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Richard Larsen: Possible Drama for GOP Convention

April 8th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

This could be the first year in a long time that a major political party convention actually serves the function of producing a nominee, rather than simply being a coronation of a nominee. For many who are emotionally invested in a certain outcome from the conventions this year, the angst and outright anger is nearly palpable. But it’s unwarranted, as borne out by history, and an understanding of the function of conventions.

Until 1972, major party presidential candidates were all chosen by the respective party conventions. The chaotic 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago provided the incentive to move more to a presidential primary system to generate delegates to party conventions. Hubert H. Humphrey became the Democrat nominee even though he had not run in a single presidential primary.

The Republican Party has also reformed its nomination process over the years, yet has left most of the delegate selection process in the power of the state party organizations. Each state has rules for selection of their delegates, and their voting obligations, that may be different from even their neighbor states.

For example, Republicans have never adopted proportionality as a universal rule, which has left some with “winner take all” delegate assignation while others have been allocated on a percentage basis. They have intentionally left many of the delegate rules in control at the state level, rather than imposing a top-down system.

This also applies to how rigidly committed the delegates are to a particular candidate once the convention begins. If any of the candidates garner the requisite 1,237 delegates before the convention, nominee selection is a moot point. He will be the party nominee. But if none of the candidates garner that many delegates, the convention will of necessity be a contested one, not technically an open or brokered one. And there’s nothing ominous or pejorative about that, it just means the votes on the convention floor will actually mean something, rather than being a perfunctory vote for a predetermined nominee.

The RNC is going to great lengths to make the process as transparent and open as possible for the convention scheduled for July 18–21 in Cleveland. They’ve even created a new website where rules, facts, and details can be perused at conventionfacts.gop.
With a contested convention, the eventual nominee is unknown beforehand, since no candidate has garnered the requisite number of delegates to secure the nomination. Under the rules established by the party, since it is their convention and the respective candidates have at least ostensibly pledged allegiance to the party since they’re running under the party’s banner, several rounds of voting may occur before a nominee is selected by a majority vote. A plurality will not suffice. Most state rules only obligate delegates to vote according to the primary results of their respective states for the first ballot. After that, most can vote according to their conscience.

As of this week, Donald Trump has 736 delegates of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention. The number of delegates awarded to non-Trump candidates, including those who have “suspended” their campaigns (meaning they’re no longer seeking the nomination with an active campaign, yet have debts they still need to liquidate) is 834 delegates. That’s 98 delegates more than Trump has at this point. And there are still 902 delegates to be determined by the remaining primaries.
www.usnewsThis week Donald Trump reportedly met with the Republican National Committee to consider a rule change that would assure him the nomination even if he doesn’t reach the necessary threshold to secure the nomination. This seems more than a bit ironic since he’s been alleging that the RNC would change their rules to prevent him from securing the nomination, but he has no compunction in requesting a rule change to assure his victory. Perhaps ironic is insufficient; duplicitous would be much more accurate.

While Trump supporters are vociferous in their assertion that Trump should be the nominee if he has the most delegates, if he fails to secure the required 1,237 delegates, they must acknowledge that those supporting candidates other than Trump actually have more. So technically, the majority belongs with the non-Trump delegates, and a second or third ballot at the convention will likely determine the nominee. If he fails to secure the required number of votes, he loses the nomination, fair and square.

Metaphorically, having the best record in the NFL does not make a team the world champion. They have to win the Super Bowl to earn that title. A team is not merely proclaimed “champion” due to their record. Yet that seems to be what Trump adherents are arguing.

If, after losing a nominating vote on the floor of the convention, Trump opts to break his word and not support the nominee, he’s done nothing more than perhaps prove he is just a common politician after all, as his word means nothing. And if he pursues a third-party nomination, he simply proves he’s in it just for himself, and not for the nation, for he’d certainly hand the general election to either of the socialists running for the other party’s nomination.

For a little historical perspective, it would be good to know that Abraham Lincoln was the nominee who emerged from an open convention in 1860, on the third ballot. He was victorious even though he was not considered a contender heading into the convention.
Another contested GOP convention was in 1952 when retired general Dwight D. Eisenhower was in a close race with Senator Robert A. Taft, a respected party elder making his third try for the office once held by his father, William H. Taft. Eisenhower won on the first ballot after some delegates changed their vote to Ike.

