First published in Illinois Review on September 27, 2012:

An Associated Press article by Kevin Bego, Decades of federal dollars helped fuel gas boom, describes how government subsidies and tax breaks preceded the breakthrough called “fracking” which allows natural gas to be extracted from deep shale deposits economically, so economically that natural gas prices have been reduced by over 60% in the last three years.

It is evident that Kevin Bego wrote his article while keeping in mind the President’s highly charged statement, “You didn’t build that,” which is not quite true.

These gas deposits, 3000 feet deep or more in solid, non-porous rock, were thought to be unusable. Yet engineers and scientists in the industry persevered for more than twenty years, developing fracking technology to this end.

New natural gas discoveries in shale rock formations and rapid technological advances to recover the gas have benefited regional economics where production is taking place and have improved the U.S. domestic energy outlook.

Dr. Michell T. Baer, currently the director of Office of Oil and Gas Analysis within the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy, in 2009 related how domestic shale rock formations alone could meet our nation’s natural gas usage for many years at current consumption levels.

The cost to the taxpayers to subsidize natural gas extraction, beginning in 1980, was about $100 million in direct subsidies, and $10 billion in tax breaks. As a result of this research, the wellhead price of natural gas has fallen from approximately $10/1000 cf in 2001 to the current price of of $3/1000 cf. The annual consumption of natural gas in the US was 24 trillion cf in 2004. Simple math shows that the net savings to US consumers is over $154 billion a year.

Not a bad return on investment. US taxpayers recover the entire cost of 30 years of investment each month.  Most businesses in the boom years of the 90’s would relish a two-year payback, and a 9 month payback would probably involve something shady.

Compare this to the negative payback of the President’s “investment” in roads and bailing out states with unsustainable public employee’s benefits, or the $80 billion lavished to save the UAW in Detroit (described by the President as “saving GM”)

Not all that long ago the fracturing process threatened to derail the industry through lawsuits filed by radical environmental activist groups claiming that hydraulic fracturing resulted in groundwater contamination.

This claim lost traction when earlier in June of this year Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama’s science adviser, John P. Holden, testified separately before Congress that there has never been a single proven case of contaminated drinking water due to hydraulic fracturing.  The process has been employed more than one million times since the 1940’s.

Now radical environmental activist groups, in a continuing effort to derail the industry, have shifted their angst-ridden concern from contaminated drinking water to air quality, claiming that natural gas wells emit volatile organic compounds (VOSs) which could threaten public health for those who live nearby, especially those downwind of a hydraulic fracturing site.

Not unlike prior claims of water contamination, the air quality assertion is likewise exaggerated.

The following articles support what EPA Administrator LIsa Jackson finally admitted at the June Energy Commerce House Committee meeting.

1. No Adverse Health Effects from Natural Gas Drilling in Fort Worth in which the study concluded natural gas drilling sites release pollutants that are of low toxicity and do not reach levels that cause adverse health effects.

2.  Highest Incidence Rates of Total Nonfatal Occupational Illness Cases, 2010 in which, according to a table from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the 25 top industries with the highest rates of occupational illness, oil and gas industry work — upwards to 60 to 70 hours per week, year round — on hydraulic fracturing sites, ranks below pet stores and outerwear manufacturing.

3.  Data Show Public Health Impacts from Natural Gas Production Overstated where in a post for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, a toxicologist reported indicated that between 200 and 2009 when natural gas development increased more than 2,000 at Barnett Shale –one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in North America – nearby residents experienced improvement in key health indicators.   

Where do we go in the future? Technology exists to power vehicles with liquefied natural gas, easy to transport, nearly as efficient, gallon for gallon, as gasoline, and can be refueled as quickly.

LNG burns with as much as 90% less pollutants emitted by gasoline, and with up to 40% less greenhouse gas (higher hydrogen/carbon ratio). With increased consumption, we can expect the price of natural gas to rise, but the benefits are manifold.

There is another source of natural gas which goes largely unrecognized – the oceans. The chief component of natural gas is methane, which forms a solid compound with ordinary water, called “clathrates” at great depths and cold temperatures of the sea. Methane is continuously emitted by organic compounds in the sea floor, and trapped in this ice-like form. The amount of methane trapped in this fashion is almost unimaginable. It is at least twice the amount of hydrocarbon fuel in all other forms.

If a way can be found to extract this trapped natural gas safely and effectively, we could stop mining coal and importing oil. It is theoretically safer to extract it than to leave it lay in the depths. Volcanic activity, earthquakes or undersea landslides could disturb methane ice, causing a massive release of methane into the atmosphere – a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This has, in fact, occurred many times in geological history, resulting in intense global warming.

What the future might hold for fracking, or any other energy source such as coal and oil, are dependent on three themes that run throughout Ten Principles of Energy Policy published in August 15, 2008 by Joseph Bast, CEO, Heartland Institute.   Although written four years ago, the themes are as true today as they were back in 2008 and will continue to determine our energy policy for years to come.  They will even ultimately determine whether the potential of fracking is realized.

Energy issues are often environmental issues, and vice versa. Restrictions on access to energy are often defended in the name of environmental protection.

Newspaper stories and advocacy spin are often at odds with sound science and facts.

Markets usually do a better job than governments at giving consumers what they want and directing capital and other scarce resources to their best and most efficient uses.


A few weeks ago while driving north on Sheridan Road to return to my home in Lake Bluff, I noticed that a new business had moved into the store front formerly occupied by Sweet Things at 615 Sheridan Road.
On driving past I noticed that a sign posted in the window, adorned with a banner of colorful flags, announced the opening of DIGITZ, a nail experience salon.

Well aware that my nails lacked the tender loving care they deserve, shortly after wards I visited DIGITZ from its back door parking lot entrance next to Brookside Cleaners, with whom DIGITZ shares a store front.

