Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On July 4, 2015 - Dancing on the Titanic

By JB Williams at Jb.uspu@gmail.com

On the morning of April 15, 1912, the ship named the Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean during its voyage from the United Kingdom to New York City. At least 1500 crew and passengers lost their lives in a frigid watery grave that day.

Under the command of Edward Smith, the ship's passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe, all seeking a new life of personal freedom and prosperity in North America.

This is a story that has been told again and again in America since that fateful day and many lessons have been learned about the safety measures necessary to protect all who would travel by sea thereafter…

But the story few Americans know is how the ship’s Commander, Edward Smith, reacted to the news that his ship was indeed sinking and there would be nothing he could do to stop it or save more than 1500 of his passengers…

In short, Commander Smith instructed the band to continue playing. The band was to keep playing until the icy water consumed the dance hall, so that the passengers onboard would not panic. The band was to meet their fatal demise while playing on, as they watched the passengers dance on, knowing the entire time that they would all soon die…

The passengers knew nothing different for hours, dancing, drinking, celebrating and living it up, as if life could be no sweeter… The ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 PM the night before. But it wasn’t until 2:20 AM that the ship finally broke apart, capsizing and slipping to a watery grave in the depths of the Atlantic.

Today, our country is in equal distress and the band is still playing and the people are still dancing…

On July 4, 2015, the country again celebrated Independence Day… There was plenty of food, drink, music and fireworks on display. But unlike previous July 4th celebrations, this one could be our last…

The number of Americans who celebrated the weekend without any idea what they are celebrating is staggering… It is embarrassing… It is frightening… The 4 minute video gave you a glimpse into the real state of our union, as a once independent, free, decent and prosperous nation… Unlike the America I grew up in, this America is divided by race, religion, politics, envy, greed, perversions, competing global interests, ignorance and cowardice. In this new America, children place no value in human life, as a direct result of being taught that their lives have no value… they are mere organic tissue to be discarded for mere convenience of the mother, murdered in cold blood, over fifty million of them since the deadly Supreme Court opinion known as Roe vs. Wade.

In this America, children shoot innocent people in schools, churches, convenience stores and on the streets. Children cut themselves, finding Satan in their search for any comfort from anywhere, belittle and bully each other, just to feel powerful by whatever means necessary.

In this America, we are no longer an independent nation, or fifty sovereign independent states. We are no longer a decent moral society, but instead, a nation of crooks, perverts and cowards.

In this America, words don’t mean what they used to… Marriage no longer means marriage, gay no longer means happy, good is evil and evil is good. In this new America, congress is no longer the elected representatives of the people. Congress is no longer the legislative body. States no longer have tenth Amendment Rights and the people no longer have any individual Rights as legal U.S. Citizens…

But since January 2009, illegal aliens and Jihadists flown in under the guise of Refugee Resettlement programs have Rights that even our veterans don’t have… paying your churches to help flood illegals across the country.

On July 4th, there was really nothing worthy of celebration. Our Constitutional Republic is gasping its last breath… The vast majority of Americans no longer even know what Independence is, most of them dependents of the bankrupt state themselves.

In just the past two weeks ahead of July 4th - Read more . . .

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another GOP obstacle to the Whitehouse

From the art studios of A.F. (Tony) Branco at Comically Incorrect.com

Get Your Daily Dose of Humor and Reality from A.F. (Tony) Branco


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Obama blames all for his failed presidency

Obama blames congress and the American people from the files of Colonel Allen B. West

He however predictably can’t own up to his shortcomings and blames it all on Congress and the American people because that just how narcissists roll.

During his bi-monthly fundraising trip to California, Obama made the stunning admission at Tyler Perry’s house in front of a who’s who of liberal Hollywood elitists. From the AP:

President Barack Obama unleashed a torrent of frustration Thursday night over Washington gridlock and acknowledged he has not been able to bring the hope and change to America’s political system that he campaigned on.

Obama decried inaction over gun control, poverty, stagnant incomes, criminal justice reform and equal opportunity.

Now here’s where it gets funny:

He spoke of a Colorado man who wrote him a letter decrying all that had not been accomplished during his presidency. Obama said the man wrote that he voted for him twice but was “deeply disappointed.”

“He thought that when I got to Washington I could bring people together and make them work more effectively, and the fact of the matter is that Washington is still gridlocked and still seems obsessed with the short-term and the next election instead of the next generation,” Obama said. “And on that issue, I had to tell him, ‘You’re right. I am frustrated and you have every right to be frustrated because Congress doesn’t work the way it should.”

See, the Colorado man was disappointed in Obama being a . . . .

More on Obama: 


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And the Pope said, "Peace on You"

From the art studios of Dan Youra at Utoons.com

From the Art Studios of Dan Youra

Dan Youra is one of the outstanding conservative cartoonists in the trade today who follows in the footsteps of the great political cartoon masters, whose quotes inspire a new generation of followers.
"Outside of basic intelligence, there is nothing more important to a good political cartoonist than ill will." ~ Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist.
"Too many of today's artists regard editorial cartooning as a trade instead of a profession. They try not to be too offensive. The hell with that. We need more stirrer-uppers." ~ Bill Mauldin.
Youra was one of the first recipients of a Fulbright Scholarship and worked in Latin America. He served as an editor of Current Thought on Peace and War at the United Nations in New York.

