Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Retro 7: How About More Hate Control Before More Gun Control, Part 3 - The Facts, Statistics, Fallacies and Realities Of Gun Control

Given family engagements in town this week, we will be rerunning some of our most popular posts, posts that have garnered the most attention and which showed that we are currently enduring the worst set of politicians America has ever had.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2013


How About More Hate Control Before More Gun Control, Part 3 - The Facts, Statistics, Fallacies, and Realities Of Gun Control


This is our third post in the series where we propose that the country, and especially our politicians, practice more “hate control” than gun control. In the previous posts we reviewed how venomous and hateful speech were pervading our society, degrading the sanctity of life and possibly being a major reason why some people go nuts and end up killing innocent people. We also reviewed actual cases of Americans legally using their Second Amendment rights to protect their lives, their families, and their assets from violent criminal elements, an option that many politicians would like to eliminate with draconian gun control/gun elimination.

Today, we will be reviewing a wide number of statistics, sources, and realities when it comes to violence and gun control, all of which indicate that rational gun laws that allow Americans to keep and use guns in the protection of their lives is a logical, Constitutional, and viable option for the citizens of the country.

Now some people may question the following “facts” and realities since the sources are not what they consider mainstream media. But I think there is a growing awareness among informed, rational people that the mainstream media is no longer the unbiased, purveyors of truth that many think they are today. The various components of mainstream media now take sides, and the publication or non-publication of facts and stories is based on whether or not it helps their “side.”

So, when reading the following, if you do not like the source, I encourage you to prove it wrong. If proven wrong, I have no problem issuing a retraction. But do not blindly rule out the following conclusions and theories just because it does not line up with your position on the issue or it is not from your favorite media/news source. Going forth blindly allows the political class to lead you to where their best interests lie and we all know that is seldom the best interest for citizens and the country.

1) Lets start with an article from a January 7, 2013 article from the website, www.mrconservative.com, entitled “Society Is Crumbling And Banning Guns Will Make It Worse.” Consider some of the facts and conclusions laid out in the article:

- The writer points out that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws. But 10 people were shot in the city of Chicago on the Friday before this article was posted. Ten people shot on one day in one city, a city with very strict gun laws. The author claims Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city,” and the murder rate in Chicago is about 25% higher than it was last year. So, implementing strict gun laws has resulted in rising violence.

Now, I guess one could make the case that gun violence would have been up 50% without the strict gun laws and that would be a valid counter argument. But I would not believe it, based on the actual individual cases we reviewed yesterday where gun owning Americans protected themselves from violent criminals.

I suggest you check out the following link to the gun violence in Chicago from the Associated Press. It contains a myriad of statistics and reasons why 500 people, more than one a day, are murdered annually in Chicago, a murder rate that has doubled in the past decade. A lot of the murders are a result of gang activity, the participants of which are highly unlikely to register their guns with authorities:

http://enews.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20121229/b5734626-50e3-4ce9-80b4-027a3e02d387

- The following paragraph from the article describes the situation in a Georgia town where a law was passed that required all of its citizens to actually own a firearm. The article reviews what happened after that requirement was passed: “In March 1982, , the small town of Kennesaw (Georgia) – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender. The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law. Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189."

So let’s review. A town has a crime rate substantially above the national level. The town passes a law requiring every responsible adult to have a licensed gun. Over time, the crime rate drops to a level substantially below the national level.

Again, an argument could be made that this was a spurious correlation and that the crime rate would have dropped in the absence of the gun law. A valid point, but given that the program did not result in wild shooting incidents and no one accidentally shot themselves, I would contend that it did not hurt.

- The article goes on to put forth a very valid hypothesis: maybe guns are not the problem but medication and legally prescribed drugs are the problem. The Washington Post has reported that the Newtown shooter was “on medication.” The article quotes some authorities on this issue/root cause: “The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society as well. Just a month ago PRWeb described drug induced violence as ”medicine’s best kept secret. And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is calling for a federal investigation on its web page which links no less than 14 mass killings to the use of psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Paxil."

Certainly a potential root cause worth exploring.

- What happened in Newtown was tragic. I do not want to belittle the sorrow and tragedy in any way. But while the political class is fretting and grandstanding about gun control, how about the following issues that never get their attention, according to the article:
  • There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.
  • An average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.
  • The United States has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.
  • It is estimated that 500,000 Americans that will be born this year will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
  • In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
Would banning guns keep these atrocities from happening? No, banning guns would not prevent these atrocities from going on everyday. Maybe we need a national discussion about protecting our kids, with preventing school shootings only a component, but a very important component, of the overall discussion. That would be a noble cause for the political class as opposed to using the Newtown shootings as means to another, selfish, political end, gun prohibition, rather than a means to truly protecting and cherishing our kids on a daily basis.

The Pentagon has the Defense Department. The businesses in this country have the Commerce Department. The unions in this country have the Labor Department. Energy companies have the Energy Department. Maybe we need a Kids Department, an organized effort to protect our kids, not only from school shootings, but also from bad public schools, sexual predators, bad economic futures, etc.

2) The following letter, and the accompanying TV news reports this Marine has been on, has become wildly popular across the country. He has done the best and most succinct job of pointing out the massive hypocrisy of our politicians as they try to reign in our ability to defend ourselves with severe gun ownership laws but make sure that they are protected with gun toting employees and exceptions to the laws they want to pass for the rest of us.

The letter is addressed to California Senator Diane Feinstein who is proposing very severe and freedom eroding gun control legislation despite the fact that she has admitted to carrying a concealed weapon in the past for her own protection. The initial letter that started it all and which pointed out the hypocrisy is below:

From: U.S. Marines Cpl. Joshua Boston
To: Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma’am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Cpl, United States Marine Corps
2004-2012

As an aside, consider two recent sets of news reports:
  • President Obama just signed legislation that will guarantee that he and his family, along with other former Presidents, will be protected by armed Secret Service guards for the rest of their lives.
  • The school where the President sends his kids currently has 11 armed guards on site for protection, not counting the Secret Service personnel assigned to protect Presidential families.
Given that politicians want to protect themselves with armed guards, responsible, ordinary Americans should have the same right, a right not made overly restrictive or arduous by the Federal government.

3) According to the latest available FBI crime statistics, in 2009, 1,825 Americans were murdered by knives, 611 were murdered by blunt objects likes hammers and bats, and 801 were murdered by an assailants feet or hands. In context, only 766 murders were committed by rifles or shotguns. Should we ban knives, hammers, bats, feet, and hands since they account for more than four times as many murders every year than rifles and shotguns?

