Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Real American Story - Happens Every Day - -Doesn't Matter If This One Isn't True


I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'

'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it', said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.  Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ...'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

 The Moral:

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...

An unexpected phone call from an old friend....
Green stoplights on your way to work....

The fastest line at the grocery store....

A good sing-along song on the radio..

Your keys found right where you left them.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Congessional Privilege Myths in Support Of The Proposed 28th Amendmet

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the Citizens of the United States..."

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon their states. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

While no one can reasonably argue agaiost the need to pass this amendment, we do our cause great harm if we use myths to promote that cause. Those of us who are shouting for cbange must play by tbe same rules of fairness that we expect from our elected leaders and civil servants.  Self-policing is required .

Here are 2 myths being circulated on the internet in support of  the Amendment - followed by the facts:  

Members of Congress can retire at full pay after only one term.

Here are the facts:

CRS, June 13: Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

Children of Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans.Staffers of Congress family members are also exempt from having to payback student loans.

Here are the facts:

Some congressional employees are eligible to have up to $60,000 of student loans repaid after several years — just like other federal workers. But that’s not the case for members of Congress or their families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Real Americans - Taya and Chris Kyle - Recognized By Texas State Legislature

From Political Insider

More than two years after he was tragically killed, “American Sniper” and Navy SEAL hero Chris Kyle is being awarded with Texas’s Legislative Medal of Honor. His widow Taya said he would be thrilled with the honor:
Kyle was nominated upon the merit of his exceptional dedication over the course of his service, and specifically for citations of conspicuous gallantry and self-sacrifice during the battles of Fallujah in 2004 and Ramadi in 2006. At the time of his death, Kyle was a resident of Midlothian. Representative John Wray of District 10, which encompasses Midlothian, nominated Kyle for the award and testified in support of the nomination before the committee.
Upon learning of the committee’s decision, Kyle’s wife Taya stated, “Chris would feel humbled and honored that Representative John Wray started a movement to consider Chris for the Texas Medal of Honor. Chris loved Texas as much as he loved his country. Chris never thought about medals or decorations only about his service to his fellow service members and his country. Even now I can hear him saying, “there are others more deserving than me.” But, I have been assured his records have been thoroughly reviewed and reflect the high standards for this award. I am humbly grateful for Chris and equally proud of the honor being bestowed on him for his service.”
He’s also been awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, and three Navy and Marine Corps medals, and many other awards. Countless American lives were saved because of Chris Kyle’s efforts. Thank you for your service, Chris!

Read more:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Americans Defined

To Kill an American  Written by an Australian Dentist
You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

'An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish , Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian , or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan .   The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion.. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in
 the history of the world - (and is the most generous in the wotld - editor).

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous.. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan ...

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11 , 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo , and Stalin , and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world.. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place.They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom.Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
Coutesy Randal Smith

America Under Attack From Within: Whether They Are Deep Into The Pile or Playing Around The Edge - The Stench Is Still There

