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
February 12, 2014
By Nancy Thorner –
Romina Broccia of the Washington Times suggested that for lawmakers battling over the debt ceiling they should stop to watch “Groundhog Day.” In the movie Phil Connors asks, “What would you do if you were stuck in on place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Connors was able to break out of his Groundhog Day cycle after reexamining his life and changing his approach to problems. Lawmakers could also do the same if they were willing to break out of the spending and debt cycle by putting the budget on a path to balance through cuts in mandatory as well as discretionary spending.
House Republicans have once again come face to face with this nation’s debt limit. A letter sent to House lawmakers on Friday, February 7, by Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, warned Congress that unless the debt ceiling is raised by Thursday, February 27, the treasury Department will all but completely exhaust its abilities to pay the nation’s bills (The borrowing cap was to be addressed back in October of last year, but it was suspended as part of the deal to end the government shutdown).
Predictably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammered home Lew’s stated deadline to House Republicans by demanding that Republicans enact a clean increase to the debt ceiling without any policy riders, further reminding Republicans that only a limited numbers of days remain when both chambers are in session before the deadline.
Do House Republicans dare not to heed this warning from Nancy Pelosi?
With only five days left in session before the deadline, we must act now. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to enact a clean increase in the debt ceiling. Democrats hope the Republican leadership makes the right choice and brings this up for a vote, so our country can pay our bills.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made his view known on the issue when on Thursday, January 24 he seemingly reinforced the wish of Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats that it would be unwise for House Republicans to use the issue of increasing the borrowing limit to challenge President Obama on raising the federal debt limit. Although at the time Gingrich did accuse Obama of trying to “bully House Republicans,” he further said that the GOP shouldn’t “pick fights” that they cannot ultimately win.
Newt Gingrich’s advice is getting to be rather stale. Time and again Republicans are told to keep their powder dry and wait for another occasion down the road to challenge the Obama administration on its massive spending and debt accrued since Obama was election in 2008 – $7 trillion dollars. When is the right time for House Republicans to stand up and fight on behalf of the American people and future generations of Americans for a bit of sanity against raising the nation’s debt ceiling for the purpose of allowing the Obama administration to borrow more money and further erode the financial stability and health of this nation?
Initially Republican House Speaker John Boehner reassured the American people that he would request President Obama to give up a key provision of ObamaCare in exchange for his consent to raise the debt ceiling. According to a Hill report, Speaker Boehner and his lieutenants on Wednesday, February 5, abandoned plans to tie an increase in the nation’s debt limit either to the repeal of a provision in ObamaCare or to the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision made only hours after the Congressional Budget Office said ObamaCare will eradicate 2.5 million jobs and add a trillion dollars to this nation’s debt! Some patriots in the U.S.House, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, feel that agreeing to a clean debt ceiling is capitulation, and that he didn’t get elected by the District of Texas to come here to Washington and capitulate.
Only a few years ago, Obama spoke vehemently against putting America in debt as then Senator Barack March 16, 2006.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.
But this is now. Obama as president likes the power and control the office bestows on him, and uses it at will to enact policies that are consistent with his extreme leftist political philosophy. Now Obama seemingly wants the power to raise the debt limit by himself, anytime. Abandoned by Obama is any notion that members of Congress should get permission from the people they represent to borrow and spend more money.
Is it really necessary to borrow more money to pay our nation’s debt obligations? The United States collects more than enough tax revenue each and every day to easily satisfy the repayment of our debt. Without a limit increase on the use of the nation’s credit cards, our government officials would actually have to prioritize debt repayment and make modest cuts to out-of-control government spending now, instead of pretending that cuts are in the offing somewhere down the road. The interest on the debt is around $30 billion per month and the Feds are taking in $250 billion. The only reason the U.S. would default is if Obama and Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury, refused to service the debt.
Will the decision be made in the House to betray the American people without consulting the American people about mortgaging the hopes and dreams of future generations of Americans? Figures cited in a report of Wednesday, September 25, 2013, place the national debt at nearly $17 trillion or $140,000 per American household. Since Obama has been president the debt has been raised seven time, causing the per-household tab for the debt to soar by $43,000 in just the last four years.
A last minute meeting was called by House Republicans leaders and its conference last night (2/10) to try to come up with a legislative strategy on the debt ceiling regarding what they might attach to an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit.
Don’t hold your breath in hoping that House Republicans will do anything of substance in reducing spending other than to allow a clean debt ceiling increase to reach the floor. The latest is that the House did move toward a vote Wednesday on legislation that would lift the debt ceiling and reverse recent changes to military retirement benefits. Even so this plan is a gamble, as it’s uncertain whether the package will pass the House without the support of a fair number of Democrats.
