Sunday, July 31, 2011

[GOP] Or I Should Say Palin Is On Verge Of Huge, Unprecedented Political Victory

Greg Sargent at the leftist Washington Post has a wailing and gnashing of teeth post up which advises the Republicans are about to have a massive win over the Dem's over the debt ceiling deal " GOP on verge of huge, unprecedented, political victory.


The gist is that the GOP got everything they wanted and the Dem's gave up everything. But  there is a shining moment for the Dem's though-they emerge as principled uber-patriots willing to lie down and surrender because only their side would rather lose,temporarily no doubt, than see the country go into default.


This is one of two themes that have merged over the last few days when it has become apparent that the true patriots  the Tea Party freshmen have, by doing what is really the unprecedented thing, actually voting the way they were elected to do in the November landslide, not being seduced by the Beltway and not folding under relentless liberal media attacks utterly changed the body politic.


The second theme is that these patriots have been charged with Nazism, terrorist, holding the country to ransom,bringing America to the verge of default and potentially leaving pensioners and the military starving and defenceless. Josh Painter has a full analysis of the media howling and wailing


The liberal media chorus, once again seeing their hero Obama going down the drain, have risen up almost as one, particularly the harpies, to demonize the utterly ordinary folks from fly over country-the  little people as Sarah Palin categorized them, as some sort of heartless radicals which is so silly  it brings the media into even further contempt.


In stark contrast, and certainly a theme that will not be heard from the media is that one person has emerged from this debacle with her reputation for saying what she means, for staying true to the "common sense economic principles needed to get America back on track" and as the leading light of the Tea party and that is, of course, Sarah Palin.


Whilst others were wavering Palin issued the strongest encouragement to the freshmen tea party representatives,outlined the consequences for them and the country of not holding strong,once again called out the president when no other potential candidate had the guts to do so-where was Romney's leadership over the last week or so?


If the 2012 election is to be decided on firm leadership, principles, honesty and common sense economics then Palin, should she run has every chance of doing a Reagan versus Carter re-run.

Recovering Liberal Blogspot

A Response to Dean Malik

July 31, 2011
By Jack Kerwick

Dean Malik has been busy fending off critics of his "Identity Politics: the denial of American Exceptionalism," which American Thinker published a few weeks ago.  I am among those critics.  I will focus on what Malik had to say about my remarks in his "An American First, Always, and Last: a Response to Critics."

My rebuttal is divided into three sections.  In the first I respond to the specific charges that Malik made against my arguments.  In the second, I correct his mischaracterization of Burke.  In the third, I draw the reader's attention to three of our nation's Founders -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin -- in order to show that when it comes to the issues of race, ethnicity, and religion, they shared the sensibilities of their contemporaries, not the politically correct sympathies of ours.  

I select these three Founders for two reasons.  First, time and space constraints prevent me from extending the list indefinitely -- as I effortlessly could have done.  Second, given Malik's enthusiasm over what he calls "American Exceptionalism" (AE, from now on), who better to refute his view than "the Father of our country" (Washington); the author of the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson) -- that document upon which all champions of AE root their doctrine; and he who remains famous for his liberality, philanthropy, and opposition to slavery, Franklin.

Bogus Criticisms

Malik begins his response to me by claiming that my argument rapidly "devolves into a somewhat obtuse discussion of the origins of classical liberalism (today known as conservatism) in the philosophy of Edmund Burke, peppered with a few ad hominem attacks, strained analogies, oddly out-of-place references, and a few factual errors." 

Let us begin with the last charge first.

There is one "factual error" to which I admit: I wrongly identified Charles Murray, author of the controversial The Bell Curve, as Jewish.  Murray, several readers were quick to inform me, is Scots-Irish.  This error on my part is easy to explain.  You see, Murray co-authored this study of IQ with Richard Herrnstein.  I had simply (but, admittedly, sloppily) thought of the latter while I mentioned the former.  Yet not only was this mistake honest enough, but it is also negligible, both in itself and relative to the blunders that pervade Malik's work.

Other than this, there isn't a single other "factual error" for which I am responsible.  At the very least, there are none that Malik identified.  And his failure to substantiate this charge is just as complete as his failure to substantiate every other charge that he levels against me.

Next, let us turn to Malik's accusation that my essay was "peppered with" ad hominem assaults. 

It is indeed strange that someone as determined as Malik is to cast aspersions against Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow -- men who, to his own admission, possess both "erudition and civility" -- and Steve Sailer, who he concedes has both a stellar "wit" and a "good nature" to match, should be so ready to accuse me of resorting to ad hominem attacks against him.  There is nothing in my reply to his original article that so much as remotely approximates the potentially devastating conviction of "white supremacy" that he unreservedly renders against not just these writers, but, in his latest article, me.

In my last article I said of Malik that inasmuch as his account of America's origins appears to be rooted in the same rationalistic abstractions to which Burke's enemies -- the Jacobins -- subscribed, and inasmuch as this species of rationalism sets itself over and above the wisdom of the ages -- "prejudice," "prescription," and "prejudice" -- it is hubris run wild.  Thus, in endorsing it, Malik succumbs to hubris.  I also called Malik out on his uncharitable treatment of Jared Taylor and Samuel Francis.  Malik referred to them as "white nationalists" and, worse, "white supremacists" (again, while refraining from the labor of defining such emotionally charged terms) even though his targets have explicitly rejected both labels while articulating reasons for doing so.

But these are hardly ad hominem insults.  In any event, unlike "white supremacy," they are utterly devoid of the demagogic efficacy that Malik exploits when he attempts to stack the deck against his opponents from the outset by reducing them to a bunch of disreputable and dreaded "white supremacists."  This is a truly disgusting tactic -- the weapon of choice of intellectual bullies.  We needn't dwell on it, though, for there are still so many weaknesses to expose in Malik's argument but so little time to do it.  

Third on the list of spurious charges to combat are "the out-of-place references" that I reportedly made.  I admit, I don't really know what Malik is talking about here.  I suspect that he may be speaking to my appeals to the black thinkers Thomas Sowell and Carol Swain.  However, contrary to his characterization of this move in my argument, by invoking Sowell and Swain I was not attempting to "construct a fig leaf to cover" my "naked white nationalist apologetics." 

