This Thanksgiving, Celebrate without guilt
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It is used to celebrate man's ability to produce. It is a day filled with wonderful things to commemorate a person's production throughout the year. The mouth-watering turkey, aromatic pies, savory trimmings and, in some cases, cosmopolitan decorations are a testament to weath creation. It is these facets of the holiday that should be a source of pride to every self-reliant person.
However, there are those, motivated by hatred for mankind and our comfort and happiness, who would rather make Thanksgiving into a day based on guilt. Thanksgiving critics, such as environmentalists and religionists, criticize our lifestyles. They say that Americans should be ashamed for consuming so much (especially food). Our material abundance, they say, contributes to a depletion of things like the planet's natural resources.
Critics insist that the construction of homes and buildings, usage of fossil fuels, abundance of food and drink, driving vehicles are cause, not for celebration, but should be condemned. That we should feel guilt for our selfish ways and that Americans have a duty to give reparations to those less fortunate. They shudder at the possibility of the rest of the world being able to consume the way Americans do.
If the world came to consume the way we do, it will result in a utopia, not a dystopia as many doom-gloomers insist. For the world to embrace economic freedom, even in minimal amounts, means that the production of wealth is multiplied.
Human survival is not automatic. In order for someone to live, their life depends on producing successfully. From the food we eat, the clothes on our backs, the science researched and art forms we enjoy, every act of production requires thought. The greater the thought, the greater the creation. Yet all production is the result of creation. The wealth created where it didn't exist before and was the result of human effort to reshape places and elements considered of little value into a scheme to benefit mankind. Not the result of mystical creation as told in holy texts such as the Bible or Koran.
In terms of Thanksgiving, less than a year after the founding of the Jamestown settlement in the 1600's, only 46 of the 104 original colonists were left alive, most having perished for lack of food. This was due, in large part, to the colonists casting off their relgious tenets, since applying them to their way of life was destructive. At first, colonial land and farming was owned and worked on a communal basis along with the care and raising of children. It wasn't until rejecting their religious beliefs and embracing free trade that the death, famine and misery that resulted from the Jamestown colonists initial communistic policy ended. The Pilgrims were so pleased with the results from their change of heart that they prospered and didn't starve that they saw it as an occasion for a Thanksgiving.
However, the colonist's bold step required thought and action to put their new policies to work. In order to survive, the colonists had to produce. And to produce, they used their logic and reason.
It was Abraham Lincoln who made the first Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863. Upon making his declaration, Lincoln stated that we have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. Yet this statement and the many declarations made by clergy and environmentalists condemning our abundance while calling on us to sacrifice for the greater good or because society or some mystical element - such as God or nature - demands it, is an insult to everything we work for throughout the year.
Thanksgiving is not about faith and charity. It is about thought and production. The proper thanks for one's wealth is not mystical guilt, sacrifice or condemnation but celebration, if one has rightly and morally earned it. When you sit at the dinner table with family and friends ready to consume your dinner on fine china, ignore those who damn your ability to live by calling for you to sacrifice -- and revel in the day since it is done in commemoration of your hard work and effort. You have earned it.
Obama secrecy: Another broken promise
Big rethink when he has got something to hide. But the secrecy tells most of the story anyway
After seven months of stonewalling their FOIA requests, Don Loos and the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation have been forced file a complaint with the U.S. District Court demanding the Department of Labor be compelled to give them the information they seek. So much for Obama's promise to run the the most open and transparent administration in history.
On Obama's first day in office, the Department of Justice issued the following memorandum regarding FOIA requests:
The President directed that FOIA “should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.” Moreover, the President instructed agencies that information should not be withheld merely because “public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”
Agencies were directed to respond to requests “promptly and in a spirit of cooperation.” The President also called on agencies to “adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure” and to apply that presumption “to all decisions involving [the] FOIA.” This presumption of disclosure includes taking “affirmative steps to make information public,” and utilizing “modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government.”
The Obama administration's full-throated endorsement of transparency here only makes the administration's utter failure to respond to FOIA requests that much more infuriating. Loos has been trying for months to get basic information regarding the relationships between union bosses and Obama Labor department employees, including:
* Records from communications and recorded events where specified Obama appointees and Big Labor official were present
* Lists of lawsuits involving the Department of Labor and Deborah Greenfield within the past eight years.
