Monthly Archives: December 2012

Lawsuit alleges IRS gives churches ‘preferential treatment’

Christ Church StellartonThe godless left consistently ignores the unique role of the church throughout America’s history.

At the head of the pack in almost any attack on believers is the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group recently sued the Internal Revenue Service, alleging “preferential treatment of churches” by the government in providing tax-exempt status for houses of worship.

According to a press release, the lawsuit contends churches should be forced to file the same tax forms as non-religious groups — including FFRF.

Much to the chagrin of the nation’s believers, groups like this seek to put churches on equal footing with any other non-profit organization. Such false equivalency is a common tactic among moral relativists and should be recognized as such.

The FFRF lawsuit ostensibly seeks accountability on the part of America’s churches.

A spokesperson for the group asked, “Why should churches be exempt from basic financial reporting requirements? Equally important, why would churches not wish to be accountable?”

In my estimation, this and other attempts to scale back the freedom of religious practitioners is, at least in part, aimed at outing those with politically incorrect views.

If successful, the lawsuit will require churches to reveal “how [they] spend donations,” the press release explains. One can imagine the calls to strip the tax-exempt status of churches who support traditional morals that fly in the face of secular humanism.

While championing the free speech rights of those who spread hate, leftists seem intent on stifling the expression of spiritual leaders trying to spread God’s love.

Church, representing the safest of all remaining harbors for freely expressing one’s faith, is continually criticized by those who worship at the altar of liberalism.

FFRF has used tax policy as the basis for litigation in at least two other instances including a suit filed just months prior that sought to roll back housing tax breaks for clergy members.

B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.

Chicago mayor targets city’s vending machines

As the mayor of a city defined by violent crime and absolute corruption at every level of leadership, Rahm Emanuel recently announced his priority for Chicago is … vending machine snacks?
Yes, Obama’s former chief of staff wants to impose restrictions on more than 350 vending machines in city buildings, thus preventing the company providing the snacks and beverages a say in what they offer.
The new guidelines allow “high calorie” beverages to make up just one-quarter of all cold drinks sold. The definition of high calorie, by the way, is a mere 25 calories per serving.
All hot beverages must come in below 25 calories, too.
Expanding on a nonsensical idea by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, only containers of water and seltzer are allowed to be larger than 12 fluid ounces.
Food regulations impose similar restrictions, allowing just one in four snacks sold to contain more than 250 calories. A certain number of snacks must also have less than 250 mg of sodium per serving.
Additionally, each machine must have nut-free and gluten-free offerings.
An American city should never arbitrarily stifle the freedom of private business, but this is just of countless examples proving many do exactly that.
When enough employers in these big government nanny districts realize they’re being railroaded and move to states that encourage entrepreneurial freedom, Emanuel, Bloomberg and company will be left with no one to intimidate.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily

What Really Happened to Hillary?

No, it’s not a slow news day. Critical talks continue as key members of Congress work to stave off the country’s fall over the fiscal cliff.  The market watches in breathless anticipation. The IRS waits to tell employers what tax rates they’ll need to use next week. Even Joe Biden has been called in to pinch hit for the stalling Harry Reid.

And yet…

According to my Twitter feed, the real question this weekend was, “What really happened to Hillary?”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gallup’s 2012 Most Admired Woman, has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. Just in time to cancel her already rescheduled meeting on Capitol Hill, where she was to testify and help Senators finally learn the truth about the tragedy at Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton developed a stomach flu. Which then caused her dehydrated body to faint resulting in a concussion and a further delay to speak. Now, after another week of illness Hillary is reported to have a blood clot and is now hospitalized.

As a result of the ever evolving story, even the venerable Charles Krauthammer pressing for information on Benghazi said, “We haven’t heard anything. We know as much about her concussion as we know about (Venezuelan president) Hugo Chavez. This is an open society, she is the Secretary of State, she has disappeared.”

So. What has happened to Hillary? Could these things, as reported, be true? Sure. There is plenty of plausibility. But do you believe in coincidences? Yeah, me neither.

The theory espoused by many conservatives this weekend is that all Clinton’s illnesses are faked. That she’s not really sick but that she is hiding out until the new Secretary of State is approved so that she will not be compelled to testify.

Could this be real? Yes. Of course, the whole hospitalization line does give more credibility.

Still, it’s not a very romantic theory.  Here’s one that carries much more intrigue and all the makings of a dramatic spy novel. The following is a condensed version from the EU Times: A US Military airplane, of which Hillary Clinton was a passenger, flew into Bahrain. There they picked up a number of Navy SEALs, who were based in Afghanistan and whose function often is to safeguard US diplomats in combat zones. One of the SEALs was Commander Job Price. The flight was en route to Bagdad when they ‘deviated’ and headed towards an Iranian airbase. Coincidentally, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was also at that airport. Something happened during the landing causing the plane to crash land. Commander Price was killed and the Secretary was severely injured. After receiving emergency aid from the Iranians, another US military plane was dispatched and the survivors flown out.