The problem with Malik's take is that I have no such apologetics, a fact that my discussion of "white nationalism" should have definitively established for Malik and everyone else (in fact, I doubt very much that AT would have published any of my work had its editors suspected that I was associated with anything as nefarious as Malik evidently thinks something called "white nationalism" is).  Moreover, I mentioned the race of Sowell and Swain only to show that the empirical facts concerning race, IQ, and minority identity politics that engage the attention of the Jared Taylors (and Peter Brimelows and Steve Sailers) of the world are equally acknowledged by non-whites like Sowell and Swain.  Thus, if there is something disreputable about Taylor and his ilk for relying upon it, there must be something equally disreputable about Sowell's and Swain's doing the same.  To put it another way, if Taylor is a "white nationalist" or "white supremacist" because of the considerations that he accepts as facts, then insofar as Sowell and Swain accept these very same facts, they too must be "white nationalists" and/or "white supremacists."  Does the reader see how very ridiculous this is becoming?

Fourth, in my interrogation of Malik's uncritical presupposition that America is "exceptional" by reason of its allegedly unique "promise of escape from tribal loyalties and hatreds," I engaged in some analogical reasoning.  If partiality toward the fellow members of one's race and/or ethnicity is "tribal" and, thus, impermissible, then why isn't partiality toward one's family, spouse, friends, and nation not similarly "tribal" and, then, impermissible?  Malik dismisses these analogies as "strained."  In reality, though, it is evidently his ability to follow an analogy that is strained, for consider his response to them. 
Kerwick then attempts to justify tribal politics by making an analogy that leads me to believe that he actually thinks that all white Americans may be related to each other in some form of a geometrically expanded polygamous marriage, which frankly leaves me at a loss for words.
That an applicant to law school should fail as profoundly as Malik has in following a few simple analogies is bad enough; that a practicing lawyer should do so is scandalous.  Hopefully, Malik really does grasp the crux of my point here but pretends not to in order to kill two birds with one stone: he spares himself the hard work of lifting from his shoulders the burden of actually arguing for what he assumes while making me look silly in the process.  But whether his imperviousness to elementary logic is born through advertence or inadvertence, he invites a most unflattering reading of himself.

Most people would have recognized that the purpose of my analogies was to put into question the unabashed and purportedly "self-evident" moral universalism that Malik supposes is the moral point of view.  For quite some time, ethicists or moral philosophers have noted and explored the tensions between, on the one hand, the idea that morality demands an impartial and universal perspective and, on the other, the fact that the stuff of which the moral life consists, that which invests our lives with meaning and makes us who we are, is the particularity of the relationships within which we find ourselves and the partiality that we experience -- and believe we ought to experience -- toward those with whom we have those relationships. 
In short, it is not Thomas Paine's and the French Revolutionaries' "Rights of Man" that motivate most of us to aspire toward virtue.  It is, rather, our friends, spouses, parents, children, churches, and local communities -- "the little platoons," as Burke referred to these institutions that stand in between the government and the naked individual -- that hold this distinction.

Burke

My "somewhat obtuse discussion of the origins of classical liberalism (today known as conservatism) in the philosophy of Edmund Burke" occupies exactly two paragraphs out of a total of 23.  Furthermore, while Burke was indeed both a liberal and a conservative in the classical senses of these terms -- he was a conservative-liberal, if you will -- my point in supplying all two references to him was not to supply an account of the origins of either philosophy; it was simply and solely to illustrate that this widely recognized "patron saint" of conservatism and ally of the American colonists resolutely eschewed the very same abstract metaphysical fictions upon which Malik presumably relies in order to vindicate his conception of "American Exceptionalism."  Unfortunately, I have no option but to presume that Malik endorses this dubious vision of morality because he still refuses to define the doctrine for which he insists on being a polemicist.
Malik thinks that my "heavy reliance" on Burke (again, I make but two references to him) places me on "shaky ground."  Why?  Malik explains: "Burke defended the concept of prejudice as a valuable social commodity and as a ready tool for decision-making, obviating the need for introspection and judgment."  As if this weren't terrible enough, "Burke was also skeptical, if not overtly disdainful of Democracy, and argued that governing power should be vested within society's hereditary elite, rather than within regularly elected officials from the common population." 

First of all, Burke never contrasted "prejudice" with reason, as Malik suggests.  Rather, he contrasts the tradition-centered conception of reason that he favors with the robust, trans-historical, trans-cultural conception of "omnicompetent" Reason championed by the likes of Robespierre, Thomas Paine, and those of his opponents who typified the excesses of Enlightenment rationalism.  Burke's more humble account of reason has elicited the endorsement of many an illustrious figure, including, in our own day, Thomas Sowell, F.A. Hayek, and the philosopher Michael Oakeshott. 

Secondly, while Burke was "skeptical, if not overtly disdainful of Democracy," our Founding Fathers were no less distrustful of and contemptuous toward it.  As Malik should well know, they were of a single mind on this issue: it was a Republic that they were determined to bequeath to their posterity, emphatically not a democracy.  And as for "the common population" that composed the electorate of the newly created United States, the authors of "American Exceptionalism" made sure that it consisted exclusively of citizens who were white, men, and property-holders.

Malik couldn't be wider of the mark insofar as his reading of Burke is concerned.  He writes that "Burke is known chiefly for opposing the concept of natural law[.]"  But Burke no more opposed natural law than he opposed reason.  Not only is neither of these concepts self-interpreting, but both admit of a staggering multiplicity of definitions.  Burke opposed the Enlightenment rationalist's doctrine of Natural Rights.  Insofar as this doctrine relies upon a version of natural law, it goes without saying that he rejected this version of it.  

He did not reject natural law as such. 

Interestingly, while Washington, "the Father of America," and Jefferson, the father of the Declaration of Independence-- the document that, embodying, as it does, "the purest expression of natural law ever formulated in a political document," in Malik's words, is the basis for belief in "American Exceptionalism" -- continued to accumulate more black slaves, Burke, the enemy of both "the Rights of Man" and the institution of slavery, was busy designing a plan for the gradual abolition of the latter. 

This observation is not intended to criticize the Founders.  It is intended to put the lie to Malik's suggestion that it wasn't until the establishment of America that "tribal loyalties and hatreds" dissipated.

Founders

Malik's "American Exceptionalism" centers around not the Declaration of Independence as such, but the first line of this document.  This is important to note, for as we read just a bit beyond this line that has become ensconced in the American consciousness, we can't help but notice that the grievances listed therein force the abstract universalism of its most famous assertion to give way to a historically and culturally concrete morality.  The Declaration, that is, reveals an internecine conflict between the English in England and the English in America.  Yet considering that it wasn't their "human rights" for the sake of which it was written, but rather, their "rights as Englishmen," this is what we should expect.   

Still, it is worth considering what Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration and, according to Malik, a co-author of "American Exceptionalism," really thought about, say, the relationship between blacks and whites. 

Jefferson believed that blacks were by nature intellectually inferior to whites and couldn't have been clearer as to his estimation of the prospects of their inhabiting the same country as equal citizens.  "Nothing is more certain," he declared, than "that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.  Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them."