"As long as there are politicians who continue to try and fool the voters, there is no chance of ever running out of material to work with because they create it themselves and about themselves," says Dan Youra.

Dan is the small business owner and operator of the Youra Studios located in the State of Washington.

Visit the Youra Studios at Utoons.com


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A moral world requires moral violence

From the files of Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe

Pope Francis had harsh words for the arms industry on Sunday, condemning as "two-faced" those who claim to be Christian while manufacturing weapons or investing in companies that produce them. "It is hypocritical to talk about peace and make weapons," the pope told an audience of young people in Turin. "Doing one thing and saying another. What hypocrisy!"

It's not the first time Francis has blasted the defense industry. In May, he denounced the arms business as an "industry of death," run by people who "don't want peace" because "they make more money from war." In February, he labeled weapons dealers "merchants of death" and blamed them for "furthering a cycle of hate, fratricide, and violence."

So sweeping a calumny would be unworthy coming from anyone; from a moral teacher as prominent as the Bishop of Rome, it is inexcusable. Of course there are hypocrites and charlatans in the arms trade, just as there are hypocrites and charlatans in all professions. But to smear everyone in the weapons business as unethical and anti-peace is sheer demagoguery.

I wouldn't presume to instruct the pope in theology, but if Francis really means to execrate any commerce in weapons, he goes farther than even Jesus did. "Let him who has a purse take it and also a bag," Jesus instructs his apostles in the Gospel of Luke, "and let him who has no sword sell his garment and buy one." In both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, Saint Adrian of Nicomedia has long been honored as the patron saint of arms dealers. There is room for good Christians, the church seems to believe, even in the weapons business.

And would the pope want it any other way? Would the world be better off if the industries that make weapons, ammunition, and military equipment didn't employ men and women who aspire to live ethically? The Vatican itself is defended by a military force — the Swiss Guard — that is well-supplied with sophisticated firepower, including assault rifles and submachine guns. When Francis slams weapons-makers and firearms-sellers as "hypocrites" and "merchants of death," does he include those who provide the guns that keep him and the papal offices safe?

In Isaiah's messianic vision of a world in which universal peace and goodness reigns, human beings will "beat their swords into plowshares / And their spears into pruning hooks." But until that utopia arrives, there is nothing moral about pacifism. In the here and now, evil exists and the decent must fight it. And unless they are to fight unarmed, they will need the tools of violence.

In both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox
traditions, Saint Adrian of Nicomedia is revered
as the patron saint of arms dealers.
The pope knows only too well what happens when good people — or good nations — aren't willing to fight the world's monsters with every available weapon.

At the very same rally in Turin in which he excoriated those who make and sell munitions, Francis retroactively decried the failure of the Western democracies to do more to stop the Nazi genocide and Stalin's terror. "The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, Roma, homosexuals, everybody," he said. "Tell me, then: Why did they not bomb them?"

Does the pontiff hear his own words? He laments the failure to bomb the rail lines and save millions of lives. Who would have made those bombs? Who would have made the bombers to deliver them? Who made the guns and tanks and missiles that did, in the end, defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? Who supplied the arms that ended the slave trade and eradicated piracy? Were all of them conniving merchants of death?

No, Pope Francis, it is not hypocritical to talk about peace and make weapons. For if the peaceable cannot defend themselves, they will have no peace. "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," Americans sang during World War II. A moral world requires moral violence, and the wisdom to know when to use it.

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Fat-me-Not - The slim plate diet

From the files of Mary Jane Popp at KAHI Radio in Sacramento, California

Available on Amazon
Summer is creeping up on us. Have you looked in the mirror lately?

Are you ready to shed those sweaters for the itsy bitsy bikini?

What if you could burn that nasty fat without pills or super exercising?

Dr. Sandeep Grewal says there are fat burning foods. Along with Dr. Myo New, Dr. Grewal has finally connected the advances in weight-loss science in their book “Fat-Me-Not” weight loss diet of the future.

They say why try to lose weight the old way when powerful new research can make it simpler, easier, and safer to shed those pounds. Dr. Sandeep, board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine shared the type of diet you should create to burn fat with me on my POPPOFF Radio Show like:

EATING REAL FOOD: Whole grain food, Meat, Eggs, vegetables and fruits that promotes gut workout, spend about 35% more calories digesting and absorbing the food, and also increase the satiety and cut cravings for sweet sugary drinks. Choose the diet that allows you to eat real foods rather than protein shakes and powders.

EATING A BALANCED DIET RATHER THAN A LOW CARB, LOW FAT DIET: Different body organs need different nutrients, for example, sugar (carb) is essential for blood cells and brain cells. Without the sugar (carb) the brain will be chasing cabs and sweets. That’s how cravings begin and the discipline of dieting gets ruined. That is the reason if you want to lose fat, you need to shoot for a balanced diet for long term results. Losing weight from body water and lean body are short term. Quick fix diets will get you weight loss for a short time and then pounds come back with a vengeance.

EATING FOUR OR FIVE TIMES A DAY: Our metabolism goes down 40% if we do not eat for more than 4-6 hours. It shuts down the less essential departments of the body. If your body senses that you are a regular breakfast skipper or small lunch eater, or just one meal a day eater, it will be cutting the calories by 40% without realizing it. That’s why some obese people gain more weight without eating much. So let’s fast-pace our metabolism by eating at least 4-5 times a day in correct potions. Let the gut work hard digesting, transporting, absorbing, storing, and transforming the nutrients at the interval of approximately every 4 hours. When your gut is working hard, you know it’s burning fat too.

