Advice to Bill McKibben: Nuke Up or Shut Up

By Isaac Orr

In a recent article titled “The New Battle Plan for the Planet’s Climate Crisis,” Bill McKibben, a radical climate activist and founder of 350.org, argued Earth is rapidly warming and immediate action must be taken to reduce human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. To do so, McKibben advocates a massive build-out of wind and solar power, but he never mentions one of the most obvious and efficient energy sources available: nuclear.

The omission is no mistake; McKibben and his environmental pals have made a concerted effort to reject nuclear energy, even though it’s the only way to immediately reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

Despite massive taxpayer subsidies to wind and solar-power industries, these two sources, which McKibben suggests is the future of U.S. energy, account for just 2.2 percent (combined) of the total energy used in the country. Making matters worse, they are incredibly expensive. It’s mostly for this reason the “Renewable Now” slogan is nothing more than that. It’s certainly not a solution.

Energy and climate realists must hold alarmists like McKibben to their own standards. If the alarmists want to be taken seriously, they must nuke up or shut up.

Countries that have tried to follow McKibben’s advice by aggressively subsidizing wind and solar power have lived to regret it. In Germany, wind and solar subsidies are the reason Germans now pay three times more for their electricity than the average American. To add insult to injury, German greenhouse-gas emissions have actually increased since 2009, because Germany decided to begin shuttering its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima accident.

Wind and solar only generate electricity when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, and this is why Germany only obtains a miniscule 3.3 percent of its total energy from wind and solar. As a result, Germany must burn more coal to generate electricity, which is why the country now owns one of the most carbon-intensive energy grids in all of Europe.

Nuclear energy has several drawbacks. It creates dangerous nuclear waste that must be safely stored away from humans, and generating electricity from nuclear power costs more than generating electricity from coal or natural gas. But the cost of nuclear energy is still far below the cost of wind and solar power.

According to an analysis by the Ontario, Canada Society of Professional Engineers, generating electricity from wind is twice as expensive as from coal or natural gas, and from solar is six times more expensive than retail electricity rates. By comparison, nuclear energy produces power for about 1.5 times the retail price, and nuclear power is reliable and predictable.

In addition to higher costs, the lack of reliability of wind and solar energy makes it hard for them to co-exist with nuclear energy. Because wind and solar require backup sources of generation when the wind isn’t blowing and sun isn’t shining and nuclear power plants are unable to quickly ramp up or ramp down generation, wind and solar are often backed up by natural gas. This means adding wind and solar at the expense of nuclear results in more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

Congress and President Donald Trump can restore energy sanity by removing barriers to nuclear power, establishing a permanent disposal site at Yucca Mountain, and letting the free market decide what the energy sources of the future will be.

[Originally Published at Detroit News]

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Karl Marx, the Man Behind the Communist Revolution

By Richard Ebeling

When Karl Marx died in March 1883, only about a dozen people attended his funeral at a cemetery in London, England, including family members. Yet, for more than a century after his death – and even until today – there have been few thinkers whose ideas have been as influential on various aspects of modern world history. Indeed, as some have said, no other faith or belief-system has had such a worldwide impact as Marxism, since the birth of Christianity and the rise of Islam.

Marx’s critique of capitalism and capitalist society has shaped much of the social thinking in Western countries that led to the welfare state and extensive government intervention into economic affairs. And it served as the ideological banner that inspired the socialist and communist revolutions of the twentieth century – beginning in Russia in 1917, and still retaining political power today in such countries as Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and China.

In the name of the Marxian vision of a “new society” and a “new man,” socialist and communist revolutions led to the mass murders, enslavement, torture and starvation of tens of millions of people around the world. Historians have estimated that in the attempt to make that “new” and “better” socialist world, communist regimes have killed as many as, maybe, 200 million people in the twentieth century.

Marx’s Student Days and Family Life

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in the Rhineland town of Trier. His parents were Jewish, with a long line of respected rabbis on both sides of the family. But to follow a legal career in the Kingdom of Prussia at the time, Karl Marx’s father had converted to Protestantism, and Karl’s own religious training was limited and at an early age he rejected all belief in a Supreme Being.

After studying for a time in Bonn, he transferred to the University of Berlin to work on a doctoral degree in philosophy. But he was generally a lazy and good-for-nothing student. The money that his father sent to him for tuition at the University was spent on food and drink, with many of his nights spent at coffee houses and taverns getting drunk and arguing about Hegelian philosophy with other students.   He finally acquired his doctorial degree by submitting his dissertation to the University of Jena in eastern Germany.

Marx’s only real jobs during his lifetime were as occasional reporters for or editors of newspapers and journals most of which usually closed in a short period of time, either because of small readership and limited financial support or political censorship by the governments under which he was living.

His political activities as a writer and activist resulted in his having to move several times, including to Paris and Brussels, finally ending up in London in 1849, where he lived for the rest of his life, with occasional trips back to the European continent.

Though “middle class” and even “Victorian” in many of his everyday cultural attitudes, this did not stop Karl Marx from breaking his marriage vows and committing adultery. He had sex enough times with the family maid that she bore him an illegitimate son – and this under the same roof with his wife and his legitimate children (of which he had seven, with only three living to full adulthood).

But he would not allow his illegitimate child to visit their mother in his London house whenever he was at home, and the boy could only enter the house through the kitchen door in the back of the house. In addition, he had his friend, Fredrick Engels, claim parentage of the child so to avoid any social embarrassment falling upon himself due to his infidelity.

As historian Paul Johnson explained in his book, Intellectuals (1988):

In all his researches into the iniquities of British capitalism, he came across many instances of low-paid workers but he never succeeded in unearthing one who was paid literally no wages at all. Yet such a worker did exist, in his own household . . . This was Helen Demuth [the life-long family maid]. She got her keep but was paid nothing . . . She was a ferociously hard worker, not only cleaning and scrubbing, but managing the family budget . . . Marx never paid her a penny . . .