Too much to believe? The EU Times provides links to Russian intelligence reports as well as a Reuters story which mentions the damaged plan in Iran. Additionally, published reports in the US did relate the new world orderNavy SEAL died mysteriously in a non-combat incident. Some will argue that the EU Times has a biased agenda. Of course, many will argue that the main stream media also promote their personal agenda.

Personally, I hope Hillary recovers quickly and finally testifies as to the State Department’s role in Benghazi. The families of those killed deserve the truth. Like you I don’t wish Mrs. Clinton ill health.

In the end, is this just fodder for late night talk radio?

Or is it more? Calling all conspiracy theorists…

3:00 pm Update: To add to the questions, Fox News is now reporting on the American plane in Iran incident.

Happy New Year America?

Happy New Year America ?

This will print the day before the most holy day in the lives of all football freaks and parade aficionados alike. NEW YEARS! You know, the ROSE BOWL and the ROSE Parade usher in a new year of, well, wait, let’s finish 2012. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

By the end of 2012, I will have completed almost 250 shows, written more or less 100 columns or blog posts, and wolfed down about 80 hot dogs from Wienerschnitzel.

I will have seen our economy flat lined at under 2%(GDP) and our REAL unemployment rate hanging in at 14.6% (BLS u6 stats). This doesn’t account for the countless Americans who are taking jobs earning considerably less than they were making, NOT to mention MILLIONS of Americans who just gave up.

One out of every 4 houses in major metropolitan areas in foreclosure. The U.S. credit rating has dropped for the first time in FOREVER! Our deficient has tripled in 4 short years. Millions of Americans are living on food stamps and almost 46 million more are living under the poverty level. Americans are giving up… something is not right.

The person who does not work and who receives government assistance often makes more money than a median income person. How is this possible that a person who is receiving public assistance still gets services in amounting to over $40,000 a year? When you add up what they receive in food stamps, Medicaid services, and cash assistance, it adds up to over $40,000 to $50,000 a year!! Is anyone wondering why so many don’t want to work? A person who makes $33,000 to $40,000 a year only really sees $19,000 to $24,000 dollars a year after taxes. However when you go for services you are told that you “make too much”. You don’t make enough money to survive, but you make too much to receive services. You can barely make ends meet. Why bother getting up every day to go to a job that pays so little when you can make more with government assistance?
So to beat poverty you simply need to go on government aid. How do we move forward when things are this backward?! Wouldn’t it be better for government to encourage people to take on ANY job and assist them a little bit if needed to bridge the gap?

Thousands of businesses are closing down. Between the economy, taxes, health care mandates, and out of control regulation, it’s just too hard to be a business owner and survive, let alone succeed.

We can’t drill for oil. Manufacturing plants can’t open because we can’t import needed metals because of regulations. We are living in a global economy and are regulating ourselves out of business. Case in point: It’s cheaper and easier to build the Volt battery in Taiwan than in America (where our President says we need to be more green friendly). So he loaned GM money to build the Volt to save the car industry and further green energy, essentially putting many of GM’s workers out of a job (in the middle of a recession), bankrupting many GM re-investors and sending the green battery manufacturing services to Taiwan. Yup, makes sense to me! NOT!

The President said earlier this year, “Small business is doing well.” REALLY? Which small businesses was he speaking of? Look at the local strip malls and commercial industrial areas. So many are EMPTY! Bankruptcy is up with small business owners. Yup, it must be backwards YEAR!

And the cliff is in sight no matter what they agree on. But 2013 can’t get any worse… REALLY? Many economists say that there is another recession coming in 2013, maybe even a depression!

Current GDP is at a level that can’t even sustain the recession we are in now. (Yes, we ARE still in a recession.) We are extremely dependent on Europe’s economy. As of November, Greece alone has over 11 million people and ONLY 4.7 million are working. They need to borrow $30+ billion to pay their bills (retired people) for the next few months until a permanent plan can be worked out. Sounds like they are taking lesson from our legislators. Oh, and Japan, who we rely on heavily, has government debt that is 230% of its GDP!

Here at home, the foreclosure problem has only just begun. Banks have been holding back, just you wait!

Rising health care costs, stronger regulations, more stringent oil drilling regulations, more foreclosures looming, and a severe shortage of jobs … Happy New Year?

How Many Times Does America Have to Go Over the Fiscal Cliff Before the Concussion Kills Us?

uncle sam drives over the fiscall cliff

 

America has gone over the fiscal cliff so often; the concussions have definitely created economic brain damage and lunacy.

First: “Fiscal Cliff” is nothing more than an economic political term for economic idiocy leaders engage in more often than they do with Dominican hookers and interns.