FOODS THAT BURN FAT: Whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, legumes, lentils…good stable foods. Variety of colorful vegetables will give your gut a good gut work out and burn more calories. High fiber diets promote fat-me-not bacteria in the gut and promotes weight loss. Lean meat, fish, sea foods are great fat burners. For example, compare a protein shake vs a piece of lean meat with the same calories…eating meat will burn up to 40% more calories than the ready-made protein shakes and the lean meat will enhance the gut work out by chewing, digesting, absorbing, and transforming the nutrients. Coffee, pepper, and chewy veggies are good metabolism enhancers. Good fat such as avocado, nuts, egg yolks are helpful too. Drinking 8 glasses of water per day is essential to improve metabolism, and burn fat.

These are a few of the ideas explored in “Fat-Me-Not” and you can check out more at www.slimplatesystem.com.

Good luck with that itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

2015: Year of fuel standard reform?

From the files of Marita Noon at Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

The fact the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) management—er, mismanagement—of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) is indicative of the growing frustration over both the agency and the RFS itself.

At the June 18 hearing, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, Janet McCabe was grilled by Senators from both sides of the aisle. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who chaired the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, opened the hearing by calling the RFS “unworkable in its current form.”

In her comments, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) claimed that the EPA’s management of the RFS ignored “congressional intent,” while creating “uncertainty” and costing “investment.”

The RFS has been under fire from all sides. It is the product of a different energy era—one in which presumed scarcity was the norm and reducing greenhouse gases was the concern. As a solution to both problems, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, which established the first renewable-fuel volume mandate.

Two years later, through the Energy Independence and Security Act, the RFS program was expanded, requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into gasoline and diesel by 2022 (annual targets were outlined).

The EPA website explains the RFS: “achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of renewable fuels, for reducing imported petroleum, and encouraging the development and expansion of our nation’s renewable fuels sector.”

The EPA administers the RFS and is required to finalize the next year’s proposed fuel volumes by November 30 of each year—something it has failed to do, as Lankford pointed out: “On June 1, the amounts for the proposed mandates 2014, 2015, and 2016 volumes were all released together…some say better late than never, but we need to take a serious look at why these delays are unavoidable every year now, under current law.”

The EPA has failed to meet the deadline every year since 2009.

When the 2014, 2015 and 2016 proposed volumes were released—in the middle of 2015—almost no one was happy. It reduced the amount of corn-based ethanol blended into gasoline, while slightly increasing the share of biofuels.

One day before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing on “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the RFS Program,” the American Petroleum Institute held a press call in which an unlikely coalition of RFS opponents—the American Motorcyclist Association, the Environmental Working Group and the National Council of Chain Restaurants— sounded optimistic that 2015 is the year for RFS reform.

The Environmental Working Group says the RFS has led to more greenhouse gas emissions. The leading chain restaurant trade group, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, is opposed to the RFS because of its alleged effect on food commodity prices.

Corn growers aren’t happy with the EPA’s new proposed corn ethanol volumes—covering 2014-2016—that are well below the benchmarks established by Congress. NPR’s Ari Shapiro, in a June 10 Morning Edition broadcast, stated: “Farmers in the Midwest have made good money growing corn for ethanol.

To do that, they’ve plowed up lots of grassland. And that cancels out much of the hope for carbon savings. While the EPA still supports ethanol, it wants to take some of the focus off corn, and put it back on greener ways of making ethanol.”

The National Journal states: “The EPA cited market forces, specifically lower-than-expected growth of non-ethanol renewables and lower gasoline use than projected, in lowering the ethanol mandates.”

One of the problems with the 2007 targets is that they are based on an assumption of increased fuel usage and require ever increasing “volumes,” or gallons, of ethanol be produced rather than a percentage of ethanol being blended into gasoline. The combination of more fuel-efficient vehicles, the economic downturn, and an aging population has contributed to “lower gasoline use than projected.”

Last week, I was on the radio with Baron Lukas, President of Vital Strategies Management Consulting, a firm working in the oil-and-gas sector. He explained: “With the advent of the U.S. shale revolution, we have a lot more oil and gas than we thought possible just a couple of years ago. 

This is a true paradigm shift in how we view our domestic energy situation. The impact is compounded by aging demographics for Japan, China, Russia, Europe, and for the short-term, the United States, which will reduce or at least dampen domestic and global fuel requirements—older people simply drive less and represent lower industrial needs.

Lastly, continuing technological advances are increasing fuel efficiency for a broad spectrum of applications, further placing downward pressure on hydrocarbon fuel demands. The bottom-line is a new reality of impending U.S. energy independence, continuing lower crude oil and natural gas prices, and far less dependence on OPEC for us and potentially for our allies.”

While EPA’s newly released renewable-fuel volumes don’t meet the law’s target of 22.25 billion gallons for 2016, they do increase year after year—with the 2016 target being an increase over current use.

Addressing EPA’s new numbers, US News reports: “The update calls for a 27 percent increase in what the EPA calls ‘advanced biofuels’ from 2014 through 2016, a catch-all category that includes cellulosic ethanol made from corn stalks, husks and other leftovers from a harvest, plus fuel converted from sugar cane, soybean oil, and waste oils and greases, such as from fast-food restaurants.

