Puzzled by the glaring differences between the well organized and prosperous neighboring new republic, the United States of America, and the chaos as well as the impoverishment of the just emerging states of Central and South America, Simon Bolivar remarked in his “Letter to a gentleman showing great interest in South America’s republican cause”, in 1815:
“As long as our compatriots do not acquire the talents and political virtues that have characterized our northern brothers, I greatly fear that our completely traditionalist systems, far from being favorable for us, will be our demise. Unfortunately, the requisite level of these characteristics seems to be far from us; and, to the contrary, we are dominated by the vices acquired under the direction of a nation like Spain, which has excelled only in cruelty, ambition, revenge and greed.”
In addition to being prophetic, Simon Bolivar’s words still point to the enduring political tragedy of Spanish- Hispanic America, namely that history have not just repeated itself in regular intervals throughout the 19th, the 20th, and in the first nineteen years of the 21st centuries across Central and South America, but that it has run in ruthless as well as inhuman circles around their curious colonial heritage.
Simon Bolivar was one of those personalities who played a crucial role in initiating and then leading the independence movements across the southern part of the American continent. Yet, in the independence struggles of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, Bolivar’s vision of a multitude of independent republics unified under a pan-American umbrella with a single strong ruler ultimately failed to materialize. Born into the Caracas aristocracy, who lived and studied for an extended period of time in Europe, he embraced the philosophy of the French Enlightenment, especially the views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Accordingly, Simon Bolivar subscribed to the idea of “general will”, and to the principle of the rule of the majority.
When he was elected the President of Venezuela on December 6, 1998, the late Hugo Chavez Frias turned Simon Bolivar’s vision to its head and established under the deceptive idea of “Bolivarian Revolution” an authoritarian form of government with a populist overtone. Moreover, influenced by Fidel Castro’s distributive socialism, he focused on using Venezuela’s considerable oil resources to buy up the good will of the poor. Finally, to oppress the upper and middle classes, Chavez integrated the military and the intelligence services into his authoritarian domestic rule.
Under the strange slogan of “Motherland, Socialism, or Death”, which he changed before his death to an even more macabre one “Motherland and Socialism. We will live, and we will come out victorious”, Chavez succeeded to transform Venezuela from a rich nation to a dirt poor country. In addition to running Venezuela to the ground, Chavez’s autocracy produced a Stalinist constitution, a subservient legislature, a supreme court completely beholden to his command, and a laughable electoral law. All this was neatly subsumed into the Marxist myth of class struggle. Everything that happened before Hugo Chavez, such as slavery, feudalism, colonialism, and capitalism, were necessary evils on the prescribed Marxist road to socialism, where the truly egalitarian society will be erected without poverty and backwardness. The blood sucking bourgeoisie and their equally despicable imperialist masters will be left on the ash heap of history. Naturally, these ideas of historical materialism called for a singular foreign policy direction, namely an unequivocal anti-USA strategy.
By Michael James Barton • Investor’s Business Daily
Progressive lawmakers in Congress just rolled out their “Green New Deal,” a sweeping bill designed to end America’s reliance on fossil fuels. They hope to ultimately eliminate gas-powered cars, airplanes, and even outdoor BBQ grills.
Environmental activists aren’t the only ones delighted with the proposal. Petro-state dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are grinning too. They know the bill would make Americans dependent on foreign oil and gas production, weaken American influence abroad, and drastically shrink the U.S. economy.
The United States is now the world’s leading producer of both oil and natural gas, thanks to the recent revolution in drilling technologies and no thanks to progressives. These innovations such as fracking and horizontal drilling have enabled U.S. firms to recover previously inaccessible oil and natural gas from shale rock formations. Oil production has more than doubled in the last decade. Natural gas production has surged about 50%.
This energy renaissance has reduced electricity and fuel costs for American consumers.
Just as importantly, it has bolstered our national security and expanded our geopolitical influence. The United States recently became a net energy exporter for the first time in decades — a development that has reduced the free world’s reliance on fuel from unstable, dictatorial countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.
Death Of The Energy Revolution?
The Green New Deal would undo this energy revolution which America has worked so hard to achieve. In addition to massively subsidizing solar and wind power, it would place enormous restrictions on drilling and fracking. The 14-page document is light on details, but its ultimate goal is clear — effectively eliminate fossil fuels and generate “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
No word from a fan of this plan, presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, on how exactly this renewable energy production will avoid rolling blackouts in every city and town in America. Perhaps his imaginary drug dealer friend “T-Bone” relayed an invention to Sen. Booker that makes the plan possible.
The Green New Deal would also put many oil and gas firms out of business.
If America gives up its role as the global leader in oil and gas production, hostile foreign governments will gladly take our place and weaponize their energy resources. The bill would transport us back to the 1970s, when the Arab oil embargo brought the U.S. economy to a standstill and caused gas lines and fuel rationing. America produces more than 11 million barrels of oil a day. Removing that supply from global markets would give Putin and his ilk a stranglehold on the entire world economy.
Perhaps plan supporter Sen. Bernie Sanders likes the idea of American workers wasting their time in a socialist line for basic products like fuel and bread. Not steaks though, as the plan’s proponents also call for the end of cattle in the United States.
