March 7, 2014
America is in trouble: controversies circle the White House, foreign affairs are flailing, the economy remains anemic, controversy is covered-up. Republicans blame Obama, Obama blames Bush, and the P.C. media yawns while the chaos continues. If America ever needed a change in direction, it is now!
Citizens have the power to elect candidates capable of making appropriate changes that can put us back on the right road to prosperity. Yet, many remain oblivious and/or unconcerned about the serious problems. How do we educate those who have been deceived by years of lies and deceptions? How do we get the attention of those who ignore politics and most everything else outside of their own personal world?
We know the media is largely liberal and far from fair and balanced. Why do we allow that? There is a way to force more objective reporting, by motivating people to write a letter to the offending reporter and his superiors, with examples of the blatant bias. Can we encourage people to do that?
We know a very large segment of our population remain woefully ignorant and uninformed of present problems and dangers. To our detriment, the current population has largely resorted to being headlines readers and sound bite listeners, leaving them woefully uniformed and vulnerable to clever, but deceptive advertisements. A horrifying number forfeit their treasured right to vote and ignore the election completely.
Others believe they have fulfilled their civic duty by just marking their ballot, but too often their picks are just guesses? I often wish we had a slogan stating “Be Informed: No vote is better than a bad vote”.
How do we get the facts and truth to these uninformed people? Social media is a good way to get facts out quickly, but in addition there is one tried and true, viable system that has worked best throughout the century. It is walking a neighborhood (precinct), going door to door and engaging neighbors in conversations. That remains the most effective way to inform and educate the uninformed among us. I know that seems uncomfortable for some to consider. Could that be because we have been trained to think it impolite to talk religion or politics with people? We have been warned never to discuss those two controversial issue. Friends, that is why we find ourselves in this major mess. Too few people are discussing these two important aspects of our lives, thus the uninformed or under informed among us remain ignorant of facts, issues, and laws. That must change if we are to save America from continuing down a path of self-destruction.
Churches have also been deceived and politically silenced by a faulty understanding of what they can and cannot legally do regarding politics in the church, but elections do have consequences. Many realize that it is a moral responsibility for church leaders to explain the direct link between candidates we elect and the immoral laws subsequently enacted. We cannot completely lay the blame on church leaders, if its members (you and me) are hesitant to ask pastors/priests to become involved in the election process.
Some churches may just need a friendly nudge to do so. Consider asking your church leadership for permission to set up a non-partisan voter registration table and volunteer to be in charge of it. Inform your church of how and where to obtain Christian voter guides to help keep church members informed of candidate positions on important issues. The Bible clearly reveals that God took His hand of protection off of nations when His people preferred ungodly leaders. Many believe the church has a responsibility to encourage their congregations to actively engage the culture, and to vote their conscience. A good start would be educating their people as to the differences between the two parties regarding the two big moral issues: abortion and homosexual marriage.
Proof of the necessity for every American patriot to leave their normal comfort zone and become politically engaged can be seen by the results of our last two elections. Did the 40 million Christians who voted for Senator Obama in 2008 know he had voted to extend the limits and numbers of abortions by making late term abortions legal? Did Christians know that President Obama supported Planned Parenthood, the biggest supplier of abortions, as well as that he advocated special rights for homosexuals? If they did not know, could that lack of knowledge be due to the silence of their church leadership? If every Christian had been given that information, might it have changed the election results?
We all need a little self–introspection to judge our own involvement. Have you investigated the candidates on your 2014 ballot? Have you found the ones who best align with your political viewpoints, donated money to help elect him or her, walked and talked to your neighbors about them, and/or worked at phone banks to help get the “good guys” elected? If so, congratulations, you are not part of the problem. If you have not … will you consider doing so?
The importance of being educated, updated, and involved in the political process cannot be stressed enough. Much of our lives depend upon our government making decisions that align with our values and principles. Let’s pass the torch of liberty and freedom on to our next generation, like our forefathers did for us. Let’s not be the generation blamed for the financial and moral downfall of this great country due to our lack of effort to right the wrongs we surely all see.
Time to get involved folks! Let’s all work together for the good of our country and families. VOLUNTEER WITH ME AND WE WILL CHANGE OUR COUNTRY, MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD.
Thursday, March 06, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Permalink
That reasoning applies today. America will always have enemies, and it is essential that our national government have the power to protect itself whenever needed. A strong show of strength by our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, etc. is necessary to be a safeguard for Americans from all foreign enemies.
Recently Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed cuts that would reduce our Army to its smallest size since World War II, lay up half of our Navy’s cruisers, reduce the acquisition of modern Littoral Combat Ships from 52 to 30 vessels, and set the stage for mothballing one of our few remaining aircraft carriers barely halfway into its planned for service life. Additionally the Army National Guard would shrink by 20,000 troops; the Army Reserve would be cut by 10,000 troops, and the Marine Corps by 8,000 troops. Moreover, all of the Air Force’s famed A-10 Warthog close air support aircraft would be sent to the junk yard.
Our President and a large segment of the American people seem to have forgotten what is conveyed by the words “providing for the common defense,” practiced over the years at a loss of much blood and treasure of those who answered the call to protect this nation in times of war and in peace.
It’s understandable why many Americans are war weary from years of involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It doesn’t help that we have a president who is eager to remove all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan — caring not if our security is put at risk — so money is freed up for his domestic programs at home.
Most Americans are too young to remember World War II. The teaching of American history, if taught at all, is not to think of this nation as above other nations or as a guiding light and example to the rest of the world. Instead, it is to see this nation as greedy and selfish and at odds with the concept of American citizens being endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
Nancy Thorner and Elizabeth Clarke remember WW II, with Elizabeth’s memories stretching back to an even an earlier time. The following account related by Elizabeth Clarke tells of apathy among the American people after WW I and of positive action taken post WW I by individuals worried about disarmament that made all the difference when America entered WW II:
When I was married at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1941, I remember that my husband had to spend time every night polishing his riding boots. The Artillery was horse-drawn then; meaning that it took six horses to pull a cannon and another six horses to pull the Caisson “ammunition” for the cannon. There were four cannons in each unit depending on the size of the guns. As a lieutenant, my husband was in charge of training the men and the horses.
President Roosevelt realized that the citizens of the U.S were determined to stay OUT of Europe’s wars, where Hitler’s Germany was taking over, but he managed to persuade the Congress to pass the Thompson Act to require ROTC (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) officers to serve one year of active duty. ROTC trained students in military activity and was a way for students to pay for college. Other students signed pledges that they would “NEVER JOIN THE MILITARY, THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE WORLD WORTH FIGHTING FOR.”
The attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything! The military was thankful for the two oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific to protect us. We lost a large part of our Navy in the Japanese attack so we had a difficult time at sea.