In 1849-50 . . . [Helen] became Marx’s mistress and conceived a child . . . Marx refused to acknowledge his responsibility, then or ever, and flatly denied the rumors that he was the father . . . [The son] was put out to be fostered by a working-class family called Lewis but allowed to visit the Marx household [to see his mother]. He was, however, forbidden to use the front door and obliged to see his mother only in the kitchen.

Marx was terrified that [the boy’s] paternity would be discovered and that this would do him fatal damage as a revolutionary leader and seer . . .“[Marx] persuaded Engels to acknowledge [the boy] privately, as a cover story for family consumption . . . But Engels . . . was not willing to take the secret to the grave. Engels died, of cancer of the throat, on 5 August 1895; unable to speak but unwilling that Eleanor [one of Marx’s daughters] should continue to think her father unsullied, he wrote on a slate: ‘Freddy [the boy’s name] is Marx’s son . . .

Marx’s Mean and Mendacious Manner

In temperament Marx could be cruel and authoritarian. He treated people with whom he disagreed in a crude and mean way, often ridiculing them in public gatherings. Marx had no hesitation about being a hypocrite; when he wanted something from someone he would flatter them in letters or conversation, but then attack them in nasty language behind their backs to others. He often used racial slurs and insulting words to describe the mannerisms or appearance of his opponents in the socialist movement.

Thus, for instance, in a letter dated, July 30, 1862, to his longtime financial benefactor and intellectual collaborator, Frederick Engels, Marx described in the following way one of the leading nineteenth century German socialists, Ferdinand Lassalle, who had been visiting England and was soon returning to Germany:

The Jewish Nigger Lassalle . . .fortunately departs at the end of this week . . . It is now absolutely clear to me that, as both the shape of his head and his hair texture shows – he descends from the Negros who joined Moses’ flight from Egypt (unless his mother or grandmother on the paternal side hybridized with a nigger). Now this combination of Germanness and Jewishness with a primarily Negro substance creates a strange product. The pushiness of the fellow is also nigger-like.

In Marx’s mind, in fact, the Jew in bourgeois society encapsulated the essence of everything he considered despicable in the capitalist system, and only with the end of the capitalist system would there be an end to most of those unattractive qualities. Here is Marx’s conception of the Jewish mind in nineteenth century Europe, from his essay On the Jewish Question (1844):

What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money!  . . . Money is the jealous god of Israel before whom no other god may exist.

Money degrades all the gods of mankind and converts them into commodities . . . What is contained abstractly in the Jewish religion – contempt for theory, for art, for history, for man as an end in himself . . . The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Jewishness.

(Marx’s caricaturizing description of the asserted “Jewish mindset” rings amazingly similar to those that were later written by the Nazi “race-scientists” of the 1930s, who also condemned Jews for the same self-interested pursuit of money and the resulting degenerative influence that they believed Jews had upon the German people.)

Marx was also what some might label a plagiarist. For ten years, from 1852 to 1862 Marx had a position as a European correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune. Finding it too burdensome to always grind out the expected two articles a week, for which he was relatively well paid for that time – his time being too taken up researching, reading and writing for what became his famous work, Das Kapital and as well as participating in revolutionary activities and intrigues – he had Friedrich Engels write about one-third of them during his decade of employment with the newspaper, but put his own name on the articles.

Marx’s Impression on a Visitor

Many found Marx’s personal appearance and manner off-putting or even revolting. In 1850, a spy for the Prussian police visited Marx’s home in London under the pretense of being a German revolutionary. The report the spy wrote was shared with the British Ambassador in Berlin.  The report said, in part:

[Marx] leads the existence of a Bohemian intellectual. Washing, grooming and changing his linen are things he does rarely, and he is often drunk. Though he is frequently idle for days on end, he will work day and night with tireless endurance when he has much work to do.

He has no fixed time for going to sleep or waking up. He often stays up all night and then lies down fully clothed on the sofa at midday, and sleeps till evening, untroubled by the whole world coming or going through [his room] . . .

There is not one clean and solid piece of furniture. Everything is broken, tattered and torn, with half an inch of dust over everything and the greatest disorder everywhere . . .

When you enter Marx’s room smoke and tobacco fumes make your eyes water . . . Everything is dirty and covered with dust, so that to sit down becomes a hazardous business. Here is a chair with three legs. On another chair the children are playing cooking. This chair happens to have four legs. This is the one that is offered to the visitor, but the children’s cooking has not been wiped away and if you sit down you risk a pair of trousers.

Marx’s Power-Lusting Murderous Personality

Another report on meeting Marx was given by Gustav Techow, a Prussian military officer who had joined the Berlin insurrectionists during the failed revolution of 1848. Techow had to escape to Switzerland after bring sentenced and imprisoned for treason. The revolutionary group with whom Techow associated in Switzerland sent him to London and he spent time with Marx. In a letter to his revolutionary associates, Techow described his impression of Marx, the man and his mind. The picture was of a power-lusting personality who had contempt for both friends and foes:

It is impossible for me to indicate to you the lively exchange of ideas, the rising warmth of the discussion, or to describe to you Marx himself dominated everything. We drank first port, then claret, that is to say, red Bordeaux, then champagne. After the red wine he was completely drunk. And that was what I wished because then he would open his heart and reveal himself as he really was . . .

He gave me the impression of both outstanding intellectual superiority and a most impressive personality. If he had had as much heart as brain, as much love as hate, I would have gone through fire with him despite the fact that he not only did not hide his contempt for me, but as the end was quite explicit about it . . .

I regret, because of our cause, that this man does not have, together with his outstanding intelligence, a noble heart to place at our disposal. I am convinced that everything good in him has been devoured by the most dangerous personal ambitions. He laughs at the fools who repeat after him his proletarian catechism, just as he laughs at [other] communists  . . . and also at the bourgeoisie . . .

Despite all of his assurances to the contrary, perhaps precisely because of them, I left with the impression that personal domination is the end-all of his every activity . . . And [Marx considers that] all of his old associates are, despite their considerable talents, well beneath and behind him and should they ever dare to forget that, he will put them back in their places with the impudence worth of a Napoleon.