Green New Deal: Just Hot Air
Progressive activists dismiss such concerns, arguing that America will generate almost all its energy from renewable sources and thus be immune to oil market fluctuations. But that’s fantasy. Leading researchers doubt it’s possible to transition to renewable sources within three decades — much less the 10 years called for in the Green New Deal.
In addition to hurting U.S. consumers, the Green New Deal would undermine the security of America’s closest allies. Consider that the European Union gets more of its oil and gas from Russia than from any other country — an arrangement that stymies Europe’s ability to check Russian power.
Should Russia seek to expand its influence and control in the region, as it did when it annexed Crimea in 2014, Europe will be forced to choose between standing up for its values and protecting its energy imports. That’s a precarious position. Supporters of this plan have been screaming from the rooftops about Russian influence in the 2016 election, but seem eager to hand over power to Russia in exchange for some vague promises of new things that haven’t yet been invented.
A Gift To Putin
The United States is Europe’s best hope of breaking its dependence on Russian energy. American firms have been ramping up their sales of liquefied natural gas to the continent. In October 2018, the United States traded more LNG with the EU than any month on record.
The Green New Deal would make such trade impossible. Our rapid exit from the oil and gas sector would be a gift to the Putin regime.
The Green New Deal would be a geopolitical disaster for America. Lawmakers shouldn’t give it the time of day.
By Vicki Alger • The Federalist
A new report raises questions about how the U.S. Department of Education monitors the performance of its wide-ranging elementary and secondary education programs.
The department currently receives $38 billion for its major K-12 education programs. Yet the assessment says those programs are plagued by “complex and persistent” challenges, many of which have been identified previously, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the official “congressional watchdog” charged with ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently.
Specifically, the GAO identified four key shortcomings in the department: oversight and monitoring, data quality, capacity, and evaluation methodologies. As the GAO makes clear, it is not the only oversight agency raising concerns about the department’s program management. What’s more, such problems have plagued our federal education departments since the first one took form back in 1867. Continue reading
Americans continue to be on the move. According to North American Moving Services, California and New York were losing residents and had some of the highest rates of outbound moves (based on moving truck rental data) in 2018, while Texas and Florida were among the states with highest rates of inbound moves.
Broadly speaking, Texas and Florida tend to have public policies that support a free-market economy, whereas states like New York and California tend to do the opposite. The case can be made that residents seem to be voting with their feet in favor of economic freedom.
Economic Freedom Varies
While economic freedom varies across states within the U.S., it also varies within states, as my new study published by the Reason Foundation shows.
The “U.S. Metropolitan Area Economic Freedom Index” uses nine different measures of state and local government policies to produce an overall score for each of the nation’s 382 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). For purposes of rankings, the 52 largest with over a million residents were examined separately. Continue reading
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
For decades the Chinese government has waged a sophisticated campaign to undermine the American economy and national security. Nowhere is this reality more evident than in the steel industry. That is exactly why President Trump has moved aggressively to combat Chinese steel dumping, understanding the grave implications that could arise if the U.S. is forced to rely on foreign steel to support our defense industry. However, we have grave concerns that China is now looking to subvert the Trump Administration’s efforts by turning to another well-known nefarious tactic – entering into arrangement with a key U.S. manufacturer – in order to weaken U.S. competitiveness in the steel industry and siphon off critical intellectual property.
Last year as the Administration was rolling out new tariffs on Chinese steel imports, an affiliate of China steel giant Tsingshan Group quietly formalized a joint venture with U.S.-based high-end stainless steel manufacturer Allegheny Technology Incorporated (ATI). Tsingshan is the world’s largest producer of stainless steel and as such is deeply intertwined with the communist government. As a supplier of not only various state-owned enterprises, but also the Chinese defense industry, it is readily apparent why the Chinese government would target ATI for a joint venture. ATI manufacturers advanced specialty materials and components that are used in airframes, jet engines, armor, and other products relied upon by defense contractors and the U.S. military in order to protect our troops and stay ahead of our adversaries.
On its face, the joint venture gives China a stronger foothold in the U.S. market and puts domestic manufacturers at a natural economic disadvantage, given that Tsingshan is heavily subsidized and supported by the communist government. While the degradation of the U.S. steel industry creates long-term national security implications for our country, China’s history of stealthy intellectual property theft triggers immediate concerns relative to the joint venture. By the very nature of its business and customer base, ATI possesses sensitive intellectual property that China could seek to extract and transfer in order to undercut U.S. economic and military advantages. In fact, this is not the first time China has targeted ATI. Hackers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were charged in 2014 for cyber intrusions and economic espionage aimed at three U.S. steel manufacturers, including ATI.
What is most troubling is that the joint venture does not appear to have gone through any review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), let alone the thorough vetting it deserves. These types of joint ventures are exactly the type of veiled transactions that Congress sounded the alarm about when it passed bipartisan legislation last year to expand the scope of reviews and powers of CFIUS. Allowing this joint venture to continue without scrutiny opens our defense industry and country to significant national security risks.