Combined with conventional corn ethanol, the proposed volumes overall rise 9 percent.”

Associated Press reporting adds: “The EPA said the standards set by the law cannot be achieved, due partly to limitations on the amount of renewable fuels other than ethanol that can be produced. Next-generation biofuels, made from agricultural waste such as wood chips and corncobs, have not taken off as quickly as Congress required and the administration expected.

Also, there has been less gasoline use than predicted.”

Increasing targets may encourage the renewable fuels industry. They are, however, unrealistic and, as the June 18 hearing revealed, are expected to be “reset.”

In pressing McCabe on the RFS and the consistently missed deadlines, Lankford asked: “How does RFS get back on schedule? Or, has Congress put a requirement on EPA that it can’t fulfill?” McCabe promised they were working on it and offered some vague explanations.

He then asked: “I assume you would agree there’s no chance we will hit the target for 2017 based on the statute required for 2017, so we’ll have to reset it…unless there is a tremendous amount of cellulosic ethanol that comes on board.”

Lankford continued, discussing the way the law was written to decrease corn ethanol use and increase cellulosic fuel, which he pointed out isn’t “possible based on production.” McCabe agreed that the cellulosic number would need to be decreased by at least 50 percent.

Later in the hearing, Lankford called cellulosic fuels “great in theory,” but acknowledged that “No one has been able to make it in a quantity that is affordable yet.”

He alluded to the fact that the cellulosic industry has struggled—with the largest manufacturer of cellulosic product going bankrupt. He said: “No one can seem to crack the code to be able to make this in a way that’s actually affordable.”

Others support Lankford’s view. On the June 10 NPR broadcast, Rob Mitchell, a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture who studies how to make switchgrass grow for cellulosic ethanol, acknowledged: “We’re not producing any ethanol from switchgrass at this point on a large scale.”

Tim Snyder, agriculture economist with Agri-Energy Solutions, Inc., a Lubbock, Texas-based agriculture- and energy-consulting group, explains: “Because cellulosic ethanol is made from the ‘non-food’ portions of plants, this type of ethanol has gained widespread grassroots interest.

Lignocellulosic fibers are found in plant materials like stalks, leaves and stems. These cellulosic fibers contain long chain sugars that are tied together by lignin. Only the sugars are needed to produce ethanol. Lignin is necessary to keep these chains of sugar bonded together. However, lignin renders the sugars unusable, and so it has to be extracted.

Once the lignin is stripped away, yeast is added to convert the remaining cellulosic fibers or unbound sugars into ethanol. This description is extremely simplified, but should help to understand that adding steps to the production process that corn-based ethanol does not employ, adds to its overall production cost. Stripping lignin adds significant costs to the production process; even more than corn-based ethanol.”

Additionally, Snyder continues: “From the standpoint of land use, it takes significantly more land to produce ethanol from cellulosic materials than it does from corn. Additionally, it will take totally new transportation, initial processing and storage infrastructures that currently do not exist on a commercial scale.”

Clearly, to reference Lankford, the RFS is a program, required by Congress in 2005/2007, that can’t be fulfilled. No wonder it has so many who see the EPA’s failures as proof that 2015 is the year for RFS reform. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee says: The mandate is in need of significant reform and oversight.”

Maybe, just, maybe, 2015 will be the year it happens.

(Author’s note: Please tune into America’s Voice for Energy, Thursday at 11:00AM ET to hear more from Baron Lukas discussing changing global demographics and the impact on energy demand and Tim Snyder on the economics of cellulosic ethanol and the impact on the ranching community.)

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy. She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

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The Donald comes to the rescue

From the art studios of Dan Youra at Utoons.com

From the Art Studios of Dan Youra

Dan Youra is one of the outstanding conservative cartoonists in the trade today who follows in the footsteps of the great political cartoon masters, whose quotes inspire a new generation of followers.
"Outside of basic intelligence, there is nothing more important to a good political cartoonist than ill will." ~ Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist.
"Too many of today's artists regard editorial cartooning as a trade instead of a profession. They try not to be too offensive. The hell with that. We need more stirrer-uppers." ~ Bill Mauldin.
Youra was one of the first recipients of a Fulbright Scholarship and worked in Latin America. He served as an editor of Current Thought on Peace and War at the United Nations in New York.

"As long as there are politicians who continue to try and fool the voters, there is no chance of ever running out of material to work with because they create it themselves and about themselves," says Dan Youra.

Dan is the small business owner and operator of the Youra Studios located in the State of Washington.

Visit the Youra Studios at Utoons.com


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Liberal dreams - Sex and Race changes

From the art studios of A.F. (Tony) Branco at Comically Incorrect.com

Get a Daily Dose of Humor and Reality from A.F. (Tony) Branco


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The 4 percent solution - Jeb is right

Jeb Is Right about 4 percent growth and the whole GOP should back it from Larry Kudlow at Kudlow and Company

Meet Mr. Lawrence (Larry) Kudlow
“There is not a reason in the world why we cannot grow at a rate of 4 percent a year.” That’s what Jeb Bush said when he officially announced his presidential run in Miami last week. And right off the bat, most economists trashed the idea.