Or should we focus on crime prevention of all types so that the act of murder is done less regardless of the means? By the way, the national number of murders by handguns has decreased by 15% from 2005 to 2009 and murder by any type of gun has decreased by 10% from 2005 to 2009. But has increased in places like Chicago which has very strict gun laws. Thus, statistically, one could make the correlation that violence goes up (as in Chicago) where there are stricter than normal gun control laws but goes down overall where the gun laws, on average, are not as strict.

4) An Associated Press article from January 8, 2013 showed that all not politicians are as ignorant as the Washington political class when it comes to sane gun laws for stable law abiding citizens. Politicians in a Utah town, Spring City, want to make sure every head of household has a firearm and knows how to use it, and they want to give school teachers training with guns too.

Councilman Neil Sorensen first proposed the legislation requiring a gun in every household in the town of 1,000. The rest of the council was not in agreement of making at making it a requirement, but they unanimously agreed to move forward with an ordinance "recommending" the idea. The council also approved funding to offer concealed firearms training to the 20 teachers and administrators at the local elementary school.

The proposal, which will go before the full council in February for further review and comment, appears to have the support of the council's five members and many residents in the community about 90 miles south of Salt Lake City. Councilman Noel Bertelson believes making guns in every house mandatory was too much. 

However, he agrees the town would be safer if everyone was armed. With only a part-time police force, he said, response time is not like it is in a big city: "If a person is able to take care of themselves for a while, it would probably be a good thing." 

Sounds like the situation that reported on yesterday, when a mother alone with her infant child waited well over 20 minutes for police help, needing to shoot the knife wielding intruder on her own to save her and her baby’s life.

The community is still smarting from the double-murder of an elderly couple in nearby Mount Pleasant couple of years ago. One councilman said what used to be a peaceful, quiet town has seen increasing criminal activity. Thefts of metal for scrap and other property also have become a problem” "We are kind of tired of people breaking in and taking stuff," said Councilman Mickel, explaining why he voted to urge every house to have a gun.

Angela Johnson, owner of a local town gas station, said she doesn't like guns but backs the council's proposal, showing more insight to human beings than all Washington politicians combined: "If criminals knew they would be fired against, I think it would cause pause."

Why is that concept so difficult for people like Senator Feinstein to understand?

5) Consider the reporting from the Sacramento Bee on December 27, 2013:
  • Gun deaths and injuries have dropped sharply in California, even as the number of guns sold in the state has risen, according to new California state government data.
  • Gun dealers sold 600,000 guns in California last year, up from 350,000 in 2002, according to records from the California Attorney General's office, a 71% increase.
  • During that time period, the number of hospitalizations from gun injuries dropped from about 4,000 annually to 2,900, a roughly 25% drop, according to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health.
  • California firearm-related deaths fell from about 3,200 annually to about 2,800, an 11% drop, state health figures show.
  • The number of California injuries and deaths attributed to accidental discharge of firearms also has fallen.
  • The number of suicide deaths involving firearms has remained roughly constant, i.e. having a lot more guns present in California homes and businesses has not increased the number of self inflicted deaths by gunfire.
So in summary, gun sales go way up, gun deaths, wounding, and suicides either go down or remain the same. See Angela Johnson’s comment above for a potential reason.

6) Consider an article written by AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen which appeared on the Western Journalism website on December 26, 2013, and whose excerpts are listed below:
  • The city of Chicago currently has the most restrictive gun control laws on the books, has been declared a “gun free zone” where handguns are banned, yet it is the most bloody city in the world in terms of gun-related deaths. The city averages 40 deaths per month from guns, and is nearing 500 for the year. Chicago’s murder rate is 19.4 per 100,000, which is by far the highest rate in the nation, at nearly 3 times New York which is at 6, and nearly 2 ½ times Los Angeles’ 7.5. In fact, Chicago ranks as the number one deadliest Alpha city (significant urban center in the global economic system) on the planet. Since it is no longer possible to legally own guns within city limits, the only ones who still have them are criminals. It doesn’t appear gun control works for Chicago. In fact, the city illustrates how correct the aphorism is that if guns are outlawed, only the outlaws have guns. The law-abiding citizens do not.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2003 thoroughly analyzed fifty-one in-depth studies dealing with gun control. Those studies included everything from the effectiveness of gun bans to laws requiring gun locks. From their objective analysis, they “found no discernible effect on public safety by any of the measures we commonly think of as ‘gun control.’”
  • In 2005, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine conducted a similar analysis of extant gun laws across the country. They arrived at a similar conclusion, as the abstract for their research concludes, “that evidence for the effectiveness of a given firearms law on an outcome is insufficient.” After reviewing over fifty different gun control laws, and coming to the conclusion that their effectiveness on an outcome is “insufficient” is euphemism for “they had no discernible effect.”
Not only are these findings of interest and vital in debunking the need to severely restrict or prohibit gun ownership of rational American citizens, he closes the article with a great description of why we are going through this useless exercise of draconian gun control laws and why it will fail: “Gun control has proven impotent in curbing the problem, and “gun free zones” are absurd, since they practically advertise themselves to be potential venues of mayhem and violence. More gun control is not a solution, but only serves as a Band-Aid to our emotions so we feel like we’re doing something. The problems are much deeper in our society than Band-Aids can cure.”

Band Aids will not prevent future Newtown shooting sprees. Putting a trained police officer in each of our 132,000 schools will do a lot more than Band Aids.
Band Aids will not prevent people from being raped or killed in their homes or businesses. Only well trained, rational citizens with legal firearms will do that.

Band Aids will not halt the venomous and hateful speech that spills out of certain people’s mouths, vileness that has become a trademark of current day politicians.

Band Aids will not prevent criminal elements from getting their hands on guns.

Band Aids will not force criminal elements to register or turn in their firearms.

Band Aids will not stop thousands and thousands of our kids from being abused, physically or sexually, or unnecessarily dying every year.

Band Aids will not allow us to understand how our legal drug infested culture leads an individual to snap and kill innocent people and children.

Band Aids will not prevent the current and dire economic and social conditions from creating the gangs that lead to the thousands of firearm murders every year.

Band Aids will not work but as usual, that is all the Washington political class is capable of. They always fail to understand the root causes of our major issues and fail to address those root causes with real medicine and real solutions, settling only for political grandstanding and surface solutions that never work. 

Nowhere is this simplicity of this Band Aid approach and idiocy more on display by the current administration. Vice President Joe Biden is having a series of meetings and thinks that his recommendation after two weeks of meetings will result in a viable solution. The problem is way too deep and way too complicated for a single politician to come up with a solution in less than a month’s time, especially a politician like Joe Biden.