To my surprise I was greeted by proprietor, Ilene Disch, who was also the proprietor of the former business that occupied the same space, Sweet Things.

Upon questioning the demise of Sweet Things and the birth of DIGITZ, Ilene Disch was eager to tell me how in October of 2011 she opened Sweet Things, basically to employ her seventy-five-year-old father and hopefully add a fun children’s store to Lake Bluff.

Continuing, Ilene informed me that in May she sold Sweet Things.  After only three months the new owner decided for whatever reason to leave the location, at which time Ilene had to assume the responsibility of the rent.

It was then that Ilene remembered what her aunt had once told her — “When you are handed lemons, make lemonade.”

And Ilene did just that!  In 1995 Ilene received her license as a nail technician which she kept up to date “just in case.”   Having the location to fill, Ilene figured that now was her “just in case” moment.

Doing nails had always been Ilene’s passion.  She has been doing nails in people’s homes for many years.  Ilene enjoys interacting with clients while doing nails.

Looking around I could see that Ilene has made her salon homey and comfortable.  Ilene wants her clients to feel welcome as they enter her shop, as I certainly did.

Coffee, water, lemonade and even wine are offered to compliment the relaxing atmosphere of DIGITZ.

The price is also right!  Manicures and Pedicures are always $25.00.  Children eleven and under can get a manicure for only $8.00.

Ilene Disch at DIGITZ does manicures, pedicures, no-chip manicures, waxing as well as other nail services.  A young girl told Ilene she should carry feathers for their hair, and she now does just that.

Ilene did ask that appointments are made as she is the only nail technician at the time, even though walk-ins are welcome.

If you know of a nail technician that is available for hire, please send the to DIGITZ.  Ilene Disch is looking to expand her business.

DIGITZ is open Tuesday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m; Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m; and Sunday and Monday by appointment.

Call today to schedule an appointment at 815-979-9505, so you can get in and out without waiting as a walk-in.

I did and how pleasing the results were!


Lie, Deny and Misdirect – Anything but the Economy

Obama1By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

There is continuing concern about the dis-articulated response of the Obama administration over the “Arab Spring” situation, as there should be.

Nevertheless, blaming the upset on a 14 minute youtube “film” on the Internet is proving to be a case of misdirection to the American people over what in reality has become the Obama administration’s failed one-size-fits-all policy approach to dealing with the 22 countries in the Arab and Muslim world. The administration’s hopeful “Spring” vision of establishing better relations with the Arab and Muslim world has vanished, if the vision ever existed at all, leaving in its wake an administration struggling to find its footing and a unifying strategy to quell the present havoc created when dictators were dislodged and  seismic-like shifts took place in the region’s politics.

The present unrest caused by Obama’s failed Mideast policy, coupled with failures in past administrations to deal firmly with the region, will continue to reap the terrorism it has spawned with no end in sight.

There is, however, a current issue that can be explored and clarified, also involving a disputed video, in which Governor Romney seems to be dismissing 47% of the voters when he referred to the 47% as believing they were entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to-you-name-it.

Having seen as much of the video as has been published, it is clear that Governor Romney was responding to a question over campaign tactics, not policy. With limited time and resources, a candidate must devote the most effort reaching those voters who might be persuaded, and less time to those devoted to a particular candidate. You won’t see much campaigning in Illinois from either side – Illinois is bought and paid for by the Democrats.

It is clear, from Governor Romney’s record, that he is a compassionate and generous person, with his own time and money as well as in leadership. With close editing and media spin, one is led to quite another conclusion. As usual, the pundits’ version of Romney’s speech bears little resemblance to his actual words. It seems that reporters build on what others have said, rather than refer to the source. This is a classic “straw man” strategy – misrepresent Governor Romney’s position, then beat the false premise down in a one-sided debate.

Consider the source of the Romney video. Jimmy Carter’s grandson helped leak the Romney fundraiser video, filmed in secret and kept under wraps for months.  Although other Romney candid statements had been floating around on-line in bits and piece for three months, it didn’t hit the big time until it was published by David Corn at Mother Jones today.  Carter, who toils on-line as an opposition researcher, searches for clips on Republicans almost every day.  Having worked with Corn before, it was just “a natural fit” to connect Corn with the mysterious up-loader of the clip in the hope that his tip could potentially affect the outcome of the election (and get his a job).

Sorry Mother Jones, but what Romney said in your secret tape is pretty much on par with he has been saying all along while campaigning.  It is also in keeping with the government dependent class Obama has created since taking office, despite Obama’s promise of JOBS, JOBS, JOBS during his 2008 campaign and promises during every State of the Union Address to laser focus of JOBS.

The truth is that people dependent on the government for handouts tend to vote for the party or candidate which promises the most payout. Likewise, no candidate can promise to increases taxes and expect support from those people affected.  How else to explain how Obama has a positive approval rating and is tied/ahead in the polls garnering 45-47%?

Is Governor Romney guilty of class warfare? How often does a guilty man accuse others of his own perversion? An example of this tactic is the promise by President Obama to raise the taxes on a privileged few, made in order to garner the votes of a significant minority.

The fact that 47% of the population pay no income taxes is a side issue which needs to be put to rest. It is a mistake to characterize all as people with “no skin in the game.”  Many are retirees, whose income is too low, or otherwise exempt from taxation. Some are working poor, whose deductions exceed their income. Only a fraction of them are dependent, in part or in whole, on direct government benefits.  They do need a safety net.

It can be duly noted without exaggeration that 40% of the 47% would probably vote for Obama even if we had a Depression, believing America is an entitlement society and that they are victims deserving of entitlements from a government that is charged to take care of them.

As far as writing voters off, didn’t Obama write the white working class off a long time ago when he chastised folks who “clung to their Bibles and guns.”