I have read the Peter Schweizer book “ Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” It is something. Because it is heavily researched and reported and soberly analyzed, it is a highly effective takedown. Because its tone is modest—Mr. Schweizer doesn’t pretend to more than he has, or take wild interpretive leaps—it is believable.
By the end I was certain of two things. A formal investigation, from Congress or the Justice Department, is needed to determine if Hillary Clinton’s State Department functioned, at least to some degree and in some cases, as a pay-for-play operation and whether the Clinton Foundation has functioned, at least in part, as a kind of high-class philanthropic slush fund.
I wonder if any aspirant for the presidency except Hillary Clinton could survive such a book. I suspect she can because the Clintons are unique in the annals of American politics: They are protected from charges of corruption by their reputation for corruption. It’s not news anymore.
They’re like . . . Bonnie and Clyde go on a spree, hold up a bunch of banks, it causes a sensation, there’s a trial, and they’re acquitted. They walk out of the courthouse, get in a car, rob a bank, get hauled in, complain they’re being picked on—“Why are you always following us?”—and again, not guilty. They rob the next bank and no one cares. “That’s just Bonnie and Clyde doing what Bonnie and Clyde do. No one else cares, why should I?”
Mr. Schweizer announces upfront that he cannot prove wrongdoing, only patterns of behavior. There is no memo that says, “To all staff: If we deal this week with any issues regarding Country A, I want you to know country A just gave my husband $750,000 for a speech, so give them what they want.” Even if Mrs. Clinton hadn’t destroyed her emails, no such memo would be found. (Though patterns, dates and dynamics might be discerned.)
Mr. Schweizer writes of “the flow of tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation . . . from foreign governments, corporations, and financiers.” It is illegal for foreign nationals to give to U.S. political campaigns, but foreign money, given as donations to the Clinton Foundation or speaking fees, comes in huge amounts: “No one has even come close in recent years to enriching themselves on the scale of the Clintons while they or a spouse continued to serve in public office.” The speaking fees Bill commands are “enormous and unprecedented,” as high as $750,000 a speech. On occasion they have been paid by nations or entities that had “matters of importance sitting on Hillary’s desk” when she was at State.
From 2001 through 2012 Bill collected $105.5 million for speeches and raised hundreds of millions for the foundation. When she was nominated, Hillary said she saw no conflict.
President Obama pressed for a memorandum of understanding in which the Clintons would agree to submit speeches to State’s ethics office, disclose the names of major donors to the foundation, and seek administration approval before accepting direct contributions to the foundation from foreign governments. The Clintons accepted the agreement and violated it “almost immediately.”
Revealingly, they amassed wealth primarily by operating “at the fringes of the developed world.” Their “most lucrative transactions” did not involve countries like Germany and Britain, where modern ethical rules and procedures are in force, but emerging nations, where regulations are lax.
How did it work? “Bill flew around the world making speeches and burnishing his reputation as a global humanitarian and wise man. Very often on these trips he was accompanied by ‘close friends’ or associates who happened to have business interests pending in these countries.” Introductions were made, conversations had. “Meanwhile, bureaucratic or legislative obstacles were mysteriously cleared or approvals granted within the purview of his wife, the powerful senator or secretary of state.”
Mr. Schweizer tells a story with national-security implications. Kazakhstan has rich uranium deposits, coveted by those who’d make or sell nuclear reactors or bombs. In 2006 Bill Clinton meets publicly and privately with Kazakhstan’s dictator, an unsavory character in need of respectability. Bill brings along a friend, a Canadian mining tycoon named Frank Giustra. Mr. Giustra wanted some mines. Then the deal was held up. A Kazakh official later said Sen. Clinton became involved. Mr. Giustra got what he wanted.
Soon after, he gave the Clinton Foundation $31.3 million. A year later Mr. Giustra’s company merged with a South African concern called Uranium One. Shareholders later wrote millions of dollars in checks to the Clinton Foundation. Mr. Giustra announced a commitment of $100 million to a joint venture, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative.
It doesn’t end there. When Hillary was secretary of state, Russia moved for a bigger piece of the world uranium market. The Russians wanted to acquire Uranium One, which had significant holdings in the U.S. That meant the acquisition would require federal approval. Many had reservations: Would Russian control of so much U.S. uranium be in America’s interests? The State Department was among the agencies that had to sign off. Money from interested parties rolled into the foundation. The deal was approved. The result? “Half of projected American uranium production” was “transferred to a private company controlled” by Russia, which soon owned it outright.
What would a man like Vladimir Putin think when he finds out he can work the U.S. system like this? He’d think it deeply decadent. He’d think it weak. Is that why he laughs when we lecture him on morals?
Mr. Schweizer offers a tough view of the Clinton Foundation itself. It is not a “traditional charity,” in that there is a problem “delineating where the Clinton political machines and moneymaking ventures end and where their charity begins.” The causes it promotes—preventing obesity, alleviating AIDS suffering—are worthy, and it does some good, but mostly it functions as a middleman. The foundation’s website shows the Clintons holding sick children in Africa, but unlike Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan’s Purse, the foundation does “little hands-on humanitarian work.” It employs longtime Clinton associates and aides, providing jobs “to those who served the Clintons when in power and who may serve them again.” The Better Business Bureau in 2013 said it failed to meet minimum standards of accountability and transparency. Mr. Schweizer notes that “at least four Clinton Foundation trustees have either been charged or convicted of financial crimes including bribery and fraud.”
There’s more. Mrs. Clinton has yet to address any of it. If the book is true—if it’s half-true—it is a dirty story.It would be good if the public, the Democratic Party and the Washington political class  would register some horror, or at least dismay.
I write on the eve of the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, May 8, 1945. America had just saved the world. The leaders of the world respected us—a great people led by tough men. What do they think now? Scary to think, isn’t it?

