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Mars Attacks: Liberals Establishing “Evidence” to Make Conservatism A Mental Disorder

by Mars ( 180 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Bigotry, Blogmocracy, Communism, Democratic Party, Education, Fascism, Free Speech, government, Guest Post, Hate Speech, History, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Multiculturalism, Nazism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Racism, Socialism at May 12th, 2015 - 7:00 am

I recently stumbled this article. While the whole thing might seem to be innocent enough and not a direct attack, it’s pretty obvious to anyone who is paying attention that there are a lot more insidious motives involved in the “research” in this article. This is not true research, nor is it a true study, this is pop psychology teaming up with political correctness designed to destroy an opposing ideology. Psychology has been used for years as a bludgeon by the left to attack anything they dislike so this was inevitable. For those who think this is harmless, I would like to remind them that both Stalin and Hitler labeled their political opponents as insane and mentally deficient. It is a long used tactic of the left to discredit and imprison those who disagree. This is a vital step in their drive to impose their views on the rest of us.


http://mic.com/articles/95234/psychologists-discover-the-striking-difference-between-conservative-and-liberal-brains

Psychologists Discover the Striking Difference Between Conservative and Liberal Brains
By Tom McKay July 30, 2014

Psychologists Discover the Striking Difference Between Conservative and Liberal Brains

The news: Are conservatives and liberals really all that different? New scientific research says they are, and it’s all in their heads.

A growing consensus is emerging among political scientists and psychologists that differences between liberal and conservative ideology may actually be hardwired in our brains. Recent research from political scientist John Hibbing at the University of Nebraska and colleagues published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences argue that right-wingers possess what’s called a strong “negativity bias,” or physiological fixation on negative stimuli in their environments.

According to the study, conservatives have a more threat-oriented and reactionary mindset than liberals. If true, then differences between left and right may be just as physiological as they are psychological.

The studies: Hibbings and his colleagues published a comprehensive review of the evidence for their approach in the journal and invited feedback from 26 individual scholars or teams. Here are some of their findings:

– Multiple studies finding that non-political authoritarian parenting styles seem to be significantly linked with political conservatism.

– Evidence showing that the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to new experiences, extraversion and emotional stability) are correlated with political orientation. Specifically, liberals tend to score higher on experiential openness while conservatives tend to be strongly conscientious. Other evidence links politeness with conservatism and empathy with liberalism. Hibbings says these findings might indicate that liberals and conservatives “construct and occupy different individual and social environments.”

– NYU professor Jon Haidt found that conservatives emphasize moral purity, authority and in/out-group status while making moral judgements, whereas liberals consider equality and harm avoidance. Hibbings’ team also pointed to studies which have found conservatives to own more cleaning supplies and prefer different cuisine and art. Conservatives, he argues, tend not to enjoy the unfamiliar.

– Conservatives have stronger implicit attachment to traditional values and are more likely to see the world in strongly defined categories.

– Highly experimental but initially promising research linked complex neurological behavior to political ideologies. One paper even found evidence that neural structures may differ between young liberals and conservatives.

– A dramatic 2008 paper by Douglas R. Oxley that found contemporary American political conservatives react much more quickly and defensively to threatening stimuli. Those stimuli included “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it.”

What does this all mean? The researchers stopped short of saying that conservatives and liberals have fundamentally different kinds of brains and admit ideology is far too messy to categorize into neat labels. But they are confident there’s a link between strong negativity biases and political conservatism and that both are associated with a wide range of subconscious, psychological and possibly neurological factors. Tellingly, just three of the 26 responses by critics rejected the idea entirely.

A “negativity bias” may sound like a bad thing, but Hibbings and his team noted it’s associated with higher levels of satisfaction and life happiness. But Salon’s Paul Rosenberg noted that the study shows conservatism is clearly unsuited for the modern era and its “negatives clearly seem to be growing beyond all control.”

Hibbing is more optimistic, arguing that by acknowledging the cognitive factors involved in the formation of our ideologies, we can move towards a more realistic and functional form of politics.

More realistic and functional politics? Wouldn’t that be nice.

This is evil at work. And it just keeps going. Here’s a new one I found the next day.

http://neuropoly.com/2011/04/05/psychology-sex-dirtyliberals-disgust-morality-politics/

Soap, Sex and the Dirty Liberal
April 5, 2011 dj Leave a comment Go to comments

Do you find Rush Limbaugh more palatable after vs. before taking a bath? Might you be more inclined to linger on the Bill O’Reilly Show while channel flipping in a recently-mopped and cleaned room compared to a dirty and disheveled one?

Perhaps you just might. At least, that’s what recent research from Cornell’s Erik Helzer and David Pizarro suggests. Their just published study showed that reminding people of physical cleanliness made them report being more politically conservative and also led them to make harsher moral judgments when considering mildly perverted sex acts.

The study builds upon work showing links between moral judgment and the subjective experiences of bodily purity and visceral disgust. Recent studies have shown that individuals who experienced disgust in response to foul odors or by sitting at a dirty desk, judged the moral transgressions of others far more harshly compared to controls. The general idea behind these and other studies is that moral judgments are in part based on emotional responses which originally evolved for other purposes. For example, visceral disgust — say, the kind one might experience when smelling rotten meat — likely evolved as a means of detecting and avoiding harmful pathogens. The argument, as it goes, suggests that self-reported moral disgust responses to, for example, a visible display of homosexual affection (two men kissing) could be subserved by the same system from which “visceral disgust” responses emerge. The current study builds on this work with a crafty two-part experiment.

In the first study, participants were approached in the hallway of a campus building and asked to complete a questionnaire, which asked three questions about political orientation. Participants were instructed to stand either near a hand sanitizing station (the experimental condition) or step over to a wall where there was no hand sanitizer nearby (the control condition) to complete the questionnaire. Those who stood near the hand sanitizing station rated themselves as being more conservative than the control group.

In the second study a wall sign commanding researchers to “use hand wipes” before typing at a computer served as a reminder of cleanliness. Additionally, while the moral judgement task was introduced, participants were asked to use a hand wipe before starting. In the control condition, there was no sign and subjects weren’t asked to wipe their hands. First, participants filled out the political orientation questionnaire from experiment 1. As in the first study, participants in the cleanliness condition rated themselves as more conservative. Then participants engaged in the moral judgment task in which they were asked to rate their moral approval of sex-related items, such as:

“A woman enjoys masturbating while cuddling with her favorite teddy bear”
“After a late-term miscarriage, a woman asks her doctors to take a picture of her cradling the miscarried fetus.” (phew!)

Participants who received the cleanliness reminder issued harsher moral judgments of sexual acts than the control group. As a within-group control, both groups were also asked to rate their level of approval of non-sexual but purity related items such as “As a practical joke, a man unwraps his office mate’s lunch and places it in a sterilized bed pan” and non-sexual, non-purity related items that described people lying on their taxes, or forging a reference letter. For these latter two groups of items, there was no difference between control and experimental groups. Only the sexual items were rated more harshly by those in the “cleanliness” condition. In sum, reminders to maintain cleanliness led to increased conservativeness and harsher moral judgments for sexual violations of purity but not for non-sexual and/or non-purity related violations.

The paper adds to the growing body of work supporting the idea that moral condemnation may have evolved by piggybacking onto evolutionarily older systems originally dedicated mainly to survival via “literal” pathogen avoidance and concern with personal cleanliness and only later being adapted for a more uniquely human purpose. One big question that emerges from this work is: what comes first? The cognitive disposition or the ideology? The author’s suggest that the evidence supports a bidirectional explanation. Beyond that it’s mostly speculation.

