Saturday, December 31, 2016

An Open Letter To America And Her New President - By Dave Merrick

Years ago in a Wal-Mart, I was walking past the toy department. A screaming four year-old was demanding that his mom buy him the little car set he had opened and scattered all over the floor. After the young mother had several times declined and asked him to come along with her, the boy threw one of the toys at her, leaving a cut on her forehead.
The rattled mom stood there and began slowly counting as some parents do before administering discipline. After she got to ‘five’, the kid stomped his foot and threw another car nearly hitting another shopper. The boy’s face was purple now. Mom started over with ‘one,’ and began counting again. A crowd had gathered, and a manager was looking at the mess in disbelief. The mother smiled at the boy, held out her hand and again pleaded with him to come with her. And what happened next is one reason why my wife never takes me anywhere with her.
In my deepest, sweetest, most articulate voice (from my belly, so It can be heard in the back of any auditorium) I said, “Isn’t he PRECIOUS?!” With that, the mom became furious (at me) and took her bratty kid by the wrist and dragged him toward the main aisle. While he was kicking and flailing his feet and fists she managed to stick him in her shopping cart and roll toward the front of the store. The crowd dissipated. The manager quietly began cleaning up the damage.
America is presently enduring a similar fit being thrown by the grown-up products of that same spineless parenting. But now we have an enabling mother/babysitter liberal government that LOVES the possibilities afforded them in these low-quality, clueless, voting-age brats and their low-quality, clueless parents. And now money hungry media is completely in league with engineering and inciting this mob to the tantrums that help facilitate the grip this administration has on what is left of free America. It is a powerful machine that has evolved since we baby boomers totally swallowed the lie that personal peace and happiness are more to be desired than the vigilance necessary in safeguarding those pursuits.
And the fit has continued through the silly and expensive ‘recount’ effort and the dumb (yet incredibly tolerated) suggestion that America would have voted for Hillary if only her emails hadn’t shown us who she and her cohorts really are. What’s left of thinking America has stood in disbelieving awe as the CIA’s own Washington Post helped to flesh out that absurd notion. And just prior to that, the New York Times paused in 10 seconds of fake repentance before they redoubled their push to destroy Donald Trump and the dangerous liberty he is moving toward protecting.
And old news, I know - but does anyone remember Hubert Humphrey’s response to his electoral defeat after he had beat Richard Nixon by several millions of the popular vote? In contrast to the viciously passive-aggressive Hillary Clinton, what a class act he was. He succinctly explained to his disappointed following (I was one of them) that his loss was the result of a very necessary technicality: the Electoral College. Period, thank you and good night. Corporately we have shown that we have neither the patience nor the brains to appreciate that level of personal responsibility.
This nation’s poorest excuse for a president
In the last moments of the game, this nation’s poorest excuse for a president (after spending our tax dollars in an effort to ruin Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection as Israel’s Prime Minister) can step to a microphone and arbitrarily lay blame on the Russians for the defeat of unbridled evil posing as a woman politician. And he can now pull off his most underhanded stunts in broad daylight simply because the tv-obedient brats have been lockstep trained to despise Donald Trump just as thoroughly and groundlessly as when SNL took down Sarah Palin. As I have said so often during the past eight years especially, don’t argue with today’s liberals. Logical debate does not reach them.
The tantrum-throwers have come to constitute a standing army for Obama and the babysitters who will promise to keep them secure in their dependency. And only because he knows he can, our fearless leader walks dangerously close to the spotlight in engineering a desperation toss in a last-ditch effort to preserve his own ‘legacy.’ Just as thinking people predicted, he is executive-ordering and stirring up an effective hand grenade for our president-elect.
And if his expelling diplomats and generally spitting in the face of that big bear can get us into a war with Russia, he will have instantly subjugated all our people and laws before his freshly installed godless social ‘conscience.’ As always he will blame the mess on his opposition and push ahead demanding his own way at all costs (on us). I pray that there is an inauguration on January 20, 2017. But if Barack can pull the strings necessary between now and then, he may have his third term after all.