Second: America goes over the fiscal cliff every time the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates to give the federal government an excuse to over lend, spend, and borrow what can never be repaid.

If you are panicking right now, you forgot America has been cliff-diving  for over 200 years and generations of economic brain damage hasn’t taught America one, single thing about printing paper currency and borrowing: Loans cannot be repaid with paper or excessive taxes.

If we paid attention to history, the Federal Reserve wouldn’t stand at attention every time it hears the ca-ching of cash registers ringing the national hymn of Weimar.

Most leaders are more interested in gambling for power than America’s preservation, which is why Obama and Democrats are hyping the fiscal cliff: Make Americans believe the wealthy caused the $16 trillion debt and they must be over-taxed! Only taxation can stop America from collapsing and going over the cliff!

The “Fiscal Cliff” is purposely used as a weapon to destroy the economy and push America to the brink of bankruptcy in order to destroy individual American wealth.

Obama and Democrats are using the “Fiscal Cliff” weapon well. They’ve scared the daylights out of Americans who prefer suffering blind eye concussions rather than understanding that history is repeating itself on a level like never before because of our leaders, not the people.

Example: The American Revolution cost a fortune, and when we ran out of money, the Continental Congress created a new currency: Paper notes known as “Continentals.”

 

hamilton note

As always, the government over prints paper and people assume the notes are equal to gold coins and paper will back up their means.

“Continental” currency worked as well then as now: The Central Bank over-printed to keep up with“Continental” demands.  But paper is not a redeemable, tangible asset.  As the war accelerated, Congress reneged on its promise to issue more notes, inflation skyrocketed, and Americans were left in desperate need.

Alexander Hamilton, whose ideas were more in line with British government, created another central bank with one currency. The colonies had few banks: Britain controlled banking and prevented rival banks from developing. America needed a way to smooth the progress of government financing to investors and lending to businesses to develop a prosperous American economy. The idea was great, but failed: Hamilton’s Second Bank sent all United States gold [currency backing] to foreign countries during the 1790s.

In Hamilton’s Writings, his December 13, 1790  “Report on a National Bank” to the House of Representatives he stated: “The bank did not have the ability to circulate great sums of money beyond actual gold and silver coins held within the bank’s vaults,” so another rout was taken that pushed America over a fiscal cliff:

The stamping of paper is an operation so much easier than the laying of taxes, that a government in the practice of paper emissions, would rarely fail in any such emergency to indulge itself too far, in the employment of that resource, to avoid as much as possible one less auspicious to present popularity.

 hamilton dollar

Hamilton’s Bank continued printing nonredeemable notes as inflation escalated. By 1812 America dove over the fiscal cliff.

I’ll never understand why we outlawed dueling!

According to the Bureau of Public Debt:

The War of 1812 was financed mainly through the use of borrowed funds. Total public debt increased from $45.2 million on January 1, 1812, to $119.2 million as of September 30, 1815.

America’s banking system was so mismanaged; we dove again: The Panic of 1819.

In his book Andrew Jackson and the Bank War, historian Robert V. Remini wrote that by 1822 America’s economy collapsed: American banks fell and the people lost everything. Anger was so wide-spread, Americans elected President Andrew Jackson, who tore down the Second Bank,  placed money back into individual state’s hands, pushed for gold and silver to remain in America, and sold federal land to pay off the national debt.

 

destroying second bank

Jackson’s policies never prevented future government borrowing and lending idiocy or the creation of Federal Reserve.

Cheap paper seems to cause convenient amnesia.

By 1846, the United States war with Mexico over annexation of Texas and California cost $64 million, so “Congress authorized the issuing of additional debt to meet these obligations. It is this concept that would later become the basis for the Savings Bond program. By the end of 1849, public debt totaled $63.1 million.”

The War Between the States:

A final official estimate in 1879 totaled $6,190,000,000. The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707. By 1906 another $3.3 billion already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners’ pensions and other veterans’ benefits for former Federal soldiers. Southern states and private philanthropy provided benefits to the Confederate veterans. The amount spent on benefits eventually well exceeded the war’s original cost.

By the end of the fiscal year of 1899, America paid much of its debt, leaving the country with $1.9 billion in gross debt.

But America elected Woodrow Wilson, who enacted the Federal Reserve, IRS, and borrowed $11.577 billion ($206.186 billion in 2002 dollars), we are still repaying today, to finance WWI, while borrowing further from Americans. This doesn’t include the enactment of the Debt Commission for borrowing funds.

Wilson admitted:

I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world – no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.

Notice the “unhappy” president never repealed his ruination.*

Next, the “dominant” FDR “civilized” us with government programs and ended the gold standard in 1933,  declaring private ownership of gold illegal, except gold jewelry. I assume marriage had something to do with that decision.

exec order to confiscate gold

Though foreign governments could sell gold to America, President Nixon destroyed the gold standard completely, leaving America on a fiat standard not backed by commodities.

