Friday, December 12, 2014

Thorner: Rauner joins Illinois Policy Institute Christmas party

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Gov.-Elect Rauner mingled with Illinois Policy Institute “Gifts of the Free Market” guests

By Nancy Thorner – 

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner celebrated a “No Cronies Christmas” with the Illinois Policy Institute at its annual “Gifts of the Free Market” party in the Library of its Chicago headquarters Wednesday. The group’s CEO John Tillman and Vice President Kristina Rasmussen, along with the 300 members and friends gathered to celebrate Christmas cheer, enjoy incredible company, and applaud the fantastic gifts of the free market system, the greatest force for good in the human sphere.

To wrap up 2014, the group noted three victories achieved in Illinois: the defeat of three tax-hike proposals, stopping a state-funded ObamaCare exchange, and helping thousands of Illinoisans opt out of union membership.

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner made a guest appearance. Although the Illinois Policy Institute cannot support political candidates, CEO John Tillman, in introducing Bruce Rauner, noted that he had known Rauner since 2008.  Governor-elect Rauner deemed it an honor to be in attendance, offering special thanks to the staff of the Illinois Policy Institute for its leadership in promoting freedom and American principles. Rauner further noted how fortunate Illinois was to be home to an organization such as the Illinois Policy Institute where citizens can get engaged in making a difference.Rauner indicated that he saw being governor more than just a job.  He was here to work for the people of Illinois, humbled and honored to have the opportunity to do so.  Illinois has always been his home, having been born and raised in IL.  For Bruce Rauner, any self-sacrifice was well worth what it might entail, given his desire to bring about a New Day In Illinois come January 12, 2015.  Rauner indicated that he would give his all to restoring Illinois.  Referring to Illinois as the worst run state in this nation,  Bruce Rauner spoke of fighting for limited government, lower taxes, jobs, pension reform and choice in education.  When Bruce Rauner announced to his wife and children that he was running for governor, his youngest daughter expressed this concern, “Please don’t run for governor.  I don’t want you to go to jail.”

After winning his bid for governor in November, Rauner looked at every budget in every department, and found that things were a lot worse than he had originally thought them to be. It was then that governor-elect Rauner requested citizen help and investment to turn around state government.  Presently Rauner is looking for talented individuals — 500 in the next 60 days — who will be true pubic servants.  They must display talent, integrity, and principle and the willingness to treat Illinoisans with respect.  Rauner’s final remarks, “I will run the government from Springfield.”  Unlike Governor Quinn, Rauner will reside in the “The Governor’s Mansion” located in Springfield.  Rauner stayed to shake hands and pose for photos after his comments.

Acknowledgments were extended by CEO John Tillman to Institute’s heroes from 2014.  They included individuals, donors, and activists who took extraordinary steps to make Illinois a freer place to live and work.

Given the still fresh news of Judy Topinka’s unexpected death earlier in the day, within the room everyone was talking about who would replace her as comptroller.

Complimentary food and drinks were provided. Vocalist Lisa Sroka and Tony Jurich on keyboard performed Christmas carols and music of the season early in the evening, which likewise contributed to the festive mood experienced by those who participated in the 2014 Gifts of the Free Market Christmas party hosted by the Illinois Policy Institute.

 

Photos by Mark Weyermuller

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Friday, December 05, 2014

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Former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers taught until 2010  at the University of Chicago

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

What has happened to universities and colleges, school that once identified themselves as sanctuaries for free speech, tolerance, and diversity? Why did they abandon that excellent goal as an open market place for thought and ideas, to become instead institutions of indoctrination to a specific political viewpoint?

It is an understatement to say that there is a lack of political diversity within our nation’s schools of higher learning, when every survey indicates self-proclaimed liberal professors significantly dominate our colleges and universities. Democrat Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, investigated this issue and agreed that Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 4 to 1 among professors; by at least 6 to 1 at elite universities; and by still higher ratios in departments of the humanities and social sciences.

Those facts alone should be troublesome at several levels. It is an indication that hiring practices could be favoring a specific mindset, possibly for the purpose of achieving a specific desired result. Professors have enormous power over their students, which enables them to persuade vulnerable students to accept their political and social opinions. The important question is whether professors actually take advantage of their position of power to do so?

They absolutely do take advantage, according to the testimony of college students and a study on the subject by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin who recently investigated the issue.  By scrutinizing course catalogs, reading lists, professors’ biographies, scholar records, and most of all testimonies of students and faculty, they found violations of academic standards and systematic indoctrination, some of which could be considered not just liberal, but liberal to the degree of being classified as politically radical.

Those of us who did not experience college classrooms as indoctrination centers wonder how and/or why this liberal dominance was allowed to take place?  The fact professors are given great latitude in what and how they teach, makes the inequality troubling.   Professors are not required to create a fair and balanced classroom of ideas, nor is there evidence of repercussions when proof of obvious indoctrination has occurred. Professors not only have tenure, but deans, presidents, and faculty are often sympathetic, if not in lock-step, with the professors’ liberal views and agenda. attention is paid to how a one-sided indoctrination is harming students’ scope of knowledge, understanding, and success when they leave classrooms for the real world. Imagine that you are a freshman at college, eager to learn and devoted to making top grades, when your beloved professor begins to lecture on a hot, divisive political topic. You discover that your professor is taking a position that is very much opposed to your personal beliefs.  The way the lecture proceeds, you become acutely aware he is consistently labeling those who hold your belief and viewpoint in contempt, by using a variety of negative adjectives. To make matters worse, everyone in the classroom is laughing and seems to be in total agreement with the professor.

