Category Archives: News and Info

News and Information Posts from Bro Bo

MAGA: First Real US Household Income Gain Since 2000

 

Donald Trump just delivered a record for U.S. median household income and the first full year of higher real incomes since 2000.

President Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ economic policies that favor Main Street over Wall Street just delivered a record for U.S. median household income and the first full year of higher real incomes since 2000.

The median household income hit an all-time high of $63,554 in November 2018, based on an analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey by Sentier Research. The real, after-inflation, median household income was 3.2 percent above the $61,612 for November 2017; up 5.5 percent above the $60,231 in December 2007; up 15.4 percent from $55,083 in June 2011; and 4.3 percent higher than January 2000.

Despite almost two decades of income stagnation for 99 percent of Americans, establishment economists on the left and the right have viciously attacked the Trump Administration’s ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) policies for cutting taxes, deregulating the economy, maximizing oil and gas production, ending foreign entanglements, renegotiating blatantly unfair trade deals, and slapping China with tariffs.

The Nation published an article in June warning that, ‘Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to the Next Great Depression.’ Progressive former senior strategist at bankrupt Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers Naomi Prins hyperventilated that Donald Trump’s attacking foreign exporting nations for using America as “the world’s piggy bank” was “making the world a less stable, less affordable, and more fear-driven place.”

In the same month, Never-Trump’ conservatives at the Weekly Standard sneeredat MAGA policies in ‘Trumpenomics for Dummies.’ British economist Irwin Stelzer lashed out at Trump for trying to “protect our 19th and 20th Century industries” basic industries, instead of backing “brain replacing brawn as the basis of American economic prosperity.”

In response to MAGA’s unorthodox economic policies that delivered big income gains and drove unemployment down to its lowest levels in almost 50 years, the Trump Administration has had to weather seven interest rate hikes based on the Federal Reserve’s orthodox economic theory that wage growth must be restrained to prevent future inflation.

The Fed had no problem slashing interest rates 19 notches early in the Obama Administration, and then keeping interest rates substantially below inflation in order to create asset bubbles that drove up U.S. rents and home prices. According to an EPI study, Incomes for the top 1-percent spiked to an all-time high average of $1,316,985 in 2015, a multiple of 26.3 times the average income for the other 99 percent of Americans.

While the Federal Reserve has been trying to protect the average American from too much personal income growth, its own Inflation Expectation Rate for the next five years has actually fallen by 20 percent since President Trump took office in January 2017.

Managing Director David Hoffman of Brandywine Global Asset that manages $74 billion recently observed that before the Fed raised the U.S. policy interest rate on December 19th and crashed the stock markets, the Fed Funds target interest rate when adjusted for inflation was already above zero. He warned that the Fed’s policy for the first time in a decade is “no longer broadly promotive of continued strong growth.”

The Fed and critics on both the left and right have fully embraced Keynesian economic theories that argue for government using “targeted” fiscal spending and monetary credit policies to steer the U.S. economy to optimum performance. With the top “1-percenters” controlling the bureaucratic deep state over the last 40 years, they have manipulated those Keynesian “targets” to optimally enhance their own incomes.

Because MAGA economics rejects fiscal and monetary targeting as inherently corrupt, the “1-percenters” understand their entitlement is at existential risk of going away. They must fight, obstruct and slow down MAGA policies before the redistribution of income back to the 99-percent becomes overwhelmingly obvious to most American voters.

The Fed’s interest rate spikes have hammered Wall Street with a global stock market selloff that resulted in the worst December U.S. stock performance since 1931, with the Dow Jones Index down 9.7 percent for the month. After the market value of Apple Computer collapsed by $75 billion after warning of lower earnings due to China’s economy slowing, Dow Index entered a “Bear Market” Dow down 20 percent from its September high.

But “Main Street” is booming, according to the latest Bureau of Labor statistics, with 7.1 million job openings on the last business day of October. The latestSmall Business Optimism Index reported its highest percentage since 1989 of companies under 250 workers planning to raise compensation in 2019 in “response to persistently high levels of unfilled open positions.”

 

 

Source: MAGA: First Real US Household Income Gain Since 2000

Are the Investigations the Cover-Up?

What is the most effective way to hide the truth and protect the Deep-State criminals? It’s the never-ending Mueller investigation.

 

Those of us who have been paying attention know that serious crimes were committed at the highest levels of government in an attempt to exonerate Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump.  There was collusion between government agencies, including collusion with foreign agents, to illegally influence the 2016 Presidential election.  There is enough evidence on the table to be confident of these claims.

And those of us who care about rule of law, who want to see justice done to the criminals in this conspiracy, have been waiting for years to see that happen.  We hear that these serious matters are being investigated.  We hear that there are whistleblowers inside the government who want to come forward and expose the corruption.  We hear that there are many, many more documents which will substantiate our worst fears about one of the greatest scandals in the history of our country.

We have been assured that there are several investigations looking into the various aspect of this abuse of power.  Inspector General Michael Horowitz, prosecutor John Huber, and others are looking into the corruption.  Mueller is supposedly tasked with exposing foreign influence on the Presidential election.

But what if the ‘investigations’ are really the cover-up? What if the investigations are carefully structured to protect criminal actions rather than expose them? What if the investigations are actually being used to hide evidence from the citizenry?

Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe and others discussed the need for an “insurance policy” in case Trump won.  Was this “insurance policy” intended to protect deep-state criminals from exposure?  Mueller’s role is not to investigate collusion with foreign agents, or he would be investigating Christopher Steele and his Russian sources, along with the foreigners who worked with our government to infiltrate the Trump campaign.  He would investigate the illegal funding of Steele’s lies and how the lies were fed to the public by ‘bad cops’ and complicit media.  This is obviously not the goal of Mueller’s team.

Mueller’s key role is to have nearly absolute control over what information is released to investigators or the public.  Mueller determines what Horowitz and Huber can see. Mueller can hide anythinghe wants by claiming that release of the information would hinder his ‘investigation’.  He has given Rod Rosenstein a list of lines of inquiry that will not be allowed.  Rosenstein, who volunteered to be part of the soft coup, is happy to comply.  We have witnessed Rosenstein repeatedly refuse to turn over documents to Congress, flagrantly obstructing its oversight role.

What is the most effective way to hide the truth and protect the deep-state criminals? It’s the never-ending Mueller investigation.  Sure, Mueller’s team is still in the business of promoting the Trump-Russia fiction, but the most important role of this ‘investigation’ may be to obstruct any real investigation.

Conspiracy theories become conspiracy facts when enough evidence piles up to support the theory.  Consider this evidence, starting before the election:

  • Comey wrote a letter exonerating Hillary from her very intentional crimes long before she or key witnesses were interviewed.
  • Hillary’s key co-conspirators were given immunity, allowed to share attorneys, sit in on each other’s depositions, and even destroy evidence.  This was a sham investigation.
  • Hillary’s influence peddling through the Clinton Foundation was effectively swept under the rug.  The Clintons enriched themselves by selling future favors, often to foreign entities.  The foundation has been called “The Biggest Charity Fraud Ever”.
  • The Trump-Russia collusion narrative was developed as part of the effort to undermine Trump. It was not started by any actionable intelligence.  Spies were placed in the Trump campaign to aid the false narrative and to allow further illicit intelligence gathering.
  •  Spying on the Trump campaign was authorized by presenting fraudulent, hearsay evidence to FISA Court judges.  This criminal act led to many other criminal acts including rampant “unmasking” of American citizens associated with Trump.  Comey and Rosenstein both played roles in FISA abuse. White House officials did much of the unmasking.
  • On September 28, 2016, Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page that “hundreds of thousands” of email messages from Anthony Weiner’s computer had been turned over to the FBI by U.S. Attorneys who were conducting an investigation into Weiner’s sex crimes.  This was a treasure trove of information about Huma and Hillary.  The FBI immediately hid the information for a month while they figured out how to whitewash it to protect Hillary.  The bomb-control team successfully defused another bomb.  Surely, they expected a future reward from President H.R. Clinton.

Inspector General Horowitz’s June report had the goal of soft-peddling criminal behavior.  The report said that some unfortunate things were done, but there was no reason to think that bias played a key role in important decisions.  It did not find fault with things like granting immunity to the man who lied to the FBI and destroyed Hillary’s illegal server.  As we have learned, lying to the FBI can be fine, depending on who does the lying.  Destroying subpoenaed evidence is okay too, at times.

Horowitz’ public statement about his toothless report was followed by FBI Director Christopher Wray telling us not to worry about a thing because he intended to schedule a day when FBI agents would have a meeting to discuss bias.  Okay then — I guess that takes care of it.

Last year, when members of Congress were rightly frustrated about evidence being hidden, there were increasing calls for a special prosecutor to investigate surveillance abuses by the Obama administration, the shady Uranium One deal, and the Clinton Foundation’s influence peddling.  The idea of appointing a truly independent prosecutor was thwarted by Jeff Sessions, who appointed a career insider to do the investigation instead.  Sessions promised that an Obama holdover in Utah, John Huber, would do a “full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters.”

At this point, there is every reason to believe that the purpose of Huber’s investigation is to hide the truth, not to find it; to protect the criminals, not to charge them.   The key witnesses in each of the matters under investigation have not even been contacted.  It appears that no grand juries have been empaneled.  Tom Fitton, of Judicial Watch says, “Huber wasn’t tapped to investigate anything”, he was just “a distraction”.

What we are witnessing here is a carefully planned and orchestrated cover-up of a series of very serious crimes.  The deep swamp is pretending to investigate the deep swamp.

This cover-up would not be possible if the mainstream media were honest and aggressive fact-finders, but they actually function as a branch of the Democratic Party.  The cover-up would fail if Republicans were unified in absolutely demanding to see all the evidence that is currently being hidden, but Republican ‘leaders’ do not unify and fight hard for anything.  They appear to be comfortable with losing this battle.

Victors write the accepted history of events.  It is possible that the story here will be that good men like Strzok, Comey, Rosenstein, and Mueller protected America from a vast right-wing conspiracy.  Donald Trump, the victim of most of the crimes, will be portrayed as the villain.

By Bryce Buchanan

Source: Are the Investigations the Cover-Up?

 

 

Why They are Wrong and President Trump Is Right on Syria

 

 

President Trump has overseen a clear, steady and realist foreign policy, focused on putting America First.

 

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, I have been directly involved in advising the country’s top National Security Team in planning and executing the United States and Allied Powers response to the attacks.

I’ve trained trained troops to deploy, supervised and conducted intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations and deployed myself in the first Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom as a commander.

My support for President Trump’s decisions to bring American forces out of Syria now and soon Afghanistan is informed not only by my experiences since 9/11, but also four decades of military and civilian experience planning and executing national security policy. I have studied national security matters under retired US Marine Lt General Mick Trainor at Harvard, and many other great thinkers at the U.S. College of Naval Warfare.

As you can see from my background, I’m no pacifist, but I’ve also seen the horrors of war firsthand and understand that military force should always be a final resort and that it is the duty of the Commander in Chief to bring our troops home as soon as the stated mission is complete.

Unlike the bipartisan foreign policy swamp, which has been consistently proven wrong about nearly every major military decision of the last decade, President Trump has overseen a clear, steady and realist foreign policy, focused on putting America First. From re-building America’s military, destroying ISIS, ending the Iran deal, de-escalating tensions with North Korea, he has consistently proven the naysayers in the foreign policy swamp wrong.

Those who have led us down the failed and dangerous path of endless wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and beyond, are the last people who should be listened to in regards to Syria. In fact, many of those people attacking President Trump today over Syria, are they themselves responsible for the chaos we see currently in the Middle East. Why trust a group of people whose policies have been discredited time and time again over a man whose policies and instincts in regards to foreign policy have been consistently proven right?

The members of the foreign policy swamp can’t even account for why it’s in America’s national interest to keep 2000 American soldiers and intelligence officers in Syria after they’ve already completed the mission the President gave them two years ago, to destroy and defeat ISIS. Could it be that that the foreign policy swamp was never actually interested in defeating ISIS and instead want us to stay in Syria because of their misguided and dangerous fetish for more regime change in the Middle East?