Marx’s Playbook for Revolution and Mass Murder

Marx’s desire to destroy the institutions of society and his blood-thirstiness towards any enemies in the coming communist revolution was captured in his plan of action, written with Engels, for the Central Committee of the Communist League in March 1850. It reads like the literal playbook for what Vladimir Lenin did in undertaking the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

He stated that the goal of the organization was “the overthrow of the privileged classes,” initially in cooperation with the petty and liberal “bourgeois” political parties. But these democratic parties only want to establish a liberal agenda of reduced government spending, more secure private property rights and some welfare programs for the poor, he warned. Instead, Marx said:

Its our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far – not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world . . .

Our concern cannot simply be to modify private property, but to abolish it, not to hush up class antagonisms but to abolish classes, not to improve the existing society but to found a new one.

In the process of overthrowing the liberal democratic order that assumes power following the end of the monarchical rulers, Marx said that the revolutionary proletariat needed to form armed “councils” outside of the democratic government’s authority and control – the very method that Lenin insisted upon in Russia in the form of “Soviets” after the abdication of the Russian czar in March 1917 and in opposition to the newly established provisional democratic government that replaced the Russian monarchy.

Marx insisted that the feudal lands were not to be turned into peasant-owned private farms. No, instead, they were to be taken over by the state and transformed into collective farms upon which all among rural population will be made to live and work. And all industries had to be nationalized under an increasingly centralized and all-powerful proletarian government, to assure the end of capitalism and “bourgeois” democracy.

In addition, Marx said, the communist leaders must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, “it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses – instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated – the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction.”

In other words, Marx was insisting upon fostering a frenzy of “vengeance against hated individuals” that clearly meant terror and mass murder. And this, too, was the signpost that Lenin followed in assuring the triumph of his revolution in Russia.

How did Marx become this advocate of mass murder and dictatorship in place of liberal democracy and social peace? What intellectual influences worked on him that lead to his becoming the visionary advocate of what he came to call “scientific socialism” and the belief that the “laws of history” dictated the inevitable doom of capitalism and the inescapable triumph of communism?

And how did his conception of mankind’s destiny create the foundation for the human tragedy in what became the reality of “socialism-in-practice” in the twentieth century.

[Originally Published on Future for Freedom Foundation]

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UC Berkeley Riots Prove Colleges Are Creating a Generation of Bigots

By Teresa Mull

Last week, people at the University of California-Berkeley (they weren’t solely students) violently protested a speech scheduled to be delivered by conservative journalist and Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The event was canceled after the group caused $100,000 worth of damage and a Milo fan was pepper-sprayed in the face.

“Black-clad protesters wearing masks threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police,” CNN.com reported. “Some even hurled Molotov cocktails that ignited fires. They also smashed windows of the student union center on the Berkeley campus where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held.”

According to CNN, “The university blamed ‘150 masked agitators’ for the unrest, saying they had come to campus to disturb an otherwise peaceful protest.”

But in a statement, UC Berkeley distanced itself from Yiannopoulos, saying his “views, tactics, and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to those of the campus.”

UC Berkeley is a public university, which means it receives loads of taxpayer money. Why then does the university profess it has “views, tactics, and rhetoric” contrary to Yiannopoulos or in keeping with anyone else? 

College campuses, especially those financed by the public, are supposed to be places that promote the free expression of ideas and encourage new, diverse, interesting, challenging, and/or unique thought. UC Berkeley basically said, “Yiannopoulos isn’t liberal. We don’t like him, but I guess we should have let him speak to keep up the illusion of diversity because someone was pepper-sprayed in the face and it made the news.”

President Donald Trump has called for UC Berkeley’s federal funding to be cut off. Though that’s unlikely to happen, it could mean the loss of $9 billion annually. That’s right, about $9 billion—with a B—of our hard-earned tax dollars go to a school that declares a conservative’s outlook on the world “profoundly contrary” to theirs.

The Los Angeles Times, in an attempt to paint Berkeley as the victim in all this, lamented “advances in solar-based sustainable energy” would be lost if Trump gets his way.

Solar energy is one item on a long list of feel-good, left-wing agenda items public universities teach students everyone is supposed to accept as gospel truth. Solar monstrosities cost an arm and a leg, are unreliable, require tons of maintenance, and only work well half the day (at best). But more importantly, even if they were effective forms of energy development, what does that have to do with the free-speech concerns expressed by Trump and others who are tired of watching publicly funded universities used as propaganda centers for the left? And why can’t the government find another university, one that values free speech, to give tax dollars for solar-energy development?

What happened at Berkeley is representative of a disturbing trend on college campuses that is becoming far too common. As reported in 2016 by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the prevalence of disinvitations of college speakers is increasing. 

Students at Berkeley and outside protesters, of course, have the right to protest Yiannopoulos. The spirited discourse of opposing views is what makes college and living in the United States fun, exciting, and interesting. But protesters don’t have the right to obstruct speakers physically, harass listeners, pepper-spray people, or vandalize property, all of which now seems to be a near-weekly occurrence. 

“At DePaul University, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro were banned due to ‘inflammatory speech’ and ‘safety concerns’; the administration even threatened to arrest Shapiro if he set foot on campus again,” Kassy Dillion recently reported in The Hill. “At Kellogg Community College, three students representing Young Americans for Liberty were arrested for handing out pocket Constitutions in a public space on campus. At UC Irvine, a pro-Palestinian group attempted to violently shut down an event sponsored by Students Supporting Israel.” The list goes on and on.

Much can be said about those who oppose Yiannopoulos and others with differing views on college campuses, but one thing is clear: They all believe physically harming, intimidating, and/or silencing opposing views is valid, and it’s not just the nameless, faceless protesters dressed in black. As FIRE reports, “Nearly half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards.” That’s scary stuff.