And Now A Word To Our Future President ....
Donald Trump, if you are reading this, hang in there, son. This isn’t the America of two or three decades ago when there was still an avenue of appeal before a majority court of public opinion driven by fairness and commonsense. And the people in this nation’s highest offices, public and private, who are now working against you know no shame because even acknowledging shame is now the biggest embarrassment. The man who has been telling us he is laboring to make your transition a seamless one is, as you know, working overtime to trip you up. And he has enlisted all the powers of hell and the hammer of ridicule to mercilessly tear you to shreds.
Liberal media will not tell you this - but a lot of Americans have been waiting anxiously for a president we can be proud of. Many still try to respect the office but have justifiably lost all respect for the weasel who has occupied it for the past eight years. We have a hero in sight now, someone we can point to as a good example. We again have a reason to be proud, President Trump! As you are building your team for success, it’s obvious that you have the best interests of our nation in mind. You know what is right and you are choosing to do it.
At a time of life when you could simply rest on your laurels and enjoy the fortune you have earned, you have volunteered to take on the great burden of righting our foundering ship and actually defending our Constitution - a solemn promise your predecessor has so viciously and deliberately broken.
Americans have been appalled at the rude and shabby treatment that you have received from the press and our own government. You won the election - TWICE! You are indeed this nation’s choice! Keeping your vision, even through months of lying defamation from the big media bullies and the violence staged by your opposition at your rallies, you pressed on to victory!
I wish there was a way I could silence for you the tantrums of the babies who didn’t get their way. Many have prayed for you. I am proud to say that our family has prayed for you daily since you declared your candidacy. I personally have prayed to God for your success and protection, to the point of headache and exhaustion. I truly believe that you just may be the last brush with grace this nation will have before its demise.
I congratulate you, Sir! And congratulations are in order, not only for your personal business and political achievements to date, but also for your best success in raising a family you can be proud of - five children who very obviously love, respect and support you. That speaks volumes about the man you truly are! Sadly, another American hero-president in every respect, Ronald Reagan, was not even able to achieve that.
Some of your ‘critics’ claim that you do not have adequate experience for this job. Well, neither did quite a few of your predecessors. George Washington did just fine leaning on a sincere heart and true faith in our overseeing and loving God. But as for your experience, you have negotiated, into an empire, business deals at a breathtaking level that have passed the test of time. You know how to get things done - not by bribing cronies with position, money and power they don’t deserve - but by simply putting the right person in the right job. The cabinet you are building is a dream team testifying to the authenticity of your motives.
I, for one, wholeheartedly offer you my continued support in helping to secure the success of your presidency.
Mr. Trump, I am not asking that you do anything for me as president. You already have lightened my heart and given me hope by running and winning in this battle. Through my faith in God, I trust and support the actions you will be taking in moving America back toward her greatness.
As a postscript, I must praise your lovely wife for the great personal sacrifice she is making born out of her love for you and for her adopted homeland. Sadly, she will no longer be free to live and enjoy life with much spontaneity, but will be confined and guarded and constantly criticized for her every word and movement. Nevertheless her noble character will make her a tremendous first lady - and it already certainly testifies to the impeccable quality of people with whom you have surrounded yourself.
God’s best blessing and protection be upon you and our nation, President Trump!

Dave Merrick, is an internationally known and published artist whose works reach into the greatest diversity of audiences. Known primarily for his astoundingly lifelike portraiture, Merrick’s drawings and paintings grace the walls of an impressive array of well-known corporate and private clientele. Many of his published wildlife pieces have become some of America’s most popular animal imagery.
He has more original work in the Pro-Rodeo Hall of Fame than any other artist. His wildlife and Southwestern-theme work is distributed internationally through Joan Cawley Galleries of Scottsdale AZ.