Is it too much to ask that Congress wakes up to a new day, and soon? It’s time for Republicans to grow a backbone and stand up to Obama. Most Republicans are scared stiff to challenge the media, fellow Republicans pundits and elitists, and President Obama and his operatives, ending up instead cowering in fear over their own political fortunes, while neglecting those they represent and indirectly the generations of Americans who will follow in their wake.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Permalink
February 11, 2014
On Tuesday, February 3, Northshore resident Dan Cox posted the following on the Board at Lake Forest Patch, “WARNING: REP. SCOTT DRURY, INCORRECT AGAIN!”Was Cox’s posting correct? Did Rep. Scott Drury (D) misspeak on an important issue? I believe he did, but here are the facts so that you can judge for yourself. Rep. Drury stated: “As of Jan. 1, 2014, people can carry loaded concealed weapons” — Cox’s post refers to Drury’s irrational stance on gun control, and it conveys further implications extending far beyond the gun issue. They include Drury’s loyal allegiance to Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan and his [Drury’s] support of failed Democratic House policies, which have been wrought with make believe solutions tailored to appease the public Due to Democrats having a super majority in the House, they have all the control and thus are able to set the agenda.
Voters in the coming election should be aware that According to Moody’s Analytics Illinois is at the bottom of the barrel (50th) in job creation for the coming year. Is it any wonder why people and businesses are leaving IL in droves to neighboring states where taxes are less? When people and businesses leave they take their purchasing power, entrepreneurial activity and taxable income with them. While at the same time, our Democrat leaders have been making unwise financial decisions that are damaging our financial security
It has been said that a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy. What follows is a dictatorship. We must ask ourselves, just how close is America to the tipping point in which we lose our republic?
As trust is an essential ingredient in all relationships including our marriages, our children and friends, why then do we so easily overlook an elected official who deceives and misspeaks (a polite way to define lying) in order to be elected? Why do we tolerate elected officials who pass laws they know we reject? They continually betray our trust, but where is the public outrage? And most puzzling of all, why are they re-elected?
Have we become a nation of low information voters whose knowledge is largely limited to media sound-bites and newspaper headlines? It must be every citizen’s responsibility to determine if a candidate has kept his/her promises through a knowledge of past performance. Too many Illinois voters believe their elected candidates have performed well, while placing blame for our dysfunctional state and federal governments on the backs of other state and federal legislators. Until we hold our own representatives accountable, this trend will continue.
The success and failure of our state and nation lies in the hands of voters, whose responsibility is to investigate and elect representatives who are patriots, men and women who are willing to jealously guard the Constitution, and who will continually put country over personal gain.
Dr. Mark G. Neerhof is such an individual. He is running unopposed as a Republican in the 58th District and will be running against the incumbent Democratic Representative Scott Drury in November. dmarkforillinois.com/about
Having attended a “Meet and Greet” event held in Lake Bluff on Monday, February 3, I can attest to the stalwartness of Republican candidate Dr. Mark Neerhof. He meets all the criteria of an informed, concerned citizen who wants to enter the political arena for the right reasons. He sees government growing bigger and bigger, and believes it must be stopped before it consumes the fruits of our labor.
Coming from humble beginnings, Dr. Neerhof’s parents expressed disbelief when he expressed his wish to become a physician in his freshman year of college. But Neerhof persevered his dream. After practicing high risk obstetrics for over twenty years, Dr. Neerhof feels he can assist more people, but in a different way. Dr. Neerhof knows the key to a healthy government begins by helping to create good policy, and if elected as our representative, that will be his goal. Good policies advance freedom and help people flourish, while oppressive policies cause people to wither.
Besides the loss of people and taxpayers exiting Illinois, Illinois also labors under high taxes and oppressive rules and regulation. Neerhof presented the following facts to illustrate how dysfunctional Illinois has become, largely due to one basic flaw: Illinois has largely become a one-party state. There is little or no opposition to curtail or correct bad laws. Our “one party” elected officials rule without restraint, making one bad policy after another, with the result being our state is beginning to implode from within. The following facts illustrate that truth:
- The $100 billion in unfunded pensions has not been solved despite what Governor Quinn has claimed. Illinoisans are still being crushed by debt. Only tweaks were made in the system, taking Illinois back to where it was in 2011. The way forward is by offering defined contribution type plans such as the 401(k) plan.
- Medicaid is badly managed and takes 40% of the Illinois budget. Over 40% of the people enrolled in Medicaid do not qualify for the program. “Means testing” is not practiced.
- 50% of women having babies in Illinois are enrolled in Medicaid, yet little help is given to the poor with disabilities who desperately need assistance (Illinois ranks near the bottom of the help it provides for the disabled poor.).
- What used to be a ratio of 5 to 1 Illinoisans enrolled in Medicaid, the rate has now risen to a ratio of one in every three Illinoisans. The measure of success should be how many patients we get off Medicaid and onto private insurance. Instead, Medicaid is expanding the size of government by increasing its Medicaid financial load.
- Medicaid payments amount to only 40% of private insurance and often does not cover the cost of care. Is it any wonder why doctors can’t afford to treat many Medicaid patients? They risk going out of business.
- With “means testing” employed, the premiums might be paid for the very poor, and part of the premiums for others, so they could afford private insurance. If patients had private insurance doctors would be happy to care for them. With low reimbursement rates, doctors shy away from taking on Medicaid patients.