They scream that there will be chaos if we leave, conveniently ignoring the fact that most of the chaos we see in the Middle East is a direct result of their policies of regime change Libya and Iraq. Furthermore, do we really want to turn Syria into another Afghanistan, where we stay there for 17 years with no real purpose and no actual American interests at stake?

We’ve seen that script before and it hasn’t ended well for the United States. But that matters little to the foreign policy swamp, as they don’t even pretend this is about our national interest, but rather about their impossible dream for liberal Democracy in the Middle East.

Luckily, President Trump understands that we owe our troops more than that.

The President understands what I understand: The Middle East will never be a liberal democracy and our foreign policy should never be guided by grand ideological goals, but rather by a simple doctrine that asks: What is best for America and its people?

In the case of Syria, it’s clear to me that there is no tangible American interest left in staying. As a 32 year military man, I say President Trump is right, we completed our mission, destroyed the enemy and it’s finally time to bring our troops home and declare victory.

And to those who disagree,I have one question to ask: How much American blood are you willing to spill to achieve your goal of regime change in Syria? Because if you ask me, the answer should very clearly be, not a single drop.

Retired Colonel Rob Maness enlisted in the US Air Force at age 17 as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician.  As an officer, he served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, survived the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, commanded a B-1 bomber squadron in combat, was Vice Commander of America’s largest airborne intelligence wing, and as a wing commander in nuclear operations.

 

 

 

Source: Why They are Wrong and President Trump Is Right on Syria

Are You Ready to Stop Watching the Never-Ending Commercial?

We fool ourselves if we think the campaign commercials are over now, or that the campaigning is limited to the two months leading up to election day.

The United States has just endured the most expensive midterm elections in history.  Most of us are tired of campaign commercials and are glad that they no longer run on television.  But we fool ourselves if we think the commercials are really over or that the campaigning is limited to the two months leading up to election day.

The commercials continue, if only in different forms.  Political commercials have, somehow, taken over nearly every facet of our lives and every activity we experience.  This infestation has happened so gradually that we barely notice how thorough the campaigning has become.  We complain about “media bias” and “mixing politics with entertainment,” but we are still mired in the trees and do not see the forest.  But the forest has overgrown into every aspect of our leisure time.

On television, the real commercial is found in the programs more than the nominal commercial breaks.  Network programs plug socialized medicine, either with some fawning reference to the Canadian system or complaints about prescription drug prices and “big pharma.”  For nearly two decades, virtually every prime-time show has featured gay characters politicizing their orientation.  Police and legal shows advocate increased immigration while claiming that unlimited immigration is somehow the law.  Popular sitcoms feature promiscuity while ridiculing those who fail to be promiscuous.

The point is not simply that television features bad things.  We already knew that.  The point is that television programs are little more than commercials for promiscuity, unfettered immigration, socialized medicine, gay rights, and the rest of the Democrat agenda.

Movies are not at all different.  Every movie (with a few marginalized exceptions) revises history in some way and serves as a Democrat campaign commercial.  The Academy Awards are today’s equivalent of Orwell’s “two minutes hate” against Republican politicians.

For those who seek refuge in sports, the NFL and its broadcasters have surrendered completely to the Democrat platform.  The NFL is unable to stop the National Anthem protests, while the sponsors embrace the protesters.  The athletes make headlines by refusing to attend White House functions during GOP administrations.  The NFL uses its tremendous leverage to bully state and local governments to adopt certain policies.  The NFL refuses to run ads by the Border Patrol during the Super Bowl.  Broadcasters often refuse to say they word “Redskin” for fear of offending someone.

Music is no less political.  Popular songs have advocated promiscuity and drugs for many decades.  The music award shows are as political as the Academy Awards or the Emmys.

A Republican vice president cannot attend a Broadway musical without being shouted at and insulted by the cast during the performance.  Classrooms have long been platforms for leftist advocacy.  Honest dissent is squelched.  Speech codes are enforced.  Admissions are politicized.  Truly free speech is shouted down by protesters.

Published books have also become little more than leftist commercials.  Observe the shelves at a major bookstore.  A few “conservative” books appear on the “Politics” shelf.  But the leftist books can be found throughout every department of the store – gender studies, history, education, psychology, sociology, fiction, environmental studies, sports, religious studies, arts, etc.  Those books, no matter how varied their subject matter, have one goal in mind – selling the Democrat message.  The gardening books advocate hiring illegal aliens.  The sports books reminisce about Vietnam.  The commercials never end.

Even your personal computer’s home page is locked to the scrolling “feed” chosen by Microsoft, with all of its MSNBC anti-Trump headlines and pictures.  The same content scrolls across the flat screen behind the tellers at the bank and many other businesses with a lobby or waiting room.  MSNBC’s images and political messages are seemingly inescapable.

The same commercial runs from the time we wake up (the morning talk shows) through dinner (the evening news) until we go to bed (the late-night “comedians”).

With every one of these examples – music, movies, television, books, education, sports – the conservative viewpoint is treated like the “other leading brand” in the old commercials for household products.  The story is rigged against conservatives, and the outcome of each movie, show, and song is pre-ordained.  If you spend your money or time on popular culture, you will see the Democrats beat your “other leading brand” almost every time.

Should we stop watching all movies, television, and plays?  Should we stop reading books?  Avoid college for ourselves and our children?  Boycott popular culture until it changes?

The answer is “no.”  A boycott is meant to force someone to do what we want.  But the left will never truly change.  Leftists will become cleverer and subtler.  Their movies and books and songs will always be thinly disguised commercials.  We must abandon the idea that we might someday return to our beloved television sets after we force the left’s hand.  The television that we knew is gone – if it ever really existed.  We must recognize that fact and find something new.

Our desire for entertainment and enlightenment can be satisfied with something other than television and the rest of today’s popular culture.  Popular culture is, by definition, what we make of it.  If we find something else instead of accepting whatever the establishment spoon-feeds us, the culture will change.

Many books are so old that they predate the standard Democrat commercial.  Almost every book ever written is available from internet sellers or interlibrary loan.  We have the whole world at our fingertips.  Why should we limit ourselves to the latest releases while old, quality books collect dust in some basement or warehouse?

The same is true of television and movies.  There were better programs and movies many decades ago.  Those movies are still available to entertain you and provide perspective.  You can find them if you would only look.

We cannot force football players to love their country.  The NFL apparently will always be a platform for those who do not respect the flag, you, or the country as a whole.  The commercial will continue.  The only question is whether you will pay to endure that commercial.  In the past two years, NFL ratings and attendance have declined.  Unless you have developed a gambling addiction through your fantasy football league, there is no reason to devote your Sundays to the NFL instead of joining your fellow consumers in finding something else to do.  Instead of boycotting with the hope of coming back later to a new and improved NFL, we can abandon the commercial completely, thus freeing ourselves once and for all.

The permanent commercial can continue only with the help of your money and time.  You can pay to see the same commercial every day in every movie, book, song, and sporting event.  Or you can turn off the commercial.

There was once a time before television and movies dominated our culture.  More recently, there was a time before football dominated television.  We never lacked something to do.

It is time to starve the beast.  This year’s elections serve as a reminder that we have more than a political reason to do so.  We have the added benefit of freeing ourselves from the never-ending commercial that our popular culture has become.

 

 

 

Source: Are You Ready to Stop Watching the Never-Ending Commercial?

Thanksgiving: The First and Essential American Holiday

 

Many Americans — Christian, Jewish and secular — find Thanksgiving to be their favorite holiday of the year.  And for good reason beyond the joy of a feast.  Thanksgiving was the first holiday of the Pilgrim forefathers, who spoke of their voyage to the New World in terms of a flight from persecution to freedom, much like the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt to reach the Promised Land.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that made the other American holidays possible.  Without the Pilgrims having courage, a quest for adventure, and a willingness to sacrifice and risk everything, and absolute faith in their cause and calling, they never would have embarked on the unseaworthy 94-foot Mayflower. Were it not for their dream and determination to find freedom of conscience and religion in the New World there may have never been a July 4th Independence Day or many of the other American holidays we take for granted and celebrate every year.

After a harrowing passage across the Atlantic — one that included wild pitching and broadside batterings by gale force winds and ferocious seas that caused the splitting of one of the ship’s main beams — the Mayflower was blown off course from the intended destination of the established Virginia Colony to wilds of Cape Cod. The Pilgrims knew not where they were nor how to proceed, so they beseeched the Almighty for favor in a safe arrival and in establishing a new and independent settlement.

Now in sight of land after a frightening voyage and facing hunger from depleted provisions, some of the secular Mayflower passengers were clamoring for rebellion.  And so, under the direction of Pilgrim leaders William Brewster and William Bradford, the drafting of a governing agreement was undertaken to quell unrest and ensure the establishment of a unified settlement that would be acceptable to both their Christian brethren and the secular crewman and merchant adventurers who made up about half the 102 people aboard the Mayflower. That governing document, known as the Mayflower Compact was introduced “solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another,” and it was specifically referred to as a covenant. A covenant is an unbreakable agreement — with precedents being made between God and towering figures of Jewish history — such as Abraham, Noah, and Moses.

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and journeyed on to Mt. Sinai, God made a covenant with Moses providing the Israelites the Ten Commandments and other laws — a necessary requirement before they could proceed and cross into the Promised Land.  Similarly, every able man aboard the Mayflower, had to sign the Mayflower Compact before each could “cross over” and finally set foot in the New World after their ship arrived at Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod at sunrise on Saturday, November 11, 1620.  As a covenant adapted to the civil need of forming a government with laws — established “for the general good of the colony” — the Mayflower Compact embodied fundamental principles of self-government and common consent. Thus, the Mayflower Compact was the beginning of democratic government in America, and it is often cited as the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution.

The fact that all the Pilgrims survived the squalid and cramped ship quarters during the dangerous crossing of a vast ocean, is no doubt partially attributable to the good fortune that the Mayflower had previously been enlisted as a wine transport cargo ship. Unlike most ships, she had a “sweet smell,” from all her decks and bilges being “disinfected” with wine sloshing and soaking from broken barrels of Bordeaux in the many prior crossings of the sometimes stormy English Channel.

That all changed once the Mayflower’s passengers settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of 1620.  The first winter was devastating, with over half the Pilgrims dying, including nearly half the women. Four whole families perished.  But it could have been worse.

Had those colonists not settled in Plymouth, adjacent to friendly Native Americans, and had they not befriended two who could speak broken English — Samoset and Squanto — perhaps none would have survived.  In fact, just four months after the Pilgrims disembarked in Plymouth, Samoset facilitated the signing of a Peace Treaty between the Pilgrim colonists and Massassoit, the chief of the Wampanoag tribe.  At the same time native tribesman were teaching the Pilgrims survival skills, showing them how to hunt, fish, and plant various crops, such as corn — which was unknown to Europeans.

The Pilgrims were extraordinarily grateful for the first season’s harvest — modest though it was — and decided to invite Massassoit and some of his people to a three-day-long feast, at which they would thank God not only for the harvest, but also for their survival and initial success of a diverse colony that included both Christians and non-believers.

No one knows for sure the exact date of this three-day event patterned after the “harvest fest” in England and also the Feast of Tabernacles in the Jewish calendar. Massassoit arrived with some 100 followers, more than two times the number of the Pilgrims, and for three days they entertained each other and feasted.

This feast later became known as the first Thanksgiving, which we now celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Some eighteen months after this feast, it came to be known that Massassoit was on the brink of death from an unknown sickness.  Governor William Bradford immediately sent elder Edward Winslow to administer natural herbs, medicines, and prayers to Massassoit. Astonishingly, he made full recovery within days, and remarked, “Now I see the English are my friends and love me; and whilst I live, I will never forget this kindness they have showed me.”

Times are very different than they were nearly 400 years ago at the time of theMayflower’s voyage to the New World.  But the qualities of character that made the Pilgrims exemplary are as relevant today as they were back then.  A contemporary Thanksgiving makeover might include: rekindling a quest for adventure; growing the faith to hold on to a vision of a promised land no matter what; mustering the courage to go against the crowd and defend the truth; gaining determination to endure hardship; rejuvenating a joyful willingness to sacrifice for others; revitalizing respect and tolerance of people of different beliefs and renewing the predisposition to extend love and gratitude at every appropriate opportunity.