Then we found that spies were telling the Japanese Emperor about our ship movements, commercial as well as naval. After three months of trying to get the California Japanese to help stop the spying, the President ordered the round-up of Japanese, Germans, and Italians into camps where they were well treated but could not communicate with their home countries.
My dad was on the Artillery Board, whose members were worried about the disarmament of the military after WW I. The Board drew up detailed plans for the equipment that would be needed should the U.S. be attacked in future years. So when Pearl Harbor was attacked the Artillery and other branches of the military were able to tell the factories what to build, including the details of the machinery needed to make the tanks and other equipment. Having those plans saved months of planning, but it still took two years before our military was beginning to be equipped and trained. As the U.S. had been sending guns and ammunition to England in Lend-Lease to help England resist the Nazi Regime, our military was really short on essential equipment and vulnerable.
Now we are putting the U.S in the same pathetic unpreparedness as we were in 1941. BUT THE OCEANS WILL NOT HELP GIVE US TIME TO REARM NEXT TIME!!!
Certainly the World is not a safer place today. Today, there are those who want to destroy America, and we will always have enemies. Is this the time to retreat from the founders’ wisdom of making our federal government’s top priority the protection of our borders? Can we afford apathy now? This is a dangerous world with events unfolding rapidly in the Ukraine, as Russia under Putin has thoughts of grandeur to return to the glory days of the former Soviet Union to recapture its prominence in the world
This is all happening at a time when President Obama is behaving in an inexplicably weak manner in dealing with most every potential threat, including that of the Russians. But such behavior on the world-wide stage has been the norm ever since President Obama took office in 2009, during which time there has been a consistent weakening of this nation both strategically and militarily. It should concern the American people that President Obama would rather spend billions on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.
Who will fill the void if this nation sticks its head in the sand and summarily abandons its allies. It is unlikely that the void will be filled by a country who is sympathetic to democracy and human rights. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea must all be applauding Chuck Hagel’s recent call for big cuts in defense.
Is this what Obama meant when he said he was basically going to transform this country? Will the American people wake up before it’s no longer possible to change the course of a once proud, strong and grateful nation, founded on the principles of freedom and liberty which were granted through the grace of God?
Monday, March 03, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Permalink
March 3, 2014
Hacking Leviathan: How entrepreneurs and individuals stay a step ahead, featuring liberty innovator Jeffrey Tucker, was an event hosted last week by the Illinois Policy Institute and CEO John Tillman. Tucker didn’t mince words discussing how the state makes a mess of everything it touches. This has resulted in individuals and entrepreneurs finding new ways to get ahead of and around burdensome regulations and restrictions to get on with the business of civilized living.
With a broad and substantial resume, Jeffrey Tucker serves as CEO of Liberty.me a social network and community-based publishing platform for the liberty minded. He is also distinguished fellow of the Foundation for Economic Education, Executive Editor of Laissez Faire Books, and research fellow of the Acton Institute. He is the founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, serves as economic consultant to the popular podcast Let’s Talk Bitcoin, and writes and curates for Praxis, the online educational venture.
A prolific writer, Tucker is author of Bourbon for Breakfast, It’s a Jetson’s World, and A Beautiful Anarchy, in addition to thousands of articles, introductions, and prefaces. It is in Bourbon for Breakfast that Jeffrey Tucker argues how the state makes a mess of everything it touches and that perhaps the biggest mess it makes is in our minds.
One of eight notable quotes by Tucker: ”We really don’t get all the government we pay for, and thank goodness. Lord protect upon the day we do.”
Upon expressing his felt honor for having been invited, Jeffrey Tucker marveled over the beautiful room in which we were gathered and known as “The Library.” To be seen in the room is an amazing collection of law books filling two levels. These books were abandoned by a law firm after having decided that the collection of books was too expensive to move. Tucker’s abandoned book comment then became the cornerstone around which all his remarks were directed.
As Tucker related: “Could it have been envisioned 10 years ago that this magnificent collection of books would now become worthless trash as the knowledge contained in the books can now be found on the web? Accordingly, the law books are now reduced to a beautiful room decoration.”
What brought about this progress? It was not central planning that brought it about, nor does central planning move in the world to push history forward.
At one time books were very important and valuable. Monasteries were invaded to gain access to books. One book took great effort and much time to copy. A huge advancement was when the Gutenberg Bible became the first substantial book printed in the West. Often it is not even possible to give books away. It all happened without central planning, but evolved because of what you and I did to shock and surprise the world; namely, because the key mover is not the state but private enterprise. Government is not the central actor of humanity.
This world is an undesigned product too vast to put together, yet order does exist. As such this unplanned world cannot not be made a better place through overtures and policies made by elected government politicians, even though many are quick to give government credit for their exploits.
An example given referred to an article distributed by Reuters (also appeared in the CT on Wednesday, Feb. 26), titled, “Americans still obese, but preschoolers dropped weight, study finds”. Experts in the article presented reasons why obesity rate among children have fallen in the past 10 years: 1) The Wick Nutrition Program, 2) Mayor Bloomberg’s crackdown of super-sized meals, and 3) Michelle Obama’s emphasis on eating healthy. Nowhere among the experts was a normal response given that perhaps parents had figured it out and they no longer wanted fat children. Credit without exception went to government programs and policies.
Many Americans believe that government is the primary achiever in the realm of civilization. Why? Because embedded in this belief is that a final arbitrator is needed to make things run; things can only be held together by a central power because there within lies the smartest people, the resources, and the power to enact. It is, however, a fundamental mistake to have absorbed this message.
Such was the state of mind in the time of FDR when government programs were provided under his New Deal to improve condition. Instead, Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, on a whole, slowed down the very progress they were designed to provide. Taylor offered this further insight: How the whole point of government policy seems to be directed at producing misery, “If you like it you shouldn’t do it, such as eating fatty foods,” further clarified by Taylor by Mayor Bloomberg’s prohibition against super-sized drinks, etc.
Every government system has its flaw. The flaws must be found. This is what entrepreneurs do. It happened in the realm of security when perceived that government was no longer protecting us. This gave rise to entrepreneurs (including former policemen who left government) in developing start-up private security firms.
After 100 years the *”Leviathan” experiment of government designed from the top to bottom to make the world a better place is now unraveling at a rapid pace. Having reached the end of its line, it is no longer working. As a consequence, government is decades behind the times and is no longer able to keep up with the breathtaking level of change that is happening at breakneck speed. Already noted is how 30 years ago it was incomprehensible that something called the Internet would replace books.
*The word “leviathan” seems to be a general term for any large sea animal. The name “Leviathan” occurs 6 times in the Old Testament.” Some account say that it had seven heads.