In 1976 Ronald Reagan challenged incumbent president Gerald Ford. Neither had sufficient delegates to ensure the nomination, but the unpledged delegates to the convention pushed Ford over the nomination threshold on the first ballot. The same thing happened with Democrats in 1984, when the race between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart was decided on the first round of balloting after unpledged delegates opted for Mondale.
Reagan_giving_his_acceptance_speech_at_Republican_National_Convention_7-17-80Of the total of 2,472 Republican delegates, 437 of them are unpledged delegates, and 168 of those are members of the Republican National Committee. Any combination of those could well be the deciding factor pushing Trump over the top, even in the first round if he fails to secure 1,237 before the convention. Or they could combine with the non-Trump votes to the nomination of someone else.

Despite cries of inequity and manipulation, the GOP has rules established, and will follow those rules in the selection of their nominee. While many Trump supporters maintain it’s them, not the party per se that should be selecting the nominee, it is, after all, the “Republican Party.” The Party chooses the nominee, not just a plurality of boisterous adherents.

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Posted in General, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Killing Our Future

April 2nd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

CNSNews is carrying a story today which clearly shows the impact legalized abortion is having on the fate of humanity. They are reporting that we will soon face a future in which those who are 65 years of age or older will outnumber children under the age of 5. That is a first in all of human history.

Their report is based upon data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the study, “these two age groups will continue to grow in opposite directions. By 2050, the percentage of the (global) population 65 and older will be more than double that of children under the age of 5”.

The globe’s 25 oldest nations begin with Japan and include 22 European nations. The youngest countries are found in the Persian Gulf.

Japan, Germany, Italy and Greece are clearly gentrifying. America is teetering.

The major culprit is declining birth rates resulting from legalized abortion and cultural shifts toward smaller families.

The Census Bureau report raises alarm over the prospect of a dwindling working population supporting an ever-growing elderly population in the decades ahead. We can already see some of that demographic reality hitting the United States in the way ObamaCare was structured to force younger Americans to get expensive coverage in order to subsidize benefits for older folks.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Mitt Romney has Every Right to Express His Concerns for America

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The vitriol heaped upon former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney this past week is entirely illogical and irrational. It only makes sense in the emotion-driven context prevailing during this election cycle. But alas, due to the prevailing emotional populist sentiment, logic has become the most obvious casualty of the primary election season. No wonder this is often referred to as the “silly season.”

Romney had the temerity to criticize the demeanor, abrasive and crass style, as well as some of the unpropitious statements by current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. “He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss,” Romney declared.

The former Massachusetts governor came short of endorsing one of the other three candidates in the GOP race, but discouraged Republican voters from supporting Trump. In doing so, he echoed the sentiments of many who claim affinity with an ABT approach to the primaries – Anyone But Trump.

Some of the critics of Romney’s interjection into the race have said he has no right to do so. Isn’t it ironic that those so critical of Romney think they can express their disdain, but Romney can’t? Can’t get much more duplicitous than that! Frankly, every citizen has that First Amendment right of free speech. One is not deprived of that right just because they’re a former candidate, or may have lost an election.

Should his opinion carry weight? Logically, as well as a matter of principle, one should think so. He’s carried the party banner, and did so with dignity and class. He’s a man of sound judgment and acumen, and sometimes those who have run and lost have a better grasp of the stakes than those who haven’t. He has a vested interest in the future of the country and the future of the Republican Party. Perhaps his words are ignored at our peril.

Others have criticized Romney saying he was a “horrible” candidate in 2012 running against Barack Obama. This begs the question, what is a good candidate? He had no skeletons in his closet, no moral turpitude, and he acted presidential. He is, in many ways, the antithesis of this year’s frontrunner. Maybe that says more about the party and how it’s changing, than it says about Romney.

That’s not to say he didn’t make faux pas’ as a candidate. His factual observation that 47% of the populace is on some kind of federal assistance didn’t help, and according to some political operatives, his refusal to go negative against Obama sealed his fate. Is that another component to being a “horrible” candidate? Refusing to go negative? If so, it certainly explains why many in the GOP are in full-fledged adulation mode with Trump. With him, it will be a surprise if and when he goes positive.

Perhaps the animosity directed toward Romney is merely transference because of the anti-establishment mentality prevalent during this election cycle. Even this is illogical since Romney was not the preferred “establishment” candidate either in ’08 (when he bowed out early) or in 2012.

As the Washington Post reminded us a year ago, “Romney wasn’t the first choice for many in the establishment. True, a few bigwigs were deeply committed to him from the start. But they hardly represented consensus opinion. That’s why we heard so many entreaties for other candidates to run.”