 

 

 

 

Source: Thanksgiving: The First and Essential American Holiday

 

 

 

 

Will Global Warming Destroy the World? Ask America’s Farmers.

 

This is a good news story.

With the fall harvest underway across the nation’s Midwest “breadbasket,” early U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting predicts record-setting corn and soybean crops for 2018.  The corn crop will be above average for a record sixth year in a row, while soybean production is projected at an all-time high of 4.4 billion bushels, up 4 percent from last year’s previous record.

U.S. corn, soybean, wheat, and even rice crops look to continue a trend of remarkable growth in both productivity and output.  This year, corn may yield arecord 178.4 bushels per acre nationwide.  If realized, this will be the highest yield on record for the United States.  Soybean yields will likely be up 2.5 bushels from 2017, which surprised grain-trading experts and exceeded even the highest private yield estimate.  Wheat yields (for all varieties) are forecast to increase 1.1 bushels from last year,  and the 2018-19 U.S. rice crop is projected at 210.9 million cwt, down less than 1 percent from an earlier forecast but 18 percent larger than a year earlier.  America’s farmers will once again help feed a hungry planet that presently has more than 7.6 billion inhabitants and may reach 8.6 billion by 2030.

Global agricultural trends reflect gains as well.  Since 2002, world production of four major crops – corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans – has grown by 846 million tons or 48%.  Yields have kept pace with the world’s annual population growth rate of 1%.  In fact, prices for staple grain crops reveal a downside to those abundances, such that plentiful supply depresses commodity prices on world markets.  “There is too much corn,” said one analyst, to match demand.  Corn- and soybean-growers now concern themselves with consumption of previous record-setting crops to promote future market price increases.

These blessed abundances occur in an environment where Americans are fed a steady diet of dire predictions of climate change with its presumption of human-caused global warming.  Scientists tell us that weather phenomena like the extremes of storms, drought, wind, heat, and rainfall will be more frequent and intense.  Add pestilence, pollution, fires, and the encroachment of human activity to other natural calamities, and one wonders just how the American farmer can survive to produce and even prosper.

Instead, the American farmer continually adapts to the climate – and weather – through changes in crop rotations, planting times, genetic selection, fertilizer choices, improved equipment, innovation, pest and water management, and shifts in areas of crop production, among other possible measures.  Farmers take advantage of an unmatched system of education, research, science, and technology in American universities and business that has evolved to aid and support American agriculture.  Farmers also make good use of a responsive agri-business banking and finance system.  On whole, American farmers are part of, and benefit from, a well honed agricultural infrastructure that fosters advances in production and efficiency.

By contrast, in just one global example, Africa, despite vast natural resources, including expanses of arable land, has the world’s highest incidence of undernourishment (estimated at near one in four persons).  It is assessed that more than 60% of the planet’s available and unexploited cropland is located in sub-Saharan Africa, yet agricultural production remains dismal, which further undermines Africa’s future and economic growth.  Africa must import food staples valued at some $25 billion annually, largely because continental food production, supply, and consumption systems do not function optimally.

Why?  Consider that no nation on that continent can provide its farmers the needed political and societal stability to support a similarly developed agricultural infrastructure.  The examples of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia and once Africa’s breadbasket) and Sudan are illustrative of the entire continent’s challenges.

Zimbabwe has Africa’s most fertile farmland, yet, as a recent exposé explained, “a onetime net exporter of maize, cotton, beef, tobacco, roses, and sugarcane,” Zimbabwe now “exports only its educated professionals,” who fled by the thousands from decades of corrupt autocratic rule.  In Sudan, only 16% of available land had been cultivated by 2009 – the majority of which now falls within South Sudan, a “new” country that must still import nearly all its food.

Imagine the possibilities if African farmers could bring to bear similar resourcefulness, science, technology, finance, know-how, entrepreneurship, and work ethic to what the American farmer possesses.  What if Africa’s arable and unexploited croplands were farmed to similar standards as those in the American Midwest and production raised to the optimal – and sustainable – levels they are capable of?

It is not climate change, weather phenomena, human encroachment, or other natural calamities that pose the greatest threats to future generations.  Humans adapt to their environment and can adjust the agricultural enterprise to feed the people.  The real global threat is poor, non-functioning governance, and more precisely, autocratic, dictatorial, corrupt regimes not acting for the common good of the governed.  Poor governance has worsened more people’s lives – made more people go hungry – than anything extreme weather, pests, or climate change will ever do.  That is the national security concern; that is the threat to global agriculture and food production.

When offering thanks for our blessings before coming holiday meals, remember and appreciate America’s farmers for their achievements we all too often take for granted.

 

 

Colonel Chris J. Krisinger, USAF (ret.), was raised in a Midwest farming community.   During his Air Force career, Colonel Krisinger served in policy advisory positions at the Pentagon and twice at the Department of State.  He was also a national defense fellow at Harvard University.  E-mail: cjkrisinger@gmail.com.

 

Source: Will Global Warming Destroy the World? Ask America’s Farmers.

Box Office Fail: Flag-Free ‘First Man’ Flops

First Man tanked at the box office, coming in well below expectations, with just a $16.2 million opening weekend.

 

At worst, the story of Neil Armstrong’s historic trip to the moon was projected to do much better, anywhere between $19 million and $21 million. Keep in mind, though, that those projections are usually downplayed as a means to save face and to inspire free publicity when a film over-performs.

In other words, $16 million is a catastrophe for a movie that probably cost $100 million to $125 million to produce and publicize.

Directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, First Man roared out of elite film festivals with a ton of buzz and rave reviews. The movie took a big tumble, though, when moviegoers learned that one of the most iconic moments of the last century was arrogantly removed for touchy-feely and oh-so woke globalist purposes.

First Man tells the story of astronaut Armstrong and the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that ensured his place in history as the first man to walk on the moon. This was not only a triumph for Armstrong, his pilot Buzz Aldrin, and NASA, it was the single most important moment of the Space Race, which itself was a hugely important battle in the overall Cold War.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, the Soviets were kicking American butt, which was a much bigger deal than a blow to U.S. pride. After Russia launched the first satellite and man into space, it was President John F. Kennedy who understood the existential stakes and directed NASA to do the impossible.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” Kennedy famously said in late 1962.

But in a Special Message to Congress the previous year, just months after assuming office, Kennedy made clear to lawmakers that the Space Race was something bigger than bragging rights.

“If we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take,” Kennedy wrote.

“Now it is time to take longer strides — time for a great new American enterprise — time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth,” he added.

After explaining how far ahead the Soviets were, Kennedy urged Congress to understand the importance of this in the larger picture.

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” Kennedy urged. “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

And this is why the planting of the American flag on the moon is so important. Not out of some sense of patriotism (though that matters), not for jingoistic reasons, and not even for American reasons. As Kennedy so eloquently put it, with the whole world watching, the planting of that flag was about the choices people would make between tyranny and freedom, about which side they would choose.

America did not win the Space Race only for Americans, we defeated the evil Soviets to send a message to the whole world.

And this is why the clueless explanations surrounding the omission of this moment are not only tone deaf, but reflect a shocking ignorance of what Armstrong’s mission, a mission he volunteered for, was all about.

Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong said, “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it.”

Chazelle tried to dig his way out with this rubbish, “I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon — his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA.”

It is simply absurd for Chazelle to argue that Armstrong’s “memories” would omit the inspiration behind the Apollo 11 mission, the key moment that solidified the whole reason for it. Everything Armstrong and his fellow pioneers risked their lives for was about getting to that moment, and the omission of that moment is not only arrogance on the part of Chazelle and his screenwriter, it informs us that this a story told by storytellers who are way out of their depth.

Yes, as has been tirelessly noted by reactionaries, there are other shots of Old Glory in First Man, but this argument is insulting and condescending, as though we are just a bunch of censorious rubes counting shots of the flag. Our criticism, though, is not about some hollow rush of shallow patriotism at the sight of the stars and stripes, it is about TRUTH, about what matters, about accuracy, and most of all, it is about what Neil Armstrong and these other brave men risked and lost their lives for.

As we have come to expect from the corrupt entertainment media, no one dares suggest that the omission of the planting of the American flag might have had something to do with the box office failure, but of course it did…

To begin with, to put it as simply as possible, I think the American people are just tired of this shit, tired of Hollywood celebrating every culture in the world while denigrating ours. Hollywood enjoys the best of America — wealth, fame, personal freedom, artistic freedom — they are the freest and most spoiled culture in the history of the world, and still they shit all over of us — and we are sick of it.

Who wants to waste a Friday night and $50 to sit through yet-another clueless act of narcissism, 140 minutes of smug pretension and ignorance and ingratitude.

Thanks to New Media, the era of the sucker punch is over. We know what these charlatans are up to before we drop our hard-earned money.

We don’t hate Hollywood, we are just hating them back.

There’s a difference.

P.S. Check out Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, his 1983 masterpiece about the Mercury 7 astronauts and a reminder that Hollywood used to be great.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNCFollow his Facebook Page here.

 

Source: Box Office Fail: Flag-Free ‘First Man’ Flops

Democrats use Hitler’s propaganda technique

Folks, I guess I should let this go.  But it still blows my mind that the American left is committed to branding Brett Kavanaugh, without a shred of evidence, a sexual predator for the rest of his life.  That is incredibly, cold, calculating and evil.

Adolf Hitler said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”  This propaganda technique has been embraced by the Democratic Party.  Here are three huge lies Democrats continue to invest billions’ worth of media in to deceive the public.  Big lie number one: America’s cops are racist and routinely murder blacks.  Big lie number two: Trump colluded with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary.  Big lie number three: Brett Kavanaugh is a serial rapist.

Let’s address Democrats’ big lie that cops kill blacks for being black.  Harvard professor Roland Fryer analyzed over 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country.  Fryer concluded that there is zero evidence of racial bias in police shootings.  Inner-city black communities are plagued by criminals, not police.

In 2014, over 6,000 blacks were murdered, more than all white and Hispanic homicide victims combined.  These blacks were not killed by whites or cops.  They were killed by other blacks.

Researching “deadly force,” a study by Washington University’s Lois James revealed that police are less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed whites and Hispanics in similar threat scenarios.  Federal crime stats show that 12% of whites and Hispanics who die by homicide are killed by cops.  Only 4%of black homicide victims are killed by cops.

There is no government agency dedicated to protecting black lives more than the police.  Proactive policing in the mid-1990s had a huge impact, bringing down the inner-city murder rate and saving tens of thousands of black lives.  Democrats and leftists spread their lie that cops are racist, which caused cops to back off.  This resulted in violent crime back on the rise and black lives lost.  In cities with large black populations, homicides in 2015 rose from 54% to 90%.

Immorally, Democrats, fake news media, and Hollywood are still promoting the lie that black criminal Michael Brown was gunned down by a racist white cop while trying to surrender with his hands up.  Blood in the officer’s police car proved that Brown was shot while assaulting the police officer inside his car.

Leftists branding cops racist is a selfish, evil scheme to keep blacks falsely believing they are victims in a forever racist America.  Leftists’ message to blacks is that voting for Democrats is blacks’ only hope of keeping racist white America at bay.  A despicable Democrat get-out-the-vote campaign told black parents they had better vote or send their elementary students to school wearing bulletproof vests to protect them from racist white police.

Black Lives Matter thugs, funded by George Soros and anti-America groups, continue to ambush and assassinate innocent police officers around the country because of Democrats’ lie that cops kill blacks because they are black.

Democrats’ big lie that Trump stole the presidential election via collusion with Russia.  After two years of investigations, there is zero evidence supportive of this absurd Democrat lie.  Democrats presented their lie in such a way as to make voters believe that Russia tampered with the counting of votes, which is impossible.  Fake news media, Democrats, and Hollywood continued to promote their Trump-Russia-collusion lie 24/7 for the past two years, believing that American voters will come to believe it – making Trump’s presidency illegitimate.

Democrats’ big lie that conservative Brett Kavanaugh is a sexual predator/serial rapist.  This huge lie pulled out of thin air by Democrats is particularly heinous and cruel.  Throughout his 30-something-year career, Kavanaugh passed seven FBI background checks with flying colors.  Dr. Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago, does not remember the date, the place, or other crucial facts regarding her allegation.