The world has been in a massive state of upheaval since 2008. The Smartphone app, an application that can be downloaded for your cell phone to do different things — a flashlight, google maps, Uber, etc. — happened without government. No one set the prices for the app. A wide range of prices existed in the beginning as the app was thrown out in a market economy and through a system of trial and error it captured attention and took hold.
[Recently reported was of a danger inherent for attendees at a recent RSA security conference in San Francisco who installed a smartphone app dedicated solely to security conference. One app disclosed the name, surname, title, employer, and nationality of people who installed the app.]
2008 also saw the reinvention of the institution of money, stuck since 1913. The new money system Taylor referred to is “cryptocurrency,” a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority. Bitcoin is the first consensus network implemented under the concept called “crypto-currency” that enable a payment system and a completely digital money. From the prospective of the user, Bitcoin is nothing more than a mobile app or computer program that provides a personal Bitcoin wallet and allows a user to send and receive bitcoins with them.”
[As reported in The Hill, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday, February 26 called for financial regulators to ban the virtual currency bitcoin after a collapse of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based website that allowed users to trade bitcoin for U.S. dollars and other currency. Manchin's concern was over the criminal use of the currency to launder money and traffic drugs, and warned it could pose a threat to the U.S. economy if other countries got ahead of the U.S. in banning or regulating it. Meanwhile, a few days later a WSJ article of Friday, February 29, quoted Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janel Yellen as saying: "This is a payment innovation that is taking place entirely outside the banking industry."]
As governments are geographic, they can’t compete. There is now a decentralized knowledge base. As Tucker expressed: “Living in today’s times we are looking at something unbelievable and beautiful in an atmosphere where we are able to abstract information from all over the globe.”
Every sector of society is presently being reinvented on behalf of all of us, as we are living in a world that is decentralized — one not planned for. Consider education where decentralization is taking place. On-line learning possibilities are popular and a good alternative (in contrast to physically being on a college campus) and causing concern at the university level.
Pithy and perhaps somewhat controversial thoughts by Jeffrey Tucker:
- The only reason government was invented was to think our way around life without technology.
- We are living through an unbelievable migration to the digital world.
- Government has no power that can match the power of the single idea. Once an idea enters the realm of knowledge, they leave the control of government.
- Government will become a big pain in the neck after migration takes place.
- Government will not go away without a fight. Jeffrey Tucker spoke of some of the most creative people he personally knows who are now in jail. Naivety existed in believing that society would celebrate them for good things. As such hackers are victims of the age we live in and are suffering. Although government can continue to jail people, many more of the same will rise up.
- Government can create all the institutions it wants, but it can’t innovate. Government eats up stuff, rather than to create history.
- The state is aggressive, while on the other side there is beauty in a market economy. Nothing can beat a great idea. This is the great struggle of our time as government is seeking control over our lives from the top down, in contrast to a free market system (free enterprise), where ideas lead to innovation through entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Illinois is now in the belly of the multiheaded “leviathan” sea monster, barely limping along as the result of bad and ineffective government policies. Illinois can change if Illinois is able to extract itself from the hold and power of its inapt leviathan government. Needed is school choice, real healthcare and pension reform, and greater transparency.
Out of solidarity to Jeffrey Tucker, whose trademark is his bow tie, CEO John Tillman and Jonathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations at the Illinois Policy Institute, also sported bow ties.
Sunday, March 02, 2014 at 03:00 PM | Permalink
February 26, 2014
By: Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil
Minimum wage has become a contentious political issue, even though it has little to do with a living wage. Workers’ salaries are decided by employers whose decisions are based upon the worth that employee and job is to the company. A business must be run to make a profit, for the sake of every employee and owner whose lives are dependent upon that viability. An overreaching federal government’s tampering with private enterprise can do more overall harm than good.
Nevertheless, Democrats plan to tap into what they see as one more opportunity to use class warfare as a political tool. Inserting buzz words such as “inequality” and “social justice” and using minimum wage as a plank in their populist economic platform is one more easy way to gain votes in the November election.
President Obama and Democrat candidates hope their rhetoric will resonate and that the public will not discover a prevailing fact that should make a difference in the minds of the majority. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (the “government’s own bean counter) Obamacare will result in the loss of two-to two-and-a-half million jobs in the years ahead, and another CBO report notes President Obama’s proposed minimum wage hike would result in another half-million lost jobs.
The Democratic ploy in their election-year playbook, to hold Republicans hostage to raising the minimum wage, can be blamed on President Bush. He issued an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for future federal contractors.
Minimum wage continues to be a priority for President Obama. Recently Obama used his weekly address (Saturday, Feb. 22), to cajole Congress into approving a raise in the federal minimum wage that now stands at $7.25 per house, further noting that “while the economy was beginning to recover from the last recession, wages have barely ticked upwards over the past four years.”
According to Obama: Raising Americans’ wages isn’t just a good deed; it’s good business and good for our economy. It helps reduce turnover, it boosts productivity, and it gives folks some more money to spend at local businesses.
A day before this weekend’s address of Friday, Feb. 21, President Obama pitched the same message at a meeting with members of the Democratic Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, at which Obama admitted that higher pay is not only “good policy, it also happens to be “good politics.” =
Meanwhile, John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, believes it’s a job killer. Boehner once said that he would rather commit suicide than vote for a “clean” increase.
The President is correct in saying that an overwhelming majority of the American people favors minimum wage hikes. A Quinnipiac poll (January 8th), indicated voters support raising the minimum wage, but are split on the amount. Despite this apparent support for an increase, half of the voters believe raising the minimum wage would cause businesses to cut jobs.
One cannot help but wonder what could produce this seemingly mixed result. One explanation is that the American people tend to be compassionate in nature when suffering is perceived, and believe it is not right for a person to work full time and then have to raise their family in poverty.
At the same time there is a dichotomy over concerns expressed for minimum wage workers and what issues Americans care most about. In a recent Gallop poll conducted on what Americans rate as this country’s biggest problem, raising the minimum wage didn’t make the Top 10. Unemployment and jobs was rated #1, while Poverty came in at #10.
This all suggest that the Quinnipiac poll might have produced different results had the questions been asked in a different sequence or if those questioned had been privy to facts which dispute any suggested benefits accrued by increasing the minimum wage for low income workers. Certainly most people would prefer some income rather than none, and how can we justify raising the minimum wage if evidence indicates it would increase the jobless rate in America.
Part 2: FDR and the Minimum Wage; 27 years ago the New York Times got it right; President Johnson’s War on Income Equality and over-the-board raises; and why Minimum Wage hikes make all we buy more expensive.
February 26, 2014
The editorial board of the New York Times had it right 27 years ago when it wrote, “The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00.” There’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the legal minimum price of labor will result in an increase in unemployment and it will be the least skilled workers, those most in need of work, who will be the first to lose jobs and the last to be hired. That would be the tragic unintended consequences if government forces the new law upon businesses.