Colleges should be places where free thought is encouraged, not met with riots in the streets. For UC Berkeley to declare it has an agenda contrary to Yiannopoulos is telling. It’s obvious the modern campus climate is, and has been for a long time, a progressive one. But if we don’t allow our young people to exchange rational ideas in a peaceful manner in a place that’s supposedly dedicated to learning, what hope does our country—one that is founded on the principle of “ensuring that there is no prohibition on … abridging the freedom of speech”—have left?

[Originally Published at Breitbart]

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How the Word Resistance Has Sunk in Meaning

By Jim Rust

Leaving an Atlanta IKEA store this morning was a bearded, unwashed young man wearing a T-shirt with the words: I AM THE RESISTANCE.

At the time I thought how the word RESISTANCE changed in meaning the past 60 years.  To me RESISTANCE is the millions of brave French citizens who fought against the Nazi occupiers of France from 1940 until 1945.  Tens of thousands died during their quest.

Today the word RESISTANCE stands for disappointed progressives unhappy with the election of Donald Trump as President November 8, 2016.  They number in the millions and have accounted for unspeakable amounts of violence and property damage from coast to coast since the election.

On the day of President Trump’s inauguration in Washington, DC hundreds of masked Progressive went on a destruction spree with crow bars and hammers in a several block area a few blocks of the Presidential Inaugural Parade route. Another example is 21-year old Valerie Starushok stuffing a bloody sanitary napkin in the mouth of a male marcher in the January 27 March for Life parade in Ashland, Oregon. An especially egregious example is disruptions on the University of California Berkley campus February 1 when a mob of 1500 stopped a campus lecture by an outside speaker.  WSOF boxer Jake Shields, who rescued a bystander being attacked, said police refused to stop the mob.

The 1940’s members of the RESISTANCE will be hailed as heroes for eternity.  The new Progressive’s RESISTANCE will be judged as bullies in the future.

[First published at the Freedom Pub.]

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Suburban Chicago New Trier High School to Host One-Sided Race Seminar

By Nancy Thorner and Joseph Morris

A group of parents of New Trier (Illinois) High School students is concerned about what their teens will be taught during the forthcoming “All School Seminar Day” planned for February 28, 2017, titled: Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights.  

New Trier High School is often ranked among the best in the country. It serves the prosperous suburbs north of Chicago — Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, most of Northfield, and parts of Glenview — an overwhelmingly white area.   The township was traditionally conservative and Republican but now leans liberal and Democratic. Its main campus for sophomores through seniors is located in WinnetkaIllinois, US, and a freshman campus in Northfield, Illinois, with freshman classes and district administration. 

A 25-page catalogue of courses, programs, seminars, and other events scheduled for the day presents a rather bold and raw effort at hard-left propaganda with decidedly anti-American, anti-free-market, anti-family, anti-parent, and bigoted biases on display.  Click here and here to learn about some of the workshops and speakers.

Below are several of the scheduled workshops and speakers

  • “Whose Civil Rights?: Transpeople of Color Navigating the U.S.”: “Civil rights are social and political freedoms that everyone in our society is supposed to have access to; however, because of socialization, bias, and discrimination, many trans people (particularly trans people of color) do not have access to these freedoms. In this session, we will explore the current cultural climate that enforces a gender binary and, therefore, forecloses civil rights for many transpeople. We will examine how trans people are challenging and changing these systems.”
  • “21st Century Voter Suppression”: “A group discussion about the methods and regulations used in the US to deny or limit the voting rights of various minority groups…..The main emphasis of the workshop will be how to recognize, identify, and combat modern voter suppression tactics. Attendees should come out with a few concrete plans or ideas to help address the problem moving forward.”
  • “A People’s History of Chicago”: “In the tradition of Howard Zinn, A People’s History of Chicago is a poetic, progressive history that celebrates this great American city from the perspective of those on the margins whose stories are not often told.” 

As Laurie Higgins, an acclaimed writer at Illinois Family Institute, David Smith, Executive Director, further explains: “For those who are unfamiliar with Howard Zinn, he was a far Left historical revisionist who wrote The People’s History of the United States, which is used in many high school social studies classes. Eminent economist Thomas Sowell said this about Zinn’s pseudo-history book:

It speaks volumes about our schools and colleges that far-left radical Howard Zinn’s pretentiously titled book, “A People’s History of the United States,” is widely used across the country. It is one indictment, complaint, and distortion after another.  Anyone who relies on this twisted version of American history wold have no idea why millions of people from around the world are trying, sometimes desperately, to move to this country.  The one virtue of Zinn’s book is that it helps you identify unmistakably which teachers are using their classrooms as propaganda centers.”

  • “Western Bias in Science”: “Newton, Darwin, Curie…Can you think of a non-European or non-American scientist in history? Come examine the western bias in science education, its sources and its implications, in this interactive workshop.
  • “Developing Empathy & Acceptance by Reading Picture Books to Children”: “Come to the Northfield Library and read picture books to a group of children (ages 3-5). The picture books will focus on themes of embracing diversity…and social justice. Students will lead activities related to the books with the young children.”  As questioned by Laurie Higgins, “One wonders what picture books students will be reading to toddlers and who chose them? What forms of “diversity” will be depicted in these picture books?”

Andrew Aydin was described accordingly by Laurie Higgins as the keynote speaker at the Northfield campus. “Aydin is a policy advisor to liberal Congressman John Lewis. Aydin has contributed to the ethically impoverished Southern Poverty Law Center and the dystopian feminist comic book Bitch Planet.”

Monica Trinidad will share “her organizing work with We Charge Genocide. . . She will then lead a hands-on workshop that will guide participants through a discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement today.”  This quote about Trinidad is from Laurie Higgins:  “Trinidad is “a queer, latinx artist and organizer born and raised on the southeast side of Chicago.”

OiYan A. Poon: “Dr. Poon challenges students to critically analyze systems of higher education, student affairs practices, and to understand their power to transform oppressive structures as social justice change agents. . . Dr. Poon had received “a 2013 National Distinguished Educator award from the Pacific Education Group’s Courageous Conversations Summit.” As Laurie Higgins remarked:  “An award from the Pacific Education Group is confirmation that Poon is a Leftist.”  The Pacific Educational Group is a consulting firm committed to forging racial equity.  The PEG believes systemic racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished capacity of all people, and especially people of color and indigenous people, to achieve at the highest levels.

