Tsunami ravaging Kesennuma port
March 26, 2011
By Bruce Walker
The political courage shown by Governor Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin should be an object lesson to all conservatives: Be bold! Those who oppose us, those who have infested the institutions of American life and the organs of American government, and those who live at the expense of our sweat and our pride will show us no quarter. While our war for the soul of America is peaceful in the sense that it involves no physical violence, it is still total war.
The nauseating comments by the leftists overlords of NPR about the Tea Party show how much these leftists hate and fear us. The indecent firing of Juan Williams was more evidence of the willingness of the intolerant left to fight without scruple against anyone who does not slavishly follow the party line — even those who still sincerely believe some bits and pieces of leftist mythology. The scurrying Democrats from the Wisconsin Senate show contempt not just for Republicans, but also for the voters who elect them. The thuggish behavior of Wisconsin schoolteachers shows that we cannot assume that these hirelings are honorable.
Do we really need more evidence of just how bad the left is? The blatant appeal to hatred, the naked pursuit of power, the wholly unsavory smell of deceit — the absence of the tiniest fig leaf of respectability — are apparent in everything the left does these days. Its bullying can be met only two ways: with surrender or with resistance. The wise course, resistance, cannot be done halfheartedly. All those who stand in the way of leftists face the same gallows in the end. President Reagan, noting the foolishness of timidity in fighting the left, put it well: “What are they going to do? Hang us from a higher tree?” (Recall that this same great American summed up his Cold War strategy thus: “How about this? We win. They lose.”)
This is the long heritage of defiant courage in the face of oppression. It is William Wallace at Stirling Bridge reminding Scots that they will die but that they need not die as slaves. It is Patrick Henry in the House of Burgesses telling his fellow Virginians that “[t]he gentlemen cry ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace: the war has already begun.” It is Churchill’s pugnacity after France fell, telling Hitler and Britons that “[w]e shall never surrender.” It is Solzhenitsyn, alone and threatened in the maw of Marxist tyranny, using his pen to embolden the world against the Evil Empire.
Those who lie, those who lust for power, and those with whom no honorable compromise is possible — these enemies of liberty — must simply be defeated. What does Rush tell his listeners every day? “My goal is to defeat liberalism.” His defiance is like General Jackson in the Civil War at Manassas: fleeing Confederates stopped, looked, and turned around. One of them, famously, told us why: “There stands Jackson like a stone wall.” Courage in war — and we are very much in a war — is contagious (and so is cowardice). There is no substitute for victory in our war. Those lions who stand up in the face of wickedness inspire others, while those mice who try to do business with the hopelessly corrupt fall within the malign spell of the left or end up, as Reagan reminds us, hung from a lower branch.
What does this mean in practice today? Republicans should push “right to work” everywhere as hard as their political muscle will let them. Labor unions, as much a dinosaur as Marxism, are the enemy of the working man, the enemy of government economy, the enemy of jobs, and the mortal enemy of every Republican. Fight also that horror called “public education,” which is a slave to leftist dogma and a vast hole in every state budget: privatize the instruction of our future. Tackle entitlements not meekly with an eye to the latest poll data, but as if these interconnected Ponzi schemes — public employee pensions, Medicare, Social Security, and the rest — are vast frauds which will leave us all poor and afraid. The stench of corruption in ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and sibling monsters must be recorded, exposed, and pressed relentlessly.
Each apology for doing what is right is simple surrender. All vain efforts to peel off “moderate” Democrats blur those distinctions which we want to be crystal-clear. Every poll-driven statement by Republican leaders to capture the imaginary center shows that these Republicans are in fact not “leaders,” but dupes. If our ends are honorable and good, then sheepishness about pursuing those ends is not just immoral, but vastly unwise. We are fighting for our country, for all the good that it is and that it can be, and for all the heroes before us who gave us this land. Like them, we must be bold.
Bruce Walker is the author of Poor Lenin’s Almanac: Perverse Leftist Proverbs for Modern Life.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/be_bold.html at March 26, 2011 – 03:11:52 PM CDT
March 24, 2011
ACLU v. Religious Liberty
By J. Matt Barber
Irony is defined as “the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.” The term doublespeak means “evasive, ambiguous language that is intended to deceive or confuse.”
There is perhaps no greater example of ironic doublespeak than inclusion of the phrase “civil liberties” within the inapt designation: “American Civil Liberties Union.”