- The “powers to be” in Springfield wish to make the 67% tax for business and the 47% for citizens permanent. There is also talk of a progressive tax. Because 90% of businesses in Illinois have 5 employees or less, they file as individuals. A progressive tax would raise their taxes considerably, only adding to the exodus of people and business from Illinois.
There is a revolution waging. Not one in the sense of the revolution fought by our Founding Fathers, but its implications are just as far reaching as if we had lost our fight with the British for our independence. What is being fought is a revolution of ideas as to whether man can govern and rule himself through smaller government and less taxes and where freedom and liberty are ours to cherish, or whether government should continue to become all powerful, thereby restricting the ability to pursue our dreams.
The two biggest and most costly issues of contention here in Illinois are Medicaid and pension reform. A question every voter must ask as he/she participates in Illinois’ primary election in March and the general election in November: “How is this state (and nation) doing under its current leadership?”
Republican candidates throughout Illinois must offer concrete and workable ideas to capture your trust and in so doing prevent Illinois from falling off the cliff into collapse and ultimately financial ruin. The status quo cannot continue.
February 11, 2014
Thorner & O’Neil: A Response to Elites Who Have Lost Our Respect
By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil –
Oh how sad it is when we realize even some of our favorite politicians are deceptive, even those at the highest level of government. Even worse, some of the offenders are those we considered to be on our side of political thought; yet they too made promises to us they did not keep. Recently, problems have been uncovered serious enough to make front page news, and be subjected to congressional hearings. One can only wonder how many more remain hidden from the public.
Some examples of disturbing problems have been exposed at the federal level. Particularly disturbing was the discovery that our government has been spying on us: American citizens. Equally damaging and even embarrassing is that the Obama administration was caught spying on leaders of 35 countries, including those who are considered our friends. The most notable example is that of German Chancellor Markel. She was seriously offended to discover America had tapped into her private cell phone, and she was not alone. Only time will tell how damaging that eavesdropping will be to American interests in the future. Trust is fragile, and once broken, is not quickly mended.
It should concern all of us that there have been an unprecedented number of scandals surrounding the Obama presidency. Some have estimated the total number as high as twenty four, others claim it even higher. Most of us are fairly acquainted with the more publicized and ongoing political scandals, such as “Fast and Furious”, “Benghazi”, “I.R.S. Profiling”, “Snowgate”, and “Spying on the Media”. Consider this, if these are ones that have been discovered, how many more have not?
This administration continually refuses to accept any culpability, even when facts indicate they are indeed guilty as charged. Denial has been followed by actual proof of guilt, and that has severely damaged our trust in politicians. Once lost, trust is not easily regained, especially when deceptions are contrived at the highest level of government. The public questions whether there are any honest politicians left in D.C. today. It is becoming especially difficult to believe even our president, after he recently claimed there has not been “even a smidgeon of corruption” within his administration.
However, Republican leaders are not blameless either.
Democrats are in power right now, which obviously makes their deceptions more noticeable. But Republicans have had integrity problems as well. A recent example come via the courtesy of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee told his Fox News audience in December of last year that he no longer supported the Common Core standards. It seems Huckabee had approved Common Core while campaigning as a Republican presidential hopeful in 2008. His faithful viewers were alarmed by that, and for a while he defended his opinion.
But after the Common Core controversy became a national issue and most of his audience strongly disagreed with his opinion, he reversed his response by explaining Common Core had changed in the years since he was Governor and had morphed into something he no longer could support. Nevertheless, at the recent meeting of Council of Chief State School Officers, one of the organizations that created the Common Core State Standards, Huckabee’s message changed once more. This time, it was reported that Huckabee told CCSSO members: “Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.”
Huckabee is not the only Republican to break with Conservative Republicans on important issues, but what makes Huckabee’s deception more troubling is that he promotes himself as a conservative with conservative values, but was willing to waffle when addressing a group with opposing opinions.
We can respect a politician who disagrees with us on a given issue, especially if their position is reasonable. But deceptions from officials based on self-serving reasons is intolerable.
The mounting scandals seem to have overwhelmed citizens, coming at such a rapid rate; many do not know which issue to address; which one is the most damaging to America’s future. The question is “have we lost the will to demand that scandals like Benghazi, IRS, NSA, Fast and Furious, spying on Americans, voter fraud, and so many others be thoroughly investigated??” Are you willing to let the scandals just fade away without any consequences to the perpetrators who lied, deceived, and/or who were part of a cover-up? If so, we can promise that such a lack of vocal concern will invite more bold attempts by government to act illegally.
Never before in our history have citizens had a better opportunity to unite their voices, thanks to the social media, emailing, and organizations that support our political beliefs. Why then are citizens not making a significant effort to stop this continual abuse of trust? Where is the nation’s outrage?
If we are to keep America as the country we have known and loved, we must not count on anybody but ourselves to stop this growing trend of a federal government that overreaches their authority, engages in lies, and perpetrates cover-ups when caught. Patriots must be willing to sacrifice some time, unite together, and speak out in one accord against corruption wherever we find it. Only then will our message have a strong enough impact to be heard and thus force an appropriate change in the “elites” who control our lives. Let us all return to the principles and values that allowed our Country to prosper. We owe that to future generations.
Monday, February 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Permalink