Also unclear is the question of the relationship between moral condemnation and moral behavior. Does one predict the other? Conservatives often describe themselves as adhering to higher moral standards when it comes to sex than liberals. And they tend not to be supportive of “alternative” lifestyles, especially romantic relationships between homosexuals. Conversely, most liberals take pride in their embrace of a wider range of lifestyle choices and more progressive sexual attitudes. But, this is not to suggest that either conservatives’ or liberals’ attitudes necessarily maps directly on to their behavior. People sometimes say the wrong thing and do the right thing. Or, conversely, say the right thing and do the wrong thing.

Reference

Helzer EG, & Pizarro DA (2011). Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of Physical Cleanliness Influence Moral and Political Attitudes. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS PMID: 21421934

Don’t let yourselves be fooled. This is an attempt to make normal, historically accepted behavior deviant. And make deviancy normal. Very soon, conservative thought and opinion will be either a mental health or criminal situation.

30 April 1975 – 40 Years Ago: Never Forget The Fall Of Saigon (and the bloodshed that followed).

by Bunk X ( 223 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Democratic Party, government, History, Media, Military, Politics, Viet Nam, World at April 30th, 2015 - 7:00 am

SOUTH VIETNAM FLAG 2

On 30 April 1975, the capitol of South Vietnam was captured by the NVA and the Republic ceased to exist. The gruesome carnage that followed as the communists overran the country had not been seen since WWII, yet it was described in the US media left as a march to freedom.

Tell that to the survivors and see what you get.

Of those who escaped the bloodshed, most arrived on US soil with little more than their lives, and many passed through Camp Pendleton’s tent encampments as refugees where they were fed, clothed and provided medical treatment. These people, with no country to return to, were grateful for the opportunity to succeed and prosper, and they did. The Vietnamese community in Southern California is a modern story of successful assimilation (without the burden of false handouts called Affirmative Action) and yet they preserved their ethnic heritage. Little Saigon is a prime example of a thriving business district created from next to nothing. Then this happens.

A Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of The Fall of Saigon was scheduled over a year in advance, with thousands expected to attend ceremonies at Camp Pendleton, the gateway to freedom for many Vietnamese refugees.

A U.S. policy that would prohibit the use of South Vietnamese symbols on federal property has killed a commemoration ceremony at Camp Pendleton for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.

The decision to scrap the location has sent organizers scrambling for new options in the Little Saigon area – with two weeks left until the planned event at which 5,000 to 10,000 were expected to attend.

“We call it a banner of freedom and heritage and not having it would be a big deal,” Kenneth Nguyen, the spokesman for the commemoration’s organizing committee, said of the South Vietnamese flag. “We’re looking at other possibilities, but we won’t know until Monday.”
[…]
The all-day event, scheduled for April 25, has been in the planning for more than a year. Camp Pendleton was chosen for its significance as the first base on U.S. soil to house Vietnamese refugees after they fled their homeland.

To many in Little Saigon, Pendleton represents the refugees’ first step in becoming a successful American community.
[…]
As news of the cancellation swept through Little Saigon, the reaction was one of disappointment and sadness – and disapproval of the U.S. policy.

“It is true that the flag is the flag of South Vietnam as a nation and that nation is no longer recognized,” Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui said. “But it is also a symbol for the Vietnamese community worldwide. It is a symbol of the refugees and of freedom. It’s a mistake not to allow it.”
[…]
Not everyone, though, agreed with the decision to move the ceremony away from the Marine base.

“It’s unfortunate, but I understand. If I was in the U.S. government’s position, I would have done what I had to, even if I regretted it,” said Leslie Le, a former colonel in the South Vietnamese Army. “But as a community, we don’t recognize the government of Vietnam as really representing the people. … We could have still held it at Camp Pendleton and asked everyone to wear the color of the flag. That wouldn’t have been prohibited.”

[Source]

With only weeks to go, the Commemoration was moved to Little Saigon and I plan to attend. You’ll recognize me as the tall white guy waving
The Flag of The Republic Of Vietnam.

SOUTH VIETNAM FLAG

Husky Lover Bonus:

A great read about the Fall of Saigon is Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam. The book blames the Democrat Congress that was elected in 74 for the fall of Saigon.

B-I-NGO Revisited

by coldwarrior ( 256 Comments › )
Filed under government, Open thread at March 27th, 2015 - 7:47 am

The original Post is here.

Pat Buchanan continues the story about these pesky and insidious worms. They are organizations of true believers, zealots funded by your money.

NGOs: Agents of subversion?

 

Though “Bibi” Netanyahu won re-election last week, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will still look into whether the State Department financed a clandestine effort to defeat him.

Reportedly, State funneled $350,000 to an American NGO called OneVoice, which has an Israeli subsidiary, Victory 15, that collaborated with U.S. operatives to bring Bibi down.

Are we now secretly pumping cash into the free elections of friendly countries, to dump leaders President Obama dislikes? And there is a larger question: Is the U.S. using NGOs to subvert regimes around the world? If so, who decides which regimes may be subverted?

What gives these questions urgency is the crisis that has Moscow moving missiles toward Europe and sending submarines and bombers to probe NATO defenses.

America contends that Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and backing for pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine is the cause of the gathering storm in Russian-NATO relations. Yet Putin’s actions in Ukraine were not taken until the overthrow of a democratically elected pro-Russian regime in Kiev, in which Moscow contends an American hand was clearly visible.

Not only was John McCain in Kiev’s Maidan Square egging on the crowds that drove the regime from power, so, too, was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. In an intercepted phone call with our ambassador in Kiev, Nuland identified the man we preferred when President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. “Yats,” she called him.

And when Yanukovych fled after the Maidan massacre, sure enough, Arseniy Yatsenyuk was in power. Nuland also revealed that the U.S. had spent $5 billion since 1991 to bring about the reorientation of Ukraine toward the West.

If the U.S. had a role in that coup, the American people should know it. And if we are now using NGOs as fronts for secret operations to dump over regimes, we are putting all NGOs abroad under suspicion and at risk.

Not in our lifetimes has America been more distrusted and disliked. Among the reasons is that we are seen as constantly carping at governments that do not measure up to our standards of democracy and endlessly interfering in the internal affairs of nations that do not threaten us.

Nor is it Moscow alone that is angered over U.S. interference in its internal affairs and those of its neighbor nations. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has expelled members of U.S. NGOs. Beijing believes U.S. NGOs were behind the Occupy-Wall-Street-style street blockages in Hong Kong.

If true, these actions raise a fundamental question: What is the pre-eminent goal of U.S. foreign policy? Is it to protect the vital interests and national security of the republic? Or do we believe with George W. Bush that “the survival of liberty” in America “depends on the success of liberty in other lands.”

If it is the latter, then our mission is utopian — and unending. If we believe our liberty is insecure until the whole world is democratic, then we cannot rest until we witness the overthrow of regimes in Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belarus, most of the Arab and African nations, as well as Venezuela and Cuba.

And if that is our goal, our republic will die trying to achieve it.

 

 

State’s Rights and Medical Marijuana

by coldwarrior ( 192 Comments › )
Filed under government, Health Care, Open thread, Politics at March 10th, 2015 - 9:04 am

Rand Paul and others are introducing a bill that strikes a blow for state’s rights. So, for those who don’t care for or are against legalization of marijuana, lets change ‘medical marijuana’ to any of the other onerous fedgov control mechanisms and extortion that they hold over the states…ban on ammo? federal hate crime laws? extortion through the laundering of tax money?