Without any fear of losing their positions or being disciplined in any way, liberal professors are unconcerned about complaints or negative consequences. Whether they behave bullishly to scare some students into silence, or have persuasive personalities that quietly and systematically convince students their parent’s principles, philosophies, and values are incorrect, the result is the same: students are leaving with only one viewpoint on issues and thus are unprepared to listen or debate opposing opinions with an open mind.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a commencement address at Harvard in May, sharply criticized liberal students, professors, and administrators across the country for their pattern of silencing the voices of those with whom they disagreed, accusing them of “censorship” and a modern-day form of McCarthyism. Bloomberg’s legitimate concern may have stemmed from the fact that 96% of the Harvard faculty and employees donated to Obama’s reelection campaign.  Certainly that large donation figure would seem to add proof to Bloomberg’s assertions.

Bias in education deserves more exposure

In what should have been a shocker, Emily Esfahani Smith, in a special to The Washington Times on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, wrote about a peer-reviewed study of political diversity in the field of social psychology.  Liberal professors admitted they would discriminate against conservatives in hiring and advancement.  According to Smith, the anti-conservative bias is real and pronounced.  It is not a respectable position to hold in universities where Republicans are maligned and publicly degraded if they listen to Rush Limbaugh or are Fox News enthusiasts. These certainly are explosive facts the public deserves to know, but few media sources expose.

The excerpts noted below are from the article Liberal Bias in Education: Campus, Classroom and College.  It offers more evidence of what is being taught in our classrooms of higher learning and additional proof that American citizens deserve to know the facts.

Bias in academia more often than not is liberal bias. Many professors and students admit to possessing liberal ideologies or Democratic voting tendencies. It is natural and right for liberal students and professors to freely express their liberal philosophies, but is it right for liberal professors to continually advance their ideas in the classroom while squelching all other opinions?  Certainly, the answer to that must be absolutely No.

Universities are the breeding grounds for a variety of ideas and thought processes. Students who attend American colleges and universities should be able to gain a well-rounded view of their country, its founding principles, and ideas – from all points on the political spectrum – that continue to shape and mold our future. Unfortunately, today’s colleges have drifted away from these ideals and become bastions of liberal thought and activism.

Consider Professor Smith, a professor at the University of North Carolina and a supporter of traditional marriage, whose conservative opinions make him an outcast in the academic community.  An online commenter not only called for the professor to resign, but went so far as to claim Smith was “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America”.   Professor Smith responded to that criticism by describing the antics of liberal professors, official campus groups, and then invited campus speakers at other North Carolina institutes of higher learning, as noted below, so objective people could determine and judge what constitutes legitimate cause for embarrassment:

  • In the early spring semester of 2013, a women’s studies professor and a psychology professor at Western Carolina University co-sponsored a panel on bondage and S&M. The purpose of the panel was to teach college students how to inflict pain on themselves and others for sexual pleasure.
  • At UNC Chapel Hill, there is a feminist professor who believes that women can lead happy lives without men. That’s nothing new. But what is different is that she thinks women can form life-long domestic partnerships with dogs and that those relationships will actually be fulfilling enough to replace marital relationships with men.
  • A feminist administrator at UNC-Wilmington sponsored a pro-abortion event. During the event they sold tee shirts saying “I had an abortion” to students who … well, had abortions. Students were encouraged to boast about the fact that they had killed their own unborn infants.

If this is happening in North Carolina, what is happening throughout the university system in states like California, New York, Washington state, Illinois, etc., which are funded by tax paying citizens?  We know rape has become a major issue on college campuses throughout America.  An investigation indicated the number of reported sexual assaults on college campuses has increased by 50 percent over the last decade.  Liberals argue the increase is not linked to provocative classes in which students are given heavy doses of sexual information, such as details of how to best perform intimate sex acts.  Conservatives believe that casual approach to sensitive personal issues has created a general decline in morality, the proof of which is evidenced in the increased rate of rape.

Consider how many colleges, especially Ivy League schools, begin their school year with thousands of students experiencing what they call “Sex Week”.   That week includes everything from students going nude around the college campus to school sponsored sex classes that teach exceedingly personal sexual information.  Discussing sexual acts and behavior during college “Sex Week” may not be responsible for the rapes, but the increase does coincide with the blatant, permissive campus sexual atmosphere.   Do we really want our young adults to treat sex with the same casual behavior as they do deciding what to have for breakfast?  Sexual intimacy was once something so sacred, we encouraged our young people to reserve and share it with only one special person.  Today, colleges appear to have no respect for those standards or viewpoint, and thus neither do its students.

What has changed on the campuses that might encourage the extraordinary increase in rape? Administrators claim there is no significant increase, but that rape is just being more widely reported.   Really?  How would administrators ever know that if rapes went unreported?  Conservatives claim the initiating of a liberal sexual culture on college campuses is the one factor that coincides with the rape increase.  The subject deserves a bi-partisan investigation to determine if “Sex Week” is a factor.  Most college administrators believe drinking and drugs are a factor, largely seen at fraternity parties.  Some colleges have now banned fraternities from their campuses, which might help determine if excessive drinking has been a factor.   Unfortunately, the good students, those who are quite responsible and who do not even drink, end up being punished by the restrictions too.  It has been pointed out that there have always been frat parties and drinking, so why is rape suddenly happening?

There is a growing outcry from the public for colleges and universities that accept federal funding to prove there is no bias in their hiring practices.  Parents are demanding their children should be guaranteed a safe environment, not one that leaves coeds in fear of being raped.  The challenge is to convince our college administrators that the trend which ushered in significant increases in liberal professors, a monopoly of liberal classes, plus highly charged events, such as “Sex Week”, may not be benefiting the students, but instead harming them.