* List of any gifts received by Solis in the past 5 years from Big Labor or its officials
* Specifically provide in detail (a) notes, (b) agreements, (c) communications, and (d) agendas related to the regulations related to the labor union and officer disclosure rules
* Copies of phone logs
* Copies of any notes or documents related to any enforcement of any labor laws and any outside groups such as labor unions, American Rights at Work, or ACORN
None of this information should be a closely guarded state secret. To the contrary, the public is probably owed such knowledge. And as bad as the Department of Labor is behaving, stonewalling FOIA requests is common throughout the Obama administration.
The “Science Presidency”
Remember when President Obama said that he was going to “restore science to its rightful place”? Apparently, that statement needed to be translated from the vagaries of “hope and change” to modern English: Right-wing anti-science policies are out; left-wing anti-science policies are in.
For starters, President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Sunstein believes that all recreational hunting should be banned. He also believes that meat consumption should be phased out in the United States, and he holds the unique belief that animals should have the right to sue humans in court. Naturally, the animal would be represented by a human lawyer—a policy other than that would just be silly. But who exactly would represent the animals in court is unclear at this point. Dr. Doolittle might be available, though.
All satire aside, with someone this disconnected from reality working in the White House, one wonders what impact he could have on the ability of scientists to conduct biomedical animal research.
Also, remember Mr. Obama’s obsession with creating green technology jobs as a way of leading us out of the recession? According to a report described by George Will in his Washington Post column, Spain’s massive subsidization of renewable energy has cost that country 110,000 jobs. Far from helping Spain’s economic crisis, this foolish subsidization appears to have contributed to its mind-blowing 19.3% unemployment rate.
As if this weren’t bad enough, a fantastic op/ed by Joel Frezza brought up several more examples of “junk science” coming from the White House, a few of which I’ll summarize and expand upon.
Mr. Frezza describes how the Obama Administration is asking for areas of Alaska to be deemed “critical habitat” for polar bears. This move could severely limit the ability to drill for oil and gas in the region, in a time when our nation is in desperate need of energy sources. It appears that, once again, Mr. Obama has caved to propaganda-spewing environmentalists who have ignored recent evidence indicating that polar bear populations are increasing. In fact, polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor claims that of the 19 populations of polar bears, only two have exhibited declining numbers. As a side issue, it’s also interesting to note that people like Captain Planet (Al Gore) who refer to polar bears as “endangered” don’t even have their facts straight: Polar bears are officially listed as “vulnerable”—an entirely different conservation status. This status is given to animals which may become endangered if conditions don’t change. Arguably, however, conditions are changing because their population has been increasing.
Finally, Mr. Frezza points out the economically ludicrous and scientifically unsound subsidization of biofuels. Liberals see the subsidization of biofuels as killing two birds with one stone: Fixing the planet and helping out America’s farmers. However, science has something entirely different to say about biofuels. The production of biofuels emits nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. The planet, unfortunately, doesn’t find it very funny, since nitrous oxide is a much more potent contributor to the greenhouse effect than is carbon dioxide. As The Economist points out in this article, a policy meant to make things better is merely an expensive way of making things worse.
Honestly, this list could go on and on. What is so infuriating is the fact that Mr. Obama self-righteously proclaimed to be the protector of science, when the truth is that he simply replaced Mr. Bush’s special interests with his own. In what has to be the most stunning broken promise in Mr. Obama’s presidency, instead of “restoring science,” he has simply resorted to “politics as usual.”
KY: Officials say census worker staged suicide: "A Census Bureau worker in Kentucky who was found dead in September with ‘FED’ written on his chest killed himself and staged his death to look like a homicide, state and federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday. … investigators concluded that Sparkman wrote the word on his own chest, then strung a rope from a tree, placed a noose around his neck and leaned forward, using his own body weight to cut off oxygen to his brain. Witnesses told investigators that Sparkman had discussed ending his life. He had also discussed recent federal investigations of Kentucky public officials and the negative perceptions of federal agencies expressed by some residents of Clay County, Ky., where he lived, investigators said. Before his death, Sparkman also secured two life insurance policies, totaling $600,000, that would not pay out for suicide.” [No apology from the hysterical Left for prejudging the matter?]
The "Bing" strategy behind News Corp, Microsoft link-up: "The surprising feature of the reaction to Rupert Murdoch's statement that he wanted to charge for online access to his media empire's content, was that anyone was surprised that he would want to. Well, we are now getting some clue to how Murdoch might think he can do it. By playing off Microsoft's desire to build an alternative search engine to the Google dominance. Reports out of Europe suggest plans are afoot for publishers to `de-link' from Google -- request Google not to, prohibit it from, linking to their content. And going exclusively with the Microsoft alternative. The 'charge''would come from Microsoft paying for that exclusivity. In effect paying for a franchise to publish an online version of the print product. There are a huge range of both competition and practical questions raised by the idea. And it would remain to be seen how successful -- or not -- it could end up. But it goes some way to answering the puzzle unleashed by Murdoch's observation."