Indeed, few leftist organizations in existence today can compete with the ACLU in terms of demonstrated hostility toward what the Declaration of Independence describes as “certain unalienable rights” with which Americans are “endowed by their Creator.”
Consider the doublespeak inherent throughout the “progressive” Goliath’s flowery self-representation:
The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
Now contrast that depiction with ACLU founder Roger Baldwin’s candid vision:
I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself… I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.
Ironic, isn’t it? So much for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” By combining straightforward segments from each ACLU rendering we arrive with an accurate portrayal. One that cuts through the doublespeak:
The ACLU is…working daily in courts, legislatures and communities. Communism is the goal.
In 1931, just eleven years after the ACLU’s inception, the US Congress convened a Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities. On the ACLU it reported:
The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press and free assembly, but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is an attempt to protect the communists.
To be sure, the “main function of the ACLU” is entirely counter-constitutional.
A shared objective between both Communism generally, and the ACLU specifically is the suppression of religious liberty; principally, the free exercise of Christianity.
Karl Marx, high priest of the ACLU’s beloved cult of Communism, once said: “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
Even the ACLU’s own promotional materials overtly advocate religious discrimination: “The message of the Establishment Clause is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion.”
The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — a mere 10 words — says nothing of the sort. Its message is abundantly clear, requiring severe distortion to stuff within the ACLU’s Marxist parameters. It merely states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” That’s it.
Now let’s break it down. What do you suppose the Framers of the US Constitution — a document expressly designed to limit the powers of federal government — intended with the word “Congress”? Did they mean State government? Municipal government? Your local school district? Your third grade teacher?
Of course not. They meant exactly what they said: Congress. As in: The United States Congress! It takes someone with a distinctly disingenuous ulterior motive to derive anything else.
Now what did they mean by “…shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion?”
Well, in a letter to Benjamin Rush, a fellow-signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson — often touted by the left as the great church-state separationst — answered that question. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause was singularly intended to restrict Congress from affirmatively “establishing,” through federal legislation, a national Christian denomination (similar to the Anglican Church of England).
Or, as Jefferson put it: “[T]he clause of the Constitution” covering “freedom of religion” was intended to necessarily preclude “an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States.”
How far removed we are today from the original intent of our Founding Fathers. The ACLU is largely responsible for creating the gulf between the Constitution’s original construction and its modern misapplication.
The ACLU remains one of America’s most powerful secular-socialist political pressure groups. It relentlessly tramples underfoot the First Amendment, which guarantees sweeping and absolute liberty for all Americans — including government employees — to freely exercise their faith both publicly and privately without fear of reprisal: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Examples of its constitutional abuses are manifold, but one of the most recent involves an ACLU assault against a group of Christians in Santa Rosa County, FL. Liberty Counsel represents those Christians.
An ACLU-crafted Consent Decree has been used as a weapon to threaten school district employees with fines and jail time for merely praying over a meal, and for exercising — even while away from school — their sincerely held Christian faith. You read that right. The ACLU is literally seeking to criminalize Christianity.
In August of 2009, Liberty Counsel successfully defended staff member Michelle Winkler from contempt charges brought by the ACLU after her husband, who is not even employed by the district, offered a meal prayer at a privately sponsored event in a neighboring county.
Liberty Counsel also successfully defended Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman against criminal contempt charges, after the ACLU sought to have the men thrown in jail for blessing a lunch meal served to about 20 adult booster club members.
Under the Consent Decree teachers are considered to be acting in their “official capacity” anytime a student is present, even at private functions off campus.
Liberty Counsel describes this unconstitutional decree:
Teachers cannot pray, bow their heads, or fold their hands to show agreement with anyone who does pray. Teachers and staff cannot ‘Reply’ to an email sent by a parent if the parent’s email refers to God or Scripture. Teachers either have to delete such references from the original email or reply by initiating a new email. Teachers and staff are also required to stop students from praying in their own private club meetings.
During witness testimony, Mrs. Winkler sobbed as she described how she and a coworker, who had recently lost a child, literally had to hide in a closet to pray.
Although the case continues, on Monday the ACLU suffered a tremendous setback while freedom took a significant step forward. Federal District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers granted in part a Preliminary Injunction in favor of Liberty Counsel’s twenty-four Christian clients.