Friday, May 1, 2015

It's The Little Things ----------!!

Lisa Beamer on Good Morning America - If you remember, she's the wife of Todd Beamer who said 'Let's Roll!' and helped take down the plane over Pennsylvania that was heading for Washington, DC back on 9/11. 
    She said it's the little things that she misses most about Todd, such as hearing the garage door open as he came Home, and her children running to meet him. 
    Lisa recalled this story: "I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things a side on the edge of her desk and sat down there.
    With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, 'Class is over, I would like to share with all of you, a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important. Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. 
    Perhaps this is God's way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day. Her eyes, beginning to water, she went on, 'So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. 
    It doesn't have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground. Please look for these things, and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the "stuff" of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. 
    The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook. 
    Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why Should We Believe Today's "Climatological Cassandras" On Global Warming?

Time Magazine June 24, 1974

"As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.
Telltale signs are everywhere—from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data."
Editor's Note: Given the fact the ice age never happened, the only valid statement in this article is "the weather varies from place to place and time to time". The terms highlighed in bold are the very same terms used by those ringing the alarm bells today on weather patterns causing everything from flooding to drought. In 1974, the horrors of the "man made" industrial age had been 90+ years in the making - yet the climatologists then had "convincing data" that temperature was dropping. Why should we believe their "convincing data" today?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Who Are Our Leaders - Really? Never Stand In Line Again!

Ronald Kessler is a conservative Washington based commentator/author - Perhaps a biased account  - but so much of what he writes can't be a surprise - based on what we the people have witnessed and have heard from other sources. 

*A philanderer of the highest order.*
*She ordered the kitchen help to save all the left-over wine from State dinners, mixed it with fresh wine and served again during the next White House occasion.*


*Another philanderer of the highest order. In addition, LBJ was as crude as the day is long. Both JFK and LBJ kept a lot of women in the White House for extramarital affairs and both had set up early warning systems to alert them if/when their wives were nearby. Both were promiscuous and oversexed men.*
*She was either naive or just pretended to not know about her husband's many liaisons.*


*A "moral" man but very odd, weird, paranoid. He had a horrible relationship with his family and was almost a recluse.*
*She was quiet most of the time.*


*Nice, decent man. Everyone in the Secret Service was surprised by his downfall.*


*A true gentlemen who treated the Secret Service with respect and dignity. He had a great sense of humor. *
*She drank a lot!*


*A complete phony who would portray one picture of himself to public and very different in private e.g. Would be shown carrying his own luggage but the suitcases were always empty. He kept empty ones just for photo ops. He wanted people to see him as pious and a non-drinker but he and his family drank alcohol a lot! He had disdain for the Secret Service and was very irresponsible with the "football" with nuclear codes. He didn't think it was a big deal and would keep military aides at a great distance. Often did not acknowledge the presence of Secret Service personnel assigned to serve him.*
*She mostly did her own thing.*