This is a step in the right direction, not only for medical marijuana, but more importantly for a stronger Constitution. The States should be the seat of power, not Washington DC. The States should decide what is best for them, not some power-hungry scumbag in DC.

This will be a good test to see exactly what Congressmen, Senators, and Presidential Candidates think about State’s Rights over the power of fedzilla. I will be watching this very closely.

 

Rand Paul to introduce medical marijuana bill in U.S. Congress

(Reuters) – Senator Rand Paul, a possible Republican presidential candidate, will introduce legislation with two Democrats that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana users in states where it is legal, aides said on Monday.

While the bill’s prospects in Congress are uncertain, it could help the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator stand out in what is shaping up to be a crowded field ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically toward legal marijuana in recent years, and several of Paul’s potential Republican rivals have framed it as a states’ rights issue. Few have been as active on the issue as the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator.

Paul has been an outspoken critic of the war on drugs and has said pot users should not be put in jail. He has pushed to legalize hemp, a less-potent version of the plant, for industrial purposes.

Last month, he accused former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a potential rival, of “hypocrisy” for opposing medical marijuana in Florida after admitting to pot use as a student.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and voters have approved it for recreational use in four states and Washington, D.C.

But it remains illegal at the federal level. That disparity locks marijuana businesses out of the banking system and exposes users to arrest.

Paul’s legislation would ensure that buyers and sellers in those states would not risk federal prosecution if they are complying with state and local laws, according to congressional aides and a marijuana-advocacy group.

(If anyone has questions about medical marijuana, I will be more than happy to answer them.)

Mars Attacks: Net Neutrality and a Very Dark Puzzle

by Mars ( 157 Comments › )
Filed under American Exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Business, Censorship, Communism, Cult of Obama, Economy, Education, Fascism, Free Speech, government, Guest Post, History, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Regulation, Socialism, taxation, Technology at February 27th, 2015 - 1:40 pm

I have been noticing for a very long time now that there seems to be a cohesive puzzle being assembled by the left in regards to the internet. Through time I’ve been able to pick up the pieces of this puzzle, but today with the imposition of new regulations under the guise of Net Neutrality the puzzle becomes much clearer. I believe that the Net Neutrality regulations are the “frame” of this puzzle. Here are some of the pieces of collected through the years, see if you can see the same picture I do.

2011
http://www.wired.com/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/

http://www.dailytech.com/Obama+Reveals+National+WiFi+Plans+Claims+it+Will+Cut+Deficit+by+10B+USD/article20887.htm

2015
http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Obama-Pitching-More-Access-to-Fast-Internet-288518261.html

http://gizmodo.com/fcc-redefines-broadband-to-bring-you-faster-internet-1682516928

And now the new Net Neutrality regulations.

Through speeches since his election Obama has referred to a Free and Open Internet constantly, with stress on the word free. Many time there have been references to poor people who can’t afford internet. This coupled with everything else I posted above paints a dark picture for the future. One of the stumbling blocks for the people who want everyone to have access to the internet has been the fact that the average paying customer has been offended at the idea of people getting “broadband” speeds for free while everyone else has to pay for them. By changing the definition of broadband, the FCC has just managed to open up a huge amount of speed variations that they can now force companies to give away while not calling them broadband.

Second, by reclassifying broadband the FCC can force companies to meet a minimum standard for broadband service, which will require a complete reworking of the internet infrastructure. Where will this money come from ? Well, I figure the government will suddenly appear to save the day the way they did with the banks. There will be massive strings attached. The worst part is this money they will be handing out will already have come from the companies themselves in the form of the new utility taxes and regulatory fees that come with Title II reclassification of a utility. (The speech writes itself, I can already see Obama pontificating on this very subject. “90% of this country are getting below broadband speeds,………. this is a problem,………… a problem that can only be fixed…. by investing in the American Infrastructure”. /insert applause from mindless drones./ “The people of this country…….. deserve better……….and I intend to see that that happens.” As we all know “investing in the American infrastructure is left speak for massive tax hikes.)

There is even more to this than my little conspiracy theory.

Net Neutrality is a horror story in it’s own right. Who here is old enough to remember the Ma Bell monopoly that the government created out of the depression and allowed to run wild until the late 70’s? Well here is someone who does. He’s a member of the FCC’s own commision, Commissioner Ajit Pai.

http://www.fcc.gov/article/doc-332260a5

h/t Calo

In his oral dissent Commissioner Pai lays out exactly why this is such a dangerous set of regulations, and exactly what this means for the future of internet service. It’s not pretty, higher prices, slower speeds, less competition. It’s all there. And the best part? The regulations weren’t even written by the commission. The White House itself created a shadow FCC to write the rules they were going to impose. Here’s some of the people invited in to the White House to regulate the rest of us.

What the press has called the “parallel FCC” at the White House opened its doors to a plethora of

special-interest activists: Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Public

Knowledge, just to name a few. Indeed, even before activists were blocking Chairman Wheeler’s

driveway late last year, some of them had met with executive branch officials. But what about the rest of

the American people? They certainly couldn’t get White House meetings. They were shut out of the

process. They were being played for fools.

And the situation didn’t improve once the White House announced President Obama’s plan and

“ask[ed]” the FCC to “implement” it. The document in front of us today differs dramatically from the

proposal that the FCC put out for comment last May. It differs so dramatically that even zealous net

neutrality advocates frantically rushed in recent days to make last-minute filings registering their concerns

that the FCC might be going too far. Yet the American people to this day have not been allowed to see

President Obama’s plan. It has remained hidden.

This brave commissioner and the other republican on the commission attempted to get this regulation put out in the public eye where everyone could see it and review what it actually entailed. They were rejected by the 3 socialists on the commission. Make no mistake this set of regulations came DIRECTLY from the White House. Once again the President is making rules where he does not have the authority to do so. As an interesting aside to this, within Commissioner Pai’s dissent he shows a whole bunch of evidence and statements detailing how this is going to destroy small ISP companies. Some of the ISP’s that are about to be destroyed…the very Municipal (ie government) ISP’s he was lavishing praise on not long ago.

http://ctmirror.org/2015/01/14/white-house-pushes-fast-affordable-internet-praises-manchester-bristol-in-p/

To really see what is happening take a look at this thank you letter from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, one of the groups at the forefront of trying to impose Net Neutrality.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/fcc-votes-net-neutrality-big-win

What makes this letter interesting is not it’s general obsequiousness but the fact that they acknowledge that there is a vague statement in the regulations that would allow the FCC to pretty much do anything it damn well pleased, up to and including censoring content. (This is the same statement the the EFF has been trying to get them to drop since the regulations were first discussed.) It should also be noted that a year ago when the Chair of the FCC was trying to put into place much more limited rules over Net Neutrality, the EFF itself stated that the FCC had NO AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

The fact remains that the Net Neutrality regulations were a great bait and switch perpetrated on those that pay little attention to what is actually going on. I hope the gamers and video streamers that have been worshiping this disaster enjoy their new slower, much more expensive internet plan. Our only hope at this point is that the courts act on this takeover. (I nearly said unprecedented but I would have been wrong. This is exactly the same as FDR’s takeover of the telecom industry in 1934.)

Strangely enough, probably the best statement on Net Neutrality comes from the Secretary General of the European People’s Party.

EUROPE GETS IN ON THE ACTION: The secretary general of the largest party in the European Parliament is adding to the chorus around net neutrality. Antonio López Istúriz-White of the center-right European People’s Party over the weekend chided President Obama for lambasting European regulations while at the same time calling for tough net neutrality rules from the FCC.

