Saturday, September 8, 2012

Obama Administration Expands ATF’s Power to Seize Property

Story by: S.H. Blannelberry

As part of a one-year trial run, the Department of Justice has granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the power to “to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses,” which is almost tantamount to saying that on the mere suspicion that one is doing something illegal, the ATF can snatch one’s firearms and property.

The Washington Times, among other publications, have explained the implications of this new DoJ decree:

It’s a dangerous extension of the civil-forfeiture doctrine, a surreal legal fiction in which the seized property — not a person — is put on trial. This allows prosecutors to dispense with pesky constitutional rights, which conveniently don’t apply to inanimate objects. In this looking-glass world, the owner is effectively guilty until proved innocent and has the burden of proving otherwise. Anyone falsely accused will never see his property again unless he succeeds in an expensive uphill legal battle.

Such seizures are common in drug cases, which sometimes can ensnare people who have done nothing wrong. James Lieto found out about civil forfeiture the hard way when the FBI seized $392,000 from his business because the money was being carried by an armored-car firm he had hired that had fallen under a federal investigation. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Mr. Lieto was never accused of any crime, yet he spent thousands in legal fees to get his money back.

Until this expansion of power was granted, the ATF had to refer such matters to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which would “initiate, process and conclude all necessary forfeiture actions for the controlled-substance-related property.”

So, in other words, now we have at least two federal agencies that can, on a regular basis, seemingly supplant due process and the fourth amendment to take one’s property.

With respect to one’s money, the burden of proof required is even more tenuously worded. That is, as The Firearm Blog, and The Truth About Guns reported, the ATF doesn’t even need to find drugs; rather it can snatch one’s cash “on theories that the currency was furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance.”

Obviously, there are a lot of questions. Among them, how can the government do this without Congressional approval or oversight? Well, Executive Order:

This rule has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” section 1(b), Principles of Regulation, and with Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.,” This rule is limited to agency organization, management, or personnel matters as described by Executive Order 12866, section 3(d)(3) and, therefore, is not a “regulation” or “rule” as defined by that Executive Order.

The point to be made here is that it was conceived under the same power that the Obama Administration used to institute the mandate that requires dealers in border-states (Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico) to track and report individuals who purchase more than one semi-automatic rifle, with detachable magazine greater than .22 caliber, within a five day period.

Now, with every new change in policy, there’s always the question of how will it effect the average citizen?

This is obviously a difficult question to answer. The government would probably argue that it’s a necessary measure to help crackdown on drug trafficking and that it won’t infringe on the rights of the law-abiding.

But then, on the other hand, you have organizations like the Drug Policy Foundation, which is dedicated to the legalization of controlled substances that said in a report circa 2000, “one recent study showed that more than 80 percent of person [sic] who had their property seized by the federal government were never even charged with a crime” (for more on this, click here).

Also, along those lines, the editors at the Washington Times see it as a confiscatory measure specifically designed to take guns and money from the law-abiding.

Law enforcement agencies love civil forfeiture because it’s extremely lucrative. The Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund had $2.8 billion in booty in 2011, according to a January audit. Seizing guns from purported criminals is nothing new; Justice destroyed or kept 11,355 guns last year, returning just 396 to innocent owners. The new ATF rule undoubtedly is designed to ramp up the gun-grabbing because, as the rule justification claims, “The nexus between drug trafficking and firearm violence is well established.”

Like with everything, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle between an innocuous measure to help federal agencies fight drug-related violence and crime and a full-blown affront to law-abiding citizens, which in this particular case is not at all comforting.

As it’s been said in the past:

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” - Benjamin Franklin

(Photo Credit: The Truth About Guns)

Fla. Pol Resigns After Anti-Christian Comment Goes Viral

7 Sep 2012
by Breitbart News

A Florida Democrat has resigned from his county chairmanship after anti-Christian comments he made at the Democratic National Convention spread through an online video.

Mark Siegel resigned Friday from his post in the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, according to the communications director of the state's Democratic Party, Brannon Jordan.

Siegel, speaking to a conservative journalist in Charlotte, NC, said he wasn't a fan of Christianity because "the Christians just want [Jews] to be there so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ."

Terrie Rizzo, the county's vice chairman, has replaced Siegel as chairman. Siegel's resignation reverses his actions on Thursday, one day after the comments first went public -- where he publicly apologized but stated he would hold on to his job.

Illegal immigrant from Nigeria admits using murdered man's ID to work at NJ airport 20 years

Article by: KATIE ZEZIMA , Associated Press
Updated: September 7, 2012 - 1:05 PM

NEWARK, N.J. - An illegal immigrant from Nigeria admitted Friday he assumed the identity of a murdered man so he could work at Newark's airport, where he was a security supervisor for 20 years. He now faces possible deportation.

Bimbo Oyewole, 54, pleaded guilty in state court to using a fake security badge under a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to recommend he receive probation. He had been charged with identity theft when he was arrested in May.

He will be jailed pending sentencing Oct. 19. The state attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case, said Oyewole faces potential deportation.

Oyewole admitted in court that he is in the country illegally, having entered on a student visa in 1989 and stayed after it expired.

"I came in legally," Oyewole, hands cuffed behind his back, told the court.

Oyewole admitted he used the identity and identity papers of Jerry Thomas, who was shot outside a Queens, N.Y., YMCA in 1992.

Authorities had said Oyewole assumed Thomas's identity weeks before he died. Police in New York said Thomas had sold his documents to a Nigerian cab driver, who then sold them to Oyewole. They said they had no evidence tying Oyewole to Thomas' death.

Oyewole said he presented Thomas' birth certificate and Social Security card to airport officials. He then received ID cards that give airport workers security clearance.

Prosecutors said Oyewole also obtained a New Jersey driver's license and high school equivalency diploma under Thomas' name.

The Port Authority, which operates Newark Liberty International Airport, said Oyewole most recently worked for FJC Security Services, a contractor that staffs access gates and had access to airplanes and the tarmac. He supervised about 30 guards.

Port Authority officials were alerted to Oyewole after receiving an anonymous letter about him.

"Today's conviction will serve notice to all that the Port Authority of NY and NJ will not tolerate fraud or any other criminal misconduct at its facilities," Port Authority Inspector General Robert E. Van Etten said in a statement.

SOURCE: StarTribune.Com

From The Department of Ignorance: President Barack Obama is being disrespected because he’s black

Sept 7, 2012

In response to the Sept. 1 letter “Color of your skin still matters in this country”: How right the writer is. Remember President Obama’s State of the Union address when a legislator shouted out “You lie!”? I am 59 years old and have never seen any president so disrespected.

How about the tea party’s “we want our country back”? That’s blatant racism.

Remember Donald Trump leading the Republican primary? He forced Obama to show his birth certificate again. Trump had no intention of running for president. He doesn’t want his business dealings to be scrutinized.

No one can say where Mitt Romney stands on major issues. He’s in a virtual dead heat with Obama because Obama is black.

The Obama presidency highlighted the Republican Party as the white people’s party. Far too many whites will never vote for a black man. But like all other civil rights struggles, there are just enough fair-minded white people to overcome the ignorance.

It still amazes me that a human being can hate another because of skin color. My black brothers and sisters also need to wake up. If they are prejudiced against whites, then they are no better than racist white people.

I think that by electing this country’s first black president, the United States has worldwide respect as never before. Now, we look like we walk it like we talk it.

What do you think the world view was in the ’60s? We preached democracy and freedom while white police beat blacks with nightsticks, let dogs bite them, stung them with high-pressure fire hoses. I would imagine the United States was viewed as a nation of hypocrites.

White people, please, don’t adhere to the tea party battle cry “we want our country back.” Check out Romney’s position on important issues. Don’t vote for Romney just to get rid of the black man in office.


Democrats' Controversial Draft Platform Passed Unanimously in Detroit in August

by Joel B. Pollak
6 Sep 2012

Breitbart.Com - Democrats are pretending that flaws in their party's platform, which excluded much pro-Israel language and any reference to God, are the result of "technical oversight." The truth is that the Democrats' draft platform was the result of a meticulous process handled by Newark mayor Cory Booker, and passed unanimously on August 11th.

Booker insisted that the platform be perfected in all its details, asking the platform committee for "an all-encompassing resolution, ensuring that this is a grammatically tight document." No oversights were noted.