Was Jefferson a "tribalist," we must ask Malik?  That Jefferson, not unlike virtually every one of his contemporaries, was more partial to his state (in his case, Virginia) than to the country as a whole may constitute further evidence, in Malik's estimation, that he was.

Neither was Jefferson particularly fond of Indians ("Native Americans"), to whom he referred as "savages" within just that document that Malik thinks supplies us with "the purest expression of natural law" to which the world has ever born witness.  

What about the Father of our country, George Washington?  Surely, Washington held that the members of all races, ethnicities, and religions could coexist in America, correct?  Well, during the Revolutionary War, Washington issued an order imposing a ban on recruiting blacks into the Continental Army.  He states: "The rights of mankind and the freedom of America will have numbers sufficient to support them without resorting to such wretched assistance" -- i.e., black recruits.  At the same time, the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, issued a proclamation inviting blacks to the British side.

It is also worth noting that by the time of his death, Washington owned about 312 black slaves.

Benjamin Franklin, though eventually a sworn opponent of slavery, nevertheless owned slaves himself, and his newspaper regularly ran ads for slaves that were on the market.  Moreover, Franklin was anything but timid when expressing his partiality for an America the vast majority of the population of which wasn't just European, but specifically English or "Anglo."  Of the German immigrants flocking into his home colony, Franklin wrote:
Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion[?]
Germans, "not being used to Liberty ... know not how to make a modest use of it[.]"
Franklin lamented that the "the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably [sic] very small."  Africa is "black or tawny," and "Asia" is "chiefly tawny."  The peoples of Europe -- "the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes," as well as "the Germans also," are of "a swarthy Complexion."  In his estimation, it is only "the Saxons," along with "the English," that "make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth."  Of these "White People," Franklin asserts, "I could wish their number increased."

The reader should be mindful that it is in no way my objective here to further the leftist's cartoonish caricature of the Founders as a bunch of villainous "racists."  It is my objective, rather, to undermine the cartoonish caricature of the Founders that fuels the imagination of a certain segment of the right.  This caricature is a one-dimensional portrait according to which the Founders were gods -- or what amounts to the same thing, as far as this sort of rightist is concerned, 21st century -- like democrats whose thought, owing nothing to contingencies of culture or time, was oblivious to racial, ethnic, and religious differences.  Upon a single abstract principle of which no one until that juncture had the slightest inkling, these bulwarks of universal Reason itself, so this story runs, erected a new Heaven on Earth. 

Thomas Sowell once quipped that ideology is just fairy tales for adults.  If so, we know what Malik's favorite fairy tale is.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith and Culture; and The Philosopher's Fortress at www.jackkerwick.com.  Email him at jackk610@verizon.net.

American Thinker

The Most Dangerous War in the Middle East has Already Begun

July 31, 2011
By Alex Jakubowski

As international efforts to dispose of Moammar Gaddafi escalate, less and less attention is given to the real international threat in the region: Iran.  While the Arab Spring has taken out or severely weakened hostile regimes throughout the Middle East, Iran has continued its dangerous buildup of nuclear material.  At this point the nuclear ambitions of Iran's dictatorial regime have become clear: they want a bomb.  The regime continues to enrich large amounts of uranium to 20%, far beyond the amount needed for nuclear power and about 90% of the way to nuclear-grade fuel.  Just recently Iran began to move nuclear enrichment facilities to deep underground bunkers to avoid the possibility of outside intervention.  Finally, it has been often reported that Iran is conducting research on a neutron initiator using uranium deuteride (UD3), the only purpose of which is to trigger a nuclear reaction in a warhead.  With Iran's president -- and I use that term loosely -- being described by American diplomats as "unbalanced" and "crazy," this threat can no longer be ignored.

And in many ways it hasn't.  Just this past year Congress passed their strictest set of sanctions ever against Iran's regime, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.  Unfortunately, as Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), John Kyl (R-AZ), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) have noted, the enforcement of these sanctions has been far from effective; "[w]e are deeply concerned with what appear to be sanctionable activities by other entities involving energy investments in Iran, the provision of refined petroleum products to Iran, financial relationships with Iran, as well as the regime's proliferation activities."

The American government isn't the only one concerned about failing international efforts to stop Iran's nuclear expansions.  As leaked diplomatic cables showed last fall, other Middle East governments are equally concerned with the threat a nuclear Iran poses to the region.  Shortly after the WikiLeaks scandal broke, the British newspaper The Guardian reported that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had "frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program," with Abudllah even going as far as saying, "[C]ut the head off the snake."

Furthermore, Iran is taking the threat of outside intervention seriously, practicing war games and frequently displaying its military might.  In response to a question about their quest for longer-range ballistic missiles, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's aerospace force, stated, "[T]he range of our missiles has been designed on the basis of the distance to the Zionist regime and the US bases in the Persian Gulf region."  While this may seem like a familiar situation -- both sides anxiously preparing for an impending conflict -- what seems to be ignored is the fact that Iran has already started the war.

Iran for years has been the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism -- funding, arming, and training organizations like Hamas, Hezb'allah, and others that senior Revolutionary Guard officials call "liberation armies."  Leaked diplomatic cables even suggest a strong cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda is far from dormant.  Furthermore, Iran has been accused of financially and militarily supporting rebels fighting American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  According to a March 2009 report by the Council on Foreign Relations, for years Iranian-made weapons, including the Tehran-designed roadside bomb -- the explosively formed penetrator (EFP) -- have been used by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, prompting former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June 2007 to state, "[G]iven the quantities that we're seeing, it is difficult to believe that it's associated with smuggling or the drug business or that it's taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government."  Recently, reports surfaced of Iranian assistance to rebels fighting American forces in Iraq.  In his first visit to Iraq as defense secretary, Leon Panetta stated, "[W]e're very concerned about Iran and the weapons they're providing to extremists in Iraq.  We cannot sit back and simply allow this to continue."

Yet thus far the United States and the rest of the world continue to sit back and wait -- wait for something to draw us into the inevitable.  On October 14, 1962 President John F. Kennedy addressed the world: "It shall be the policy of this nation, to regard any nuclear missile, launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere, as an attack, by the Soviet Union, on the United States."  We can only hope that it will not take a nuclear attack for this country to realize that we are already at war.

American Thinker

American by Birth, Exceptional by Choice

July 31, 2011
By Richard Pecore

Liberals are quick to name-call and accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being racist, prejudiced, or stupid.  To the limited ultra-liberal thought process, these terms add up to only one thing: "conservative."
America the horrible.  That's what the left seems to believe.  They like only the parts they agree with and condemn everything else.  I can't do that.  I see America, warts and all.  She isn't perfect, but she's the best and most prosperous, God-fearing, freedom-loving, independent nation the world has ever known.  I love America, and I only feel sorry for anyone who doesn't.