*The real deal, moral, honest, respectful and dignified. They treated Secret Service and everyone else with respect and honor, thanked everyone all the time. He took the time to know everyone on a personal level. One favorite story was early in his Presidency when he came out of his room with a pistol tucked on his hip. The agent in charge asked: "Why the pistol, Mr. President?" He replied, "In case you boys can't get the job done, I can help." It was common for him to carry a pistol. When he met with Gorbachev, he had a pistol in his briefcase.
*She was very nice but very protective of the President and the Secret Service was often caught in the middle. She tried hard to control what he ate. He would say to the agent, "Come on, you gotta help me out." The Reagans drank wine during State dinners and special occasions only otherwise they shunned alcohol. The Secret Service could count on one hand the times they were served wine during family dinner. For all the fake bluster of the Carters, the Reagans were the ones who lived life as genuinely moral people.*


*Extremely kind and considerate, always respectful. Took great care in making sure the agents' comforts were taken care of. They even brought them meals. One time she brought warm clothes to agents standing outside at Kennebunkport. One was given a warm hat and, when he tried to say "no thanks" even though he was obviously freezing, the President said "Son, don't argue with the First Lady. Put the hat on." He was the most prompt of the Presidents. He ran the White House like a well-oiled machine.*
*She ruled the house and spoke her mind.*


*Presidency was one giant party. Not trustworthy. He was nice mainly because he wanted everyone to like him but to him life is just one big game and party. Everyone knows about his sexuality.*
*She is another phony. Her personality would change the instant cameras were near. She hated, with open disdain the military and Secret Service. She was another who felt people were there to serve her. She was always trying to keep tabs on Bill Clinton.*


*An egotistical ass who was once overheard by his Secret Service detail lecturing his son that he needed to do better in school or he would end up like these guys, pointing to the agents.*


*The Secret Service loved him and Laura Bush. He was also the most physically in shape who had a very strict workout regimen. The Bushes made sure their entire administrative and household staff understood that they were to respect and be considerate of the Secret Service.*
*She was one of the nicest First Ladies, if not the nicest. She never had any harsh word to say about anyone.*


*Clinton all over again - hates the military and looks down on the Secret Service. He is egotistical and cunning. He looks you in the eye and appears to agree with you but turns around and does the opposite. He has temper tantrums.*
*She is a complete ----- who basically hates anybody who is not black, hates the military and looks at the Secret Service as servants.*


A TRUE STORY ABOUT General McChrystal's resignation in Obama's office from General McChrystal's book!
Some men carry and handle their diplomacy better than others.
When former U.S. Military commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, was called into the Oval Office by Barack Obama, he knew things weren't going to go well when the President accused him of not supporting him in his political role as President.
"It's not my job to support you as a politician, Mr. President, it's my job to support you as Commander-in-Chief," McChrystal replied, and he handed Obama his resignation.
Not satisfied with accepting McChrystal's resignation, the President made a cheap parting shot:
"I bet when I die you'll be happy to ---- on my grave."
The General saluted and said, "Mr. President, I always told myself after leaving the Army I'd never stand in line again."

President Obama: It's Never Enough

Excerpts Michelle Malkin A black commentaor

It's never enough. American taxpayers have surrendered billions and billions and billions of dollars to the social-justice-spender-in-chief. But it's never, ever enough.

If we are "serious" about preventing more riots, the president declared, then "the rest of us" ----- have to make sure "we are providing early education" and "making investments" so that inner-city youths are "getting the training they need to find jobs."
____"there's a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now." His laundry list of the supposedly underfunded cures that he can't get through Congress includes "school reform," "job training" and "some investments in infrastructure" to "attract new businesses."
Here are the facts - just read the bold print  - by any measure, massive investments.  Geez- is there any limit to what this man wants?

In 2009, Obama and the Democrats rammed the $840 billion federal stimulus package through Capitol Hill under the guise of immediate job creation and economic recovery. An estimated $64 billion went to public school districts; another nearly $50 billion went for other education spending. This included $13 billion for low-income public school kids; $4.1 billion for Head Start and childcare services; $650 million for educational technology; $200 million for working college students; and $70 million for homeless children. Last week, economists from the St. Louis Federal Reserve surveyed more than 6,700 education stimulus recipients and concluded that for every $1 million of stimulus grants to a district, a measly 1.5 jobs were created. "Moreover, all of this increase came in the form of nonteaching staff," the report found, and the "jobs effect was also not statistically different from zero."