In an interview earlier this week, Chris Wallace asked Romney about the “establishment” allegation. Romney responded, “Establishment suggests there must be some Wizard of Oz somewhere pulling the strings. That’s not the way it works. I sat there and watched Donald Trump, and I said, look, someone has got to say something. I didn’t talk to anybody and say, ‘I’m going to do a speech, do you have some ideas?’ This is something I did on my own because I care very deeply about the country.”

“I love America. I’m concerned about America and I believe the heart and soul of conservatives and Republicans recognize that the principles that Donald Trump is talking about have nothing to do with conservatism, nothing to do with keeping America strong.”
What the establishment allegation against Romney does is create a whole new definition of the “establishment.” In this iteration, it’s everyone who doesn’t share the gutter-mentality, gutter-speech, and noncommittal ideology of Donald Trump.

Which brings us to arguably the most denunciatory claim made against Romney – that he’s a “loser.” This requires assessment of why he lost in 2012. As Rush Limbaugh explains it, “4.5 million to 5 million Republicans didn’t vote in 2012. This is the conventional wisdom and they didn’t vote because they didn’t like the nominee, he wasn’t conservative enough, or there was a religious component.”

So was he conservative enough? Many in the establishment thought he was too conservative, hence their efforts to recruit and back more “mainstream” candidates. Further, anyone who read his book “No Apology,” knew where his priorities and his values were based. He did not lack in conservative fidelity! But as Rush points out, there likely was a bigotry issue with some who refused to back an LDS (Mormon) candidate. Their ecclesiastical purity trumped their love of country. That is unconscionable! Voting for a president is not an ecclesiastical endorsement!

Those verities translate into Romney’s critics perhaps being the real losers. If they didn’t bother to get behind him and vote four years ago, they’re the losers. Romney, and the nation, simply reaped the fruits of those who condemned us with another four years of “the One” by their imprudence and inaction.

The country missed one of the greatest opportunities for principled, conservative, and classy leadership four years ago. What a shame that he is maligned now for having the audacity to share his valid concerns for the future of the party and the nation!
Romney had every right to share his insights, and we simply prove yet again that we’re losers, as a party and as a nation, if we fail to listen to wisdom and reason, regardless of how much we may like or dislike the source.

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Posted in Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Donald Trump’s Cult of Personality

March 9th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The most disturbing aspect to the Donald Trump candidacy is not the empty rhetoric, non-substantive solutions, or even his brash politically-incorrect style. The most disturbing aspect of his candidacy is what it says about so many of our fellow citizens. A veritable personality cult is developing around the GOP frontrunner rivaling that of the Democrat nominee from four and eight years ago. And it’s just as speciously founded.

Some assert that the Trump bandwagon is reshaping the Republican Party. Some go even further and claim that his candidacy is simply bringing out sordid and ignoble characteristics of the party that have been heretofore more latent and simmering under the veneer surface of decency. Such characterizations are erroneous.

Both major parties are grappling with atypical undercurrents that are largely reshaping the face, and perhaps the heart, of each. Regrettably, both are founded in a pejorative form of populism, whether it’s the promise of “free stuff” for adherents of the Democrat Party, or the abject anger aimed at unresponsive and tyrannical government for the Republicans. Such populism is destructive to the political process in a republic, as it appeals to citizens’ selfishness and most base instincts. And it’s culturally destructive as it drags the public dialogue to the lowest common denominator, while appealing to emotion at the expense of logic and reason.

In the last two presidential election cycles there was a veritable cult following for “The One” that venerated and idolized him regardless of what he said or did. He could do no wrong. His speech was lofty; language grandiloquent; substance lacking; and promises vapid.
low-infosThis year the leading GOP candidate has a similar cult following. It doesn’t seem to matter that “Make America great again,” and “we’re going to win…” constitute 50% of his specious speeches, with the other 50% reiterating his greatness. With little substance accompanying his bold statements, it’s hardly distinguishable from the empty “Hope and Change” mantra of Obama’s cult following.

But unlike Obama’s elevating elocution, Donald Trump’s speech is degrading, debasing, and uncivil. As Mitt Romney aptly delineated this week, Trump is one who “mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s question to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.” But to the cult of Trump, civility, class, and decorum don’t matter.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that the president of the United States is the face of the nation. For all of Obama’s policy and ideology failures, at least he was not always an embarrassment in terms of his conduct and decorum. He has typically filled his role as face of America to the world with class. He has acted presidential.