After living in the belly of the D.C. Beast for six months, I've noticed that conversation here has a recurring theme.  No matter what the problem is, it was always started by conservatives.  No matter what the solution was supposed to be, it didn't work because of conservatives.  Simple logic says liberals cannot possibly be right 100% of the time, and conservatives cannot possibly be wrong 100% of the time.  No one is infallible...but therein lies the problem.  Liberals really do believe they are infallible.  It's incredible, and nauseating.

A conservative takes a practical view of government.  As Thoreau said, "That government is best which governs least."  It is, by our description, a necessary evil.  We don't trust government because it grows like a cancer.  Like a cancer, it seeks to devour its host.  What on Earth has government ever done so successfully (aside from national defense) that would warrant such blind obedience by the left?  Three branches.  Split the power.  The Founders knew.  Do we?

Government's greatest accomplishment is made when the people are left alone to prosper.  Reagan gave us a twenty-year economic boom that liberals called "selfish."  It isn't what government has done that lures liberals.  It's what they could make people do with all that power.  I have never before heard in my lifetime so many liberal proposals at once that openly call for the forced imposition of their ideals upon the rest of us.  Black, white, yellow, red, green, it doesn't matter.  Economic destruction knows no color.

Only those who agree with them have the right to speak and be heard.  When one has the power, the Constitution can be damned.  Those who disagree must be shut down, ignored, or forcibly destroyed.  Rules can be broken with impunity, aided by the chest-thumping bully-boys called the media.  It is truly, truly frightening.  Truth is twisted or suppressed entirely.  Do the leftists honestly believe that half of the country has no right to speak or be heard, simply because we disagree with them?  How can they possibly reconcile that in their mind?  How can they reconcile that with the First Amendment?  What if the shoe were on the other foot?

In conversations with liberals (those conversations that do not immediately devolve into a liberal shouting epithets at me at the top of his lungs), I am constantly reminded of how the famous liberal claim to "tolerance" does not extend to viewpoints other than liberals' own.  The current battle to raise the country's "credit limit" is only the most ridiculous example of government by acquiescence.  Obama has proven that he is utterly divorced from America's reality.  He is not the least bit interested in Main Street.  We cannot allow the Petulant Child and his cronies in the Senate another term to pillage, plunder, and destroy what is left of our national wealth. 

The most shocking conundrum is that liberals still blame Republicans, Bush, and everyone but themselves for the financial disaster we are now in.  "It had to be done to fix the mess Bush started!"  Regurgitation of its own dogma is liberalism's greatest feat.  If Bush spending $1 trillion really was the problem, how can spending $16 trillion more possibly make it better?

Can liberals really, really be so na├»ve as to believe there can never be a day of reckoning -- a day when we can no longer "print" ourselves out of financial trouble because the world no longer worships the U.S. dollar?  

Do they not recall that the world once turned on British Sterling?

We had two wars under Bush.  We have six under Obama.  The House whimpers, "Liberalism, most foul." 

 The Senate orders another round.  The Congress surrenders constitutional authority without a fight, and we see Liberty die.  The polls now show that independents and many more who followed the Pied Piper in 2008 have awakened.  They are not happy with the results.  Welcome to the party, fellas.  Better late than never. 

Exceptionalism, thy name is America.  It is our belief in ourselves and who we are that makes us great.  We do not think we are cut from a different cloth; we know we are.  We were born in the Great Experiment.  We were born in blood from Divine Providence above.  Lexington, Saratoga, Monmouth, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Yorktown, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, D-Day, Midway, The Bulge, Iwo Jima, Apollo 1, Apollo 13, Kuwait, 9/11.

Even in tragedy, we grow our national character.  To see ourselves, we need look in a mirror and open our eyes.  There is our true hope.  To rebuild, we need only look to ourselves and to our children.  Poverty or plenty.  It is not a difficult choice to make.

We must teach our children to recognize liberal conditioning when they see it.  It is in television, advertising, and movies, and even in the cartoons they watch.  They must be taught to recognize assumptions presented as fact and question the "authority" that suggests it.  Then we must stand up for them against liberal teachers who fail them over idealism, not content. 

It is critical that we help our children learn to recognize truth, to steer them through the rocks with their convictions intact so they may choose for themselves.  Teach them to lead, not follow.  Teach them to investigate, to research, and to seek many sources, not just one.  Teach them how to truly learn, and for heaven's sake, teach them to read a real book instead of play Nintendo.

We have already seen the dangerous result when one pathetically lonely child is poisoned by minds fueled with jealousy, envy, and hate.  We've seen what happens when the unscrupulous reach the pinnacle of power.  We all pay the price.

American Thinker

Will Soldiers Get Paid? ‘I Honestly Can’t Answer That Question,’ Says JCS Chairman

Niccolo MachiavelliPosted by Niccolo Machiavelli Jul 30th 2011 at 7:50 pm in Congress, Economy, Obama, Soldiers

From the UK’s Daily Mail:

Sorry guys,  Washington doesn’t have your back

“American soldiers in Afghanistan have been warned they may not be paid after President Obama failed in an 11th-hour attempt to reach a settlement over the U.S. deficit.

In a crisis that has potentially devastating consequences for the world economy, the U.S. will run out of money to pay its bills next Wednesday unless squabbling Washington legislators raise the country’s $14.3 trillion (£8.7tn) debt ceiling.

Troops fighting in Afghanistan have been told that the Obama administration is expected to make their salaries a lower priority than interest payments to foreign bond-holders.

More than $1.2 trillion of America’s vast debt is owned by China and another $328bn is owned by UK private investors and pension funds.

The Obama administration is expected to continue to pay them next month, along with pensioners.

Other social programmes, including medical care for the poor and help for the country’s unemployed, also will be fully funded, according to insiders.

But that will leave no money to pay federal employees, including troops. America’s top military official, Admiral Mike Mullen, delivered the stunning news to soldiers at a meeting at Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan.


Asked if they will be paid if Mr Obama is unable to resolve the deadlock, he said: ‘I honestly can’t answer that question.”

The full story is here.

Big Peace

The Media, Absurdity and Knee-Jerk Analysis; Equating the Norway bombing and the Latest Fort Hood Incident.


The latest attempt by a self described, pious member of Islam has brought out the usual bevy of experts not only in psychology, but in religion as well. Typically, these “experts” have little to no actual experience in any religion and show a general distrust, if not disdain for those who do practice one form of religion or another.


I have been chided, on occasion for sharing my faith in these kinds of venues and have made attempts to keep this element of my life out of the conversation. But it is difficult at times to investigate what is clearly evil without the ability to contrast.