The increasingly liberal New York Times editorial “The Case for a Higher Minimum Wage” (February 9) stated: “Concerning the estimated 27.8 million low-wage workers, the 2014 Times Editorial Board is all for the Democrat proposal of lifting the hourly minimum from $7.25 today to $10.10 by 2016, even questioning the modest rise in benefits to only $10.10.”
A senior citizen friend recently brought to our attention a Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor submitted by Mr. Robert Scott. It too conveyed the same line of thinking as the Times Editorial board stated decades ago: ”If the minimum wage is raised to $10 dollars an hour all workers now earning that amount will ask for an increase as well, because their productivity is worth more than the minimum wage workers. So costs will rise for every worker.”
According to the friend, during the 30′s before the enactment of minimum wage laws, prices remained relatively constant. It was possible to plan ahead knowing that the cost of living would remain stable from one year to the next. There was a consistency and thus comfort for people as they realized expenses would not rise. This was not so when a minimum wage was enacted.
It was 1938 when Congress created the minimum wage during FDR’s “New Deal” under the “Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The act banned oppressive child labor and set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents and the maximum workweek at 44 hours (25 cents equals $4.13 in 2014 dollars). Have workers really been better off?
President Lyndon B. Johnson, in fighting his War on Poverty, changed the way people were paid with his emphasis on income equality. As Johnson said in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 8, 1964: “It’s time to acknowledge that to win the War on Poverty, we must wage a battle against income inequality.”
The same friend remembers that before Johnson, individuals who did good and productive work were given a raise. Individuals competed to be the best. What President Johnson said is that “all raises should be across the board. In other words, if one person is given a raise ALL PEOPLE AT THAT LEVEL MUST RECEIVE THE RAISE prompting a huge cost for the factory. So today there are rallies (such as the one demanding a higher minimum raise) because others are then hopeful of reaping a similar increase in pay if the hike is granted.
To counter those on the left who argue that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hours would not cause increased unemployment, consider the rate of unemployment in those European countries where there is no minimum wage. In countries with a minimum wage, the median unemployment is 11.1%. In countries without one, it’s just 5.2%. View the two charts on Minimum Wage for a better understanding of this fact:
An Issue Brief published by The Heritage Foundation on January 21, 2014 informs how most minimum wage jobs lead to better-paying opportunities. Within a year, two-thirds of minimum-wage workers make more than the minimum, either earning a promotion at their job or accepting a higher paying one.
Yet another Issue Brief published by the Heritage Foundation on January 30, 2013 lays out the facts about Minimum Wage. Basic studies indicate raising the minimum wage does not reduce poverty, but instead harms the very people they are meant to help.
Would minimum wage workers really be better off with a hike increase if Democrats and President Obama get their way? As salaries rise across the board, the increased salary cost is tagged on to the product being produced, resulting in the product costing more, which then eats up the extra money individuals have in their pockets to spend when purchasing goods. Fewer sales equate to fewer jobs opportunities as well as a loss of jobs. More interesting consequences.
Minimum wage jobs are often “entry” jobs in which the employee learns basic skills and work ethics. There are costs the employer must absorb through that training process, as experienced employees’ time must be used to help train and inevitable mistakes by the trainee can be costly to the employer. Those entry jobs can be part time and given to teenagers, college students, those in which English is their second language, and some who simply need a place to start their work careers and gain work experience before reaching up to another level. Raising the minimum wage could put those jobs in a pay category that would attract experienced workers and thus limit the opportunities of people needing those entrance positions. Thus, we see another unintended consequence and realize the importance of thoroughly examining the issue.
In order to increase buying power, one must increase productivity, but that calls for another article.
The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, and while intended to be honorable — in practice it is fundamentally flawed. It is time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little. The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, and while honorable — it is also fundamentally flawed.
Can we all agree that the practice of Conscious Capitalism, investing in people, while building a business is a worthwhile pursuit in which owners and workers at every level prevail and are ultimately winners.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Permalink
February 21, 2014
Thorner/O’Neil: Battling fraud the voter ID way
By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil -
Hypocrisy is a vile trait, and particularly frustrating when we see it in those whom we need to trust the most, such as elected officials. Their campaign promises as candidates, are too often forgotten once elected. That same hypocrisy is witnessed and has become rampant among those who rail the loudest against requiring Voter ID when casting our ballots. Those who oppose requiring proof of identify claim that the requirement is discriminatory, even though the requirement applies to all.
Consider the hypocrisy of those who organized a march and rally sponsored by the NAACP on February 12. The participants were given a list of “do’s and don’ts. The list specified: “Do wear a hat and very comfortable shoes and “DO bring photo identification (driver’s license, passport or other valid photo ID) with you and keep it on your person at all times.” Apparently the irony of demonstrating against a voter I.D. law, while requesting an I.D. to demonstrate, was totally lost on the organizers and demonstrators. All participants apparently have an ID which makes one wonder why they would oppose a law intended to assure them their legal vote is not cancelled by an illegal one.
Attorney General Eric Holder is a staunch opponent of laws requiring voters to show photo ID, yet he cannot sufficiently explain why that is more difficult than showing a photo ID when cashing a check, traveling by plane or even train, renting a video, etc. Holder has called Voter ID unnecessary having blocked its implementation in Texas and South Carolina claiming discrimination against minorities, without offering proof of those claims and despite an understanding by the average voter that an I.D. prevents people from impersonating another.
A favorite claim by the Left is that voter I.D. is unnecessary, because there is not a problem with fraudulent voting. However, there is growing evidence that the tired claim is wrong. The Voter Integrity Project, a local citizens’ group concerned with election integrity released a report showing there were 475 cases of election fraud that were believed to merit a referral to prosecutors.
Consider that federal law requires all states to clean up their voter rolls. Yet, in 2009, the Obama Justice Department dismissed, with no explanation, a lawsuit filed by the Bush administration asking Missouri for such a clean-up. Why has the Obama Administration not enforced this requirement?
A Pew Research Center study in 2012 found that at least 1.8 million dead people were still registered to vote, laying fertile ground for voter fraud. In spite of evidence that indicates the need for Voter ID, specific groups continue to compare that need to “Jim Crow” provisions that blocked people from voting in the last century.
In April of 2012 intimidation resulted when Democrats threatened a boycott against Coca-Cola for financially supporting a pro-voter ID organization (American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that had helped state legislators draft some of the voter-ID laws.
Voter ID Laws are simple and easy laws to follow in those states which require a voter to show government issued photo identifications at the polling places. All states are required to meet the minimum requirement set by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 which requires photo ID for those who register by mail and did not provide identification.