“The president’s position is riven with contradictions,” Istúriz-White wrote in a Financial Times op-ed. “He promotes burdensome regulations at home that could put the development of the Internet on ice in an attempt to protect one set of actors in the ecosystem. In another breath he calls on Europe to follow the very same successful U.S. model he wants to jettison to make life in Europe easier for that very same group of Over The Top players!”

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/overnights/233548-overnight-tech-pressure-building-ahead-of-net-neutrality-vote

Why indeed, does the President want to stifle progress and development at home, while promoting the opposite abroad?

Mars Presents: From The New American: Obama Hides Executive Abuses by Calling Decrees “Memoranda”

by Mars ( 170 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Communism, Corruption, Cult of Obama, Debt, Democratic Party, Energy, Fascism, government, Guest Post, Immigration, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Politics, Progressives, Regulation at January 7th, 2015 - 8:00 am

While everyone is watching and tracking his executive orders Obama is throwing out decrees left and right through Presidential Memorandas.

Despite promising repeatedly on the campaign trail to rein in George W. Bush’s executive-branch usurpations of power, Obama has been spewing a particular type of unconstitutional decree at a rate unprecedented in U.S. history. While the Obama administration has indeed unleashed a full-throated attack on the Constitution using “executive orders,” even more of his decrees have come in the form of so-called “presidential memoranda” — an almost identical type of executive action that he has used more than any previous U.S. president, according to a review published this week by USA Today.

Since taking office, Obama has issues 198 decrees via memoranda — that is 33 percent more than Bush, the runner up for the record, issued in eight years — along with 195 executive orders. Among other policy areas, Obama’s memoranda edicts have been used to set policy on gun control, immigration, labor, and much more. Just this week, Obama issued another memoranda decree purporting to declare Bristol Bay in Alaska off limits to oil and gas exploration — locking up vast quantities of American wealth and resources using his now-infamous and brazenly unconstitutional “pen and phone.”

“Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress,” reported USA Today as part of its investigation into Obama’s decrees. “They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.” However, despite the newspaper’s obvious confusion on constitutional matters — only Congress can make law, not the White House — the review raises a number of important issues.

For instance, as the paper implies, Obama has been using deception to conceal his radical — imperial or dictatorial, according to many lawmakers — machinations purporting to change policy and law by fiat. “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years,” Obama claimed in a speech last July, without mentioning that he has issued more “memoranda” than any American president in history. “So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”

Other leading Democrats have made similarly deceptive arguments to dupe “stupid” voters, as ObamaCare’s Gruber put it. Aside from the fact that previous abuses by Republicans do not legitimize or excuse current abuses, the oft-heard claim that Obama has issued fewer “executive order” decrees than other presidents is more a matter of semantics than substance. “There’s been a lot of discussion about executive orders in his presidency, and of course by sheer numbers he’s had fewer than other presidents,” Andrew Rudalevige, a presidency scholar at Bowdoin College, told USA Today.

“So the White House and its defenders can say, ‘He can’t be abusing his executive authority; he’s hardly using any orders,” Rudalevige continued. “But if you look at these other vehicles, he has been aggressive in his use of executive power.” Indeed, as The New American has documented extensively, Obama has been purporting to rule by executive fiat on everything from gun rights and the “climate” to immigration, education, national security, foreign relations, and health.

However, according to constitutional experts and even the president himself (before he took office), none of the “law”-making by presidential decree is actually legitimate. According to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal government and granted it a few limited powers, only Congress has the power to make laws — assuming they are constitutional. The president’s job, by contrast, involves merely enforcing the laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, not making them up while hiding behind patently bogus claims of imagined “executive authority.”

Obama, of course, understands that well — or at least he claimed to less than seven years ago. “I taught constitutional law for ten years,” then-Senator Obama told gullible voters in 2008 amid his first run for the presidency. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

Except rather than reversing the illegitimate usurpation of unconstitutional power, Obama expanded it by leaps and bounds — to the point where his administration openly creates pseudo-“law” and pseudo-“treaties,” and then mocks Congress about it. Among the “memoranda” used by Obama thus far was the purported creation of the MyRA “savings” scheme, a widely ridiculed and criticized unconstitutional plot that analysts said would be used to extract more wealth from Americans under the guise of “helping” them. Even Congress does not have the authority to create such a program — much less the administration.

Obama, though, regularly brags about his lawless pseudo-lawmaking. “One of the things that I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for a legislation [sic] in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need,” Obama announced at the beginning of the year, right before his first cabinet meeting. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone — and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”

Shortly after that, in his State of the Union speech to Congress, he brazenly told the American people’s elected representatives that he would ignore them if they did not promptly submit to his demands. “America does not stand still — and neither will I,” Obama threatened before lawmakers stood up and applauded the outlandish behavior. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” Many lawmakers were furious, blasting Obama as a “socialistic dictator,” calling for his impeachment, and more, and the public was horrified, but the rule-by-decree continued.

Indeed, unlike his false campaign promises, Obama did indeed make good on his threats to continue ignoring Congress and the Constitution to rule by unconstitutional decree. Behaving more like a Third World dictatorship than a U.S. presidential administration, the White House even trotted out senior officials to tell the press that even the American people’s elected representatives would be unable to stop the usurpations and abuses. In addition to the “executive orders” and “presidential memoranda,” which the administration itself considers to be essentially the same, Obama has also unleashed dozens of so-called “presidential policy directives.”

Of course, there can be some legitimate functions for executive orders — outlining the manner in which the administration plans to faithfully execute the constitutional laws passed by Congress, for example. However, purporting to make and change law — or even contradict existing federal law, such as Obama’s radical amnesty-by-decree scheme supposedly preventing the enforcement of immigration law — are certainly not among those legitimate functions.

The solution to the imperial decrees and pretended acts of legislation from the White House is simple: Congress must refuse to fund it. However, despite being elected on a wave of popular outrage against the Obama administration’s usurpations of power, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recently voted to fund virtually all of the White House’s illegal decrees through next September. The only way to put a stop to the scheming will be for an educated American electorate to hold their elected representatives accountable to the oath they swore, with a hand on the Bible, to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/19739-obama-hides-executive-abuses-by-calling-decrees-memoranda

Warren G and Silent Cal and the Banker Mellon

by coldwarrior ( 216 Comments › )
Filed under Barry Goldwater, Election 2014, Elections 2016, government, History, Open thread, Politics, Progressives, Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, The Political Right at October 31st, 2014 - 6:21 am

Are we ready for Old School economics? Are there any GOPsters who dare do this in DC? Does the Right have an economic spine?

Lower taxes, Less Government? OH MY!

Good ol’ Warren G. & Silent Cal: Harding & Coolidge understood basic economics

By Amity Shlaes

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Republicans and Democrats resemble one another too closely for voter comfort these days. Whatever their own political leanings, voters would prefer more diversity in the policy spectrum.

Consider the question of whether the federal government should increase spending. Politicians’ answers come in a broad range: “yes” or “yes, a lot.” Even candidates who talk about cuts are really only speaking about reductions in increases. In fact, politicians don’t believe they really can make cuts. No modern president has, or at least no president who took office in peacetime.

Not Bill Clinton, who told the nation the welfare era was over. Not even Ronald Reagan, the great free-market president of the postwar era. Budget cutters, the assumption runs, can’t get elected. Federal austerity, the politicians often warn, might hurt the economy anyhow. Presidents just can’t say “no.”