Schools are not meant to entertain, they are to challenge students, and thus create responsible citizens prepared for their future.  That is best accomplished when students are given all sides of issues without any bias, and thus allowed to be critical thinkers who act and think responsibly not just in college, but in their careers, marriage, and parenting skills throughout their lives.

Part Two will explore why are colleges and universities are dominated by Liberals.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thorner: Wrong Kind of Government Breeds Cronyism

Crony Capitalism

By Nancy Thorner – 

Americans’ rights and prosperity are being threatened by cronyism, Ayn Rand Institute’s Steven Simpson said last week during a symposium hosted by Heartland Institute in Chicago.

“The issue is that government has too much power and has strayed far beyond its proper purpose of protecting rights,” Simpson declared.

Simpson’s definition of “cronyism” differs from the explanations typically offered by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

 Special Interests and CronyismAfter stating how appropriate it was to be in Chicago so soon after the elections, Simpson said those on the Right, the Left and Libertarians all complain about cronyism in much the same way.

  • Cronyism is to gain money and influence.
  • Cronyism involves business and government colluding to redirect favors to others.
  • The economy itself is crony capitalism.

Ralph Nader’s latest book, “Unstoppable”, sets forth the concept that corporations equal cronyism.  As such Nader wants to abandon the corporate state.

Simpson doesn’t give much credence to the conventional view that special interest are influencing our political system and skewing it at the expense of many.  True, money is spent to finance political causes — $3.9 billion in the recent November elections — but what is the problem with politicians being financed?  Is this corruption?

A bigger problem is why so many individuals want to influence the political system, at which point Simpson defined special interest groups as:  “A group of people voluntarily accountable with one another to influence the political process.”   Followed by:  “What is wrong with that?”

 Big Business and Cronyism

As to the belief that cronyism involves business and government colluding to redirect favors to other, this likewise must be evaluated.  Issues arise because of the way people perceive cronyism from different political angles or points of view.  But even individuals on the opposite side of the political spectrum seem to see big business as a bull Tim Carney of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in his book, “The Big Ripoff”, advances how big businesses work with statist politicians to diminish the prosperity and freedom of consumers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs.

On the Left, Nick Cristoff of the New York Times in an Opinion piece, “Crony Capitalism Comes Home,” argues to take crony out of capitalism.

Just maybe something is wrong with our political system that requires people to band together and businesses to collude with government to influence political outcome?  Are bad people involved?  Might we have a political system that doesn’t allow people to operate freely?

What happens when people think that bad people are influencing a good system?  Just what is the take away or the result?  The natural outcome is that there is an attempt to restrain the bad people with term limits, etc.  Consider the IRS scandal which happened because it was decided that Tea Party groups had too much influence with politics. Consider also the attempt recently to restraint political speech on Facebook and the Internet. The threats from Washington to stifle freedom, entrepreneurship and creativity online have never been greater. Washington politicians want the money, and they want more and more control over our speech.

 Cronyism, a Packaged Deal

Simpson spoke of cronyism as a packaged deal, where “Big is Bad” and “Influence is Bad”.  However, the difference between big government and big business is that big government does too much, that having the experts it knows best, while business grows big by satisfying its customers.

While special interest group can’t force government to accede to their wishes, government has the power to force people to do what it wants them to do.  Government controls through the force or laws of regulations.  If government influences what we are able to do, it is only natural that individuals want to influence government.  Consider Comcast and the issue of “net neutrality”.   Comcast wants to be able to charge people special rates and doesn’t want government to control their own property.  The government, however, wants to decide what “net neutrality” looks like and what Comcast may charge.  The result:  Comcast lobbies government.  Bigger guys can naturally influence government more!

Through lobbying, businesses try to influence what shouldn’t exist in the first place, which kills innovation. Government with its power to tax also has the ability to destroy. Individuals and interest groups give money to help candidates win who reflect their interests, such as “Vote for me and I’ll raise taxes on the rich” or “Vote for me and I’ll favor labor over business.”   Individuals accordingly use the power of government for protection or to benefit themselves.

 Growth of Government

What kind of government do we have?  To most people the response would be “a democracy.”  In 2008 Obama proclaimed he had received a mandate from the people to radically change this nation.  According to President Obama, what the majority wants, the majority gets!   Does government really exist so what the majority wants the majority gets?  Doing something for the public good means that one group of people will be sacrificed for another.

Our system of democracy calls for the establishment of interest groups to influence politics.  If we believe that interest groups are corrupt, then our democracy is also corrupt.  What we now have is a sort of de facto democracy when government has more control than “We the People.”  When government becomes our enemy, people have no choice but to try to influence it and then decide what government must keep its hands off.

The concept of government by our Founding Fathers was a limited one to protect individual rights. The growth of government is not an accident. Through the years government has been created that has a monopoly on power.  The downfall of such a government is that government can’t force people to be productive.

Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians are guilty of misunderstanding government power and the use of force in our lives.  Big business is seen as operating like pirates (as bad people), yet it is government regulations that control what businesses do.  Government, because of its power, actually legalizes crime through its power to control and tax.  Businesses then try to defend themselves to receive some sort of break or concession to reduce government power.

The history of taxation was presented as a wonderful example of cronyism. Taxes can remain high with set tax rates if all sorts of exemptions (loopholes) are provided to give little bits of crumbs of freedom to string along taxpayers.