As of 10/17/2013, a total of thirty-four states have passed voter ID laws; however, not all the laws are in force either because the implementation date is in the future or because of court challenges. The 34 voter ID state laws do vary as to specific requirements, such as whether or not the ID must include a photo. Some states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas (not yet in effect in Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) — a voter cannot cast a valid ballot without first presenting a photo ID.
Here in Illinois the requirement to present a government-issued photo identification card to an election judge upon voting only applies to early voters. During the 98th General Assembly 20 Republican state senators supported SB2496 which required a person seeking to vote on the day of the election to present a government-issued photos identification to the election judge. Filed by Senator Kyle McCarter 10/12/2011, the bill stalled and was declared “Sine Die” legislation (without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing) on 1/8/2013
In the Illinois House a similar bill HB3903 was filled by the Clerk by Rep. Dwight Kay during the 97th General Assembly on 12/7/2011, where it likewise became Sine Die legislation on 1/8/2013
Wisconsin’s latest approach that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, passed the Wisconsin state Assembly on November 14, 2013. Wisconsin’s prior 2011 law finally received a Court hearing last November under Act 23. Hearings had been denied twice before by the opposition who labeled the 2011 law a voter suppression law and a troubling blend of race and politics. It matters not that Wisconsin does provide a free I.D. to all who ask. A federal judge is expected to decide the issue (Act 23) early this year.
Had the Illinois House and Senate action, by some miracle, resulted in passing a photo ID law similar to Wisconsin’s back in 2011, it most likely would have faced a court challenge. Hopefully, the majority of Illinois citizens will begin to wonder why such a simple thing as showing I.D. to vote is being met with an unreasonably aggressive resistance from the left.
Carol Davis, Founder and Coordinator, West Suburban Patriots, recently wrote the following in an email communication:
We (several tea party groups) launched a coordinated Election Integrity effort here in Illinois about 2-3 years ago, working with *”True the Vote” out of Texas, we managed to rally volunteers throughout the state, but we lacked a strong leader who had the required time to commit and keep the momentum going. I was working with Claire VanHorne of DuPage Tea Party. Jane Carrell in the Rockford area was also involved in the effort.
*True the Vote seems to be the only national organization committed to this effort that is really having an impact. They have been at the lead in getting Voter ID laws in several states. They partner with Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, J. Christian Adams of The Election Law Center, and Hans A. von Spakovsky (Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow) of the Heritage Foundation. Catherine Engelbrecht is the founder and Chairwoman of True the Vote. She recently testified before congress that shortly after filing IRS forms for a 501(c)(3) and 501 (c)(4) tax exempt organization, she became the target of serious IRS abuses for next three years.
Does the lack of success in Illinois several years ago by Carol Davis and other Tea Party leaders mean that the efforts to establish Voter ID here in Illinois be abandoned? Although Carol and her friends realized how wonderful it would be to have voter ID enacted, they likewise realized that given Illinois’ current legislators Voter ID might be a pipe dream, but one that shouldn’t be dismissed.
Recommended by Carol Davis:
We [Illinoisans] must be realistic and diligently keep working to de-throne Michael Madigan and send him packing with all his less than honorable flunkies. Meanwhile, cleaning dead people and non-citizens from our voter rolls, and having well-trained honest election judges and poll watchers in every polling place for every election, seem to be the best areas to concentrate our energies and resources.
Needed is a strong leader and the dedication of thousands of concerned citizens and Tea Party members throughout Illinois. We need a patriot who is so disgusted with the extent of voter fraud that he or she will form a committee and work with the Registrar of Voters, and take the necessary time to clean up voting lists and develop a group of poll watchers. Presently dead people vote, as do illegal aliens. There are easy ways to discover who needs to be taken off the list of eligible voters, and True the Vote can provide that information. Chicago has been caught with boxes of ballots “found” after close elections, and thus votes were not counted the first time around. That is far less likely to happen if we have dedicated poll watchers at every voting station.
Dennis Byrne, a Chicago writer who blogs in The Barbershop on Chicagonow.com, describes the Plain truth about voter fraud in Chicago in an opinion op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on June 12, 2012. Byrne’s final paragraph:
When it comes down to it, a degrading assumption u9nderlies liberal opposition to voter IDs and the updating of registration rolls. It i the assumption that minorities, the poor and even students are incapable of meeting minimal voting requirements.
California, not unlike Illinois, is dominated by liberals. California residents also suspect voter fraud has changed voting results. The Democrat majority if their state congress is not apt to initiate a voter I.D. law. Therefore, the citizens of California are now in the process of circulating petitions for signatures to qualify a proposition for their 2014 ballot. It would behoove Illinois to follow suit. All that is needed is for one amazing person to get it started.
Most of us understand voter fraud is occurring in our state. However, until we a prove it, which in itself requires diligence, patience, and often funding, we must do all we can to prevent fraud from changing election results. While a voter I.D. system makes the most sense, until we are able to enact that law, patriots throughout the state can help make a positive difference by volunteering to work and watch for any irregularities at the polls. Call your local Registrar of Voters office for information on how to get involved.
Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM | Permalink
February 17, 2014
By Nancy Thorner -
A Heartland-sponsored luncheon lecture brought author Tevi Troy, Ph.D. from his home in Maryland to Chicago to talk about his book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.
Tevi Troy, Ph.D., a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, is the rare presidential historian who has also served as a high-level White House aide. Confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 2007 as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the administration of George W. Bush, Tevi Troy is now recognized as an expert on healthcare policy. Having earned his doctorate in American Civilization at the University of Texas at Austin, Troy is also the author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency.
As an icebreaker, figuratively speaking now that Lake Michigan is mostly frozen over, Tevi Troy, PH.D., in acknowledging being in Obama’s home town, spoke about Obama’s Chicago connection before digressing into Obama’s recent State of the Union address by noting how these annual addresses are continuing to receive less and less attention. While 67 million watched Clinton address the nation, Obama’s recent State of the Union address captured only 30 million listeners.
Further noted was how seldom memorable phases occur in a State of the Union address which linger on to elevate an address above the ordinary run-of-the-mill. Such was the situation with Obama’s recent State of the Union Address. But that didn’t stop Twitter from lighting up with nearly 2 million tweets expressing support of disdain for what they heard Obama say.
Initially as a way to market his book, Dr. Troy considered calling it From Cicero to Snooki: How Culture Shapes Our Presidents. What made him believe Snooki and Cicero could exist in the same title? As explained: Recognizing Obama’s affinity for pop culture, it was during the time of the Congressional battle over Obama’s health-care bill that Dr. Troy recalled a joke President Barack had told when speaking in front of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Obama’s joke zeroed in on Snooki and Minority Speaker John Boehner and referenced the indoor tanning tax within “ObamaCare.” Inferred was that both Snooki and John Boehner could be excluded from the tanning tax. Not long afterwards, however, President Obama denied knowing who Snooki was when appearing on The View.