Attributed to Laurie Higgins: The partial list of workshops offered at New Trier’s mandatory event “reveals a Leftist dream for what the Left considers education.” Instead of attending a conference based on White Privilege, “New Trier parents can just send their kids to school for the day long smorgasbord of ideologically non-diverse seminars to learn all about Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights.”

Parents at New Trier express anger and outrage

It is not surprising that those on the Left are angry by the fact that parents of students attending New Trier have the audacity to object to the forthcoming February 28 “All School Seminar Day” of leftist indoctrination. This has resulted in the objecting parents and students being subjected to merciless bullying in social media and even face-to-face in school.  

Any dissent from the official line is labeled as “racist” and “privileged”; the parents’ calls for reasonable balance in discussions of such volatile issues are met with oppressive sloganeering along the lines of, “Calls for fairness and balance are themselves evidence of racism and privilege”.  The bullies wish to tolerate no dissent. The parents’ website is found here

The parents’ website is replete with background information on the agitprop program and some of the schemers behind it.  It contains calm and lucid information which is accurately and neutrally presented.  Visitors to the site can click through to the websites of sponsoring organizations and read their propaganda and statements of their aims and worldviews in their own (vicious and bigoted) words.  One can also sign an on-line petition in support of the parents and in opposition to unfair and unbalanced programs of this kind.

Here is the latest written statement issued by parents on Monday, February 5, 2017 on its website under the heading, Parents of New Trier High who Say ‘White Guilt’ Isn’t Enough are Being Attacked.” 

While you are at the parents’ website, have a look at the “In Their Own Words” tab where you will find some examples of the bullying and some illustrations of the vicious race-hatred and political propaganda of which the “experts” invited into the school for the indoctrination sessions are capable. Visit also the “What You Can Do” tab.  Of important is that you speak out on social media and elsewhere in defense of the concerned parents and students at New Trier High Schools. 

Respectful and thoughtful participation is likewise encouraged and would be very welcome and timely on the Facebook page devoted to discussion of the New Trier All School Seminar Day (and its one-sided program of “anti-racist” and “anti-white-privilege” indoctrination).

Concerned parents organize opposition 

Betsy Hart is one of the key leaders of the Concerned Parents of New Trier. Betsy Canfield Hart, the well-known nationally-syndicated pro-family columnist, has children in the school.  

Many in education claim they desire diversity, but their actions speak otherwise, Hart explained. Regarding New Trier’s seminar, parents are not trying to shut down the February 28th seminar.  They just want a seminar that will be more challenging for kids.  As such, parents are calling for balance and diversity to bring other ideas into the one-sided program being presented at New Trier.  Parents have asked to include some topics and hire speakers of their choice, but so far requests have been denied. 

The nearby city of Chicago is literally blowing up with many people who are suffering.  Exploring how to keep kids out of gangs or a seminar program that would help involve students in inner cities ministries would be far more beneficial than asking parents and children to reflect on white privilege.

Reports about New Trier’s racist seminar have spread beyond local media attention

The Chicago Tribune on Monday, February 6, 2017, reprinted in the front section of its main paper a report carried over the weekend by its suburban local paper, the Winnetka Talk on the growing controversy regarding the forthcoming day-long mandatory leftist indoctrination program that will be held at New Trier Township High School, once thought to be among the best public schools in the nation but now, alas, descending into the cesspool of inflammatory racist, antisemitic, and other miasms of the ascendant academic left.  

Here is the on-line Chicago Tribune link to the report first published in its suburban local paper the Winnetka Talk over the weekend, as published in Section 1, Page 3, Column 1 of the Tribune on 2/6/2017:  New Trier High School parents debate planned civil rights seminar.  

For additional excellent insight about the upcoming New Trier’s High School’s planned “All School Seminar Day”, please check out this Monday, February 6, 2017 report by Mark Glennon’s, founder of Wirepoints:  Authoritarians at the Gate:  How One High School is Ripping Its Community Apart .

Mr. Glennon begins his article with this message: 

Not since the Vietnam War have I seen as much strife and personal hostility within an otherwise friendly community.  Thank the administration of New Trier High School in north suburban Chicago. This story is about the madness on college campuses now being crammed down into a public high school. More importantly, it’s about an angry brawl now growing rapidly.

For the very latest, read the following article published February 6, 2017 at the Illinois Family Institute by Laurie Higgins:  Controversy Grows Over Imbalanced Seminar on Race.  

Will your school be next?

If you are in and around Chicago, you might wish to attend the school board meeting scheduled for Monday, February 20, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at:  Multipurpose Room (C234), Building C, Second Floor, at New Trier High School – Northfield Campus, 7 Happ Road, Northfield.  Even if you don’t get on the agenda to speak, your presence in support of parents and students who do speak will be important and comforting against the hostility with which they are sure to be greeted.

What is happening at New Trier High School is not just an isolated incident.  Know what is happening in your own local high school.  Progressive education is now the rule of thumb in Illinois and in other states and is being supported and abetted by the Illinois Education Association. 

(NOTE: Apologies to Laurie Higgins for mistakenly failing to attribute appropriately in the original version of this column.)

[First posted at Illinois Review.]

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The Left Didn’t Groove to the Beat of School Choice Week

By Robert Holland

The record-breaking numbers for the seventh annual National School Choice Week (NSCW), which wrapped up January 28, were stunning: There were 21,392 events held, with participation from some 16,000 schools and 2,000 home-schooling groups; more than 6 million attendees at events ranging from rallies at state Capitols to community forums; and close to 1 million online views of event highlights posted on the NSCW website.

More powerful than statistics was the joy on the faces of students that spoke of their love for schools chosen for them by their parents. Some of them danced to the week’s official song, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” while waving the NSCW’s signature bright-yellow scarves.

The blend of youthful energy and conviction was quite compelling. As for the adult organizers of NSCW, their stated purpose was to shed the spotlight in a positive, politics-free way on all types of school choice—including open enrollment, magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.