But hey, we have communist China backing worthless paper while manufacturing worthless American products!

Forget the damn cliff, we threw a rope over the highest limb on the tallest tree long-ago and hanged ourselves with our own economic stupidity!

* [Editor’s note: This story may be apocryphal.]

Who’s the criminal in a home invasion?

Anti-gun liberals have had a field day in the U.K. and the result is increasing crime rates and incidents where the homeowners becomes the accused.

Criminals are going to burgle, assault, rape and murder. Whether they have a gun or not matters not. On the contrary, both the U.K. and Australia have seen an increase in crime as evil-doers seem to prefer an unarmed populace and the law seems to favor the criminal in some cases.

According to a Guardian.co.uk article, home owners who attempt to defend their families and homes have more to worry about from the law than the criminals do.

And although many people tell me they sleep with a baseball bat beside their bed for just such an occasion, a court can view that as an element of premeditation. If the burglar is hurt, it could be you who ends up in the dock.

Even when a U.K. homeowner challenged two burglars inside his home with a legal shotgun, he and his wife spent 3 days in jail and ultimately had to leave their country out of fear.

Many U.S. states have the so-called “Castle-Doctrine” which allows someone to defend their families and property with asymmetric force. That means that if someone breaks into a home, the homeowner can use any and all means to back them out or dispatch them without fear of reprisal from law or civil action – something home invaders in those states are very aware of.

Clearly the U.K. sense of freedom is different than that in America. In the U.S., every infringement upon any right is a slippery slope towards something resembling the U.K. version. In America, the individual holds the power, unless ceded.

Once liberty is ceded to the government, no matter how small, it is nearly impossible to get back. The battle over the proposed gun ban isn’t about a certain gun, bullet or magazine – it’s about avoiding the slippery slope to seeing them all banned or regulated into uselessness. It’s about preventing many of our liberties from facing a similar fate.

The government cannot protect us from criminals and psychos. Giving up some liberty to seek a false security will continue the pattern of an over-reaching government taking more liberties after ever tragedy. At some point, Americans will have to say that here is too far, we go no farther.

If someone busts into your home in the middle of the night armed with clubs and knives, is 911 the only tool you think you need? The police won’t make it in time if all you have to defend yourself, your children and your property is a golf club.

Senate opens last session of the year with no ‘Cliff’ deal

Harry Reid opened the last Senate session of 2012 telling the American public that no deal has yet been reached by saying “some issues are left to be resolved.”

Sen. Majority Leader Reid had said yesterday that he had hoped to be announcing a deal at today’s opening. V.P. Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) had been working to close the gap on spending and taxation. As of 11:00am on Monday, no deal had been reached.

Why It Must Be Awesome to Be Barack Obama

obamalaugh

Conservatives are no fans of Barack Obama, but let’s admit it: it must be awesome to be this guy. Before checking to make sure this is Conservative Daily News you’re reading, consider the following top 20 list of  reasons:

  1. Although you are the most visible public figure in the world, instruct the mainstream media to keep all the skeletons in your closet a complete mystery.
  2. Make millions of dollars on likely ghost-written books, and then wag your finger at millionaires and other one-percenters.
  3. Despite being one of the most radical figures in American history, convince millions that you’re a moderate and those in your opposition are actually extremists.
  4. Smoke cigarettes, toke weed and do coke in your past and get a complete pass from the media.
  5. Have people actually give a damn about your NCAA tournament bracket.
  6. Do nothing but golf over a hundred times, skip your jobs board meetings for months, and then argue with a straight face that you “will not rest” until you get unemployment under control.
  7. Take all the credit for anything even remotely good, like killing Osama bin Laden, while passing off all the damage from your destructive policies on Bush or Boehner.
  8. Carry out almost the exact same war policies as your much-vilified predecessor George W. Bush, and not hear so much as a peep out of the rabid anti-war left.
  9. Although you haven’t run so much as a lemonade stand in your life, live large as a billionaire.
  10. Throw a baseball like a girl as you wear mom jeans, ride a bike looking like Urkel, and get called “eye candy” on The View.
  11. Spend trillions of dollars you did absolutely nothing to earn or make on virtually whatever you want.
  12. Publicly scarf down ribs, ice cream, burgers, beer and pizza and lecture the country about nutrition.
  13. Engage in race-baiting character assassination against a white policeman by saying he “acted stupidly” by arresting a friend, then have a beer with him and laugh about it.
  14. Arm Mexican drug cartels with assault weapons, leading to the deaths of dozens of Mexican citizens and American border patrol agent Brian Terry. Upon hearing the news of any horrific public shooting, act like you care deeply about the victims and immediately call for tighter gun control laws.
  15. When a nine-hour raid on a diplomatic mission results in the deaths of four American servicemen, blame an anti-Islamic video for weeks and refuse to call it terrorism. Pretend that even though you’re the Commander-in-Chief, you were nothing but an innocent bystander, and that no military aid could have possibly gotten to the compound. Instead of addressing the national security meltdown, fundraise and drink champagne with Jay-Z and Beyonce.
  16. Fly around the world bowingto foreign dictators and pal around with socialists. Then bridle when people call that unpresidential.
  17. Call those Americans who participate in an orderly, grassroots series of protests the nasty epithet “teabaggers,” while telling those who took part in the destructive, criminal,  disease-infested Occupy Movement that they are the reason he ran for office.
  18. Admit you hung out with marxists in your biography, mimic the exact same tax the rich policies as socialists in Europe, and then vehemently reject the notion that you’re a socialist.
  19. Become the most powerful man in the world after doing nothing outside of being a politician, except for being a mediocre university lecturer and leftist community organizer.
  20. Anytime someone says anything bad about you — racist!!