Even Fox News at first seemed to drink the liberal Kool-Aid but is now coming to grips with the facts. Paraphrasing a line by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men,” we can’t handle the truth.

When speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, September 28, Romney, to his credit, didn’t back away from what were secretly recorded and leaked video remarks casting supporters of President Obama’s as being more dependent on welfare.

Romney on Fox News:  “This is the message I’m carrying day and day out and will carry over the coming months. “This is a decision about the course of America, where we’re going to head.  We’ve seen the president’s policies play out over the last four years.”

An analysis by Damian Paletta and John D. McKinnon on Tuesday, September 18 in The Wall Street Journal, The Data Behind Romney’s 47% Comments, is an interesting read and explains how this nation got to the point where almost half of American households pay no income tax.

Stated by Paletta and McKinnon is a finding that no clear partisan split was found to exist among beneficiaries, especially for recipients of federal retirement (SS) and health-care programs (Medicare).

Receiving monthly payments from S.S. with Medicare as her primary insurance, has Nancy Thorner really paid for these benefits or earned them?

Not according to the Supreme Court’s 1937 Helvering v Davis decision, which decided that taxes collected under the label of Social Security or Medicare cannot be earmarked for those expenditures.  As a result Thorner hasn’t really paid for those benefits, nor earned them.  She receives these benefits based solely on her status as defined by law, as do millions of other Senior Citizens.

Entitlement and Earned Benefits:  The Supreme Court, in Helvering v Davis (1937) as defined:

“The proceeds of both the employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.” They also held that Congress can decide how revenue can be spent for the public good, including for various social benefits, without violating the Constitution.”

Governor Romney could mitigate damage and strengthen his position by calling out to citizens to vote for the best candidate for the country, not merely the one who promises to to deliver the most loot; to create jobs so that hard-working citizens can afford to pay taxes; to reward achievement rather than punish it.

A message to MItt:  Be positive – be pro-active – be as specific as possible without denigrating a class of citizens (or appearing to do so). They may never vote for you, but they will still be citizens, many in need, if you win.


It was on Sept. 4, 2012, when the U.S. government reached the $16 trillion mark for the first time in U.S. history, a debt that is now larger than the entire U.S. economy.

The day Obama took office debt stood at $10.626 trillion.  Having reached $16 trillion in less than four years — an increase of over 51% — President Obama can rightly be called “The Undisputed Debt King of the last five Presidents.”

Under Obama’s Watch 1) Each citizen’s share of the national debt has risen $17,454 to a total of $51,874;  2) Obama has added an average of 4,073,237,142 to the national debt every day; and 3) On average, Obama has added $1 trillion to the national debt every 254 days.

Because of the rapid skyrocketing of the debt in the last 4 years, by the end of this current fiscal year the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that our national debt will rise to 73% of the GDP from its 40% level at the end of 2008.

We didn’t overspend.  Our government has overspent by $16 trillion.  We are now on the hook for all of it with our hard earned money, and so are our children and grandchildren with money not yet earned.

Eyes glaze over when a trillion dollars is mentioned, but trillions are being spent and racked up in debt as if there were no tomorrows.  Not all that many years ago national debt was being measured by multiples of billions.

Very few of us will ever see a million dollars all at one time in our lifetimes, even fewer a billion.  In all of human history not even the richest man has ever amassed a trillion dollars.

How much is a 1 trillion?  Using the US system of numbers, the short scale, and not the British system, known as the long scale, the number one trillion is written accordingly, 1,000,000,000.000, and represents one thousand billion.  But the question now to be defined, what is a billion?  It is one thousand million, written 1,000,000,000.  Following through,  a million is a 1,000 thousands, written 1000,000.

At this point all the zeros after the one mean nothing to most individuals and remain as abstract numbers in the mind, existing only as numbers that must be very big. 

Following are some concrete examples of one trillion dollars that will help puts meat on the bare bones:

$1 trillion would be enough money to buy about a 1,000 boxes of girl Scout cookies for every person in the U.S..

  •  A box that holds a case of copier paper will hold about $72,000 one dollar bills.  It would take 1.4 billion boxes to hold $1 trillion dollars.
  •  One billion seconds ago is 31years. One trillion seconds ago, or 31,688 years ago, Neanderthals stalked the plains of Europe.
  •  Western civilization has not even been around for a trillion seconds.
  •  A tightly-stacked new $100 bills totaling $1 million would be about 4 feet high; a billion dollars would reach 4,000 ft. high or the equivalent to about three Sears Towers stacked on top of one another.  That means a stack of $100 bills totaling $1 trillion would reach 789 miles high or 144 Mr. Everest’s stacked on top of one another or or 789 miles high.  That’s 13,412 miles straight up for $16 trillion!
  • One dollar bills stacked face to back and then laid on their side, would circle the globe at the equator 10 times.

Now consider how long it would take you to spend $1 trillion dollars.

1.   If you spent one dollar every second around the clock, it would take you 312,688 year to spend a trillion dollars

2.   Spending $1 million an hour, now-stop for 24 hours a day, you wouldn’t run out of $1 trillion for 411 years.

What about your family or any median American household income of $50,000 a year?

If every dollar of the $50,000 were used to only pay down the $1 trillion in new debt our government overspends each year, it would take a family 312 million years to pay for it.  Now multiply by 16.  It would take 512 million years for a family to pay back the entire $16 billion in debt that this government owes.

Many uninformed Americans have been heard to say:  “A trillion here, a trillion there, why worry about another trillion in debt?  The government owes me money, and I’m entitled to it.”

Little do these Americans know or care that every time the Treasury borrows money to finance a program, that money is added to the federal and must eventually be paid back, with interest.

And what happens when the government prints money?  On September 13 the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee announced that it would pursue $50 billion in additional monthly stimulus in the form of quantitative easing.  After two previous rounds of QE, whose net result on the economy was imperceptible, it’s doubtful whether another round of QE would do anything to help the economy appreciably..