The Real Purpose of PC - The Dirty Secrets of Socialism - By Thomas DiLorenzo

Parents of college-age children are finally catching on to the cultural Marxist PC scam.  Cries of “insensitivity” every time a conservative or libertarian speaker appears anywhere near a college campus; “safe rooms” equipped with play dough, soft music, and videos of frolicking puppies; the endless accusations of “racist/sexist/homophobe” aimed at all non-leftists on campus; and widely-publicized episodes of vulgar, ignorant, x-rated, “students” screaming their heads off at conservative campus speakers have exposed the real purpose of political correctness:  censorship of any and all non-Marxist ideas. It’s not about fighting racism, sexism, etc.; it’s about censoring the ideas of freedom.
Today’s college students have been –and are being – trained to be intolerant, totalitarian-minded, communist thugs.  All for a mere 50 grand a year at even mediocre institutions of “higher education.”
This all began after the worldwide collapse of socialism in the late 1980s. Socialists never give up on their dream of ordering their fellow human beings around, plundering them with taxes, and enriching themselves in the process.  Very few of the twentieth-century socialist ideologues ever admitted that they were disastrously wrong, or apologized for providing aid and comfort to the likes of Stalin, Mao, and Castro.  Instead, they and their intellectual descendants have worked tirelessly to invent a virtual socialist reality – at least in the minds of America’s youth – while censoring all dissenting opinions.  Socialism’s dirty secrets must never be revealed to America’s youth, lest they revolt against the giant lying machine known as “higher education.”  (There are a few exceptions, of course, but most of academe is now dominated by the totalitarian, cultural Marxist Left). 
What are socialism’s dirty secrets that must be kept from America’s youth?  Let’s examine a few of them:
  1. Socialism has always and everywhere been an economic disaster, and every honest scholar knows this. After seventy years of socialism, the Soviet economy was barely 5% of the U.S. economy, despite the false assertions of pro-socialist economists like Paul Samuelson, who wrote in the 1988 edition of his famous textbook that the Soviet economy would exceed the U.S. economy by the year 2000.
  2. You cannot fix socialism with smarter government planners or plans. Socialism cannot work because the rational economic calculation is impossible without private property, free-market prices, the profit-and-loss market feedback mechanism, and economic freedom in general.
  3. The ostensible goal of socialism – egalitarianism – is at war with human nature because all human beings are unique in thousands of different ways. The only kind of “equality” that socialism has ever created is equality of misery and poverty.
  4. Socialism generates far more societal inequality than economic freedom does. In all socialist societies the politically-connected elite live lives of luxury while nearly everyone else is equally impoverished.  In democratic socialist Venezuela today the economy has been ruined by socialism while the daughter of the late Hugo Chavez, the father of Venezuelan socialism, is reportedly worth $4.5 billion.
  5. The worst kind of people – the most immoral, corrupt, cynical, uncaring, and brutal – rise to the top under socialism because socialism is all about forcing people to abandon their own plans for their own lives and complying with mandatory government plans instead. It is no accident, in other words, that socialism is associated with such violent thugs as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao.
  6. Fascism was just another variety of socialism. The word “Nazi” was an acronym for national socialism. The German socialists distinguished themselves from the Russian socialists by calling their variety of socialism “national” as opposed to “international.” 
  7. It is a myth that Scandinavian socialism has been successful. Swedish capitalism was extremely successful in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The Swedes began living off of the fruits of capitalist prosperity by adopting a version of democratic socialism in the 1950s.  As a result, there was not a single net new job created there from 1955 to 1995.
  8. Nineteenth-century socialism was “government ownership of the means of production,” but it now includes the welfare state progressive income taxation and the strangulation of capitalism with regulation and taxation. The welfare state has destroyed the work ethic of millions; destroyed millions of families; caused a 400% increase in out-of-wedlock births in America since 1960; and transformed millions into lifelong beggars and wards of the state.
  9. Government-run healthcare systems – medical care socialism – is like all other government enterprises in that it operates with all the efficiency of the Post Office or Department of Motor Vehicles and all the compassion of the IRS. Anything as important as medical care should never be put in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.
  10. The worse pollution problems on the planet for the past century or more have been in the socialist countries, as documented by books with titles like Ecocide in the USSR.  After the collapse of socialism the world learned that, in addition to being economic basket cases, socialist countries were also ecological cesspools.
These are but a few of the well-documented truths about socialism that are rarely, if ever, mentioned on college campuses.  They are among the main reasons why the cultural Marxists have erected so many instruments of ironclad censorship on college campuses.  They are why institutions like the Mises Institute – and all the scholars associated with it — are so reviled by them, for they provide their students – and anyone else – with a source of alternative economic education, an education based on sound economics and based in reality.  Mises wrote in Human Action of how the socialists of his day were at war with economics, for economic common sense threatened their totalitarian plans.  Today’s socialists hope to never even have to respond to sound economic arguments and facts at all by simply censoring them out of existence.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; How Capitalism Saved America; Lincoln Unmasked; Hamilton’s Curse; Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government; and most recently, The Problem With Socialism.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Big Brother Already Watches Everyone in America - By Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11, an array of police state laws, executive orders, memoranda, various national security and homeland security presidential directives, along with other repressive measures eliminated constitutional protections.

Indefinite detention without charges or trial became the law of the land. Torture-obtained evidence may be used against detainees in trial proceedings, despite earlier Supreme Court decisions ruling it impermissible.
Amending longstanding Insurrection Act and Posse Comitatus protections allows federal troops to be deployed on US streets.
Big Brother watches everyone. Whistleblowers exposing government wrongdoing risk long term imprisonment under harsh conditions.
Obama’s war on freedom risks eliminating it altogether, America under his tenure a hair’s breadth from full-blown tyranny.

First Amendment rights are threatened like never before. Truth-telling on vital domestic and geopolitical issues is now considered fake news or Russian propaganda.
Targeting it is the hallmark of fascist dictatorship. Washington wants views contrary to its own suppressed, writers like myself and many others silenced.
When truth-tellers become enemies of the state, freedom no longer exists.

In early December, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act – an unconstitutional measure against First Amendment freedoms.
On December 23, ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, Obama signed it into law practically unnoticed. Along with approving bloated military spending, it establishes a Center for Information Analysis and Response – a de facto Ministry of Truth.