Mobsters, knowing they are corrupt, are slightly more honest than government which is clothed in moral authority.  People who seek power over our lives don’t want clear laws.  Accordingly, unclear laws lead to cronyism when the meaning of the law is interpreted by different people in different ways.  Some of the confusion that exists today lies in the unclear ways some of the provisions of the Constitution were originally written, specifically:  commerce and taxing power.  According to Steve Simpson, these two powers are responsible for the tremendous growth that has taken place in government.

Non-delegation Doctrine Abused

Attributing to government control is the disregard for the doctrine of non-delegation — that one branch of government must not authorize another entity to exercise the power or function which it is constitutionally authorized to exercise itself.  It is explicit or implicit in all written constitutions that impose a strict structural separation of powers.  Only rarely has the Supreme Court invalidated laws as violations of the non-delegation doctrine. Exemplifying the Court’s legal reasoning on this matter, it ruled in the 1998 case Clinton v. City of New York that the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, which authorized the President to selectively void portions of appropriation bills, was a violation of the Presentment Clause, which sets forth the formalities governing the passage of legislation.  With Dodd-Frank, Congress abdicated its responsibility to set clear rules of the road. The legislation is complicated and contains substantial ambiguities, many of which will not be resolved until regulations are adopted, and even then, many questions are likely to persist that will require consultation with the staffs of the various agencies involved.

Simpson believes the entire regulatory system is unconstitutional. Even so, business groups are bracing for an onslaught of regulations.  With many unfinished policy goals and the midterm elections now in the past, the Obama administration is determined to complete a host of President Obama’s unfinished Businesses and interest group therefore act in self-defense against government and behave morally when fundamental power comes from government. The sugar industry was cited as the beneficiary of cronyism for many years.

 A Solution?  

Steve Simpson was at a loss to come up with a clear solution to counter the system of government that is in place, for It is the type of government we have. Businesses must defend their right to influence government for the right reasons.  Simpson spoke about the Koch brothers being vilified by Democrats as rich businessmen who fund Republicans.

It stands to reason that more government brings more cronyism, but how to untangle the mess that we have created?  Young people must be educated about the consequences of cronyism and how regulations stifle innovation.

About the ARI (Ryn Rand Institute), it is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Irvine, CA.  It works to introduce young people to Ayn Rand’s novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience. The Institute is named for novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982), who is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  

The ARI on Tour event spotlighting Steve Simpson on Nov. 11 was the third of ten scheduled ARI on Tour events that will take place in Chicago during 2014 -2015.  The first event was held in September, with the final tour event scheduled for June, 2015.  December’s event will feature Onkar Ghate. His topic: Religion vs. Freedom.

In promoting its mantra of a free society, the monthly ARI on tour events are likewise presented at venues in Irvine, CA; New York, New York; and Palo Alto and San Francisco, CA.  Steve Simpson is just one of many experts at ARI who advocate ideas and principles that will place this nation on the road to a free society through engaging Americans across the country to help change the direction of this nation and its culture.  Tour information can be found here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

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By Nancy Thorner – 

On November 20 President Obama acted with unprecedented executive powers to grant legal status and new protections to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. Obama arrogantly ignored the contents of a letter dated the day before – issued following a Justice Department investigation — that he lacked the authority to act via an executive order regarding illegal immigrants.

Obama sold his executive overreach by claiming that his executive amnesty was not “amnesty” but actually “accountability” for illegal immigrants. Obama’s argument was that because Congress hasn’t passed legislation giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, he has no choice but to ram it through on his own. Granted to at least four million currently illegal immigrants are work permits, Social Security numbers and protection from deportation.

This flouting of the law and of the Constitution, which designates three branches of government to act as checks and balances, will only encourage yet another wave of illegal immigration, worsening rather than doing anything to address the problem. President Obama has procedural discretion, but his expansive action exceeds his authority in ways that none of his predecessors ever envisioned.

Then too, how does Obama explain that twenty two time prior to his executive amnesty he publicly stated that it would be unconstitutionally impossible to do so, for as he said in one instance, “I’m president.  I’m not king.”

It was while speaking in Chicago to promote his executive amnesty that President Obama admitted that the action he took was to change the law.  It was in response to a confrontation with hecklers protesting the deportation of families.

While it might seem the compassionate thing to do to offer legal status in America to millions of illegal immigrants, what about the millions of people already in this nation mired in dire poverty?  According to a Rasmussen poll of Nov. 24, 62% of Americans oppose Obama’s plan to give millions of illegal immigrants a temporary amnesty.

Regarding fairness, what about the millions of people who have immigrated here legally as well as those who have been waiting in the queue for years to be admitted? 1.4 immigrants are admitted legally every year.  Doesn’t fairness demand that amnesty should not be given to those who have jumped illegally ahead of them in line?

Regarding the net cost — which is total benefits minus total benefits paid in – the cost of the Obama’s amnesty recipients is estimated to be around $2 trillion over the course of their lifetime. Three dollars of benefits are received for every dollar they put in. This would not be a problem if we had plenty of money, but with our national debt approaching $18 trillion, paying it back at a rate of $1 billion per day would take nearly 50 years! 

But by far the most important reason to object to Obama’s executive order with its far reaching implications is because Obama’s move has set up a historic shift in power towards the office of the executive. Throughout history unchecked power has led to the rise of tyrants and despots.

Although the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday, Nov. 20, that it would be impossible to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration through a government spending bill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart that a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service contends that Rep. Hal Rogers, Rep. Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is incorrect in his assumption. The CRS indicated that Congress can deny funds to the immigration enforcement agency despite the fact that it operates primarily on revenues collected through the imposition of fees.