“It can’t happen and it’s never happened.” “Productivity is too low.” “The labor force is growing too slowly.” “Secular stagnation.”

They don’t call it the gloomy science for nothing.

But wait a minute. We have experienced relatively long periods of 4 percent or more economic growth. Following the Kennedy tax cuts, the economy averaged 5.2 percent yearly growth between 1963 and 1969. After the Reagan tax rates fully went into effect, alongside Paul Volcker’s conquering of inflation, the economy grew at 4.5 percent annually between 1982 and 1989. These were the “seven fat years,” so named by former Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley. And between 1994 and 1999, the Bill Clinton/Newt Gingrich economy increased 4.3 percent annually, after welfare reform, NAFTA trade, and cap-gains tax relief.

So we’ve got six-year, seven-year, and five-year periods -- all in recent memory -- when the American economy beat 4 percent. And for nearly all the post-World War II period, dating from 1947 to 2007 (before the meltdown), the U.S. economy actually grew at 3.4 percent annually. And 3.4 percent is not so far from 4 percent. It’s maybe only a few pro-growth policy changes away. Why wouldn’t we try?

So Jeb Bush’s 4 percent target is both aspirational and doable. It sets an important policy marker for the coming election. The whole GOP should adopt the target. Let the skeptics scoff. Positive solutions are grounds for optimism. And Americans will respond favorably to this kind of optimistic leadership -- which is sorely lacking today.

Now, the back story to the Jeb Bush 4 percent target starts in Dallas in 2010 at the George W. Bush Institute. Executive director James Glassman, a former undersecretary of state, was casting about for an economic agenda. And one of his board members, Jeb Bush, tossed out a centerpiece goal of 4 percent growth. It stuck.

Columnist and author Amity Shlaes (author of Coolidge and The Forgotten Man) was brought in by the institute to oversee a book called, naturally, The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs. It was published in 2012.

“That term unleash is very important,” Jim Glassman told me, “because it simply means unleash the economy from government constraints.” Ironically, this past spring, a group of supply-siders -- including Art Laffer, Steve Forbes, Steve Moore, and myself -- founded the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. (I don’t think we remembered the original book title. Leave it as a coincidence.)

But the key theme here is our desperate need of a new batch of economic-growth policies. For nearly two decades we have grown at 2 percent yearly. That’s unacceptable.

Put supply-side tax reform at the center of a new growth agenda. Start with slashing the corporate tax, which falls most heavily on middle-class wage earners. Go to full cash expensing and a territorial system that would repatriate overseas profits. On the personal side, flatten the rates, broaden the base, and simplify the code. Make sure it pays more after-tax to work, invest, and take risks. Instead of raising taxes on capital, reduce or abolish investment taxes (which would contribute to a rebound in the soft productivity numbers).

But tax reform is not enough. We need pro-growth immigration reform to boost the lagging growth of the labor force. We need entitlement reform for welfare, food stamps, and disability, so that instead of paying people not to work, we incentivize people to rejoin the labor force.

Trade tariff reduction, now front and center in Washington, would also be important to a pro-growth agenda. Tariff cuts are tax cuts. They make businesses more competitive and provide more export markets. Meanwhile, consumers get the best-quality goods at the lowest prices anywhere.

Improving education with choice, charters, and vouchers is another much-needed pro-growth reform. So is ending Obamacare and replacing it with a privately driven, free-choice health-care system.

Finally, a better, more consistent, and more transparent monetary policy from the Fed that creates a reliable dollar would be a huge pro-growth reform.

Is 4 percent growth really possible? Sure it is. And it would help solve a lot of problems, including poverty, middle-class take-home pay, jobs, budget deficits, and on and on.

I’m not endorsing Mr. Bush at this point. But I am endorsing his 4 percent solution. If decisive policies can unleash innovation and entrepreneurship, get the economy out from under the government’s shackles, and provide a spirit of optimism, then all things are possible.

The whole history of America tells me so. Don’t tell me it can’t be done.

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From beyond the fringe comes Donald Trump

From the files of Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe

It speaks well of Republicans that most of them have no use for Donald Trump. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV personality proclaimed himself a presidential candidate on Tuesday, with a bizarre and rambling announcement in the lobby of the Trump Tower in Manhattan that drove the needle on the crazy-meter way into the red zone.

I used to think that Trump was about as plausible a GOP candidate as Rufus T. Firefly. I realize now that I owe Firefly an apology.

Heading into last week's event, Trump had already established himself as the GOP's most unpopular candidate — the first candidate in modern presidential primary history, as political analyst Harry Enten remarked, to begin a White House run with a majority of his own party against him.

Averaging together the three most recent national polls, Enten calculates that a staggering 57 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of Trump. In a Fox News survey this month, 59 percent of likely Republican voters said Trump was a candidate they would "never vote for."

Who can blame them? Virtually nothing Trump says is worth hearing. The opinions he expresses on public issues are the byproduct of his egotistical self-promotion — the clownish rantings of a publicity-seeker, not the governing philosophy of a potential commander-in-chief. Trump isn't a legitimate candidate, he is, to borrow George Will's phrase, a "bloviating ignoramus."

Granted, he has a knack for making money and drawing attention. So does Kim Kardashian. Voters aren't going to elect her president, either.

News organizations are under no obligation to provide a platform to every narcissistic buffoon who declares himself a candidate for the White House. It's probably futile to expect the networks hosting the Republican primary debates to exclude a ratings magnet like Trump, but they should.