Judge Rodgers concluded that even though “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy,” one aspect of the Consent Decree — its attempt to prohibit school employees from fully participating in private religious events — is so flawed that it must be immediately halted.
The Court thus enjoined the School Board “from enforcing any school policy that restrains in any way an employee’s participation in, or speech or conduct during, a private religious service, including baccalaureate” pending a trial on the merits.
“Progressives” are nothing if not consistent. As they gain confidence, they invariably rush across that bridge too far. They engage wild-eyed efforts to “fundamentally transform America” to reflect their own secular-socialist self-image.
I’m certain that both the bare-knuckle spirit of the American people and Liberty Counsel’s enduring 92 percent win record against the ACLU will maintain a durable safeguard – an “impenetrable wall of separation” if you will – between our constitutionally guaranteed liberties and a subversive “progressive” agenda built upon the distinctly un-American creed: “Communism is the goal.”
Matt Barber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. Facebook/jmattbarber / Twitter/@jmattbarber (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/aclu_v_religious_liberty.html at March 24, 2011 – 04:34:44 PM CDT
On a day when the news about radiation levels has turned more ominous, we need something to boost morale. So here you go: Meet Hideaki Akaiwa, formerly an unknown resident of northern Japan, recently a hero responsible for saving two lives, soon to be global Internet shorthand for alpha-male bravado in the same way Chuck Norris is. I’m giving you two versions of his story. The one you should read is the memorable, much-linked telling at Badass of the Week, but since that one’s littered with F-bombs, the one I’m going to quote is this LA Times profile from a few days ago.
Your country’s just been hit by a mega-quake and your city’s almost completely underwater. Your spouse is out there somewhere, missing and possibly dead. What do you do?
Answer: You call this guy.
Akaiwa said he was at work a few miles away when the tsunami hit, and he rushed back to find his neighborhood inundated with up to 10 feet of water. Not willing to wait until the government or any international organization did, or did not, arrive to rescue his wife of two decades — whom he had met while they were surfing in a local bay — Akaiwa got hold of some scuba gear. He then hit the water, wended his way through the debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety.
“The water felt very cold, dark and scary,” he recalled. “I had to swim about 200 yards to her, which was quite difficult with all the floating wreckage.”
With his mother still unaccounted for several days later, Akaiwa stewed with frustration as he watched the water recede by only a foot or two. He repeatedly searched for her at City Hall and nearby evacuation centers.
Finally, on Tuesday, he waded through neck-deep water, searching the neighborhood where she’d last been seen. He found her, he said, on the second floor of a flooded house where she’d been waiting for help for four days.
His wife was apparently trapped on the upper floor of their submerged house, almost out of air when he reached her. The last the LA Times saw of him, he was heading out on his bike into the ruins of the city, searching for more survivors — while wearing a pair of Ray-Bans. Dude. As I say, though, their report doesn’t do the story justice; read the one at Badass of the Week, unless you have a strong objection to profanity.
March 18, 2011
America Slouching Towards Fiscal Armageddon
By Chris Banescu
America is in grave danger. Our government’s out-of-control spending and our politicians’ refusal to implement meaningful budget reforms are leading us towards a fiscal crisis that can undermine our very way of life. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. With each passing day, we are $5 billion in deficit spending closer to the edge of an abyss that can cripple our economy, destroy America’s wealth, and lead to catastrophic social consequences for all current and future generations. Yet our leaders in Washington refuse to face reality and continue to play political games while the country’s budget crisis deepens and the threat grows exponentially.
In February of this year the US federal budget deficit grew by a record $224 billion; the biggest one-month increase in history. Worse still, the 2011 US budget deficit is forecast to reach $1.5 Trillion. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this annual deficit represents the largest budget gap in our country’s history, equivalent to approximately 10% of America’s total economic output. This follows the enormous $1.3 Trillion deficit racked up for 2010 and will be superseded by an equally disturbing $1.65 Trillion deficit forecast for 2012.
In just three short years, Obama and the Democrats have racked up a whopping $4.5 Trillion in debt. That is more than double the $2.1 Trillion in debt added during the entire eight years of the Bush administration. It’s an astronomical increase in deficit spending of roughly 571%; that’s nearly six (6) times faster than previous administrations.