Trump has no illusion of what it means to act presidential, and is redefining it to the depths of depravity with his tactlessness and inexorable ad hominem attacks on anyone who crosses him. But to the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

Following Barack Obama’s Super Tuesday victories in 2008, he revealed his “messiah complex” by claiming, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Millions of Americans seemed to agree whilst gullibly falling for his grandiloquent, yet vapid speech. He could do no wrong in the eyes of his cult-like followers.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, the leading narcissist of the 2016 presidential race, claims that, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Such is the power of the cult of personality and its hold on the sycophants who suspend reason in order to wholly buy into a campaign idiom of populist appeal. To the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

When Obama preyed upon the emotions of low information voters, many on the right were critical not just of Obama and his insubstantial campaigns, but of the uninformed, ill-informed, and misinformed voters who flocked to him in ignorance. Ironically, many of those critics are now devout members of the cult of Trump.

Compromise is a bad word and anathema to the political purist. Yet in the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter, because compromise is rebranded as “the art of the deal” and the great dealmaker is adored and praised.

Just as sound-thinking Democrats would likely prefer to not have their party seen as the party of economic illiteracy, abdication of personal responsibility, and freeloaders, so also most Republicans don’t appreciate Trump’s redrawing the face of their party to reflect the crassness, rudeness, callousness, debasement, and moral turpitude of their leading presidential candidate. Such regression in both parties does not portend well for the republic.

In that context, both major political parties are being redefined, and it’s to the detriment of the nation and the freedoms and liberties we hold sacrosanct. Let’s hope there are enough sane and sensible people to save us from the populists in both parties!

Today for the Republican party, the choice is remarkably similar to the ’08 and ’12 choices for the Democrats, and it comes down to the classic Platonic dichotomy of form versus substance. Regrettably for the GOP this time around, not only is the substance lacking, but even the form is not appealing, as it culturally spirals down to the lowest common denominator and our most base instincts.

When reason and logic are employed in the candidate and presidential selection process, policy matters, character matters, and substance matters. When a cult of personality rules the process, none of it matters. And there can be little doubt of how the Trump zealots are amassing behind his persona. And he knows it. He can say or do anything, even “shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue,” and his adherents remain faithful. That’s when you know all reason has been suspended.

Anger and frustration with Washington is totally understandable. But the solution is not a classless self-adulator who spews venomous aspersions as fact, and whose platform is based in rage. Appealing to emotion is the low-information approach to leadership, and requires a cult-like fealty to succeed, much like the last two election cycles. The Trump cult, regrettably, seems filled with faux conservatives who care less about principles, character, or truth, and are willing to march to the beat of another narcissistic, egocentric political drum based on vapid memes and platitudes. Trump has become a Pied Piper of populistic political porn.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

Conservative Cyborg: The Real Dangers of Donald Trump

February 15th, 2016 by Halli

by Conservative Cyborg

Credit where credit is due: Donald Trump is a masterful showman and self-promoter. He has the timing of a top-notch comedian, and the singleminded persistence of a pit bull. He has honed these skills over a lifetime of scrapping his way to the top of a very rough neighborhood.

There is no way, however, that skills of such dubious value in the national political arena can account for Trump’s rocket to the top of the GOP presidential field. To explain that adequately, one must examine the volatile mixture of a consummate showman and a populace desperate to fight back against the leftist movement that has made such strides in its war on traditional American values—largely unimpeded by the party that was given landslide victories with the expectation that it would assiduously represent the people in combatting the leftist-statist onslaught.

When Barack Obama rose from being a relative unknown in the Democratic Party, a man whose chief claim to fame was as a rabble-rousing Alinskyite community organizer, he did so by being all liberal things to all liberal people: Obama’s lack of a verifiable past allowed his supporters to overlay on him every hope they had ever had for a liberal presidential candidate. Obama’s vague bromides of “Hope and Change,” with little or no substance that could be analyzed for merit, left people free to pin their hopes for change—whatever the specifics of that change might be—on him, propelling him into the White House. That was quite an accomplishment.

Obama bettered that accomplishment four years later by riding that same vagueness to reelection, in spite of a first term that had failed America and the American people in every measurable way. Unspecified, nebulous, but wonderful change was still tantalizingly achievable, we had just not hoped enough yet. We obviously needed four more years of hope.

If Obama accomplished political marvels, Trump is on his way to making Obama look like a piker. Where Obama’s sketchy past held nothing to disqualify him among his liberal base, Trump’s extremely public life is chock full of things that should, at the very least, throw up big red flags to Republican—especially conservative Republican—voters. That Trump can with impunity brush off such a seriously disqualifying history is a tribute to both his emotional sway and his supporters’ desperation for someone, anyone who will channel their legitimate anger and champion their righteous cause—even when they can have no expectation based in fact that Trump is the one best suited to fight for them.