Senator Feinstein’s simplistic approach, ban or severely restrict gun ownership, will only result in the killing of so many more people that it will dwarf the carnage at Newtown.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and
others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org/
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Retro 6 - How About More Hate Control Before More Gun Control, Part 3 - The Facts, Statistics, Fallacies, and Realities Of Gun Control

Given family engagements in town this week, we will be rerunning some of our most popular posts, posts that have garnered the most attention and which showed that we are currently enduring the worst set of politicians America has ever had.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2013


How About More Hate Control Before More Gun Control, Part 3 - The Facts, Statistics, Fallacies, and Realities Of Gun Control


This is our third post in the series where we propose that the country, and especially our politicians, practice more “hate control” than gun control. In the previous posts we reviewed how venomous and hateful speech were pervading our society, degrading the sanctity of life and possibly being a major reason why some people go nuts and end up killing innocent people. We also reviewed actual cases of Americans legally using their Second Amendment rights to protect their lives, their families, and their assets from violent criminal elements, an option that many politicians would like to eliminate with draconian gun control/gun elimination.

Today, we will be reviewing a wide number of statistics, sources, and realities when it comes to violence and gun control, all of which indicate that rational gun laws that allow Americans to keep and use guns in the protection of their lives is a logical, Constitutional, and viable option for the citizens of the country.

Now some people may question the following “facts” and realities since the sources are not what they consider mainstream media. But I think there is a growing awareness among informed, rational people that the mainstream media is no longer the unbiased, purveyors of truth that many think they are today. The various components of mainstream media now take sides, and the publication or non-publication of facts and stories is based on whether or not it helps their “side.”

So, when reading the following, if you do not like the source, I encourage you to prove it wrong. If proven wrong, I have no problem issuing a retraction. But do not blindly rule out the following conclusions and theories just because it does not line up with your position on the issue or it is not from your favorite media/news source. Going forth blindly allows the political class to lead you to where their best interests lie and we all know that is seldom the best interest for citizens and the country.

1) Lets start with an article from a January 7, 2013 article from the website, www.mrconservative.com, entitled “Society Is Crumbling And Banning Guns Will Make It Worse.” Consider some of the facts and conclusions laid out in the article:

- The writer points out that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws. But 10 people were shot in the city of Chicago on the Friday before this article was posted. Ten people shot on one day in one city, a city with very strict gun laws. The author claims Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city,” and the murder rate in Chicago is about 25% higher than it was last year. So, implementing strict gun laws has resulted in rising violence.

Now, I guess one could make the case that gun violence would have been up 50% without the strict gun laws and that would be a valid counter argument. But I would not believe it, based on the actual individual cases we reviewed yesterday where gun owning Americans protected themselves from violent criminals.

I suggest you check out the following link to the gun violence in Chicago from the Associated Press. It contains a myriad of statistics and reasons why 500 people, more than one a day, are murdered annually in Chicago, a murder rate that has doubled in the past decade. A lot of the murders are a result of gang activity, the participants of which are highly unlikely to register their guns with authorities:

http://enews.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20121229/b5734626-50e3-4ce9-80b4-027a3e02d387

- The following paragraph from the article describes the situation in a Georgia town where a law was passed that required all of its citizens to actually own a firearm. The article reviews what happened after that requirement was passed: “In March 1982, , the small town of Kennesaw (Georgia) – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender. The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law. Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189."

So let’s review. A town has a crime rate substantially above the national level. The town passes a law requiring every responsible adult to have a licensed gun. Over time, the crime rate drops to a level substantially below the national level.

Again, an argument could be made that this was a spurious correlation and that the crime rate would have dropped in the absence of the gun law. A valid point, but given that the program did not result in wild shooting incidents and no one accidentally shot themselves, I would contend that it did not hurt.

- The article goes on to put forth a very valid hypothesis: maybe guns are not the problem but medication and legally prescribed drugs are the problem. The Washington Post has reported that the Newtown shooter was “on medication.” The article quotes some authorities on this issue/root cause: “The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society as well. Just a month ago PRWeb described drug induced violence as ”medicine’s best kept secret. And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is calling for a federal investigation on its web page which links no less than 14 mass killings to the use of psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Paxil."

Certainly a potential root cause worth exploring.

- What happened in Newtown was tragic. I do not want to belittle the sorrow and tragedy in any way. But while the political class is fretting and grandstanding about gun control, how about the following issues that never get their attention, according to the article:
  • There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.
  • An average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.
  • The United States has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.
  • It is estimated that 500,000 Americans that will be born this year will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
  • In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
Would banning guns keep these atrocities from happening? No, banning guns would not prevent these atrocities from going on everyday. Maybe we need a national discussion about protecting our kids, with preventing school shootings only a component, but a very important component, of the overall discussion. That would be a noble cause for the political class as opposed to using the Newtown shootings as means to another, selfish, political end, gun prohibition, rather than a means to truly protecting and cherishing our kids on a daily basis.

The Pentagon has the Defense Department. The businesses in this country have the Commerce Department. The unions in this country have the Labor Department. Energy companies have the Energy Department. Maybe we need a Kids Department, an organized effort to protect our kids, not only from school shootings, but also from bad public schools, sexual predators, bad economic futures, etc.

2) The following letter, and the accompanying TV news reports this Marine has been on, has become wildly popular across the country. He has done the best and most succinct job of pointing out the massive hypocrisy of our politicians as they try to reign in our ability to defend ourselves with severe gun ownership laws but make sure that they are protected with gun toting employees and exceptions to the laws they want to pass for the rest of us.

The letter is addressed to California Senator Diane Feinstein who is proposing very severe and freedom eroding gun control legislation despite the fact that she has admitted to carrying a concealed weapon in the past for her own protection. The initial letter that started it all and which pointed out the hypocrisy is below:

From: U.S. Marines Cpl. Joshua Boston
To: Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma’am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Cpl, United States Marine Corps
2004-2012

As an aside, consider two recent sets of news reports:
  • President Obama just signed legislation that will guarantee that he and his family, along with other former Presidents, will be protected by armed Secret Service guards for the rest of their lives.
  • The school where the President sends his kids currently has 11 armed guards on site for protection, not counting the Secret Service personnel assigned to protect Presidential families.
Given that politicians want to protect themselves with armed guards, responsible, ordinary Americans should have the same right, a right not made overly restrictive or arduous by the Federal government.

3) According to the latest available FBI crime statistics, in 2009, 1,825 Americans were murdered by knives, 611 were murdered by blunt objects likes hammers and bats, and 801 were murdered by an assailants feet or hands. In context, only 766 murders were committed by rifles or shotguns. Should we ban knives, hammers, bats, feet, and hands since they account for more than four times as many murders every year than rifles and shotguns?