Despite the massive show of unity, not all Americans were in a mood to celebrate or to leave politics aside for a few days. The Left’s pretentiously named People for the American Way (PFAW) reacted to the yellow scarves as a bull would to a red flag.

Writing on January 24 in PFAW’s Right Wing Watch, Peter Montgomery slammed NSCW as a “public relations spectacle designed to promote positive feelings about policies that undermine public education. It promotes a cheerful vibe by wrapping its participants in bright yellow scarves, which serve as a flashy distraction from the agenda at hand.”

So, the proud parents and teachers and the tens of thousands of children who enthusiastically paid tribute to their schools, public or private, should feel that they have been used? Maybe for the Left that is the new “American Way”—to cast aspersions on people you don’t even know.

Moderate/liberal commentator Juan Williams is certainly no tool of the radical right, yet Williams appeared on the January 24 edition of Fox News’ The Five sporting an NSCW yellow scarf and declaring his support for “more opportunity for parents to find the best schools for their kids.”

As for the criticism that choice drains resources from traditional public schools, NSCW President Andrew Campanella had this response in a January 24 interview with the online publication Real Clear Education: “… anyone who is talking about school choice and isn’t counting traditional public schools as a vital choice that parents can make for their kids, is counting out public education, and I think that’s a mistake. So, I don’t know how school choice can hurt traditional public schools when they are an important component of school choice.

“I do, however, know that research shows school choice helps all schools, and helps traditional public schools improve when they need to,” said Campanella. “What’s most important to remember, though, is that education is about kids and their futures. It seems too easy for some folks to lose sight of that.”

The bulk of PFAW’s diatribe against NSCW targeted Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick to be U.S. secretary of education, and her previous advocacy and financial support for charter school and voucher initiatives. The implication was the 2017 event was all about DeVos and the $20 billion in federal support for school choice promised by Trump during the presidential campaign. But it wasn’t. Nor was it about Trump, even though he did issue an official proclamation in favor of NSCW.

Indicative of the divergence of opinion was a January 26 K12DC blogpost (picked up on NSCW’s Twitter feed) by Dr. Howard Fuller, director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University and former superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools. “For many,” Fuller wrote, “the election of Donald Trump as President has created an environment that is toxic at best and calamitous at worst. As a black man who voted for Hillary Clinton and supports parent choice, I am torn. I am concerned not only about parent choice in the realm of education but also worried about deportations, women’s rights, and access to health care, among other things.”

Nevertheless, Fuller continued, the goal in celebrating National School Choice Week remains the same no matter who is president: “to continue the fight for substantive and real improvements in the life chances of all our children, particularly those who come from low-income and working-class black families in America. For them, the realization of the promise of the American dream remains largely elusive.”

In other words, the week really was all about the kids and their energy, exuberance, pride, and their hopes and dreams, which they expressed clearly as they waved those yellow scarves and danced up a storm. In the end, you could say it was about advancing the American way by expanding opportunity for all.

[Originally Published at Townhall]

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A Pall Descends on Our Campuses

By Jane Shaw

On January 18, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against Kellogg Community College, charging it with violating the rights to free speech of two students. One, Michelle Gregoire, had been arrested, checked for weapons, and taken to jail.

In September, Gregoire, fellow student Brandon Withers, and two other young people were recruiting for Young Americans for Liberty, a pro-liberty campus group, at the college in Battle Creek, Michigan. They distributed pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution and asked students if they believed in freedom and liberty.

In doing so, they violated the college’s policies on solicitation; they hadn’t obtained a permit in advance, and they were speaking outside an established free-speech zone near the student center, the one part of the campus where students can exercise their First Amendment rights in accordance with the college’s policies.

They were told to stop, but when they said that they would continue, campus police were called. Three were arrested and jailed for trespassing. Gregoire, who is a mother of three children and also a nursing student, was checked for weapons. The others arrested were representatives of the Leadership Institute and the YAL group at Michigan State. All were released about seven hours later.

The Kellogg case is especially disturbing, because of the innocent nature of what the students were doing: defending freedom. But it is just one of a growing number of curtailments of free speech on campuses. A basic right is being violated at the whim of administrators. This is happening even though courts — including the Supreme Court — consistently uphold students’ constitutional rights to free expression on public campuses.

Many people think of college as a place to “find oneself,” to be exposed to different ideas, to challenge conventional wisdom. But college campuses are now blocking that experience.

For instance, student expression is often limited to “speech zones,” which can be minuscule. At Kellogg Community College, the zone was the student center. At Grand Valley State University, also in Michigan, the free speech zone represents about 0.02 percent of the university’s space.

Additionally, administrators can often choose which groups may speak. The suit against Kellogg claims a LGBT group was allowed to speak freely — but not the group distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution.

Why are such incidents becoming common? There are two reasons. First, for the first time in decades, administrators are deliberately shaping student opinion. Like most faculty, they lean left ideologically and often have more interaction with students than faculty do. At Kellogg, it was the director of student life who told Gregoire and her colleagues to stop speaking.

Robert Shibley, executive director of the watchdog group FIRE, thinks we are seeing the return of in loco parentis, the doctrine of most universities 60 years ago. Because parents had placed their children in the hands of university officials, it was deemed proper to set up rules to protect them. These rules typically included curfews and parietal hours (times during which men and women could be in the same dorm rooms).

Shibley explains, “For years the effort to develop moral character was sidelined, but now the administrators are happy to get into that role again. Without admitting it, colleges are again taking up ‘moral education,’ but the morals are different. And too many students seem to accept that paternalism.”

One example of the new in loco parentis is the increasingly adopted requirement — it’s official at Occidental College, a private college, and in all California public colleges — that any sexual activity (including fondling) be preceded by explicit, stated permission. This is known as the “yes means yes” rule. Failing to meet that standard could lead to prosecution for rape.

As if to confirm Shibley’s in loco parentis thesis, Drew Hutchinson, the director of student life at Kellogg, said he was stopping Gregoire and her colleagues because he wanted to protect unsophisticated students who might be unnerved by their questions.