Trump follower after Trump follower will gleefully explain how he or she is happy to sacrifice his or her most sacred values and issues because “Trump is the only one who will fight for me,” even though Trump has given no solid indication of what values he will actually represent when the time comes to fight.

No one is allowed to question Trump’s past, character, abilities, knowledge, wisdom, demeanor, or motives; he is the guy who will get things done. What things? Irrelevant! He will get them done.

Herein is found the freakishly cultish nature of Trump’s following: they have no care about his real plans; they have blind faith that he will do whatever it is they most desire. In their blind faith, they resemble Obama supporters of elections past; but the credulity and outright gullibility of Trump’s followers outstrips that of Obama’s supporters by far: Obama has never espoused values and beliefs that were so anathema to his base as Trump has to his. In the lexicon of Eric Hoffer, each of them is a True Believer.

This is the secret of the “Trump Coalition”: individuals’ values are quickly laid aside and forgotten in deference to the One who says He will fix everything and Make America Great Again. People of many disparate and even competing, mutually exclusive beliefs are united in one thing: their utter belief that Trump is the only one who will do what they want, even though it is impossible for Him to do what everyone wants.

With regard to Trump’s personal motives, in place of a desire to serve the public and do what is best for America, Trump exudes the air of a bored snob and political dilettante who flipped a coin in order to decide whether to add climbing Mount Everest or running for US President to his bucket list. Tails… US President it is.

To his followers, Trump may be a narcissistic, liberal-leaning, Constitution-ignoring, megalomaniacal strongman, but he is THEIR narcissistic, liberal-leaning, Constitution-ignoring, megalomaniacal strongman. What could go wrong? Go Trump!

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David Ripley: Democrats Side with Planned Parenthood

February 3rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held true to his word, and brought a veto override motion to the House floor last night. Republicans attempted to override President Obama’s veto of the Planned Parenthood defunding measure. Unfortunately, the effort fell short of the two-thirds’ majority required.

The motion to override on HR 3762 received 241 votes, while 186 members voted with Planned Parenthood and Obama.

Only 1 Democrat (Colin Peterson of Minnesota) voted to override the veto.

Idaho’s Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador voted again to defund Planned Parenthood.

The effort to sever our partnership with America’s largest abortion chain must now await the election of a new president.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Vicious Spirit of Death Roams the Earth

December 16th, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

This week brought news that ISIS – the barbarian tribe spreading death and mayhem across the Middle East, Europe and the United States – has launched a new kind of “cleansing”.

Breitbart reports that ISIS has now launched something of a jihad against disabled children within the boundaries of their nascent state. A “fatwa” has been issued which authorizes the killing of children and babies with Downs Syndrome and other congenital disabilities – all in the name of “Allah”.

For some months now, we have been treated to nearly daily news of atrocities and barbarities against Christians, women, homosexuals and others deemed to have offended some mad sensibility or another. Beheadings for internet ratings.

But now, a Facebook posting by the barbarians claims that some children have already been killed in towns controlled by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. An underground organization, Mosul Eye, claims to have confirmed 38 slayings of newborns already accomplished either by suffocation or lethal injection.

Nothing compared to the barbarity of Planned Parenthood – but still noteworthy because these evil actors at ISIS are just getting warmed up, while Western leaders fete each other over glasses of champagne for fixing the global climate.

What is to be said about this escalation of evil? Quite a bit, actually.

In the face of such mad barbarity, we note the continued apologetics of the American Left – beginning with our own president, Barack Hussein Obama. He continues to play at stopping ISIS while passionately seeking an accord to fix the climate and destroy the liberties of American citizens.

Liberals like Hillary Clinton continue to defend open borders and the importation of persons about whom we intentionally know very little.

The truth is, we have not seen such naked evil since the days of Nazi Germany. (Recall Hitler’s program against their own disabled citizens – which amounted to a practice run at the Holocaust). It is truly challenging to comprehend the scale and darkness of such evil. Most of us will want to recoil from the horror, hoping in the quiet of our hearts that it won’t find us or our families. We pray the San Bernardino slaughter is some odd aberration. We hope that somehow our national leaders – despite their obvious disabilities – will find a way to protect us.

The temptation is strong to slide into denial, some more Christmas shopping. Minimization of the threat is a natural response. Looking for historical perspective, we can now see that the failure to recognize the depth of the Nazi threat resulted in millions being destroyed who might otherwise have been saved.