But there have been peacetime presidents who said “no.” Two were presidents we scarcely hear about anymore, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. The 29th president died amid scandal in 1923 — but not before cutting the federal budget. Coolidge then served 512 years, to 1929, a period when the population and the economy grew. Yet when Coolidge left the White House and returned to his hometown of Northampton, Mass., the federal budget was actually lower than when he came in.

How Harding and Coolidge managed to say “no” is a good story and one that couldn’t have happened without the contribution of the nation’s greatest banker, Andrew Mellon.

The story starts in 1920 and in a fiscal landscape that would seem familiar. As today, the federal debt loomed over the future. Yet tax rates, ranging into the 70s, could hardly be pushed higher. The government had expanded, but various groups were pressing for greater federal spending. World War I veterans did not all find jobs and many were disabled — they sought a pension or a bonus.

With commodity prices bouncing up and down, farmers demanded some kind of subsidy stream as well. The presidents lacked control or even oversight of the budget: Congress called the shots. Yet Harding, an ebullient senator of Ohio, and Coolidge, a quiet governor of Massachusetts, ran and won on a ticket of “no.” They would say “no” to both high taxes and government expansion.

Harding did some of the first hard work of cutting. He shepherded through the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which unified the budget process under the president and gave the White House the power to impound and sequester. Harding also cut the budget and vetoed veteran pensions and farm subsidies.

Harding appointed Mellon as Treasury secretary, and Mellon adroitly rescheduled the debt; Harding and Mellon also passed a round of tax cuts. Harding was not a “naysayer” by temperament. He disliked using the veto on his old Senate colleagues. He appointed friends, rather than professionals, to key posts. Their corruption tainted his reforms and aborted them.

Few reckoned that Coolidge could continue or complete what Harding had started. Voters figured Coolidge was a lame duck, “the accident of an accident.” The real Republican candidate would emerge in 1924. Coolidge’s colleagues in Washington didn’t expect much either: “Coolidge had little about him that was regal,” recalled George Wharton Pepper, a senator of Pennsylvania.

Still, Coolidge pushed forward where Harding had hesitated. He and Mellon sought and received several more rounds of tax cuts, bringing the top marginal income tax rate down to 25 percent, a level even lower than Reagan’s. In his years observing railroads, Mellon had noted that when you cut the toll for a rail line, you might get more business. An owner charged, as Mellon put it, “what the traffic will bear.”

Mellon thought the same principle might apply to tax rates. Perhaps lower rates would permit more business activity and therefore bring higher revenues. Today we call this philosophy “supply-side economics.”

Coolidge was not as enthusiastic. His thrifty temperament led him to obsess about the budget. In fact, the president kept twin lion cubs, which the White House named “Tax Reduction” and “Budget Bureau.” The point was that the lions were twins: Fed on steak, they weighed the same. To match Mellon’s tax cuts, Coolidge kept up with budgets. He also vowed to prevent future spending. “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,” Coolidge had written his father years before. As president, Coolidge “killed” 60 laws by veto, compared with Harding’s record of six.

The result of Mellon’s partnership with Harding and Coolidge pleased most Americans. Government became smaller; the number of strikes fell. Mellon had won his bet: Revenues for the government actually increased from 1924, even though tax rates were lower. The team lowered the debt by a third. Working-class families became middle-class when they found they were able to acquire new comforts such as Model Ts and Model As, electricity, and indoor plumbing. The 1920s were not the fragile illusion depicted in, say, “The Great Gatsby.” Voters knew it and rewarded the pro-austerity Coolidge in 1924 with a resounding victory.

Under Herbert Hoover, policy shifted, with the White House becoming active. This shift, indeed the whole story, is little known, in part because people blame the Great Depression of the 1930s on the 1920s. But that is misplaced. As I noted in “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” the economic crash had multiple causes. Few had much to do with policies from 1920 to 1928.

Knowing about the Harding-Coolidge-Mellon record doesn’t assure us that voters will elect to the White House a candidate who says “no.” Knowledge of that forgotten record merely broadens the range of options politicians can feel comfortable offering to voters today. That is, such knowledge makes a candidate who says “no” possible. And asked whether a wider range of policy choices represents an improvement, even those who oppose such policies will probably want to answer “yes.”

Time to Panic?

by Iron Fist ( 217 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, government, Politics at October 5th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Good article in the Free Beacon:

Deadly, irrational, and determined, the intruder snuck across a weakened perimeter. Eluding capture, the intruder was detained only after missteps and close calls. The spin began soon after the threat was isolated. Information was selectively leaked. Half-truths and untruths were uttered. Responsibility was avoided; privileges and credentials asserted; authority reasserted. Trust us. Remain calm. Don’t panic.

This is the template of recent events. A mental case jumps the White House fence. He makes it to the East Room before he’s tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent. Initial statements turn out to be misleading or false. We discover that lapses in security are much worse than previously understood, that in recent memory the White House was sprayed with bullets, and that an armed man with a criminal record rode in an elevator with the president. The official in charge of the Secret Service, promoted for reasons of affirmative action, resigns hours after the White House expresses its confidence in her abilities. The overriding impression is of disarray, confusion, bad management, failed communication, anomie, disillusion, corruption, and secrecy. But do not worry. Things are under control.

The elevator? It was in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where the president told the American people that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not a threat to our country. President Obama said the chances of Ebola appearing in the United States are “extremely low.” If a carrier somehow finds his way to the 50 states, “We have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.” Two weeks later, as Byron York points out, the president was proven utterly wrong.

And he goes on with more examples. The upshot:

It is precisely the intersection of Ebola and globalization that worries me. The only response to a virus this deadly is to quarantine it. Stop flights, suspend visas, and beef up customs and security. It can be done. If the FAA can cancel flights to Israel, why can’t it cancel flights to and from the West African countries whence the outbreak originated?

Simple: because doing so would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite’s sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, “singling out” nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It “stigmatizes” those nations or cultures, it “shames” them, it makes them feel unequal. It’s judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others.

Such pieties endanger us. They are the reason we were slow to contain the influx of Central American refugees, the reason we do not follow-up on illegal immigrants who fail to show up for hearings, the reason we remain unable to strip jihadists of U.S. citizenship, the reason that a year after two Chechen refugees bombed the Boston Marathon, America is preparing to expand resettlement of Syrian refugees. The imperatives of the caste, the desire to make actual whatever is rattling around Tom Friedman’s brain at a given moment, take precedence over reality.

The system can withstand only so many shocks. For the last two years it has suffered nothing but blows, traumas, national and international concussions. The response by our government has been denial and delusion. But that has further alienated the public, and it won’t be long before things get really weird. Maybe it is time for the political class to panic, too.

Know hope? That’s passé.

Know fear.

He is right. Over and over our political class is falling short. We are proving again and a gain that our leaders simply aren’t up to the task of governing. My only question is what if they are doing it out of malice? I have been posing that question about Obama recently. I would say that at this point it is impossible to determine whether he is supremely incompetent or supremely malicious. It could be either of these, or both. But when they keep getting the same results from doing the same things, repeatedly and predictably, you have to ask if they are satisfied with the results that they are getting. The same is true of the political class as it is Obama himself. They insist on doing the same old same old, repeatedly, and they get the same piss poor results every time that they do it. It isn’t as though their policies have ever succeeded at bringing peace and prosperity to America. They always produce the same failures. Are our political elites somehow damaged intellectually, that they cannot see the results of their policies on every issue from gun control to foreign policy to the economy? Are they completely stupid? Even someone with mental handicaps is capable of recognizing when their actions produce negative results. They are (for the most part) capable of being self-critical, and of learning from their mistakes, and improving on the outcomes of their actions. Only the most severely mentally handicapped person is incapable of this (in my years in the restaurant industry I’ve worked with a number of developmentally handicapped people, and they have always shown the ability to do this). It is self-evident from their actions that either the Left must be incapable of this level of cognition (i;.e. rational and critical thinking), or they are acting with malice aforethought. You can’t necessarily prove which of these it is, but I ask you, if it were malice, what would they be doing differently than they are right now? I can’t think of much of anything. They do have to live in a world where they can only go so far openly, lest the LIVs catch on and vote them out of their offices, fire them from their jobs as academians, o r otherwise take steps to neutralize their malice.