"There was almost no debate, and very little rancor," observed National Public Radio reporter Sonari Glinton, who covered the passage of the Democratic platform that weekend. He had to dig deep into history to find the last times that a party platform had caused significant controversy, citing the inclusion of a pro-life plank in the Republican platform in 1984, and battles over racial segregation in the Democratic Party platform in 1948.

"There were very few big deals in the platform," Glinton said, adding that "what was supposed to be an eight-hour day ended in just over three hours." Neither he nor anyone else mentioned the changes on God and Israel.

The controversial sections of the Democrats' platform were likely overlooked for three reasons: first, the media were distracted by the nomination of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate the same day; second, the God and Israel provisions were overshadowed by a new plank endorsing same-sex marriage at the federal level; and third (and most important), that the mainstream media are far more interested in criticizing Republicans for standard language on abortion in their platform than in asking Democrats about radical changes to theirs.

Regardless, neither the Democratic Party nor the mainstream media can pretend the changes in the platform were minor oversights. They were carefully worked into the text, and passed immediately--without dissent.

Strassel: The Party that Obama Un-Built

Where is the next generation of Democrats?
Updated September 6, 2012, 7:33 p.m. ET
Wall Street Journal

Charlotte, N.C.

Julian Castro is no Barack Obama. And for that, Democrats have themselves to blame.

The focus of this week's Democratic convention was President Obama. Lost in the adulation was the diminished state to which he has brought his broader party. Today's Democrats are a shadow of 2008—struggling for re-election, isolated to a handful of states, lacking reform ideas, bereft of a future political bench. It has been a stunning slide.

The speech by Mr. Castro, the young and charismatic mayor of San Antonio, was the Democrats' attempt to recapture the party optimism that then-Senate candidate Obama sparked at the 2004 convention. John Kerry didn't win, but that year marked the start of an ambitious Democratic plan to revitalize the party.

In 2006, Nancy Pelosi muzzled her liberal inclinations to recruit and elect her "Majority Makers"—a crop of moderate and conservative Democrats who won Republican districts and delivered control of the House for the first time in 14 years.

Democrats in 2006 also claimed the Senate, with savvy victories in states like Montana and Virginia. The party thumped Republicans in gubernatorial races, winning in the South (Arkansas), the Mountain West (Colorado), and in Ohio (for the first time since 1991). A vibrant candidate Obama further boosted Democratic ranks in 2008.

By 2009, President Obama presided over what could fairly be called a big-tent coalition. The Blue Dog caucus had swelled to 51 members, representing plenty of conservative America. Democrats held the majority of governorships. Mr. Obama had won historic victories in Virginia and North Carolina. The prediction of liberal demographers John Judis and Ruy Teixeira's 2004 book, "The Emerging Democratic Majority"—lasting progressive dominance via a coalition of minorities, women, suburbanites and professionals—attracted greater attention among political analysts.

It took Mr. Obama two years to destroy this potential, with an agenda that forced his party to field vote after debilitating vote—stimulus, ObamaCare, spending, climate change. The public backlash, combined with the president's mismanagement of the economy, has reversed Democrats' electoral gains and left a party smaller than at any time since the mid-1990s.

Of the 21 Blue Dogs elected since 2006, five remain in office. The caucus is on the verge of extinction, as members have retired, been defeated in primaries waged by liberal activists, or face impossible re-elections. The GOP is set to take Senate seats in North Dakota and Nebraska, and maybe to overturn Democratic toeholds in states from Montana to Virginia. There is today a GOP senator in Massachusetts. Republicans claim 29 governorships and may gain two to four more this year.

As for the presidential race, Republicans are in sight of taking back Virginia and North Carolina and are competitive in supposedly new Democratic strongholds like Colorado and New Mexico. The GOP is also making unexpected inroads in Wisconsin and Iowa. The real story of the Obama presidency is the degree to which he has pushed his party back toward its coastal and urban strongholds.

All this was vividly on display in Charlotte this week. While the party's most vulnerable members aren't in outright mutiny against Mr. Obama, more than two dozen didn't risk attending the convention. In contrast to last week's GOP celebration of reformist GOP governors, the Charlotte podium was largely dominated by activists (Sandra Fluke, Lilly Ledbetter), the liberal congressional faithful (Mrs. Pelosi, Harry Reid), and urban mayors from failing states (Los Angeles's Antonio Villaraigosa, Chicago's Rahm Emanuel).

While the GOP has feted its upcoming stars—including minority governors like New Mexico's Susana Martinez and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal—the president has done little to nurture his down-ballot partners. Where is the next generation of Democrats?

Which brings us to Mr. Castro. Mr. Obama lit up the political scene in 2004 with a lofty convention speech that told a heartfelt story, appealed to the best of America, and never once mentioned George W. Bush.

Mr. Castro, by contrast, was tasked by the Obama team with laying out the bitter Democratic themes of this election. His own eloquent story was weighed down by his job of ridiculing Mitt Romney, lauding government, and stoking class warfare. The comparisons of Mr. Castro in 2012 with Mr. Obama in 2004 are misplaced; Mr. Obama has made them impossible.

Mr. Castro must be wondering what chance he has of higher office in Texas, which today has not one statewide elected Democrat. It's a question for Democrats across wide sections of the country.

The liberals who supported Mr. Obama's expansion of the entitlement state are pinning everything on Mr. Obama's re-election, assuming it will cement their big-government gains and allow them to grind back congressional majorities in the future.

But contemplate the situation if he loses. Consider a Democratic Party that may hold neither the White House nor Congress, that has disappeared in parts of the country, and that has few future Obama-like stars. Compare that to 2008. This is the party Barack Obama un-built.

Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting Speech: We Are Not on the Winning Side

English Pages, 7. 9. 2012

I already had a chance to say earlier this week how pleased I am and we all are to host the Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting here in Prague. I hope you have been enjoying your stay.

More then 20 years ago, two years after the fall of communism in this country and this part of the world, we had here the MPS Regional Meeting, in which some of you participated. At that time, we were in the crucial moments of our radical transition from communism to free society which was in many respects based on the ideas connected with the Mont Pelerin Society. This meeting gave us important moral support and helped us in our efforts to get rid of the past and to build a free society in a MPS sense.

Since then, we have succeeded in changing the country substantially in this direction. As you may see, the Czech Republic has made a visible step forward. Yet, it would be inappropriate to declare victory.

For someone like me, who after the fall of communism actively participated in preparing and organizing radical political and economic changes, the world we live in now is a disappointment. We live in a far more socialist and etatist society than we had then imagined. After the promising beginning, we are in number of respects returning back to the era we used to live in in the past and which we had considered gone once and for all. Let me stress that I do not have in mind this country only but Europe and the whole Western world.

Twenty years ago, it seemed to us that right in front of our eyes a far-reaching shift was taking place on the “oppresion vs. freedom” and the “state vs. market” axis. It was a justified feeling. It was reinforced by the fact that our Velvet Revolution had taken place at a time of the historically unique era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Thanks to them and in the world of ideas thanks to Hayek, Friedman, Stigler and a few others, we believed that capitalism, at least for a certain period of time, succeeded in defending itself against global socialism. People like me knew that these individuals were exceptional and unique, but we did not expect that what they achieved would be so quickly forgotten. We erroneously hoped that the changes that had been taking place at that time were irreversible.

Today, many of us no longer have this feeling; at least I certainly do not. Once again, almost invisibly and in silence, capitalism and freedom have been weakened. My friend Pascal Salin, a former MPS President, must have had a similar feeling when he in his presidential address in 1996 in Vienna made the following remark: “We are not the winners of the present time”. In 1996, the fact that we were losing did not seem as obvious to me, as it does today. The system of political freedom and parliamentary democracy was established quickly, thus replacing the former authoritarian, if not totalitarian political regime; the market and private ownership instead of planning started to dominate the economy and overall liberalization, deregulation and de-subsidization took place. The state radically receded in all its roles and the free individual got to the forefront.

Our optimism was based on the strong belief in the power of principles of free society, of free markets, of the ideas of freedom as well as in our ability to promote these ideas. Today, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, our feeling is different. We ask ourselves: Did we have unreasonable and unjustified illusions? Did we perceive the world in a wrong way? Were we naive and foolish? Were our expectations mistaken?