His presence on the stage will be degrading to everyone in the room. Even if the other contenders run rings around Trump on substance, his insults and idiocies will stain them all by association.

Do the GOP's serious candidates really want to share the spotlight with a loudmouth who spent much of the last presidential election cycle trafficking in "birther" theories? Trump repeatedly questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States, and offered to pay $5 million if the president would disclose his college-application records.

When Obama's birth certificate from Hawaii was released, not only did Trump betray no twinge of self-reproach, he sang his own praises even more loudly.

"A lot of people love me for it," he crowed to reporters last year. "I got him to produce his so-called birth certificate, or whatever it was."

Trump isn't just a conspiracy-mongering blowhard. He is also a crude nativist.

"The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said on Tuesday. "When Mexico sends its people, they're ... sending people that have lots of problems.... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." And Trump's proposed solution to this invasion of drug-addled Mexican rapists? "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me," he spouted. "I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall."

There may be an audience for that sort of incoherent demagoguery in the more fetid xenophobic fever-swamps. But there is none whatsoever among Republicans seeking to enlarge their party with an Reaganesque message of optimism, freedom, and growth.

Indeed, Trump is so far from being a mainstream Reagan-style conservative that the real question is why he is bringing his circus to the GOP tent in the first place.

Almost anyone would make a better presidential
candidate than Donald Trump.

He has touted a single-payer health care system on the Canadian model. He has advocated a wealth tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth of at least $10 million. He has called for a 25 percent tariff on all Chinese exports.

He has praised the Supreme Court's notorious Kelo decision, which upheld the power of the state to condemn private homes through eminent domain, so it can turn the land over to influential developers — like Trump. With such a government-enlarging, tax-raising, trade-restricting outlook, one might have expected Trump to be more comfortable as a champion of the Democratic Party.

Sure enough, he has been a major backer of Democratic candidates, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Democratic campaigns over the years. In the 2006 election cycle, for example, Trump donated heavily to Democratic committees focused on regaining control of Congress — an effort that culminated with Harry Reid becoming Senate majority leader and Nancy Pelosi rising to speaker of the House.

Trump isn't a conservative, he isn't a Republican, and he isn't a presidential candidate. He is a political punch line looking for a joke. All things considered, I prefer Rufus T. Firefly.

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TSA means thousands standing around

From the files of Michael Shannon at The Whole Shebang (mostly) and Newsmax

You missed out on last summer’s viral social exhibitionism craze and never got around to scheduling an Ice Bucket Challenge, but you have no intention of making that mistake twice.

So you’ve already started planning a Let’s Draw Mohammed contest.

No need for ice this time, but there is the question of what organization will handle screening the attendees?

Should you contact TSA or your local police department?

If you picked TSA there is no need to include me on the guest list.

The acting TSA head, Melvin Carraway, was demoted this week after the Inspector General found his crack crew of coffee drinkers failed to spot weapons and explosives in 95 percent of the unannounced tests conducted by a security team.

For your Draw Mohammed Contest this means TSA will be confiscating pencils while the C–4 wrapped in a turban sails through unmolested.

Find out all the details in the Shannon column at Newsmax.

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Lyin' Brian - A perfect fit for NBC

From the files of Jeff Crouere at Ringside Politics on WLAE-TV 32 in New Orleans

After an extensive investigation, NBC News finally decided the fate of habitual liar Brian Williams, who has been on an extended suspension since February. In the end, they made a brilliant decision by removing him from the anchor chair at the “NBC Nightly News” and demoting him to MSNBC, their embarrassment of a cable news network.

Williams will join other chronic liars, such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, on the cable news network that has turned into a ratings disaster.

MSNBC has a pathetic number of viewers for a national news network, usually about 500,000 per night. This is only 5% of the massive audience that regularly tuned into Williams on the “NBC Nightly News.” This journalistic wasteland is an ideal home for Williams, who destroyed his credentials as a reporter when he started lying about the major events he covered.

Williams will lose his lofty NBC position and face a reduction of salary from $15 million to $10 million per year. On MSNBC, Williams will handle special reports and anchor breaking news coverage. While it is astonishing that he still has any journalistic position and will be earning such a salary after his downfall, the reality is that Williams will be working for MSNBC, a network watched mainly by liberal zealots. Williams survived because he is also a liberal. Unquestionably, a conservative in a similar position would have been quickly fired with no hesitation.

As part of his return to the limelight, Williams is starting an apology tour. His first interview was with his friend and colleague Matt Lauer on the “Today” show. He confessed to Lauer that his lies were mainly “ego driven.” He admitted that his suspension has been “torture,” but, unfortunately, he refused to elaborate on all of the different falsehoods he told over the span of several years.

The most egregious lies that Williams invented involved his helicopter coming under rocket propelled grenade attack during the initial stages of the Iraq war. In addition, he almost certainly lied about a number of other stories, including his report of flying into Baghdad with the Navy Seal Team 6. While he was one of the first reporters in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the scenes he witnessed were surely devastating, there is little doubt that Williams once again exaggerated his reporting.

He suspiciously claimed to have seen a dead body float by his hotel window in the aftermath of the levees breaking and the streets flooding. Unfortunately for Williams, everyone from the hotel manager to the city’s public health director to retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who coordinated the military’s hurricane relief operations, has disputed his statement. A thorough analysis of his many exaggerations and lies would undoubtedly include multiple incidents over the span of many years.