As we watch the inept and limp response of our national leaders to this growing horror, it is hard not to feel a kind of supernatural judgment descending upon our nation. We are presently plagued by “leaders” who wander about in a stupor so irrational that it defies easy explanation.

It seems clear that we must be in earnest prayer for our nation and civilization itself. America must seriously consider a path of repentance if we can reasonably hope that God will raise up a new generation of leaders capable of meeting the ominous darkness emerging. That repentance must begin by confronting the unabated slaughter of innocents which has daily continued since the tyrannical arrogance of our Supreme Court imposed its own “fatwa” upon the nation in 1973.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Is Carbon Dioxide Really Our Greatest Threat?

December 15th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

If we were aboard a sinking ship, and the captain boldly stated that to prevent submersion we must turn off the air conditioners, burn less oil, and start using squirrelly new-fangled light bulbs, it would be clear that the captain had truly lost his mind. President Obama’s fixation on climate change as the most pressing issue facing the nation whilst experiencing a global conflagration of Islamic extremist terrorism, should be seen no differently.

ISIS, contrary to the president’s assertion, is not “contained,” and is spreading throughout the Middle East, leaving a wake of beheadings, mass executions, and destruction. Terrorists sympathetic to jihad are striking globally, including 130 innocent victims slain in Paris two weeks ago, and now striking on our own soil in San Bernardino this week. Yet the president and his administration continue to appear impotent not only addressing the threats, but even acknowledging them for what they are.

Instead, in conjunction with the Paris Climate Conference this week, administration officials uttered these inanities and non-sequiturs: “Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change.” “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” “It is indeed one of the biggest threats facing our planet today.” “Climate change is the threat multiplier.” “If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves. Climate change poses the same threat right now.”

Seemingly doubling down on the idiocy, the president told CBS News, “A deal to cut carbon emissions would be an act of defiance against terror.” Terrorists around the globe, following such a statement by the leader of the free world, are either, a) quaking in their boots fearing the damage to their cause by reduced carbon emissions, or b) laughing hysterically. If one buys into the president’s illogic and biases, it’s the former. For all those not detached from reality, it’s the latter.

And unsurprisingly, the mainstream media parrots the lunacy. CNN reported, “The recent terror attacks are tragic. And many lives will never be the same because of them. They should not be minimized. But climate change is another form of terror and it’s one we’re wreaking on ourselves.” So after the estimated 350 billion tons of CO2 emitted for the confab in Paris, we’re apparently to assume that we’re safer from the threat of global jihad just because they conflated the two dissociated issues. And if we ascribe validity to the president’s premise, all 150 global leaders are now accomplices to global climatic terror by their carbon footprint to Paris.

We have addressed this issue ad nauseam in the past, how the “science” behind purported anthropogenic climate change (aka “global warming,” until the earth quit warming 17 years ago), is not “settled.” The issue is a political one, not a scientific one, as recently averred by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who has been a supporter of Obama.

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Norwegian-American physicist who won the Nobel Prize for physics, declared in July, “I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem.” After referencing Obama’s declaration that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” Giaever said it was a “ridiculous statement.” He went on to say, “I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,”
In 2009, Giaever was one of over 100 scientists who wrote a letter to the president that stated, “We the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.”

Giaever says that the theory behind fears about rising carbon dioxide levels created by man “is not backed by evidence.” He said, “Global warming really has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper.”

Clearly the Nobel Laureate is correct. The political left is wholly sold on the notion that carbon dioxide, the gas we exhale and that plants feed on, causes climate change. And to attempt to reason with them based on the actual evidence and logic, rather than the hyperbolic talking points of those with vested interests, especially those receiving government grants for their confirmation bias, is utterly futile.

The ideological fascism exercised from the left on climate change disallows the possibility of diversity from their preconceived conclusions. Discussions, regardless of logic and data, inexorably devolve to casting aspersions and adolescent name-calling. One is a “flat-earther” if one fails to embrace the highly doctored, exaggerated, and pre-conceived notion of man-made climate change.

Yet interestingly, even among climate scientists, there is no “consensus,” and the “97% agree in man-made climate change” is bogus. The most recent polling of 6550 scientists working in climate related fields including climate physics, climate impact, and mitigation, was conducted by PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency. They found that only 43% agree with the premise that human activity is causal to global warming, or climate change.