Or should we focus on crime prevention of all types so that the act of murder is done less regardless of the means? By the way, the national number of murders by handguns has decreased by 15% from 2005 to 2009 and murder by any type of gun has decreased by 10% from 2005 to 2009. But has increased in places like Chicago which has very strict gun laws. Thus, statistically, one could make the correlation that violence goes up (as in Chicago) where there are stricter than normal gun control laws but goes down overall where the gun laws, on average, are not as strict.

4) An Associated Press article from January 8, 2013 showed that all not politicians are as ignorant as the Washington political class when it comes to sane gun laws for stable law abiding citizens. Politicians in a Utah town, Spring City, want to make sure every head of household has a firearm and knows how to use it, and they want to give school teachers training with guns too.

Councilman Neil Sorensen first proposed the legislation requiring a gun in every household in the town of 1,000. The rest of the council was not in agreement of making at making it a requirement, but they unanimously agreed to move forward with an ordinance "recommending" the idea. The council also approved funding to offer concealed firearms training to the 20 teachers and administrators at the local elementary school.

The proposal, which will go before the full council in February for further review and comment, appears to have the support of the council's five members and many residents in the community about 90 miles south of Salt Lake City. Councilman Noel Bertelson believes making guns in every house mandatory was too much. 

However, he agrees the town would be safer if everyone was armed. With only a part-time police force, he said, response time is not like it is in a big city: "If a person is able to take care of themselves for a while, it would probably be a good thing." 

Sounds like the situation that reported on yesterday, when a mother alone with her infant child waited well over 20 minutes for police help, needing to shoot the knife wielding intruder on her own to save her and her baby’s life.

The community is still smarting from the double-murder of an elderly couple in nearby Mount Pleasant couple of years ago. One councilman said what used to be a peaceful, quiet town has seen increasing criminal activity. Thefts of metal for scrap and other property also have become a problem” "We are kind of tired of people breaking in and taking stuff," said Councilman Mickel, explaining why he voted to urge every house to have a gun.

Angela Johnson, owner of a local town gas station, said she doesn't like guns but backs the council's proposal, showing more insight to human beings than all Washington politicians combined: "If criminals knew they would be fired against, I think it would cause pause."

Why is that concept so difficult for people like Senator Feinstein to understand?

5) Consider the reporting from the Sacramento Bee on December 27, 2013:
  • Gun deaths and injuries have dropped sharply in California, even as the number of guns sold in the state has risen, according to new California state government data.
  • Gun dealers sold 600,000 guns in California last year, up from 350,000 in 2002, according to records from the California Attorney General's office, a 71% increase.
  • During that time period, the number of hospitalizations from gun injuries dropped from about 4,000 annually to 2,900, a roughly 25% drop, according to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health.
  • California firearm-related deaths fell from about 3,200 annually to about 2,800, an 11% drop, state health figures show.
  • The number of California injuries and deaths attributed to accidental discharge of firearms also has fallen.
  • The number of suicide deaths involving firearms has remained roughly constant, i.e. having a lot more guns present in California homes and businesses has not increased the number of self inflicted deaths by gunfire.
So in summary, gun sales go way up, gun deaths, wounding, and suicides either go down or remain the same. See Angela Johnson’s comment above for a potential reason.

6) Consider an article written by AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen which appeared on the Western Journalism website on December 26, 2013, and whose excerpts are listed below:
  • The city of Chicago currently has the most restrictive gun control laws on the books, has been declared a “gun free zone” where handguns are banned, yet it is the most bloody city in the world in terms of gun-related deaths. The city averages 40 deaths per month from guns, and is nearing 500 for the year. Chicago’s murder rate is 19.4 per 100,000, which is by far the highest rate in the nation, at nearly 3 times New York which is at 6, and nearly 2 ½ times Los Angeles’ 7.5. In fact, Chicago ranks as the number one deadliest Alpha city (significant urban center in the global economic system) on the planet. Since it is no longer possible to legally own guns within city limits, the only ones who still have them are criminals. It doesn’t appear gun control works for Chicago. In fact, the city illustrates how correct the aphorism is that if guns are outlawed, only the outlaws have guns. The law-abiding citizens do not.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2003 thoroughly analyzed fifty-one in-depth studies dealing with gun control. Those studies included everything from the effectiveness of gun bans to laws requiring gun locks. From their objective analysis, they “found no discernible effect on public safety by any of the measures we commonly think of as ‘gun control.’”
  • In 2005, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine conducted a similar analysis of extant gun laws across the country. They arrived at a similar conclusion, as the abstract for their research concludes, “that evidence for the effectiveness of a given firearms law on an outcome is insufficient.” After reviewing over fifty different gun control laws, and coming to the conclusion that their effectiveness on an outcome is “insufficient” is euphemism for “they had no discernible effect.”
Not only are these findings of interest and vital in debunking the need to severely restrict or prohibit gun ownership of rational American citizens, he closes the article with a great description of why we are going through this useless exercise of draconian gun control laws and why it will fail: “Gun control has proven impotent in curbing the problem, and “gun free zones” are absurd, since they practically advertise themselves to be potential venues of mayhem and violence. More gun control is not a solution, but only serves as a Band-Aid to our emotions so we feel like we’re doing something. The problems are much deeper in our society than Band-Aids can cure.”

Band Aids will not prevent future Newtown shooting sprees. Putting a trained police officer in each of our 132,000 schools will do a lot more than Band Aids.

Band Aids will not prevent people from being raped or killed in their homes or businesses. Only well trained, rational citizens with legal firearms will do that.

Band Aids will not halt the venomous and hateful speech that spills out of certain people’s mouths, vileness that has become a trademark of current day politicians.

Band Aids will not prevent criminal elements from getting their hands on guns.

Band Aids will not force criminal elements to register or turn in their firearms.

Band Aids will not stop thousands and thousands of our kids from being abused, physically or sexually, or unnecessarily dying every year.

Band Aids will not allow us to understand how our legal drug infested culture leads an individual to snap and kill innocent people and children.

Band Aids will not prevent the current and dire economic and social conditions from creating the gangs that lead to the thousands of firearm murders every year.

Band Aids will not work but as usual, that is all the Washington political class is capable of. They always fail to understand the root causes of our major issues and fail to address those root causes with real medicine and real solutions, settling only for political grandstanding and surface solutions that never work. 