What I can tell you is that it requires an actual study of the specific doctrines of specific belief systems in order to be able to legitimately make claims of any kind about them. Those who would arbitrarily lump all religions together and claim them to be equally motivating for ideological murders, destroy their own credibility.

I have always held that the religion cannot be judged by the actions of the individual but that the individual should be judged by the doctrines of the religion. This requires personal study, and mentoring by those who have the study of these religions as their life’s pursuit. It also means it requires time and most of the typical prognosticators aren’t interested in investing the time. It is far too easy to just lump all ideology together and castigate all who render themselves obedient to them.


Anders Behring Breivik has been touted as a Christian gone crazy, but even a glance at this guy tells a decidedly different story. There is very little in this man’s life that suggests he studied or understood the precepts of Christianity, rather, he gave himself over to a fanciful idea of whom he believed the famed Knights Templar of the Crusades were. A study of this monastic order is not the point of this piece. Let’s just say that their origin, original mission and actual prowess on the battlefield differs somewhat from source, to source.

What can be said is that there is no mandate, recommendation or commendation, in the New Testament to kill children, women or unarmed men – especially of one’s own people. For either the deluded Breivik or the anti-Christian/Jewish media to suggest that this was an act by a pious follower of either faith lacks understanding of either the history or doctrines of both faiths. Breivik’s actions were in fact the actions of someone motivated by some internally conjured understanding of honor and a perverted honor driven purpose – not religion.

Conversely; Naser Jason Abdo made it clear that he was a pious Muslim. He is the product of a Muslim Father and a non-denominational “Christian” Mother…

Side Note: I can tell you that any ANY, true, practicing, studied, Christian woman would not marry a Muslim man so it is better stated; a Muslim man who married a woman brought up “in the Christian tradition”…much like our sitting President.

This is the interview where he justified his request for conscientious objector status based on his Islamic faith. Astonishingly, the interviewer never saw the necessity to question why this was a problem for him only after having signed, knowing we were at war with Islamic forces. It now appears his provisionally approved request was halted because investigators found child pornography on his government computer.


This seems to be a common theme with devout jihadists; claim devotion to Allah and Jihad and participate in pornography on the eve of an actual attack. Abdo went AWOL (absent without leave) upon hearing his request for CO status was on hold pending a court martial for the pornography charge. It was during his absence that he determined to kill yet more fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. Undoubtedly, more information will become available as this investigation proceeds but what we do know now, certainly paints a picture a lot closer to Major Nidal Malik Hasan than the deranged Breivik in Norway.

The point is, of course, that there is no relationship between the two men or their individual acts. Their motivations are from entirely different sources; one from a deity and his doctrines and the other from the fertile, if not twisted, mind of the perpetrator.

The Koran is replete with examples of Allah commending and commanding the killing of those who refuse to take a knee before him and we have detailed many of those verses here in the past. Recent history alone records tens of thousands of examples of men and women, claiming allegiance to Islam, killing and maiming and all in the name of Allah. Connecting the dots between the admission of guilt for an act of murder and the coincident adherence to a specific religious doctrine doesn’t require work; just a willingness to listen.

Trying to manufacture a connection between a religious ideology and a killer when the killer hasn’t identified himself with great specificity as a follower of the religion; is a witch hunt!

Question; Why is the largely agnostic media so hungry to force all ideologies into the same category on one hand and yet seemingly so light handed in it’s scrutiny of a religion that has spawned so many brutal ritual murderers, on the other? Add to this the absolute cowardly approach to this point by our representatives in DC, and we are left rudderless in our “attempts” to defend these shores from those who would do us harm.

What is clear, is that those who hold the authority and the power to clearly identify legitimate threats are either incapable or unwilling to do so.

And that is just cause for a lot of sleepless nights!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Big Peace

Conservatives, Let’s Change Perceptions Now


“Wait a second, you’re a singer. You’re a journalist AND you’re a conservative,” he said, rather surprised.

“Yeah … is that wrong?” I said.

“No, it’s just unexpected … and rare,” he responded.

I’ve been meeting a lot of new people lately. This is a blessing and a curse in Washington DC, as sooner or later politics WILL come up. It’s just how things are around here. And as a singer in a band, I encounter a ton of people who gravitate towards the band’s sound, my voice or something I’ve said on stage and conversations start.



Sometimes, these conversations are uncomfortable and the person I am talking to kinda backs away slowly when I mention conservatism or anything seen as ‘right-wing’ .. And other times, intense conversation takes place.

What I find though, is we as conservatives are bound to stereotypes so entrenched in the mind of the general population it’s hard for anyone to see us as who we really are. It’s like the minute I voice my political views and they’re of differing opinion, I am no longer the cool person who just caught their attention singing ‘Kiss Me’ or some other fun-loving song on stage. I’m now…just a conservative. Not a person. Not a pretty voice. Just a conservative, as defined by the media.

I know it all goes back to getting rid of labels and we can preach until we turn blue about how we want the left to see us for who we are and not the fanatics within our faction or the way the media paints us. But that’s a passive way of getting other people to take responsibility for the change we need to insight. Our preaching at, or to each other doesn’t get the job done. It just passes the buck, so to speak. We need to live the change we want to see and work towards it.


When I am in conversation with liberals I work with or perform with (I am the only conservative in my band), I often find myself saying “there are extremes on every side. So, I’ll stop dumping all you libs into one bucket if you’ll stop doing the same to us conservatives.” … And while in theory it’s a great thing to say, I’ve realized once again my saying it has thrown first draw on the liberals … and as long as they don’t change, I’ve not obligated myself to change either.

In very plain English, I am sick and tired of being seen as something I am not. As in pretty much every group, there are degrees, levels and diversity in membership and ideas.

This is how great thought and debate happens. This is how we redefine positions, make change and also grow as a thoughtful people. We all share, strategize and sometimes, see things through the eyes of people who’ve experienced their patriotism in different ways.

What ever happened to us not judging people for one aspect of their lives, but as their whole? Actions of many are louder than the actions of one if we simply don’t allow those fanatical actions to overshadow us.

Case in point: Do we condemn airlines as a whole because one plane crashes? Do we demonize the entire industry and stop flying? No. We know the odds. We know airtravel is safe and the accident rate is low. So why aren’t we as forgiving with actual people when it comes to the fanatical factions within them?

Conservatives are doctors, lawyers, TV directors, actors, journalists, singers, seamstresses, Wall Street tycoons and a ton of other things. Some are church goers, some aren’t. Some believe in God, some don’t.

But for some reason, all that is forgotten when we actually tell people where we stand. We just become ‘that conservative over there …’ or …‘that right-wing fanatic.’ All of our coolness disappears and we’re nothing but a label, defined by other people … people we don’t agree with.