How the US government trashed the diesel fuel cost advantage

by 1389AD ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, EPA, Food and Drink, Regulation at September 30th, 2014 - 8:00 am
Pain at the pump
Diesel or petrol, pain at the pump

I’m no Jay Leno but I do know a thing or two about motor vehicles, and a thing or three about tyranny, of which I have made a lifelong object of study. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that anything that raises the costs of road transportation also hamstrings the US economy, makes ordinary Americans poorer, strangles our liberty, and helps our enemies who are burdened by no such constraints.

I’ve owned both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Diesel was once the way to go when it came to saving money at the fuel pump. Diesel engines still outlast the gasoline variety and can deliver impressive power, but the US grabbermint deliberately wiped out the diesel fuel dollars-per-mile advantage.

Here’s how they did it:

Eric Peters: The Diesel Dilemma

The last time people began to sweat the cost of gas, they were able to turn to diesels. The cars delivered tremendous mileage (e.g., a VW Rabbit diesel was capable of 50-plus MPG, as good or better than a new Prius hybrid) and – perhaps as important – the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline.

You may recall.

What happened?

Government.

Diesel fuel became more expensive than gasoline – because of government edicts that made it more rather than less expensive to refine. Today’s “ultra-low sulfur” diesel runs close to $4 a gallon in my neck of the Woods vs. just over $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

This cost-to-feed disparity takes a lot away from the economic argument in favor of buying a diesel-powered car. Especially given that modern diesel-powered cars – though excellent in many ways – are also a great deal less fuel-efficient than the diesel powered cars of the ’70s and ’80s (the era before government got around to hassling diesels to the extent that it had been hassling gas-powered cars). Engine design had to be altered; exhaust systems changed up. Almost all current-year diesel-powered passenger cars have particulate traps and “regeneration” (diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust to after-burn it for emissions control reasons; of course, fuel used to burn off soot is fuel not used to propel the car – and your mileage goes down).

Most (virtually all) current-year diesel-powered passenger cars also require something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to achieve compliance with emissions regs. That is, to placate the government (at your expense). The DEF – basically, urea (that is, piss) – is contained in a separate tank that must be regularly topped off. The DEF works kind of like a gas engine’s catalytic converter, chemically altering the composition of the exhaust stream.

Whether this is good or bad is ultimately neither here nor there as far as the consumer appeal of diesel-powered cars.

Historically, the primary reason for going with a diesel rather than a gas-engined car (all else being equal) was the prospect that the diesel would – hopefully – save you money.

Unfortunately, that’s less likely today than it was yesterday. Because of the higher cost of the fuel – and the lower fuel-efficiency of modern diesels.

Here’s an example:

I recently reviewed the 2014 VW Jetta TDI (see here). For a modern car – relative to other modern cars – it delivers excellent fuel economy: 30 MPG in city driving and 42 MPG on the highway. But back in 1979, a VW Rabbit diesel delivered 45 MPG … in citydriving.

And 57 on the highway.

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Now, granted, the ’79 Rabbit is (was) a smaller car than the ’14 Jetta. But the difference is startling nonetheless – because the Jetta has all the putative advantages of the intervening 40 years (almost) of technological advances.

Shouldn’t it deliver better economy than a Carter-era car?

Well, it could.

If VW were not forced to festoon its brilliant TDI (turbo direct injection) diesel with all the foregoing folderol. If the federal obsession with soot – aka “particulate” emissions – were not so fervid. And here it is important to point out that diesel emissions aredifferent. Particulates may be obnoxious to some, but they are not a factor in the formation of smog – the main justification for swaddling gas engines with a Hannibal Lecter-esque suit of “controls” to tamp them down.

Everything – like it or not – is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis. And frequently there is a conflict between one desired thing and another desired thing. In this case, the desire of the government to effectively curb tailpipe emissions of cars (both diesel and gas) to nil conflicts with the consumer’s desire for a fuel-efficient (to say nothing of affordable) vehicle.

And this is why – for the most part (the Jetta I reviewed being one of literally two exceptions) the diesel-powered cars available today are almost all high-end/expensive cars. The diesel engines available in vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 3 and 5 are touted as much for their performance as their economy – and of course, the cars they’re installed in are sold on the basis of luxury and status. These are the sweeteners that make so-so-efficient modern diesels more palatable to buyers.

But on the economy end of the scale, it is harder to make a sound case for a modern diesel-powered car. Even the thoroughly excellent Jetta TDI. It costs about $5k more than the base trim gas-engined Jetta. And then there’s the 50-75 cents more per gallon you pay at the pump. Sure, the TDI’s mileage is 10-plus MPG better than the gas-engined models. But $5k buys oceans of gas … and don’t forget the extra $8-10 or so more you’ll be paying at each fill-up, diesel vs. regular unleaded.

To sum up:

The proverbial low-hanging fruit was plucked decades ago. That is, on the order of 90 percent of the harmful (e.g., smog forming, respiratory distress-inducing) byproducts of internal combustion were “controlled” by the first simple – but very effective – emissions technologies, such as catalytic converters (for gas-engined vehicles). Since the ’90s, the government’s increasingly demented crusade has been to “control” the remaining fractional part of a vehicle’s exhaust output that is less-than-pure.

I italicize this for emphasis because it is not a literary or editorial flourish. It is the literal truth.  The government will push for – and impose – a new round of emissions rigmarole in order to “cut” what they will invariably describe as “harmful emissions” by half a percent. But they will tout this as a 50 percent reduction – which it technically is. Because if you reduce 1 percent by half you have reduced it by 50 percent. But “50 percent” sounds a helluva lot better, PR-wise, than “half of one percent.”

So, we end with pretty pricey diesels that are only so-so efficient – relative to what they should and easily could be.

Continue reading…

Mixing alcohol with gasoline

Governmental bodies and various private organizations harp endlessly on the dangers of, and legal penalties against, driving under the influence of ethyl alcohol. At the same time, the US government is doing all it can to force you to feed ethyl alcohol into your gasoline-powered engine! Problem is, ethyl alcohol damages equipment that is not purpose-built to use it as fuel. Gasoline adulterated with alcohol can destroy your car, your motorcycle, your aircraft, your boat, your power tools, your generator…you name it. Seems to me that this is a stealth method to force older vehicles and equipment into the junkyard.

Arguably, “gasohol” harms the environment, in that the energy cost of producing the corn (maize), distilling ethyl alcohol from it, and transporting it to the pump, exceeds its yield as a vehicular energy source.

Corn is food. It is especially suited as fuel for people and animals, not machines. It makes economic sense to use corn as animal feed and to consume corn directly as sweet corn, hominy grits, cornbread, tortillas, popcorn, you name it. Burning corn, or for that matter, any food, as substandard vehicle fuel raises food prices worldwide, making people go hungry who otherwise would not.