It aims to ferret out truth-telling on vital issues, suppress what everyone has a right to know, countering it with state-sponsored propaganda – along with perhaps targeting reliable independent sources of news, information and analysis for elimination.

Orwell once said in times of universal deceit, truth-telling is a revolutionary act. In America, it’s an endangered species, heading toward becoming criminalized, its disseminators risking prosecution, imprisonment or elimination by other means.
Obama governs under a police state apparatus, hardened throughout his tenure. When truth-telling becomes fake news or Russian propaganda, criminalizing it is a step closer to reality.
Reprinted with permission from
Stephen Lendman [send him mail] lives in Chicago. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. Visit his blog.

The Giant Challenge Facing SecDef Mattis - By Dennis Sevakis

There’s been a fair amount of Trump-supporter braggadocio regarding the President-elect’s nomination of Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as the new Defense Secretary – an admirable choice, certainly. If Mad Dog can navigate the machinations of the Pentagon as well as he did the battlefield we’re in for a rejuvenation of America’s military that should be a major reversal of its downward fortunes over the past few decades. I hope that Mr. Trump fully appreciates the magnitude of the task he has set before Gen. Mattis.

That task that has grown steadily in size and complexity since the end of the end of the Bush I administration. It’s not just a matter of budget and resource allocation. Much has been done with the intention of diminishing, if not eliminating, the traditions and esprit-de-corps of all the armed services. An early example is what happened in the wake of a 1991 convention in Las Vegas following the prosecution of the Gulf War. Several Navy officers had their careers sunk in what became the “Tailhook Witch-Hunt” as recounted in the October 1993 issue of Heterodoxy. This is but one of many ventures into the transformation of the military into post-modern, politically-correct, feminist-beholden, open-homosexuality organizations. The 2008 PBS mini-series “Carrier”, whether intentionally or not, gives our potential foes an insight into just how far the emasculation of our armed services has gone. A few extracted bits may be seen here.

All PC nonsense aside, the defense budget is an issue. What has the $10 Trillion increase in the national debt bought? I’m not sure if anyone really knows, but certainly not a stronger, more robust military. Being a former USAF officer and pilot, the Air Force is my particular concern. A recent article in the American Spectator titled “The Air Force Needs Maverick” caught my attention and I thought I’d pass it along to my pilot training classmates (we had a 50th reunion at the end of October). Was USAF really suffering from a severe pilot shortage? A response from one of my comrades-in-arms broadened the picture:

Not sure I buy premise that there is a pilot shortage.  I recall recently reading that maintainers say they have a serious shortage of trained personnel.  And I have heard logistics guys say they do not have enough parts, fuel and people.  And complaints earlier this year about munitions shortages resulting in combat sorties flown with sub-optimal ordnance loads.  Lastly, senior Air Force leaders are continually arguing for additional airframes.  Altogether, situation appears to result in complaints that pilots in non-combat assignments are flying only once per week or less.  And apparently, some of those graduating UPT are put on the shelf for a year because there are no cockpits available.  Real problem in my mind is that our national strategy leads to a force structure that leads to a budget requirement and that amount is simply not available.  As the country is apparently unwilling to cough-up more for defense spending, the hard requirement should be to reduce the strategy and force structure such that a balance is struck between the elements competing for the funds made available.  The solution lies not so much in more pilots but in the need for a strong National Command Authority prepared to re-set national strategy and enforce budget constraints, and an armed services leadership prepared to balance requirements based upon available funding. 

The Air Force’s conventional combat readiness and capacity appear rather stunted.
Nuclear strike forces? Well, USAF’s Minuteman III missile force has now been de-MIRVed in conformance with our nuclear weapons agreements with the Soviets/Russians. The Minuteman IIIs were once each armed with three nuclear warheads but now sport only one. Additionally, as announced in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, “… the intercontinental ballistic missile warheads now are targeted on open oceans — not Russian or Chinese cities — in case of an accidental launch, senior administration officials said in releasing the report.”  That’s sure to put fear caution whatever into the hearts of our adversaries.

We’ve also been decommissioning advanced, nuclear-capable cruise missiles that are aircraft launched. Meanwhile, the Russians have tested a ground-launched, nuclear-capable cruise missile, said item being specifically prohibited by treaty. The Russians and Chinese have both developed and are deploying or will deploy advanced ICBMs as well as maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicles for nuke delivery that are very difficult to intercept with our current ABM technology. Both are advancing their anti-satellite capabilities. The Cold War arms race didn’t end. It’s accelerating. America?