Perhaps fortunate for Dr. Troy is that his submitted title proposal wasn’t a hit with his publisher, Regency, who thought it made no sense to link the names of Cicero and Snooki together. The two names just didn’t overlap in any way. Snooki was but a “flash in the pan” pop media sensation (The reality TV show featuring Snooki wasn’t even around during the presidency of George W. Bush.) whereas the collected works of Cicero are just as relevant today. Which led Tevi Troy to an unanswered question: “Is it better to have a president who knows about Snooki or one who doesn’t?”
Prompted by his publisher’s rejection, Tevi Troy settled on What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 year of Popular Culture in the White House as a way to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by popular culture.
And what a delightful and entertaining story Tevi Troy had to tell as he regaled his attentive Heartland audience with fascinating tidbits of information that only stoked the fire to learn more about how presidents have affected the culture and culture has affected them as set forth in Mr. Troy’s book.
In Jefferson’s Day only two options were available: Reading and live performances. Presidents availed themselves to both. Even though books were very expensive, Thomas Jefferson had a library of 6,000 books. John Adam’s library consisted of 3,000. Books shaped the American Revolution, which shaped our nation. It was the writings of John Locke which formed the basis for our Constitution. Not well known is that the early colonists were literate. They were likely to have a Bible and Shakespeare in their homes. Thus a concept of governing evolved that called for an enlightened leader to preside over an educated populace.
By the beginning of the 19th century every president had attended at least one live performance. Presidents even went on good will tours to be seen. As theatrical performances could vary as to the actors of stage and the way the audience reacted to the dialogue, political expression developed.
Such was the situation in the reelection bid of President John Quincy Adams in 1828 when Andrew Jacksondefeated first term incumbent Adams, having lost to Adams in his first bid for president in1824 in an election decided by the House of Representatives. The win of Adams over Jackson in 1824 was known as a “corrupt bargain” angering Jackson supporters.
So it was during a Washington, D.C. theatrical performance with John Quincy Adams present in the audience that ad lib dialogue by actors conveyed comments favorable to Andrew Jackson. This was enough to give Jackson more than the edge he needed to defeat Adams handily in 1828. Jackson was seen as a “man of the people.” He knew how to connect with the American people. It did irk Adams that Jackson was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard, Adams’ own Alma mater
Abraham Lincoln was likewise good at conveying the common touch. He knew how to speak to the people in the language they understood. Lincoln also loved books and was obsessed with reading. In light of how expensive books were, and not a wealthy man, Lincoln owned only a limited number of books, among them being the Bible, Shakespeare, and Aesop’s Fables. From the Bible and Shakespeare Lincoln learned a common language. From Aesop’s Fables Lincoln learned how to tell tales. The cost in the colonies to purchase a copy of Adam Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations, was $615 in today’s money. Consider how I-Pads can now store 160,000 books. Books elevated Lincoln from his humble beginnings and into a self-educated man, proof that America was a land where one could rise up from poverty to become successful and even become president.
While the railroad was an important technical development in the 19th century, radio emerged as a seismic change in the 20th century. President Harding was the first president to use the radio to get his message out, reaching the amazing total of 125,000 Americans. President Calvin Coolidge was likewise skilled in the use of the radio, using this tool effectively as a savvy radio operator.
FDR was a skilled radio operator even before elected president in 1932, having used the radio effectively in 1924 and 1928. In using the radio President Roosevelt realized that not only was he speaking to the people in the room but also to radio listeners all over the nation. Although Roosevelt is now known for his Fireside Chats, he used them sparingly, only 2 or 3 a year, not wishing to over expose himself to the American people.
In that Roosevelt took his speeches very seriously can be ascertained in that he used special paper that didn’t crackle when turning pages, he inserted a false tooth in the front of his mouth to eliminate a whistling sound when he spoke, and all the fancy words others had written for him to read were crossed out. Appearing as man of the people, Roosevelt served hot dogs to the Queen of England on her visit to the White House. Could it ever happen today that Roosevelt’s bout with polio, leaving him wheel chair bound during his presidency, was unknown to most Americans? The media stuck to publishing photos of Roosevelt minus any hint of a wheelchair.
With the technological development to show motion on the screen, coupled with the amplification of voice, the Silver Screen had the ability to distribute political messages. Roosevelt made use of the film industry indirectly to protect him and also gathered celebrities round him for their support.
It was with the introduction of TV that presidential politics and the culture were defined. A novelty during the presidency of Harry Truman, it came to provide a homogenized experience for the entire country and as such a make-or-break medium in presidential politics. By 1956 percent 73% of American homes were in areas capable of receiving TV programming
President Eisenhower was the first president to include televised press conferences and cabinet meetings. What is still considered Ike’s most famous presidential speeches of all time is his televised farewell address in which he warned of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex.” Noted is that President Dwight Eisenhower watched too much TV. Eisenhower especially liked I Love Lucy. It just so happened that the birth episode of little Ricky happened during the time of Ike’s Inaugural speech in 1953 To Ike’s chagrin at the time, the I Love Lucy episode received more viewers than did his inaugural ceremony. TV did remain a problem for Ike during his campaign. It made Ike look old and gray and lacking the appearance of a war hero. Hollywood adviser Robert Montgomery was brought in to help perk up Ike’s image.
TV certainly played a part in the September 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate, the nation’s first televised debate. Ike had warned Nixon not to debate Kennedy on TV, realizing Kennedy’s superior ability in projecting himself favorably. All who watched the Nixon/Kennedy TV debate declared Kennedy the winner, during which time Kennedy appeared calm and confident. Richard Nixon by comparison appeared sickly and sweaty. Radio listeners actually picked Nixon as the winner. Kennedy would never have won the presidency had TV not been so unkind to Nixon. When elected Kennedy skillfully used TV and excelled at doing unedited live news conferences. There were warnings issued to Kennedy about being too close to Hollywood celebrities. We know now that Kennedy for the most part disregarded this advice.
All presidents in the TV era watched TV, and likewise dominate TV news. More recently presidents were even joked about on late night TV shows. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal the Clintons went on vacation to get away from it all. It is said that Hillary in surfing the channels became thoroughly disgusted. Every station Hillary turned to was taking about her husband’s scandalous behavior. In frustration Hillary finally settled on ESPAN.
We are now in a new era of twitter and Facebook. President Obama is skillful in using pop culture to his advantage and could be considered a full-fledged product of American Pop Culture. Even as a child Obama liked to watch TV when living with his grandparents in Hawaii. The one time Obama’s father came to visit young Obama in Hawaii, he tried to get Obama’s grandparents to turn off the “contraption, upset that his son was watching too much TV. Obama still likes to watch TV and favors shows watched by 1% of the American people rather than the 99%. Favorite shows areHomeland, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Entourage, and The Wire. Once when told about a sleeper terrorist cell, Obama replied that it sounded like “Homeland.”