Printing money will reduce what a dollar will buy, affect your own personal net worth, and will lead to higher inflation and higher interest rates.  Furthermore, when the value of the American fall, foreign investors become less wiling to invest in the U.S., with resulting hyperinflation.

The much anticipated QE3 has already resulted in weakening the dollar across the board.

Piling up $1 trillion in debt each and every year cannot continue as was the case during the last four years under the Obama administration. What is more, existing programs, such as Obamacare, will adds additional trillions on top of what has been consistent yearly overspending at the federal level.

Most families realize they can’t live outside their means and expect to survive.  At some point the piper will have to be paid.  If payment isn’t possible, the end result will not be a rosy one.

Heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson on the economy, at a time when our nation’s debt was infinitesimal in contrast to today’s almost unimaginable $16 trillion debt:

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. . . To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. . . We must choose between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.”




C0mmentary by Nancy J. Thorner:
According to the latest article posted today by editor Paula Skaggs, “Board, LFEA Fail to Come to an Agreement After 14 Hours of Negotiations.” With the failure to reach an agreement, the Lake Forest High School teacher strike enters its sixth day.

One statement in today’s update teacher strike article by Paula Skaggs informed readers that “the Board agreed to bring in a neutral third party to review and verify the claim by the LFEA that the district’s fund balance will grow by over $20 million over the next three years.”

Why  is the District 115 Board giving so much credence to the red herring  argument raised by the union that because there might be more money in  the till to grab, the Board ought to give it to the teachers?

Salient points, and ones that have been repeatedly emphasized by the taxpayers in the wake of the strike, are: 1) that LFHS  teachers are already overly compensated, particularly given that so many highly paid teachers are either performing relatively low-skilled work (drivers’  ed) or performing higher level work bu doing a marginal or poor job; and 2) that the taxpayers are in desperate need for substantial tax  relief — something that might be possible if the Board holds firm on its current wage increase offer.

In another Patch article, chief union negotiator and Lake Forest High School teacher Charles Gress was quoted as saying that the union’s demands must be met to insure quality teachers for LFHS.

That contention is outrageous given that the current tenure and  seniority-based union contract has the inevitable result of fostering  mediocrity despite our paying top dollar.

One  parent who wished to remain anonymous said the other day that this  strike really cheapens the once exalted teaching profession.

An announcement made by the Board in a release late last night (9/17), reaffirmed that the Board had taken its two-tiered salary position  request off the bargaining table and expected substantive movement from  the Union on the remaining issue of salary.

Although it was not pleasing to hear that the Board had given in to one of the  union demands, may the Union at least see the Board’s decision as an act  of good will in further bargaining sessions.

What  the union is doing is akin to armed robbery, with our children’s  well-being as their weapon.  It is a shame that our labor laws have  enabled this to happen, not only in Lake Forest District 115, but also in other school districts throughout Illinois and in the City of Chicago.

Thorner: Lake Forest teachers continue strike while paid $30k more than average

Published at Illinois Review on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2o12

As a resident of Lake Bluff and a taxpayer, part of my property taxes go to fund Lake Forest School District 115, where high school teachers are now on strike and can be seen picketing in front of their state-of-the-art Lake Forest High School facility along McKinley Road in Lake Forest. Teachers from other school districts joined the picket line on Monday, Sept. 17 to show their union solidarity.

My concern lies with how the board is handling replacements. I assumed that the board was hiring replacements last week when Lake Forest High School students had three days off from school.

Now it appears that school is in session today (9/17) but not with the usual class instruction. The board said they will be providing “quality offerings” and giving passports rather than simply attending their scheduled classes.

If District 115 does not hire replacement teachers, then it will have no choice but to cave, as it stands to reason that kids simply cannot keep missing normal instruction.  I hope the board is presently lining up teachers for jobs and that they are being hired.

News of the LFHS District 115 teacher strike was discussed at WLS-AM 890 yesterday morning (9/17) with Dan Proft and John Kass of the Tribune.  Kass was a substitute host at WLS-AM during the 9:00-11:00 a.m. time slot.

Charles Greiss, head of the LF teacher union was interviewed by Dan Proft during his 8:00 a.m. morning gig at WLS-890.  According to Charles Greiss, Lake Forest has plenty of money in reserve to pay teachers more.  Furthermore, since the board hired the teachers that are now on strike the district can afford to honor what the union is requesting.

When Dan asked if the teachers at LFHS are worth $30,000 more than what is the average high school teacher salary in IL, Charles Greiss, whose base salary was almost $150,000 during the 2011-2012 school year, would only say that he had come from business to teach at LFHS and how teachers at LFHS must be paid more so the very best teachers can be hired for our kids.

Lisa Black, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, must be complimented for her excellent followup articles, in collaboration with other Tribune reporters, in covering the latest strike activity in the almost daily Tribune accounts.

The Chicago and the Lake Forest Teacher strike went national on Sunday (9/16) at the American Thinker, a prestigious website with Thomas Lifson as editor.  Now Lake Forest is know throughout this nation for the absurd nature of its strike. No longer is the Chicago strike taking all the wind out of the sails.  The Lake Forest situation now is getting the attention that it deserves.

The heat must be kept on for LF Board #115 to toe the line.  The powerful influence of the IEA (NEA) must be confronted for who it is or else education in the state of IL will remain controlled by an organization that has become too powerful — doing little to advance educational standards here in Illinois — with a platform that vehemently opposes school vouchers and home schooling.

Education should be in control of local school districts, not vested in the IEA, of which LFHS teachers are members.