With Congress unwilling to address the runaway spending, roughly half the money the federal government now spends it has to borrow. Approximately 40 cents out of every dollar in spending is financed by mortgaging our future to foreign investors, primarily China. For 2012, the deficit spending will increase to 45 cents per dollar. Each day America will add another $4.5 billion to the $14.3 Trillion total National Debt. Sometime between now and 2012 the US debt will equal the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the total market value of all the goods and services in our economy for an entire year.
This year the US will spend $200 billion in interest payments on the debt. Thanks to historically low interest rates this figure is lower than normal. Once interest rates start to rise — and rise they will as inflation is quickly spreading throughout our economy and the world — we will face an extra $100 billion in interest payments per year for every one (1) percent increase in interest rates. The Wall Street Journal predicts that without any changes, the interest on the nation’s debt will reach $900 billion annually in another 10 years. According to their forecast, those yearly interest payments will be 17% greater than our annual Medicare costs and 82% larger than “the cost of all non-security discretionary spending programs combined.”
The $1.65 Trillion deficit for 2012 will make the debt grow to 105% of the nation’s GDP, a perilous milestone. If the structural budget gaps are not effectively dealt with, the CBO predicts that an additional $7.1 Trillion in debt will be racked up in the next 10 years, increasing our total National Debt to $21.4 Trillion by 2021. But it gets worse. The current unfunded liabilities total (social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security which the US government has promised to pay to its citizens) is rapidly approaching $113 Trillion, about $1 million per taxpayer. That will grow to a disastrous $144 Trillion by 2015 if nothing changes.
Last month, members of the National Association for Business Economics provided yet another ominous warning. These economists identified the US budget deficit as the “gravest threat facing the economy, topping high unemployment and the risk of inflation or deflation.”
We are on an unsustainable path of uncontrolled and wasteful spending that can devastate the United States. And what is Congress actually doing to effectively deal with this looming catastrophe?
The delusional Democrats have proposed a microscopic $4.7 billion cut for the 2012 budget. That’s a ridiculous 0.1% of the total budget for 2012. It represents exactly 25 hours of spending by the government. Multiply that by 100 and it still falls short of the proverbial drop in the bucket. Clearly Democrats are not interested in helping this country avoid fiscal calamity. They’re more concerned with demonizing conservatives and maintaining power, instead of governing responsibility and rationally for the welfare and safety of all Americans.
President Obama’s phony budget, submitted last month, insanely claims about $1.1 Trillion in “cuts” over the next decade. These fictional cuts happen courtesy of an additional $2 Trillion in new taxes proposed by his administration over that same period. Even taking Obama’s fraudulent budget proposal seriously, the US debt will still grow from $7.2 Trillion to as high $9 Trillion over 10 years. This is worse than doing nothing.
The supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans in the House originally proposed a small $100 billion cut in spending. That amount was subsequently reduced during House negotiations to a measly $61 billion, representing just 1.6% of the $3.73 Trillion budget for 2012. Even that minor reduction was mischaracterized as “draconian” and soundly rejected by the Democrats in control of the Senate. Obama has twice threatened to veto the measure if it passed the Senate by some miracle. There is little hope for mature engagement and sane debates with the current majority of leftists in power. They are not interested in cutting spending or negotiating reasonably to implement authentic budget reductions.
A devastating debt crisis is coming; simple mathematics predict it. It is no longer a matter of if, but when. The time for hysterics, hyperbole, and finger-pointing is over. The time for political games, grand-standing, and partisan shenanigans is long past. This is no longer about Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, or progressive issues. This affects all of us. The looming danger crosses all party and ideological lines and jeopardizes all Americans, present and future generations. We’re staring down a massive debt tsunami that threatens the US with a fiscal Armageddon the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Since Democrats and the White House are obviously unwilling to face reality and completely AWOL on this crisis, here’s a call to action to the conservatives and the Tea Party lawmakers in Washington, our only remaining hope.
Republicans, it’s all hands on deck. Convince weak-kneed and waffling colleagues to find their backbone and stand firm. Since you’re going to be demonized and vilified anyway, regardless of what you do, make a stand and demand meaningful reductions in government spending. Ask for at least $500 billion in budget cuts, slowly negotiate down to a more comprehensive $400 billion number, and only settle for a final compromise of $370 billion in cuts (still just 10% of the 2012 budget, but better than the original 1.6%). Stop worrying about “bi-partisanship”, “reaching across the aisle”, and all that other nonsense. It’s evident that most Democrats and Obama are not interested in any of it. To them it’s all about consolidating and maintaining their own power at all costs, damn the consequences. They would rather shove the country into bankruptcy and fiscal collapse than act responsibly and sensibly. Didn’t the ObamaCare battles and the last few decades of disastrous compromises with liberals and progressives teach you anything?