Obama’s attempt to conflate terrorism with climate change is entirely specious, and his preoccupation with faux man-made climate change is ideological, not scientific. There is no evidence that governmental intervention and regulation, however well intentioned, can alter climatic trends, for such an assumption is based upon an unsettled and unproven “scientific” premise.
When it comes to facing exogenous and valid threats to the nation, we truly need a reality-based commander in chief, not an ideology-based meteorologist in chief.

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Richard Larsen: Do We Really Want to Model the U.S. after Denmark?

October 31st, 2015 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

At the Democrat presidential debate two weeks ago, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said we “should look to countries like Denmark…and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” The good senator should either rephrase his statement, or look more closely at the data. Democratic-socialism may work in some places in Europe, but was never intended, nor can it work, in the United States of America.

Another of Sanders’ erroneous statements regarding Denmark was when he claimed that Denmark’s economic model “provides extraordinary security and opportunity.” It does provide security, but little opportunity, economic or otherwise.

Democratic socialism is a political ideology which juxtaposes a democratic political system, (popular elections), with a socialist economic system. As such, it involves a combination of political democracy (usually multi-party democracy) with “social ownership of the means of production.”
Consequently, it can be somewhat characterized as a less tyrannical and totalitarian form of socialism, since the masses are voting for the cadre that will separate them from the fruits of their labors. And while it may not abolish private property ownership, as its more draconian sibling, communism does, it taxes income, and inflates prices sufficiently, that private property ownership is severely limited.

The sheer economies of scale make a comparison between the Scandinavian country and the U.S. impracticable. Denmark, with a landmass of 16,562 square miles, is roughly the size of Maryland, and with a population of 5.6 million, has about 1.5% of the U.S. population. Compound that with America’s propensity toward a kakistocracy, as evidenced by the last two presidential election cycles, and democratic-socialism would likely destroy the economy, and the republic.

Danish author, Mikkel Clair Nissen, has published his own response to Americans who think Denmark’s democratic-socialism is so appealing. “I am a school teacher from Denmark making about $61,000 a year. We get free education. You don’t have to pay for the doctor, the hospital, and students even get paid to study. It all sounds so great…right? However, I forgot to mention that nothing is ever free. The lowest personal income tax in Denmark is minimum 40 percent. Also, we pay a sales tax of 25 percent, and on top of sales tax the government applies further (generally hidden) duties and fees, applied to almost everything, making it really hard for lower class people to get by, causing them to be deeply dependent on government handouts,” she says.

When Senator Sanders refers to “working people,” he likely is referring to the middle class, since that’s the most productive and economically viable demographic. Just as most of the fiscal initiatives of the past seven years have most adversely affected the American middle class, European democratic-socialism virtually plunders theirs. The middle-class in Denmark is taxed at a 60% rate, and that’s just the income tax rate. Yet to pay that rate, all one has to make is $55,000 per year. That means those who, by American standards, are earning a respectable middle-class income of $55k per year, only keep $22,000 of their earnings. That’s a relatively paltry $1,833 per month.

Nissen continues, “A gallon of gas is about 10 dollars. Tax on a car is 180 percent, which brings a car valued a bit over $20,000 dollars in the United States (e.g. Honda Accord) up to an astounding $50,000 dollars in Denmark.” No wonder 65% of the travel in the country is by mass transit and bicycle. And not surprisingly, cost of energy is extremely expensive, as most electricity is produced by “green” sources. The cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity is $.42, compared with an average of $.12 in the United States.

Nissen further explains, because of “excessive taxation, Danes also have the highest private debt in the world. Only few will ever own a car or a house here; banks generally do – hypocritically, the very same banks that the collectivists despise. Anyone who makes over $80,000 annually pays a personal tax of 68 percent. This means that almost all people with higher earnings have either found ways to evade taxes, or have left the country, often bringing their companies with them, making employment scarcely low.”

According to Eurostat, the European Union’s official data reporting service, real unemployment is double what the official figures indicate. By their calculations, Denmark’s real unemployment rate is 14%.

And Nissen provides more insights. “Denmark’s suicide rate has averaged 20.8 per 100,000 during the last five decades, with its highest level of 32. The American suicide rate averaged only 11.1 during the last five decades, and has never exceeded 12.7. Danes are deeply deprived, driven by severe narcissism, and so more than 11 percent of adult Danes – the supposed happiest people in the world – are on antidepressants. Well, of course, Danes are happy; they are medicated to be!”

If Danes are so happy to be economically socialized, why do they take their own lives at three times the American rate, and their anti-depressant dependency exceed America’s by 40%? Could it be that the cost of freedom is much greater than we assume?