On the other side of the ledger: married to Michelle Obama (just kidding).

SHARE this article with those who idolize Barack Obama for a good laugh!

Dodging a Bullet; Congress Works to Avert Milk Spike

Glass_of_milk_on_tableclothIt appears congress may find enough votes and keep the farm bill alive for another year.

Apparently, the angst caused by the idea of $8 per gallon milk over the Christmas family table was enough to motivate bipartisan action within the agriculture committee of both the House and Senate.

The current farm bill, passed in 2008, expired in September. If  the current one extended by January 1, farm programs would lose billions of dollars in financing and would revert to the 1949 law. The old law would reintroduce higher government price supports for milk, corn, rice, wheat and other crops and could lead to higher consumer prices and federal spending. An extension of the bill would help struggling farmers across the Midwest, who battled the worst drought in 50 years.

Fox News: A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republican leaders had not decided how they would proceed on the farm extension, though a vote could come as soon as Monday.

One potential hurdle for the one-year extension is its cost: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Sunday estimated the extension, which also includes disaster assistance for farmers affected by drought, could cost more than $1 billion this budget year.

For what it’s worth, the author’s lactose intolerant family has long been using enriched rice milk at a cost of about $2.59 per quart. And yes, that would be well over $10 per gallon. Maybe we could get a few subsidies thrown our way?

Do Kids Still Appreciate Gifts?

ungrateful

Ah…an unexpected consequence of social media is that now we all know, within minutes, what our teens think of anything that happens in their life. This week it was the response to their holiday gifts.

When did it change that presents offered were no longer seen as gifts but items requested and expected? When did parents stop teaching children to be grateful and allow them to instead place demands on us? Has society changed so much? Is this a generational problem or is it just that our teens now feel free to express themselves to the public in ways that might not have been acceptable in the past?

Watch this clip and let me know what you think. Call me old fashioned but if one of my kids wrote (or said) something with such a lack of appreciation those presents would find themselves back at the store and my credit card reimbursed.
 

 
PS The model above posed for this photo and has never been unappreciative of any gift…well, except for the tin of sardines that always showed up in her travel bag.

Rebuttal of Chris Preble’s/CATO’s blatant lies

On January 10th, CATO Institute Vice President for Foreign and Defense Studies Christopher Preble will hold a pacifist event at CATO titled “Overkill: The Case of Reevaluating U.S. Nuclear Strategy”. Leaving aside the fact that US nuclear strategy was reevaluated just 2 years ago, in 2010-2011, and more recently in the just-completed NPR Implementation Study, the fact is that Preble calls for far more than reevaluation: he calls for deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent. And that is absolutely unacceptable.

CATO falsely claims that

“The United States has far more nuclear weapons and delivery systems than deterrence requires. The triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bomber aircraft reflects bureaucratic Cold War planning, not strategic vision.”

Those are blatant lies.

Firstly, the US does not have more – let alone far more – nuclear warheads and delivery systems than deterrence requires. As the current STRATCOM commander, Gen. Bob Kehler, and his predecessor, Gen. Kevin Chilton, have testified, the current arsenal is “exactly the right size” needed for nuclear deterrence. (Remember that Gen. Kehler has spent his entire career working on nuclear weapons and their carriers.) And, as former Secretary of Defense and Energy James Schlesinger has testified, the current arsenal is “barely adequate”.

The reason why the current arsenal is the bare minimum needed is that it is barely adequate for 1) surviving a possible enemy first strike; and 2) threatening the vast majority of Russia’s, China’s, North Korea’s, and Iran’s military assets. To be able to do that, it must be no smaller than the nuclear arsenal of America’s largest nuclear adversary (currently, Russia).

Russia has 2,800 strategic warheads (1,492 of them deployed and 1,308 in reserve), untold thousands of tactical nukes, and a huge fleet of delivery systems: 434 ICBMs, 14 ballistic missile subs, over 240 strategic bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms) with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, and thousands of tactical nuclear delivery systems. Its ICBM fleet alone can deliver 1,684 warheads to the US, while its SSBN fleet could deliver 2,240 warheads to America if need be. Its 58 SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs alone can deliver 580 warheads to the US.