The passion and emotion political views insight on either side fuel the negative opinion this world has of us. It makes it to where we sometimes are only comfortable talking about our views in our own circles. Or we are afraid to tell others who we are because we don’t want to be judged for one aspect of our lives.

But it really does need to be our mission to change perception. Every single person knows perception is reality … and the perception the media puts out there – that our President puts out about a group of his own citizens – is tainted, disrespectful and flat out wrong. We need to defiantly say we’re not going to take it any more and we are going to show this country who we are.

Does being a conservative mean we’re not a group of kick-ass fun-loving people? Damn, I don’t think I got that memo … at least I hadn’t when I was out at the roller derby last weekend (first time ever …and it was a good time) hollering it up with a bunch of my girlfriends (maybe they passed that memo out at the last Glenn Beck rally, which apparently all conservatives attend …) …Or maybe it was said from the pulpit during the that Sunday service I missed a few weeks back (because the roller derby was REALLY fun) …

If we want to take back our country we have got to show the brainwashed who we really are. That we have high standards, but are as human as they are. That we have a vision and a reason for believing what we do – and we still know how to live. This may seem superficial, but we’ve been painted into a grey-suited box, complete with pocket protector and fire and brimstone Bible …

So are we going to do something about it? Or are we cool with letting the ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ mentality we’ve let run ruin our conservative reputations and perception for … oh, let’s say … FOREVER …keep us boxed in?

Let’s mobilize. Let’s show who we are – the real us … and let this world know we can debate AND party with the best of em and we’re not ashamed to be called Conservative … but it’s on OUR terms. Not theirs.

Big Government

‘Clean’ Balanced Budget Amendment Could Be Trap for Conservatives


Liberals are trying to kill the prospect of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) in the ongoing battle over the debt ceiling. Some on the Right respond that they might settle for a “clean” BBA. But there are two types of a clean BBA, one of which would be even worse than the terrible mess we have today.



Some advocate that the BBA should require only that federal outlays cannot exceed federal tax revenues. They see it as two numbers, where the former must be less than the latter.

But this misses one critical point. If BBA only requires government to spend less than it collects, there are two ways to fix it. The first is cutting spending, and the second is raising taxes.

Many supporters of a clean BBA are not too worried. Although acknowledging the risk, they’re willing to take it on the grounds that they can use the prospect of electoral defeat to exert political pressure on members of Congress to ensure they don’t vote for tax increases.

But what about the courts? What if a judge orders a tax increase?


A judge could, if the BBA only says that spending must be less than revenues.

Courts currently lack the power to make changes to taxes or spending. Article I and the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution only authorize four types of taxes—excises, imposts, capitation taxes, and income taxes—and specifies that Congress is the branch with power to levy these taxes.

The Framers specifically wanted fiscal control in the hands of elected legislators. “No taxation without representation!” was the battle cry that helped precipitate the American Revolution.

So three fiscal levers are exclusively in Congress’ hands: Only Congress can tax, spend, or borrow.

Congress’ control over the purse strings gives legislators leverage over the other branches. And the members of one congressional chamber—the House of Representatives—must stand before the people every other year, ensuring that those with taxing and spending power would be strictly accountable to the voters.

But a “clean” BBA would change that. It would create a constitutional command. A private party with standing could ask a federal judge to remedy a violation of a clean BBA by ordering increases in taxes to close budgetary gaps, instead of spending cuts.

Advocates of a clean BBA point out that with every provision in a BBA, it becomes harder to find the votes for a two-thirds supermajority needed to vote the BBA out of Congress and propose it to the states, where it would very likely be ratified in short order.

Each of the provisions in the BBA currently proposed in Congress is there for a reason. The best version is Senate Joint Resolution 10, the Hatch-Lee version, which has eleven sections. We explain its design in our book Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.

Section 8 of the BBA in S.J.R. 10 specifies that no federal or state court can order a revenue increase under this amendment. In other words, it leaves open the possibility that political gridlock between the elected branches might result in a court cutting federal spending, but never hiking taxes.

This is critically important. Federal judges hold their offices for life to insulate them from politics so that they can faithfully uphold the Constitution and laws, even when extremely unpopular. This is especially vital when public outcry pushes Congress and the president to do something unconstitutional, leaving judges free to strike it down.

But to grant judges the power to raise taxes would be antithetical to the constitutional design of political accountability for taxes. It would create a perverse incentive for members of Congress who wanted to raise taxes but were politically vulnerable to foster gridlock on spending battles, then let the courts do their dirty work for them by increasing taxes to make up the shortfall.

So the bottom line is that the only type of “clean” BBA that should even be considered is a second variety. In addition to specifying that revenues must exceed spending, it must also retain the current Section 8 that no judge has power to raise taxes.

America’s problem is our debt, not our debt ceiling. We desperately need a BBA to tackle our debt. But a BBA that allows judges to hike taxes would be even worse than the status quo.

Given how horrible the status quo is, that’s quite a statement.

Big Government

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Senator Marco Rubio In Brilliant Form

Senator Marco Rubio on the Senate floor, Saturday, July 30, 2011.   An absolutely must-see speech.


“It is impossible to negotiate with someone who does not have a plan.”  ” Raising the debt-limit is the easiest thing this Country faces now.”   “There is no government run by Conservatives, Republicans, put whoever you want there, if you give the government the opportunity to spend more money, it will do it everytime.”  ”  We either save this Country or we do not and to save it, we seek solutions.”

 

Obama and the Drug Cartels

July 30, 2011
By Elise Cooper

The Obama administration is once again throwing curveballs to the American public on their policy for dealing with the Mexican drug cartels.  They are constantly stating that the border is safe and secure.  This July there were new directives issued that would supposedly help curtail the drugs coming into America from Mexico.

One of these new directives requires gun dealers in the Southwestern border states, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, to file a report with ATF when a person buys two or more semiautomatic rifles within five days.  The administration sees this as an attempt to disrupt the weapon trafficking networks that divert firearms to the gun cartels.

Also, in July Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, and US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin came up with a new strategy to deal with the drug runners coming across the border into America.  This strategy only focuses on drug prevention and gives little attention to the unsecured border.  Napolitano stated at this meeting that "we have been devoting really unprecedented efforts to making sure that the border is safe and secure," which is why she felt that the school programs were emphasized.

Everyone interviewed strongly felt that Napolitano's statement was completely false and the administration needs to make the border secure and safe.  Although education and prevention are a component, demand will always be a factor and the immediate problem is not going to be solved by school anti-drug programs. 

 Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne cited the fact that last year, just in the Tucson sector, there were 400,000 who crossed the border.  Leo Banks, an Arizona journalist, stressed that there are fewer workers coming across, but there are more corridors that are out of control, with more drug traffickers "who are a nasty bunch, bolder, more violent, more sophisticated, and unafraid."  There are isolated incidents spilling over into the US from kidnappings and murders, to bullets flying across the border.  In Arizona Horne told of incidents of drug cartel violence: a beheading in Chandler, a policeman and one of his investigators shot, and a rancher killed.

Lucy Nashed, Deputy Press Secretary to Texas Governor Rick Perry, commented that the drug traffickers have become "increasingly confrontational in protecting their lucrative criminal enterprises ... It is an affront to suggest our border is secure as innocent lives on both sides continue to be threatened due to ongoing drug cartel violence.  This administration's comments prove that they either don't understand or don't care about the turmoil occurring along our border."

Arizona Assemblyman John Kavanagh was of the same opinion as Sheriff Larry Dever who warns that the "the tentacles of the drug cartels reach far beyond the border.  They have a network throughout the entire country.  Every community throughout the US is at risk. Those of us on the border fight the battle every day.  

These communities will be the first to state when they feel safe and their livelihood is protected."  The drugs do not stay on the border as evidenced by Arizona Assemblywoman Peggy Judd's statistics: "Drugs coming across the border are worth $9/lb., in Tucson they are worth $400/lb., in Phoenix $600/lb., and in Washington DC $1000/lb."

It is a fact that drugs and illegals come north and the money goes south.  But do guns go south as well -- and will President Obama's new directive help?  The ATF Fast and Furious fiasco did not try to stop gun dealers from selling to suspicious characters, but rather asked gun dealers to sell to them.  According to Arizona State Senator Gail Griffin "the President did not apply his directive to his own ATF.  He needs to clean up his own backyard before imposing regulations on the general public." 

David Greenberg, an Arizona gun shop owner, commented to American Thinker that on three different occasions he was told to sell guns to suspicious characters, inform both ATF and ICE, and they will apprehend criminals before getting to the border.  The one problem with that, according to Greenberg, is that his shop is approximately only three miles from the border.  The Obama directive offends him.  He considers himself a responsible American who will not sell to someone who he regards as suspicious or who wants to buy a multitude of semi-automatic weapons.  Besides, he never received an official word about this new regulation.  Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the oversight committee, in a conference call concurred to American Thinker that "The firearms dealers are on our side.  That is the way this country works, law-abiding citizens work with law enforcement and we catch the bad guys."

Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) regards this new regulation as ridiculous since "the bad guys will know how to get around these rules.  Doesn't the President think that the bad guys would just move outside the line since there are 46 other states they can buy from?  This is a PR move to cover for the Fast and Furious fiasco.  They are trying to move the agenda away from them. Doesn't the President understand that the greatest source of Mexican guns comes from outside the US and that the US is used as a transport, specifically the Pacific ports?" 

Law enforcement officials interviewed: Arizona Police Chief Alberto Melis and Sheriff Dever, a Border Patrol Agent, and ATF agent Jay Dobyns, explained that the majority of firearms, especially the heavy armaments, used by the cartels, comes from Europe, Central America, and Mexican army defectors, and that the directive is simply window dressing which will have no effect.  Chairman Issa also pointed out that it is the Mexicans who claim the guns are coming from the US, although they will not allow the stockpile of weapons to ever be seen by US officials.

Since the Obama administration seems clueless in how to deal with this ongoing problem, do the experts have any solutions?  ATF Agent Dobyns and Sherriff Dever want less rhetoric from the administration and more boots on the ground directly at the border.  Assemblyman Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Judd agree with Senator Griffin that the fence needs to be completed and that inspections going into Mexico should not be superficial.  Congressman Bilbray wants to require banks to ensure non-citizens have viable documentation before opening a bank account in this country.

Sherriff Melis wants Americans to understand that "it is about the money, stupid."  Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and Congressman Bilbray did just that last year when they introduced a bipartisan bill to deprive the cartels of their money base, through curbing the flow of drug money across U.S. borders, by closing a loophole that lets money in "stored value cards" (prepaid cards) go undeclared.  Giffords explained at that time that her goal was "to tighten the screws and make it significantly more difficult for them to operate since the narco-terrorists and their drug cartels are wreaking havoc on communities all across Arizona and the nation." 

The American public should wake up and realize how badly this problem is out of control.  If it wants to address the problem effectively, the Obama administration needs to realize that superficial directives will not stop the cartels and that the federal government needs to make the border safe and secure to ensure America's sovereignty.

American Thinker

Iran To Help Sudan Kill Black Africans


It appears as if the National Congress Party (NCP) Islamist regime of Omar Hassan al Bashir in Sudan is going to have assistance in its current extermination campaign against the black, African peoples of central Sudan’s Nuba Mountains (called “South Kordofan” by the Arabs). Intelligence sources of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains reported on Wednesday, July 27, the arrival the day before of 200 Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, accompanied with 10 “advanced tanks” at the Kassala airport in Eastern Sudan.

Iran: We are happy to help

Since launching the attack on the Nuba on June 5, Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) have been successful in killing and displacing thousands of civilian Nuba through aerial bombardment by Antonovs and strafing with helicopter gunships. And its Popular Defense Force, (PDF) a militia known as the “Al Qaeda of Sudan,” has slaughtered hundreds in house-to-house killing of SPLM supporters and Christian Nuba, and in mass executions. The existence of mass graves in Kadugli and other Nuba Mountain towns has been documented in satellite photography by the Satellite Sentinel Project, an invaluable witness to the truth, founded by actor and activist George Clooney. In what has been the most blatantly racist action by the NCP regime, ICC-indicted war criminal al Bashir gave directions to the troops to “sweep away the trash in the Nuba Mountains,” referring to the Nuba people. He further stated that wherever they found a Nuba they should “clean it up.” The NCP is taking advantage of their conflict with the SPLM to retaliate against the Nuba for siding with South Sudan during the war.

But the NCP has suffered humiliating military defeats on the ground by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In numerous battles, the SPLA successfully has defended the area, sometimes with the assistance of other marginalized people group forces, such as the Darfurians. In these cases, the SAF troops have fled the area, abandoning their tanks, landcruisers, and weapons to the SPLA.  In other cases, SAF troops have actually defected to the SPLA. (Alarmingly, Khartoum has publicly stated several times that if the SPLA does not return the tanks, vehicles, and weapons they will use chemical weapons on the people of the Nuba Mountains.)