Nowhere is this simplicity of this Band Aid approach and idiocy more on display by the current administration. Vice President Joe Biden is having a series of meetings and thinks that his recommendation after two weeks of meetings will result in a viable solution. The problem is way too deep and way too complicated for a single politician to come up with a solution in less than a month’s time, especially a politician like Joe Biden.

Senator Feinstein’s simplistic approach, ban or severely restrict gun ownership, will only result in the killing of so many more people that it will dwarf the carnage at Newtown.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:


www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Term Limits Now: http://www.howmuchworsecoulditget.com
http://www.reason.com
http://www.cato.org
http://www.bankruptingamerica.org

http://www.conventionofstates.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w




Friday, September 25, 2015

Retro 5: Who Really Caused The Great Recession? Part 1 - "Duped America" Highlights

Given family engagements in town this week, we will be rerunning some of our most popular posts, posts that have garnered the most attention and which showed that we are currently enduring the worst set of politicians America has ever had.

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012


Who Really Caused The Great Recession? Part 1 - "Duped America" Highlights

One character flaw about President Obama that constantly bugs me and which we have discussed many times before in this blog (see:http://loathemygovernment.blogspot.com/2009/08/blame-game-part-2.html), is his refusal to accept any responsibility for the failures of his administration. In his mind, the mostly non-existent accomplishments of his Presidency are due to a variety of external forces including:

- His favorite whipping boy excuse, the Bush administration. Never mind that the country's economy really started to come apart (soaring unemployment and soaring national debt and budget deficits when the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid took over Congress in 2007 after the 2006 midterm elections), as the following graphs illustrate (double click on the graphs to get a bigger picture):















- The Japanese tsunami.
- ATM machines.
- Europe's financial woes.
- The Arab spring, which increased oil prices.
- Wall Street
- Banks
- Congress.
- Republicans, even though from 2007 through the end of 2011 the Democrats controlled 80% of the Federal government:










There is any old saying that goes as follows: "Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the darn ship in." Obama has never understood this concept. No one forced him to be President. Any good manager coming into a new job should assess what the situation is and then try to progress from that point.

That is what leaders do, they look forward. Obama continues to look back to blame anyone or any organization for the failures and inadequacies of his administration. Rather than focus on the future and how to get there, he wastes time and energy to cover his own shortcomings. Blaming others in the past does not calm the seas he inherited and does not bring in the darn ship.

But if he honestly did look into the past, which I doubt he is capable of doing, he would not like what he sees. In the next two days we will present an argument that says the Great Recession was not caused by the following factors:

  • The Bush administration
  • The Japanese tsunami
  • ATM Machines
  • Europe's financial woes
  • The Arab Spring
  • Republicans in Congress
  • Republicans in general
  • Wall Street
  • Banks
What really caused the Great Recession and the destruction of wealth, high unemployment, and general economic malaise that still haunts us today, were Washington Democrats. It was not Wall Street, it was not greedy banks, it was not Bush, it was not Republicans, etc.

It was purely and simply the insistence of Democrats in Washington that home ownership in predominantly Democratic voting areas be made easier to accommodate. That was the single root cause of all of our current economic troubles. Sure, Wall Street banks took advantage of the situation for a while to make big profits. Sure, mortgage lenders made shady deals to close mortgages and make their money upfront.

But as we will try to prove over the next two days, based on experts in the industry, none of this happens without the aiding and abetting by Obama's fellow Democrats and Obama himself. His career profited politically by allowing the malfeasance to continue until the crash, an economic crash that wiped out banks, mortgage dealers, construction jobs, home building companies, housing equity wealth, stock market wealth, job growth, etc.

Today we will review the work of Richard Bernstein who has written a book called "Duped America." According to his bio on his website:


Author Richard Bernstein, a former lifelong Democrat, has organized this masterpiece into 31 short easy-to-read chapters. In each and every chapter Bernstein explains how the Democrat Party and their allies in the Mainstream Media have repeatedly attempted to dupe Americans. Each chapter is filled with enough facts to allow you to become more than just knowledgeable about each subject. Duped America is so thoroughly researched it has almost 1,000 footnotes.


Included below is a chapter from the book that he allows anyone to download from his website and thus, I am pretty sure he would not have a problem with me including it here. I am referencing his work since many of the statistics and historical facts he refers to I have already confirmed in previous posts in this blog, making me feel comfortable enough that he has his sources and statistics correct.

The chapter he allows people to download concerns the decades of housing policy abuses by Democrats in Washington that eventually led to the Great Recession. Let me list a few highlights/excerpts from the chapter before you read it in total and let me know what common thread Mr. Obama would realize if he read the chapter himself (the link to Mr. Berstein's website can be accessed viahttp://www.dupedamerica.com/):

  • Democrats created the lax mortgage policies that precipitated the crisis while simultaneously stifling Republican efforts to prevent it.
  • The history of the crisis started with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), signed into law by Democrat President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
  • When Democrat Bill Clinton became President in 1992, he broadened the Community Reinvestment Act in ways Congress had never intended.
  • When the Republicans attempted to restore fiscal sanity by paring back the CRA, they were stymied by Democrats.
  • Democrats such as Barney Frank (D-MA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) allied with the Clinton administration to broaden the acceptability of these risky mortgage loans.
  • In 1995, an unrestrained ClintonDemocratic administration announced a comprehensive strategy to push home ownership in America to new heights – regardless of the compromise in credit standards that this would require.
  • Democrat Clinton legalized the securitization of these mortgages, which allowed Fannie and Freddie to finance everything by buying loans from banks, then repackaging and securitizing them for resale on the open market.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were big campaign donors, with the bulk of their money going to Democrats.
  • Between 1989 and 2008, the leading recipient of Fannie/Freddie campaign money was Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee Chairman, who collected more than $165,000. In second place was then-Democrat Senator Barack Obama, who, in just three years in the U.S. Senate, took in $126,000. Third, was MassachusettsDemocrat John Kerry, who received $110,000.
  • Since the 1990s, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been run by Democrat appointees.
  • From 1991 to 1998, Fannie Mae was led by James Johnson, a long-time aide to formerDemocrat Vice President Walter Mondale.
  • Johnson’s successor as head of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines, had previously served as a budget director to Democrat President Bill Clinton.
  • In July 2003, Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and John Sununu (R-NH) introduced legislation to address regulation of them [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]. The bill was blocked by theDemocrats.
  • But the legislation [which was reintroduced in 2005] didn’t become law for a single reason:Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the Senate Banking Committee.
  • Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) now admitsDemocrats were in error.
Obviously, the common theme is that the seeds for the destruction of the housing market which led to the destruction in the banking industry which led to high unemployment was planted long ago and tended to fruition by Democratic Presidents, Congressmen, and bureaucrats.