Russia’s huge tactical nuclear arsenal (estimated by the Obama Administration to be 10 times larger than America’s) can be delivered by a very wide range of delivery systems, including short-ranged ballistic missiles, ship- and air-launched cruise missiles, surface warships (nuclear depth charges), artillery pieces, tactical strike aircraft (e.g. Su-24s, Su-25s, Su-27s/30s/33s/35s, and Su-34s). Russia has at least 1,040-2,000 deployed tactical nuclear warheads (according to various estimates listed here on p. 6), and 2,000-4,000 tactical nuclear warheads in total according to ASDEF for Global Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon (p. 6).

Russia currently plans to significantly grow its arsenal of ICBMs and bombers. This year, the Russian Government tripled ICBM production, and by 2020, it will procure 400 new ICBMs – partly to grow the fleet and partly to replace older ICBMs. It is also developing a new heavy ICBM (to replace the SS-18 Satan), a new 100-ton missile with a “global range” and a conventional warhead, a new middle weight ICBM called the Avangard, and a new rail-based ICBM (which will likely be an RS-24 Yars derivative). None of these ICBMs will be limited by New START. Russia is also building additional Tu-160 bombers from stockpiled components. Because Russia was below New START ceilings, and because that pathetic treaty has many loopholes large enough to drive a truck through them, Russia is allowed to significantly build up its strategic arsenal. The US is not.

Overall, Russia plans to spend 21 trillion roubles (i.e. $770 bn) on new equipment during the next decade.

Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal alone justifies the current size of America’s nuclear arsenal and constitutes the single largest threat to US national security, as documented in more detail here and here.

Furthermore, former Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher has admitted that “Russian overreliance on tactical nuclear weapons should be a signal to the US that some Russian officials are still acting and reacting according to a Cold War mentality.” Note that she said that about Russian, not American, officials.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and possesses at least 36 DF-5, 30 DF-31/31A, and a number of DF-41 MIRVable ICBMs, plus 6 ballistic missile subs with a collective capacity to deliver at least 72 SLBMs (JL-1s and JL-2s). It has recently acquired the Tu-22M production line and intends to procure 36 such bombers, each of which can carry 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. It is rapidly growing its arsenal of ICBMs, MRBMs, SRBMs, and land-attack cruise missiles (which can be launched for airborne, seaborne, and ground platforms alike and have a range of up to 4,000 kms).

Yet, under New START, the US will be allowed to maintain only 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and only 700 deployed (plus 100 nondeployed) strategic warhead delivery systems. Tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (in which Russia has a huge lead over the US) are not covered, and neither is China’s large nuclear arsenal, which is not subject to any inspections or limitations, even though Russian generals such as Viktor Yesin (ret.) have called for China to be included in nuclear arms limitation treaties. China, however, has persistently refused to participate in such treaties or even to discuss the issue or disclose the size of its arsenal. In fact, the US is the only country in the world to have publicly disclosed the precise size of its nuclear arsenal: 5,113 warheads, deployed and nondeployed, strategic and tactical. (Per New START, only 1,550 strategic warheads can be deployed).

Last but certainly not least, the US has to deter North Korea and Iran as well, and has to provide a nuclear deterrent not only for itself, but also for over 30 allies who rely on it for their security and their very existence. Further significant cuts to it would force these allies to develop their own nuclear weapons, because they cannot bet their security and their existence on America breaking free of its “unilateral nuclear disarmament will make us safer” kool-aid.

CATO’s claim that the US nuclear arsenal and its triad structure (ICBMs, SSBNs, and strategic bombers) is a relic of Cold War bureaucratic planning is also a blatant lie. The nuclear arsenal’s size, as demonstrated above, is the bare minimum needed for the nuclear threats of today (if anything, it should be larger).

Furthermore, the nuclear triad is NOT a relic of Cold War bureaucratic planning; it is THE most survivable arrangement for any nuclear arsenal (more legs of the nuclear triad mean more layers of defense and more targeting problems for the enemy) and the only credible kind of a nuclear deterrent. Only such a deterrent can survive a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike – thus ensuring that such first strike never happens.

Moreover, the nuclear triad has been repeatedly confirmed by the highest levels of the US government as the right arrangement for the nuclear deterrent: in the 1994, 2001, and 2010 Nuclear Posture Reviews, in the New START Senate resolution of ratification, as well as recentlyby the entire US Senate when it unanimously adopted Senator John Hoeven’s FY2013 NDAA amendment stating the Senate’s commitment to maintaining the nuclear triad and its belief that this is the best arrangement for the nuclear deterrent. Likewise, the House has passed an NDAA which – as House Republicans trumpet on the HASC’s website – upholds the House’s commitment to the nuclear triad and provides for the maintenance and modernization of all three of its legs.