If you own an older car or motorcycle, or would like to buy one, you owe it to yourself to read this:

Eric Peters: Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

Scotland!

by coldwarrior ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under government, Open thread, Politics, UK at September 17th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Aye! The Vote for or against independence from the United Kingdom is Thursday, the 18th. I would have to say that if I were allowed to vote, It would be ‘YES!’. Succeed or Fail, Local sovereignty makes more sense to me than rule from afar.

Tomorrow, my Dad and I are at our yearly outing at a very, very nice Country Club enjoying a round of the Scots own game, Golf. After we will have a wee dram with dinner in the club house and see what the Scots have decided.

After more than 300 years of political union, a Scots army, this time made up of voters, has a date with destiny, writes Hugh Reilly

It is June 1314, the place is Stirlingshire. The English army has tramped up the Middle Ages version of the M74 to sort out some treasonous Jocks who have challenged King Edward’s right to rule over his Scottish serfs. The rebellious Scots to be crushed are led by Robert the Bruce, a warrior king whose destiny could have been oh-so-different had he suffered from acute arachnophobia. Earlier, he had taken up residence in a damp cave, an ideal location for the fugitive on the go, and watched a hapless spider endeavour to swing Tarzan-like across the grotto’s entrance. On its sixth attempt, it finally succeeded.

Bruce interpreted the dodgy acrobatics as a sign that he could defeat the English. In terms of symptoms of a certifiable mental illness, waging a war based on the trapezium-type exploits of a spider was right up there with listening to the ranting of a burning bush.

Nevertheless, Bruce managed to gather a small army. Those who had answered his call to arms with a resounding “Yes” knew the dire consequences of defeat; yet, they felt the fear and did it anyway. They let out a huge groan when Bruce replied in the affirmative to Henry De Bohun’s demand for an equestrian square-go but how they cheered when Bruce stood tall in his stirrups and gave the English knight the pure malky with a battle-axe. Once the corpse was shuffled off the battlefield, the mortal combat began in earnest.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, the Scots prevailed, forcing Edward to catch the first cruise ship departing Dunbar for London. Across England, town-criers employed by the BBC declared it an outstanding English success. Sadly, the sacrifices of the men and women who fought for Scotland’s freedom were betrayed with the signing of the Act of Union 1707. The treachery of the ruling class is wonderfully encapsulated in the Robert Burns song, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation. The people of Scotland were not consulted on whether they wished to give up the country’s sovereignty; indeed, when the terms were revealed, riots erupted in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On Thursday, Scots have a once- in-a-lifetime chance to end 300 years of a being a junior partner in the artificial country known as Britain. I say artificial because, despite three centuries of trying to weld four distinct peoples into one homogeneous race, the traits and differences persist. Ask a Londoner his nationality and he’ll answer “English” – likewise, a guy from Glasgow declares himself to be “Scottish”. No-one, with possible exception of hard-line Ulster Orangemen, states they are “British”.

Back in 2012, only around 26 per cent of voters supported independence. Last week, on accepting that the referendum result was on finely sharpened knife edge, Alistair Darling claimed that “it was inevitable that the gap would narrow” as polling day neared. He rather unhelpfully didn’t explain why it was somehow unavoidable that the pro-independence vote would gather momentum. I think I can give Mr Darling some clues.

Firstly, the scaremongering tactics haven’t played well with a highly educated, highly sceptical electorate. Project Fear has backfired spectacularly on the pro-Unionists as, one by one, the doom and gloom scenarios have been ushered into the light and exposed. Should Scottish voters have the cheek to back independence, Scotland would be evicted from the EU, said the nay-sayers. Nato wouldn’t want Alba either. Worse, the cost of sending worthwhile mobile phone texts such as “Ah’m oan the bus, c u in 10 mins” would rise due to roaming charges imposed by avaricious telecommunications companies.

The bluff that Scotland would not be permitted a currency union with its southern neighbour was called when the value of sterling fell on news of the possibility of Scotland regaining sovereignty. It’s abundantly clear that the penchants of the financial market will have a greater input on a currency union than the anti-independence utterings of Gideon Oliver Osborne (yes folks, that’s the Chancellor’s name as it appears on his birth certificate). Denying Scotland the use of the pound would be cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, akin to Van Gogh cutting off his ear to stop folk pestering him to wear spectacles.

Secondly, once the bluster and froth disappeared from the debate, Scots began to observe that objective evidence exists that their country will not descend into a land resembling the set of Mad Max. A league table of GDP wealth produced by the OECD – the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development – puts Scotland 14th in the world. The discussion between oil experts as to how much fossil fuel lies around our coastline told us that even the most Jeramiah of black gold drillers admits there are at least 16 billion barrels. Consequently, the unique attempt by Britain-firsters to paint carbon fuel assets to be burdensome liabilities failed to convince those cursed with possessing critical faculties.

A Yes victory would mean no more wars of adventure. Disastrous British foreign policy has led to the deaths of hundreds of UK soldiers and the maiming of thousands of others. And for what? Afghanistan is still a mediaeval basket case and IS rules large swathes of Iraq, a country we “liberated”. At home, a new Scotland would build on the sense of social justice that sets it apart from its southern neighbour. Despite the off-stage grumblings of arch-unionist Johann Lamont, the notions of free university education, free prescriptions and free personal care resonate with the majority of Scots who agree with a collectivist approach to helping those in need.

On Thursday, we have a date with destiny. I urge voters to seize the moment, to give us back full sovereignty over our affairs.

The alternative – more years of Westminster governments led by Cameron, Miliband or, heaven forbid, Boris Johnson – fills me with dread.

At Bannockburn, the “wee folk” bled for liberty. We need only place a cross in the Yes box. Cry freedom!

 

There is entirely too much history and information to cover in one blog post. So if I may, two columns and some links. The first is from Bill Jamieson:

THE CASE FOR ‘YES’ YOU’VE NEVER HEARD

Good morning, Scotland!

SCOT-BUZZ EDITOR BILL JAMIESON says it’s forty eight hours to the biggest political decision we’ve ever made – not just how we want to be governed but which country we want to be in…

Scotland is at fever pitch. Never before has such argument raged, mass rallies held, the TV studios packed and tens of thousands of windows plastered with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ stickers. Banners are everywhere.

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Never has a question more polarised Scots’ opinion. Views for and against have been put with increasing passion. Towns, communities and families have been split.

Accusations of “scaremongering” and “Project Fear” have marked the battle. The pound has trembled and markets have swooned.

We’re global news. You can’t walk down Edinburgh’s Princes Street or Buchanan Street in Glasgow without being jostled by competing teams of camera crews.

We’ve never had such world attention.

Now it’s up to us to cast our vote.

You might think by now you’ve heard all the arguments there could be for independence.

But here’s one you almost certainly haven’t heard from the mouths of politicians – the argument that dare not speak its name…

Let’s call it Consequences, or facing up at last to the honest truth.

We’ve heard promises of more public spending, better welfare benefits, protected spending on the NHS, more secure pensions, and a Scottish government able to deliver with those North Sea oil revenues. We’ll escape austerity. We’ll be better off.

Many ‘Yes’ voters fervently believe this. And many traditional Labour voters have been won over by it. The ranks of ‘Yes’ have been swollen by the deep unpopularity of austerity, cuts in welfare spending and a prolonged squeeze on wages and earnings that have lagged inflation – pay reduction in real terms.

Five years of austerity. Little wonder there’s deep resentment.

But how likely is it that independence per se will change this? How credible are the promises?

It’s said Scotland has had a great referendum debate. That it has re-invigorated democracy.

But is this really true?

Throughout this long campaign there’s been a huge hole.