These questions deserve serious answers. We could, and may have been wrong, there is no doubt about it, but it was not because we were under any illusions about the West, in particular about Western Europe, about the EU. People like me were not misled by any illusions about a possible convergence of capitalism and socialism, very popular in the West starting in the early 1960s, or by dreams about possible third ways. We rejected those without any hesitation.[1]

We saw a number of things already then, and thanks to our life in communism, we saw them more clearly than some of our friends in the West including those sharing the same political and ideological ideas. Let me start by indicating what we were aware of and afraid of as regards the future already in the communist era.

1. We knew that socialism, or socialdemocratism, or “soziale Marktwirtschaft“ is here, is here to stay and – due to its internal dynamics – will expand.

2. From the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, that is from the establishment of the Club of Rome and its first reports, I became afraid of the green ideology, in which I saw a dangerous alternative to the traditional socialist doctrine. It was evident that it was another radical attempt to change human society. The alleged depletion of natural resources and the so called population bomb were merely a pretence. At that time it was not possible to see the Global Warming Doctrine that arrived later, nor the power and dangers hidden inside it.[2]

3. Even during our life under communism, people like me were aware of the leftism of intellectuals[3] since we had the chance to see for ourselves that it was the intellectuals or their vast majority who served as the main driving force behind communism and doctrines close to it. Authentic representatives of the working class, that is Marx’s proletariat, have never been true believers in communism. Already at that time, I followed with great concern the “excessive production of under-educated intellectuals” that emerged in the West as a result of the rising university education for all. One of its implications was and is the superficiality of public discourse that has reached extraordinary dimensions.

Intellectuals are to a great extent socialists because – as Hayek put it – they are convinced that socialism is a “science applied to all fields of human activity” and thanks to that, it is a system created “exactly for them.” “Intellectuals feel they are the most valuable people”[4] and that is why they do not want to be evaluated by the market, since the market often does not share their high self-evaluation.

4. Socialism (or rather communism, as we say today) has from its very beginning been based on an apotheosis of science and on a firmly rooted hope that science shall solve all existing human and social problems; that is why it is not necessary to change the system. It suffices to make it slightly more enlightened. Our communist experience tells us that this idea is absurd. It did seem to us back then that the West believed in the same fallacy.

We did not believe in the technocratic thinking, in the belief in the rightfulness of science and technology to organize human society. I was not able to appreciate Herman Kahn, Jay W. Forrester, Alvin Toffler (and recently also Max Singer and his book “History of the Future”[5]) because I felt the risk that stems from underestimating social or systemic characteristics of human society by those people and from their unjustified technological optimism, which actually did not differ much from the Marxist doctrine. In this context, I have always had Aldous Huxley and his unsurpassed “Brave New World” as a warning memento in front of my eyes.

We learned a lot from Hayek’s seminal article “The Use of Knowledge in Society”.[6] Whilst socialist ideologues (in the East and also in the West) regarded nothing else but science and other organized and organisable learning as knowledge, we – in line with Hayek – unterstood that the most important knowledge was practical knowledge dispersed within society that people use in their everyday life, and not just write books about. The nowadays so fashionable notion of the “knowledge economy” is empty. Each and every economy in the past has been based on knowledge, what mattered was how the people managed to use it.

These were the main problems I was aware of, but there are issues – as we see them now – that we underestimated or did not see. I will name some of them.

1. We probably did not fully understand the far-reaching implications of the 1960s. This “romantic” era was a period of radical denial of the authority of traditional values and social institutions. As a result, generations were born that do not understand the meaning of our civilisational, cultural and ethical heritage, and are deprived of having any compass guiding their behaviour.

2. We underestimated certain problematic aspects of a standard, formally well–functioning democratic system that lacked an underlying set of deeper values. We did not see the power of the demagogical element of democracy that allows people within this system to demand “something for nothing”. We did not expect that the political process will lead to such a preference of decision-making that brings “visible and concentrated benefits” at the price of “invisible and dispersed costs”, which is one of the main reasons for the current Euro-American debt crisis.

3. Already in the past, I feared the gradual shifting away from civil rights to human rights, which has been taking place for quite some time. I feared the ideology of human-rightism, but did not anticipate the consequences of this doctrine. Human-rightism is an ideology that has nothing in common with practical issues of the individual freedom and of free political discourse. It is about entitlements. Classical liberals and libertarians do not emphasize enough that the rights interpreted in this way are against freedom and the rational functioning of society.

Human rights are in fact a revolutionary denial of civil rights. They do not need any citizenship. That is also why human-rightism calls for the destruction of the sovereignty of individual countries, particularly in today’s Europe. Positive human rights also contributed heavily to the present era of political correctness with all its destructive force.[7]

4. Related to human-rightism and political correctness is the massive advancement of another contemporary alternative or substitute for democracy, juristocracy. Every day we witness political power being taken away from elected politicians and shifted to unelected judges.[8] “Modern judicial activism is in many ways an expression of the old belief that democracy must be tempered by aristocracy” (p. 17), in other words that democracy without a certain “chosenness” (i.e. unelectedness) of this judicial aristocracy cannot function well. It is also worthwhile to realise that “the main method how this judicial activism is implemented is the path of rights” (ibid.), yet it is not the path of civil rights, but rather human rights. All that is a part of an illusion about potential (and desirable) abolition of politics, in other words of democracy. Juristocracy is another step towards the establishment of a post-political society.

5. Likewise, I did not expect the powerful position that NGOs (that is civil society institutions) would gain in our countries and in particular in the supranational world, and how irreconcilable their fight with parliamentary democracy would be. It is a fight that they are winning more and more as time goes by.[9] Institutions such as NGOs, which are the products of organised groups of people who in an apolitical manner strive for advantages and privileges, bluntly deny the liberalisation of human society that had taken place over the past two centuries. I do not recall where I first came across the statement that those institutions represent a new re-feudalisation of society, but I consider it to be a very good one.

6. We lived in a world of suppressed freedom of the press for too long, and that is why we considered the unlimited freedom of the media as the necessary prerequisite for a truly free society. Nowadays we are not sure about it. Formally, in the Czech Republic as well as in the whole Western world there is almost absolute freedom of the press, but at the same time an unbelievable manipulation by the press. Our democracy quickly changed into mediocracy, which is yet another alternative to democracy, or rather one of the ways to destroy democracy.[10]

7. In a closed communist world, in which we opposed, due to the tragic experience with the imperial policy of the Soviet Union, everything supranational, i.e. coming from Moscow, we failed to see the danger of the gradually ongoing shift from national and international to transnational and supranational in the current world.[11] In those days we did not follow European integration very closely, perhaps for understandable reasons. We tended to see only its liberalising aspect rather than the dangerous supranationalism that destroys the democracy and sovereignty of countries.

8. I also did not expect such a weak defence of the ideas of capitalism, free market and minimal state. I did not imagine that capitalism and the market would become almost inappropriate, politically incorrect words that a “decent” contemporary politician should better avoid. I had thought that something like that was only some kind of a compulsory coloratura of the Marxist or communist doctrine. Only now do I see the real depth of hatred towards wealth and productive work, only now do I realise the role of human envy and of a completely primitive thought that other person’s wealth is solely and purely at my expense.

9. I did not expect such popularity of public goods, of the public sector, of the visible hand of the state, of redistribution, of wisdom of the anointed in comparison with the wisdom of the rest of us. As an economist who has for decades, in fact from the mid-1960s, carefully followed Western economic literature, I did not expect that the ideas of monetarism would be so quickly abandoned, that people would so quickly forget that the word regulation is yet another expression for planning, that social policy would not differ much from communism, that people would forget that the market either is or is not, since it has to be formed spontaneously, that after a radical removal of grants and subsidies of all kinds we will be – by means of a new re-subsidisation of the economy – once again forced to introduce them, that such mistakes would be made in the economic policy, in the establishment of monetary unions, etc. We did not expect that people would be so unwilling to take on the responsibility for their lives, that there would be such fear of freedom, and that there would be such trust in the omnipotence of the state.

Why have we as MPS members allowed this to happen?

I do not think that we failed analytically. There are other reasons. There is certain recklessness, if not laziness in our thinking and behavior. There is insufficient personal courage involved, fear of standing alone with one’s opinions. Even we have failed in the sense that we are not being heard loud enough, that we no longer actively promote freedom, that we no longer have any Milton Friedmans among us. Even though it is important that we address one another at meetings such as this one, I fear that we are not being heard outside of this circle. We are pleased that we publish one another’s articles in our own journals and newsletters, but we have to strive to enter the “other” journals – journals for “the others”. Even though ideas promote themselves, they do so only in the very long run, and that may already be too late.