The American people are not stupid.  Speaker John Boehner’s and company must be told in no uncertain terms to use the Constitutional power of the purse granted to the House to stop Obama’s dictatorial amnesty decree when returning to work after their Thanksgiving break.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Santorum-2012_Reec1

By Nancy Thorner – 

Sponsored by the Young American Foundation and the College Republican Organization of Northwestern University, former Senator Rick Santorum was engaged as the Fall speaker by the Northwestern College Republican Organization on Wednesday, November 19. His topic, “America’s Defense.” Santorum served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he led the fight before the attacks of

September 11th, 2001 to transform our military from a Cold War force to meet current threats.

Introduced by the president of the Northwestern College Republican Organization, it was obvious that those in attendance were eager to hear what Santorum had to say. By the same token, Santorum expressed his fondness for engaging with students. Having run for president in 2012, Santorum noted how only one out of 22 candidate debates dealt with national security. National Security was just not a big issue in 2012, unlike it was in the recent election.

Given the disastrous election results suffered by Democrats in most of the states, are Democrats open to learning from the past so their foreign policy can be forward looking? This nation became a super power after WW II. She is still the lone super power left in the world, but for how long?

Senator Santorum outlined five lessons learned from past conflicts that must apply to future engagements.  All are applicable to both parties, as defense should not be a partisan issue.

Lesson one:  Democratic Capitalism as a World Model?

It was 25 years ago this month when the Berlin Wall fell.  Some thought this event signified the end of history and that the world was heading in a different direction.  Socialism and authoritarian had lost.  “Democratic Capitalism” would reign as the world model. Russia found out on its own that its economic system couldn’t support defense ambitions.  China had to move into the 20th century by adopting capitalistic principles.  Democratic Capitalism, however, applies to more than just adopting capitalistic measures.  It can’t be forced upon countries. Democratic Capitalism occurs when capitalism is felt by a large segment of the people. Dissatisfaction develops when people don’t believe capitalism is working for them.  Democratic Capitalism, when working well, provides a strong economy to support and provide a quality of life its citizens.  Here is America blue collar conservatives, and all working men and women, must experience some economic benefits to believe that the system is working.

Lesson two:  “Peace Through Strength”

This was the watchword of President Reagan’s presidency.  As such, strength of power was an important deterrent against enemy aggression. Weakness only encourages bad behavior from those who wish us harm. This nation must send out a signal to the world that she is still strong.  But how to do so, when General James Dempsey remarked how our military is so underfunded it would be immoral to fight a war?  Also, America has not committed the revenue necessary to keep a strong military.  China, Russia, and Iran are sensing America’s inability to deter, making us more venerable to foreign strength and power.  It is imperative that we reengage and better fund our military.

Lesson three:  Understand the Threat and Define it

Public opinion does matter. The President is either deterred or encouraged to act through public opinion. Support to re-engage in Iraq was not there until the public was appalled by the beheadings.  It was only then that Obama took action. Rick Santorum doesn’t see the White House responding in any meaningful way to defeat the Islamic terrorists in Iraq or Syria.  What is needed above all is for our leaders to adequately define the threat. There was no problem when defining the enemy in WW II as Nazi aggression or Communism. Because of today’s political correctness, threats can no longer be defined, nor can the nature of the enemy.

“Terrorist” alone doesn’t cut it, unless we use “Islamic” in conjunction with “terrorist”, for we are fighting “Islamic terrorists,” Santorum said.

Winning a war is impossible unless we can define the terrorists and what they are trying to accomplish.  We see none of this from the Obama administration, where confusion existed after the Oklahoma beheading of Colleen Hufford, a 54-year-old grandmother and worker at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma. Was it terrorism or workplace violence, even though co-workers in interviews said the suspect, Alton Nolen, 30, tried to convert them to Islam.

Regarding the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting, Muslim or Islam were never mentioned in the indictment of Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, who fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others in what has been labeled as workplace violence.  We are not facing a new threat, but a resurgence of a threat that we thought had been subdued. It is folly to believe that Iran is doing anything other than working to develop a nuclear weapon.  Iran has ballistic rockets. The only purpose they have is to carry nuclear war heads, yet the Obama administration believes that through diplomacy Iran will end its nuclear program.

Lesson four:  Plan to be successful

We are presently engaged with fighting ISIS.  After the American public saw the brutal beheadings, it wanted the President to do something.  What President Obama failed to do is to lay out a plan for success. Is this administration really serious about winning the war? Consider the number of sorties flown every day. In the Gulf War it was 800 a day; in the 2nd Gulf War, 1,000; and in the present confrontation, it’s between 2 and 5. This is no way to run a successful foreign policy program.  Victory must be the end goal.

Lesson five:  If America doesn’t lead, who else will?

Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, points out how demographic trends in Europe point to Muslims, in time, taking over Europe because of the sheer number of Muslims living in European nation fostered by continuing high birth rates. European countries are not engaged in countering this critical problem which threatens their existence, because as sovereign nations they are more concerned with their own survival than in protecting their own interests.  There is only one country that can stand up to evil.  It  is America.  America is still in a unique position in the world. She can still lead because of her military might and economy, but America’s credibility is being eroded.  There must be a vision, which necessitates laying out objectives so a plan can be formulated to carry through.

The Question and Answer session that followed was impressive.  The students in attendance seemed unusually bright, engaged and well-versed on the political happenings of the day.  They listened with respect to Senator Rick Santorum, asking intelligent questions that reflected knowledge way beyond what is known by a majority of the American people.  Hearing the students engage with Senator Santorum gave me some hope that this nation will somehow survive the present assault on its democracy and the rule of law.