Kassala Airport, the location of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrival, had also been the location of the arrival of some Somali Islamic militia, the terrorist group Al Shabaab, according to the SPLM sources. The Somali jihadists were seen heading to South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains two weeks before. Because of the NCP’s marginalization of the indigenous people of Eastern Sudan, the Beja, they are free to use Eastern Sudan as a launching area for terrorist operations. Eastern Sudan was the area where in March 2009 a convoy of Rashaida Arabs was attacked by aircraft as they were smuggling weapons for Hamas. And in April of this year Eastern Sudan was the location of an airstrike attributed to Israel that took place just north of Port Sudan and killed a top Hamas operative.

The SPLM in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains declared that “in light of this development,” it was now certain “that the NCP’s regime is utilizing and deploying militias from outside the country in their ethnic cleansing war.” They revealed that in addition to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Somali Islamists, the regime had already brought others into the region to wage war on the Nuba people. They listed the militia of Peter Gadet Yak, a Khartoum-backed former SPLA commander who is now in armed opposition to the SPLM/SPLA. “Janjaweed” militias from Chad and Niger are also contributing to the killing. Khartoum appears to be unleashing all of the demons of hell against the Nuba people.


In closing, the SPLM stated that it “once again” (because multiple calls for assistance and justice have gone out unanswered before this) was calling upon the United Nations Security Council to investigate the crimes against humanity and the ethnic cleansing taking place in the Nuba Mountains. In particular they request an investigation of the military deployment of “these exported militias of terrorist groups.” Apart from everything else, Khartoum demonstrates, once again, that it never wins in a fair fight. For the sake of the Nuba people, but also for the sake of regional and global security, it is time for the U.S. government to help Sudan’s African people groups, marginalized, persecuted and in spite of that, a fighting force with whom to be reckoened, to bring peace, freedom, and justice to all of the people of Sudan.

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

Big Peace

President Obama And Gulf Oil Drilling: Here’s How To Create Hundreds Of Thousands of Jobs and Tens of Billion in Wealth

 Posted by Institute for Energy Research (IER) Jul 30th 2011 at 7:59 am in Economy, Energy, Featured Story, Obama

The Obama Administration has long been hostile to domestic oil and natural gas production. The impacts of these policies are becoming clear. One recent study found that the Administration’s moratorium and slowdown in permitting in the Gulf of Mexico has cost the United States over $4 billion in economic output and nearly 20,000 jobs.[i] A new study has found that there is great economic potential if the Administration speeds up their slow permitting process.

The Gulf Economic Survival Team, a group of energy and business interests based largely in Louisiana,  had IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA study the impact of faster permitting of oil leases on offshore oil production and the economies of the United States and affected states.[ii] They determined that increased exploration and permitting approval in 2012 would:
  • Create 230,000 U.S. jobs
  • Increase U.S. GDP by more than $44 billion
  • Increase tax and royalty revenues for state and federal treasuries by almost $12 billion
  • Increase oil production by more than 400,000 barrels per day (150 million barrels per year)
  • Reduce U.S. payments for oil imports by about $15 billion.
Other findings are:
  • Almost twice the number of exploration and development plans are pending from the Department of Interior compared to pre-moratorium levels
  • Approvals of exploration plans have decreased by 85 percent.
  • The median number of days for approving an exploration plan has increased from 36 days to 131 days.
Further, ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico since the moratorium for more lucrative areas offshore in Egypt, Congo, French Guiana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Brazil.[iii] Although federal officials announced they were lifting the restrictions last October on a moratorium put in place in May 2011, a “de-facto moratorium” remains in effect that lowers oil and natural gas production and impacts businesses in the Gulf region.

The IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA Study

This study evaluated the pace of permitting offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico by the Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOMRE), an organization in the Department of Interior. The period of review was from the end of the moratorium on offshore drilling by the Obama Administration in October 2010 until April 30, 2011, 6 months of data. They found that the number of pending exploration and development plans submitted to BOEMRE that have not received final action has increased by almost 90 percent from historical levels. The median number of days a plan is pending approval has increased from 36 days to 131 days. They also found that exploration and development plan approvals are down by more than 85 percent and approvals of drill permits covered by those plans are down by almost 65 percent. The slower pace of approvals will make other investment opportunities more advantageous for the industries involved. Already ten rigs have left the area for opportunities in other areas of the world.


After the spill and the reorganization of the Minerals Management Service into BOMRE, new safety and environmental rules were issued, probably causing a slowdown to both the number of applications and to the approval process.  This study, however, did not determine the causes for the slowdown nor what actions should be taken to fix it. Rather the study evaluated the impact of approving permits faster and reducing the backlog of the permits currently in the pipeline, finding that employment and tax royalty revenues would increase and energy security would improve from the increased production. The results of their analysis are shown in the table below.



Employment would not only increase in the Gulf States, but in states such as Florida, Georgia, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Louisiana’s potential increased revenues of $1.3 billion would cut its budget shortfall by more than 80 percent. The state results are provided below.



The report’s message is that the output of BOEMRE in regard to regulatory oversight and responsiveness should be aligned with the level of investment that oil companies are willing to make in the Gulf. For instance, in June, Exxon Mobil announced a new discovery in the Keathley Canyon area of the Gulf with recoverable oil estimated at 700 million barrels and Shell announced plans to invest $2.5 billion in its Cardamon field in the Gulf.[iv] Just the royalty to the federal treasury from Exxon’s find at today’s oil price is more than $13 billion.


It generally takes seven to ten years from exploration and development to initial production. And not all drilling activity results in oil production. Generally, only one in seven wells will result in economically viable reserves. So, in order to keep production at or above current levels, it is crucial for exploration to continue at historic rates.

Government’s Expectation of Offshore Oil Production

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts oil production over the next two years in its Short Term Energy Outlook, which it releases each month. In its latest outlook, the EIA is predicting that offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico will fall from 1.7 million barrels per day in January 2010 to 1.34 million barrels per day in December 2012, a drop of 360,000 barrels per day.[v] Prior to the Deep Water Horizon accident and the Obama Administration moratorium, the EIA was forecasting fairly robust oil production from the Gulf at levels averaging 1.7 million barrels a day in 2010 and 2011. Now, the 2011 forecast for offshore oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is reduced to about 1.5 million barrels per day.[vi]Note that the end of the forecast horizon in EIA’s April 2010 Short-Term Energy Outlook was 2011, so comparisons regarding the 2012 offshore oil production numbers cannot be made from a prior forecast.

Conclusion

Studies are showing that we are losing oil production from the Gulf of Mexico from the Obama Administration’s moratorium and its continuing slowness in approving permits or a “permitorium”. The study by IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA is indicating that there are great economic gains to be reaped if the Administration speeds up their slow permit process.  But, the reality is that a slowdown is occurring with the resultant impact of less employment, less government tax revenues, less oil production, and less energy security.

Big Peace