Likewise, we have to concede that we are not producing serious empirical, descriptive, positive socio-economic analyses. What prevails are pieces of partial analyses and shallow normative ideological papers. What is missing are non-declaratory texts, a deep “anatomy” of the current situation.

I would be glad if I were wrong. I would be glad if it showed up that the robustness of capitalism was such that all that would be corrected. Even though it will eventually happen, it will certainly not happen spontaneously. Hayek rightly argued that “freedom cannot endure unless every generation restates and reemphasizes its value”. Now it is our turn. Our generation and the generation of our children have to do it. And we should start doing it before it is too late.

Václav Klaus, Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting, Prague Castle, Prague, September 7, 2012

[1] More about this topic can be found in my address at the MPS Regional Meeting in Vancouver in August 1999 “The Third Way and Its Fatal Conceits”, published in a book “On the Road to Democracy”, NCPA, Dallas, 2005. Even today in various countries around the globe, I am constantly confronted with people recalling my statement from January 1990 made in Davos that “the Third Way is the fastest way to the Third World”.

[2] I refer to my book “Modrá, nikoli zelená planeta” (“Blue Planet in Green Shackles”), Dokořán, Prague, 2007 and its publications abroad (it is already available in 18 languages).

[3] Friedrich von Hayek: “The Intellectuals and Socialism”, The University of Chicago Law Review, Spring 1949. Available at

[4] Robert Nozick, “Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism”, CATO Policy Report,Washington, D.C., No. 1, 1998.

[5] Max Singer, “History of the Future”, Lexington Books, New York, 2011.

[6] Friedrich A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society”, American Economic Review, No. 4, September 1945.

[7] The Centre for Independent Studies in Australia recently published a nice collection of essays “You Can’t Say That” (CIS Occasional Paper, 124, Sydney, 2012) about political correctness, in whose introduction we read: “We are at a strange crossroads of the history of Western civilisation. Nowhere before has there been greater freedom of movement, greater freedom of information, greater general prosperity, yet at the same time greater restriction of the freedom of speech… Western society self-censors its exchange of opinions… Political correctness efficiently endangers the very foundations of free society – an open and broad-branched debate in the form of free exchange of opinions” (p. 1).

The result is that “politicians for tactical reasons withdraw from serious debates” and that “the mechanism of political correctness prevents the formulation of non-conformist opinions” (p. 10). Political correctness is based on “intolerant moralising” (p. 21) and is made possible by our weakness, disintegration of our traditional values and their insufficient defence.

[8] James Grant presents a very convincing analysis of the above phenomenon in his paper “The Rise of Juristocracy”, The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2010.

[9] The annual UN General Assembly Meeting is opened each September by an address of its Secretary General. Instead of giving the floor to politicians of the largest countries around the globe, the Secretary General intentionally invites to speak completely illegitimate (i.e. completely arbitrarily selected) NGO representatives, who are on UN grounds (in fact in this largest global NGO) seen as something better and more noble than politicians.

[10] In his widely discussed 1978 Harvard address Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted that “the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, exceeding that of legislation, the executive and the judiciary”. This may have been one of the reasons why he was never praised for this address in the West, in particular by the media and by the academic world. It was regarded as criticism of the West and this is something that no one from the East may dare to do. However, it was a criticism of the negative aspects of Western civilisation.

[11] More about that in John Fonte, “Sovereignty or Submission”, Encounter Books, New York, 2011, or V. Klaus, “Evropská integrace bez iluzí” (“European Integration without Illusions”), Knižní klub, Prague, 2011.


Ride For Justice; Illegal Immigrants Arrested At DNC Protest, NONE DEPORTED

Charlotte, NC – Police officers arrested nearly a dozen illegal immigrant protesters outside the Democrat National Convention. The No Papers, No Fear website notes that the bus tour began in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s domain in Arizona a month ago. The converted old Greyhound was filled with day-laborers, non-profit organization leaders and unemployed mothers who wanted to attract the attention of Democrats while pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

The group of undocumented residents knew joining the No Papers, No Fear movement was risky, but thought the danger was worth it to further their cause, according to CNN. The illegal alien arrests came after members of the group blocked an intersection near the DNC.

ICE representative Ross Feinstein had this to say to CNN about the Ride for Justice arrests:

“ICE has taken no enforcement action against the Ride for Justice activists arrested Tuesday in Charlotte. ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States.”

Ride for Justice undocumented workers stopped several times along their journey to host news conferences, sit-ins and cultural performances. Protestors frequently chant and hold banners imprinted with the phrase, “Migration is a human right.”

Even though President Barack Obama signed an executive order to halt the deportations of some young illegal aliens, the No Papers, No Fear group members do not feel the policy went far enough to adjust to the needs of society. Concerns over the criminalization of their parents, the inability to return to Mexico to visit family, and fear that relatives crossing the border will not make it safely and be able to live outside of the shadows are among the complaints uttered after the DNC intersection blockage incarcerations.

By Tara Dodrill -

Mexico detains man accused in "Fast and Furious" gun-running killing

September 07, 2012 • 11:05 PM • last update 11:32 PM


Mexican police detained a man accused of fatally shooting a U.S. Border Patrol agent almost two years ago in Arizona in a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled across the border, the government said Friday.

Federal police detained Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza on Thursday in Sonora state, which borders Arizona, where agent Brian Terry was shot dead in December 2010, the Public Security Ministry said. The Mexican Attorney General's Office plans to extradite Sanchez Meza to the United States, the ministry said in a statement.

Two guns found at the scene were traced to a botched U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sting operation called "Fast and Furious" that allowed weapons to slip across the border. It was not clear, however, if those weapons fired the fatal shots.

Four others have been accused in the shooting, the ministry said. Officials did not say if they were also being detained.

Republicans have criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's administration for allowing the Fast and Furious program, which led to some calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign.

In June, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives found Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, in contempt for withholding documents related to the failed gun-running probe.

Early this year Terry's family filed a $25 million wrongful-death claim against the U.S. government, saying he was killed because federal investigators allowed guns to fall into the hands of violent criminals.

The FBI has offered $250,000 for information leading to the capture of Terry's killer.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

The Obama Index: The Newest Index to Measure Our Despair

John Ransom
Sept. 8, 2012

(Townhall Finance) - To give you an idea how bad the jobs report released on Friday is, consider this fact: The employment situation in the country is so bad that economists can’t accurately measure it with the existing tools they use to measure jobs. In other words, we have entered a period in our country not contemplated by economists. They simply don’t have the tools to measure what’s actually occurring in the jobs market.

Modern economists never imagined a scenario in which a country with as much wealth, power and innovation as United States could stretch out a jobs recession as long as the country has under Obama.

Economists please meet Barack Hussein Obama, record-setter. More debt, more spending, more regulation than ever before- and fewer jobs.

We have a record amount of money in the system doing a record amount of nothing right now. And still the government policy wonks keep thinking that by injecting more money into a system already over-burdened by its money supply we will eventually get different results.

Only Obama could preside over an economy with so much money that has produced so little return as our economy has since January 2009.

Never in the annals of human history have so many dollars done so little for so many.

Yet the Obamunists keep calling for more money and more regulations.

The result is that investors today are still buying US Treasuries despite the fact that after calculating for the real inflation rate Treasury bonds are delivering net negative returns. In other words, investors choose to park money someplace where they are guaranteed to lose money. Because with Treasuries at least they know that their losses will be limited. If they invest in expanding businesses, they know they could lose their entire vig to the G-Men.

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Ken Blackwell
Sep 08, 2012

(Townhall.Com) - That’s not a typographical error. I’m not mistaking the Democratic Platform’s definition of all things progressive. I’m not misapplying their slogan: Forward.

Froward is admittedly an archaic word, but it’s a very good one. It describes what is actually happening in that Democratic Platform with respect—or should I say with disrespect?—to marriage.

“Froward” is defined by our Merriam-Webster online dictionary as:

1 : habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition

2. archaic : adverse

— fro·ward·ly adverb

— fro·ward·ness noun

When Democrats convened in Charlotte, North Carolina, to formally adopt their platform, they will be giving in to disobedience and opposition. Voters in the Tarheel State strongly endorsed true marriage just last May. Like voters in 31 other states, the people are saying loud and clear:

Don’t Mess with True Marriage.