In the 2012 match-up between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Obama used pop culture to his advantage by appearing on soft media venues like The View and Leno. Obama was the first president to go on a late night TV show to reach a targeted audience. Romney, in contrast, appeared dated. When asked about a favorite movie Romney chose a 1986 movie, Bueller’s Day Off, which didn’t resonate with the younger crowd. Obama handily won the youth vote. Hanging out with celebrities helped Obama look better and provided him with a platform to amplify his message, contributing to his wins in 2008 and 2012.
There was a positive message for conservative Republicans. Tevi Troy believes conservatives are in a better position today than they were thirty years ago to have their message heard, although liberals continue to have the advantage in pop culture, Hollywood, and messaging through film.
Discounting their disadvantage with Hollywood and the mainstream media, conservatives do own the talk media. Recently Duck Dynasty has become associated with conservative TV viewing. Knowing how to engage in the cultural battle is essential to a winning strategy.
Tevi Troy’s book contains a wealth of material following its final and eleventh chapter. Featured is a comprehensive NOTES section which chapter by chapter tells the location of the presented material. There is also an INDEX to easily locate the references made throughout the book.
Thorner was most interested in the APPENDIX with its RULES FOR PRESIDENTS ENGAGING POP CULTURE. It would behoove Republican candidates to read up on these rules.
On February 13th a commentary article appeared by Tevi Troy in the Wall Street Journal, “The Presidential Bible Class,” featuring information presented in Troy’s book.
Monday, February 17, 2014 at 01:11 PM | Permalink
Revised forHeartland Institute Somewhat Reasonable blog: Do We Really Need Nuclear Fusion For Power, or Might Its Quest Be Another Government Spending Boondoggle?
February 17, 2014
- by Nancy Thorner. Ed Ingold is the co-author of this post.
- February 16, 2014
According to a February 12 article in USA Today by Wendy Kock titled “Quest for pollution-free fusion energy takes major step”:
The decades-long quest to develop a pollution-free energy source via nuclear fusion — the power source of the sun and other stars — has taken what scientists say is a major step forward.
The article cites a study by the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the government funded U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in which a lab experiment produced more energy out of fusion than was put into the fuel that sparked the reaction. What followed in the article was an admission that the lab results fell short of what is considered the “holygrail of fusion: ignition — the point at which more energy is produced than was used throughout the process.”
A day later, February 13, the quest to develop nuclear fusion was questioned by James Conca, a Forbes.com contributor, in his article, “Do We Really Need Nuclear Fusion for Power”:
Why build a fission reactor to make tritium via neutron capture on deuterium to make the fuel for a fusion reactor, when you could just use the fission reactor to make the energy ion the first place?
Ed Ingold remembers his father-in-law saying there is enough uranium above ground, much of it stored in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he worked, to power 1,000 reactors of 1,000 MW each. To put that in perspective, each of those reactors would have twice the output of all the windmills in the US.
So-called “fast” reactors refer to the harnessing of high energy (fast) neutrons to “burn” naturally occurring uranium 238. Unfortunately, the Fast Breeder Reactor Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) was halted by the renowned “nucular [sic] engineer,” President Jimmy Carter, and the scientists involved were re-tasked to harnessing the limitless power of coal. The other “nuclear” problem, spent fuel disposal, can be credited to another famous Navy veteran, President Richard Nixon, who halted development of fuel reprocessing. We aren’t burying nuclear ashes. To the contrary, only about 5 percent of nuclear fuel is consumed before fission products accumulate, absorbing neutrons, until the fission reaction cannot be sustained.
Fusion reactors don’t burn “limitless” fuel, vis-à-vis hydrogen, like the sun. They burn relatively rare isotopes of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium. Deuterium constitutes only 0.016 percent of naturally occurring hydrogen, as found in water. The separation process consumes huge amounts of electricity and a vast supply of water. A 200 MW power station, dedicated to producing deuterium, would yield about twelve liters of “heavy water” (D2O) a year. Tritium does not occur naturally (12 year half-life), but is made in fission reactors. As the good professor points out in the linked article, you can make tritium on the fly by irradiating lithium with fast neutrons. Incidentally, that’s how it works in a hydrogen bomb, packed with (among other things) solid lithium deuteride. One downside is that 99 percent of the world’s lithium is found in the mountains of Peru and China, and most of what we import goes into batteries.
There also some questions about the “limitless” energy available from fusion reactions. The project hailed in the Forbes article uses a D+T reaction, which yields helium and a fast neutron. About 80 percent of the energy of this reaction is imparted to the neutron. The tritium (T) comes from neutron bombardment of lithium, which is endothermic (consumes energy).
The net result is 99 percent of the energy is in the form of fast neutrons. Since neutrons don’t interact well with materials, only about 30 percent of this energy can be converted into heat for turbines, and replacing the heat needed to sustain the fusion reaction. The by-products of the fusion reactions are not radioactive (other than tritium, which is difficult to contain), but the neutrons render everything they contact radioactive. In short, instead of burying spent fuel, you bury the reactor, once the materials of its construction are transmuted until they are not structurally sound.
It’s also puzzling why it’s claimed that this experiment produced more energy than it consumed. The brief (7 billionths of a second) reaction released about 9,400 joules of energy due to the fusion reaction, above that used to heat the reactants. To achieve this, approximately 1.8 trillion joules of energy was imparted by a bank of X-Ray lasers, which occupy a 10 story building with a footprint of over an acre. It’s like an inveterate gambler who brags about $500 of winnings, after laying down $5,000 on the ponies during the season — or Congress, where spending less than you wished is called savings.
There’s nothing wrong with the science, and it’s important to continue. For the foreseeable future, we should recognize that the most important gains are in the form of knowledge and technology, rather than a viable source of electricity. How few men stepped on the moon, but who doesn’t benefit from the technology which came out of the Apollo project? Who hasn’t worn or used something made of Teflon, used a computer, watched a program broadcast by satellites, or handled a cell phone? Someday there will be a Scottie who knows just what to do with a dilithium crystal or two.
— Nancy Thorner
Nancy Thorner writes for Illinois Review.
February 16, 2014
Ingold and Thorner: Do We Really Need Nuclear Fusion for Power?