Great! Airlines fined for stranding travellers on plane: "The US government has imposed its first-ever punishment against airlines for stranding passengers aboard aircraft, fining three carriers $175,000 for a six-hour ordeal in Minnesota. Continental Airlines and its ExpressJet Airlines affiliate were fined $US100,000, while Mesaba Airlines, a unit of Delta Air Lines, was fined $US75,000, the Transportation Department said. Continental, ExpressJet and Mesaba all reached settlements with the government's Aviation Enforcement Office. The action served as a sharp reminder to carriers about service just as the busy Thanksgiving Day travel period gets under way. Regulators found all three airlines violated a law prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices for their roles in the August 8 incident in Rochester, Minnesota. Forty-seven passengers were stranded overnight aboard a Continental Express plane en route from Houston to Minneapolis that diverted to Rochester due to bad weather. ExpressJet operated Flight 2816 for Continental while Mesaba was the only airline staffing the Rochester airport at the time. Mesaba refused to let passengers exit the plane and enter the terminal because there were no federal security personnel on duty at the time. Government officials concluded that passengers could have entered the terminal so long as they remained in the secure area."
'Godfather of Spam' jailed for four years: "A Hong Kong resident and three other men, including the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam", have been sentenced to prison for their roles in an email stock fraud scheme, the Justice Department said. The sentences, ranging from 32 to 51 months in prison, were handed down by US District Judge Marianne Battani in federal court in Detroit, the department said. Alan Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, and his son-in-law, Scott Bradley, 48, also of West Bloomfield, were sentenced to 51 months and 40 months in prison respectively on the same charges. FBI special agent Andrew Arena said Ralsky, the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam", flooded email boxes with unwanted spam email and attempted to use a botnet to hijack computers to assist them in the scheme. A botnet is a network of computers infected by malicious software. According to court documents, the conspirators used spam emails to manipulate thinly traded stocks between January 2004 and September 2005. They would profit by trading in the stocks once their share prices increased on purchases by recipients of the spam emails."
Losing Nicaragua: "With U.S. policymakers distracted by the situation in Honduras, Nicaragua continues to move toward authoritarianism. On October 19, a Nicaraguan Supreme Court panel overturned a constitutional provision limiting presidents to two non-consecutive terms in office. The ruling will allow incumbent Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega — the Sandinista party leader, former Soviet client, vociferous critic of the United States, and current Hugo Chavez acolyte — to run for another term in 2011. If there were any doubts that Nicaraguan democracy is slowly being extinguished, this latest development should remove them. The Nicaraguan Supreme Court is composed of 16 members. Thanks to a political deal made by Ortega and Arnoldo Aleman, a former Nicaraguan president who went to jail for massive corruption, half the magistrates are appointed by the ruling Sandinistas, and the other half are appointed by the opposition Liberals. But due to the May 2009 death of one Liberal-appointed magistrate, and the fact that his seat still has not been filled, the Sandinistas currently enjoy an 8-7 majority, which means the court is effectively a Sandinista rubber-stamp.”
Seven big lies about the stimulus: "1. Raises = jobs: This one turns out to be pretty common. For example, the Associated Pressreported that one nonprofit in Georgia used stimulus money to give its employees raises, then multiplied its total number of employees (508) by the percentage points of the raises (1.84) and told the White House that the stimulus had saved 935 jobs. (Its directors said they were just following instructions they received from the White House.) Other nonprofits did the same. According to the AP, this fraud exaggerated the number of jobs created or saved by 9,300.”
Our bills should be written in plain English: "Our Founding Fathers wrote the documents creating the greatest nation the world has ever known using plain English. Although drafted by highly educated and talented people, they knew that in order to get the public to support their efforts the common folk, as well as the cultured, had to understand it. There is not a doubt in my mind that the average American high school student today can fully understand and appreciate the words and the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Amendments thereto — including the Bill of Rights. The same cannot be said of the healthcare bill passed by the House. … There is no way even the average legislator can fully understand a 1, 900+ page highly technical bill — even with the help of the ample staff members who work for them.”
America's Al-Qaeda lawyers: "Some of the nation’s wealthiest and most powerful law firms have donated hundreds of millions of dollars in free legal services to terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Their work, bolstered by left-wing activists groups, has helped to free, or force the transfer, of hundreds of al Qaeda suspects to third countries. Some have gone back to terrorism and the job of trying to kill Americans.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)