Yet Democrats, fake news media, and Hollywood have decreed Kavanaugh guilty simply because this woman said so.  Daily piling onto their outrageous allegations, Democrats sought to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court by branding him a drunk who experienced frequent blackouts in which he participated in group rapes.  But get this, folks: while these allegations against Kavanaugh are obviously false, Democrats will promote their “Kavanaugh is a sexual predator/serial rapist” lie for the rest of his life.  How truly sick is that?

It bears repeating that leftists use liberal activist justices on the Supreme Court to force laws on voters against their will.  Kavanaugh on the court will give conservatives a five to four majority.  This is why leftists seek to destroy Kavanaugh, his wife, and his two daughters at any and all cost.

The midterm elections are only weeks away.  Clearly, Democrats’ big lies prove they are willing to sacrifice decency, morality, and human lives in their depraved quest to win and maintain political power.  Decent right-thinking Americans cannot possibly want Democrats in control of the people’s House and Senate.  The Democratic Party has become the home of the ultra-left and demonically evil.  It must be defeated.  My fellow Americans, please vote Republican in the swiftly approaching mid-terms.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth: http://bit.ly/2kZqmUk
http://LloydMarcus.com

 

Source: Democrats use Hitler’s propaganda technique

Aldrin and Yeager blast phony flag-revised moon-landing pic

 

Aldrin and Yeager blast phony flag-revised moon-landing pic

Hard to find bigger living American heroes than sound-barrier-breaking Gen. Chuck Yeager, and famed astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

So now that we have a revisionist movie coming out called “First Man,” from the Canadian director of La-La Land, which omits the American flag from its history of first man on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong, it’s heartening to see the big guns – the big, big, guns, come out and declare it the phony garbage it is.

Yeager, for one, directly tweeted out his disgust at the whole revisionist spectacle. Here is an assemblage of tweets and coverage from Weaselzippers:

 

 

Aldrin, who was most famously photographed for saluting the flag on the moon, made his views clear through tweeted pictures and a tshirt. Breitbart has coveragehere.

 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Buzz Aldrin

@TheRealBuzz

Always fun to visit my friends @KellySlater, John Moore & Co at their Outerknown clothing line party. Is it time for a space attire line yet?! 🚀😎

 

And if that was not clear enough, through tweets such as this here:

 

 

Daily Mail has additional coverage here.

Aldrin, by the way, is quite a stupid choice of people to make angry through the spouting of phony history, by the way. In 2002, Aldrin socked a crackpot in the face outside a hotel who claimed the 1969 moon landing he was on, was fake. Cops refused to arrest Aldrin and told the clown he had it coming.

The right to speak of these men is absolutely unassailable.

What’s more, neither Yeager, nor Aldrin, are people we hear from all that often. They aren’t publicity seekers or media hounds, and while they have stood up for the military and space exploration, both have stayed out of petty politics. So the fact that they are coming out now carries much greater weight than the pronouncements of the Hollywood types.

You have to ask yourself why the flag would be this important to these heroic men that they would come out and say something. Why is the flag so important?

Well, as someone who, as a six-year-old, was there in Cape Kennedy at pretty much all of the Apollo launches since my father worked as a pocket-protectored engineer in the space program, I recall that the patriotism of the moment was extremely important. The flag was everywhere, not just as a counterweight to the Russians, which didn’t seem all that visible to me, but because flags are what people die for.

And we knew that the missions were dangerous as hell, and not just in outer space. Everyone remembers how three astronauts, including Gus Grissom (an easily memorable name for a six year old) died on the launch pad on an awful day in 1967. Everyone remembers that the moonshot took place before the existence of pocket calculators — it was done on slide rule calculations in an era of zero cell phones, no personal computers, and black and white television sets. Everyone knows that breaking the sound barrier was terrifying.

And everyone knows we have not been back since those Apollos … because one thing we learned from it was that it was … so incredibly dangerous.

People don’t put their lives on the line for just nothing – they do it if there is a critical mission of great importance to all of their country and something worth doing it for. And well, that is what the moonshot was. Yet it was inextricably linked to the flag, or else nobody would have done it. Yes, there was ‘we came in peace’ and talk of ‘for all mankind.’ But that was just magnanimity, not the essence of what was going on. The flag was paramount. Just look at it on the astronauts’s uniforms, and in every vintage photo from the era. Look at the most famous photo from the moon landing, that of Buzz Aldrin saluting the flag on the moon.

The flag meant something to these men and they’re the one with the biggest standing to say something. It’s heartening for all of us in this era of revisionist history, statue-toppling, and other crap designed to make America smaller that they were still here to say something and they refused to stand for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Aldrin and Yeager blast phony flag-revised moon-landing pic

Doctor’s orders: Let children just play

 

 

 

Imagine a drug that could enhance a child’s creativity, critical thinking and resilience. Imagine that this drug were simple to make, safe to take, and could be had for free.

The nation’s leading pediatricians say this miracle compound exists. In a new clinical report, they are urging doctors to prescribe it liberally to the children in their care.

What is this wonder drug? Play.

“This may seem old-fashioned, but there are skills to be learned when kids aren’t told what to do,” said Dr. Michael Yogman, a Harvard Medical School pediatrician who led the drafting of the call to arms. Whether it’s rough-and-tumble physical play, outdoor play or social or pretend play, kids derive important lessons from the chance to make things up as they go, he said.

The advice, issued Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, may come as a shock to some parents. After spending years fretting over which toys to buy, which apps to download and which skill-building programs to send their kids to after school, letting them simply play — or better yet, playing with them — could seem like a step backward.

The pediatricians insist that it’s not. The academy’s guidance does not include specific recommendations for the dosing of play. Instead, it asks doctors to advise parents before their babies turn 2 that play is essential to healthy development. It also advocates for the restoration of play in schools.

“Play is not frivolous,” the academy’s report declares. It nurtures children’s ingenuity, cooperation and problem-solving skills — all of which are critical for a 21st-century workforce. It lays the neural groundwork that helps us “pursue goals and ignore distractions.”

When parents engage in play with their children, it deepens relationships and builds a bulwark against the toxic effects of all kinds of stress, including poverty, the academy says.

In the pediatricians’ view, essentially every life skill that’s valued in adults can be built up with play.

“Collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, decision-making, a sense of agency, creativity, leadership, and increased physical activity are just some of the skills and benefits children gain through play,” they wrote.

The pediatricians’ appeal comes as American kids are being squeezed by escalating academic demands at school, the relentless encroachment of digital media, and parents who either load up their schedules with organized activities or who are themselves too busy or stressed to play.

The trends have been a long time coming. Between 1981 and 1997, detailed time-use studies showed that the time children spent at play declined by 25 percent. Since the adoption of sweeping education reforms in 2001, public schools have steadily increased the amount of time devoted to preparing for standardized tests. The focus on academic “skills and drills” has cut deeply into recess and other time for free play.

By 2009, a study of Los Angeles kindergarten classrooms found that 5-year-olds were so burdened with academic requirements that they were down to an average of just 19 minutes per day of “choice time,” when they were permitted to play freely with blocks, toys or other children. One in 4 Los Angeles teachers reported there was no time at all for “free play.”

Increased academic pressures have left 30 percent of U.S. kindergarten classes without any recess. Such findings prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue a policy statement in 2013 on the “crucial role of recess in school.”

Pediatricians aren’t the only ones who have noticed.

In a report titled “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” a consortium of educators, health professionals and child advocates called the loss of play in early childhood “a tragedy, both for the children themselves and for our nation and world.” Kids in play-based kindergartens “end up equally good or better at reading and other intellectual skills, and they are more likely to become well-adjusted healthy people,” the Alliance for Childhood said in 2009.

Indeed, new research demonstrates why playing with blocks might have been time better spent, Yogman said. The trial assessed the effectiveness of an early mathematics intervention aimed at preschoolers. The results showed almost no gains in math achievement.

Another playtime thief: the growing proportion of kids’ time spent in front of screens and digital devices, even among preschoolers.

Last year, Common Sense Media reported that children up through age 8 spent an average of two hours and 19 minutes in front of screens each day, including an average of 42 minutes a day for those under 2.

This escalation of digital use comes with rising risks of obesity, sleep deprivation and cognitive, language and social-emotional delays, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned in 2016.

Yogman acknowledged that many digital games and screen-based activities can nurture some of the same areas that kids get through free play: problem-solving, spatial skills and persistence.

But in young kids, especially, they are often crowding out games of make-believe, not to mention face-to-face time with peers and parents, Yogman said.

“I respect that parents have busy lives and it’s easy to hand a child an iPhone,” he said. “But there’s a cost to that. For young children, it’s much too passive. And kids really learn better when they’re actively engaged and have to really discover things.”

The decline of play is a special hazard for the roughly 1 in 5 children in the United States who live in poverty. These 14 million children most urgently need to develop the resilience that is nurtured with play. Instead, Yogman said, they are disproportionately affected by some of the trends that are making play scarce: academic pressures at schools that need to improve test scores, outside play areas that are limited or unsafe, and parents who lack the time or energy to share in playtime.

“We’re not the only species that plays,” said Temple University psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. “Dogs, cats, monkeys, whales and even octopuses play, and when you have something that prevalent in the animal kingdom, it probably has a purpose.”

Yogman also worries about the pressures that squeeze playtime for more affluent kids.

“The notion that as parents we need to schedule every minute of their time is not doing them a great service,” he said. Even well-meaning parents may be “robbing them of the opportunity to have that joy of discovery and curiosity — the opportunity to find things out on their own.”

Play may not be a hard sell to kids. But UCLA pediatrician Carlos Lerner acknowledged that the pediatricians’ new prescription may meet with skepticism from parents, who are anxious for advice on how to give their kids a leg up in the world.

They should welcome the simplicity of the message, Lerner said.

“It’s liberating to be able to offer them this advice: that you spending time with your child and letting him play is one of the most valuable things you can do,” he said. “It doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money or time, or joining a parenting group. It’s something we can offer that’s achievable. They just don’t recognize it right now as particularly valuable.”

 

Source: Doctor’s orders: Let children just play | National | bakersfield.com

France, the Nazis, and Gun Control

France, the Nazis, and Gun Control

The value of an armed citizenry – and the futility of gun control – were clearly revealed during the years when France was under Nazi control.

In 1935, French prime minister Pierre Laval, who later served in the Vichy government during the Nazis’ four-year occupation of France, commanded French citizens to surrender their firearms.  Laval and France’s ruling parties feared social revolution and banned “war” weapons, instituting strict gun registration policies.  They believed that repressive limits on civilian gun ownership were necessary at a time of Depression-sparked unrest and ongoing conflicts among various political factions.  Strict time limits for firearms registration and harsh penalties for noncompliance, including forfeiture, fines, and imprisonment, were put in place.  Laval’s government did not foresee the impact these restrictive measures would have on a Nazi-conquered France just five years later, when firearms surrender would be required under threat of death.

In Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance, attorney Stephen P. Halbrook explores the impact and efficacy of gun control measures on Wehrmacht-controlled France and how these measures hindered the French Resistance’s fight against Nazi tyranny.  The author asserts that Laval’s 1935 gun control efforts left the French people vulnerable to the Nazi invaders and ill equipped to deal with the Nazi invasion of 1940, plus simplified the Nazi efforts to confiscate firearms and impede a French resistance.

In 1940, when the Vichy government negotiated an armistice with Germany after the successful German blitzkrieg, Laval’s pre-war firearms registration proved to be a boon to Nazi disarmament efforts.  Halbrook explains that Hitler based his occupation model on the historic premise that conquerors who allowed subjugated populations to possess arms were ultimately defeated.  So, when he rose to power in 1933 Germany, Hitler disarmed all “enemies of the state,” including all Jews.

The French occupation was unique, with a German-occupied zone and the unoccupied Vichy regime, administered by Marshall Philipe Pétain.  Hitler’s forces depended on armed French police to control French citizens and, over time, confiscate their weapons.  In other occupied territories where the Wehrmacht retained sole responsibility for maintaining law and order, gun ownership was banned outright, except for Germans.  Vichy France pursued a progression of increasingly severe gun confiscation edicts with multiple periods of amnesty and ever-expanding lists of illegal weapons, Halbrook says.