Obviously, this creative storyteller will have zero credibility with informed viewers, which is why the move to MSNBC makes sense. No viewer who watches hosts such as Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews expects honest reporting. All viewers see on MSNBC is hard core liberal activism disguised as journalism.

Through his years of lies, Williams showed a callous disregard for the viewers who entrusted him to truthfully report the news. As an anchor with a propensity to lie and exaggerate, Williams has now been assigned to a network worthy of his talents.

One good thing resulting from this episode is that viewers looking for a good laugh now have an alternative to Comedy Central. They can watch MSNBC and the laughable liberals like Brian Williams, a man who chose lies over the facts, popularity over credibility and, despite a suspension and nationwide humiliation, has still not admitted the truth.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 10:00 p.m. Sunday on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore.

For more information, visit Jeff's web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com or e-mail him at jeff@ringsidepolitics.com.  

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Deep in the weeds with PC

From the art studios of A.F. (Tony) Branco at Comically Incorrect.com

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Lower the flag South Carolina

From the files of Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe

Away down South in Dixie, the Confederate flag is in the thick of battle once again.

Last week, South Carolina's Governor David Beasley plunged his state into controversy with a televised call to lower the rebel flag from above the statehouse and move it to a nearby Confederate memorial.

Four minutes after making his proposal, Beasley heard himself compared by state Senator Glenn McConnell — also on statewide television — to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who sought to appease Adolf Hitler. Attorney General Charlie Condon called Beasley's speech "a victory for the extremist groups." He declared that those who have "criticized the Confederate flag should be ashamed of themselves."

The state where the Civil War began is the only one that still flies the Confederate flag from its seat of government. The South Carolina Legislature ordered the banner flown over the Capitol dome in March 1962, a symbol of defiance as the civil rights movement was reaching flood tide. (Officially, the flag was raised to commemorate the Civil War's centennial.) It has waved over the statehouse ever since, a revered emblem of Southern "heritage" to some, a detested reminder of oppression and bigotry to others.

South Carolina has changed since 1962. For one thing, Beasley, McConnell, and Condon are all Republicans, along with most of the state's congressional delegation and about half of the legislators in Columbia. Not too long ago, Republican officeholders were among the state's rarest fauna. The grand old man of South Carolina politics, US Senator (and former Governor) Strom Thurmond, was a Democrat until 1964, and when he ran for president on a segregationist platform in 1948, the Confederate flag was his standard. But Thurmond was with Beasley last week, seconding the governor's motion to remove the flag from the Capitol.

Yet some South Carolinians, their heartstrings tangled around the 1860s, still revere the Confederacy and all its trappings. McConnell, the state senator, howls that moving the Confederate flag "will amount to cultural genocide." Condon, the attorney general, warns that if the flag is moved, "before long, our history will be rewritten. The children of South Carolina will be taught, in the name of political correctness, to be ashamed of their state's history."

As if there were nothing in their state's history to be ashamed of.

The Confederacy has been extinct for 131 years. Its brief life was the cause of unspeakable sorrow, pain, and death. To insist that its battle flag deserves a place of pride above the statehouse is worse than mossbacked, it is reactionary. It is morally tone-deaf. And it is, to anyone dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, appalling.

The men and boys who followed the Confederate colors into battle may have been honorable and decent, but there was neither honor nor decency in the cause for which they fought. The Civil War was about many things, but it was first and foremost about slavery. South Carolina and the Confederacy went to war to perpetuate the freedom of white Americans to buy and sell black Americans. To be sure, most Confederate soldiers weren't slave owners, and many believed they were fighting in self-defense. But there would have been no war had the South not seceded, and the South seceded to protect chattel slavery.

Conservatives incline to tradition, and this conservative adheres to the credo that that which it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change. But the tradition of flying the Confederate flag over Columbia's skyline is a horrid one. To the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the flag may recollect the bravery of Stonewall Jackson and the cannons at Fort Sumter. To tens of millions of others, it evokes the agony of the Middle Passage and the long nightmare of Jim Crow.

It is not by chance that white supremacist hate groups have adopted the Confederate flag. It is flown at Ku Klux Klan rallies. It is the emblem of punks on the racist fringe. It has been taken up by neo-Nazis in Germany, where the swastika is outlawed. Does that mean that anyone who admires the rebel flag is tainted with bigotry and hate? Of course not. But the bigots and the haters embrace that flag for a reason: It was first raised in defense of the proposition that some men are no better than property.

South Carolina's governor, whose great-great-great grandfather Reuben Beasley fought for the South, has waded into an issue he could have avoided and made a lot of enemies he could have done without. He has also done the right thing. "Any banner we choose to fly over the Capitol," he said, "should be one that everyone can claim as their own." That is manifestly not true of the Confederate flag.

Americans of every color have reason to revile that banner. Three hundred sixty thousand Union soldiers, most of them white, lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands more were wounded, crippled, and shellshocked, in a war started by armies flying that flag.

It is an ongoing affront to the Union dead, as it is to the memory of 10 million enslaved and murdered African innocents, when the flag of the Confederacy whips in the breeze.

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When I look at you I see myself - Huh?