Question 1:  The treatment of Hamas as a legitimate government?

Response:  Democracies don’t happen overnight.  It is wrong to believe that this nation can go into a country and everyone will desire to live as we do in a democracy.  It makes no sense that we continue to give money to those who practice terrorism and who threaten the existence of Israel.  Iran is the biggest threat to Israel.  Once Iran has the nuclear bomb, it will not hesitate to wipe out the state of Israel.  An easy achievement, as Israel can be wiped out by a single nuclear weapon.  President Obama has done more to advance Iran’s nuclear power than anyone else.  Obama is desperate for a deal with Iran (Might it be to legitimize his Nobel Peace Price?), but when has Iraq ever honored any deal? The one thing that could stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon is putting pressure on Iran through heavy sanctions. But lo and behold, when things starting getting bad for the Iranian people because the sanctions were working, this nation agreed to hold joint negotiations with Iran, buying more time for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.  Santorum fears greatly for the State of Israel.  It looks like Israel will have to defend itself.

Question 2:   Are you considering a run for president in 2016?

Response:  Santorum responded in the affirmative.  He is exploring the possibility.

Question 3:  Will your pro-life position be held against you?

Rick Santorum reminded students that they are more pro-life than their parents.  Your parents could have said “I don’t want you and you wouldn’t be here.”  You are also a very visual generation and have seen a baby in the womb.  It looks like baby, not just like a blob of flesh. All of us have the opportunity to make our case, and this is how it should be.  The debate should be made in the public square, but so often the will of the people is denied and instead a court determines the outcome.  Debates used to be two way street, but not any longer.  “If I disagree with you it is because I must hate you, I’m intolerant, or a bigot, which is a huge infringement on Freedom of Speech.” We must be tolerant of differences of opinion, but there must be debate.  It is encouraging that 50 years after Roe vs. Wade debate is still warranted.

Question 4:  Is Climate Change a Threat to National Security?

Response:  During a recent visit to China, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a landmark climate change agreement.  President Obama touted the agreement as a major climate victory, but how can it be a victory when China is not committed to anything?  What we offered to do would have no effect on climate change, but it would instead lower the standard of living and raise the cost of purchased goods.  If the solution set forth doesn’t solve the problem, why then are we doing it?  Let’s have a debate to allow those who ascribe to climate change the ability to state just how climate change threatens national security.

Question 5:  What must Republican do to win in 2016?

Response:  Republicans won in November not because they had any real solutions, but because Democrats were so bad on the economy and national security.  The solutions offered by Democrats to issues were for more government intervention and increased spending.  Regarding Republicans in 2016, they can’t continue to run on their usual themes of balancing the budget, cutting taxes, and cutting programs.  Republicans need a more positive message that will offer solutions that resonate with the American people.  What Republicans haven’t yet realized is that their usual message is met with tone deafness in Middle America.  Republicans must present a message of pro-growth and pro-work.  Opportunities must be created for all Americans, remembering that 70% of the American people don’t hold college degrees. Working Americans have been hurt during the past eight years as medium incomes have decreased. With President Obama’s illegal Executive Order granting 4 -5 million undocumented immigrants Social Security numbers and work permits, there will be 5 million more individuals available to take the same jobs now held by others.  Hispanics here legally are going to see their wages crumble. Blacks will also hurt in the job market.  Most Americans don’t realize that every year 1.1 million immigrants are legally granted permission to come to America. If a Republican president is elected in 2016, anti-business and other crippling legislation must be repealed.  The same for Obamacare. A sensible energy policy must also be set forth.

Hopefully the Republican controlled Senate and House before 2016 will show some spine in confronting Obama in his determination to enact climate change measures and bi-pass Congress on immigration policy that if allowed to stand unchallenged will harm the American people and this nation.  Since Obama has nothing to lose as he is not on the ballot in 2016, it is certain that he will use his final two years in office to push agenda items through Executive fiat that he couldn’t move legislatively during his prior six years   Someone must fight for the American worker.  Let it be the Republican Party!

*This disclaimer preceded the introduction of Rick Santorum:  “The thoughts expressed by Rick Santorum are not to be viewed as representing the views of Northwestern.  Nevertheless, a visitor is entitled to speak without interruption, as Northwestern honors the sanctity of free speech and upholds the value of civility.”  Both were honored by the students.  Following Santorum’s remarks, many students gathered around him to get a chance for further interaction.

Violence-erupts-ferguson-missouri

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

At approximately 9 pm Monday evening, St. Louis County Attorney General McCulloch announced that the grand jury investigating the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson did not return a true bill (i.e., an indictment). McCulloch, and later President Obama, described the incident as a tragedy which should be a platform for improvements to be made in the relationship between police and the black community in the future. What was not said, explicitly, was the actual facts of the case.

It is incontrovertible that a homicide occurred – a human being was killed at the hand of man. It is also an undisputed fact that Officer Wilson fired the shots that killed Michael Brown. Left unsaid was that the grand jury determined that no crime occurred, hence Officer Wilson would not be charged and tried in a court of law.

No crime occurred because Officer Wilson acted in self defense, in fear of his life. This conclusion was based on forensic evidence from the investigation, corroborated by testimony of officer Wilson and many citizens, including black members of the community that witnessed the event.

The right to defend one’s life using deadly force if necessary is fundamental to common law, statutory law, Constitutional law, and ecclesiastic law predating the pyramids of Egypt. Michael Brown was killed because he attacked Officer Wilson, fled, then turned to attack Wilson again as he pursued Brown. Brown continued the attack after being wounded until he was rendered incapable of attacking by a wound to the head.