Initially, all firearms, ammunition, hand grenades, and other weaponry were required to be surrendered with 24 hours under threat of death, forced labor, or prison.  Even hunting guns were prohibited and handed over to the French police for safekeeping.  In addition, the gendarmes themselves were limited to a rubber truncheon and a pistol with nine rounds.  Eventually, bayonets and swords were also banned.  The bans expanded to anti-German flyers, radio transmitters, and public assemblies, followed by measures against Jews, restrictions on hunting, and other repressive constraints.

From 1940 to 1941, when the French police were responsible for collecting guns, executions were rare, Halbrook reports.  In 1942, when armed resistance accelerated and the Nazi SS assumed police duties, executions for firearms possession increased markedly.  To deter gun-hoarding, the Nazis publicized executions in newspapers and plastered brightly colored posters with ominous warnings on city walls.  French and German police conducted frequent house-to-house searches and solicited tips from informers.  Nonetheless, the Germans found collecting firearms a daunting, near impossible task.  Despite the death penalty, many civilians risked keeping their guns.

From his research and survivors’ responses to questionnaires about German arms collections, Halbrook learned that although hundreds of thousands of guns were surrendered, many French citizens hid weapons, often burying them in their yards or in underground caches.  Although the author found no reliable data on the total number of firearms in France before the Nazi invasion, he discovered that out of 3 million hunting guns, only 835,000 were turned in to the Nazis.

As the Resistance expanded and accelerated in 1942, its need for firearms grew.  Défense de la France, an underground newspaper, captured the mood of the partisans: “[o]btain firearms; a rifle, a submachine gun, a light machine gun, a machine gun[.] … The day will come.”

When the U.S. entered the war, the morale of the occupying Germans plummeted, spurring Resistance activities.  Arms concealment became more efficient and organized, despite continuing cooperation between the German military police and French gendarmes.  The Nazis tightened gun restrictions, issuing a new order to execute anyone who knew a fellow citizen with a gun and failed to inform authorities.  No further amnesties were issued, and those possessing arms were summarily shot.

By 1942, Hitler viewed the Vichy government as uncooperative, Halbrook writes, although the French people perceived the government as enemy accomplices.  By spring of that year, General Charles de Gaulle, in exile in England, broadcast a call from the BBC to rise against the Nazis.  On May Day 1942, as many as 100,000 demonstrators in Lyon screamed, “Death to Laval” and sang the French national anthem, famous for its call to arms, “Aux armes, citoyens.

Shortly thereafter, Hitler brought in the SS to assume command over the French and German police.  Press censorship and anti-Jewish policies began.  Jews were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David, and the French police under SS direction began gathering Jews to deport them to death camps.  Resistance family members were dealt with harshly; male relatives were shot and women sent to hard labor.

Two watershed events helped mobilize and unify the Resistance during this dark time: in 1942, 12,000 Jews were herded into the Vélodrome d’Hiver for deportation to death camps, and in 1943, the Laval-enabled Obligatory Labor Conscription (STO) required all 18- to 20-year-old males to become forced laborers in Germany.  Resistance groups began urging Jews to arm themselves, hide their children with others, and join the partisans.  The STO brought a steady stream of recruits as young men fled conscription.  They retreated into the mountains, acquired firearms, and engaged in sabotage, ambushing supply convoys, derailing trains, and attacking patrols.  Still, Halbrook recounts that Laval continued to collaborate with the Nazis, delaying their defeat.  Under Laval’s leadership, the Milice, a political paramilitary organization, was formed in 1943 to repress anti-Nazi forces and hunt down Resistance members.

Resistance groups began to seize arms from unguarded collection depots, hidden French military stores, and local German forces.  Most of their weapons came from British and American airdrops, often in exchange for intelligence.  Allied supplies were limited by weapons scarcity, logistical problems, and political considerations, as some Resistance groups were part of the French Communist Party who sought a communist takeover of France following liberation.

By the end of 1943, news of an Allied invasion circulated, and Resistance groups urged all citizens to gather arms and prepare each house as a fort to await the German departure.  On June 5, 1944, the day before the D-Day invasion, the BBC sent coded messages to the Resistance.  They were to perform sabotage operations and diversionary attacks before and during the next day’s landings at Normandy.  Although suffering many casualties, Resistance groups instigated street fights, including sniper shots at Germans.  They blocked some German lines of retreat and provided valuable intelligence to the Allied troops.  The Germans fought back viciously and, in at least one case, razed the entire village of Oradour-sur-Glane and killed almost all its inhabitants.  Fighting erupted in Paris as an estimated 25,000 partisans faced a remaining German force of 20,000.  Hitler insisted that Paris was not to be surrendered.  As the situation deteriorated, he ordered the City of Lights torched.  The commander of Paris refused.

By August 1944, de Gaulle resumed control of France and ordered dissolution of the Resistance militias.  His order resulted in deep resistance and resentment, Halbrook recounts. The partisans had fought and died for France, while he had remained safely ensconced in England.

Despite the many gun control and confiscatory measures, first under Laval, who was later executed for treason, and then the Nazis, many French did not comply.  The value of an armed citizenry to resist tyranny was demonstrated.  The author notes little that correlation existed between severe punishments, including the threat of death, and arms possession or reduction of attacks on German occupiers.

Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France raises interesting questions about the enforceability of firearms registration, confiscation, and prohibition.  In the end, an armed French citizenry proved to be an asset for the fight against an occupying enemy and ably assisted the regular armies.  Halbrook illuminates the role armed civilians played, conducting the only armed resistance in France until D-Day and paving the way for the Allied invasion and ultimate victory.

Source: France, the Nazis, and Gun Control

LGBTQ Totalitarianism in Boston: The Destruction of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Irish heritage and the legacy of one of Catholicism’s greatest missionaries take a backseat to sexual dysfunction.

In 1995, a remarkable 9-0 ruling was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  A Catholic veterans’ group, organizers of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, were vindicated in their refusal to allow a homosexual activist group to march in their parade.  The Court confirmed that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council was protected by the First Amendment and could reject a group if it “impart[ed] a message that the [parade] organizers do not wish to convey.”

Twenty-three years later, orthodox Boston Irish Catholics will no longer have the prominent public voice on St. Patrick’s Day.  They’ve been elbowed out by secular celebrants of disordered sexuality.

South Boston has fallen.  LGBTQ radicals have just seized complete control of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, with the director of a front group, OUTVETS, put in charge of the event.

The shocking evolution of the parade from a celebration of Irish Catholic heritage to an overtly LGBTQ event should be a warning to those who advocate “inclusion” within their institutions.  The infusion of LGBTQ sexuality will inevitably upend tried and true traditions and moral standards.  We see this happening most clearly in our schools and churches.

Profile of an LGBTQ Takeover

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts and the pro-family groupMassResistance have chronicled the sad demise of the St. Patrick’s Day event (while attempting to save it).  The League’s executive director, C.J. Doyle, explained in a recent press release:

During the 2013 Boston mayoral election … then State Representative [Marty] Walsh promised homosexual activists that, if elected, he would compel the Veterans Council to reverse their position [not allowing “gay” groups in the parade].  Shortly after taking office in January, 2014, Walsh began a campaign of intimidation which included threats to boycott the parade, threats to withhold city permitsclaims that the Boston Police could not prevent violent disruptions of the parade, and personally shouting, in a public forum, threats and obscenities at [the] parade marshal[.]

In 2014, Mayor Walsh – a former union boss – first tried to force inclusion of the “LGBTQ rights” group MassEquality.  The Catholic Action League andMassResistance helped hold off this first assault.  The would-be invaders regrouped.

The mayor secured a foothold in 2015. That year, Boston Pride marchers wereallowed in the parade.  Its president said, “We are wicked proud of … finally breaking that wall.  It’s a huge change, especially 20 years later, to have that understanding and make sure people feel welcome in the parade.”  The Boston Pride organization had no discernable connection to the parade’s Boston Irish Catholic theme, but only to LGBTQ activism.  A wall certainly was broken.

Another LGBTQ group, OUTVETS, marched in the 2015 parade, wearing rainbow patches and carrying a rainbow banner reading, Pride – Honor – Sacrifice.  MassResistance reported, “By all accounts, OUTVETS is a contrived group of Boston city employees created in late 2014 by Mayor Marty Walsh specifically to be a homosexual ‘veterans’ presence in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

St. Patrick was not pleased.  Nor were the local Knights of Columbus, who refused to march in 2015 because the event had “become politicized and divisive.”

The two LGBT groups marched again in 2016.  The Catholic Action League and MassResistance amassed over 6,000 signatures demanding that “organizers remove the name of ‘St. Patrick’ from the parade because the inclusion of anti-Catholic homosexual groups made it impossible to honor a Catholic saint.”

The rainbow symbols proclaiming LGBTQ identifications of the two groups clearly violated the organizers’ rules.  But their objection was weakly voiced.

The final capitulation came in 2017.  Mayor Walsh was determined to wipe out any glimmer of resistance to sexual radicals’ participation.  The Veterans Council’s objection to LGBT symbols had to be overcome.  The mayor continued to strong-arm the parade organization.  Powerful politicians and corporate sponsors threatened to withhold support.

Worse, Antifa-style riots were being planned to disrupt the 2017 parade if LGBTQ groups were not given full participation.  No mainstream outlet reportedon those threats of violence.

A former Veterans Council commander told MassResistance that the Boston police commissioner’s office had warned parade organizer Tim Duross:

[B]usloads of LGBT activists from other states were planning to come to Boston to protest the parade and disrupt it.  Furthermore, there would likely be violence and even possible deaths.  The police strongly implied that they could not contain such violence – and that Duross would be responsible if it happened – unless he allowed the homosexual group to march.

This was confirmed by the 2017 council commander.  And parade organizer Duross said:

[T]he threats had been discovered through various social media, and that he had met with the Police Commissioner who said that the threats were real, that busses of activists would be coming to converge on the parade – similar to other recent organized riots around the country – and this needed to be taken seriously.  There seemed to be the implication that the police would not be able to contain it.  “If anybody got hurt because of this, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” Duross told MassResistance.  He said that he felt he had no choice but to let the homosexual group in.  Duross said that he had also been personally targeted with harassment and threats.

Sadly, the Boston Archdiocese never stepped in to corral the errant nominal Catholics (such as the Boston mayor).  So leftist strong-arm tactics and threats of violence won once again.

C.J. Doyle (Catholic Action League) laments:

Saint Patrick’s Day was instituted to commemorate the Apostle who brought the Catholic Faith to Ireland.  It is impossible to honor Saint Patrick while showcasing those who not only repudiate the moral code of Saint Patrick’s religion, but who castigate that code as bigotry, prejudice, hatred and homophobia.

Everything which OUTVETS represents is radically discordant with the life and mission of Saint Patrick, who rescued an entire nation from paganism and its libertine moral practices.  OUTVETS cares nothing for the traditional culture and heritage of once Catholic Ireland.  For them, this event is an opportunity to impose their anti-Catholic ideology on an historically Catholic celebration.

This also speaks to the totalitarian instincts of homosexual activists, who must, evidently, not only defeat the victims of their aggression, but then dispossess them of their organizations, and prevent them from ever opposing them again.

It’s not enough that LGBTQ groups overrun Boston during the month of June with their “pride” parades and orgies.  Now they control another big parade in March.

The demise of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is just one example of how allowing LGBTQ individuals to openly serve in the U.S. military has opened doors for their activist interference in other social realms.  If LGBTQ participation in the military is recognized as legitimate, who can refuse to recognize their inclusion in other settings?

LGBTQ groups parading their identities is not just about advocating sexual freedom or inclusion.  It’s about politics (wielding power).  It’s about making everyone else bow to LGBTQ feelings and demands.  And it’s about crushing orthodox religion.

Why are conservatives institutions (hello, Catholic Church) not fighting back?

Amy Contrada is with MassResistance and author of Mitt Romney’s Deception.  She has degrees from Tufts and Brown plus a diploma in violin-making.  See AmyContrada.com for some of her writing.