But the party bigs were defiant, determined to shove counterfeit marriage down the throats of the people.

North Carolinians rejected former President Bill Clinton’s advice to evolve beyond the position he took when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996. They voted instead to affirm the eloquent voice of Rev. Billy Graham.

Rev. Graham said: “At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage. The Bible is clear: God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The 61% vote in North Carolina for true marriage belied the claims of the marriage enders that polls prove Americans are ready to move on. Even the liberal Public Policy Polling firm admitted: “Hate to say it, but I don’t believe polls showing majority support for gay marriage nationally. Any time there’s a vote, it doesn’t back it up.” That’s right, PPP, polls are not votes.

Author Matt Kaufman’s excellent story in Citizen Magazine (“…Let Not Man Put Asunder,” Aug-Sep 2012 issue) sums up the campaign for true marriage in North Carolina. “We blanketed the entire state with ads, and we had one of the best social-media campaigns I’ve ever seen,” said Tami Fitzgerald.

She emphasizes: Black voters backed true marriage by a margin of two to one.

Black voters have been a mainstay of the Democratic Party nationally, and certainly in North Carolina. Yet in North Carolina—as in every state of the Old Confederacy—black voters provided the winning margin for marriage.

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Book: Mafia Hit-Man & Teamster Boss Helped Joe Biden Become U.S. Senator

By: LaborUnionReport (Diary)
September 7th, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The book I Heard You Paint Houses came out in 2003, so it’s been gathering some dust on a number of bookshelves around the country for quite some time.

The book’s title, according to Amazon, comes from the first words infamous Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran. To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors.

The book is essentially the deathbed biography of one-time Delaware Teamster boss and mob hit-man Frank Sheeran and truly is a fascinating read.

[Spoiler alert: Before he died, Sheeran claimed to be the one who killed his friend and mentor, Jimmy Hoffa--whose body was apparently later cremated.]

Despite the book purportedly being made into a movie called The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro , Al Pacino , Joe Pesci, as well as directed by Martin Scorcese, it has not been released yet.

While the book has been out for some time, it wasn’t until last night, during Joe Biden’s prime time speech, that I was reminded of some of the book’s contents, most notably this piece that appeared in the Orange County Register a few weeks ago:

One additional item relates to Biden’s integrity. In the fascinating biography of Teamsters and Mafia hit-man Frank Sheeran, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” the lifelong thug describes a favor he performed while he was president of Teamsters Local 326 in Wilmington, Delaware.

In 1972 Sheeran received a visit from “a very prominent lawyer” he knew who was “very big in the Democratic Party” in Delaware. The November general election was approaching, and the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by a Republican was expected to be close. The lawyer wanted help in preventing the distribution of a paid Republican political ad – an insert in the Delaware-wide newspapers – that would run for a week and expose the campaign misrepresentations by the Democratic challenger. Sheeran promised the operative that he “would hire some people and put them on the picket line.” He added, “People nobody would mess with.”

The picket line went up, the papers were not delivered all week, and, as Sheeran said, “The day after the election the informational picket line came down, and the newspaper went back to normal and Delaware had a new United States Senator.” His name was Joe Biden. Thereafter, said admitted extortionist, thief and murderer Sheeran, of Biden, “You could reach out for him, and he would listen.” [Emphasis added.]

So, there you have it. The Vice President of the United States got his job as U.S. Senator with help from a Mafia hit-man and Delaware Teamster boss. No wonder Barack Obama keeps Joe as his running mate.

Sandusky II ??? Nebraska school officials accused of covering up sexual abuse

Published September 07, 2012
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. – Authorities have accused a Nebraska school superintendent, principal and coach of failing to report the alleged sexual assault of a young high school wrestler by several teammates last summer.

The Nebraska State Patrol on Tuesday cited the three Maxwell Public Schools officials — Superintendent Danny Twarling, Principal Aubrey Boucher, and head wrestling coach Ryan Jones — for suspicion of failure to report child abuse or neglect, which is a misdemeanor.

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling didn't immediately return a Friday phone message enquiring whether her office was considering charging the officials or the alleged assailants. Patrol Lt. Lynn Williams said that as of Friday, no legal action had been taken against any of the Maxwell High School team members.

Patrol Investigator Carlos Trevino, in an affidavit, said several members of the wrestling team were present during the alleged attack at a wrestling camp last summer. According to the alleged victim and two boys who said they witnessed but didn't take part in the attack, two team members held down the younger boy while another sodomized him with a soda bottle. On another occasion, at least one team member allegedly groped the victim on a school bus, Trevino said.

Last month, state troopers exercised a search warrant on Maxwell High School and seized personnel files, correspondence and other records. In the warrant, investigators said they expected to find evidence of reported sexual abuse or assaults, intimidation, inappropriate touching and language, and hazing at the school.

Twarling, reached Friday by phone, read a statement confirming that district employees were served with citations on Tuesday.

"The school district maintains that it adheres to both the state law and district policy and reports all incidents of abuse and neglect to the proper authorities when there is reasonable cause to make such a report as provided under Nebraska law," Twarling said.

He declined to comment further or answer questions. Neither Boucher nor Jones immediately responded to phone messages and emails Friday seeking comment.

Authorities began investigating following a call to a child abuse hotline, said Williams, who declined to say who placed the call or what was discussed.

According to the affidavit, a woman from the district brought the alleged camp assault to the attention of the principal, Boucher, writing in a letter that her family members wouldn't be enrolled in the district because she had seen video of the attack.

Williams said investigators haven't seen such video, and he wouldn't say whether investigators believe it exists. The affidavit doesn't explain who might have recorded the assault.

The woman told investigators that Boucher contacted her after receiving her letter and told her "he would get to the bottom of it." She said she tried following up with Boucher over the next two days, but that he was never available to take her calls and he never returned her messages.

The woman said she asked the boy if he had told his coach about the assault, and that the boy "said he was told, 'What happens in wrestling, stays in wrestling.'" It's unclear from the affidavit whether the boy said he did tell the coach and whether it was the coach who allegedly responded that way.

Two students told investigators that they told Boucher that they witnessed the abuse, Trevino said in the affidavit. The alleged victim told investigators that Boucher called him a liar and "a rumor spreader."

Both Boucher and Twarling told investigators that they knew of the sexual assault accusations and that they had determined that the accusations were unfounded. Nebraska teachers, administrators, medical professionals and others in positions of authority are required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement.

Detroit considers 'firefighter tourism' to cover department shortfall

Published September 07, 2012 - Firefighters who don't see enough action in their own towns can pay for the privilege to jump in the fire with the smoke eaters of Detroit.

Fire Commissioner Don Austin has raised the suggestion of putting tourists of the Motor City—a long-time hot spot for firefighter tourists to participate in truck ride-alongs—to work on blazes in a department memo, according to

The fire department has been gutted in recent years, forced to close down rigs and layoff men. Because Detroit, for years, has been a magnet for firefighter tourists riding along on the rigs, Austin, according to his "ride-along training program" memo, thought why not put them to work and charge them for the privilege.

Many in the department say using tourists, even those who are experienced fire fighters, is a bad idea.

"What about when the roof falls on the guy that's out helping. Who's going to take care of his liability part?" one firefighter said to the TV station.

"That's not the answer, no. We need firefighters, our laid off guys back. That's what we need," Darnell McLaurin, a firefighter with DFAA Local 344, said.

"Tourists? Wow. Do they know what to do?" Sam Shack, a laid-off firefighter said to

Reporters for the news station tracked down Austin at a department repair shop who said he would have to get back with a comment, but has yet to.

Instead, a representative for Mayor Dave Bing said that it was just an internal memo and there's nothing to discuss publicly.

Click for more at

NDSU players charged in scandal

Updated: September 7, 2012, 8:17 PM ET

(AP) - BISMARCK, N.D. -- Nine North Dakota State University football players were among 15 people formally charged Friday with faking petition signatures in a scandal that blocked two voter initiatives from getting on the November ballot.

The 15 are scheduled for their first court appearance Oct. 2 in Fargo, said Birch Burdick, the Cass County state's attorney. They were charged Friday with a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Of the 15 defendants, 12 are present or former members of NDSU's football team, the defending NCAA Football Championship Subdivision champion.