Moreover, the US nuclear arsenal and fleet of delivery systems are already vastly smaller than they were at the end (let alone the peak) of the Cold War. In 1991, the US had over 20,000 nuclear warheads; today it has only about 5,000. In 1991 the US had over 1,000 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers; today, only 450 ICBMs (going down to 420), 14 SSBNs (not all of which are at sea at any time or are fully loaded), and just 96 nuclear-capable bombers (B-52s and B-2s). The US nuclear arsenal is less than 1/4th of its 1991 size, i.e. more than 75% smaller than it was at the end (let alone the peak) of the Cold War.

Thus, CATO lied when it spoke of “the need to bring it [US nuclear strategy] into the 21st century”; that strategy, and the nuclear deterrent, have already been brought into the 21st century.

“Join us as Christopher Preble, the Vice President of Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, discusses U.S. nuclear strategy, and the need to bring it into the 21st century.”

CATO also wrongly asks:

“Can the United States achieve an effective nuclear program which makes us safer, while adapting to the need for a smaller defense budget?”

Firstly, the US already has a very effective nuclear program which keeps America safe 24/7/365. Furthermore, cuts (let alone deep cuts) in America’s nuclear deterrent would make America MUCH LESS secure, not more, for the reasons stated above. Furthermore, there is no “need for a smaller defense budget”; the total FY2013 military budget (as authorized by Congress in the FY2013 NDAA) is only $633 bn, i.e. just 4.2% of GDP and less than 18% of the total federal budget. By both measures, it’s the lowest level of US military spending (excluding the late 1990s and early 2000s) since FY1948. Even Jimmy Carter spent a larger percent of GDP and the federal budget on the military.

Moreover, the entire nuclear arsenal, along with its supporting facilities, costs only $32 bn per year to maintain (per the Stimson Center), which is only 5% of the total military budget. So, even as the defense budget is being reduced, there is no need to cut funding for the nuclear deterrent. In fact, such cuts would be foolish and suicidal.

Further recommended reading: http://missilethreat.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/WebPage.pdf; http://missilethreat.com/russia-developing-new-long-range-ballistic-missile-2/.

Socialism Destroys Society

1014982_socialismThe socialist left purports to promote universal acceptance, the provision of basic human needs, and the freeing of spontaneous creative impulses. But due to several fundamental misunderstandings about humanity, which play directly into the hands of totalitarian politicians, socialists actually destroy human rationality, content families, harmonious societies, productive economies, and any semblance of government based on true justice.

The implementation of the value of equality is the cover the left runs under to destroy capitalism, hierarchical political and social structures, and reason as a prelude to human reinvention. Since equality is not an ethic grounded in reality or reflected by nature, this moral imperative wars against nature, and by extension, human nature itself.

Why are those on the left so dismissive of human nature in their worldview? Why do they not account for economic limitations whatsoever? The answer is that they share a deeply totalitarian desire to create values in absolute freedom and to remake humanity as they see fit. This necessarily entails giving the state unlimited power.

Leftists argue that conservatism is obsolete because its assumptions about human beings’ rational nature are ill-founded. Many on the left believe that the Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason portrays a half-human view of people. They claim that they desire to integrate man’s rational and emotional sides in order to restore human relations and a government based on compassion, empathy, and love, rather than rational self-interest.

But primarily because they tend to live in a state of material comfort, leftists are led to believe that civilization is an artificial state of affairs where man is insulated from the demands of nature; and therefore, natural law. Human nature and history do not apply. In other words, man can be reinvented and re-engineered by a socialist vanguard. This endeavor would supposedly save man and eliminate war, poverty, and misery.

Human experience does not support the left’s point of view. The main source of the leftist’s misunderstanding of human nature is that he assumes that man is a product of society. He also directly and irrationally wars against the chief factor that led to human civilization: rationality.

Rationality to the left is a grave enemy. It is a state of mind appearing to the left as rigid, blunt, and alien. The leftist adopts this view of rationality because he fears the regimentation of human life and thought, the formalization of human relations in a market (what Marxists might call “commodifying” human relations), and the withering of emotions such as compassion and empathy. Ironically, it is the pursuit of a society rooted in emotion and not reason that leads straight to the collectivist mob mentality so characteristic of totalitarian regimes.

The left’s emotion-based outlook creates what has been called “repressive tolerance,” or an irrational lashing out against human judgment and all forms of traditional morality. The cultural marxist left cannot accept “civil society” as a place of free-ranging emotions and spontaneous value creation, competition, and destruction in the industrial-capitalist context; to him, society must be co-opted and managed towards the obliteration of value judgment as a necessary step towards domination of the economic system.