Michelle Obama tells Muslim girls from the files of Colonel Allen B. West

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to the United Kingdom today, choosing to give a speech on female empowerment while surrounded by hijab-clad girls in the ethnically “diverse” London borough of Tower Hamlets.

Reported by Breitbart:

But the Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets, from where Mrs. Obama chose to lecture, isn’t ethnically diverse, and nor is the Mulberry School for Girls that she visited.

Tower Hamlets, which only days ago managed to shake off its Islamist-linked Mayor, boasts a Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani, and otherwise Asian population. At the last census, in 2011, 39 percent of the population self-identified as Christian, while 36 percent identified as Muslim. The Muslim population of the borough is believed to have overtaken the Christian population by some way in the years since, with the next census not due until 2021.

And in Tower Hamlets, nearly 1 in 5 residents did not speak English as their first language, according to the 2011 statistics, opting instead for Bengali.

The Mulberry School for Girls, where Mrs Obama delivered her patronising ‘Let Girls Learn’ speech, is described in multiple Ofsted school inspection reports as having “nearly all students… of Bangladeshi heritage, with a very small minority from other backgrounds, including White British, Pakistani and African.”

And while the school has been rated as “very good” for a number of years, it has also played host to hard-left conferences sponsored by groups such as ‘War on Want’, which is closely tied to anti-Israel activities in the United Kingdom, the ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’ which has its roots in communist sympathising, and indeed the European Parliament.

The Mulberry Youth Conference boasts amongst its speakers Shami Chakrabarti from left-wing campaign group Liberty, now-deceased Labour MP Tony Benn, ex Labour MP Clare Short, editor of the Guardian newspaper Alan Rusbridger, anti-white racist columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, hard-left activist Owen Jones, and feminist campaigner Lucy-Anne Holmes.

So why did Michelle Obama choose Tower Hamlets, and the Mulberry School for Girls?


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Democrats debate on the firing line

From the art studios of A.F. (Tony) Branco at Comically Incorrect.com

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Life without libraries - unimaginably poorer

From the files of Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe

Exterior of the Kansas City Public Library, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri

I was A four-year-old in kindergarten the first time I remember reading in a library. The book was Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, and I'm not sure which I found more captivating — the adventure of the hatchling that sets off to find its mother, or my own adventure of picking out a book from what seemed an endless array of enticing titles.

I was hooked early, on books and libraries both. To this day I can visualize precisely the shelves in the fiction section of my school's library, where I first discovered many of my favorite children's novels: The Twenty-One Balloons, Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time.

But the small library in my Cleveland-area day school was merely a gateway drug to the local public library a mile from my home. I spent innumerable hours there as a boy, addicted as much to the serendipitous pleasures of searching for a good book as to the satisfying relish of losing myself in its pages once I found one. My parents, raising five kids on a meager income, had little money to spare for buying books. But my library card was free, and I made heavy use of it.

The University Heights Library was my home away from home. Nothing was off-limits to a curious reader. From the Edward Eager magic books that fascinated me when I was little to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask, which held a different fascination as I grew older, it was all available. All I had to do was choose.

I can't imagine life without libraries. And by "libraries" I mean actual books — ink on paper — to be borrowed and shared and read. I don't mean bookless digital-content centers like San Antonio's $2.3 million BiblioTech, an all-electronic reading venue that looks, in Time magazine's description "like an orange-hued Apple store" outfitted with 500 e-readers, 48 computers, and 20 iPads and laptops. I would never discourage reading in any format, but rows of iMacs do not a library make. The ability to browse goes to the essence of the library experience, along with the egalitarian access that puts books in plain sight of all comers.

Happily, that experience is alive and well. As British journalist Alex Johnson documents in a wonderful new volume, Improbable Libraries, even in the digital age readers yearn for printed books, and librarians go to amazing and creative lengths to supply them.

Johnson highlights libraries that have opened in airports, train stations, and hotels, the better to serve readers on the move in this hypermobile era. In Santiago, Chile, there are lending libraries in the subways: The Bibliometro system lends 440,000 books a year from 20 underground stations, and has effectively become the largest public library in the country. A global "tiny library" movement has blossomed in the form of honor-system book nooks on street corners, at bus stops, and even in front yards of private homes. In Great Britain, hundreds of iconic red telephone boxes, no longer needed, have been repurposed into mini-lending libraries.

Smartphones and tablets have grown ubiquitous, but reading on screens is not the same — and for many people, not nearly as satisfying — as reading in print. Clicking links on an electronic device is efficient, but it can't replace the tactile engagement of wandering the stacks, pulling a book from the shelf, reading the dust jacket, flipping through its pages.

Argentine artist Raul Lemesoff transformed a 1979 Ford Falcon into a "Weapon of Mass
," a mobile lending library that resembles a tank, but is armored with books
that he distributes to readers in Buenos Aires.

"A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life," wrote Henry Ward Beecher. The hunger for books knows no boundary. In Laos, the Big Brother Mouse project uses elephants to carry books to remote villages for children to borrow and exchange. The Mongolian Children's Mobile Library, using camels, does the same thing in the Gobi desert. So does Luis Soriano's Biblioburro library in rural Colombia —with donkeys.

Life without books and libraries in which to discover them would be unimaginably poorer. Improbable Libraries makes that point beautifully. Then again, if you're anything like me, you've known it since you were four.

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