Presidents can’t vote present!  –  Commentary article by Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold

The events in the Middle East this past week stagger the imagination. They are the culmination of nearly four years of failed foreign policy in the Obama administration. It started in Obama’s tour through Europe before being elected, apologizing for American principles, leadership and sacrifices for world peace, continuing with his practice of  “leading from behind,” never taking a stand that might affect his popularity, at home or abroad. For nearly four years the President remained silent while minions in his staff and Congress have made countless proposals, waiting to see what the reaction of the public will be. Only when they succeed did the President stand up and take credit. Only after the landmark “Affordable Health Care Act” passed did he embrace it as “Obamacare.” While the debate raged on this, and many other issues, the President held back and, as in his lackluster Senate career, merely voted “present.”
In the present crisis, the State Department responded with a lame apology for a 14 minute film, allegedly insulting Islam, which hardly anyone had seen, then issued an affirmation of this message two hours later. Recognizing the film in this manner served to make it a convenient focal point for Islamic protests.
There is a long-standing principle that American embassies are US territory, which we have a right to defend, and the host country has an obligation to protect. Sixteen hours elapsed before Governor Romney brought the real issue before the American people. Another half hour elapsed before the State Department followed suit, and the President began denouncing Governor Romney for jumping the gun, “shooting then aiming.” This criticism was nearly identical to that issued by President Carter concerning a speech by Governor Reagen in 1979, following the Iranian takeover of our Embassy in Tehran.
A fundamental principle of statecraft is that sovereign nations do not have friends or enemies, only interests. President Carter ignored this principle when he helped topple the Shah of Iran and invited Ayatollah Khomeini and Islamic extremists to take over the country. Besides the  lasting effects in Iran, this served to alienate the friendly Arab nations of Jordan and Saudi Arabia (and others). If the US betrays the Shah, who could count on support from the US? The Camp David Accord, between Egypt and Israel, was largely due to Egypt’s desire to regain the Sinai Peninsula (with it, complete control of the Suez Canal), and Israel’s ability to hold it if they desired. The agreement holds as long as the Egyptian government remains secular – a status in question following last year’s “Arab Spring” revolts.
Much as President Carter’s foreign policy was dominated by his version of “human rights,” so is President Obama’s policy dominated by his ideology of “Global Government,” where human rights are those bestowed by a benevolent government, rather than endowed by the Creator. Each President has ignored the need to defend interests of the US, and incidentally, its values as expressed in the Constitution and its history.
In the “Arab Spring”, extended to the uprising in Syria, President Obama remained nearly silent until it was clear which side would win, and only belatedly threw long-standing leaders under the bus. While these leaders were hardly benevolent in terms we understand in the US, they largely coincided with US interests. Rather than support rebels, unknown entities, it would have been prudent to remain silent until that sovereign nation resolved its own fate. Having done otherwise undermined faith that friendly governments in the region, including Israel, can expect our support. Moreover, this vacillation makes the United States appear weak and irresolute. As a result, we can expect more attacks on our embassies, citizens and interests in the future, and not just in the Middle East.
There are two ways to deal with schoolyard bullies. You can hang your head and give up your self-respect (and lunch money) in exchange for fewer beatings, or you can send the bully home to explain to his mother why his nose is bloody and clothes are torn. Even if you get “whupped” in the attempt, you keep your self respect, and often respect of the bully. The US did not emerge from WW2 as the leader among nations because we were tough – we got “whupped” a lot more than the Bowdlerized history books would suggest – but because we persevered.
We see a strong contrast between the way various administrations have handled foreign affairs. President Carter created a lasting disaster for our standing in the Middle East. President Reagen brought down the Soviet Union and freed Eastern Europe without firing a shot. President Clinton (whom I largely like) tried to rescue Bosnia with air raids and rockets. The genocide did not abate until there were boots on the ground. Within six weeks of 9/11, President Bush brought the Taliban to their knees, and drove Al Qaeda from their safe haven Afghanistan. The photo of members of our Special Forces riding into battle on horseback is burned in our memories  – our “allies” were slow to allow deployment of motorized cavalry.
President Obama needs more time to “explain” his position – which is firmly in the rear of events both foreign and domestic. The killing of Bin Laden, for example was through the efforts of a brave and dedicated team of SEALS, culminating years of intelligence gathering, which virtually halted once Obama took office. The mission was only approved after several denials at the urging of his advisors – because it was dangerous politically if it failed. To paraphrase President Kennedy, “We do these things not because they are necessary, but because we can succeed. 

Illinois Family Institute celebrates 20 years with Wallbuilders’ David Barton

By Nancy Thorner –


HOFFMAN ESTATES – The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) with David E. Smith, Executive Director, celebrated its 20th anniversary of advocating biblical principles in the public square at its 2012 Fall Banquet at The Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre on Friday, September 7.   The evening highlighted Wallbuilders’ David Barton, who encouraged Christians to get involved in politics.



The evening started with introductory remarks of welcome, as David Smith introduced Julie Roys as the Master of Ceremonies.  Julie is the senior producer for the WMBI Morning Show and has been a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio since 2007 (90.1FM).    .


Music during the program included the National Anthem sung by Debbie K and a stirring rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic by the Wheaton Bible Church Sanctuary Choir led by Ross Heise, with pianist, Marsha Foxgrover.


A remarkable portrayal of Patrick Henry was featured when Dr. Mark Zumhagen, dressed appropriately in colonial garb, recited Patrick Henry’s timeless Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech made in St. John’s Church in Richmond to discuss relations with Great Britain in March of 1775.  Like Patrick Henry who was willing to die to achieve liberty, the IFI has been advocating and fighting for liberty in the public square for 20 years.


After dinner was served Julie Roys recognized the Benefactors and the Elected Officials present.  Next in the program was the presentation of three special award.  Plaques were presented to the recipients by Executive Director David Smith.