Four of the accused players are starters: running back Samuel Ojuri, offensive lineman Joshua Colville and defensive backs Marcus Williams and Brendin Pierre. The list also includes backup defensive backs Bryan Shepherd and Aireal Boyd, linebacker Antonio Rodgers and redshirt freshmen Demitrius Gray, a wide receiver, and Lucas Albers, a tight end.

Former players Joshua Gatlin, Don Carter and D.J. McNorton also are charged.

NDSU coach Craig Bohl has said the current players will not be disciplined until the criminal charges are resolved and the allegations were not considered serious enough to suspend them from the team.

The players have been told not to comment on the case. Burdick and Tracy Peters, an assistant state's attorney, said Friday they had not been contacted by attorneys for any of the defendants. Those who can't afford attorneys can request public defenders when they appear in court Oct. 2, Burdick said.

The players were among the people hired to gather signatures for two ballot measures. One sought to establish a state fund to promote conservation, environmental and water projects, financed by a share of North Dakota's oil tax collections. The second was aimed at making marijuana use legal for people suffering from chronic pain and debilitating illnesses.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger disqualified the measures from the ballot this week, saying checks of the petition signatures had uncovered significant fraud. Jaeger said petition carriers were given daily signature quotas, and may have felt pressure to meet them by making up names.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the petitions included names copied from phone books and cell phone lists. Others appeared to be fabricated, he said.

Supporters of the conservation initiative paid Terra Strategies LLC, of Des Moines, Iowa, $130,000 to supervise petition signature collection, said Becky Jones Mahlum, a spokeswoman for Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck, N.D. Ducks Unlimited officials previously pegged the amount at $140,000 to $145,000, but Mahlum said Friday the earlier sums included amounts the organization had expected to be billed.

Mahlum said Terra Strategies had promised to implement safeguards to ensure the validity of the signatures. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the company required petition circulators to sign a code of conduct promising not to engage in illegal activity while gathering signatures and to fill out daily reports detailing how many names they had gathered.

Jim Kottmeyer, a partner in Terra Strategies, said Friday the company was doing an internal review of the problem and cooperating with supporters of the conservation fund campaign.

"We intend to get to the bottom of figuring out what did or did not happen," Kottmeyer told The Associated Press.

David Dittloff, a regional representative of the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula, Mont., told members of the group's North Dakota affiliate in an email that Terra Strategies had offered to refund its fee.

But he told the AP in an email Friday that his statement "may have jumped the gun" and referred questions to Mahlum and Stephen Adair, Ducks Unlimited's regional director in Bismarck, N.D., who was chairman of the initiative campaign. Mahlum declined to comment about the email, or say whether the conservation groups planned to sue the company to recoup their costs.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

PIPES: Obama: ‘I have never been a Muslim’

President’s personal accounts reveal inconsistencies

By Daniel Pipes
Friday, September 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: In this first of a five-part series, Middle East and Islam specialist Daniel Pipes begins his inquiry into Barack Obama’s early Muslim connections by noting the president’s autobiographical inaccuracies. Future installments will establish his many connections to Islam.

(Washington Times) - President Obama has come out swinging against his Republican rival, sponsoring television advertisements that ask, “What is Mitt Romney hiding?” The allusion is to such relatively minor matters as Mr. Romney’s prior tax returns, the date he stopped working for Bain Capital and the nonpublic records from his service heading the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Mr. Obama has defended his demands that Mr. Romney release more information about himself, declaring in August that “the American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like your finances.” Liberals such as Paul Krugman of the New York Times enthusiastically endorse this focus on Mr. Romney’s personal history.

If President Obama and his supporters wish to focus on biography, of course, that is a game two can play. Already, the temperate, mild-mannered Mr. Romney has criticized Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign as “based on falsehood and dishonesty,” and a television ad went further, asserting that Mr. Obama “doesn’t tell the truth.”

A focus on openness and honesty is likely to hurt Mr. Obama far more than Mr. Romney. Mr. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications. For example, to sell his autobiography in 1991, Mr. Obama claimed that he “was born in Kenya.” He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party. When Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Mr. Obama’s flacks smeared and dismissed Mr. Kurtz. Mr. Obama’s 1995 autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” contains a torrent of inaccuracies and falsehoods about his maternal grandfather, his father, his mother, his parents’ wedding, his stepfather’s father, his high school friend, his girlfriend, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. As Victor Davis Hanson put it, “If a writer will fabricate the details about his own mother’s terminal illness and quest for insurance, then he will probably fudge on anything.”

Into this larger pattern of mendacity about his past life arises the question of Mr. Obama’s discussion of his faith, perhaps the most singular and outrageous of his lies.

Asked about the religion of his childhood and youth, Mr. Obama offers contradictory answers. He finessed a March 2004 question, “Have you always been a Christian?” by replying: “I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.” But in December 2007, he belatedly decided to give a straight answer: “My mother was a Christian from Kansas. I was raised by my mother. So, I’ve always been a Christian.” In February 2009, however, he offered a completely different account:

“I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion. I didn’t become a Christian until I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college.”

He further elaborated on this answer in September 2010, saying, “I came to my Christian faith later in life.”

Which is it? Has Mr. Obama “always been a Christian” or did he “become a Christian” after college? Self-contradiction on so fundamental a matter of identity, when added to the general questioning about the accuracy of his autobiography, raises questions about veracity. Would someone telling the truth say such varied and opposite things about himself? Inconsistency is typical of fabrication: When making things up, it’s hard to stick with the same story. Mr. Obama appears to be hiding something. Was he the areligious child of irreligious parents? Or was he always a Christian? A Muslim? Or was he, in fact, something of his own creation — a Christian Muslim?

Mr. Obama provides some information on his Islamic background in his two books, “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” (2006). In 2007, when Hillary Rodham Clinton was still the favored Democratic candidate for president, a number of reporters dug up information about Mr. Obama’s time in Indonesia. His statements as president have provided important insights into his mentality. The major biographies of Mr. Obama, however, whether friendly (such as those by David Maraniss, David Mendell and David Remnick) or hostile (such as those by Jack Cashill, Jerome R. Corsi, Dinesh D’Souza, Aaron Klein, Edward Klein and Stanley Kurtz), devote little attention to this topic.

I shall establish his having been born and raised a Muslim, provide confirming evidence from recent years, survey the perceptions of him as a Muslim, and place this deception in the larger context of Mr. Obama’s autobiographical fictions.

To begin with, Barack Obama readily acknowledges that his paternal grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, converted to Islam. Indeed, “Dreams” (Page 407) contains a long quote from his paternal grandmother explaining the grandfather’s reasons for doing so: Christianity’s ways appeared to be “foolish sentiment” to him, “something to comfort women,” and so he converted to Islam, thinking “its practices conformed more closely to his beliefs” (Page 104). Barack Obama readily told this to all comers: When asked by a barber (Page 149), “You a Muslim?” for example, he replied, “Grandfather was.”

Mr. Obama presents his parents and stepfather as nonreligious. He notes in “Audacity” (Pages 204-5), that his “father had been raised a Muslim” but was a “confirmed atheist” by the time he met Barack’s mother, who, in turn, “professed secularism.” His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, “like most Indonesians, was raised a Muslim,” though he was a nonpracticing, syncretic one who “followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths” (“Dreams,” Page 37).

As for himself, Mr. Obama acknowledges numerous connections to Islam but denies being a Muslim. “The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country,” he declared in Dec. 2007. “But I’ve never practiced Islam. For a while, I lived in Indonesia because my mother was teaching there. And that’s a Muslim country. And I went to school. But I didn’t practice.” Likewise, he said in February 2008: “I have never been a Muslim other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for four years when I was a child, I have very little connection to the Islamic religion.” Note his unequivocal statement here: “I have never been a Muslim.” Under the headline, “Barack Obama is not and has never been a Muslim,” Mr. Obama’s first presidential campaign website was even more emphatic in November 2007, stating that “Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”

These emphatic statements notwithstanding, much points to Mr. Obama’s having been a Muslim.

Story Continues

Universal Education or Universal Competence

Friday, September 07, 2012
Posted by Daniel Greenfield
@ the Sultan Knish blog

Education was the defining paradigm of the 20th Century model of social progress, particularly the scientific education distributed through cells and classes where trained educators teach from prepared texts imparting the same knowledge to every students through the same methods.