Conservatives, act like leaders and worthy stewards of this great nation. Trust that God will be with you if you remain faithful to Him, speak truthfully, and act honorably. Be true public servants and courageous representatives of the people who elected you. Demand real action and sweeping reforms. Do not back down and compromise just to get along. It doesn’t work! Be ready to shut down the government if you have to. Force Congress to do its job to protect the lives, freedoms, and interests of all American citizens, not just the unions, the lobbyists, and other political operatives and supporters. Show the rest of country that you’re willing to do the heavy lifting and take the hits. Make the hard choices and stand behind your principles. That is real leadership!
Republicans, in November 2010 we elected you to represent our voices and bring the right kind of hope and change America desperately needs. We’re counting on you now to act decisively! Don’t disappoint us, the clock is quickly counting down to the fiscal catastrophe awaiting all of us. We’re almost out of time.
Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor. He regularly blogs at http://www.chrisbanescu.com.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/america_slouching_towards_fisc.html at March 18, 2011 – 02:49:41 PM CDT
March 14, 2011
By Seldon B. Graham, Jr.
I graduated from West Point 60 years ago, and strongly believe in its motto: Duty, Honor, Country. I have been in the energy industry for 57 years, first as an engineer and later as an attorney, and feel that it is my Duty to try to help my Country solve its terrible energy problems.
The big problem is the Democratic agenda to destroy US oil. Currently, this agenda is well illustrated in the Gulf of Mexico. BP’s Macondo Prospect well, which blew out in the Gulf of Mexico last year, was reported by the federal government to be producing 62,000 barrels of oil per day. At the present oil price, that is $2.2 Billion a year. This well may have been the largest oil well in the history of the world. Yet, it was plugged and abandoned, and the federal government would not allow the development of the large oil reservoir it was in, which may have created thousands of new jobs. No other nation on earth would do that to an oil well which may have been the largest oil well in world history. Moreover, the federal government stopped all drilling in the area.
Destroying US oil is not a new Democratic agenda. In 1980, President Carter gave the US oil demand to the Persian Gulf region and signed the Domestic Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax which caused the oil patch recession of the early 1980s and the loss of half a million US oil jobs.
The solution to our energy problem is for the Democrats to abandon their anti-US oil agenda and to simply allow Americans to Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. US oil is always less than OPEC oil. Americans would pay an estimated $24 Billion less at the pump annually if US oil replaced foreign oil imports.
Economic deficits are caused by taxpayer-supported energy schemes to replace oil, but these chimeras can never do so. Ethanol is the worst scheme. Taxpayers subsidize ethanol, starting with a $0.45 per gallon tax credit, amounting to $6 Billion annually. Taxpayer funded grants and studies make ethanol much more expensive to taxpayers.
Using ethanol in a vehicle emits more total carbon dioxide into the air than using gasoline. Last year, an additional 4 million tons of carbon dioxide went into the air because ethanol was used instead of gasoline.
Last year, ethanol production was only 5% of total US oil demand. It is impossible for ethanol to ever replace imported oil.
David Pimentel, Cornell University professor emeritus, states that corn requires 29% more energy than the fuel produces, switchgrass requires 45% more energy than the fuel produces, and wood biomass requires 57% more energy than the fuel produces. In other words, Professor Pimentel finds that the biofuel industry wastes more energy than it produces.
A gallon of ethanol contains only 61% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline. No wonder it gets such poor mileage. With ethanol, engines run hotter and rubber is eaten away. An ethanol flame is almost invisible and requires entirely different fire-fighting techniques than gasoline. Transportation, logistics and safety issues require a separate infrastructure to be built for ethanol than for gasoline.
In short, biofuel is a loser. It is not “clean” as claimed. Yet, the federal government protects ethanol from competition, gives it subsidies and requires its use. The quicker that the US gets rid of ethanol, the better off our country will be. Other energy schemes — electric cars, hybrid cars, CNG cars, hydrogen cars — should have taxpayer subsidies eliminated. Their flaws and deficiencies should not have to be explained in order to stop taxpayer subsidies.