The Covenant Keepers Hall of Fame award recipients, Bud and Clara Cawthon, were not in attendance to receive their award.  Instead, a short video filmed by Executive Director David Smith was shown of his interview with Bud (97) and Clara (95) at their home in Pittsfield, IL. The Cawthons were married on April 14, 1937 in a Methodist parsonage in Pittsfield.  The couple celebrated 75 years of togetherness with God and the Bible as the center of their lives.


Known to many at the IFI event, Penny Pullen was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award. Penny’s background is full of dedication to the pro-family movement, as when she served as a state rep from 1977 to 1993. Recently Penny was state chair for Rick Santorium in IL.  Currently she is the State President of Eagle Forum.


The third presentation of the night, The Voice of Truth award went to David Norck.  David Norck is an example of one who walks softly and carries God’s truth in his heart.  After a full day of work, David Norck walks door-to-door trying to stop legislation such as the pending comprehensive sex education HB 3027.


IFI Executive Director David Smith’s remarks


Following the presentation, IFI’s Executive Director, David Smith, offered his own remarks.  Julie Roys called David Smith “one of the hardest working conservatives in the state.”


David Smith recounted the story of Butch O’Hare, after which O’Hare Airport was named, to illustrate how courage derived from events of the past can relate to today’s challenging times.

Butch O’Hare’s father, Eddie O’Hare, although he tried to teach his son right from wrong, as member of the of the Capone mob, one day Eddie came to the conclusion that offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish upon his son  “Easy” Eddie accordingly testified about the mob and helped convict Al Capone.  Eddie in wanting to be a good example for his son, and having given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, paid the greatest price when his life ended with a blaze of gunfire.

Lt. Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare subsequently became a WW l l hero and was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous actions against the Japaneses and defending the U.S.S.  It was through the teachings of Butch O’Hare’s dad that Butch was able to rise above what had been his father’s sordid life.

Continuing, David Smith challenged Christians to be prepared to make sacrifices, even though there are those who profit from evil activities such as gambling.  Smith called Illinois the Land of Evil because it promotes and protects both the slaughter of human babies and homosexuality.  Smith did rejoice that the gambling bill was defeated when vetoed by Governor Quinn in response to citizens contacting legislators
Smith likewise reminded those gathered how the religion of Jesus Christ is the only religion that is forbidden when he said, “We, as Christians must choose righteousness over peace.”  Because so many Americans refuse to take a stand against evil, Smith urged us to “choose courage over fear” and to work “to prepare for a new birth of Christianity in this nation and here in Illinois.”


Having finished his remarks, David Smith invited James Lansberry from Samaritan Ministries, a Gold Level Benefactor, to come up on stage to talk about a Christian sharing program to cover medical bills.  Lansberry spoke of a non-insurance approach where medial needs are shared directly with fellow believers.


Following Lansberry, Pastor John Kirkwood, an Advisory Board member of an IFI and host of Uncommon Sense (, made a special appeal for funds, telling us not to view our giving as a donation, but rather as a gratitude to God and a testimony to our Founding Fathers.  Pastor Kirkwood notedd that a supporter of IFI had promised to match gifts up to $10,000.


David Barton’s message


Finally the much anticipated event of the evening arrived when David Smith introduced Keynote Speaker David Barton.

David Barton’s exhaustive research has made him an expert on historical and constitutional issues.  He is the author of numerous best-selling books, with subject matter drawn largely from his massive library-museum of tens of thousands of original writings, documents, and artifacts from early America.


Barton heads the WallBuilders organization, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage, two presentations were made.


As initially stated by Barton, what makes this nation different from other nations is the Bible.  The Bible deals with right and wrong, not the secular and the spiritual, which has resulted in a battle that is ongoing between religion and morality.  “We are allowed to practice our faith, but must do so in private.”


Barton also explained how “exceptionalism” is a term applicable to this nation.  It was Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French political sociologist, who coined the word exceptionalism to describe America when he visited and toured the nation in 1841.


In dealing with the issue of separation of church and state, David Barton went back in history to the time of Moses and Aaron to explain the Biblical distinction between church and state as defined by the roles assigned to Moses and Aaron by God.


Three distinct periods of history were noted by Barton;  1) The first three centuries were the “Centuries of Purity.”  2) The next twelve centuries were referred to as the “Dark Ages when the state took over the church; it was never the other way around. 3)  The “Age of Reformation” followed the Dark Ages.


Barton used the reign of King Henry VIII, who lived from 1491 to 1547, as an example of a supreme ruler who was head of both church and state.  After the death of King Henry, the daughter of the King and Anne Boleyn became Queen.  Their daughter is now known as the first Queen Elizabeth and ruled from 1558 to 1603.


An incident by Rev. John Greenwood during Queen Elizabeth’s reign led to the Age of Reformation.  Rev. Greenwood believed that the Queen was not higher in the church than God. For this radical belief Greenwood was condemned to hanging by Queen Elizabeth.


To be noted is that Rev. Greenwood was the first to separate from the Established Church in England.  He founded the religious doctrine know as Puritanism or Congregationalism. The little band of Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth, Mass. in 1620 were his followers.   Many religious groups followed the Pilgrims to America as they rebelled over the state control of religion in their countries of origin.


David Barton then expounded upon a still controversial issue — separation of church and state — which didn’t rear its ugly head until Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1801.  It all came about when Jefferson responded with his now famous letter dated January 1, 1803 to a letter received from the the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut.  The Danbury Baptist Association believed, as did the founder of the Baptist church in American, Roger William, who had written in1644  “that there must be “a hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”


In responding to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson used the “wall of separation” clause found in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Many believe that at the time Jefferson intended that the First Amendment’s “separation of church and state” phrase should mean “free exercise of religion” and not “exclusion of religion” from government.


This all changed in the 1947 Everson vs. Board of Education decision when Justice Hugo wrote in his written decision that Jefferson had gotten it all wrong:  “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.”