Mankind must be economically dominated so that social engineering can proceed from a material basis. In the capitalist hierarchical context the left’s destructive plan is carried out by rewarding conformist behavior or non-critical thought; by suppressing those who succeed relative to others and who refuse to bend to leftist dictates; and by incentivizing failure. This system insulates the entrenched elites from challengers from below and embeds the elites’ fiats in all human relations.

Thus, there is an important flaw in the left’s reasoning (if we may distinguish it for sake of argument from rationalization), one encapsulated well by Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy” or the idea that in every political system, oligarchs have a tendency to rule — the left exculpates itself from its own moral system, which is supposedly based on equality.

So we return to our original problem of man: Is he naturally a rational animal or an irrational emotional animal? The answer is that he is “naturally” neither.

Man has the capacity to reason; and as Ayn Rand shows in The Virtue of Selfishness, this faculty must be actively engaged and exercised or it decays and shrivels. Man has emotional instincts as well, and these are the most fundamental of needs to satisfy for healthy humans. But emotion must be put in the service of reason in order for civilization to flourish. Why is this?

Because a society that operates purely on emotion is not a society at all. It is animalistic in orientation at its very core. Justice itself is a concept that implies the application of uniform standards of behavior in society as a whole. This aspect of civilization proper requires reason, and not empathy or emotion removed from logic.

Without justice, the strong are free to oppress the weak, the clever to swindle the dull, and ruthless megalomaniacs to manipulate and rule the masses. There must be a set of codified morality to guide society, or else arbitrary or pure emotion will cause fluctuations in social relations, occasionally spilling into mob violence.

Only individual rationality can prevent the exploitation of man by man. Emotional manipulation, primarily employing fear, can only be countered with critical reason. The opposite of fear that is blind hope has been the preferred tool of demagogues since the dawn of civilization.

Yet emotion, and the display of it, has an important role to play in human relations. There is no actual dispute on this point here. There is the matter, however, of the role emotion plays in politics. For this matter, we should refer again to the importance of values.

Socialism fails because of its inability to acknowledge human nature and motivation. To quote Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action:

We call contentment or satisfaction that state of a human being which does not and cannot result in any action. Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory. His mind imagines conditions which suit him better, and his action aims at bringing about this desired state. The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness. A man perfectly content with the state of his affairs would have no incentive to change things. He would have neither wishes nor desires; he would be perfectly happy. (13)

Socialism sets out to fulfill human happiness through the provision of base material needs, but incentivizes idleness by removing the necessity to produce what satisfies those material needs. Socialism therefore leads ultimately to economic implosion. The system also debases people by destroying virtue, since loyalty to the party trumps all else. It demoralizes society by crushing the human spirit, thereby leading to precisely the kind of widespread alienation it proclaims to cure.

Men, being ultimately demoralized, do not cooperate with their enslavers under socialism, but are rather ambivalent. After society’s values are obliterated, wanton corruption and shameless inhumanity ensue. The result is an unproductive, impoverished, irrational, and vulgar society that collapses according to its own internal contradictions.

The task for the American patriot who seeks to preserve his society intact is to engage in rational discourse and value transmission with his fellow citizens. Individualist ethics, shared humanity, and truth are the weapons to prevent our demoralization and economic destruction.

Most importantly, it is our behavior in our community, our little kindnesses, our kindred observations, our understanding of the point of view of others and our friendly challenges to erroneous thinking that make the difference in the long-run. As Vaclav Havel put it, we must “live in truth” in order to defeat socialism.

Delivery driver demoted for fighting off robbers

Just weeks after a colleague was the victim of an armed robbery, a pizza delivery driver in Maryland was confronted by a gang of five would-be robbers and punched in the face.

Thinking quickly, the man retrieved a fiberglass tent pole and began fending off the group of hoodlums.

Two of the five teens have since been arrested and face charges of robbery, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

As for the driver, he escaped injury but recalls the terror he felt during the incident.

“I thought I was going to die,” he said, adding that one person against five is “not a good situation to be in.”

Surviving such an attack is upsetting enough, but his employer compounded the ordeal by demoting him for his actions. That’s right – instead of lauding his defensive instincts and expressing gratitude that he was unharmed, supervisors put him on kitchen duty and cut his pay for ostensibly violating a corporate “no weapons” policy.

Anything used to defend oneself against a mob attack can be considered a weapon in the broadest sense of the word, I guess, but there has been no evidence produced that this employee brought a tent post with the intention of using it to harm others.

He was put in a terrible situation – one he would have avoided if not for his job – and did what was necessary in that moment to escape with his life. The very same employer that expected him to go out into a potentially violent environment to deliver its pizzas punished him for doing so with bravery and effectivity.

Instead of focusing on preventing criminals from attaining weapons, moral relativists see anyone with any weapon as a threat to society. This thinking is what leads to zero tolerance weapons policies such as the one in place at this employer.

Apparently, the pizza chain would prefer to see its drivers return in a body bag than with a tent post.

B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.