Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Losing Our Liberties Bit by Bit

Walter Williams has recently written a book "Liberty vs the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays" defending the idea that we must return to our constitution if we are to remain a viable country guided by the ideas of our Founding Fathers who fought a war to defend their liberties and invented the idea of LIMITED GOVERNMENT. Today in 2009 we are a long way away from limited government and seem to be on the road to serfdom with our ever bloated government getting bigger and bigger.

But what part do we have in all this? Aren't we just sitting on our fannies and allowing our government to get away with things that are continually chipping away at our freedoms? We are betraying our Founders by allowing these politicians in Washington to continue to rule our lives in every imaginable sphere of endeavor from our banking to our wages to our associations. When will it be enough before we reclaim our liberties? Or are we so dumbed down by our abysmal schools that we can't even recognize that we are less free than our forefathers were?

Have we become sheep that allow government to print paper money out of thin air, bailout failed businesses like General Motor and demand banks to give loans to credit unworthy people? How dare they use us as slaves to work and work so that politicians can scheme how to use our money and ruin our country?

We the People can fix this by demanding that government go back to doing their only constitutionally legitimate job and that is to protect us against aggression be it internal or external and then stay out of the way! Following is an excerpt of Mr. Williams new book where he describes the efforts of Representative John Shadegg of Arizona to introduce a measure called the ENUMERATED POWERS ACT.

It goes without saying that the three branches of our federal government
are no longer bound by the Constitution as the framers envisioned;
what is worse is the American acceptance of such rogue behavior. If it
were ignorance on behalf of the American people and their representatives,

I would be optimistic because ignorance is curable through education,
but I think it is design. Strong evidence of this is a measure that
has been repeatedly introduced by Representative John Shadegg of Arizona
called the Enumerated Powers Act that reads “Each Act of Congress
shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional
authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The
failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in
either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not
affect any other available relief.” Simply put, if enacted, the Enumerated
Powers Act would require Congress to specify the basis of authority in
the U.S. Constitution for the enactment of laws and other congressional
actions. Each time the Enumerated Powers Act has been introduced, it
has received little or no support by members of Congress. That leads to
the conclusion that members of Congress have no wish to be bound by
their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Americans do not want their elected officials to uphold and defend
the Constitution. Doing so would mean that one American could not
live at the expense of another in the form of spending programs such as
government Social Security, Medicare, aid to higher education, farm subsidies, food stamps, and other programs that make up close to two-thirds of a $3 trillion-plus federal budget for which there is absolutely no authority in the U.S. Constitution. What taxing and spending authority the Constitution grants Congress is mostly spelled out in Article I, Section 8 of the document. (Read).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The American Can-Do Spirit Will Outlast This Too

Guy Sorman has a great article at City Journal about the American spirit of enterprise and how we will come out ahead after this financial meltdown just as we always have. The reason as presented by Sorman has to do really with the American versus the European way of looking at society - American leadership is radically different from European version and he uses the examples of Google, IBM, and Nanodynamics.

In early-nineteenth-century Western Europe, still dominated by the nobility, aristocratic consumers set the tone for the whole economy, and they wanted beautifully handcrafted (and expensive) goods. In the United States, by contrast, egalitarian-minded citizens wanted access to cheap goods—and mechanization and standardization fulfilled their wishes, leading to the Industrial Revolution and the world’s first mass market. To a degree unknown in Europe, standardization became the economic manifestation of the Jacksonian age. Nearly two centuries later, the same practical rationale—standardizing products to meet popular demand—underpins the U.S.’s continued economic leadership. Despite much talk about American decline and the recent Wall Street crisis, the U.S. economy continues to set the pace for the world.

To better understand this sustained American leadership, I visited with executives from three representative firms: Google, in Mountain View, California; IBM, in Yorktown Heights, New York; and Nanodynamics, in Buffalo. Though different in many respects, the three companies share an adherence to democratic principles, a dedication to collaborative relationships with universities, an understanding of the economic phenomenon of creative destruction, and a commitment to cultural diversity.

The author finishes the article with the following:

...Does Suvankar Sengupta of Nanodynamics feel nostalgic about Bengal? “As a land of opportunities,” he says, “the U.S. remains unchallenged, while you are never criticized for taking risks. Moreover, when you are good at what you do, nobody in America asks you where you come from.” (READ the rest here).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pigs at the Feeding Trough

Obama's promise of a "stimulus" make-work project scheme is enticing the pigs to come out to the trough to feed from the hand of the tax-payers or the funny money being printed at the treasury. Welcome to the land of the La-la vision where government "projects" takes the place of real work created by the private sector. Don't you just love politicians who can so easily entice a gullible people? Read Bridges to Everywhere at the WSJ.

President-elect Obama's transition team is promising that its $700 billion, or $850 billion, or $1 trillion, or whatever it now is "stimulus" won't include pork-barrel spending. They must not have talked to the nation's mayors, who recently responded to Mr. Obama's request to compile their priority list of "shovel-ready" projects.

...By all accounts, the $73 billion wish list may be the largest collection of parochial spending projects in American history. Strolling through the 800 pages, we found such beauties as: $1 million to upgrade the Los Angeles County Convention Center elevated "catwalk" for cameras and lighting; $350,000 for an Albuquerque, N.M., fitness center; $94 million for a parking garage at the Orange Bowl in Miami; $4.5 million for Gretna, Florida, to bottle water with recyclable bottles; a $35 million music hall of fame in Florissant, Missouri, and $3.1 million for a swimming pool in Tulsa. The other truth about most of these projects is that they don't come close to representing an economic "stimulus." They may put a few people to work for a while, albeit while taking money out of the private economy to pay for them. But the test for a useful public project should be whether it contributes to a net increase in productivity after accounting for that lost private investment.

The Obama team may try to cull this list to remove the most egregious pork. But Congress is quickly figuring out that "stimulus" is the greatest spending cover since "homeland security." This mayors' list is a preview of the lobbying free-for-all that Mr. Obama's epic spending bill is already kicking off. Poor Ted Stevens must be the saddest man in America. The Alaska Senator and legendary earmarker lost his seat a mere three months before this spending opportunity of a lifetime. (READ)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Shakedown of Bank Of America-The First of Many to Be

Because we have sat quietly while the government has invested itself with the terrifying power to decide which companies will continue existing and which will not, we now have the chance to see what our politicians are doing with this power. And Obama is involved - surprised? Not really. (Read article at Investor's Business Daily).

The Bank of America was the victim of a concerted shakedown that may soon be replicated around the country. Even President-elect Obama supported this new example of Chicago blackmail.

One of the casualties of the faltering housing market is Chicago's Republic Windows & Doors, whose line of credit was cut off by Bank of America.
Amy Zimmerman, Republic's vice president of sales and marketing, admitted: "Banks are in the business to make money, and at some point they have to make a business decision, and that's what this is."

In the first week of December, Republic laid off its workers and closed its doors. The company was supposed to give two months' notice, with continued pay and benefits. So the employees launched a sit-in.

Getting laid off before Christmas isn't any fun. But no one was obviously to blame for Republic's failure, and these days Republic employees aren't alone in their economic distress.
Bank of America was a handy scapegoat. Since the institution received tax dollars, Republic's employees argued that BofA had an obligation to bail out Republic.

Said Leah Fried, an organizer with the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America: "It's shameful that a bank that got $25 billion in bailout money turns around and shuts down a factory by cutting off their credit."

The sit-in provided an irresistible photo op. Gov. Rod Blagojevich showed up before his indictment, as did the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., "Senate Candidate No. 5" in the Blagojevich case.
Obama said of the workers, "I think they're absolutely right," adding that "these companies need to follow through on those commitments."

Blagojevich announced that Illinois would withhold its business from the bank. Fifteen Chicago aldermen proposed an ordinance cutting off business with the bank and limiting any zoning changes for its properties. Cook County Commissioner Michael Quigley promised to introduce similar legislation...(READ).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Republicans Deserved Their Defeat: But How Can They Make an Honest Comeback?

John Lewis has written a definitive piece at Capitalism Magazine (excerpted from The Objective Standard) about why the Republican party self-destructed and what it has to do to get back in the game of politics. There is no better explanation of why they were so thoroughly defeated in November. Read this article and see if you agree: Reason or Faith: The Republican Alternative by John Lewis.

Rights are not gifts from “God,” who demands payment for his generosity by calling for the continual violation of those rights. Nor are rights gifts from the state to be created or destroyed by majority vote, constitutional convention, or pragmatic jurisprudence. The source of rights is neither faith nor feelings but facts.

Individual rights are moral principles arising from the requirements of human life in a social context. In order for people to live, they must be free to think and act on their own judgment. Rights specify this fact and prescribe government protection for each individual against those who seek to infringe on his freedom.

It is right to value one’s own life and to think and act by one’s own judgment; thus every individual has a right to life and liberty. It is right to keep what one produces and to trade with others voluntarily; thus every individual has a right to property. It is right to act for one’s own benefit; thus every individual has a right to pursue his own happiness. It is right to restrain, and if necessary destroy, those who attack us; the right to self-defense is a corollary of the right to life. All of this is true, because it is right to live, to love one’s life, and to prosper—by one’s own effort.

Rather than placing each of us under an injunction to serve others, the moral principle of individual rights sets each individual free from such unfounded “duty.” Rights enable each individual to pursue his own happiness by his own thought and effort, neither sacrificing himself for others nor sacrificing others for himself. The only purpose of government, on this account, is to protect the freedom defined by man’s rights. When these facts are recognized, politicians cease to be collectors of sacrifices; they become protectors of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

"Economics Is Too Important Just To Be Left to the Economists."

There is a fallacy among economists which says that "what might be a good course of action for an individual can lead to disaster if widely adopted by members of the larger group. In this case, disaster could be the result if there was too strong a preference for savings over consumption." Andrew B. Wilson in his column today at the Wall Street Journal ("Thatcher Wouldn't Have Gone Wobbly on Detroit") says that what is good for an individual in these times, saving his capital, IS good for the country. And he sites the example of Margaret Thatcher and how she saved Britain's economy with her good sense and basically told the "economists" to take a hike.

While the automakers are clamoring to take out more loans for their bankrupt industry, Americans are using their common sense and trying to STAY OUT of bankruptcy. Our government - Obama - is also talking of: "...spending hundreds of billions on public works with the hope of creating some jobs, but remember: 93.3% of Americans, though shaken, already have jobs." What's going on here? Where is common sense? But then politicians never did have common sense just the desire to get reelected again and again. Read this column.

It reminds me of the open letter that 364 economists addressed to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1981, condemning her for daring to cut public borrowing in the midst of a recession, which was contrary to the Keynesian orthodoxy at the time. They did not accept Mrs. Thatcher's reasoning that too much public-sector borrowing and government-directed investment could only crowd out private-sector borrowing and risk-taking.

They also implicitly rejected Mrs. Thatcher's strongly held belief that both governments and individuals must be guided by fundamental rules of common sense and frugality, in good times and bad. The economists described her thinking on this score as naive.

Mrs. Thatcher spurned the collective wisdom of the 364 economists, seeing their advice as just more of the same failed interventionist policy prescriptions which the country had followed for over three decades.

...But Thatcherite principles remain as valid as ever. The freedom of the marketplace is still the only effective mechanism for eliminating poor business practices, identifying productive investment, and providing long-term growth.

...Yet by sticking to her policies of lightened regulation, reduced trade barriers, privatization of a raft of publicly owned companies, reduced taxation, and the adoption of laws to prevent abuses of union power, Mrs. Thatcher achieved something few if any of today's economists have begun to consider. She achieved a genuine, productivity-led recovery that transformed Britain from perennial basket case into the Europe's most improved and vibrant economy.

What we need is a Mrs. Thatcher who is not afraid of the medicine we need to take to cure the symptoms of decades of abuse of our economy. Obama, the pragmatist, IS NOT that person.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Boondoggle funded With Our Money

Are ALL politicians corrupt or are we Americans just too stupid to realize how we are being had. Watch this video about the desire of a few Alaskans to build this bridge to connect two points that are nowhere and lead to nowhere besides the fact that it's not needed. What's going on?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Socialism: Done Many Times and Always Failed

With Obama's "$700 billion in New-Deal-style "public works" boondoggles" and his wanting to appoint a Car Commissar and inject more billions into our failed auto industry it appears that what we voted for in November is pure Socialism.

America! We the people are NOT socialists. We are individualists. When will we learn the lesson that Socialism is a failed system and that all it brings is poverty and chaos? How many times will we have to "try" it in order to understand that the government is not good at directing the economy. Government is force and needed to maintain order. It cannot plan the economy - individuals planning their own businesses and work make an economy work. We don't need to reinvent this wheel all we need to do is study history. For goodness sake, Mr. Obama, don't lead us down the old road of central planning. Will you ruin this country before we have time to rediscover the fact that Capitalism works because it is the individual making thousands of decisions based on what is beneficial for his life that works. Robert Tracinski explains this in his article "Car Commissar" at The Intellectual Activist.
...The real story of the bailout of the Detroit auto industry is not simply the waste of taxpayers' money on failing enterprises. Rather, the real news is Congress's apparent confidence that the way to revive Detroit is to impose central planning on the auto industry. This would be done by appointing a "car czar" empowered to "act as a kind of trustee with authority to bring together labor, management, creditors and parts suppliers to negotiate a restructuring plan. He or she also would be able to review any transaction or contract valued at more than $25 million."
The term "car czar" is not quite right. As a metaphorical description of the bailout, it evokes the right location—Russia—but the wrong era. "Car commissar" would be much more exact. Perhaps he will begin his work by issuing a five-year plan for the revival of the Big Three.
The Christian Science Monitor describes this as a comeback for "industrial policy." "The notion that government would pick economic winners and losers gained support among Democrats in the early 1980s, when it appeared that Japan, with its well-developed industrial policy, was America's No. 1 economic rival. The approach later lost its luster as the Japanese economy settled into a deep slump." And yet, here we are trying it again.

"Industrial policy" was always just an evasive euphemism used to describe the latest variation on the old theory of central planning. But central planning and nationalization of industries was a dead end when the old Soviet Russians tried it—and it is still a dead end now that Russia is
trying it again.
The 20th century experimented with every possible variant of socialism. We had democratic socialism in Western Europe, totalitarian socialism in Eastern Europe, and fascist socialism in South America. We had atheistic socialism and we had "liberation theology." We had the "scientific socialism" of the Soviet central planners and the chaotic jungle socialism of the Khmer Rouge, who executed anyone with an education. We had "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and socialism with African characteristics and socialism with Hindu characteristics.

We tried it all, and every time it led to poverty and oppression. Those results have been proven with scientific thoroughness. There is no excuse for trying it all again.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Will America Ever See the Last of the Clinton's?

Why has Bill Clinton refused to disclose the more than 200,000 donors to his Presidential library and foundation? Apparently to get Hilary confirmed he needs to do this and we should demand that he does. I mean what kind of ties does he have to arab sheiks and the Lippo group in China. This couple know and rub elbows with all sorts of shady characters around the world. Obama should be free of all taint of monetary influence when deciding US foreign policy!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Giving Thanks to Human Ingenuity

Thanksgiving has always been a time for me to give thanks for living in the current century and not back when mankind was still struggling to get out of its animalistic mode of living.  When I was young I used to go through the motions of believing in a god but there was always conflict in this for me as I could not reconcile the fact of a world of good contending with a world of evil and god just sitting there allowing it to happen.  It just did not make sense.  It is not often that you read an article about Thanksgiving from an atheist point of view and so for this holiday I give thanks to Heather MacDonald for her article A secularist’s thoughts on Thanksgiving.

...The problem for the nonbeliever is not that there is no one to thank for our good fortune but that there are more targets of gratitude than we can possibly acknowledge.

God does have the advantage of being a centralized receptacle for thanks, but is otherwise quite flawed as an object of gratitude, in my view.

I am indebted every day to human ingenuity that I could not possibly replicate on my own. I live on the 15th floor of an apartment building—a remarkable situation! Within this marvel of engineering, I have electricity, clean water, protection from the elements, and now, the internet, that miracle of knowledge aggregation that gives individuals more power than anyone has ever before possessed. Humans created all these wonders through tireless, loving, and patient empirical observation and experimentation.

I give thanks for the centuries-long development of limited government and to our Founding Fathers who created the most flexible and stable written constitution yet devised. As a secular conservative, I am particularly grateful for the free market system that supplies America’s cornucopia of goodies, an accomplishment that the current financial crisis in no way discredits.

But there are elements of my good fortune that are not the product of human effort—such as the facts that I a citizen of the United States and not, say, the Congo; that I was born with a sound body; and that the laws of nature work as they do. Do I need a God to account for those windfalls? In the first two cases, definitely not. I accept without discomfort the massive role of randomness in the distribution of benefits and handicaps; the alternative—that they represent deliberate judgment–is too horrible to contemplate. Were I to thank God for my extreme luck in being born into a society where people do not routinely massacre each other, I would have to explain why I deserve this happy outcome, whereas those millions of individuals who are not so fortunate in their birthplace do not. Likewise, if God is responsible for my healthy physical constitution, I would have to explain why he allows thousands of innocent children to be born with painful and sometimes fatal birth defects while sparing me.

Coming up with such explanations, in my view, requires either narcissism or the torture of reason. Most believers seem oblivious to the solipsism entailed by their thanking God when their cancer goes into remission, say. But the problem remains: Why did God save you and let the patient in the bed next to you die? The results are no more satisfactory when a conscious effort is made to supply rationales for such disparate outcomes. Typical candidates include: It is actually a gift from God to be born with half a brain, you just lack the capacity to understand his mysterious ways; or, how dare you presume to judge him, you cringing worm?...(Secular Right: Reality and Reason)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Supply and Demand Rules the Market

For all you folks out there that believe that the market behaves in an arbitrary totally irrational manner get an education by reading the following article posted at The Undercurrent where Kristina Saraka writes that the market is ruled by the law of supply and demand, the fundamental principle of economics.

In July, rioters laid siege to several Pakistani stock exchanges to protest declining prices in the stock market. At the Karachi Stock Exchange, a mob of small investors destroyed equipment and files, smashed windows, and burned tires in a rage over falling prices.

In a similarly-themed if less violent protest, two little girls in Utah, upset that their parents could no longer afford cable television due to increased gas prices, recently marched around downtown Salt Lake City with signs protesting the price of gas. One girl explained, “Gas prices are too high. I just decided to come and protest so they’d go down.” Most would agree that this is a childish way to attempt to change prices, yet many adults share the basic idea on which the protest is based.

Both the Pakistani rioters’ and the girls’ protests are rooted in the idea that the market, and in particular, prices, are arbitrary. They believe that stock exchange executives or foreign investors or the oil companies set prices to any level they choose—and that therefore, the effective response to rising or falling prices is simply to demand that someone change the prices back to the desired higher or lower level.This view of prices—that producers can set whatever prices they wish without consequence—is fundamentally mistaken. If producers could really set prices per their whims, why did oil companies wait so long to start selling oil at $100+ a barrel? Why, only a few years ago, did they choose to sell oil at less than $20 a barrel rather than rake in the profits at a higher price? If businesses can name their prices...(Read the rest here).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not Color of Your Skin but the Content of Your Character

America has arrived at a good place. A place where anyone can be anything they want to be. All success depends on now is the content of your character and NOT the color of your skin. With a black President there are now no more excuses for not succeeding in life. Read this article written by Walter Williams.

Despite the fact that President-elect Barack Obama's vision for our nation leaves a lot to be desired, the fact that he was elected represents a remarkable national achievement. When the War of 1861 ended, neither a former slave nor slave owner would have believed it possible for a black to be elected president in a mere century and a half, if ever. I'm sure that my grandparents, born in the 1880s, or my parents, born in the 1910s, would not have believed it possible for a black to be president and neither did I for most of my 72 years.

That's not the only progress. If one totaled black earnings, and consider blacks a separate nation, he would have found that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world's 16th richest nation. That's just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans have been chief executives of some of the world's largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, headed the world's mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black. A few black Americans are among the world's richest people and many are some of the world's most famous personalities. These gains, over many difficult hurdles, speak well not only of the intestinal fortitude of a people but of a nation in which these gains were possible. They could not have been achieved anywhere else.

Acknowledgement of these achievements is not to deny that a large segment of the black community faces enormous problems. But as I have argued, most of today's problems have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination...(Capitalism Magazine).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Man The Discoverer, Creator, Inventor, Space Traveller

It is in terrible times like these that Man must not be shackled by the powerlusters and deal makers and the socialists. The author Ayn Rand captured the cause of our advancement and it isn't the government and its manipulations and regulations of the market place. Think of that come January 20, 2009.

“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered and evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted darkness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor, who ventured into forbidden territory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.

“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.” The Fountainhead - written by Ayn Rand.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Diesel Fuel Produced by Tree Fungus - The Future?

The whole theory of how crude oil was made over eons of time may be turned on its head. If what this article says pans out we could have a whole revolution regarding the production of oil. And after all Oil is King. Read article below.

( -- A unique fungus that makes diesel compounds has been discovered living in trees in the rainforest, according to a paper published in the November issue of Microbiology. The fungus is potentially a totally new source of green energy and scientists are now working to develop its fuel producing potential.

"This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," said Professor Gary Strobel from Montana State University. "The fungus can even make these diesel compounds from cellulose, which would make it a better source of biofuel than anything we use at the moment."

The fungus, which has been named Gliocladium roseum, produces a number of different molecules made of hydrogen and carbon that are found in diesel. Because of this, the fuel it produces is called "myco-diesel".

"Gliocladium roseum lives inside the Ulmo tree in the Patagonian rainforest. We were trying to discover totally novel fungi in this tree by exposing its tissues to the volatile antibiotics of the fungus Muscodor albus. Quite unexpectedly, G. roseum grew in the presence of these gases when almost all other fungi were killed. It was also making volatile antibiotics. Then when we examined the gas composition of G. roseum, we were totally surprised to learn that it was making a plethora of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives. The results were totally unexpected and very exciting and almost every hair on my arms stood on end!"

Many microbes produce hydrocarbons. Fungi that live in wood seem to make a range of potentially explosive compounds. In the rainforest, G. roseum produces lots of long chain hydrocarbons and other biological molecules. When the researchers grew it in the lab, it produced fuel that is even more similar to the diesel we put in our cars.

"When crops are used to make biofuel they have to be processed before they can be turned into useful compounds by microbes," said Professor Strobel. "G. roseum can make myco-diesel directly from cellulose, the main compound found in plants and paper. This means if the fungus was used to make fuel, a step in the production process could be skipped."

Cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose make up the cell walls in plants. Lignin is the glue that holds the cellulose fibres together and makes the plant stand up. These compounds form the part of the plant that most animals cannot digest. They makes up non-foodstuffs like stalks, sawdust and woodchip. Nearly 430 million tonnes of plant waste are produced from just farmland every year; a huge amount to recycle. In current biofuel production, this waste is treated with enzymes called cellulases that turn the cellulose into sugar. Microbes then ferment this sugar into ethanol that can be used as a fuel.

"We were very excited to discover that G. roseum can digest cellulose. Although the fungus makes less myco-diesel when it feeds on cellulose compared to sugars, new developments in fermentation technology and genetic manipulation could help improve the yield," said Professor Strobel. "In fact, the genes of the fungus are just as useful as the fungus itself in the development of new biofuels."

"The discovery also questions our knowledge of the way fossil fuels are made. The accepted theory is that crude oil, which is used to make diesel, is formed from the remains of dead plants and animals that have been exposed to heat and pressure for millions of years," said Professor Strobel. "If fungi like this are producing myco-diesel all over the rainforest, they may have contributed to the formation of fossil fuels." Source: Society for General Microbiology.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Even Without Obama - We are Heading Toward Fascism!

There used to be a time when Americans might have known what government control of the economy meant - but that time is over and we are willingly going to the guillotine.

According to Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, “In herding banking executives into a room and making them an offer they couldn’t refuse, the Paulson regime took its latest and most disturbing step yet on the path to state control of the economy.

“If fascism means coercive state control over nominally private property, then there is no more chilling sign of creeping fascism in America than government’s encroachment on the lifeblood of the U.S. economy--its financial institutions. While the government assures us it will be a ‘passive investor,’ merely funneling cash into the banking system rather than dictating how banks function, this is a lie. Not only does the money come with strings attached--such as restrictions on executive compensation, dividend payments, and the types of investments banks can make--but politicians are already promising a web of further controls. As John McCain recently noted, ‘We will not merely inject billions of dollars into companies and walk away hoping for the best. We will require that those companies be reformed and restructured until they are sound assets again, and can be sold at no loss--or perhaps even a profit--to the taxpayers of America.’ (READ)

Will We pay Dearly for Placing Obama at the Helm?

Robert Tracinski does a masterful job of explaining the contradictions in Obama's character. Throughout this long and never ending campaign Obama has been a chamaleon, changing his stance on a long list of issues. He had a mix of influences on his political nurturing most importantly his associations with the murky world of ultra leftist politics in Chicago which included Saul Alinsky his Marxist "rabble rouser" to his "spiritual rabble rouser" the Reverend Wright. This is important and not to be snuffed at. We have never had a President who has been molded in this leftist marxist view of the world. Following is a small quote from a larger article by Tracinski which you would do well to read in its entirety.

"In Ayn Rand's essay 'For the New Intellectual', she described two types of villains who have sought dictatorial power throughout history: "Attila" and the "Witch Doctor" - the brute who attempts to gain power through muscle and the fraud who attempts to gain power through spiritual manipulation. These two archetypes represent the two major influences on Barack Obama's path to political power."

"This is a powerful and dangerous combination, and it is one that we cannot allow anywhere near the presidency of the United States. It is an Office that requires firm convictions about liberty and about the irreplaceable value of America. It cannot be held by a man who has turned his soul into the spiritual zero necessary to gain power." (Robert Tracinski writing in The Intellectual Activist).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama's Big Lie on Free Trade with Colombia

Leftists in Colombia are in bed with Democrats in Washington and both want to undermine democracy in this struggling nation. Obama's lie is his contention that Uribe's government is killing union members. "That is a flat out lie" and it's a shame because I, who have lived in Colombia many years, can state that Uribe has been positively the greatest President Colombia has ever had in modern times and has done so much to help this country pick itself up and progress. But Obama is in the pocket of BIG LABOR in the United States and it's a crying shame that United States can send goods to Colombia but Colombia cannot send goods to us. Why? Because of corrupt politicians and corrupt Unions in the US who are after power and big money.
NOTE: McCain is FOR FREE TRADE with Colombia. For goodness sake look at this man Obama before you push the button on November 4th. (Wall Street Journal). Listen to Mary Anastasia O'Grady an expert on Latin America.

"Nothing is as Permanent as a Temporary Subsidy"

Walter Williams, interviewed by John Stossel regarding farm subsidies to rich farmers tells Stossel that "nothing is as permanent as a temporary subsidy". Well, the farm bill was passed again this year and Mr. Stossel documents for us how it's the big fat farmers that get these subsidies and also some home dwellers that don't even know why they are getting money from the government! But the poorer farmers are not seeing a cent from these subsidies, yet we, the taxpayer are sending money to millionaire farmers. This program started during the depression and was never killed. Watch closely the interview with Jackson - these politicians have no shame and she even has a smirk on her face. Why do we put up with this transfer of wealth to the wealthy? (WATCH VIDEO)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Palin is the Antithesis of Obama

Watch this video and see if you don't see and feel the difference between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. Which one do you think would lead America with "liberty and justice for all"?

The Importance of Being Obama

As socialism sweeps America and the world, unbenownst to most Americans we can all sleep easy tonight knowing that Obama will take care of us. He'll take care of our pensions, our 401k, our jobs, our health care, our schooling our....everything! Cool we won't have to think, create, initiate, produce, invent, discover, solve, improve, lead, grow, plan or even dream anymore. Wow...sound exciting to you? Listen as Obama says who will help him shape his agenda once in office.

Is Liberty at the Point of Extinction?

Frederic Bastiat is an heroic person in history in that he was one of the lone voices crying out against socialism in 1800. He was a French economist, statesman and author who wrote just before and after the Revolution of February 1848, a period when France was rapidly turning to complete socialism. "As a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Bastiat was studying and explaining each socialist fallacy as it appeared. And he explained how socialism must inevitably degenerate into communism. But most of his countrymen chose to ignore his logic" (Intro to The Law by Frederic Bastiat).

I muse about Mr. Bastiat's writing in connection to:
  • Mr. Obama's writings (see blog of 24 October) and ideas ("we're spreading the wealth" uttered on the campaign trail to Mr. Joe The Plumber, recently).
  • The bailout of brokerage firms
  • The possible "bailing out" of home mortgage owners who have defaulted
  • The most recent nationalization of our top 10 banks
  • The talk of nationalizing the Insurance Industry
  • Government run: schools, health care, retirement, parks, welfare etc. etc. etc.

This compact book "The Law" was reprinted in the United States in 1950 at a time when "The same socialist-communist ideas and plans that were then adopted (in 1848) in France are now sweeping America." Here are some quotes from a defender of liberty, a rare species today.

"It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property. The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.

"It is not true that the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or the pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent any person from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person."

..."Law is solely the organization of the individual right of self-defense which existed before law was formalized. Law is justice."

Next, Bastiat explains what law (government) should not do.

The mission of the law is NOT to oppress persons and plunder them of their property...It's mission is to protect persons and property.

...The law is justice - simple and clear, precise and bounded...If you exceed the proper limit - if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal equalizing, philanthropic, industrial literary, or artistic - you will then be lost in an uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it upon you. This is true because fraternity and philanthropy, unlike justice, do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself?

THIS IS A QUESTION WE SHOULD ALL ASK OURSELVES. Of course that's if you remember what liberty is...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Banking Giants Bow to Bureaucrats

"As the meeting neared a close, each banker was handed a term sheet detailing how the government would take stakes valued at a combined $125 billion in their banks, and impose new restrictions on executive pay and dividend policies." The bankers were told "they weren't allowed to negotiate. Mr. Paulson requested that each of them sign. It was for their own good, and the good of the country, he said, according to a person in the room."

My mind reels. A command appearance before government regulators was followed by a command (not a "request") surrender of autonomy by the nine biggest banks in the U.S. A forced "sale" of preferred shares to the government was ordered in return for billions of newly minted dollars from the Fed ...

Surely this wasn't happening in America. The very notion of bureaucrats telling business leaders what they must do "for their own good, and the good of the country" makes me want to throw up. Preposterous. By what authority? How would they know? What conceit!

How did America's leading bankers react? Did they laugh in the regulators' faces, tear up the "term sheets," and storm out of the room? Did they hold press conferences condemning this high-handed and obviously unconstitutional attempt to intimidate and steal private assets? Not exactly...

A long train of government policy mistakes led to the financial crisis, but the capitulation by business leaders to the demands and claims of government officials has turned what could have been a contained and short-term economic problem into a genuine threat to the very survival of capitalism, and with it, of democracy. (Go to to read the whole article).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Listen to What Obama Actually Says

I wanted to include this as a record of Obama's thoughts and words BEFORE he became President so that I would remember 10, 15 years from now what happened to America. The fact that this man has problems and hangups with his African and white American background and with whites is not worth mentioning if you're going to be a regular citizen, but when you're aspiring to be the president of the most powerful nation on earth, I guess I see problems with that. Don't you?


Audacity of Hope: "Lolo (Obama's step father) followed a brand of Islam …." "I looked to Lolo for guidance".

Dreams of my Father: "The person who made me proudest of all, though, was [half brother] Roy .. He converted to Islam."

Dreams of my Father: "In Indonesia, I had spent two years at a Muslim school"

Dreams of my Father: "I Studied the Koran."

Audacity of Hope: "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

Dreams of My Father: "I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race".

Dreams of my Father: "The emotion between the races could never be pure….. the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart."

Dreams of my Father: "Any distinction between good and bad whites held negligible meaning."

Dreams of My Father: "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites"

Dreams Of My Father: "I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself..".

Dreams of My Father: "That hate hadn't gone away," he wrote, blaming "white people — some cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives."

Dreams of My Father: "There were enough of us on campus to constitute a tribe, and when it came to hanging out many of us chose to function like a tribe, staying close together, traveling in packs," he wrote. "It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names"

Dreams of my Father: "Desperate times called for desperate measures, and for many blacks, times were chronically desperate. If nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence."

Dreams of my Father: "To avoid being mistaken for a racial sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy."

Dreams of my Father: "there was something about him that made me wary," Obama wrote. "A little too sure of himself, maybe. And white."

Dreams of my Father: "the reason black people keep to themselves is that it's easier than spending all your time mad, or trying to guess whatever it was that white folks were thinking about you."

Dreams of my Father: One line in Malcolm X's autobiography "spoke" to Obama "it stayed with me," he says. "He spoke of a wish he'd once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama Refuses to Releases His Birth Documents - Why?

Another lie? Is Obama a Naturalized United States Citizen? Is he hiding something by not willingly releasing his birth documents? Watch this video.

Obama, The Community Organizer was Taught to "Rub Raw The Sores Of Discontent"

Kyle-Ann Shiver has a great article at American Thinker explaining Obama's training to be a "Community Organizer". Please read this so you know what kind of radical is headed for our beloved White House.

In the immortal words of Obama's political mentor, Saul Alinsky, an organizer's job is to "rub raw the sores of discontent" and mount a socialist revolution. In the 1930s and 40s, Alinsky called his revolutionary forces "People's Organizations," but once the word "people" became so tainted by the brutalities of communist "people's republics," he changed the code word to "community," hoping to make it sound more American and neighborly.

But make no mistake. From Alinsky's initial Back of the Yards labor movement, to his Industrial Areas Foundation, where Obama first learned his own "community organizing" tactics, the goal was always revolution.

Agitate and aggravate. Those are the responsibilities of the paid "community organizer."

Prepare the people for the trials of the revolution. The people, according to Alinsky, "must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future" of change, change, change.

As Alinsky said quite clearly in his revolutionary manifesto, Reveille for Radicals:

"A People's Organization is not a philanthropic plaything or a social service's ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving social force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people. It recognizes the existence of the vicious cycle in which most human beings are caught, and strives viciously to break this circle. It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups."

"A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war...A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play." (Read the whole article here).

Obama Was VERY Involved with ACORN

Obama and Ayers and Wright
Obama and ACORN (read communists)
Obama and voter fraud
Obama and "spreading the wealth"

It's all out there for everyone to read and digest. Is this the man that's going to lead the "free world"? Free? You're joking right? Read the following article by James Simpson at American Thinker.

Since even CNN is now reporting on widespread voter fraud being perpetrated by the radical group ACORN, Obama has been forced once again to distance himself from his old buddies. I guess Bill Ayers and Reverend Jeremiah Wright won't feel so lonely anymore.

Interestingly, despite their damning report on ACORN, CNN uncritically repeated what has now become the official Obama position on all his radical friends, to wit: "I hardly knew the man..." In the final presidential debate Wednesday night Obama reiterated that his only tie to ACORN was representing them along with the U.S. Justice Department, in a lawsuit demanding the Illinois state government enforce the new Motor Voter law. As with Ayers and Wright, he is lying. He knows it. And it is a Big Lie.

One of Obama's first career jobs was with ACORN. He was recognized early on as a talented organizer by ACORN leader Madeline Talbott, (think smooth talker) and she got him to coach ACORN leaders in community activism. At the time, Talbott was focusing on ACORN's efforts to expand bank lending to low-income, high-risk customers - the activity that ultimately precipitated today's mortgage market failure - so it is likely Obama trained her leaders with a focus on that effort...(Read at American Thinker).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Life that Mocks Barack Obama and the Old Idea of "Spreading the Wealth"

Communist adage: Communism won't work until everyone is a communist.
Democratic adage: Nothing will work until we have all your money.

A true American spirit is Herman Cain NOT Obama. Both are successful black men but arrived at totally opposite philosophies regarding America.

I heard the most inspiring speech the other day filled with pure Americana. Forgive me but I am going to paraphrase since I have been unsuccessful in finding Herman Cain's talk. This man is a columnist and radio talk show host now but made his fortune in a variety of endeavors. The following is a paraphrase of his talk about his father, which maybe Obama with his "spreading the wealth" philosophy should listen to and learn from.

'Barack Obama's "prosperity is fair and change we need" message for the cool aid drinkers in Washington...THERE IS NO DEPARTMENT OF HAPPINESS IN WASHINGTON D.C. The Founding Fathers meant that prosperity is the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS not the guarantee.'

'Someone who was not confused about the pursuit of happiness was my father Luther Cain. He walked off the dirt farm he was working on with the clothes on his back. All he had was sweat equity. He had his dreams. One of his dreams was to own his own home for his family. He grew up in a shack with Mom and Dad and ten kids. My father did buy his house. He was not confused about prosperity. He achieved prosperity the old fashioned way - he worked for it. It works. Dad had another dream as part of his journey and that was to be able to be worth in assets one million dollars. Not because he wanted a car or a boat. He wanted a million dollars because he believed in the American dream. In 1982 his net worth was $982,000. Dad got there.'

'The Liberals want to take it away with the Death tax'....(read more about Herman Cain).

If McCain could only dig deep within himself and give a big speech tapping into the fundamental and unique spirit of Americans: Independence, self-directed, proud and hard-working then he would have a chance at awakening the deep felt and hidden American character. So far he has not been up to the task and with Obama promising "to spread the wealth" via communism we are truly at a crossroads as far as a major departure from the vision of our Founding Fathers if this man wins the Presidency. I guess the lessons of the communists and socialists of the 19th and 20th century are lost on a poorly educated populace. Truly a terrible shame and tragedy confronts us.

One thing for sure under an Obama regime: the only thing he and his fellow majority democrats will spread is poverty, misery and the decline of a great nation. Maybe we'll have to learn the lesson again. A government controlled economy can only result in bad things for its citizens. Until we courageously stand up and repudiate the old, trashed ideas of communism, socialism, and fascism there will be no end of wanna be dictators wanting to rule how you live. Limited government as set forth in our constitution is what we most need now - NOT more government!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canadians Choose a Tax Cutter; America a Tax Raiser

While it looks like America is set to vote into office the most socialist, leftist President ever, (who has already promised to raise taxes) along with a majority Democratic House and Senate our neighbors to the north have tacked right. After criticizing Canada for years about their leftist politics Canadians can now laugh at the stupidity coming from down South. Read "Conservative Canada" (here).

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party coasted to an easy victory in national elections on Tuesday, winning 38% of the vote and 143 seats in parliament. Mr. Harper's closest competitor, Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion, managed only 26% of the popular vote for 76 seats.

Though he did not win the 155 seats he needed to secure a majority, Mr. Harper did pick up 16 new members of parliament, while the Liberals lost 19 seats. In other words, in a time of great economic uncertainty, Canadians by a large margin went with the tax cutter over the tax raiser. (Wall Street Journal)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Politicians Love to Tell Us That They Will Solve All Our Problems

Most of the uninsured are actually young people who CHOOSE NOT to have insurance because they want to spend that money on other things. About 11 million people do not sign up for the free health care insurance available. Watch this video produced by Nick Gillespie at the Wall Street Journal. Do we really need politicians to "solve" this problem - again?

Madame Pelosi - LEAVE US ALONE!

Message to Nancy Pelosi and her gang in The House. LEAVE US ALONE! Don't try to help the economy by your infusion of dollars that you don't have. LOWER TAXES and STAY OUT OF THE WAY. The American people, by hard work and ingenuity -will get us out of this mess that you have created.

WASHINGTON -- The House Democratic leadership is crafting new legislation to stimulate the shaky U.S. economy, and could call lawmakers back to the nation's capital shortly after the Nov. 4 election to take up the $150 billion measure.

No final decisions have been made on details of the package or changes to the congressional schedule. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other Democratic leaders have discussed reconvening the House the week of Nov. 17 to act on a package that could include new government spending in areas including road and bridge construction, and possibly a tax rebate, congressional aides said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are considering reconvening the House the week of Nov. 17. ' We have some harsh decisions to make. Some of them can ' t wait until January,' she said this week.

Democratic congressional leaders and the White House worked closely in September to shepherd through Capitol Hill a $700 billion plan to attempt to stabilize U.S. financial markets. The camps also worked together at the beginning of the year to enact a $168 billion stimulus package that provided tax rebates to millions of Americans, a measure the White House says shored up growth through much of the year.

But the Democratic leadership in Congress and the White House are at odds over whether a second stimulus effort built around spending is needed to boost the economy. Democrats argue a one-time jolt of federal dollars would create jobs and shore up consumer spending. President George W. Bush contends spending-focused efforts are a waste of taxpayer dollars...(Wall Street Journal).

...Letting markets work is messy and costly. Nevertheless, the only sensible way to deal with the current crisis is to force the companies who created the mess to bear at least some of the costs of their mistakes. Most of all, if the markets are to get back on track our regulators must put an immediate stop to their current practice of publicly demonizing the markets and work to restore confidence in the system. (Wall Street Journal - Read The Government is Contributing to the Panic)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama - "Straight Out of the 60's" and Dangerous

How has this man risen so far so fast? He is handsome, smooth talking and politically savvy but his past is questionable and alarming. The problem is that having McCain as his opponent there is a good possibility that this "foolishly clever and ultimately dangerous" man could be leading the free world in a time of terrible dangers both from madmen and the fools in Washington. It makes me want to cry in fear for my beloved America. Thomas Sowell as usual hits the mark on the possible results for our country by looking into Obama's dicey past.

...There is no reason why someone as arrogant, foolishly clever and ultimately dangerous as Barack Obama should become president -- especially not at a time when the threat of international terrorists with nuclear weapons looms over 300 million Americans.

Many people seem to regard elections as occasions for venting emotions, like cheering for your favorite team or choosing a Homecoming Queen. The three leading candidates for their party's nomination are being discussed in terms of their demographics -- race, sex and age -- as if that is what the job is about. One of the painful aspects of studying great catastrophes of the past is discovering how many times people were preoccupied with trivialities when they were teetering on the edge of doom. The demographics of the presidency are far less important than the momentous weight of responsibility that office carries.

Just the power to nominate federal judges to trial courts and appellate courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, can have an enormous impact for decades to come. There is no point feeling outraged by things done by federal judges, if you vote on the basis of emotion for those who appoint them. Barack Obama has already indicated that he wants judges who make social policy instead of just applying the law. He has already tried to stop young violent criminals from being tried as adults...(Read Capitalism Magazine)

"A Pygmalion of the Soul"

One must remember to appreciate the good things in life in spite of the existance of terrorists and corrupt government inflicted upon us by irrational people. There are rational people doing good things as is the case with Lisa VanDamme the Director of The VanDamme Academy a school for elementary education that offers a real education to children starting out on their adventure of learning about the world around them. Enjoy this from her website (

"It is a beautiful thing to mold a statue and give it life; it is more beautiful to shape an intelligence and give it truth." - Victor Hugo

The first work of literature read in Room 4 this year was Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw. The musical My Fair Lady was based upon this classic play.

Pygmalion is the story of a lowly flower girl who is invited into the home of a brilliant phonetician after he makes a bet that he can teach her the elegance and speech of a proper English lady and pass her off as a duchess at a garden party.

In the play's most comical scene, a favorite among the students, Eliza, the flower girl, ventures into society for the first time. Having been told to confine her conversation to the benign and inoffensive topics of weather and health, she discusses, with the utmost elegance of manners and articulation, her suspicion that her aunt who had allegedly died from influenza had actually been murdered over a hat. And so begins a comedy of errors, in which, as Higgins the phonetician says, the problem is not "how" she says things but "what" she says.

With more training, Eliza learns to curb her coarse speech, and she becomes thoroughly polished, dignified, and charming. Her debut at the garden party is a smashing and unmitigated success. She has become a proper English lady.

But in the last and most important scene of the play, we discover that though she has learned to be a lady, she has not yet learned to be a human being—an independent, self-sufficient individual with her own judgment and her own sense of self worth. She has learned how to conform to the standards of elite society, but she has not learned how to form her own standards.

It is only when she drops her decorum and stands up self-confidently against Higgins that he says, "By George Eliza, I said I'd make a woman of you; and I have."

Because for Higgins (and for Shaw), the mark of a worthy person is not conformity to the standards of the upper classes. Rather, a worthy person is one who has-in my favorite expression of the play—his "own soul," his "own spark of divine fire."

Teaching the play this time, it struck me as metaphorical for my own view of education.
Just as Eliza was taught in a way that allowed her to be passed off as a duchess at a garden party, the best of schools today teach children in a way that allows them to be passed off as educated at a cocktail party. But have they learned to be independent, self- sufficient, clear thinking, passionate human beings? Have they gained their own "spark of divine fire"?

That is our goal at VanDamme Academy. Our aim is not to teach the children a stock set of facts that will make them culturally literate. Our aim is to empower them with the lessons of history, to equip them with the tools of math and science, to provide them the fuel and inspiration of literature—to endow them with the wisdom that will give them the means to live the life of a rational, happy, efficacious human being.

That is why the following were highlights of my week.

First, when Room 4 read that last act of Pygmalion, we came to a scene in which Higgins calls Eliza a fool and she responds that the comment is "not proper." I put down the play and asked the class what Higgins's response to that would be. 11-year-old Taylor's bright eyes became incandescent with understanding and her hand shot in the air. "He would say he doesn't care what's proper!" In that moment, she had not just grasped something deeply important about the character, she had grasped something about Shaw's philosophic perspective on life. She had understood that Shaw cares little for conformity to social standards. And her expression revealed that that kind of understanding was thrilling.

Second, I was stopped in the hall one afternoon this week by the mother of a 7-year-old girl named Emily. She told me that Emily had related to her a story from her book Adventures of the Greek Heroes. Emily told her mother the tragic tale of Admetus the king and his true love Alcestis. Admetus was dying, and the gods declared that if he were to remain with his love, someone would have to die in his place. Admetus went to his loyal subjects, his soldiers, his servants, then even to his own parents, but all feared to die for him. Finally, in a tragic twist, his own dear Alcestis, the love for whom he wanted to live, gave her life for his. As 7-year-old Emily shared the story, her voice became halting, and her mother noticed that she had tears in her eyes. (And as her mother told me this story, both she and I both had tears in ours.)

Our goal at VanDamme Academy is not to produce students who are refined, polished, and superficially educated. It is to produce students who are thoughtful, passionate, and sincerely educated.

My favorite author, Victor Hugo, has a passage in which he describes the role of a teacher. He says, "It is a beautiful thing to mold a statue and give it life; it is more beautiful to shape an intelligence and give it truth." And he captures this whole metaphor in an exquisitely poetic description, calling a teacher "a Pygmalion of the soul."

"If we lose freedom here there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth" (Ronald Reagan)

Ballistic Missil Defense is Not Yet Reality by Brian T. Kennedy (Imprimis a publication of Hillsdale College)

...Nowhere is it written that America is invincible. Yet the threat of nuclear attack has somehow seeped out of our consciousness. Because it didn’t happen during the Cold War, perhaps we presume it never will. But Islamic terrorists did fly planes into our buildings, and if they obtain nuclear weapons, they will not shrink from using them on us. Nor do they pose the only threat to America of nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail.

Russia, China, and Iran
Although we very much want Russia to become a peaceful member of the community of nations, recent events in Georgia suggest that this is unlikely anytime soon. Mr. Putin and Mr. Bush may seem to enjoy a warm relationship, but Russia will continue to seek what its rulers believe is in its interest. Sometimes this will coincide with the interests of the West, but sometimes it will not. In either case, we should make no mistake: Russia is proceeding to modernize its military and its ability to influence world events.

In 2005, President Putin announced that Russia was developing a new ballistic missile. The prototype of a new hypersonic vehicle, he said, had proved its ability to maneuver while in orbit, thereby enabling it to dodge an enemy’s missile shield. Russia clearly believed that the U.S. would build missile defense systems, and has taken steps to build weapons to negate them. With thousands of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, Russia remains a most serious threat to U.S. security.

Nor did our victory in the Cold War entail the disarming or reorganization of communist China—which, in fact, has over two million men under arms. And although China’s navy and air force are not as sophisticated as Russia’s, they still possess a minimum of 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles—most of them aimed at the U.S.—and hundreds of short and medium range nuclear missiles for use in an Asian theater of combat. Today, in an unprecedented build-up that has even liberal policy analysts concerned, the Chinese are building and testing more than one ballistic missile per week.

Furthermore, China’s military thinking is openly anti-American. Its military journals write candidly about unrestricted warfare using a combination of traditional military power, cyber warfare, economic warfare, nuclear warfare, and terrorism. China is also working to develop a space-based military capability and is investing in launch vehicles that include manned spaceflight, a space station, and extensive anti-satellite weaponry meant to negate U.S. global satellite coverage (the latter was successfully tested last year).

Both the Russians and the Chinese know that the only nation that can limit their influence is the U.S. Thus they seek to limit our influence on the world stage, and will undertake whatever policies serve that end.

Meanwhile, the goal of radical Islam is the conversion, subjugation, or destruction of the infidel peoples—first and foremost the citizens of the U.S., Western Europe, and Israel. Even after 9/11, we appear not to take that threat seriously. But Islam is not fragile. It has survived for over a thousand years, and has controlled at various times much of what we know as the civilized world. Even more worrisome, today its determination is matched with modern weaponry and it enjoys alliances with powerful non-Islamic powers.

Consider Iran. President Ahmadinejad and his Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have control of key strategic parts of the Iranian government, and the IRGC is capable of operating as a terrorist training unit both inside and outside of Iran (witness Iran’s support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and its backing of lethal attacks on Americans in Iraq). For the past decade, Iran—with the assistance of Russia, China, and North Korea—has been developing missile technology. It is believed that the Iranians have produced hundreds of Shahab-3 missiles. This is not the most sophisticated missile in the world, but it is capable of carrying a payload to Israel or—if launched from a ship—to an American city.

The current controversy over Iran’s nuclear production is really about whether it can produce an industrial infrastructure that would be capable of producing nuclear warheads. It has sought nuclear capability since the time of the Shah, as most nations do, since nuclear weapons bestow on a country great military and political power. Even a fully democratic and pro-western Iran would want such weapons.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said in 2005: “Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.” What about this do we not get?

Consider this scenario: An ordinary-looking freighter ship heading toward New York City or Los Angeles launches a missile from its hull or from a canister lowered into the sea. The missile hits a densely populated area and a million people are incinerated. The ship is sunk and no one claims responsibility. There is no firm evidence as to who sponsored the attack, and thus no one against whom to launch a counterstrike.

But as terrible as that scenario sounds, consider a second one: Let us say the freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. and it explodes 300 miles over Chicago, creating an electromagnetic pulse. Gamma rays scatter in what is called the Compton effect, and three separate pulses disable consumer electronics, some automobiles, and, most importantly, the hundreds of large transformers that distribute power throughout the U.S. All of our lights, refrigerators, TVs and radios stop running. We have no communication. This is what is referred to as an EMP attack, and such an attack would effectively throw America back into the early nineteenth century. Perhaps hundreds of millions of us will die from lack of food and water and as a result of social breakdown.

Opponents of missile defense call such scenarios far fetched, on the basis that the U.S. would launch a nuclear attack against whatever nation attacks us. That is, they continue to rely on the doctrine of mutually-assured destruction that our leaders prior to Reagan relied on during the Cold War. But in my scenarios, we would not know who attacked us, so that doctrine is no help. And in any case, even if Iran could be identified as the attacker, who is to say that it wouldn’t gladly sacrifice itself to destroy the Great Satan? As the Ayatollah Khomeini said in 1979, during the American hostage crisis: “I say let [Iran] go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the world.”

I do not use the word “destroy” lightly: An EMP attack on the U.S. would mean the end of American civilization, and dropping nuclear weapons on or retaliating against whoever caused the attack will not bring our civilization back. Nor is this science fiction. Twice, in the Caspian Sea, the Iranians have tested their ability to launch ballistic missiles in a way to set off an EMP. And the congressionally-mandated EMP Commission, including some of America’s finest scientists, has released its findings and issued two separate reports, the most recent in July, describing the effects of such an attack on the U.S.

What to Do
The only solution to this problem is the building of a robust, multi-layered missile defense system. Our land-based system in Alaska and California will go far toward stopping a North Korean missile launched at the U.S. But it has very limited capabilities. It will not defend us against an EMP attack of the kind I have described.

The most effective form of missile defense is from space, using space-based interceptors that destroy an enemy warhead in its ascent phase when it is easily identifiable, slower, and has not yet deployed decoys. We know this can work from tests conducted in the early 1990s. We have the technology. What we lack is the political will to make it a reality.

Despite the growing Iranian, Chinese, and Russian arsenals, it is said we are postponing serious missile defense because we must win the war on terror first, as if we cannot do both simultaneously. It is also said that we need the help of Russia and China in the war on terrorism, and that such help will not be forthcoming if we build a missile defense. But the Iranian threat makes such concerns meaningless, and it should be our national policy to defend ourselves from the Russian and Chinese arsenals in any event. In the nuclear age, one does not have the luxury—if one could call it that—of a Pearl Harbor, after which we were able to regroup and rebuild and fight on to victory.

In the face of the threat of an EMP attack, the time for missile defense is now. Our enemies should understand that we will defend our freedom at any cost. In the words of Ronald Reagan, who put America on the road to missile defense: “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”
“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Paying Income Tax in America is Voluntary (according to Harry Reid)

View this video and watch Harry Reid squirm as he tries to answer the question: Is paying income taxes voluntary? Listen and weep. Either this guy is evading the question or he is indeed unfit to be a leader. These politicians do not even know that taxation in America is forced by the threat of fines and prison.

Potato peelers put him on Park Avenue - American Story with Bob Dotson -

If you want a respite from stupid politicians, the corruption in Washington and craven Wall Street watch and listen to this inspiring man who claims life is a vacation. My day is brighter because I know there are people like him in America.

Potato peelers put him on Park Avenue - American Story with Bob Dotson -

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Anti-American Values Candidate

At Frontiers of Freedom, Miklos K. Radvani, writes in detail of Obama and his anti-American soul by starting with a comparison to Gorbachev who totally hoodwinked the United States and Europe into believing that he was a new kind of leader for the Soviet Union. This article is long and detailed and well worth reading for it's reminder of the Gorbachev era and the comparison of this character of history to Obama today. Dr. Radvanyi's conclusion - Obama is certainly a candidate whose basic philosophy is one of anti-American values. This is a man who should be no where near the White House.

"...Ultimately, Gorbachev’s tragedy was that he was a shameless and duplicitous politician. In order to attain power, he was willing to do anything. Yet, when he had power, he refused to exercise it properly. In the end of 1991, the Soviet Union metamorphosed into Russia. As Gorbachev did not change anything, so did the Soviet Union/Russia remain the same autocratic, militaristic, fraudulent, uncivilized and corrupt political entity. As a leader and politician Gorbachev was an utter and colossal failure. Yet, ironically, his fall from political grace only enhanced his pop-culture image in the Western media as a democrat, as a man of peace and above all as an honest intellectual."

"Indeed, Gorbachev was always a lucky actor who, thanks to the mindlessly leftist Western media, became a media pop-star par excellence. He did not create himself. He was invented by the Western media. Gorbachev's only accidental accomplishment remains that the foul ideology of communism expired in the Soviet Union without much bloodshed..."

"...the Obamanian notion that mankind should not settle for the world as he describes it, is terribly dangerous and even self-destructive. Similarly, Obama's political call for ambiguous radical change to transform the world into something that meets his glittering, but unspecified vision puts at risk, and even threatens, both the economic opportunity and political freedom that have become the hallmark with America.

What Obama really strives for is a two fold process. First, he seeks to undermine and ultimately destroy America’s representative democracy in which politicians subordinate themselves to the will of the people. Second, he plans to install a dictatorship of mediocrity in which an idealized and fraudulent media star subordinates his or her emotionally misguided and intellectually blind followers to his own will by intimidation, blackmail, false promises and radical divisiveness. Slogans such as "Yes, We Can!" and "Change We Can Believe In," and "Change We Need" sound more like fanatic battle cries of extreme and irrational religious cult rather than the promised principles of a more dignified and higher kind of political order... "

"...Counterproductively, Obama desperately wants to repudiate and apologize for the glorious past of the United States of America in order to more effectively exploit the race issue and to sell a future that is firmly anchored in the failed communist and socialist policies and practices of the 20th Century. By doing so, Obama only proves how uninformed, incompetent and out of step he is concerning the fundamental realities of the world.

For the world, with the negligible exceptions of some misguided and narcissist tyrants, has unambiguously moved away from the destructive lure of grand ideologies preferring instead sound free market economic principles over the rigidity of centrally planned economies, fiscal prudence over extravagant government-sponsored ambitions, reforms over class-based fanaticism, tested historical experience over utopianism, and representative government over regimes that verbally usurp democracy while in practice indulge in cruel despotism... "

"...What protected and sustained the United States and its allies and defeated their enemies was the timely use of force, or the threat thereof. To counter the unfounded charge of the unloved America and to obtain popular support, the Obama/Biden ticket appears to side with the hate-filled and angry left inside and outside the United States. Bluntly stated, both of these groups advocate the radical transformation of democratic societies into an abstract earthly paradise that would turn all the nation-states of the world into a giant, happy, universal, and irresponsible despotism.

In other words, when Russia, a hopelessly backward, autocratic and militaristic state, challenges the political pluralism and ideological tolerance of the United States and its allies, when desperate despots in Burma, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and leaders of well-organized terrorist groups are increasingly becoming mere pawns in Putin’s quest to restore Russia’s great power status, Obama’s and Biden’s pathetic doctrine of "aggressive personal diplomacy" without the credible threat of use of force amounts to sheer appeasement... "

"...In this new world of brutal power politics, the United States and the world need a president of solid principles, rich national security experience and courage, and not a man who is the prisoner of his intensely personal doubts, theoretic dogmas and class-based socialist/communist political prejudices... "

"Since his speech in mid-February 2008, in Wisconsin, on economic strategy, Obama has preached the socialist/communist gospel about the failure of capitalist society to bring about egalitarian fairness and rapid progress toward a utopian, universal welfare for Americans and for every "citizen" of the world. Indeed, the most important element of Obama’s economic strategy is the political promise that, without exception, everybody can get something for nothing. Admittedly, the amount of this something could vary, according to how much legalized powers of redistribution the president and a like-minded Congress have to arbitrarily award unearned benefits with one hand, while taking well-earned monies with the other. Hence, Obama’s advocacy of big government endowed with ever-increasing revenues to fulfill his never-ending list of promises. His infinite list-o-meter contains, among other items, $150 billion for green energy plan, hundreds of billions of dollars for a socialized national health care plan, huge increases in existing and new taxes proposed by him almost on a monthly basis, higher and new barriers to free trade, and Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

"Obama's "economic plan" is a really not a plan at all, but rather a list of cynical political choices motivated by his desire to turn the free and democratic society of the United States into a socialist/communist state. To conceal his real intentions, Obama has framed his presidential campaign as a political choice among named individuals. That is why Obama has tried to portray so assiduously John McCain as nothing but a carbon copy of President Bush. The problem that Obama has with this line of argument is the need to outbid his opponent by offering more of everything, without regard to any realistic basis to deliver... "

"His hope is that the majority of the voters is not smart enough, not sufficiently well informed, and is prone to blind optimism about Obama the politician. Obama’s ballot-box logic is: Why vote for McCain who offers less?... "

"To fully understand Obama’s economic philosophy, it is essential to start with this central insight: His appeal springs from a profound sense of entitlement and a hate-based moral legitimacy. Through his perception of having been victimized by his parents to his racially inspired rage against "the white men," "capital" and "Wall Street," Obama became the embodiment of a commanding ethos of social justice..."(Frontiers of Freedom).