Significantly, witnesses testified that no more shots were fired once Brown was on the ground. That is consistent with the law regarding self defense, that you stop shooting when the attack is no longer imminent. Brown had the opportunity to flee, but chose to turn and confront his pursuer. Wilson had a sworn obligation to continue the pursuit until his attacker was apprehended, or further pursuit was not possible.

It is significant that witnesses cited by Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump, activist Al Sharpton and others, were quickly discredited before the grand jury. Their testimony was inconsistent with the forensic evidence, and often with previous statements by themselves.

Several admitted that they did not witness the event personally, but related events as they heard them from others.

If anything needs improving, it is to avoid inciting mob mentality by soliciting and repeating false testimony. Many of those who testified before the grand jury did so in secret out of fear of this mob. One  must ask whether  they would have been forthcoming in a public trial. If not, where is the justice?

Many didn’t like the verdict evidenced by the rioting, looting, fires set, and the small gun fire which took place in Ferguson after the verdict, but the destruction of property only results in throwing fuel on an already explosive situation.  Angry demonstrations ensued in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, St. Louis, and even in front of the White House, by those who have been told repeatedly over the years that cops have been unfair to them.

It was justice carried out in accordance to a mindset that accepts, without question, police brutality as a common, recurring happening, with no regard for the facts or for the justice system. The grand jury couldn’t even find enough evidence to come up with the lowest possible indictment charge against Officer Wilson.

As the colonel, played by Jack Nicholson, said in the courtroom drama, “A Few Good Men,” “[They] can’t handle the truth.”

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Friday, November 21, 2014

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By Nancy Thorner – 

Heritage Foundation’s chief economist Steven Moore was in Chicago recently, a guest of Illinois Policy Institute. During his presentation, Moore spoke very highly of Bruce Rauner, having met with him to give advice before the election.

Of importance to Moore is that people are not paying enough attention to how red states are getting redder (run by Republicans with pro-growth and pro-market oriented policies), while blue states are getting bluer. Arkansas was cited as one of the last states to turn red. North Carolina is now a thoroughly red state. In blue states — Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York — Democrats have become even more powerful and the states bluer. The difference being:  Red states practice Reaganomics; blue states have high tax rates which force wealthier people to move.

High tax rates do matter, Moore says. This accounts, in part, for the slow bleed of people and businesses exiting blue states and migrating into red states. We are in an economic war, as states do compete with each other. Voters vote with their feet for policies they think are important to them and their livelihood. Moore listed CA, NY, NJ, and CO as states that must change or else die.

Moore zeroed in on the four largest states, two red (Texas and Florida) and two blue (New York and California).  The difference couldn’t be any starker. There is zero state income tax in the states of TX and FL.  In NY and CA a top income tax rate exists of 13.5%. Nine states have no income tax.

Texas and Florida benefit from being “Right to Work” states.  This doesn’t mean that TX and FL can’t have unions, just that workers can’t be compelled to join a union if they decide not to. Businesses have been heard to say that they prefer locating in Right to Work states. Moore related his experience in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and how unions wanted to come in and unionize.  The point was made that unions would be harmful.  But what really resonated with workers was this cautionary statement, “Don’t turn Chattanooga into Detroit!”  The effort to unionize in Chattanooga was defeated by a vote of 57 – 47.

Where are the jobs?

Amazing statistics: In the last 15 years Texas has netted a 74% increase in jobs; Florida, 60%; CA, 35%; and New York, 9%.  For every one job created in CA and NY, three jobs were created in TX and FL.

Steven Moore related a debate with Paul Krugman in which Moore asked Krugman this question:  “States that aren’t doing well did all the things you told them to do to create jobs for working people, but what happened?”  To which Krugman replied:  “People are leaving the North for the South because of the weather.”  Moore’s retort:  “Explain then why the following migration patterns are happening?  CA is a lovely place to live, yet in the last 10 years 1.5 million more people left CA than came to live in CA.  Also, “How do you explain that people are leaving San Diego for Houston?  It’s certainly not for the weather!”  Texas is an amazing place.  Since the recession began in June, 2009, new job growth has been zero in this nation.  Texas has accounted for every new job that has been created in America.

According to Moore, this nation is experiencing an energy revolution.  North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in this nation.  People in North Dakota are getting super rich.  Steve Moore remembered paying a nightly rate of $300 a few years ago to stay at a Best Western hotel.   Moore’s upbeat reaction to the economy is based on fracking and its unbelievable technology.  If this nation can get it right, in five to six years she will move from being an oil-gas importer to an oil-gas exporter.

Why isn’t the economy doing better?

People who run Fortune 500 companies look at their financial situations. Companies have been able to retool themselves and become efficient and productive.  This wouldn’t have happened ten or twenty years ago.  Why then isn’t the economy growing at 4%?  Instead, the economy is in a beetle position.  Companies are not reinvesting money into the economy because they are terrified of Washington, D.C. and the next shoe that might drop. A common attitude among Democrats is that business is evil. It might be said that liberals love jobs, but hate employers. When was the last time President Obama ever said anything positive about big business?

Steve Moore believes that if Obamacare is rolled back, this nation will see one of the greatest economic booms it has ever seen.

Question and Answer Session

The question and answer session had much value and expanded upon many of the ideas expressed by Steven Moore in his remarks.

1.  Question:  How will Bruce Rauner be able to govern Illinois with Madigan still in charge and with super majorities in both the House and the Senate?