More than three-quarters of the jobs "created or saved" in the first year of the stimulus were government jobs, while roughly 1 million private sector jobs were forestalled or destroyed, according to Ohio State University.

About $230 billion in porkulus funds was set aside for infrastructure projects, yet less than a year later, Obama was back asking for another $50 billion to pour down the infrastructure black hole.

In 2010, President Obama signed the so-called Edujobs bill into law -- a $26 billion political wealth redistribution scheme paying back Big Labor for funding Democratic congressional campaigns. A year later, several were spending on the money to plug budget shortfalls instead of hiring teachers. Other recipients received billions despite having full educational payrolls and not knowing what to do with the big bucks.
In 2012, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act "to encourage startups and support our nation's small businesses."

In July 2014, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to "help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy." (Never mind that a GAO review of the feds' existing 47 job-training programs run by nine different agencies "generally found the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive or restricted to short-term impacts.")

In December 2014, the White House unveiled nearly $1 billion in new "investments" to "expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America" from "birth and continuing to age 5."

That's all on top of the $6 billion government-funded national service and education initiative known as the SERVE America Act, which was enacted less than a month after the nearly $1 trillion stimulus with the help of a majority of Big Government Senate Republicans. The SERVE America Act included $1.1 billion to increase the investment in national service opportunities; $97 million for Learn and Serve America Youth Engagement Zones; and nearly $400 million for the Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund to "create new knowledge about how to solve social challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures, and to improve our nation's problem-solving infrastructure in low-income communities."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wealth Creating Good: The Rich California Greenies vs. The Rich Business Goose Who Laid The Golden Egg S  - Senior editor of City Journal, from which this essay was adapted.

 "I just can't imagine any corporation in their right mind would decide to set up in California today."