Over the last 10+ years there have been several controversies targeting the Air Force over its command and control – or lack thereof – of the USAF nuclear strike force, including both missile and aircraft delivered warheads. Two of these led to the dismissal of the Air Force Secretary and USAF Chief of Staff by then Defense Secretary Robert Gates. There was also a problem with missile alert crews sleeping with the missile silo blast door open. A SAC wing flunked its ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection) re-inspection ostensibly because of improperly filled-out paperwork. USAF’s nuclear command and control sins may be manifold, but where do we stand in correcting them now that the headlines have faded well into the past?

Procurement of military materiel from foreign suppliers is an issue even less publicized. The idea of buying a new USAF aerial tanker from Airbus didn’t seem like a very good idea to Mr. Gaffney who detailed some of the shenanigans involved in the bidding process. There was also a problem with counterfeit chips from the Chinese ending up in our military aircraft as was revealed by Dr. Joel F. Brenner, National Counterintelligence Executive, in a 2009 address. Have we ever held the Chinese accountable? Have we held anyone accountable for any of this? Other than the chaps Mr. Gates tossed?

We have some very serious problems concerning America’s Air Force and our military in general. I wish President Trump and General Mattis the best in addressing those problems, however serious and pervasive they may be. They’ll need all the support they can get from the American people if the job’s to be done well.

What is Henry Kissinger Up To? - By Paul Craig Roberts

The English language Russian news agency, Sputnik, reports that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is advising US president-elect Donald Trump how to “bring the United States and Russia closer together to offset China’s military buildup.”
If we take this report at face value, it tells us that Kissinger, an old cold warrior, is working to use Trump’s commitment to better relations with Russia in order to separate Russia from its strategic alliance with China.

China’s military buildup is a response to US provocations against China and US claims to the South China Sea as an area of US national interests. China does not intend to attack the US and certainly not Russia.

Kissinger, who was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International studies for a dozen years, is aware of the pro-American elites inside Russia, and he is at work creating for them a “China threat” that they can use in their effort to lead Russia into the arms of the West. If this effort is successful, Russia’s sovereignty will be eroded exactly as has the sovereignty of every other country allied with the US.

At President Putin’s last press conference, journalist Marat Sagadatov asked if Russia wasn’t already subject to forms of foreign semi-domination: “Our economy, industry, ministries and agencies often follow the rules laid down by international organizations and are managed by consulting companies. Even our defense enterprises have foreign consulting firms auditing them.” The journalist asked, “if it is not the time to do some import substitution in this area too?”

Every Russian needs to understand that being part of the West means living by Washington’s rules. The only country in the Western Alliance that has an independent foreign and economic policy is the US.

All of us need to understand that although Trump has been elected president, the neoconservatives remain dominant in US foreign policy, and their commitment to the hegemony of the US as the uni-power remains as strong as ever. The neoconservative ideology has been institutionalized in parts of the CIA, State Department and Pentagon. The neoconservatives retain their influence in media, think tanks, university faculties, foundations, and in the Council on Foreign Relations.

We also need to understand that Trump revels in the role of tough guy and will say things that can be misinterpreted as my friend, Finian Cunningham, whose columns I read, usually with appreciation, might have done.

I do not know that Trump will prevail over the vast neoconservative conspiracy. However, it seems clear enough that he is serious about reducing the tensions with Russia that have been building since President Clinton violated the George H. W. Bush administration’s promise that NATO would not expand one inch to the East. Unless Trump were serious, there is no reason for him to announce Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as his choice for Secretary of State. In 2013 Mr. Tillerson was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship.

As Professor Michel Chossudovsky has pointed out, a global corporation such as Exxon has interests different from those of the US military/security complex. The military/security complex needs a powerful threat, such as the former “Soviet threat” which has been transformed into the “Russian threat,” in order to justify its hold on an annual budget of approximately one trillion dollars. In contrast, Exxon wants to be part of the Russian energy business. Therefore, as Secretary of State, Tillerson is motivated to achieve good relations between the US and Russia, whereas for the military/security complex good relations undermine the orchestrated fear on which the military/security budget rests.

Clearly, the military/security complex and the neoconservatives see Trump and Tillerson as threats, which is why the neoconservatives and the armaments tycoons so strongly opposed Trump and why CIA Director John Brennan made wild and unsupported accusations of Russian interference in the US presidential election.
The lines are drawn. The next test will be whether Trump can obtain Senate confirmation of his choice of Tillerson as Secretary of State.

The myth is widespread that President Reagan won the cold war by breaking the Soviet Union financially with an arms race. As one who was involved in Reagan’s effort to end the cold war, I find myself yet again correcting the record.