I remember my father-in-law saying there is enough uranium above ground, much of it stored in Oak Ridge, TN, where he worked, to power 1000 reactors of 1000 MW each. To put that in perspective, each of those reactors would have twice the output of all the windmills in the US. So-called “fast” reactors refer to the harnessing of high energy (fast) neutrons to “burn” naturally occurring uranium 238. Unfortunately the Fast Breeder Reactor Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) was halted by the renowned “nucular [sic] engineer,” President Jimmy Carter, and the scientists involved were re-tasked to harnessing the limitless power of coal. The other “nuclear” problem, spent fuel disposal, can be credited to another famous Navy veteran, President Richard Nixon, who halted development of fuel reprocessing. We aren’t burying nuclear ashes. To the contrary, only about 5% of nuclear fuel is consumed before fission products accumulate, absorbing neutrons, until the fission reaction cannot be sustained.
Fusion reactors don’t burn “limitless” fuel, vis-à-vis hydrogen. They burn relatively rare isotopes of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium. Deuterium constitutes only 0016% of naturally occurring hydrogen, as found in water. The separation process consumes huge amounts of electricity and a vast supply of water. A 200 MW power station, dedicated to producing deuterium, would yield about twelve liters of “heavy water” (D2O) a year. Tritium does not occur naturally (12 year half-life), but is made in fission reactors. As the good professor points out in the attached article, you can make tritium on the fly by irradiating lithium with fast neutrons. Incidentally, that’s how it works in a hydrogen bomb, packed with (among other things) solid lithium deuteride. One downside is that 99% of the world’s lithium is found in the mountains of Peru and China, and most of what we import goes into batteries.
There also some questions about the “limitless” energy available from fusion reactions. The project hailed in the Forbes article uses a D+T reaction, which yields helium and a fast neutron. About 80% of the energy of this reaction is imparted to the neutron. The tritium (T) comes from neutron bombardment of lithium, which is endothermic (consumes energy). The net result is 99% of the energy is in the form of fast neutrons. Since neutrons don’t interact well with materials, only about 30% of this energy can be converted into heat for turbines, and replacing the heat needed to sustain the fusion reaction. The by-products of the fusion reactions are not radioactive (other than tritium, which is difficult to contain), but the neutrons render everything they contact radioactive. In short, instead of burying spent fuel, you bury the reactor, once the materials of its construction are transmuted until they are not structurally sound.
It’s also puzzling why it’s claimed that this experiment produced more energy than it consumed. The brief (7 billionths of a second) reaction released about 9400 joules of energy due to the fusion reaction, above that due to the high temperature (heat content) of the reactants. To achieve this, approximately 1.8 trillion joules of energy was imparted by a bank of X-Ray lasers, which occupy a 10 story building with a footprint of over an acre. An inveterate gambler is happy to go home with $500 of winnings, after laying down $5000 on the ponies during the season, sort of like Congressional Economics 101.
There’s nothing wrong with the science, and it’s important to continue. For the foreseeable future, we should recognize that the most important gains are in the form of knowledge and technology, rather than a viable source of electricity. How few men stepped on the moon, but who doesn’t benefit from the technology which came out of the Apollo project. Who hasn’t worn or used something with Teflon, used a computer, watched a program broadcast by satellites, or handled a cell phone? Some day, there will be a Scottie who knows just what to do with a dilithium crystal or two.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM | Permalink
February 16, 2014
California ‘May Issue’ Law Overturned: How Will Illinois Fare?
By Nancy Thorner & Edward Ingold -
In a landmark decision the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s “May Issue” concealed carry law is unconstitutional, by a vote of 2 to 1. The County of San Diego was sued by Edward Peruta and others after being denied a license to carry a concealed handgun for personal defense. According to California law, the applicant must show a “good cause” for the license, in addition to a clean criminal record and good moral character. In southern California and San Francisco, very few people qualify under the “good cause” requirement, which is determined at the whim of the Sheriff of the county. In practice, only a few politically connected people receive a permit in populous counties, including Senators Diane Feinstein (D-California)) and Barbara Boxer (D-California), both strong advocates of gun control in Congress.
The 9th USCCOA (California) joins the 7th court (Illinois) in upholding the individual right to bear arms in public. On the other hand, the 2nd (New York), 3rd (New Jersey), and 4th(Maryland) courts have decided otherwise. In their decision, the 9th court examined the historical significance of the right to bear arms in great detail, and soundly criticized the 2nd, 3rdand 4th courts for ignoring the legal history, and deferring to the “wisdom” of the respective state legislatures.
“Thus, the question is not whether the California scheme (in light of San Diego County’s policy) allows some people to bear arms outside the home in some places at some times; instead, the question is whether it allows the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen to bear arms in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense.” Perula v County of San Diego
The court questions whether restricting the right to free speech (the 1st Amendment) to persons with a demonstrated need, certain times or certain subjects would be permitted under the Constitution. They go on to say that the 2nd Amendment is just as fundamental as the 1st, and simply codifies a predated freedom enjoyed by citizens.
It is likely that California will appeal this decision, first to try the case en banc (typically 11 members of the 30 member circuit). This is almost never granted, and if granted seldom overturns the tribunal. The next and obvious step, considering the split between Circuits, would be an appeal the US Supreme Court. While there are no guarantees, based on the majority opinions in Heller v District of Columbia and McDonald v Chicago, the court is likely to concur with the 7th and 9th Circuits. This would strike down the highly restrictive “may issue” laws in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii, allowing their citizens the right of self-defense.
While the decision of the 9th Circuit does not directly affect Illinois, their careful analysis lays the foundation for a closer examination of restrictions on where a citizen can bear arms. The Heller and McDonald decisions established a clear concept of the fundamental right to keep arms for the defense of one’s home and property. Decisions of the 7th (Illinois) and 9th Circuits establish the fundamental right to bear arms, in public, for self-defense. While no right is without limitations, the courts argue that enumerated rights can only be restricted if there is an overwhelming benefit to the public, not just some demonstrable need.
It is logical that limits on where this fundamental right to bear arms should be subjected to the same strict standards. In Heller and McDonald, the Supreme Court recognized that some places may be reasonably restricted, like courts of law certain government buildings and schools. As the 9th so eloquently stated, these are suggestions, not mandates, and allowance of some restrictions does not mean any or all restrictions are justified.
In the debate leading to passage of HB183, there were many floor amendments added to restrict where weapons were allowed, which seemed to derive from an endless wish list. Libraries are prohibited, even though no acts of violence were cited (nor can be found). Public Transportation makes the list, even though attacks on innocent citizens are common, and the assailants ignore even existing laws. Chicago Forest Preserves are carved out, but not Forest Preserves in other counties, state and local parks, trails and DNR areas other than designated wildlife preserves.
Most of these issues will settle out naturally, once the public sees that CCL holders are not the villains, and the real villains have much more to fear than bystanders. That has been the evolution of laws in other states, and Illinois will no doubt follow. Where there are egregious violations of second amendment rights, we can expect the legislature and courts to intervene, and more large checks granted to the plaintiffs.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 03:04 PM | Permalink