But these are just the headlines. If you really want to be depressed, please read the following downloaded chapter from Mr. Bernstein. The details are far worst according to his research and writings. The political class selfishness, personal enrichment, and abuses of power make their duping of us even more egregious.

****************************
MORTGAGE CRISIS…

Americans wondering who was responsible for the mortgage crisis should ask themselves a question: is owning a home a privilege or a right? Despite the meltdown in 2008, the seeds for the mortgage crisis were sown much earlier by a Democrat Party long convinced home ownership was an entitlement.

As this chapter shows, once that basic premise became conventional wisdom, it was all downhill from there. If one listens to the mainstream media and many Democrats, the blame for the mortgage crisis rests with the Republicans and the Bush administration. They’ve convinced the public that Democrats had nothing whatsoever to do with our current financial woes.

Precisely the opposite is true: Democrats created the lax mortgage policies that precipitated the crisis while simultaneously stifling Republican efforts toprevent it. The history of the crisis started with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), signed into law by Democrat President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

The law was designed to foster home ownership in low-income communities by pushing banks to aggressively lend to low and moderate income people. At first, it was easy to comply with the CRA. Banks merely had to demonstrate that they did not discriminate in making loans in poor and black neighborhoods.

When Democrat Bill Clinton became President in 1992, he broadened the Community Reinvestment Act in ways Congress had never intended. In 1995, rather than submit legislation that the Republican-led Congress was certain to reject, Clinton bypassed Congress entirely, ordering the TreasuryDepartment to rewrite the CRA rules.

 As a result, banks were forced to fulfill loan “quotas” in low income neighborhoods. That wasn’t the only problem. CRA also allowed community activist groups such as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), for whom Barack Obama once worked in Chicago, and NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) to file complaints that could affect a bank’s CRA rating.

Failure to comply with CRA or a bad rating meant a bank might not be allowed to expand lending, add new branches or merge with other companies. Banks with poor CRA ratings were also hit with stiff fines. This rewrite of CRA gave activist groups like ACORN and NACA unprecedented power. Protests often held in bank lobbies or in front of the homes of bank officials, coupled with threats of litigation, allowed these groups to extort huge sums of money from financial institutions.

In response, financial institutions began allocating more funds to low-income, high risk borrowers.Loans started being funded on the basis of race and often little else. CRA became an excuse for lowering credit standards.

Many Democrats have claimed that banks subject to the CRA represented few of the mortgages that led to our current problems. Not true. Nearly 4 in 10 subprime loans made between 2004 and 2007 were funded by CRA-covered banks such as Washington Mutual and Indy Mac. Many other subprime lenders not covered by the Act were, in effect, beholden to CRA mandates because they were owned by banks that were subject to it.

Since CRA only covered banks, the Clinton administration created a separate department at Housing and Urban Development to police “fair lending” policies at other institutions such as Countrywide and lending behemoths, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The result? Countrywide made more loans to minorities than any other lender, and not surprisingly, was one of the first lenders overwhelmed by loan defaults. As groups like ACORN ran their intimidation campaigns against local banks, they eventually hit a roadblock. Banks told them they could afford to reduce their credit standards by only a little – since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refused to buy up these risky loans for resale on the secondary market.

ACORN realized that unless Fannie and Freddie were willing to relax their credit standards as well, local banks wouldn’t make enough loans to individuals with bad credit histories or with very little money for a down payment. Democrats such as Barney Frank (D-MA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) allied with the Clinton administration to broaden the acceptability of these risky mortgage loans. When the Republicansattempted to restore fiscal sanity by paring back the CRA, they were stymied by Democrats — and by ACORN.

In 1995, an unrestrained Clinton administration announced a comprehensive strategy to push home ownership in America to new heights – regardless of the compromise in credit standards that this would require. Fannie and Freddie were given massive subprime lending quotas, which would increase to about half of their total business by the end of the decade.

Then came the single most catastrophic decision leading to the housing crisis: Clinton legalized the securitization of these mortgages, which allowedFannie and Freddie to finance everything by buying loans from banks, then repackaging and securitizing them for resale on the open market.

Thus, began the meltdown. In 1997, Bear Stearns handled the first securitization of CRA loans — $385 million worth — all guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Subsequently, a subprime market that had been a relatively modest part of the mortgage business with $35 billion in loans in 1994 soared to $1 trillion by 2008.

Regrettably, this massive bundling of subprime mortgages wound up poisoning the entire mortgage industry. Fannie and Freddie used their “affordable housing mission” to avoid restrictions on their accumulation of mortgage portfolios. They arguedthat if they were constrained, they wouldn’t be able to adequately subsidize affordable housing. As a result, by 1997, Fannie was offering mortgages witha down payment of only 3 percent. By 2001, it was purchasing mortgages with “no down payment at all.”

 By 2007, Fannie and Freddie were required by Housing and Urban
Development to show that 55 percent of their mortgage purchases were to low and moderate income borrowers, and, within that goal, 38 percent of all purchases were to come from underserved areas (usually inner cities).

Meeting these goals almost certainly required them to purchase loans with low down payments and other deficiencies that would characterize them assubprime or Alt-A. The decline in lending standards was also facilitated by competition. Fannie and Freddie were now competing with private-label mortgage lenders such as investment and commercial banks to fulfill the affordable housing requirements imposed by Congress.

The inevitable result? Everyone was scraping the bottom of the mortgage barrel in search of new borrowers. Once the looser lending standards were offered to low and middle income buyers, it was na├»ve to believe that they wouldn’t lead to more relaxed standards for higher-income and prime borrowers as well. This spreading of looserstandards to the prime market greatly increased the availability of credit for mortgages, and ultimately led to the bubble in housing prices.

Unsurprisingly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were huge campaign
contributors to Congress, spending millions to ensure no reform would be implemented to restrict them. In all, 354 members of Congress receivedfunds. The bulk of the money went to Democrats.

Between 1989 and 2008, the leading recipient of Fannie/Freddie campaign money was ConnecticutDemocrat Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee Chairman, who collected more than $165,000. Dodd opposed restrictions on Fannie and Freddie and pushed hard for the continuance of subprime loans. In second place was then-Senator Barack Obama, who, in just three years in the U.S. Senate, took in $126,000. Third, was Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, who received $110,000.

Since the 1990s, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been run by Democrats. From 1991 to 1998, Fannie Mae was led by James Johnson, a long-time aide to former Democrat Vice President Walter Mondale. Johnson made headlines in 2008 when Barack Obama picked him to chair his vice presidential selection committee. He had to resign in disgrace when it was revealed he had taken out at least five below-market real estate loans totaling more than $7 million from Countrywide Financial Corporation.