 

Source: LGBTQ Totalitarianism in Boston: The Destruction of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Freedom from Religion

‘Freedom from Religion’ Atheists Ignorant of the Constitution

The Freedom of Religion Foundation seeks to impose its values and restrict the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment.

 

Freedom from religion was not what those who fled the oppression and persecution of European monarchies sought and not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.  Yet the Freedom of Religion Foundation seeks to impose its values and restrict the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment.

Its latest targets are high school football camps in Arkansas, where, presumably, you are allowed take a knee to protest our racist flag but cannot take a knee in thanks to the Creator the Declaration of Independence notes endowed us with our unalienable rights:

It’s not just illegal for public schools to host pre or postgame prayer sessions. They can’t do it at summer football camps, either.

At least that’s the stance of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which has sent a letter to the Danville (Ark.) Public School District citing a Constitutional violation related to the comments made to high school football campers by a local pastor named Konnor McKay.

The FFRF letter, which you can see here, insists that Danville, “not allow its football program to be used as a captive audience for evangelists.” That came in response to this social media post by McKay himself, celebrating his speech to a group of high school football players at Waldron High School.

In the ongoing struggle for religious liberty, constitutional conservatives like to say the Constitution was written by those fleeing from religious persecution and that the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of religion and not freedom from it.  The FFRF begs to differ.

One of the atheist group’s recent targets were the athletes at West Branch High School in Beloit, Ohio who liked to gather in prayer at their games:

A southern Mahoning County school district is no longer saying a prayer before sporting events.

The school’s superintendent says it all stemmed from a local complaint that got a national organization involved.

West Branch Superintendent Tim Saxton said he received a complaint letter from The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an anti-Christian organization, based out of Madison, Wisconsin.

The letter claimed a prayer performed at a public school sporting event violates the constitution and does not provide for a separation between church and state.

The FFRF is on a crusade to expunge religious expression from the public square, and the group gets the meaning of “separation of church and state,” a phrase that appears nowhere in the Constitution, all wrong.

This isn’t the first time its target has been high school football.  The FFRF went ballistic not long ago over the baptism of an on-the-field high school football coach in Villa Rica, Georgia.  Attendance was voluntary, and the students who attended did so on their own time and of their own free will.  When the FFRF saw a video of the ceremony, it fired off a letter of righteous indignation to the Carroll County School superintendent:

“It is illegal for coaches to participate in religious activities with students, including prayer and baptisms,” attorney Elizabeth Cavell wrote.  “Nor can coaches allow religious leaders to gain unique access to students during school-sponsored activities.”

They called the full emersion [sic] baptisms an “egregious constitutional violation.” …

“I believe we live in a free country,” the pastor said.  “These people that are trying to say you can’t do that – well – they’re taking away freedom.  When did it become illegal to bow your head and pray?  When did it become illegal to say I’m a Christian?”

Indeed, one would think publicly baptizing a high school football coach, rather than threatening the constitutional foundations of our democracy, is covered under the “free exercise thereof” clause in the First Amendment.  The irony here is that the FFRF on its website touts itself as “the largest free thought association in North America.”  It seems it depends on what you’re thinking about to these thought police.

Expressions of religion in sports are not uncommon, from the baseball pitcher pointing heavenward after a big strikeout to the singing of “God Bless America” in the 7th inning of baseball games after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.  Such expressions of religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution are not always well received by those seeking to expunge all expressions of religious belief from the public square.

NFL quarterback Tim Tebow believed, as was written in the Declaration of Independence, that we are endowed, not by government, but by our Creator, with inalienable rights.  Tebow believed that his talents and opportunities, as well as his rights, come from that Creator, and for that, he was roundly mocked by his secular critics.

lawsuit filed on December 27, 2012 by the FFRF concerned sermons considered by the political left political speech by tax-exempt organization in alleged violation of federal law.  These sermons, which can contain commentary on issues of the day in a religious context, are considered electioneering by the atheist left.

The FFRF sought enforcement by the IRS of the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which states that tax-exempt groups, including churches, are not allowed to endorse political candidates.  But the FFRF stretches that law to interpret churches taking positions from the pulpit in opposition to, say, the redefinition of marriage or the Obanacare mandates on providing contraceptive coverage as support for political candidates, albeit unnamed, who might share that opposition.  The FFRF even asked the IRS to monitor and regulate religious speech.

Investor’s Business Daily, in a biting July 31, 2014 editorial, ripped apart the FFRF’s faulty logic:

But is the Catholic Church “politicking” when it proclaims its “Fortnight for Freedom” dedicated to opposing ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate and the government’s forcing schools and charities it considers an extension of its faith to include it in insurance coverage or face crippling fines?

Are Protestant and evangelical churches “politicking” when they participate in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” this year on Oct. 5 to encourage congregations to “vote their faith,” which they consider to be an exercise of free speech and freedom of religion?

The FFRF says that such events at “rogue churches” have “become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity.”  But doesn’t the Constitution say that Congress can make no such laws?

The Constitution if fact guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from it.  Thomas Jefferson, source for the “separation of church and state” phrase often invoked by liberals, also said, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

That should apply to those who speak their mind from the pulpit or on a high school football field as well.

As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, those opposed to the free expression of religion and free speech get the establishment clause and church and state thing all wrong:

The phrase “separation of church and state” in fact appears nowhere in the Constitution but in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to a group of Danbury Baptists assuring them that the First Amendment prohibited Congress from establishing a national church, such as the Church of England.

Imposing political correctness upon the Tim Tebows of the world is tyranny.  Thomas Jefferson feared what the British Crown tried to do: impose a state church on all the American people.  The fact is that in Jefferson’s time, the state and the church were inextricably linked.

The Founding Fathers did fear the possible establishment of a national church like the Church of England, and to prevent it, they wrote the First Amendment to say “Congress” shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion, meaning any particular religion.  But it says nothing about the states, and it also says Congress shall make no laws restricting the free exercise thereof.

Anyone who wants to know what the Founding Fathers intended with their words should analyze their actions.  As Yale’s Prof. Jon Butler writes:

[T]he 1780 Massachusetts constitution authorized ‘towns, parishes, precincts and other bodies politic to levy taxes ‘for the institution of public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality.’ …

Connecticut and New Hampshire had similar laws.  Virginia, on the other hand, moved rapidly after the Revolutionary War to disestablish the Anglican church and separate the state from formal religious institutions.  Curiously, no framer of the Constitution ever declared that Massachusetts, with its state-supported religious education, or Virginia, with its official secularism, were guilty of violating the 1st Amendment or any other fundamental constitutional principle.

The Constitution mandates government’s neutrality to religion, but its alleged desire to avoid any endorsement of religion has mutated into an unmistakable hostility.  Perhaps the most egregious example occurred in April 1995, when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed and  attorneys for the Clinton administration were ready to deny churches the same disaster assistance that every other building with collateral damage received because of the alleged separation of church and state.  It took special congressional action to prevent this absurdity.  I don’t think this is what Thomas Jefferson had in mind.

We have drifted a long way from the Founding Fathers’ clear intent about the relationship between the free exercise of religion and government.  People are no longer free to apply their religious beliefs to their businesses, as the vendetta against Hobby Lobby demonstrates.  The Obama administration went to court to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptive coverage to their workers.  Bakers were forced to bake cakes for same-sex ceremonies in violation of their religious beliefs.

As the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, once observed, President Obama’s idea of religious liberty, an idea shared by many liberals, differs little from Josef Stalin’s:

“Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union,” Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.

“You could go to church, if you could find one.  The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship – no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith.  We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”

Indeed, we did.  Our country was founded by those seeking freedom of religion and the free speech and free exercise that come with it.  Forgive those who think otherwise, including the FFRF, for they know not what they do.

 

 

 

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications

 

 

 

Source: ‘Freedom from Religion’ Atheists Ignorant of the Constitution

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Freedom | THE BROOK NETWORK

 

 

The Sound of Freedom

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

If you go to the city of Philadelphia today, you can visit a historic eighteenth-century building which contains a room called Independence Hall. This ordinary room was the place where, on July 4, 1776, men signed the Declaration of Independence and where, in 1787, the Constitution of the United States was drafted. A huge bell, which we know as the Liberty Bell, hung in the bell tower there. Inscribed on its side are the words of Moses written three thousand years earlier declaring a year of Jubilee: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”

They rang the bell in that tower before the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, as they had rung it on important occasions before. But only decades later did the bell become a kind of icon when it was first depicted on the cover of a new magazine called Liberty, a publication devoted to the cause of the abolition of slavery. Freedom in this new nation was not just freedom from the taxes of the king of England. It had to be freedom for every man and woman, boy and girl—the freedom that is the God-endowed dignity of the human race.

When God told the Israelites in the Old Testament that they should observe a year of Jubilee every fiftieth year, one of his purposes was to teach the people again that he, the living God, stood for freedom. In the year of Jubilee, the Israelites were supposed to let their slaves go free—a hint that one day slavery would be abolished altogether.

We know that liberty is important to God, because the Bible talks over and over again about the Exodus from Egypt as God’s great act of salvation and the hint of his ongoing liberating work in the world.

God knows we all have taskmasters. One person is enslaved to alcohol or drugs, another to a domineering person. One person is trapped in guilt and shame imposed by others, another is in the bondage of being the taskmaster—an addiction to control.

All people need to hear the sound of liberty ring loudly and clearly through their hearts and minds. And only the living God can deliver that kind of liberty.

The sound of freedom rings throughout the New Testament. For instance, the Apostle Paul says something in Galatians 5:1 that seems obvious: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”

Why did the apostle Paul say, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free”? When someone is set free, aren’t they free? Not necessarily.

A convict can be set free, but still think like a convict, talk like a convict, and behave like a convict. Constricted, suppressed, and afraid. Like a person who lived for a long time in a controlling, abusive relationship, he or she may go on cowering in life even when the oppression is gone.

Galatians 5 talks about a bondage to the way of the law. It is the belief that we achieve a truce with God our creator if we follow all the rules just right, make visible displays of righteousness, and track all our spiritual accomplishments. That was the way of Pharisees—and Paul had had enough of it. He was really good at it, but he saw it as spiritual death.

The laws of the Old Testament are good. The Ten Commandments have ongoing relevance. But when Jesus came—Jesus who liberates us from every form of bondage—everything changed. He demonstrated that while the Law came through Moses (and that law was necessary to teach the human race that there is a difference between right and wrong), he brought grace and truth. By God’s mercy, we are allowed to repent and turn to God for a whole new life. He frees us from the childish way of following “do’s” and “don’ts” so that we can freely live in obedience to Christ. We do what is right because we are right with God and our instincts have been trued up to who he is.

But we must remember that we are free. We must rehearse it. Any person can become a Pharisee on any given day. We can turn faith into performance, like a kid trying to gain mom or dad’s favor by being a star player on the soccer field.

No. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Proclaim liberty!

 

Source: The Sound of Freedom | THE BROOK NETWORK

Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up? – WSJ

 

Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up?

James Hansen issued dire warnings in the summer of 1988. Today earth is only modestly warmer.

By Pat Michaels and Ryan Maue June 21, 2018 7:24 p.m. ET

 

James E. Hansen wiped sweat from his brow. Outside it was a record-high 98 degrees on June 23, 1988, as the NASA scientist testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during a prolonged heat wave, which he decided to cast as a climate event of cosmic significance. He expressed to the senators his “high degree of confidence” in “a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming.”

With that testimony and an accompanying paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Mr. Hansen lit the bonfire of the greenhouse vanities, igniting a world-wide debate that continues today about the energy structure of the entire planet. President Obama’s environmental policies were predicated on similar models of rapid, high-cost warming. But the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s predictions affords an opportunity to see how well his forecasts have done—and to reconsider environmental policy accordingly.

James Hansen at home in New York City, April 12.

James Hansen at home in New York City, April 12. PHOTO: MARSHALL RITZEL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. In that forecast, temperatures would rise a few tenths of a degree before flatlining after 2000.

Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios—enough to determine which was closest to reality. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect. But we didn’t. And it isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago.