Our educational system is nothing if not extensive. We, collectively and individually, spend fortunes on it. The average cost of a four year degree is approaching 100,000 dollars and that isn't counting textbooks (1,100 per year) and the astronomical rates of interest on student loans. Total student loan debt has doubled in the last seven years and is approaching 300 billion dollars. The average student under 30 owes around 20,000 dollars as education has become the new mortgage.

Senior citizens who came of age in the age when college became universalized are having their social security payments reduced to cover their student loan debts proving that a college education really does last for a lifetime.

The individual expenses for an education are trivial compared to the collective burden. The budget for New York City's Department of Education is 24.4 billion dollars. That is nearly the GDP of Vermont being expended on the schools of a single city. It's the GDP of 60 percent of the countries on the planet being shoveled into a single school system of 1.1 million children under the banner of "Children First" that amounts to 40 percent of the city budget.

New York spends 11,572 dollars per pupil. For now the home of Wall Street can afford this kind of insane waste, closing the budget shortfall by finding a way to impose a 300 million or 500 million dollar fine on a major bank or brokerage. Most other places can't. Across the river, New Jersey's disastrous schools are bleeding taxpayers dry with murderous property taxes to fund failing schools.

The same story is repeated across the nation where homeowners are bled to fund swollen pension funds and failing urban schools. Gimmicks such as "weighed student funding" are used to divert as much money as possible from successful local schools to unsuccessful urban schools. People are losing their homes so that another high school in Newark can roll out more afterschool programs and Michelle Obama's idea of nutritious lunches.

Politicians take for granted that education is the road to empowerment and equality. Obama has read poems off his teleprompter about the wonders of education as the only means of ensuring "our" children's future. There is nothing revolutionary about that. Every politician takes it for granted that education means empowerment. But does it really?

Universal education was the panacea of every socialist state. By NEA rankings the Soviet Union had a better education system than we do. Its system routed as much of the population as possible through higher education and degree mills making it better educated, on paper, than the Yankee running dogs of the decadent West. And yet the USSR was behind the United States in every possible area of life.

The more you universalize education, the lower the value of that education becomes. When the goal of education is not to teach, but to graduate, then the educational system becomes a cattle run which exists only to move students through the system and then out the door through classroom promotion. The High School education of today is inferior to the Elementary School education of yesterday and the four year college graduate of today couldn't even begin to match wits with a high school graduate from 1946. College has become the new High School. Graduate school is the new college. If we keep following the European model, then two decades from now, everyone will be encouraged to get a Master's Degree which will be the prerequisite for most jobs and also be completely worthless.

The current model is that the more education you have, the better you are and the better that the society you live in will be. Everyone is expected to finish High School and as many as possible are encouraged to go to college, even if they'll die before they pay off the student debt and even if more people go bankrupt subsidizing other people's education. And at some point when everyone has six years of higher education, we'll have a utopia of flying cars, glowing sidewalks in the sky and 5 minute tours of the moon.

But there is another model. Not universal education, but universal competence. The Jewish text, Pirkei Avot or Sayings of Our Fathers, circa 220, contains the following sage advice from Rabbi Chanina the son of Dosa, "Whoever has more deeds than learning, his learning will endure. But whoever has more learning than deeds, his learning will not endure."

The modern educational system has a surplus of learning, mainly purposeless learning. The average graduate of the four-year college has spent a great deal of money and learned very little of any use to him or to anyone else. By the end he may have learned to calculate interest rates, if only through necessity. Despite all the pablum about preparing the next generation for the future, he is in no way more empowered than he was four years ago. Often he is more disempowered by debt.

Empowerment comes not from mere education, but from competence. Competence is skill-based, it indicates a level of practical ability in any field that goes beyond regurgitating the approved program of standardized education. Competence covers everything from being able to fix a car to being able to put together a sentence. And competence is empowering because skill transmutes learning into deeds.

Competence trickles in between the bars of education, but the modern educational system provides for less competence and more waste. The type of higher education that we have now is geared toward two areas, cultural transmission and meta-culture.

Cultural transmission would be more useful if we had a culture, but instead it means students studying the Canterbury Tales and then the Color Purple followed by Albert Camus, William Shakespeare, Jane Smiley, John Dos Passos and a selection of Mexican LGBT poems. This isn't culture, it's discordant noise, and our society has no great economic or cultural interest in spending fortunes passing it along.

Meta-culture is even more useless as it is aimed at internalizing the specialized vocabularies created through categorizing culture to group identities. It is not only a useless egotistical exercise, but also quite pernicious as well. Analyzing analyses of culture and then critiquing them for political conformity used to be for aspiring Marxist poets singing marching songs from the Spanish Civil War. Now it's for everyone. Ten years from now, we will spending three times as much on education and most students will have trouble with basic math and literacy, but will immediately be able to look at a Bugs Bunny cartoon and determine whose narrative it privileges. (Hint: White men.)

We can still send a probe to Mars and stream live video of it to the world from servers to handheld devices not because of our wonderful standard collectivist education, but because we have still retained enough of a legacy of competence from previous generations. It's the same reason that the Soviet Union still had classical ballet. Even so about the only things we make anymore are programs from companies created by college dropouts in fields that boomed before they were standardized. Our innovation doesn't come, as Obama claims, from education. It comes from men escaping education.

Innovation comes from competence. To innovate, you have to not simply know about a thing, but you have to know how to take it apart and put it back together again, and then put it down dissatisfied with its limitations. Innovators rebel against conventions, not as the reflexive Catcher in the Rye teenage pout against society, but because it can be made better. True innovation is the function driven pursuit of higher degrees of empowerment.

Competence need not be all that dramatic. It is as simple as understanding the value of a thing, a skill that most people seemed to possess back when consumerism wasn't an indoor sport and purchasing meant buying the things that you needed to work and live. It means being able to count, whether it's the total on the cash register or the interest rate, with all the fine print, on a student loan. It also means understanding how a politician is promising to screw you, when he talks about our need to invest more in education, housing or balloon animals.

A society with universal competence is an achievement society. It is a place where things get done because the people have the skill to do them. They do not have the same skills, and they don't need to have them. Standardized education leads to standardized drones, not competent individuals. Ability is personal and skill is learned. Who you are informs what you do and what you do informs who you are. Education is information, but competence is identity.

Above all else, a society of competent men and women is self-ruled. Competence is the core of independence while standardized education is the essence of collectivism. Once you know how to do something, you are less likely to be awed by men and women who only know how to rule over others. Once you know how to do something, you have achieved a measure of pure freedom.

An America with even more universal education will not be any more competitive, it will be less so. There is only so much money available for 24.4 billion dollar education budgets, or the 500 billion dollar equivalent of it when applying the same per-child spending ratio nationwide. And when that pyramid of debt sinks into the sand, we will have a great many people with a passel of degrees and less useful skills than most Stone Age aborigines.

But an America with universal competence would mean a return to the country that was where the economy was driven by individual skill and learning ability, rather than by collective programming. And that is the only kind of nation for which the Constitution would be more than just pretty words, but serve as the guarantees of an actual limited government. That great nation existed once and it still exists even among the ruins of the government cradle-to-grave state. All it needs is the freedom to do.


Stopping Totalitarianism One Community at a Time


“It’s time to take off the tin foil hats and put on the kevlar helmets” Paul Preston

Canada's message to Iran's fans

First posted: Friday, September 07, 2012 08:00 PM EDT

Toronto Sun - Not only will the vodka in Vladivostok be ice cold today, so will the already stirred but now shaken diplomatic relations between Canada and Russia.

Straight up, it's a potent cocktail.

Not many countries support the whacked-out regime of Iran more than Russia and, with Foreign Minister John Baird's closure of the Canadian Embassy in Tehran yesterday and the booting out of Iran's diplomats in Ottawa, ultra-frigidity will likely be the tone of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit underway in Vladivostok, Russia.

This represents the strongest condemnation of Iran since the imposition of international sanctions.

It's a declaration of cold war.

Unless the agenda is rewritten, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to have one-on-ones with both China's Hu Jintao and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Canada's actions against Iran cannot be ignored.

With Baird also in Vladivostok, his announcement to pull our diplomats out of Iran, and kick their out of Ottawa, was perfectly timed.

In the end, he framed Canada's decision around protecting the safety of our diplomats, the final straw being that Iran's thugs cannot be trusted to respect any international conventions.