Over five years ago, I wrote a book, Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High. If you do not like high gasoline prices, demand that your government allow drilling for US oil. If oil is worth fighting for in the Middle East, it is worth drilling for in the United States. US national security, the US economy, and US employment need US oil.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/solving_us_energy_problems.html at March 14, 2011 – 11:31:43 AM CDT
March 04, 2011
By Steve McCann
Economic despair reigns in America, as stagnation and mounting debt make our future look hopeless. Yet America is uniquely positioned to rebound and recover our economic preeminence. All that is necessary is a political decision to reverse our energy policy and stimulate domestic production of hydrocarbons. From that would flow a true economic stimulus that would mend many of our ills.
The United States is again, for the second time in less than three years, being reminded of its absurd dependence of foreign sources of energy, most notably, oil. The upheavals in the Middle East have driven up the cost of a barrel of oil into triple digits as it was in 2008. The increasing demands of countries such as China and India and the deliberate devaluation of the dollar by the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration are steadily pushing up oil prices in dollars.
The country’s dependence of foreign sources has increased to 52% of the daily requirement as compared to 45% just 15 years ago. Over half of that amount comes from countries that are inherently unstable or ruled by despotic regimes whose interest it is to de-stabilize the United States.
Yet the United States is sitting on the world’s largest untapped oil reserve. A natural resource that would not only mitigate the over $400 Billion sent overseas to other countries but could create untold millions of jobs and put the country on a sound financial footing.
The untapped reserves are estimated up to 2.3 Trillion barrels, nearly three times the reserves held by the OPEC countries and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand, at today’s levels — for auto, truck, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.
The US could become the single largest exporter of oil and oil related products in the world, thus potentially eliminating its trade deficit, and increasing the national standard of living as well as making a massive dent in the national debt.
Here is a look at some of the largest untapped reserves:
The Bakken Fields in North and South Dakota. New drilling and oil recovery technology is making the capture of this oil feasible and some development is now underway. It is estimated that there is at least 200 Billion barrels of oil in this region. At a price of $100 per barrel the value of this find is $20 Trillion.
The Outer Continental shelf. It is estimated that around 90 billion barrels of oil sit beneath the ocean bed 50 to 100 miles off the shore of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. The value: $9 Trillion.
The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. About 10 billion barrels are locked up here with a current value of $1 Trillion.
Tar Sands: Around 75 Billion barrels of oil could come from these areas which are similar to the Canadian tar sand fields and which now produce about 2 million barrels per day. The value: $7.5 Trillion
Oil Shale. This is the most massive area of potential oil production in the world with an estimated 1.5 Trillion barrel potential. The technology necessary to extract this oil is now in place and being operated on a pilot project basis. The value of this resource: $150 Trillion
There also the very real potential that further finds will be discovered as technology continues to improve.
In total the value of the potential oil reserves of the United States listed above exceeds $187 Trillion. The current national debt is $14.2 Trillion or less than 8%.
Despite the protestation of President Obama and the environmentalists the world and particularly the United States is not running out of oil. Their foolish tilting at windmills and solar will never produce energy sufficient to operate a $14Trillion and hopefully growing economy. It will be decades if not the rest of the 21st Century before any meaningful substitute for fossil fuels will be developed and additional time and investment will then be necessary to distribute the product.
Mankind’s ingenuity has and will continue to develop technology to safely extract, process and market fossil fuels (which is a naturally occurring resource). But the United States must begin now to open the areas for exploration, and permit the construction of refineries and pipelines.
It is beyond absurd that a country sitting on so much natural wealth refuses to exploit it for the benefit of its citizens and instead deliberately puts the nation in the position of being subjected to the whims of others and face national insolvency. It almost appears to be deliberate.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/the_only_way_out_for_the_ameri.html at March 05, 2011 – 07:19:39 AM CST
March 01, 2011
By Claude Sandroff
Neither individuals nor nations ever come to terms with their indebtedness and overspending until catastrophe looms. Only when the repo man comes for the car, the credit charge is rejected, and the bank forecloses on the house do we finally admit to our excesses and irresponsibility. America is living on the same kind of borrowed time, and it would be better for us to honestly default at a time of our own choosing than to be globally humiliated by our mercantilist creditors.
Our current level of national debt and future unfunded liabilities are so grotesquely gigantic as to hypnotize most of the nation’s leaders. Our unfunded liabilities are at least $100 trillion — more than twice the economic output of the entire world.