Johnson’s successor as head of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines, had previously served as a budget director to President Bill Clinton. From 1995 to 2005, Raines pocketed nearly $100 million in compensation before leaving because of a scandal involving profit and loss reports manipulated to increase his annual bonuses.

Another well-known Democrat, Jamie Gorelick, served as vice chair of Fannie from 1998 to 2003. Prior to that, she was Janet Reno’s Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton years, when the Clinton Justice Department was aggressively compelling banks to make subprime loans to unworthy borrowers.

And Rahm Emanuel, current White House Chief of Staff, also served as a director at Freddie Mac. Most Americans are not aware that Fannie and Freddie, while lining the pockets of politicians, also funnels hundreds of millions of dollars to a host of leftist groups and causes promoting the Democrat agenda.

The grantmaking arms of Fannie and Freddie – specifically the Fannie Mae Foundation and the Freddie Mac Foundation – gives tens of millions of dollars each year to predominantly left-wing organizations such as the American Civil LibertiesUnion; the NAACP and National Urban League;pro-illegal immigration groups like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Council of La Raza; pro-Democrat community activist groups like ACORN; and former president Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center.

The Republicans were not oblivious to Fannie and Freddie’s problems. Bush’s 2001 budget called runaway subprime lending a “potential problem”and warned of “strong repercussions in financial markets.” In July 2003, Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and John Sununu (R-NH) introduced legislation to address regulation of them.

The bill was blocked by the Democrats. 30 In September 2003 Bush’s Treasury Secretary, John Snow, proposed what The New York Times called “the most significant regulatory overhaul (of Fannie and Freddie) in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”

Did the Democrats in Congress welcome reform? Here’s how Barney Frank (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee,responded:

“I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two government sponsored entities we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in crisis…. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury…. I believe that we, as the FederalGovernment, have probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing and to set reasonable goals.”

In 2005, Republican Senators Hagel, Sununu, Dole, and later John McCain reintroduced legislation to once again address regulation of Fannie and Freddie. In essence, the bill would have required Fannie and Freddie to eliminate their investments in risky subprime loans. According to Kevin Hassett, writing in Bloomberg.com, “if that bill had become law, then the world today would be different.”

But the legislation didn’t become law for a single reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the Senate Banking Committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democrat opposition, couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the bill.

Had the bill passed in 2005, the mortgage meltdown would have been far less intense. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, approximately $1 trillion of these terrible mortgage loans were funded by Fannie and Freddie at a time when housing prices were at their highest. When housing prices fell dramatically, losses from those mortgages turned out to be tremendous.

Bottom line: if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t buying these subprime loans, the market for them would likely not have existed. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) now admits Democrats were in error:

“Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues, I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourageaffordable home ownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by the regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democraticcolleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.”

**********************************
Edward R, Murrow once eloquently stated: "Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions." I do not intend to tell anyone who to vote for in November. However, I do ask that any voter fulfill their major obligation to be as informed as possible and not be easily swayed by shallow slogans like Hope, Change, Winning The Future, Forward, etc.

Understand the root causes of our problems like Mr. Bernstein does above relative to the current economic situation we are stuck in. It takes some work but both our personal and national futures depend on understanding the motives of our usually selfish politicians and how their actions have caused so much pain and agony. Unless you understand the root causes and causers of our problems, we will never find the solutions to resolve them.



Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:


www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Term Limits Now: http://www.howmuchworsecoulditget.com
http://www.reason.com
http://www.cato.org
http://www.bankruptingamerica.org

http://www.conventionofstates.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Retro 4 - George Orwell, Doublethink and Today's Politicians

Given family engagements in town this week, we will be rerunning some of our most popular posts, posts that have garnered the most attention and which showed that we are currently enduring the worst set of politicians America has ever had.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2010


George Orwell, Doublethink and Today's Politicians

I am a big fan of George Orwell's classic Novel, "1984." I think he was a great writer and a better prognosticator since many of the predictions he made on "1984" of how democracies would die are actually unfolding today, throughout the world and throughout America. One of the concepts he talks about is "doublethink" which he defines as the ability "to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them." If a leader can establish doublethink in the minds of his followers, then the credibility of that leader will never be questioned since whatever he says is right, doublethink suppresses free thought and free will.

I was thinking of how proud Orwell would be of our current day political class. Many examples abound of how our politicians and the government they run can implement two contradictory programs and never once stop to consider the incongruity and disconnect between the two programs. Consider:

- One of the leading drivers of escalating health care costs in this country is the poor eating habits and exercise habits of many Americans, leaving them overweight and susceptible to many diseases. In fact, one of the main activities of Michele Obama since coming to Washington has been to work hard to reduce the obesity problem plaguing many, many kids in this country. One of the efforts that both Ms. Obama is pushing, along with other parts of the government, including the Agriculture Department, is to reduce the amount of saturated fat that Americans eat, encouraging us to move towards low fat milk and other low fat dairy products.

This all sounds good. However, consider an organization called Dairy Management, as described in a November 8, 2010 New York Times article. Dairy Management is financed by a government mandated fee on the dairy industry and receives millions of dollars a year directly from the budget of the Agricultural Department. The Agriculture Department sits on Dairy Management's board, approves its marketing campaigns, and interfaces with Congress on its work. But Dairy Management recently worked with Domino's Pizza to develop a new line of pizza offerings. These new pies had 40% more cheese and Dairy Management helped develop and pay for the associated $12 million marketing campaign.

But wait. Each slice of these new pizzas contains as much as two thirds of a person's daily recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and other diseases. Thus, our government is telling people to eat better and reduce the amount of unsaturated fat in their diets while they are funding support for private companies to put more saturated fat back into Americans' diets. The particularly ironic part of this Domino's example is that I would assume that kids are high pizza eaters, the same type of Americans that Michele Obama is trying to get healthy. Doublethink in the Agriculture Department - eat healthier but don't eat healthier.

- There has been a lot of hype lately regarding all electric cars, some of which will be available shortly for consumer use, e.g. General Motors' Volt. The hope behind electric cars is that they will not spew out pollutants like the gasoline internal combustion engine, improving the environment, and will help wean us from dependency on foreign energy sources. Our political class is so excited about the future of electric cares that, according to an electric car article that was in the October 9, 2010 issue of The Economist magazine, you can get up to a $7,500 subsidy rebate from the U.S. government if you purchase one.