James Hansen testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee in Washington, D.C., May 8, 1989. PHOTO: DENNIS COOK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What about Mr. Hansen’s other claims? Outside the warming models, his only explicit claim in the testimony was that the late ’80s and ’90s would see “greater than average warming in the southeast U.S. and the Midwest.” No such spike has been measured in these regions.

As observed temperatures diverged over the years from his predictions, Mr. Hansen doubled down. In a 2007 case on auto emissions, he stated in his deposition that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. Subsequent research published in Nature magazine on the history of Greenland’s ice cap demonstrated this to be impossible. Much of Greenland’s surface melts every summer, meaning rapid melting might reasonably be expected to occur in a dramatically warming world. But not in the one we live in. The Nature study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain.

Several more of Mr. Hansen’s predictions can now be judged by history. Have hurricanes gotten stronger, as Mr. Hansen predicted in a 2016 study? No. Satellite data from 1970 onward shows no evidence of this in relation to global surface temperature. Have storms caused increasing amounts of damage in the U.S.? Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show no such increase in damage, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product. How about stronger tornadoes? The opposite may be true, as NOAA data offers some evidence of a decline. The list of what didn’t happen is long and tedious.

The problem with Mr. Hansen’s models—and the U.N.’s—is that they don’t consider more-precise measures of how aerosol emissions counter warming caused by greenhouse gases. Several newer climate models account for this trend and routinely project about half the warming predicted by U.N. models, placing their numbers much closer to observed temperatures. The most recent of these was published in April by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry in the Journal of Climate, a reliably mainstream journal.

These corrected climate predictions raise a crucial question: Why should people world-wide pay drastic costs to cut emissions when the global temperature is acting as if those cuts have already been made?

On the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s galvanizing testimony, it’s time to acknowledge that the rapid warming he predicted isn’t happening. Climate researchers and policy makers should adopt the more modest forecasts that are consistent with observed temperatures.

That would be a lukewarm policy, consistent with a lukewarming planet.

Mr. Michaels is director and Mr. Maue an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science.

 

386 COMMENTS

 

 

Source: Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up? – WSJ

FBI’s fractured fairy tale

If the FBI’s real goal — in this fractured fairytale — was to frame one individual and all his employees, its actions makes sense.

The FBI’s fractured fairy tale

Once upon a time, the FBI said some thugs planned to rob a bank in town. Thugs are always looking to rob banks. They try all the time. But at this particular time, the FBI was hyper-focused on potential bank robberies in this particular town.

The best way to prevent the robbery – which is the goal, after all – would be for the FBI to alert all the banks in town. “Be on high alert for suspicious activity,” the FBI could tell the banks. “Report anything suspicious to us. We don’t want you to get robbed.”

Instead, in this fractured fairytale, the FBI followed an oddly less effective, more time-consuming, costlier approach. It focused on just one bank. And, strangely, it picked the bank that was least likely to be robbed because nobody thought it would ever get elected president – excuse me, I mean, because it had almost no cash on hand. (Why would robbers want to rob the bank with no cash?)

Stranger still, this specially-selected bank the FBI wanted to protect above all others happened to be owned by a man who was hated inside and outside the FBI.

So, to protect this bank owned by the guy the FBI hated, the FBI secretly examined a list of bank employees and identified a few it claimed would be likely to help robbers – or, at least, would not stop a robbery. How did it select these targets? By profiling them based on their pasts.

These particular bank employees, the FBI said, were chosen because they worked long ago with customers who might have known bank robbers in the past – maybe not the particular robbers planning a bank robbery this time, but different people who knew people who were thought to have robbed banks in the past … or, perhaps, people who thought of robbing banks at some point but never got around to it.

So the FBI decided these particular bank employees, who may have known or met with suspicious people in the past, might be capable of committing a future crime.

Mind you, these targeted bank employees had never served time in prison, never been convicted of anything, never even been charged with a crime. If the FBI had just gone to them and said, “Hey, we think some people are going to rob this bank and we’ve got our eye on you, too,” the bank robbery probably would be avoided. Everybody would be watching out for the robbers.

Instead, the FBI secretly sent at least one spy – er, “informant” – to commingle with the bank employees and get info. Yes, you are thinking, it would seem to make a lot more sense to spy on the would-be robbers than their intended victims. But the FBI chose to spy on the victims. You know, for their own good.

At least one of the FBI informants/spies met with the targeted bank employees, pretending to be interested in them, and asked questions like “If you could have a million dollars tomorrow, what would you buy?” and “Would the owner of this bank be happy for you if you came across a sudden inheritance?” The FBI informant/spy then reported back to FBI headquarters that the bank employees were clearly thinking about robbing the bank, and that the owner of the bank was part of the scheme.

Next, because the FBI claimed these employees were clearly acting suspiciously and had criminal minds, the FBI unleashed the most intrusive, sensitive intel tools on them, tools that are rarely to be used against U.S. citizens – surveillance and wiretapping. FBI officials also leaked information about their investigation to the local press – not information that disparaged the robbers so much as cast suspicion on the bank’s owner and employees. In fact, it almost seemed like the FBI had forgotten all about the robbers.

And so, while all this was going on, the robbers robbed the bank.

Despite all the media innuendo, the secret surveillance and the spies/informants, the FBI said the robbers made off with a lot of cash. Even though the bank didn’t have much cash.

Afterward, the FBI stepped up its investigation of the bank employees. It couldn’t find solid proof the employees had anything to do with any bank robbery but claimed they were present a couple of times when the robbers cased the joint, so they must have known a robbery was going to happen. The owner must have known, too, the FBI concluded.

After digging deeply into the bank employees’ background, the FBI found other things: One bank employee hadn’t paid proper taxes six years before; another had been briefly accused of embezzling from a previous employer years ago but was never charged; a third said things in an FBI interview that the FBI concluded were untrue. The FBI charged them all with crimes and pressured them to become witnesses – not against the robbers, but against the bank owner.

In the end, the FBI held out hope that the townsfolk wouldn’t focus on the idea that all the FBI’s hard work and planning to supposedly protect the town’s banks only resulted in the utter failure of its stated mission: The bank got robbed, the cash would never be recovered, and the robbers would never serve time. Yet, some of the bank employees might – not for the robbery but for that other stuff.

The moral of the story: It’s a weird way to prevent a bank robbery.

On the other hand, if the FBI’s real goal – in this fractured fairytale – was to frame the hated owner of the bank and his employees, it all makes sense.

 

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

Source: The FBI’s fractured fairytale | TheHill

The Spiritual Battle on D-Day: ‘This Great and Valiant Struggle’

A tense and tired world is awaiting word of an Allied invasion of Western Europe, crushed for years under the jackboots of the Nazi war machine.

In the early morning hours of June 6, the news flashes over American radios: The greatest amphibious invasion in history has begun on the beaches of Normandy, France. As paratroopers leap from their planes and landing craft speed toward the coast, another great battle is being waged at home: a prayer battle, imploring God for victory over the dark forces of fascism.

It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of the D-Day invasion. As one historian notes, “Without question, a failed invasion of France would constitute a calamity of incalculable proportions for the Western allies.” Who knows how long it would have taken to organize a second invasion attempt—time that might have allowed a German victory.

So as word of the assault trickled out, Americans began to pray. Stores closed, and prayer services were swiftly organized in small towns and big cities.

Photographs taken on June 6 show just how widespread these prayers were. One picture shows a sign in the window of a novelty button shop reading, “Sorry, no covered buttons today. We are praying for the success of the invasion.” A sign in front of a church reads, “Come in and pray for Allied victory: Hourly intercessions on the hour.” Another photo shows Americans in a synagogue, bowing their heads in prayer. At a noon Mass, we see men and women on their knees, fervently praying.

New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia took to the airwaves, urging citizens to “send forth [their] prayers to Almighty God . . . to bring total victory . . . in [this] great and valiant struggle . . .”

In Washington, President Roosevelt, who had sons in uniform, urged Americans to join him in prayer for all the nation’s sons: “With Thy blessing,” he prayed, “We shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.”

And, by heaven, prevail they did. On D-Day, and in the bloody days that followed, allied soldiers brought to vivid life the words of Winston Churchill: “We shall fight in France . . . We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets . . . We shall never surrender.”

As President Reagan put it 40 years later, speaking at Normandy to surviving Army Rangers: “These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the heroes who helped end a war.”

Today, I can’t help wondering: How much did the prayers of their loved ones back home have to do with this great victory?

War correspondent Ernie Pyle, who arrived at Normandy on June 7, observed that the Allies achieved victory “with every advantage on the enemy’s side and every disadvantage on ours.” Despite this, he wrote, the total Allied casualties “were remarkably low—only a fraction, in fact, of what our commanders had been prepared to accept.”

“Now that it is all over,” Pyle finished, “it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all.”

Yes, it WAS a miracle—a miracle backed up by millions upon millions of believers assaulting the gates of heaven.

We must never forget what the Allies gallantly sacrificed for the world on D-Day. Today—the 74th anniversary of that invasion—we should set aside time to remember what they did. And then we should pray for the safety of our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines who are serving across the globe today—men and women fighting and sacrificing for the freedoms we—and others—enjoy.

 

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children’s books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Physicist: Climate Scientists Are Giving Science a Bad Name

Climate scientists are giving science a bad name, says a leading atmospheric physicist in an essay on the global warming debate.

Click here to read report – essay .

Professor Garth Paltridge, formerly a chief scientist with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Division of Atmospheric Research, says that the behavior of certain members of the climate science establishment is “seriously threatening the public’s perception of the professionalism of scientists in general.”

Many climate scientists are much less sure about man-made global warming than they will admit in public, he says. But rather than reach out to skeptics in order to open up the debate and explore the uncertainties, they have instead closed ranks and rubbished anyone who disagrees with them:

Some of the more vocal of the establishment climate researchers have fallen into a mode of open denigration of climate sceptics (“deniers” is the offensive popular terminology of the day). They insist that only researchers directly within the climate-change community are capable of giving authoritative advice. They insist that one can find true and reputable science only in peer-reviewed climate literature. But most significantly, they seem to have evolved a policy of deliberately excluding sceptics from climate-change forums of one sort or another, and indeed of refusing to take part in any forum where sceptics may share the podium.

Their high-handedness, Paltridge says, is redolent of “medieval religion”:

The priests of that time opposed translation of the written scriptures from Latin into the local languages. They believed that only people fully trained in the theology of the time were capable of interpreting the scriptures correctly. They believed it would be highly dangerous to allow non-trained people to have direct access to the word of God because the chances were high that they would get it wrong. They were not backward in applying their peculiarly nasty forms of denigration on those who thought otherwise about the matter.

But the medieval priests eventually lost the battle. As will the climate alarmists because the public simply do not trust them:

The modern equivalent with regard to AGW is that, despite the claim that 95% or more of climate scientists support the AGW establishment position, support for the position among the general public (of the western nations anyway) is only of the order of 50%. The reputation of climate science, and as a consequence the reputation of science in general, seems to have lost a good deal of its public gloss.

It is not even certain that climate science qualifies as an actual science. Being driven by a political agenda rather than by experimentation and evidence, it is more akin to post-modernism:

Post-modern science is a counterpart of the relativist world of post-modern art and design. It is a much more dangerous beast, where results are valid only in the context of society’s beliefs, and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. Post-modern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately manipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the policies of the government of the day. At a more mundane level, there is little doubt that some players in the climate research establishment – not many, but enough to have severely damaged the reputation of climate scientists in general – have stepped across the boundary of what is generally regarded as acceptable scientific behaviour.

Scientists — even climate scientists, Paltridge generously argues — are not generally “wicked, idiotic or easily suborned.” But they do have to eat, and almost all the research money right now is available for scientists pushing the alarmist side of the argument, not the skeptical one. Also, the whole field is mired in such uncertainty that is quite impossible for anyone — whether skeptic or alarmist — to prove their position.

Climate research has to rely on spectacularly inaccurate data for information on Earth’s climate of more than a century or two ago; it has to rely on proxy information from tree rings and ice cores and corals and so on, and abstracting a coherent story from it all is something of a statistical nightmare. Even for the most recent century, the huge data sets of directly measured surface temperatures have their problems, and the stories that these data tell are revised in one way or another as new ideas about the correct method of analyzing the data appear on the scene. Such revisions make for tremendous arguments and competing claims about whether cherry picking of data has been used to support the predictions of the AGW theoretical models.