Nissen concludes his missive, “Everyone wants the American dream. In Denmark’s neo-communism, no one will ever own or accomplish anything.”
America was founded on classical-liberal ideals of maximum freedom to facilitate virtually unlimited potential. Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.” And that’s precisely what socialism, in all its iterations, does. It sacrifices individual freedom at the altar of security and egalitarianism

One of the most critical concepts of liberty upon which America was founded, is economic freedom. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton championed economic freedom as the foundation for all other liberties. True liberty mandates that private property, and the ability to reap and freely expend the fruits of our labors, is sacrosanct. Nobel economic laureate Milton Friedman declared that property rights are “the most basic of human rights and an essential foundation for other human rights.” Without economic freedom, all else is severely vitiated.

There might be some things America can learn from the Danish economic model, but only if we deny what America was founded and intended to be — the land of the free, dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Richard Larsen: Rectifying Constitutional Illiteracy

October 3rd, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

This past week was Constitution Week, and justifiably so. For if ever there was a time in our nation’s history when we needed to be constitutionally literate, it is now. The spirit of apathy, and ignorance of our founding documents including the Constitution, plagues too many of our fellow citizens. But it is a rectifiable malady.

By joint Congressional Resolution, and the signature of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 17th was declared Citizenship Day, and September 17-23 of each year would be designated Constitution Week. That was reaffirmed in 2002 by then President George W. Bush. September 17, 1787 marks the historic signing of the Constitution for the United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson obviously knew of mankind’s inclination toward apathy and ignorance, when he said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

Over the course of the past few years, the abuses of Constitutional power have increased exponentially. There has never been a time in our history when remedial education of citizenship and the Constitution have been more requisite.

That is the objective of Constitution week, to 1) emphasize our responsibility of protecting and defending the Constitution to preserve it, and our freedoms, for posterity; 2) to understand the unique and binding nature of the Constitution in our heritage as Americans; and 3) to study and more fully comprehend the historical events surrounding the founding of our country.

As a word of warning, Jefferson said, “I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries, as long as they are agricultural. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become as corrupt as in Europe.” Our government has reached that point much sooner than Jefferson envisioned.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” As soon as some of the rights or government limitations advanced by the Constitution are questioned, all of them are subjected to similar scrutiny and selective application, eventually. Each right curtailed or impinged upon, opens the door for similar abuses of any and all of the others enumerated in the Bill of Rights, comprising the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.

Albert Einstein, an immigrant to America, recognized the need for all citizens to be informed, educated, and resolute in preserving our rights, which include limitation of the powers of the state. Said he, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” With so many of our fellow citizens more concerned about getting their share of government largesse at the expense of their taxpaying neighbors, the determination to defend and support the Constitution and our liberties is commensurately diminished.

With all of the recent expansion of federal government infringing on our constitutional rights, we as citizens must take note of what Lincoln said of those who seek to trample our liberties. He said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

It’s difficult for us as a citizenry, to stand collectively and individually against those who seek to subvert our liberties if we suffer from abject ignorance of what those rights are, and what our government was constructed to do, and not to do. It is readily apparent from blogs and social media that great numbers of our fellow citizens suffer from acute ignorance of our founding documents, as they opine based on assumptions rather than what the Constitution authorizes or allows.

Hence, the primary objective of Citizenship Day and Constitution Week is to increase our understanding and knowledge of our founding documents and the rights and privileges assured thereby. Ignorance, apathy, and selfishness are pitiful excuses for citizens in a constitutional republic that was founded upon principles of individual liberty and limited governmental power!

Regardless of the dearth of public observances or opportunities for constitutional edification this past week, it’s incumbent upon each of us as citizens to avail ourselves the opportunity to become more informed, more educated, and more proactive citizens by reading our Constitution and studying the history surrounding its ratification. I’m convinced most of those who are critical of our Constitution will be amazed at what is in it, but perhaps even more, what is not.

For some, those who believe the country should not be based on liberty but on centralized government, the Constitution is presumed to be an anachronism, unfit to serve as the foundational contractual document between our government and the people. This concept is invalidated by the fact that every political official, every policeman, every judge, and every soldier, takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That such an oath, taken every day across the land, could be thought anachronistic is logically, legally, and morally untenable.

As Benjamin Franklin portended after the signing of the Constitution, we have a republic, if we can keep it. And to any quasi-objective observer of our contemporary political environment, we’re not keeping it, but letting it slip away, one constitutional precept, right, and principle, at a time. Now is the time to remedy our constitutional illiteracy, and to uphold those who take their oath to support the Constitution seriously.

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