Barack Obama acted numb and powerless, like a wartime head of a government-in-exile, and gave up any pretense of behaving like an adult, or a chief executive, by explicitly refusing to address the catastrophic state of our entitlements programs in his recent travesty of a fiscal 2012 budget. His lack of action defies the recommendations of his own vaunted debt commission. Obama’s and the Democrats’ strategy seems to be to force Republicans to assume the role of the fiscally disciplined grown-ups in charge. If Republicans act first to curtail federal largesse, Americans will be so angry at the reductions in their benefits that Obama will breeze into a second term.
Since Republicans are going to be assaulted by the lunatic left for starving infants and defenestrating the aged, they should at least propose a solution that could actually stave off our national financial ruin. Default is the answer.
The most satisfying result of a default would be the opportunity for us to christen a Constitution-based national renewal. The slate would be wiped clean, and we could relaunch our 18th-century destiny with a massively shrunken government and perhaps even a gold standard.
Certainly the pain would be awful, for us and our creditors. An unprecedented stock market massacre would ensue, and unemployment would rise to Depression-era levels. We wouldn’t be able to borrow except at the most exorbitant rates. Creditors would be apoplectic, and their reactions could range from the seizing of assets to the threat of military action.
But just as default would redirect us on a sustainable economic path, our creditors would eventually come to recognize us as a more sober and stable partner. We might negotiate a payout of 30 cents on the dollar and extend our payment terms to forty or fifty years, but at least our creditors would be paid. And if we adopt sound money and Austrian economic policies — and enjoy the latter’s mild deflationary forces — the dollars our creditors get paid in will grow more valuable in time. The alternative for the external money-lenders is repayment in an increasingly dubious fiat currency dropped from helicopters by Ben Bernanke and his successors. An unbacked flood of dollars from QE3 to QE50 that is sure to follow the current QE2 program concocted by the Federal Reserve is a horror infinitely more painful than default for both the lender and the borrower.
Complaints from sources as varied as the grandees in the European Union and starving Tunisian peasants indicate that the world is growing weary of and angry over importing our inflation. Bernanke and the entire economic ruling class see no evidence of inflation whatever, but that’s only because they don’t fill their own gas tanks or shop for their own food. If you don’t drive or eat, the world looks rosy.
Default might seem a bit impractical and radical, but seriously examining it reflects our diminishing options and dire straits. Thomas Woods has proposed something at least as unthinkable in his new book, Rollback. Since Woods believes there is no practical way to service our liabilities, he proposes allowing Americans to opt out of entitlement programs completely. In exchange for relinquishing Social Security and Medicare benefits, citizens would be granted exemptions from income and estate taxes. Ron Paul has been lauded for a similar proposal, his plan consisting of a 10% flat tax if we dissociate ourselves from our insolvent government. And economist Zambisa Moyo argues in her new book, How the West Was Lost, that though “[d]efault sounds like a cataclysmic option, the attraction would be for America to wipe its slate clean and for the government to reset its financial statement.”
We’ve heard for years that our deficit, debt, and entitlement spending are unsustainable. But we have sustained them. We are now effectively bankrupt, and if the lawless, thuggish third-world scenes playing out in the statehouses of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana are any guide, we are in for ugly civil turmoil for years to come.
Reality can descend upon us quickly if we default. We can starve the government to death in a brief instant. Only in the context of default can we begin the wholesale elimination of government agencies and departments. Only in default can we address excess government compensation and attack not only future pension obligations, but current ones as well. We might need a decade to rebuild our global reputation and reset our domestic expectations, but at least we will have something left worth rebuilding.
Claude can be reached at email@example.com.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/america_should_default.html at March 04, 2011 – 04:43:58 PM CST
February 26, 2011
By Kevin Jackson
Unions have taken a big hit as their greed has become visible to more and more Americans. The most recent punch hit the unions in Wisconsin right in the breadbasket, and it must have felt like a Chuck Norris roundhouse. The unions seem to have found their fiscal hypocrisy steeping like a tea bag in hot water.
Many unions have opted out of ObamaCare which was sold as a panacea, thanks to waivers granted by the Obama administration. Unions didn’t want the Obama version of new health care, preferring instead to keep their old version.
