up for hours until we could get his blood sugar up or down, because he had an autoimmune illness that attacked his pancreas and left him with Type 1 diabetes (different from Type 2 in that he did nothing to “get” it, it was genetic and an autoimmune response). I am a mother who has had to poke and stick her child, or watch her child poke and stick himself with needles to deliver life-saving insulin, time and time again, bearing it all with equanimity, even when I know it had to hurt. And, I am a mom, so incredibly proud of the young man who has participated in a number of clinical trials to “pay it forward” and help himself and others like him receive the technological advances that will make living with this condition easier. I’ve seen him mentor friends (and strangers through various diabetes support groups, etc.) through their own diagnoses. He also, through this blog, interviewed an athlete with Type 1, and others in the medical field; blogged about his transition from a regular insulin pump to a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS); and blogged about just being a kid living life while managing this condition. So, yes, I am “just” the very proud mother of a wonderful Christian boy who is homeschooled, goes to college part time, interns for an educational software company, plays guitar in a rock band, and, is a loving son, and big brother to his siblings.

So, even though this is a very small, inconsequential voting matter, I’m going to implore you to vote. One, because I believe in principle and integrity and I’m tired of seeing elections taken from the people who play by the rules. No, this isn’t the same as Allen West, nor do I compare the two. But, I’m tired of the good guys taking it laying down and letting the rule-breakers win…again! Two, yes, it is my child. The kid I love. The one I have watched suffer with this chronic condition. The one I have seen grow despite it, or because of it, only God knows.

My son competed hard and competed fairly. He had a number of companies, support organizations and other diabetes groups write articles and mention him on their Facebook pages and Twitter handles. Groups like Medtronic Diabetes, Quality Health, CarbDM, and Christian Homeschool Moms. Our parenting e-mail support list Brave Buddies rallied around him, as did our homeschooling e-mail loop and our church family.

I want there to be absolutely no hanging chads! I want it to be utterly clear who the winner is in this contest. I want there to be a groundswell of support. A tsunami of votes. Single votes. A win with integrity. The might of right. Don’t leave ugly comments for the minor child who would “game the system.” Don’t stoop. Just thwart her objective and declare a clear winner. The one who ran with integrity: my son. His blog is Nikkobetes, and I’d appreciate your vote before 11:59pm ET/8:59p PT tonight December 15, 2014, when the contest ends.

To vote (and please, vote only once!), click the thumb under his blog, currently in 2nd place. You will be asked to sign in with your social media credentials. Once you do so, you will be routed back to the voting page. Click the thumb again, and it will change color and thank you for voting.

Instead of looting, I’m choosing to protest the only way I know how — with the power of the pen. When I am dissatisfied, I model my dissent through legal means of using my platform, just as I did when I co-founded African-American Conservatives. I believe in the power of the vote with integrity. ACORN can bus their people in or have their rolls of the dead vote. Students may cheat and rob the fun from a contest wherein children work hard all year. But votes matter, integrity matters, and soon, they will be grown ups and this will all matter so much more. The lessons must begin now.

UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Thanks to you, my son came very close, garnering 290 votes to the 297 the other student had on the books (many of them duplicates). After writing this post, I had another response from Edublogs, from Sue Waters the Support Manager, basically stating much of the same: reiterating my “frustation and disappointment” there was nothing more to be done unless in future they had panels of judges, which would not be feasible. Still no one has been able to directly answer any of my numerous queries as to why a student caught blatantly trying to game the system would not be immediately disqualified, and this note was no exception. My question was yet again ignored. If anyone would like to (politely) offer Edublogs their constructive feedback about this injustice, they may do so by utilizing the form found here. Thank you all for your tremendous outpouring of support!



Posted in Corruption, Elections, VoterID | 44 Comments

The Morality of Torture

Recently, Senator John McCain — a politician I respect and whose presidential ambitions I supported in 2008, 2000, and even 2004 — spoke passionately on the Senator floor on the topic of torture. It was a speech prompted by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a report regarding the CIA’s interrogation of post-9/11 terror suspects, (which, in turn, was prompted by, I suspect, the Democrats losing the Senate, and a desire to bury the House testimony of Jonathan Gruber).