There’s been barely any analysis of the real cause of our grievance, of what lies behind austerity and why public spending is being squeezed.

This long, raucous relentless debate has proceeded without an honest assessment of why government has been unable to deliver, why politicians are distrusted and why voters feel so disenfranchised.

Two words have been barely mentioned by either side. But they’re the biggest words in politics today. Those words are deficit and debt.

Here are two figures to consider.  UK government debt now stands at £1.35 trillion. It will continue to rise next year, the year after that and the year after that.

While the annual budget deficit has been brought down, this only slows the rate at which the debt total continues to rise. B y 2018-19 that debt total is projected to climb to £1.5 trillion.

We can argue forever as to who or what was to blame, the wicked Tories or spendthrift Labour. But this debt has imposed a colossal burden.

It’s a figure almost too big to contemplate. So let’s focus instead on the annual debt interest alone.

This year, we need to find £52 billion to meet the interest bill. This, too, continues to rise. By 2018-19 it is set to hit £75 billion.

This means, it soaks up the entire tax revenue from fuel duties, Petroleum Revenue Tax, tobacco duties, spirits duty, wine duty, beer duty, Air Passenger Duty, insurance Premium Tax, the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty – and we will still have £3 billion to find!

Little wonder politicians hate talking about debt. Because debt interest is ‘dead money’. It brings in no votes. But it’s one of the first things deducted from government spending. And it compels cuts in other areas to make room for it.

SCOTTISH CONSEQUENTIALS

An independent Scotland’s share of UK debt is reckoned at between £126 billion and £140 billion. Just taking the lower figure would leave Holyrood with £3.8 billion to find in annual interest charges.

Surely, then, we should vote ‘No’? But the case for independence is strengthened, not weakened, by the prospect of a Scottish government having to come to terms with this Consequence.

Not having to deal with the realities of tax and borrowing and debt has left our politics infantalised for too long. It’s bred and fostered the culture of false promises and more spending without concern for the reality before us.

An independent Scotland would have to cope, very quickly and credibly, with this reality. To hold and retain business and investor confidence, the independent government would need to recognise, in a way the referendum battle has failed to do, the reality of government today and the constraints that come with it.

Spending commitments will be deferred as finance minister John Swinney earnestly tells the Scottish parliament of the need to establish early credibility as one of “regrettable necessities of building independence”.

Remember, too, the resources he will need to find to build up our reserves to put behind a currency board to ensure currency stability and halt capital flight (see elsewhere this page).

The parliament will ponder the option of tax increases rather than spending cuts. But it will also need to weigh up the cost of those tax increases – voter consequence and business exodus.

It will be a moment of truth like no other.

So why not avoid this and vote ‘No’? The problem here is that it will leave ‘Yes’ voters, not with a recognition of this reality, but with a bitter sense of grievance. A large proportion of Scotland will feel cheated and frustrated. These feelings will be stoked by claims that independence was wrested from our grasp at the last moment by a conspiracy of Westminster scare tactics, dirty tricks with banks and big business and the collusion of the BBC. The myth of the Stab in the Back is already being woven.

We will have learnt nothing and gained nothing. Instead, there’ll be the old enemy to blame – the London government, the Westminster parties, the metropolitan elite.

A ‘No’ vote does not put the issue to rest. On the contrary. It will condemn us to more years of infantile politics and reality evasion. The chance to come to terms with a major cause of our discontents will have been missed.

It’s not a comfortable case for independence. It’s not the case you’ll have heard from politicians.

But it’s the case far nearer to the truth than we’ve ever been told.

Now, Paul Krugman. Like him or not, he is absolutely right on this (however, Scotland has oil coming out of its ears and that changes the economics):

Scots, What the Heck?
SEPT. 7, 2014
Paul Krugman

Next week Scotland will hold a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom. And polling suggests that support for independence has surged over the past few months, largely because pro-independence campaigners have managed to reduce the “fear factor” — that is, concern about the economic risks of going it alone. At this point the outcome looks like a tossup.

Well, I have a message for the Scots: Be afraid, be very afraid. The risks of going it alone are huge. You may think that Scotland can become another Canada, but it’s all too likely that it would end up becoming Spain without the sunshine.

Comparing Scotland with Canada seems, at first, pretty reasonable. After all, Canada, like Scotland, is a relatively small economy that does most of its trade with a much larger neighbor. Also like Scotland, it is politically to the left of that giant neighbor. And what the Canadian example shows is that this can work. Canada is prosperous, economically stable (although I worry about high household debt and what looks like a major housing bubble) and has successfully pursued policies well to the left of those south of the border: single-payer health insurance, more generous aid to the poor, higher overall taxation.

Does Canada pay any price for independence? Probably. Labor productivity is only about three-quarters as high as it is in the United States, and some of the gap may reflect the small size of the Canadian market (yes, we have a free-trade agreement, but a lot of evidence shows that borders discourage trade all the same). Still, you can argue that Canada is doing O.K.

But Canada has its own currency, which means that its government can’t run out of money, that it can bail out its own banks if necessary, and more. An independent Scotland wouldn’t. And that makes a huge difference.

Could Scotland have its own currency? Maybe, although Scotland’s economy is even more tightly integrated with that of the rest of Britain than Canada’s is with the United States, so that trying to maintain a separate currency would be hard. It’s a moot point, however: The Scottish independence movement has been very clear that it intends to keep the pound as the national currency. And the combination of political independence with a shared currency is a recipe for disaster. Which is where the cautionary tale of Spain comes in.

If Spain and the other countries that gave up their own currencies to adopt the euro were part of a true federal system, with shared institutions of government, the recent economic history of Spain would have looked a lot like that of Florida. Both economies experienced a huge housing boom between 2000 and 2007. Both saw that boom turn into a spectacular bust. Both suffered a sharp downturn as a result of that bust. In both places the slump meant a plunge in tax receipts and a surge in spending on unemployment benefits and other forms of aid.

Then, however, the paths diverged. In Florida’s case, most of the fiscal burden of the slump fell not on the local government but on Washington, which continued to pay for the state’s Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as for much of the increased aid to the unemployed. There were large losses on housing loans, and many Florida banks failed, but many of the losses fell on federal lending agencies, while bank depositors were protected by federal insurance. You get the picture. In effect, Florida received large-scale aid in its time of distress.

Spain, by contrast, bore all the costs of the housing bust on its own. The result was a fiscal crisis, made much worse by fears of a banking crisis that the Spanish government would be unable to manage, because it might literally run out of cash. Spanish borrowing costs soared, and the government was forced into brutal austerity measures. The result was a horrific depression — including youth unemployment above 50 percent — from which Spain has barely begun to recover.

And it wasn’t just Spain, it was all of southern Europe and more. Even euro-area countries with sound finances, like Finland and the Netherlands, have suffered deep and prolonged slumps.

In short, everything that has happened in Europe since 2009 or so has demonstrated that sharing a currency without sharing a government is very dangerous. In economics jargon, fiscal and banking integration are essential elements of an optimum currency area. And an independent Scotland using Britain’s pound would be in even worse shape than euro countries, which at least have some say in how the European Central Bank is run.

I find it mind-boggling that Scotland would consider going down this path after all that has happened in the last few years. If Scottish voters really believe that it’s safe to become a country without a currency, they have been badly misled.

 

This Link has all of the articles, data, polling and otherwise that you need to become informed.:

http://www.scotsman.com/scottish-independence/

Two articles to wrap up the discussion:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/scottish-independence-surge-has-forced-complacent-and-smug-elite-take-notice http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/blog/jobs-jobs-jobs