David Barton noted numerous examples of President Obama’s hostility toward the Christian religion in an article published on February 29, 2012, America’s Most Biblically-Hostle U.S. President.  It is an eye-opener and well worth your time to read. It will only reinforce your already firm belief that President cannot be elected to another four years in office.


In chronological order are (1) numerous records of Obama’s attacks on Biblical persons or organization; (2) examples of the hostility toward biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference to Islam’s activities and position.


One display of President Obama’s hostility highlighted by David Barton, especially for Catholics, is how President Obama revoked the conscience protection put in place by President W. Bush in February of 2009 for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs.


In closing, David Barton made these poignant statements:  “Religious liberty is the first thing to go; when religion goes our liberty also goes”  –  “We have a God-given right to religious liberty, but it’s just not politically protected.”  –  “Religion and morality cannot be separated from public life; God calls for the same morality in our secular lives as he does in our spiritual lives.”


The pre-dinner prayer was given by Rev. Gerald O’Reilly of Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein in which he blessed marriage and the unborn, speaking to all present as being “united as one in truth.”


The Benediction was given by Pastor George Flattery of Stone Church in Orland Park.  I Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 58 was quoted by Pastor Flattery as a message that should be heeded in this 20th year anniversary of the Illinois Family Institute:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”


David Barton used the passage from I Corinthians as a message to take home with us.   We were reminded that our labor is never in vain.  We were further told to go out and do our part to promote Biblical moral values and the sanctify of life both here in Illinois and at the federal level




Following is the quote from our Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on 9/11/12, as they were under assault by a Muslim mob, reportedly angry because of an American video/DVD which was critical of Islam and Allah. Suffice it to say, the following comment is hardly a sturdy support for the United States of America or its constitutional right of Free Speech. Instead, this statement is an apology for having offended the believers and is the usual appeasement that accompanies Obama’s so-called foreign policy (bolding is extra):

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” feelings/

The non-apologetic statement was made after a mob of Egyptians climbed the walls of the embassy and tore down the American flag. In its place, the protesters attempted to raise a black flag with these words: “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger.” The American flag, once hauled down, was torn apart and small pieces of the flag were shown by protestors to TV cameras. Other protestors burned what remained of the flag.

In a tweet from the embassy that was later deleted, the U.S. embassy in Cairo tweeted:

“We consistently stand up for Muslims around the world and talk about how Islam is a wonderful religion.”

In the meantime, our Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, also came under attack (for basically the same reason) and our Ambassador and three other Americans were killed during this assault. According to witness and officers, the Libya consulate attack came after militants joined the protesters.

In response to these two incidents, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, stood up, spoke up and actually showed he has a spine. He spoke of America as it should be recognized, gave no apologies, used straightforward speaking and showed strong leadership.

Romney was summarily attacked for his remarks by the media, by the establishment Republican Party, and yet at a Wednesday, September 12 press conference, he held his ground.

It was later reported, due to an open mic, that before his Wednesday morning press conference, the press had coordinated what questions to ask Romney.  An unidentified journalist was heard to say: “No matter who he calls on we’re covered on the one question, do you stand by your statement or regret your statement?” An article by National Review notes the list of the seven questions the yellow journalists asked.

It is evident that Romney’s responses didn’t really matter, because reporters had already decided in their narrative that it was inappropriate for Romney to criticize Obama.

In what is exhibited time and again by the mainstream media, when a Republican is involved, they can find only negative things to say.  There was no negative media response in 2004 when John Kerry routinely attacked President Bush’s handling of Iraq when things weren’t going well. Instead, the media dutifully reported on Bush’s foreign policy blunders in Iraq. Now, instead of scrutinizing Obama’s handling of a foreign policy crisis, the media has decided that the real story in Egypt and Libya is a Mitt Romney ‘gaffe’.

Obama – and, Hillary Clinton – later in the day — stood before similar ‘journalists’ and made wooden lip service statements that said nothing. Even their sympathy comments about the deaths in Libya were cold and monotonic. He looked weak. She looked weak. Both of them seemed to have been caught off guard by this whole scene and had no idea what to do about it. Deer in the headlights. Oh, yes, that’s right, they’re going to send 50 or so Marines to Libya. What about Egypt?

As of Wednesday evening (9/12), Romney was still being raked over the coals, but was not wavering from his initial statement. As for President Obama, he had flown on to Nevada for – guess what? – another fundraiser.

Rush Limbaugh had an interesting discussion with one of his callers on his Wednesday, Sept. 12, radio show.  The caller asked this question: “If Obama is so concerned with feelings in the Muslim World, why is he bragging so much about killing bin Laden?”

It isn’t out-of-line, or to have some conspiracy theory, to question whether President Obama might in part be responsible, at least a smidgen, for ticking off Muslims in Egypt and Libya by hurting their feelings.  After all, Obama has been running around warning others not to ‘spike the football’, but during the Democrat Convention a loud and clear message was heard, “We Killed Osama!”  In fact , Obama’s campaign message seems to be, “GM’s alive and Osama’s Dead.”

According to Andrew McCarthy, who writes for National Review, the fault of the terrorist carnage cannot be laid at the feet of Reverend Terry Jones, but was caused by one thing: The coordinated violence against American installations in the Middle East on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.  The attacks were caused by Islamic supremacists. Contrary to the knowing lies government officials and media opinion elites have been feeding the American people for 20 years, Islamic supremacism is not the fringe ideology of the terrorists; it is the predominant Islam of the Middle East.

Baffling to the mind is why the Obama administration and Congress insist on sending billions of tax dollars to Egypt and Libya when the money could be used to further jihadist causes in those countries.  It’s not enough that the leaders of Egypt and Libya have both condemned the attacks in their countries. Their responses weren’t strong enough to warrant sending taxpayer money their way.