But with that now in play, the overall issue of Iran will have to be addressed by the two powerhouses who have been using their UN vetoes to assist Iran in supporting the tyranny of Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

Harper has them in a corner, and they will not be able to let it lie, not with the press from 21 Asia-Pacific countries asking for their reaction.

For Harper and Baird, Canada had to demonstrate its disdain for Iran with more than rhetoric, and to condemn its increasing military assistance to Syria, its anti-Israel hatred and its support for terrorism with the kind of action that would capture world headlines.

Mission accomplished.

This comes, coincidentally, at the same time U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers confirmed he was at the meeting in August in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "at wits' end," blew up at U.S.-Israeli ambassador Daniel Shapiro over Barack Obama's lack of clarity on Iran's nuclear program.

Well, Canada has now made itself perfectly clear on all the evils regarding Iran -- and in Putin's own backyard.

All very ballsy.

But necessary.

Calif. Judge Tosses Out PETA Lawsuit Against California 'Happy Cows' Ads

By Pete Winn
September 6, 2012

( - A California judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) seeking to stop California dairy farmers from running TV ads touting how happy, healthy and well-cared for dairy herds are.

PETA, which filed the lawsuit in 2011, had argued that the California Milk Advisory Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture had violated state rules that bar misleading or inaccurate marketing with the “Happy Cows” ads.

The animal rights group had demanded that California dairy farmers prove that California cows are “happy cows,” as the milk board claimed in the ads.

According to court documents, PETA had specifically complained that “most California dairy cows are subjected to physical and psychological pain and stress caused by intense and uncomfortable dairying practices, have a high risk of suffering from a number of diseases, and die prematurely” and that “dairy producers take into account the animals’ wellbeing only to the extent that it is economically advantageous to do so.”

PETA claimed that the Milk Advisory Board was “lying about the condition of actual cows at actual California dairies.”

But in an Aug. 24 decision, Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly in Sacramento dismissed the suit, ruling that PETA had failed to provide any evidence that California dairy farms mistreat dairy cows.

Connelly held that state agriculture inspectors and the state dairy board had “extensive experience and knowledge that provides strong evidentiary support” justifying the dairy board's claims that California dairy farmers “are very concerned about the health, comfort and safety of their cows” and “adhere to some of the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S.”

The judge further found that the marketing statements in the promotion “are general assertions about the efforts of California dairy farmers in caring for their cows, not factual representations of the health status and comfort level of the cows or the particular practices and standards used by farmers to care for the cows.”

The California Milk Advisory Board applauded the ruling.

“California dairy families take the well-being and care of their cows very seriously,” Jennifer Gambrioli, spokeswoman for the California Milk Advisory Board, told

However, PETA’s director of litigation, Martina Bernstein, said in denying the petition, the judge had “excluded all the evidence from peer-reviewed scientific journals and U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys.”

“The evidence shows that disease and suffering is rampant -- more than 30 percent of cows suffer from udder infections, painful swollen knees, and hoof disorders, such as foot rot, ulcers, and abscesses, resulting in lameness and premature death,” Bernstein added.

But in his ruling, Judge Connelly declared that PETA had provided only general “declarations” about dairy farming and had provided no “data specific to California dairy farms, and no expert opinion testimony is offered to explain the data or relate it to the dairy farms.”

The judge also said that state veterinarians and agriculture officials regularly inspect California dairy farms, and are in a better position, scientifically, to know what condition the state’s cows are in.

“(Their) evidence stands in sharp contrast to nonprobative anecdotal information about the condition and care of cows on six or twelve dairy farms among the more than 1,600 farms in the state,” Connelly wrote.

“Statistical surveys and studies may be more detailed and systematic, but the aggregated experience and knowledge of Department personnel provides comprehensive and reliable information relevant to the care of cows on California dairy farms.”

PETA, meanwhile, said it is “continuing a review of the judge's decision in order to determine its next step.”

Obama the demigod comes down to Earth

By Dana Milbank, Published: September 7

(Washington Post) CHARLOTTE - It began, like the Obama presidency itself, with the loftiest of hopes and the greatest of expectations.

The Democratic National Convention was to have opened here Monday with a festival at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where, convention officials said, some 100,000 people would participate in a Labor Day festival that demonstrated the party’s openness and inclusion.

After a couple of nights at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention was to have closed with President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium, where convention officials were planning to squeeze nearly 6,000 seats onto the field to expand the stadium’s capacity beyond its usual 74,000.

But the speedway event was canceled — ostensibly because of logistical problems but more likely because convention fundraising was running low. Then the Democrats canceled the stadium event in favor of the smaller arena — ostensibly because of “severe thunderstorm” concerns but more likely because they couldn’t be sure enough people would come to fill the stadium.

In fact, the forecast hadn’t called for severe weather, and conditions were fine Thursday night. The change caused thousands to be turned away, and the crush of crowds at the arena led authorities at one point to lock down the building for a second straight night – leaving some delegates on the street while lobbyists enjoyed the proceedings inside.

It was quite a comedown from that heady night in Denver four years ago when Obama accepted the nomination in front of about 80,000 at Invesco Field. The candidate, on a stage set resembling a Greek temple, spoke about remaking the nation and the world.

The demigod turned out to be entirely human, and his results were disappointing. On Thursday night, as Obama admitted to “failings,” Democrats who dreamed of the biggest and the best in 2008 were learning to accept good enough.

To appreciate the transformation, I spent some time Thursday afternoon in the convention hall with the Indiana delegation. Four years ago, as the Obama wave was building, Indiana was in play (it eventually went to Obama) and the delegation was seated prominently. This year, Obama isn’t contesting Indiana, and the delegation was assigned to the back, in between solidly red Alabama and Idaho.

“It was just so moving, so emotional, to be just one individual in a sea of Democrats,” delegate Bionca Gambill of Terra Haute told me, recalling that night at Invesco Field. “There were a lot of people in tears.” But this year, “you don’t have that magic,” she said. “We need to find some of that energy. I don’t think we can find 100 percent of it.”

A few rows back, Leona Glazebrooks of Indianapolis had similar recollections. “We felt confident, we felt good: A new generation was coming,” she said. Now, she said, “I’m worried. . . . Can you elect someone when employment isn’t under 8 percent?”

As I parted with the Indiana delegation, James Taylor had taken the stage, and he performed “You’ve Got a Friend” for the delegates:

When you’re down and troubled

And you need a helping hand

And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right. . .

One important thing is still going right for Obama: He remains narrowly favored to win, which is no small feat in this grim economy. The party faithful in the hall, including the Hoosiers, remained passionately for him, and the convention speeches were coordinated and disciplined. But around the convention were worrying signs.

As The Post’s Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten reported, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel dropped his honorary co-chairmanship of the Obama campaign so he could help plug Obama’s fundraising gap by raising big-dollar contributions for the pro-Obama super PAC. On the convention floor, Democrats bled from a self-inflicted injury as delegates squabbled over the platform’s inexplicable omission of the phrase “God-given” and language recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

At the start of his indoor acceptance speech, Obama tried to recalibrate expectations, telling delegates that at the 2004 convention he “spoke about hope, not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty.” He returned to the theme later, cautioning: “I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. . . . And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

It was a markedly different tone from that night in Denver four years ago, when Obama spoke of “the change we need right now” at that “defining moment” when he vowed to remake Washington. Had he mentioned years and decades back then, the drop in expectations might not have felt so steep.


We're not spying on you, DOD assures journos

9/7/12 6:36 PM EDT

(Politico) - The Pentagon issues an official response to defense reporters’ concerns that their phone calls and emails might be tapped in order to close leaks:

“The Department of Defense does not conduct electronic or physical surveillance of journalists,” Pentagon press secretary George Little wrote in a letter to the Pentagon Press Association, released Friday.

The issue caused concern among some of the Pentagon press corps earlier this summer, when a closed House committee hearing about clamping down on DOD leaks led to a new Pentagon policy to monitor national media reporting for disclosures of classified information. The PPA sent a letter on July 20 asking that the DOD clarify what “monitor” entailed.

In his response, Little writes that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta directed the department to “review media reports” to ensure that DOD employees aren’t disclosing classified information.

“… The Secretary and Chairman both believe strongly in freedom of the press and encourage good relations between the Department and the press corps,” the letter says.