Californians have long had the reputation of being more concerned about environmental issues than Americans in general. But for years that interest expressed itself in modest ideas about conservation and in efforts to mitigate problems like the smog that hovered over the state's cities. In the last 15 years or so, however, the green movement in California has lurched increasingly to the left — touting no-growth initiatives that make it more expensive to create jobs, housing and infrastructure in California — even as environmentalists have gained political power in the state.
Key to the rise has been vast sums of money poured into the cause by a relatively small circle of extremely rich Californians, whose fortunes were made in so-called "clean" industries like technology and finance, and who largely constitute what the press often simply refers to as the state's "environmental movement."
With billions of dollars at their disposal, these rich greens fund hundreds of local environmental groups, lure environmentalists from elsewhere to pursue the cause in the Golden State, and spend heavily to pass green ballot initiatives and elect politicians whose agendas revolve around environmentalism. These California true believers are also intent on using their vast resources to promote their vision of environmentalism to the rest of the country. Call it the Californication of the green movement.
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife set up the Palo Alto-based Moore Foundation in 2000, staking it with $5 billion. Moore initially targeted some of his green philanthropy at conservation, an interest that he had developed as a recreational fisherman. But he has veered toward anti-growth environmentalism, channeling huge amounts of money to nonprofits and trusts so that they can buy up land in Northern California and freeze future development. Moore has also spent money on green politics, including $1 million on the 2010 campaign to thwart Proposition 23, a pro-growth initiative supported by a coalition of blue-collar unions, small businesses, manufacturers and big energy companies.
Just minutes from Moore's foundation in Palo Alto is the charity that Google executive Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, founded: the $300 million Schmidt Foundation. The Schmidts have been large funders of major California environmentalist players like the Energy Foundation, but through their 11th Hour project, they also back smaller local environmental efforts, including anti-fracking research and campaigns to ban or restrict oil and gas exploration.
The most visible of California's rich environmentalists is Tom Steyer, who led the anti-Prop. 23 effort and seeded it with $5 million of his own money. Steyer made headlines in 2014 by pledging to invest $100 million in congressional campaigns in seven states, seeking to influence federal climate policy. Operating out of his 1,800-acre ranch in Pescadero, he and his wife have also pumped money into the TomKat Charitable Trust, based in San Francisco, which focuses on giving to "organizations that envision a world with climate stability, a healthy and just food system, and broad prosperity."
The heirs of William Hewlett and David Packard have pushed the two foundations they established ever leftward, and activist environmentalism is a prime beneficiary.  In a signature moment in green giving, the Packard and Hewlett foundations decided in 2007 to boost their spending on climate-change issues, funneling the money into a new, San Francisco-based nonprofit, ClimateWorks, led initially by the former head of environmental programs at Hewlett. The Hewlett Foundation agreed to put $500 million into ClimateWorks, with the Packard Foundation adding approximately $390 million since 2008.
Two other major California funders have joined Packard and Hewlett in the climate-change cause: the Energy Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit that bundles smaller contributions into large environmental grants; and the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation, created by Nathaniel Simons, son of the enormously successful New York hedge-fund manager Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies. The younger Simons operates his own fund, Meritage, based in San Francisco, and has been described by Inside Philanthropy as the "quiet hedge fund manager engaged in massive climate giving."
Green causes increasingly dominate California's individual political races, too. Their takeover advanced decisively in 1996, when a green-activist group, Vote the Coast, targeted a handful of state assembly seats in wealthier coastal areas and helped get seven environmentally oriented Democratic candidates elected. That effort tipped the assembly to the Democrats and created an environmental caucus in the lower house. The new assembly majority proceeded to fill the state's environmental bureaucracies with left-environmentalists, making those bodies much more likely to side with greens against businesses and landowners in any disputes.
The Coastal Commission — originally created to oversee coastal development in California — has relentlessly extended its reach over the property of individuals and businesses, often refusing to let owners build or rebuild structures, and even objecting to the type of beach furniture that homeowners use. The commission's radical character was captured in the title of a 2014 speech by one of its retiring Democratic-appointed commissioners: "In Defense of Unreasonableness — Saving the California Coast."
California politics is likely to grow greener still. After spending millions across the country in the 2014 election cycle, Steyer plans to bring his environmentalist giving back to the Golden State. He also may be considering a run for office — probably the governorship — in 2018. If so, environmentalism will be the No. 1 theme of his self-funded campaign. "The fight for justice starts with climate," he recently observed. If the past is any guide, a Steyer governorship would be exceedingly costly to California businesses. In 2012, he spent $30 million of his own money on a successful initiative to hike taxes by $1 billion on out-of-state firms operating in California, with half of the revenues from the tax going to projects that promote conservation and renewable energy.
California consistently ranks dead last as a place to do business in Chief Executive's annual survey of company executives. Environmental policy plays a huge role in the difficulties of operating in the state. A 2014 study by Pepperdine University's Michael Shires found that, thanks in part to the costs of California's global-warming law and other regulations, manufacturers in the state must pay 40% above the national average for electricity.
Even green firms are looking elsewhere. Be Green Packaging, a Santa Barbara recycling company, recently built a manufacturing plant in South Carolina; Biocentric Energy Holdings, a Santa Ana energy company, moved to Salt Lake City in 2011; and Bing Energy, a fuel-cell maker, relocated to Florida in 2011. "I just can't imagine any corporation in their right mind would decide to set up in California today," the company's CFO said.
California's greens are increasingly pushing their radical environmental agenda in other states. In 2012, for instance, a group of green funders, powered by California money, helped push on to Michigan's ballot the Michigan Renewable Energy Amendment, known as Proposal 3, the aim of which was to require that at least 25% of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2025. The face of Prop. 3 was a local group — Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs — with a $4 million campaign purse, according to state campaign records. But most of that money ($3.3 million) came from a San Francisco entity, the Green Tech Action Fund. Notwithstanding the huge influx of outside money, Prop. 3 went down to defeat, earning just 38% of the Michigan vote.
Most Americans have yet to embrace the anti-growth environmentalism preached by the green activists. But California is different, thanks to the power of its green movement, fueled by billions of dollars earned in America's pro-growth free markets.