As stated by Chief Counsel, Jay Sekulow at ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice): “At a time when Obama refuses to meet face-to-face with the Prime Minister of Israel, our most important ally in the region, the Obama Administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to countries that permit and support the terrorism of radical Islamists bent on destroying America. It’s time to bring an end to a foreign policy of appeasement and apologies. We’re calling on the Obama Administration to cut off funding to Libya and Egypt until stable governments – which support America – are put in place.”

Four question have yet to be answered:

1. Whose flag is flying over our embassies in Egypt and Libya today?

2. Why weren’t there Marines already at both locations?

3. Which of two candidates will you be voting for in November?

4. When will the Obama administration start blaming the Islamists for what they are, terrorists?

Mitt Romney is the only individual who looked and acted presidential in this situation.  Obama and Clinton demonstrated what has been a dismal failure of this administration’s policy in the Middle East.


District #115 board members are deserving of praise for holding the line against intense pressure from parents who wanted LFHS to stay open for their own children.

Having attended the District 115 board meeting last night (Sept. 11), it quickly became evident that most of the Public Comments offered were from individuals who, as taxpayers, wanted board members to show some spine in their dealings with the LFEA.

In one way the strike by LF District 115 teachers can be linked to the make up of the District 115  Board over the years in having agreed to the demands of the  local teacher union, the LFEA, which, in a large part, takes its marching orders from the IEA, of which LFHS teachers are members.

The salaries of teachers in LF District 115 can be easily found at  Most of the teachers at LFHS earn in excess of $100,000.  This is their base salary and does not include other perks such as family health insurance, annuities, pension contribution payment, etc.

The base salaries of the 25 highest paid teachers at LFHS range from $168,740 for a Physical Education teacher, Anthony Filippo, down to $129,965 for Mary Beth Nawor who teaches Environmental Science.

According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune on September 12 by Lisa Black and John Keilman, the average base salary of a teacher at LFHS is $106,500, compared with a statewide average of about $65,000,0,3276944.story

District 115 Board is proposing a 2.6% increase in FY 2013, while the LFEA is asking for 5.6%.  Proposals for the following two years:  FY 2014, Board (3.4%) – LFEA (6.5%); FY 2015, Board (3.4%) – LFEA (5.6%).    As can be observed, the LFEA proposal is more than double the CPI.

The percentage of increase proposed by the Board is in line with, and even slightly above, what is being negotiated by other school districts in the area — a 2.5% increase for teachers — in their contract negotiations.  With the amount of increase proposed by the Board, LFHS can remain competitive with other area school districts in the hiring of good teachers for its student population.

In regard to Health Insurance, LFEA is asking that existing employees continue to receive, without charge, HMO Single and Family Premiums and PPO 750 Single and Family Premiums.  This would mean that the Board would have to pay more for 5 of the 10 health insurance plans offered to LFHS teachers.  Four plans are already 100% Board paid.

Not to be forgotten is that teachers can retire at age 55, and many do.  In ten years teachers making over $100,000 a year at LFHS will be drawing at age 65 the same pension as the salaries they were making during their last year of teaching.  Additionally, their pensions will be automatically adjusted each year to reflect the COLA increase of 3% for the rest of their lives.   This isn’t even true for SS recipients.

Out of five pension systems in the state of Illinois, the Teachers’ Retirement System is the largest and the costliest of Illinois’s pension programs.  In March of 2011 Tribune reporter, Diane Rado, indicated that the TRS “is now almost $40 billion short of what’s needed to cover future benefits — the deepest financial hole in 20  years of state records.”

With Illinois lawmakers looking to rein in the massive costs of public programs, teachers at  LFHS should be worried that the nest egg they’ve always considered a sure thing might shrink.  More and more school districts have concerns that local taxpayers might have to start picking up more of the tab for teacher pensions.

What happens when a union in a private sector business insists on a pay scale and other benefits for its members that cannot be supported financially by the company?  The company will eventually go out of business.  It may even end up going overseas to save the company, where workers can be employed who are not demanding “the store.”

In a free enterprise system there is competition.  Businesses who are obligated to increase the cost of their products to cover the cost of increased union-negotiated wages and benefits for its employees, do not fare all that well in Illinois. .

But what happens, if through teacher union bargaining, teacher demands become too rich to support existing conditions?  Schools certainly do not go out of business!

If teacher unions are permitted to continue their heavy-handed bargaining as in the past, Illinois, an already financially challenged state, will continue to go further and further into debt, a debt that is now unsustainable and approaching financial Armageddon.

And let’s not forget about all the taxpayers, not only here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, but throughout Illinois, who pay handsomely to fund schools, wanting the very best for the children in their communities.

Even though LFHS is located in what is known as an upscale area in northern Illinois, not everyone is doing well in this down economy.  Like elsewhere else, there have been many foreclosures and job losses. Teachers have little fear of losing their jobs under ordinary circumstances as they have tenure.

Teachers seem to forget that they work for the public and that their jobs are public sector jobs paid for by taxpayers.  A large portion of our property taxes go to fund our schools.  As was indicated at the District #115 Board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the largest chunk of the FY2012 budget now being drawn up is for salaries.

Just as tax payers must pay for LFHS teacher salaries, etc., they must also pay for the Board Attorney, Mike Hernandez, who does not come on the cheap!  He is present during all board negotiation.  He was also at the meeting last night giving details of the strike conditions.

I commend the District 115 board for remaining firm.  For LFHS teachers, when is enough, enough?  You already teach in the best high school in the entire state with the highest teacher salaries.  You are looking quite silly to outsiders who must be shaking their heads in wonderment..

Teachers at LFHS have positions that many other teachers can only dream about.   It is a given that there are many qualified teacher out there who would jump at the chance to teach in Lake Forest District 115.