Sounds like a great deal. Get taxpayer money to buy a new car while helping the environment. But, are these vehicles really helping the environment? While the car itself is less polluting, the energy creation needed to generate the electricity to power these cars will increase. In the United States, we get a lot of our electrical power from coal electric plants, which are not the cleanest producers of electricity from an environmental perspective. Thus, we need to find a way to reduce the amount of coal created electricity if the potential of electric cars is to be fulfilled.

But, according to a Washington Post article from May 14, 2007, the government's National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, another Agriculture Department effort, plans to spend $35 billion over the next decade to help build conventional coal electricity plants. More doublethink in the Agriculture Department - the government hands out taxpayer funds for the purchase of electric cars to clean up the environment but uses other taxpayer money to dirty up the environment with coal electricity plants to power the cleaner electric cars.

- Over the past sixty years, the United States has probably spent hundreds of billions of dollars supporting the security and prosperity of South Korea. We fought on South Korea's side, defending them from North Korean and Chinese troops in the Korean war, we provided aid for the recovery, and have stationed tens of thousands of troops in the country since the end of that war. As a result, the South Korean economy has grown into one of the strongest in the world. Besides providing a security cover for their economy to blossom, we are also an important trading partner and market for their companies.

Recently, our State Department has been working to generate support for economic sanctions against the Iranian government in retaliation for the Iranians supposedly developing a nuclear weapon technology. The State Department strategy is to make life so uncomfortable for the Iranian people and government that they will become less likely to develop a nuclear bomb capability.

So what do the South Korean do relative to Iran? According to an article in the October 9, 2010 issue of The Economist magazine, South Korea still wants to protect its annual $10 billion trade volumes with Iran so it recently signed a deal with Iran so that Korean and Iranian business partners could settle trade accounts via a special facility established in two Korean banks and in Korean currencies. State Department doublethink: South Korea is our ally even though they go out of their way to bypass the very sanctions the State Department wants to impose on Iran.

- For years now, the Federal government has subsidized American corn farmers, recently to the tune of $7 billion a year, enticing them to grow more corn, which is eventually turned into ethanol. The ethanol is then added to our national gasoline supply to theoretically extend our gasoline supplies, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and clean up the environment by burning more ethanol and less gasoline.

But the inconvenient truth is that none of the benefits never really materialized and additional problems were created. Since ethanol contains significantly less energy potential than gasoline, more gasoline has to be burned to make up for the energy loss when burning ethanol. According to Robert Bryce of the National Review Online, studies have shown that ethanol use as a motor vehicle fuel increases nitrogen oxides and other key pollutants by 7% over gasoline and also corrodes the fuel lines of older cars and other engines.

According to Cornell Professor David Pimentel, as covered in the energy policy section of "Love My Country, Loathe My Government," corn ethanol is a terrible fuel. It diverts corn crops from the food chain to the energy chain, increasing food costs, it takes a terrible toll on the soil environment, and it is a net user of energy, i.e. it uses more energy to produce than it creates.

Sounds horrible: bad fuel economy, air pollution, soil pollution, bad economics, etc. So what is the political class about to do? According to Mr. Bryce, President Obama recently announced that his administration was going to allow the blend of gasoline to ethanol, currently 90/10, to rise to 85/15. He did this as a favor to the corn industry which has more ethanol distillery capacity than it needs. Energy Department doublethink: using ethanol in a 90/10 mixture is a bad thing to do but moving to an 85/25 mixture is a good thing.

- According to a November 8, 2010 Associated Press report, our war effort in Afghanistan faces a dire shortage of 900 trainers and not enough Afghan officers in the race to build up a viable native Afghan fighting force, which would allow NATO and the United States to get its troops out of the country as soon as possible. According to the recent report, the head of the training operation in the country said that if these trainers are not brought on board soon, the July, 2011 pulldown date of American forces is not going to happen.

Training challenges include a high illiteracy rate among Army and police forces (over 90%), high corruption among the officer ranks, and high levels of attrition (which I think is the code word for desertion.) Nine years after we entered Afghanistan, these elementary problems have not been addressed.

Since this situation is critical to successfully ending our occupation and expense of Afghanistan, one would have hoped that every effort and resource would be used to fill this training need. However, a November 4, 2010 article in the St. Petersburg Times reported that the U.S. government will spend over a half a billion taxpayer dollars to expand its embassy in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul. How many trainers do you think $511 million could buy? How many Afghanistan police officers and soldiers could be made semi-literate, enough so that they became good soldiers?

Thus, we have some Obama administration doublethink going on: we want to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, our number one priority, we need a 50% increase in military trainers, 900 additional trainers, to make that happen, but we will lavishly spend resources to expand a single building complex in the capital. This is a major disconnect in logic: if we cannot produce a viable native fighting force via training, who cares how big or how nice the U.S. embassy is? It will eventually be occupied by the Taliban. Fix the root cause of the problem, the Afghan military, don't try to convince yourselves that both the military readiness and a single building are equally important. A non-doublethink approach would devote some of that $511 million to the training issue since that would recognize the vastly different priorities and importance at play here.

I am sure that you can find government and political class doublethink examples all around you. Sometimes doublethink happens because we have allowed the a Federal government to get so large that one part of it does not know what the other parts of the government are doing. One part wants to reduce pollution by promoting electric cars while another part subsidizes coal burning electric plants that dirty up the air. One part of the government wants Americans kids and adults to get healthy by eating low fat foods while another part, in this case within the same Cabinet Department (Agriculture), helps Domino's Pizza get more fatty, cheesy pizza into Americans' diets.

Sometimes doublethink happens because no one in the political class prioritizes needs and importance, e.g. the wasting of millions of dollars dressing up an embassy when military trainers, vital to our military success, go wanting. Other times politicians do doublethink to please their election campaign donors, e.g. corn farmers who get favorable treatment from the political class, even though those in the political class know that the favorable treatment is not good economically or environmentally.

Whatever the reasons underlying the doublethink situation, you can bet that the American taxpayer is footing an unnecessary bill. That is why Step 1 of "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" is so important. The Step itself calls for an annual 10% reduction in the federal government budget for five years. One way to accomplish this reduction, according Step 1, is to do a bottoms up, zero based budget review. Every government program, law, department, expenditure, etc. would be on the table, stripped down to it's core function and mission in order to look for redundancies and doublethink situations, like the Dairy Management situation described above.

Only then can we rationalize what we are paying for, why we are paying for it, should we be paying for it, and not paying for it if not worthwhile. Hopefully, once our politicians had far less government to think about and to track, they could focus much more closely on a smaller set of priorities, identifying wasteful doublethink quicker and more efficiently. Think about that wonderful goal: a quicker and more efficient government run operation. A government that has retired Orwell's concept of doublethink from our world.