Reagan never spoke of winning the cold war. He spoke of ending it. Other officials in his government have said the same thing, and Pat Buchanan can verify it.
Reagan wanted to end the Cold War, not win it. He spoke of those “godawful” nuclear weapons. He thought the Soviet economy was in too much difficulty to compete in an arms race. He thought that if he could first cure the stagflation that afflicted the US economy, he could force the Soviets to the negotiating table by going through the motion of launching an arms race. “Star wars” was mainly hype. (Whether or nor the Soviets believed the arms race threat, the American leftwing clearly did and has never got over it.)
Reagan had no intention of dominating the Soviet Union or collapsing it. Unlike Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, he was not controlled by neoconservatives. Reagan fired and prosecuted the neoconservatives in his administration when they operated behind his back and broke the law.

The Soviet Union did not collapse because of Reagan’s determination to end the Cold War. The Soviet collapse was the work of hardline communists, who believed that Gorbachev was loosening the Communist Party’s hold so quickly that Gorbachev was a threat to the existence of the Soviet Union and placed him under house arrest. It was the hardline communist coup against Gorbachev that led to the rise of Yeltsin. No one expected the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The US military/security complex did not want Reagan to end the Cold War, as the Cold War was the foundation of profit and power for the complex. The CIA told Reagan that if he renewed the arms race, the Soviets would win because the Soviets controlled investment and could allocate a larger share of the economy to the military than Reagan could.

Reagan did not believe the CIA’s claim that the Soviet Union could prevail in an arms race. He formed a secret committee and gave the committee the power to investigate the CIA’s claim that the US would lose an arms race with the Soviet Union. The committee concluded that the CIA was protecting its prerogatives. I know this because I was a member of the committee.

American capitalism and the social safety net would function much better without the drain on the budget of the military/security complex. It is correct to say that the military/security complex wants a major threat, not an actual arms race. Stateless Muslim terrorists are not a sufficient threat to such a massive US military, and the trouble with an actual arms race, as opposed to a threat, is that the US armaments corporations would have to produce weapons that work instead of cost overruns that boost profits.

The latest US missile ship has twice broken down and had to be towed into port. The F-35 has cost endless money, has a variety of problems and is already outclassed. The Russian missiles are hypersonic. The Russian tanks are superior. The explosive power of the Russian Satan II ICBM is terrifying. The morale of the Russian forces is high. They have not been exhausted from 15 years of fighting without much success pointless wars against women and children.
Washington, given the corrupt nature of the US military/security complex, can arms race all it wants without being a danger to Russia or China, much less to the strategic alliance between the two powers.
The neoconservatives are discredited, but they are still a powerful influence on US foreign policy. Until Trump relegates them to the ideological backwaters, Russia and China had best hold on to their strategic alliance. Anyone attempting to break this alliance is a threat to both Russia and China, and to America and to life on earth.
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House. Visit his website.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Privatizing Education: An Important Step in School Reform - By E. Jeffrey Ludwig

Diane Ravitch, a guru of educational practice and philosophy, recently summarized many of the negatives of privatizing some or all of our public schools.  She attributes Trumpian enthusiasm for this to (1) the influence of the rich in the top 1% (she does not specify what they would hope to gain by this move on life's chessboard), (2) the influence of Pres. Obama with his Race to the Top moneys, (3) the initiatives of certain wealthy visionaries who anticipated both big profits and higher levels of student achievement, and (4) the influence of various wheeler-dealers who hoped to make a quick buck, even if it meant having the schools opened for only a short time, which would have been enough time to line their pockets (in other words, cynical exploitation of children and their real educational needs). 

She clearly states the shortcomings of the charter school/privatizing movement.  Although these issues need to be addressed if privatizing goes forward, as Donald Trump says he will do, they are hardly decisive reasons for not privatizing.  Ravitch indicates that financial rip-offs have taken place, teacher turnover has often been great owing to excessive demands on their time and energy, selectivity for admissions has enabled the charter and private schools to exclude some of the more difficult to teach students, and the vision of the common good is disrupted.

But what about the negatives in the public sector that have made the "school choice" movement seem increasingly attractive?  Ravitch addresses none of these.  For example, financial waste and corruption of billions of taxpayer dollars has much to do with the increased momentum of the privatizing movement.  Take the New York City schools.  Each school now has to have a financial report called a "Galaxy Report" online along with that school's testing statistics.  However, these reports are far from self-explanatory, and a citizen could understand them only with some exhaustive research, which the average parent of a school-age child has neither the time nor the inclination to do.  Therefore, these "reports" of school finances or school test results merely provide charades of transparency. 

Nobody is privy to actual shifts of funds by the principal from one line of the budget to another, nor are audits of the individual school's books, if indeed there are audits, ever made public.  This former teacher never once in over 20 years of teaching saw any audit of the funds of any high school published by the NYC Dept. of Education.  The assistant principals for organization in the high schools typically have never had even one accounting course in their years of education, yet they are often, along with the principals, the key players in superintending the revenue flow allocated to the school

School construction for the repair, renovation, and building of schools is to this observer a racketeering enterprise.  This writer in the 1990s taught in an NYC high school being renovated.  In 1988, the bid for the job when it started was $28 million, but by 1995, the "cost overrun" (laughable terminology) had the job at $97 million.  And when the job was completed, the roof still leaked, the tiles of the floors were scuffed and ugly after one year, and the doorknobs had been broken off or stolen from the doors of the music wing.  The high school was declared a failing school by N.Y. State and, under the brilliant leadership of Joel Klein, eliminated as a comprehensive high school and broken into three "academy schools."  A few short years later, these three schools were in turn declared failed, phased out, and replaced with four new schools.  This corrupt farce was in only one high school in our great metropolis.  Multiply this scenario by dozens of high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, and we can begin to see the true impetus for the charter and privatizing movement. 

Prof. Ravitch insists on seeing the privatizing movement as a scheme to make money by  individuals and corporations that already have too much money.  At the same time, she chooses to ignore the phenomenal profits of various educational corporations such as Houghton Mifflin, Cengage, and Pearson from their relationships with the public schools.  Add to this the College Board, which provides all the SAT and AP exams for the public schools, and the vast bureaucracies needed to run all the educational programs and to service the vast data collection that is at the heart of Common Core, and we see more than a little pecuniary stake in having "business as usual" in the public schools.  Robert Weissberg in his many books and articles as well as Bruce Deitrick Price, both frequent contributors to American Thinker, have documented how bogus and wasteful the programs supposed to improve education have actually been.

Yet there is another problem with the public schools that Prof. Ravitch fails to discern.  She expresses concern that privatizing will detract from the "common good" served by the public schools.  This observation begs the question – namely, what is the common good?  It is obvious to all discerning citizens that the public schools increasingly exist in a moral vacuum.  The Ten Commandments can no longer be displayed, prayer is prohibited under the false doctrine of "separation of church and state," and displays of creches, for example, at Christmastime are also not allowed.  Ironically, and as a well kept "open secret" at one high school where I taught, Muslim students were allowed to use classroom space for times of prayer.

One NYC high school for years had a Mr. and Ms. High School contest (school name omitted to protect the guilty), where the girls competed in bikinis and the boys got to flex their muscles while wearing jock straps or the smallest skivvies.  Additionally, the textbook in a sex ed class in that high school said that some people believe that you should wait until marriage to have sexual intercourse, and those few people who believe that way "should be tolerated."  Another page in the same book told the studious teens that while some believe that the size of the male organ is important, that is a mistaken belief in terms of sexual satisfaction.  It is rewarding to know that this kind of information is being made available in a college preparation curriculum.

Under the great progressive leadership of schools chancellor Joel Klein and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, a leadership academy was set up to seek and train promising individuals for principalships.  One young woman in her twenties spoke to potential candidates and openly thanked her mother, who already was a principal in New York, for this wonderful opportunity.  She did not even realize that in doing so, she was admitting the nepotism that won her the spot as a principal despite almost no experience.  Another young man in his late twenties or early thirties, politically correct but also without much experience, was the principal of a middle school for social justice in the Bronx, one of the subdivisions of New York City.

Social justice has become a code word for the "cultural Marxist" agenda.  In another high school where this writer taught, the Star-Spangled Banner was never sung, but under the rubric of "social justice," a different song, "Lift Up Your Heart and Sing" was regularly sung.  It's referred to as "the black national anthem." 

Thus, just based on this anecdotal evidence about official school policies regarding sexual activity and sexual identity, about finding inexperienced but compliant, left-wing know-nothings for leadership positions, and about pandering to identity politics rather than the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of Almighty God, we must question Ravitch's assumption that the public schools are serving the common good.  The common good denotes not only unity, but an ideal of the moral and upright individual linked by mutual respect to others in an extensive, righteous, caring, responsible, freedom-loving, and unified community.  The failure of the public schools, especially in our cities, to do this is the key reason why we must support the privatization of our educational system.

Our Enemy, the Alt-Left - By Jack Kerwick

James Kirchick’s latest article at The Daily Beast—“The Jews Begging to Join the Alt-Right”—is a ramshackle assemblage of nonsequiturs, ad hominem attacks, and straw man fallacies that Kirchick, himself a Jew, tries to pass off as a reasoned argument.
The first thing of which to take note is that at the core of Kirchick’s propagandist piece is an intractable contradiction. The “alt-right,” he tells us, is a “nebulous” phenomenon. The Oxford Dictionary informs us that the nebulous is that which is “indistinct,” “unclear,” “ill-defined.” Thus, if he was intellectually honest, Kirchick would, at the very least, proceed with caution and humility while treating his subject matter.
This, though, is decidedly not the course that Kirchick takes. Rather, he purports to know all that there is to know about the nebulous object of his contempt.
Kirchick identifies “leaders” and assures us that “alt-righters” must consent to be “contemptuous of mainstream conservatism.” They must agree to “politicize whiteness.” Those wishing to become members of the “alt-right” must oppose those “hordes of Muslims, Black Lives Matter activists, and campus totalitarians” that are resolved to “destroy” “Western civilization.”
Oh yeah, and anyone who wants to be in the “alt-right” must subscribe to “anti-Semitism.”
Despite this, though, Kirchick informs us that there are “self-hating” Jews who “are lining up” to join the “alt-right” and “shout ‘Seig Heil’ and ‘Hail, Donald’” (Kirchick’s use of the argument ad Hitlerium, though all too predictable, should not go unnoticed here).
The “alt-right” is nebulous and not nebulous, to hear Kirchick tell it.
Second, Kirchick speculates that those legions of Jews aching to ally themselves with “an explicitly racist” movement that “explicitly embraces an exclusionary white identity” and “that frankly doesn’t want them” may be inclined to do so because of Paul Gottfried, “one of the alt-right’s founders [.]”
Gottfried, you see, is Jewish.
He is also a Jew whose family had to flee the Nazis.
Beyond this, Gottfried is hardly the “the crank” that Kirchick would have us think. He is a scholar of European and American intellectual history and retired professor who has authored numerous highly acclaimed books and articles over his illustrious career. He was an adviser in the Reagan administration and became friendly with a retired Richard Nixon after the former President publicly expressed his affection for one of Gottfried’s more philosophical works. Professor Gottfried was also friends with William F. Buckley and, in fact, wrote for the latter’s National Review—a publication for which Kirchick now writes.
In 2008, when Gottfried first used the term “alternative right” at a conference over which he was presiding, he did so in order to distinguish himself and the attendees from those who had, quite wrongly, become associated with “the right” in popular media.
Gottfried, in other words, presented the movement of sorts that was coalescing around him as an alternative to the movement of GOP-friendly apparatchiks, the scribblers and talking heads whose names and faces had become synonymous with “conservatism” and “the right.”
Gottfried’s alternative right, however, had nothing to do with “exclusionary white identity,” “racism,” and whatever other “isms” and “phobias” Kirchick wants to pull from his Politically Correct arsenal in his quest to demonize his opponents.
Rather, Gottfried is a conservative liberal, a classical conservative with libertarian impulses who is much more at home in the tradition of Edmund Burke than in the communist and socialist milieus from which Kirchick’s ilk hail.
This brings us to our third point.
“Alternative right” is a misleading moniker insofar as it implies that there is a right to which it is an alternative. Yet as Gottfried (and others) have insisted, the so-called “right” in America today is no right at all. Politically, ideologically, and culturally, the official “right” in contemporary America is predominately a neoconservative “right,” another version of the left.
A final word: Even when he is making his case that “Jews need not apply” to the “alt-right,” Kirchick can’t cite anyone except for anonymous commenters who have made genuinely disparaging, deplorable remarks about Jews. And as for those who send memes of Jews being gassed in ovens, a meme that Kirchick claims to have received, the decent have no use.
This being said, it is telling that neither Kirchick nor anyone else can identify a single rally or article, much less a video, featuring any instances of “alt-righters” visiting violence, or even calling for violence, against anyone.
Take as a prime example those “hordes of Muslims” that Kirchick derides the “alt-right” for (allegedly) detesting. With missionary zeal, the neocon alt-left led the charge for the democratization of the Islamic world in the Middle East, wars of aggression that left hordes of Muslims—well over a million—including women and children, dead. Many, much more have been displaced and maimed, and hundreds of thousands of children have been orphaned. Ancient Christian communities and those of other religious minorities have been decimated.
In glaring contrast, Paul Gottfried and some others with whom the Kirchicks of the world would associate the “alt-right” stringently opposed the alt-left’s neo-imperialist wars of aggression. For this, they were vilified by such alt-leftists as David Frum for being “unpatriotic.”
The alt-left strains out the gnat while letting in the camel.
I am neither a member of the “alt-right” nor a Jew. I am simply an independent-minded, conservative-leaning, Roman Catholic Christian who despises injustice in all of its forms.
And it is unjust indeed for alt-leftist neoconservatives like James Kirchick to spoil the well of discourse by taking cheap shots at folks, particularly fellow Jews like Paul Gottfried while remaining as blind as a bat to their own glaring vices.
Originally published by
Jack Kerwick [send him mail] received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at At the Intersection of Faith & Culture.