There is, in addition, another reason for the kind of incident at Kellogg: poor or inaccurate teaching of American history.

Both administrators and students have little understanding of the rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Nor do they realize the Constitution and Bill of Rights represent a giant leap in the progress of political history toward freedom. That’s a clear and significant failing of college education.

Until schools bring back respect for inalienable rights and the role of the United States in protecting them, we will continue to see troubling examples of universities’ ignorance, just as we did when campus police at Kellogg Community College arrested students for peacefully handing out pocket-sized Constitutions. 

[Originally Published at American Spectator]

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The Environmentalist War On Science

climate justice makes you blue

By Jeff Stier

The EPA just threw out five years of fracking safety research to appease green extremists. Although early drafts found no evidence that fracking has had a “widespread, systemic” impact on drinking water, the final report claims that there isn’t “enough information to make a broad conclusion.”

How absurd. An honest look at the science should have environmentalists waving the white flag in their fight against fracking. It’s time for both the EPA and green crusaders to quit this political charade and recognize that fracking technology has boosted the economy, helped wean America off imported oil and gas, and dramatically reduced CO2 emissions.

In 2015, a draft of the EPA’s report found that fracking operations have not “led to widespread, systemic impact on drinking water.” Since then, the underlying science in the report hasn’t changed. But the EPA, under pressure, adjusted its conclusion to suit critics to the left even of the administration, who would have been left without a leg to stand on in their efforts to sow doubt about fracking safety.

The findings weren’t surprising. In 2011, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson conceded she is “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” And in 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he has “not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.”

But green activists and their allies in Washington were quick to contest the draft report, ignoring the fact that EPA researchers relied on more than 950 sources — from scientific analyses to peer-reviewed papers — for their report. Do environmentalists really expect us to believe the agency, no friend of the oil and natural gas industry, is in the pocket of Big Fracking? The academic community is in agreement on fracking; only activists are fracking deniers.

For example, a 2013 Duke University study of the Fayetteville Shale area in Arkansas found that shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing had no impact on groundwater.

In 2015, scientists analyzing the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania found fracking activity harmless, concluding that there was “no evidence for direct communication with shallow drinking water wells due to upward migration from shale horizons.”

And this year, a three-year study by the University of Cincinnati found that fracking did not affect water supplies — despite researchers’ best efforts to find a link. Indeed, lead scientist Amy Townsend-Small said her team was planning to keep the results under wraps because their funders were hoping the “data could point to a reason to ban” fracking.

Attempts to undermine fracking threaten America’s ability to tap into significant energy benefits. In 2012, oil and natural gas production saved the average U.S. household at least $1,200. All told, the industry supports almost 10 million jobs and represents 8 percent of the U.S. economy — and those figures are only predicted to grow, especially if OPEC keeps its promise to reduce production.

Moreover, fracking has strengthened America’s energy independence. As the world’s leader in oil and natural gas production, the Unites States can now scale back its energy purchases from less-friendly nations.

And despite the green movement’s outrage, fracking is actually helping the environment. That’s because the boom in gas and oil production has enabled us to substitute natural gas for coal. As a result, last year, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions hit their lowest level in nearly three decades, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.

Environmentalists should stop denying science. Fracking boosts our economy, strengthens energy independence, and protects our environment. It’s a shame that, like the most extreme green activists, the EPA is only willing to embrace science when it serves an anti-fossil-fuel agenda.

[Originally Published at Pundicity]

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Even With Trump’s Support, U.S. Labor Is Singing the Blues

By Thomas Hemphill

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership last week, and the numbers are not favorable for the U.S. labor movement.  The BLS calculated (from data collected as part of the Current Population Survey) that union membership in 2016 was 10.7 percent, down 0.4 percent from 2015.  This percentage loss translates to a decline of 240,000 union members since 2015.  In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data is available to the BLS, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent; the 10.7 percent rate represents a 46.8 percent decline in American union membership over the ensuing 34 years.  Moreover, as of 2016 there are 14.6 million union members, as compared to 17.7 million union members in 1983.

Interestingly, private and public sector union membership in 2016 is now approaching parity, as approximately 7.4 million private sector workers and 7.1 million public sector workers are union members. Yet the union membership rates are significantly skewed, as the public sector union membership rate of 34.4 percent is over 5 times that of private sector union membership (6.4 percent).  There is empirical evidence that supports the argument that union members are paid higher wages than their non-union counterparts.  For 2016, the BLS reports that median weekly earnings of nonunion workers – $802 – were only 80 percent of union workers ($1,004).

But declining membership is not the only concern for organized labor, as state Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation has re-emerged as another threat to union survival.  RTW legislation prohibits so-called union security agreements, or other forms of agreements between employers and labor unions, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of dues to a union, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after being hired.  In a June 2015 report issued by National Economic Research Associates, and sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an analysis of economic data from RTW states showed that, especially in heavily unionized industries such as manufacturing, businesses are more likely to locate in states with RTW laws.  The report also found evidence that RTW laws have a direct, positive effect on employment, output, and personal income.

Since Oklahoma became the 22nd state to allow RTW (after voters passed a Constitutional amendment) in late 2001, there was a decade-long hiatus before Indiana (2012) and Michigan (2012) became the 23th and 24th States to enact such legislation.  Three other States quickly enacted RTW legislation in succession: Wisconsin (2015), West Virginia (2016), and Kentucky (2017), becoming the 25th, 26th and 27th RTW States, respectfully.

Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature has been busy this January moving RTW bills through its House and Senate, with recently elected Governor Eric Greitens (R) pledging to sign RTW legislation.  Likewise, New Hampshire is also on track to pass RTW legislation in 2017, as the State Senate passed its bill earlier this month and it is expected to be taken up in the House in the next few weeks.  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) has said he will sign RTW legislation into law.