Climate science is an example of what Funtowicz and Ravetz call ‘post-normal science’ in which ‘the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent’. In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid sub-conscious cherrypicking of data to suit the popular theory of the time. Even Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were not immune from the problem.

It is nonetheless the case that once freed of the burden of having to earn a living or retain their tenure in an academe in thrall to the man-made global warming narrative, scientists do seem much more ready to take a skeptical position:

There are many examples where the transition from paid employment in climate research to retirement has been accompanied by a significant change of heart away from acknowledging the seriousness of global warming. It seems that scientists too are conscious of the need to eat, and like everyone else must consider the consequences of public dissent from the views of the powers-that-be. One example was Dr Brian Tucker. He was the Director of the Australian Numerical Meteorology Research Centre, and subsequently became Chief of the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research. He was heavily involved in the development of the IPCC. During his time with CSIRO he was the ‘go to’ man for journalists and radio programmers seeking stories on matters to do with climate change. On retirement he became a writer and speaker for the Institute of Public Affairs, and greatly surprised his former colleagues with his very public change to an openly sceptical view on the subject.

 

Source: Physicist: Climate Scientists Are Giving Science a Bad Name | Breitbart

No wonder he never got the Nobel prize: Tom Wolfe made the left look stupid

 

 

He went after the left because the left was the establishment.

It’s couched in oh, so delicate terms, as pretty much everyone mourns the death of the great Tom Wolfe.  Tom Wolfe was a reporter; Tom Wolfe was an observer.  Tom Wolfe eyed status-seeking.  Tom Wolfe skewered the establishment.  And through his incredible mastery of words, he entertained the hell out of us.

Yes, true enough.  But somehow he never got a Nobel Prize in literature, despite vastly outranking almost everyone else who has.

So I guess I am corrupting things a little when I state the obvious about Wolfe: he did write; he did observe; he did skewer; and by gosh, it all added up to making the left look stupid, particularly the cultural left, because it is the establishment.  There is no way a writer this honest could not find them.  And because he was a ferocious believer in and chronicler of American exceptionalism, he got them good.

Oh, he made the left look stupid.  It’s why reading his work is such a delicious pleasure.

I read through the long, awesome piece in Vanity Fair by Michael Lewis, called “How Tom Wolfe Became Tom Wolfe,” to make sure I didn’t miss any clues, and though it took me an hour to read, it was extremely useful.

Turns out Wolfe got his start in red country, the genteel world of Richmond, Virginia, and was close to his conservative father.  He never abandoned that world, which meant he stayed an outsider, a “deplorable” all his life.  He was amused by President Trump and seemed to like the man – read this short passage of his thoughts in this American Spectator here, an incisive, original analysis from Wolfe about Trump.

There’s a heck of a lot more from deep in his background.  Lewis wrote that Wolfe was right on to the left from his late college days, at least – his Ph.D. at Yale was all about the communist influence in American literature, a topic that almost didn’t pass muster from the leftists at Yale then and certainly wouldn’t even be entertained at such an establishment now (except in oozingly flattering terms, perhaps).

Wolfe understood the importance of rural America in the creation of heroes and the stultifying groupthink of too much exposure to cities, a “deplorable” idea indeed that we are living now.  Such were the good takeaways from Lewis.

As a result, Wolfe’s glory was in destroying the left with his words.

How on Earth can anyone look at Lenny Bernstein sucking up to the 1960s Black Panthers the same way after a passage like this?

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.  THESE ARE NICE.  LITTLE Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts.  Very tasty.  Very subtle.  It’s the way the dry sackiness of the nuts tiptoes up against the dour savor of the cheese that is so nice, so subtle.  Wonder what the Black Panthers eat out here on the hors d’oeuvre trail?  Do the Panthers like little Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts this way, and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs, and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi, all of which are at this very moment being offered to them on gadrooned silver platters by maids in black uniforms with hand-ironed white aprons?

When I first read that as a college student, I couldn’t stop laughing.  I memorized that passage because it was so funny.

Wolfe did fantastic work targeting the academic left in general.  One of his finest passages was on how leftists always yelled about fascism in America, yet it was Europe that had the problem:

The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.

He wrote about what a bunch of perverts these fashionable lefties were, too, lusting after the college girls as they gave their pompous progressive lectures, with one such lecturer thinking:

“The little blonde bud from the creative-writing class is a sure thing, but she’ll insist on a lot of literary talk first[.] … The big redhead on the lecture committee will spare me that, but she talks to me as if I’m seventy years old[.] … Little Bud? … or Big Red?

He went after the mainstream media, too, acting as paparazzi on the astronauts ofThe Right Stuff, seeking to interview “the dog, the cat, the rhododendrons,” which told you all you needed to know – and was hysterically funny, too.

He fried the “Me Generation” and all the nut-bags from California’s quiche-eating, hot-tubbing cultie groups, mouthing New Age drivel.  “Let’s talk about me,” as he summed these jackasses up.  It was the only right way to treat them.

So many leftists got it good from Wolfe.  There were the ad men in “The Commercial” who wanted to bow to political correctness by casting the first black baseball player in a deodorant ad and how they tiptoed around the subject of race as “flatfoot Irishmen” scared and dancing around in their great fear of being thought of as racist, even as they were breaking racial barriers.

There were the suck-up liberal bureaucrats in “Hush Puppies,” who gladly atemerde at the feet of Tiki-stick stomping minority groups “mau-mauing” them in their quest for “summer jobs for youth” out in the San Francisco projects, a classic case of left-wing-on-left-wing stupidity.

He tore apart the Rev. Al Sharpton as a colossal charlatan in his later novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, exposing him for his left-wing race-baiting.

He made the art world, with all its nutty emperor’s new clothes ideas about what’s art and how ugly some of its stuff looked, look like a bunch of idiots in The Painted Word.

He trashed the disgusting hook-up culture that has ruined university culture in I am Charlotte Simmons.

All of this stuff riled the left.  In one passage in one of his books – think it was the one on meeting porny feminist Germaine Greer, who set her hair on fire because she was bored (you’d never forget a passage like that) – somewhere in the piece spoke of an enraged lefty who wanted to dump spaghetti sauce all over his own suit.

And as a coda, Wolfe stated the obvious about the heroism and self-sacrifice of our military and American exceptionalism in spades in his oh, so dazzling and utterly readable more than once masterpiece, The Right Stuff.

What a treasure he was.  He wrote about the world as it is, telling our American story because he loved our American story.  How sad that we don’t have him to write about the ongoing story of America.  He wrote about the world as an outsider, and he examined the establishment as it needed to be examined, and naturally, that added up to making the left look stupid.  There was no other way for a writer this honest, and we are the richer for it.

By Monica Showalter

 

Source: No wonder he never got the Nobel prize: Tom Wolfe made the left look stupid

Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real

 

Cloud is everywhere. The self-described journalist who specializes in student-loan debt has been quoted in major news outlets, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and CNBC, and is a fixture in the smaller, specialized blogosphere of student debt.

He’s always got the new data, featuring irresistible twists:

One in five students use extra money from their student loans to buy digital currencies.

Nearly 8 percent of students would move to North Korea to free themselves of their debt.

Twenty-seven percent would contract the Zika virus to live debt-free.

All of those surveys came from Cloud’s website, The Student Loan Report.

Drew Cloud’s story was simple: He founded the website, an “independent, authoritative news outlet” covering all things student loans, “after he had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place.”

He became ubiquitous on that topic. But he’s a fiction, the invention of a student-loan refinancing company.

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After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. “Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.

Before that admission, however, Cloud had corresponded at length with many journalists, pitching them stories and offering email interviews, many of which were published. When The Chronicle attempted to contact him through the address last week, Cloud said he was traveling and had limited access to his account. He didn’t respond to additional inquiries.

And on Monday, as The Chronicle continued to seek comment, Cloud suddenly evaporated. His once-prominent placement on The Student Loan Report had been removed. His bylines were replaced with “SLR Editor.” Matherson confirmed on Tuesday that Cloud was an invention.

Pressed on whether he regretted deceiving news organizations with a fake source, Matherson said Cloud “was created as a way to connect with our readers (ex. people struggling to repay student debt) and give us the technical ability to post content to the WordPress website.”

Cloud had an elaborate back story. Before being scrubbed from the website, he was described as having “a knack for reporting throughout high school and college where he picked up his topics of choice.” Since graduating from college, the site said, “Drew wanted to funnel his creative energy into an independent, authoritative news outlet covering an exclusive and developing industry.”

Cloud was not the only facade. The website’s affiliation with LendEDU was also not previously disclosed.

In his email, Matherson called The Student Loan Report “very much a side project for our organization.”

He continued: “Our goal, from the beginning, is to create an informative source of news and educational content for consumers. We are not focused on monetizing from Student Loan Report, LLC. As you may have noticed, there are very few advertisements on the website.”

Matherson elaborated: “Our parent company, Shop Tutors, Inc., acquired the online assets of studentloans.net in 2016. The Student Loan Report, LLC is a separate entity. For context, it is very common practice for online media companies to own or acquire additional media assets. Student Loan Report, LLC is a for-profit organization and is paid by some of the companies featured on our website. Student Loan Report, LLC may earn a fee when our readers apply or receive a financial product featured on our website.”

But in 2016, Matherson described the relationship in simpler terms in an email obtained by The Chronicle. In that message, sent to a potential contributor, he wrote, “We have a new project that you might be able to help us with. We are launching a student loan industry news site called Student Loan Report located at studentloans.net.”

A Punch From Mike Tyson

Even without this evidence, close observers would have been able to divine the connection between the two organizations. In 2016, LendEDU and The Student Loan Report posed a series of oddball questions meant to test the lengths to which student borrowers would go to free themselves of debt. About 56 percent of them would take a punch from Mike Tyson, wrote LendEDU.

A few months later, The Student Loan Report issued a report on its own survey asking how far borrowers would go to erase their debt. About 62 percent said they would star in a pornographic film. Forty-three percent said they would hook up with Caitlyn Jenner. The report, issued by Cloud, included a link to a list of student-loan-refinancing companies, LendEDU among them.

Both surveys featured an odd mixture of juvenile and mean-spirited humor. They had another similarity as well: an uncommon typo in the word “meant.” Here’s LendEDU on drug use: “56.14 percent of borrowers would abstain from alcohol and drug use for life, if it mean’t that they would have no more student loan debt.” And The Student Loan Report on a similar topic: “85% of borrowers would give up smoking marijuana for life, if it mean’t that they would have no more student loan debt.”

This is Drew Cloud, according to The Student Loan Report. “He always had a knack for reporting throughout high school and college,” read his website bio, which has been removed.

Cloud may no longer appear on his own site, but his footprint in the wider world remains. He was quoted by a number of media outlets this year in connection with a survey finding by The Student Loan Report that one in five students had used money from their student loans to invest in digital currencies. Experts in the field told The Chronicle that the study’s opaque methodology raised concerns.

Cloud has often appeared on financial-advice sites, either as a guest writer or as the subject of an interview. In those cases, he doesn’t mention where he attended college, but he does mention that he, too, had taken out student loans.

When people reached out to Cloud for his expertise on student debt, he often suggested that they refinance their loans.

That’s one of the services offered by LendEDU. Matherson and Matt Lenhard started what would become LendEDU while they were both students at the University of Delaware. The two had originally created a tool that allowed people to book tutors online. But they appeared to spin it into a place from which students can apply for multiple loans.

Today, LendEDU describes itself as “marketplace for private student loans, student loan refinancing, credit cards, and personal loans – among other financial products.”

In a post on the website, Matherson seemed to affirm his commitment to a virtuous way of conducting business.

“We started LendEDU to offer transparency in the student loan market,” he wrote. “Today, we are working to provide transparency to the personal finance industry as a whole.”

Chris Quintana is a staff reporter. Follow him on Twitter @cquintanadc or email him at chris.quintana@chronicle.com.

Dan Bauman is a reporter who investigates and writes about all things data in higher education. Tweet him at @danbauman77 or email him at dan.bauman@chronicle.com.