Senator McCain argued “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not … It is essential to our success in this war that we ask those who fight it for us to remember at all times that they are defending a sacred ideal of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others — even our enemies.”

Senator Ted Cruz — also a politician I respect, and whose presidential ambitions I intend to support in 2016 — echoed McCain’s view: “Torture is wrong, unambiguously, period, the end.”

But is torture “a stain on our nation’s honor,” as McCain’s says, or “wrong, unambiguously,” as says Cruz? I argue that in very limited circumstances torture is not only not ‘unambiguously wrong,’ but may be the most moral of possible options. In fact, I contend that it may be, in some situations, immoral not to torture.

“Torture defenders” often imagine what’s normally referred to as a Ticking Time Bomb scenario, based on the hypothetical along the lines that we have captured a terrorist who knew the location of a nuclear bomb that is set to detonate in 24 hours. According to a Pew poll, 71% of respondents approve the use of torture in at least rare circumstances and this scenario certainly qualifies. (Interestingly, former law professor and AACONS radio guest, Alan Dershowitz, in fact, argues that these sorts of cases are acceptable but “this should be a decision made at the highest level possible”).

But for some, like Professor Henry Shue, even the prevention of catastrophe is not enough to justify torture: “Some of us may, or may not, as a result of our refusal to tolerate secret torture bureaucracies and their gulags, die in some other catastrophe, but civilized principles will survive for members of future generations, who may be grateful for our sacrifice so that they could lead decent lives.”

And the United Nations is even more clearer in rejecting the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. In its Convention Against Torture, it declared “no exceptional circumstances, whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

For torture to be moral, however, it should be emphasized that it must be a last resort option inflicted with the least amount of severity possible. Most importantly, it must be for the greater good.

But when faced with the capture of a suspect who may have knowledge to prevent great harm, one generally has three options. The first option – the most common and clearly the most ideal – is normal interrogation techniques; such as building a rapport, using questioning and threats, lie detectors maybe, and so on. This method takes time however, and I wonder how effective it is with a detainee whose resistance is hardened by faith or fanaticism. The second would be to surrender the possibility of extracting the information, either resigning oneself to the consequences of this or perhaps hoping that there will be no consequence. Or one can use enhanced interrogation techniques (“torture”).

Assuming the rare circumstance that the first option is not a workable option — maybe because of time constraints or some other reason — which of the other two remaining options would most likely result in the least amount of harm? And, is that option, because it results in the least harm, not then the most moral?

For torture to be moral, however, it should be emphasized that it must be a last resort option inflicted with the least amount of severity possible. Most importantly, it must be for the greater good. Torture for the sadistic pleasure of the torturer — much like the torture Senator McCain endured — is of course evil and distinguishable from the sort of torture I would support under desperate conditions.

Some would raise the point that the Ticking Time Bomb scenario is so far-fetched that it does not deserve consideration. “It’s never happened. It probably never will.” says The Atlantic.  Professor Shue wrote a paper entitled, “Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Bomb” to roll his eyes at the scenario. But Ticking Time Bomb scenarios do occur more often than these critics realize, even if they do not involve hidden nukes threatening million of lives.

One frequent guest on our AACONS radio show is former Representative Lt. Col. Allen West. While serving in Iraq, West was faced with a Ticking Time Bomb scenario. He had an Iraqi detainee who had information about an impending ambush on his unit. West was then faced with the scenario described earlier. He had to choose between hoping that normal interrogation techniques would work before he and his men were killed; forgoing the information and accept as inevitable the death of his men; hoping that the ambushers would change their minds; or using enhanced interrogation.

West decided to fire a pistol near the head of the detainee. The Army decided this was torture, fined West, and forced him to resign or face of very serious charges. West resigned. But today, he and his men are still alive. West made the moral choice.


Posted in Current events/topics, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Planned Parenthood Says #BlackLivesMatter

On Tuesday night’s African American Conservatives’ radio show, our #MarieRants segment was a doozy. I took on Planned Parenthood’s co-opting of the #BlackLivesMatter meme post-Ferguson in an epic smackdown of the largest threat to unborn Black lives.

Posted in Abortion, Activism, Activism/Advocacy, Attacks from the Left, Cultural, Current events/topics, Race/Racism/Race Relations, racism | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments