Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We Can Absolutely Turn the Tide

Michael Brown

For some time now I’ve been saying that gay activists will overplay their hand and that the bullying will backfire. I’ve also said that we can outlast the gay revolution and ultimately, by God’s grace, turn the moral tide in America.

Of course, to speak like that is to invite all kinds of scorn and ridicule, not to mention the ugliest death wishes you could imagine. How dare we not roll over and die!

But events from the last 7 days remind us that, even though the cultural battles promise to be long and difficult, many Americans are ready to push back.

To begin with, the significance of the election results from last Tuesday can hardly be overstated.

In Kentucky, while the liberal media mocked Kim Davis the people of her state stood with her, electing Matt Bevin as governor in a crushing and unexpected victory over Attorney General Jack Conway.

And make no mistake about it: This was a direct statement about religious freedoms and redefining marriage.

After all, it was Conway who rose to national fame last year when he refused to defend the state’s ban on same-sex ‘marriage,’ despite his oath of office, explaining to Time magazine that, “Once I reached the conclusion that the law was discriminatory, I could no longer defend it.”

I guess the people of Kentucky didn’t get the memo that the ship has sailed and the culture wars are over.

Then, in Houston, lesbian activist mayor Annise Parker suffered a stinging defeat when her “anti-discrimination” bill, which focused on LGBT “rights,” was crushed by the voters.

In the aftermath of the massive defeat – 62 to 38 percent – Parker was reduced to insulting those who voted against the bill, calling them “transphobes” and more.

So, the people of Houston, America’s fourth largest city, are a bunch of transphobes.

Or, perhaps the triumph of LGBT activism is not so inevitable and there are real issues that having nothing to do with “homophobia” and “transphobia”? And perhaps there’s something to the fact that some strongly conservative Republican presidential candidates are polling better than Hillary Clinton?

Perhaps this really is time for pushback?

And what should we make of the fact that the NFL has decided to bring the Super Bowl to Houston in 2017 despite the defeat of Parker’s bill, even though proponents of the bill had warned that Houston would lose the Super Bowl if the bill was defeated? Perhaps even the NFL, well-known for preaching LGBT “inclusion,” sees the bigger picture?

In the aftermath of the Houston defeat, there were also small signs of a breach between gay activism and transgender activism, as indicated by a petition launched on by “a group of gay/bisexual men and women who have come to the conclusion that the transgender community needs to be disassociated from the larger LGB community; in essence, we ask that organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Lambda Legal and media outlets such as The Advocate, Out, Huff Post Gay Voices, etc., stop representing the transgender community as we feel their ideology is not only completely different from that promoted by the LGB community (LGB is about sexual orientation, trans is about gender identity), but is ultimately regressive and actually hostile to the goals of women and gay men.”

The petition was named “Drop the T,” and it’s a reminder of the fact that transgender activists have often felt left out by mainstream gay activism, as reflected in headlines like “Why The Transgender Community Hates HRC” (2007) and “Even After All These Years, HRC Still Doesn't Get It” (2013).

This too is noteworthy, reminding us that there are cracks in the foundations of LGBT unity that could become wider in the coming years.

There’s one more story from Houston which is of interest, providing yet another example of LGBT overreach, this time in a case involving two Christians who were fired from the daycare center at which they worked when they refused to call a little girl a boy.

The girl in question, just 6-years-old, is being raised by two gay male parents, and we can only wonder if that has something to do with the child’s gender confusion.

As explained to Breitbart Texas by one of the fired workers, Madeline Kirksey, “the problem was not so much with the transgender issue as it was with telling young children that the little girl was a boy when she was not, and with calling her ‘John’ (not the name given) when that was not her name.”

Kirskey also noted that, “sometimes the little girl refers to herself as a little boy, and sometimes she tells the other children to not call her a boy or to refer to her by her masculine name.”

This child is clearly confused and needs professional help.

Instead, rather than getting help for the child, two Christians have lost their jobs, and I cite this example to say again that Americans will only put up with madness like this for so long, just as the selection of Bruce Jenner as Glamour’s woman of the year drew sharp criticism from a wide spectrum of women, including one well-known feminist.

The pushback continues, and the more that LGBT activists overplay their hand, the quicker the tide will turn against them. It’s only a matter of time.

And so, while as followers of Jesus we should seek to be peacemakers in our communities, loving our neighbors (including our LGBT neighbors) as ourselves, we should also stand tall against aggressive LGBT activism.

This too is part of our calling to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).



The Richer Are Getting Richer, But So Are the Poor

With Republican and Democratic contenders seeking their respective parties’ 2016 presidential nominations, it’s no surprise to see a variety of economic issues in the headlines. In every national election it’s the same story: the minimum wage, unemployment, health care, and other issues are trotted out in front of candidates, and each explains how he or she will fix all these problems and the universe as a whole.

One issue that tends to come up every election cycle is the supposed problem of income inequality. Although the presidential primary and caucus season is still months away, candidates are already talking about inequality. For example, Democratic contender Bernie Sanders says, “The gap between the very rich and everyone else in America is wider today than at any time since the 1920s.” On the other side of the political aisle, Republican hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz makes a similar claim.

The numbers regarding income inequality in America are certainly noteworthy. Between 1967 and 2014 the total share of income in the top quintile, or 20 percent of income earners, rose from 43.6 to 51.2 percent, according to theCensus Bureau. During that same period those in the bottom quintile saw their share of total income decrease slightly from 4 to 3.1 percent.

But these figures don’t tell the whole story. They say nothing about changes in absolute income—that is, if the poor earn more today in real terms than they did in 1967. They also tell us nothing about which households are the poorest. Are the people who were poor in 1967 the same as those who are poor today? Are the people atop the economic ladder the same as 50 years ago?

The rich have certainly gotten richer. The mean income for the top 20 percent of earners increased a whopping 75 percent between 1967 and 2014 (in 2014 dollars), from around $110,000 to just over $194,000. But the poorest got richer too. Adjusting for inflation, those in the bottom quintile made about $9,900 in 1967. In 2014 they earned about $12,000.

Moreover, the people who were poor in the 1960s are not the same people who were poor in 2014. Even the poorest people in 1996 are not the same as the poorest today. More than half of all U.S. taxpayers moved into a different income quintile between 1996 and 2005. Half of those in the poorest group in 1996 moved to a higher quintile by 2005. Only a quarter of the top 1 percent in 1996 were still in that group by 2005.

What about children born into rich and poor families? Are they destined to live the same lifestyle as their parents? According to data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a survey that has been collecting data since 1968, 90 percent of children born to individuals in the bottom quintile are better off than their parents. Many children born to the top 20 percent fared better as well, with about half surpassing their parents. The other half have the same or a lower standard of living.

There is still another piece to this puzzle. What consumer goods do the poorest people in America have today? To take one example: 80 percent of the poorest Americans have air conditioning. Yet in 1970 only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population could say the same. About 75 percent of the poorest Americans have a car, and 31 percent have two or more. Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV, and half have a personal computer. The story is similar for a wide array of products. Being poor is not like it used to be.

This is not to downplay or dismiss the plight of the America’s poor. Without a doubt, many struggle to make ends meet. But we should be careful in claiming that the rich are wealthy only at the expense of the poor and that the gap between them is inherently problematic. While those at the top may have a lot, those at the bottom have more today than ever before. Just as important, even those at the bottom have a great chance of getting out.



Sen. Rubio is right about Zero for Zero (?)

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued a fatwa applauding Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for coming out in favor of a zero for zero approach to eliminating U.S. sugar subsidies.

That policy is politically realistic but not economically rational.  Why should Americans object to other countries giving them cheap sugar?  If tariff and other barriers were removed, sugar prices in America would halve and many American candy factories would move back from Mexico and such places.  It would lead to a boom in the many American industries using sugar. And the present inefficient American sugar producers would move to crops that are more high value

"Sen. Rubio has exactly the right approach to zero for zero sugar subsidies policies, which is to say, the U.S. should get rid of its subsidies when the rest of the world gets rid of theirs. This is the same exact approach akin to reciprocal tariff reduction that has been in place since the end of Smoot-Hawley. Everyone knows in a negotiation, that if you unilaterally cede ground, you lose all leverage. Unilaterally offering to end U.S. sugar and other agricultural subsidies would be like unilaterally offering to end tariffs on imported goods, without expecting anything in return. Why would we do that?

"Such an approach would wreck U.S. domestic production of sugar in favor of foreign competitors like Brazil who subsidize their sugar and want to dump it all over the market the minute we remove our subsidies. The same exact thing happened in the European Union, where after they took down their subsidies in the mid-2000s, foreign competitors dumped subsidized sugar onto the market, dramatically reducing domestic production. The Europeans went from being the second largest exporter to the world's largest importer, according to a 2012 ProSunergy study.

"All this because world trade rules grant favors — special and differential treatment — to so-called developing nations like Brazil. Why would we continue with an approach that already subsidizes foreign competition with unfair rules, and then offer them even more subsidies on top of that by eliminating domestic protections?

"This is why we need zero for zero. In a true free market, there would be no subsidies. U.S. producers must not be asked to bow to foreign industries that are bankrolled by their governments. This is not about sugar, it is about what is fair.  And it is not fair to tell our farmers that their livelihoods are being outsourced to a foreign country that is subsidizing and cheating the system.

"We all want a free market. Not just in sugar, but for all industries. But unilaterally disarming America's subsidies and hoping our heavily subsidized competitors follow suit is not a realistic way to achieve a free market. That is just wishful thinking and it is naïve. Yes we should eliminate U.S. sugar subsidies, but we need to do it in a way where we can use it as leverage to actually achieve global reform and, then only when other governments are getting out of the market, too. It's called negotiating, and it's time we stopped losing those negotiations."



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