Not surprisingly, RTW legislation is a highly partisan issue, with Republicans generally in favor and Democrats strongly opposed to its’ enactment.  Yet, in 2017, Republicans control both legislative chambers in 32 states, with 24 of these 32 states having Republican governors.  Enacting RTW legislation requires control of both the executive and legislative branches of government.  In those states without RTW laws and a Republican controlled government the stars have aligned, and legislative efforts this January – beginning in Kentucky – have been to rapidly vote this legislation out of state legislatures and send it for the governor’s signature.

The National Labor Relations Board (“board”), which has been criticized for being an activist, strongly pro-union agency during the Obama years, is getting a new acting chair.  Phillip Miscimarra, a Republican board member was named acting chair by President Trump last week, and will remain on the board until his term expires on August 17, 2018.  In a statement, Miscimarra said: “I remain committed to the task that Congress has assigned to the board, which is to foster stability and to apply the National Labor Relations Act in an even-handed manner that serves the interests of employees, employers and unions throughout the country.”

President Trump will also have the opportunity to name two new members to the board, as there are two unfilled seats.  Under the new chair, and a majority of board members being Republican appointees, the days of the board seeking to expand and reinterpret existing federal labor rules, such as its controversial decision in 2014 to charge the McDonald’s Corporation as a “joint employer” in a series of unfair labor practice complaints filed against the company’s franchisees (even though the franchisees were privately owned and legally separate businesses) will become a fading memory under a newly reconstituted board.

Traditionally, the American manufacturing sector has provided a fertile ground for supporting and expanding union membership.  However, this sector has shed nearly five million jobs since 2001, declining from 17 million to just over 12 million in 2016.  In addition, many manufacturers are located in RTW states where union efforts to organize have been less successful.  Recent growth in U.S. service sector employment is, however, accompanied by low unionization rates.  For 2016, this low unionization rate is reflected in the finance industry (1.2 percent), at food services and drinking places (1.6 percent), and in professional and technical services (1.6 percent).

While President Trump has pledged his Administration’s support for bolstering American manufacturing and investing in the nation’s infrastructure, while the construction industry has a high unionization rate (13.9 percent in 2016), Trump’s policy efforts will not dramatically reverse this long-term trend of declining national unionization rates, but may help to stabilize private sector unionization rates and prevent the national unionization rate from slipping below 10 percent by the end of this decade.

[Originally Published at RealClearMarkets]

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Moore Means Less When Considering 100 Days Of Resistance

By Peter Ferrara

Michael Moore is 62 years old, but he has the mind of an adolescent. He is carrying out a campaign calling for 100 Days of Resistance to Trump. But he is delusional, claiming he and his progressives won the Presidency. What we see is that he wants to lead a revolution for the fun and romanticism of it.

To give him maximum credence, Moore’s career displays a dominating belief in socialism. But that would only make America into a poor, third world country. We just had an election. And it was working people who stood up and said no to the Democrat Socialists of America.

Moore’s adolescent socialism is not an issue over which reasonable people can differ. The main lesson of the 20th Century was that free market capitalism works to provide broad prosperity, and raise millions out of poverty, while socialism doesn’t.  Socialism instead produces widespread, permanent, poverty, hunger, and premature death.

To make it simple, you can compare and contrast South Korea with North Korea. Or the former West Germany with East Germany. Or Taiwan with mainland China.

Even the Russian and Chinese Communist parties don’t believe in Socialism any more. They have abandoned the tenets of Communism, defined in the last century as “Socialism in a hurry,” to try to make their nations into modern, prosperous, functioning countries.

And the debate is over throughout the Third World as well. Countries from Chile to India that abandoned socialism for free market capitalism have boomed as well. Over recent decades, free market capitalism has worked to raise millions out of the deepest poverty.

To give Moore his due, he does seem to represent a widespread redirection of the Democrat Party. The Che Guevara shirts of Democrat juveniles are not just a bad joke, but a clue as to what is in their hearts. With Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in leading roles, and Barack Obama sticking around in Washington to contribute to the resistance, the Democrat Party is well down the road to the destiny of the Russian and Chinese Communist parties.

Donald Trump was not the only Republican who won, and Hillary Clinton was not the only Democrat who lost, in the last election.  Republicans now have complete control in 33 states, holding the Governors’ offices and majorities in the state legislatures.  That would be 34, counting Nebraska, with its unicameral legislature.  Democrats have complete control in 5 states.

Republicans now have majorities in both houses of Congress. Under the misleadership of Barack Obama, Democrats have lost over 1,000 seats over the last 8 years, losing both the House and the Senate over that time, and numerous state legislatures, Governors’ offices, and other statewide offices. The notorious George Soros financing Moore’s Resistance is only contributing to the decline and fall of the Democrat Party.

There are two ways to utterly defeat Moore’s insurrection.  One is through strict law enforcement.  It is a good sign that the authorities are now planning to prosecute the hundreds of Inauguration rioters arrested for breaking the law under felony rioting statutes.  That carries up to 10 years imprisonment, and $25,000 in fines.

People should be free to protest just as the Tea Party did.  But the minute any of the “protestors” break the law, they need to be prosecuted under the law, and not just slapped on the wrist and let go. Strict law enforcement will shut Moore’s brain dead insurrection down.

The second antidote is the promising Trump agenda: Major tax reform with lower tax rates, repealing and replacing Obamacare with free market medicine, energy deregulation liberating American energy producers to lead the world in low cost energy production achieving American energy independence, balancing the budget with spending reductions, and monetary policy reform including a link to gold.

The American economy never really recovered from the 2008-2009 recession. As Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman showed, the American historical record is that the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery.  But 8 years later, that recovery still has not happened under quasi-Socialist Obamanomics.

The result has been long term stagnation, subpar economic growth, declining middle class incomes, soaring poverty and welfare dependence.  Voters, especially working families, have made clear that they will no longer tolerate such long term American economic decline. Hence the decline of the Democrat Party during the Obama years.

Moore’s insurrection will quickly end when Trump successfully restores booming economic growth. That is why grassroots organization to ensure successful implementation of Trump’s agenda is so vital.

[Originally Published at the Daily Caller]

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