Response:  Steve Moore had only positive things to say about Rauner, believing Rauner has the fortitude and backbone to do the right thing, admitting, however, that it will be a huge challenge.  One advantage is that Rauner isn’t beholden to anyone.  If Rauner is privy to a stone wall of opposition from Democrats, as was true with President Reagan, like Reagan, who gave speeches on TV, Rauner must likewise take his case to the people.  Rauner must deal with the following three issues in a timely way: 1) Fixing the pension system, 2) Pulling back the tax increase, and 3) Providing the opportunity for school choice.

2.  Question:  How does Jonathan Gruber fit in with the future of Obamacare?

Response:  Jonathan Gruber is important because he demonstrates how the Left will lie, cheat and steal to win, regardless of the issue.  In regard to the issue of Global Warming, which Moore called a hoax, the assumption that science has been settled is not in keeping with the true nature of science, as science is always evolving.  It is so-called elitists, often touting their doctorate degrees, who believe that the populous can’t make decisions for themselves.  They “want to keep the poor people on the reservation.”

3.  Question:  How to deal with the $7 trillion plus increase in the debt since Obama took office

Response:  We must get back to 3% to 4% growth.  The economy needs to grow faster than the debt.  One thing that keeps Steve Moore up at night is the possibility of interest rates spiking. Presently interest rates are low.  On a 10-year Treasury bond the interest rate is 2.3%.  If interest rates do rise, all taxes collected could be used to pay the interest on the debt.  By 2020 the single largest expenditure will not be Medicaid, Medicare, or defense, but interest on the debt.  Bruce Rauner must deal with Illinois’ unfunded pension system.  Moore suggested providing a 401(k) retirement system for workers.

4.  Question: Explain how states change from red to blue states, etc.?

Response:  Colorado was basically a red state until Californians left California and moved to Colorado. Now Colorado is a purple state.  New Hampshire (Live Free or Die state) has gone from a red state to purple as Massachusetts and Connecticut residents moved to New Hampshire.  Democrats tried to turn Texas from a red state to a blue state, but the recent Primary Election exposed their complete failure!  In Texas there are fourteen state-wide races. In all fourteen races, not one of the Democrats running received more than 40% of the vote. Touching on the illegal immigration issue, Moore is in favor of Republicans passing comprehensive immigration reform. Thorner is not with Moore on this issue.  Steve Moore’s explanation:  In Texas 40% to 45% of Hispanics vote Republican; in California they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Why the difference? According to Moore, in Texas illegal immigrants are put into the work force as soon as they arrive, while in California illegal immigrants are put on welfare which leads to their radicalization.

5.  Question:  What must Republicans do to win more of the minority vote?

Response:  As Woody Allen once said, “90% of life is just showing up”   The 2012 election presented a clear choice of candidates between Mitt Romney and President Obama.  Moore found it disappointing in watching Spanish-orientated TV programs such as Univision before the 2012 election, that the ads run were all sponsored by Democrats which informed Hispanics that Republicans hated them. Where were the Republican ads to counter this assertion. Moore believes that in the presidential elections of 2016, 2020, and 2024, the Republican presidential nominee must speak Spanish.  It was then that Moore expressed his liking for Jeb Bush (Throner cringed in her seat upon hearing Moore’s pronouncement!).  Bruce Rauner did quite well with blacks in Illinois, campaigning as he did in black churches and neighborhoods with this question: “What have they [Democrats] really done for you?”

6.  Question:  What about the city of Chicago?

Response:  Chicago is a world-class city.  It should be “the Hong Kong of the Midwest” if not for its bad leadership.  Moore advised that the first vote in the GOP Senate and House should be for the full repeal of Obamacare.  Lots of Democrats weren’t in office when Obamacare passed without a single vote from Republicans.  Let’s put the Democratic legislators on record.

7.  Question:  What about the surge in the stock market?  People should be feeling better about the economy. 

Response:  Even though Obama remarked before the election that the economy was improving, felt pain of the people doesn’t make it into media reports or via the performance of the stock market. What matters most is real take home pay. This has shrunk under Obama, leading people to believe otherwise about the economy. 52% of the American people still believe this nation is still in recession.  Because of Obamacare, people are dealing with its “49” mandate (businesses with more than 50 workers must provide insurance) and it “29” mandate (people working more than 30 hours a week are entitled to insurance by employer).

8.  Question:  Why are Democrats opposed to fracking?

 Response:  Steve Moore called Tom Steyer a “wacko and a global warming fanatic.  It is insane to believe that we can energize this economy with windmills!”  In so far as the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, Democrats can rightly be painted as radical environmentalists.  In their fixation with the environment, which stems from their acceptance of Global Warming as settled science, they are destroying blue collar jobs. Republicans must send this message:  “We are the party who is trying to protect your jobs.  We are on your side.”

Instead of the Heartland pen usually given to guest speakers, Johnathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations, presented Steven Moore with one of two attractive ties now available for purchase sporting the Illinois Policy Institute logo.

In closing, Greenberg warned how the media and union bosses are already rallying to make the 5% tax hike permanent.  Their goal is to move Bruce Rauner to where they want him to be.  Greenberg assured attendees that the Illinois Policy Institute would be their voice in pushing against the unions and the media.

As Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute responsible for executing the Institute’s strategic plan which center on turning liberty principles into marketable policies that become law, Kristina Rasmussen was on hand in Chicago from her headquarters in Springfield, IL, to welcome chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, Steve Moore, to discuss his book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States.  The event was held in the Library at the Chicago headquarters of the Illinois Policy Institute, 190 S. LaSalle St.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014