But it’s not just health care that unions want. Unions want taxpayers to fund union pensions. GM and Chrysler workers enjoy pensions and health care benefits that ruined their employers, thanks to taxpayer funds. It’s only fair. No reason the union members should have to exercise fiscal responsibility like the rest of Americans. Union pensions are an entitlement at the expense of the taxpayers, a perk for taking a job as a civil servant, right?
Unions rejoiced when Obama demanded of Joe the Plumber to spread the wealth around. Obama asked Joe to save a stranger — the unnamed waitress where Obama had just had just stopped in for a burger, who, as Obama put it, “didn’t make a whole lotta money.” But the unions are being asked to save themselves.
Wisconsin has a $137M deficit for this year, a 3.7 billion deficit for two years. This is after a tax and fees hike that raised $2.1B, and after receiving federal stimulus funds of $2.2B back in 2009. Wisconsin got this money during the tenure of Democrat Governor Jim Doyle, yet the state still had a shortfall. This is why, according to the Pew Center on the States report “Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril,” Wisconsin was ranked as one of the top-ten states for fiscal irresponsibility, sharing that distinction with California and eight others.
Nevertheless, the current shortfall was blamed on the loss of 140,000 jobs — jobs Obama was unable to save. The obvious revenue decline from losing 140,000 taxpaying citizens would impact the state budget negatively, which should be obvious to anyone outside the Pelosi School of Economics, where “welfare is stimulus.”
Neither the unions nor the rest of the left care about Wisconsin’s budget shortfall, any other states’ budget shortfalls, or even the United States’ budget shortfall. The narrative by the left is that newly elected Republican Governor Walker is busting unions. The real narrative is that the left wants business as usual — tax and spend for redistribution of wealth.
Washington Post writer Ezra Klein pulls the “Blame [Insert Republican here]” meme, with Governor Walker the object of his derision in this article. Though Walker has been in office only since January 2011, Klein would have you believe that the Wisconsin budget shortfall is essentially all Walker’s fault. Forget the bailout of Wisconsin by the Fed and the massive tax and fees increase under Democrat Doyle, without which Wisconsin would have had to fire workers. Nope. According to Klein, Wisconsin was in good shape until a mean Republican realist took over for the sole purpose of union-busting.
Let’s not look at the notion of government unions not paying for their own insurance and pensions like the rest of America does. The unions are right to demand this of American taxpayers. If you don’t demand it, you won’t get it. You’d think everybody would want to get something for nothing, ergo join the unions.
The past is prologue. America is finally beginning to catch on to the union game, and a game is what it is. Consider the idea that people in public jobs are paying lobbyists and consultants to influence politicians on their behalf. Put in more understandable terms, imagine that you and your boss are colluding to get you the top pay possible, with shareholders unaware of the scheme. That’s exactly what’s happening; we the taxpayers are being duped by the people we pay.
States with a balanced budget clause in their Constitutions are not safe, either. Under liberal regimes, these states have tended to solve the problem not by addressing spending per se, but by increasing taxes and fees. Why? For the kids.
Here is what Democrat Governor Jay Nixon said of Missouri says of his tax-and-spend philosophy:
Because of the improvement in general revenue collections, the governor announced he released $10 million in additional funding to local schools to help cover transportation costs. “This uptick in state revenue allows us to provide additional funds to help schools statewide pay for K-12 transportation,” Nixon said in a statement.
In Missouri, there are contracts in place that make paying union dues a condition of employment. The union is so enticing that it must force participation. Hopefully this will end soon with the passage of right-to-work laws.
New Jersey’s teachers’ union has an innovative “get out of jail free” card. You can buy your way out of the racket by paying 75% of the union dues. I know what you’re thinking: “Why so cheap?”
Unions argue that they provide a supply of trained workers and are the backbone of the middle class. I foolishly used to think that schools did the providing. Unions today for the most part are predators and opportunists, which is why they are a magnet for organized crime. Even Hollywood knows this. Maybe it’s time that America addresses it.
But I think the time of unions is past, unless you consider the larger union involved here. There’s a non-unionized union comprising the majority of Americans, who are tired of seeing unions and politicians shaking them down for all they can get.
Kevin Jackson is author of the Amazon best-selling book The BIG Black Lie and the soon-be-released Sexy Brilliance…and Other Political Lies. He also writes The Black Sphere blog.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/the_union_gang.html at March 04, 2011 – 04:32:31 PM CST