As the chairman of CFIUS, we encourage you to fully examine the national and economic security issues raised by this joint venture. China seeks to use our free markets against us at every turn and engages in these stealth campaigns to undercut our global dominance. The Chinese government and enterprises it controls have never been good faith business partners – rather it plans, coordinates, and finances foreign acquisitions and joint ventures with the explicit purpose of undermining national security and eroding economic financial stability of nations it views as opposed to its global ambitions.
On behalf of the millions of Americans that support our organizations, we believe CFIUS should immediately and thoroughly review this joint venture. Moreover, we believe you will find that there is enough evidence in the public domain alone for CFIUS to conclude the risks are simply too large and too significant to allow a state-backed Chinese company to integrate itself into such a significant player that is critical to the U.S. defense industry. We encourage you to weigh these factors heavily and deliver on President Trump’s promise of putting America first and holding China accountable.
George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom
James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Richard Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government
Jenny Beth Martin, Hon. Chair, Tea Party Patriots Action
Seton Motley, President, Less Government
Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty
Judson Phillips, Founder, Tea Party Patriots
Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
Morton Blackwell, Chairman, The Weyrich Lunch
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President, 60 Plus Association
Dick Patten, President, American Business Defense Council
Hon. George Rasley, Managing Editor, ConservativeHQ.com
James Edwards, Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights
Michael Bowen, CEO, Coalition for a Strong America
Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US. Army, Retired), Member, 112th US Congress
C. Preston Noell III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Scott Vanatter, President, Last Best Hope on Earth Institute
Major Mike Webb, Candidate for U.S. Congress
Susan Taylor, President, Strengthening America for All
Willes K. Lee, Lt Col (Ret), Pres., National Federation of Republican Assemblies
Mark Thomas, Founder, Freedom & Prosperity Caucus
Nicholas Willis, President, Americans for Liberty & Security
John Cooper, President, Defending America Foundation
Ed Martin, President Phyllis Schlafly Eagles
Allow me to begin this article with a rather extensive personal note from my earliest professional life. I was born and initially educated in what commonly, yet imprecisely, used the be called Communist Hungary. Highly unprecedentedly, I never joined the Alliance of Young Communists (Hungarian acronyms: KISZ). As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that I defected was that individuals in high government positions wanted to recruit me into the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party (Hungarian acronyms: MSZMP). Upon finishing my studies at the Faculty of Political and Legal Sciences of the Eotvos Lorand Scientific University I was assigned to the Chief Prosecutorial branch of the Hungarian government. To protest would have been futile, since under the dictatorship most persons did not have the luxury to freely choose their employment. Thus, first I became an assistant prosecutor. After eighteen months, I took successfully the Hungarian bar exam and was sworn in as a prosecutor. After eight months on the job in the capital city of Budapest, I defected with my wife and three year old son to the Federal Republic of Germany. Setting aside my political views which were totally detrimental to the prevailing political direction in Hungary, I can state unequivocally that I was never instructed by my superiors to single out innocent individuals for persecution or prosecution in the absence of a well-founded suspicion that a criminal act was committed. Even more unequivocally, I was never instructed to create a crime where there was none.
Now, this introduction leads me naturally to the infamous Mueller investigation of the so-called “Russia Collusion.” Born out of the pathological hatred of the defeated Democrat Party and the Republican Party establishment of President Donald J. Trump, fueled by the misplaced conviction of their sickly entitlement, and driven by the insatiable and arrogant appetite for absolute power, they collectively decided that the voters are not mature enough to know what is the best political future for them. Illegally utilizing the anti-Trump sentiments of then President Barack Hussein Obama’s Department of Justice, the FBI leadership, and the highly politicized intelligence agencies, they put in motion a process which was designed to cause the paralysis of the federal government and the eventual overthrow of the duly elected President. The Mueller investigation is the bastard child of this criminally treasonous attempt to destroy the constitutional order of the United States of America by useless idiots masquerading as patriotic and politically impartial bureaucrats.
By Glenn Kessler • Washington Post
“The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”
— Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Feb. 11, 2019
Harris, who is running for president in 2020, attacked President Trump’s tax law after the Internal Revenue Service reported that preliminary data shows that the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year compared with last year.
Boy, talk about a non sequitur that turns out to be nonsensical and misleading. Let’s take a look.
The average tax refund is down, at least according to very preliminary data for returns processed through Feb. 1. (That’s essentially one week of filing data.) But the size of a refund tells you nothing about a person’s tax bill. Continue reading
Washington D.C. – Frontiers of Freedom President expressed alarm about the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly loss of $1.5 billion to start the 2019 fiscal year. The latest losses underscore the USPS’ failure to fulfill proper cost controls, accuracy in pricing, and neglect in meeting its long-term obligations to the federal government and the agency’s thousands of employees.
On the USPS financials, George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, stated:
“The latest massive loss detailed by the Postal Service demonstrates that there is still much work left to be done to meaningfully change the USPS business model. In 2018, the Administration had success in helping the USPS to better crack down on drug transports through the mail, and to ensure better deals for American businesses on international shipments.”
Landrith continued, observing that, “the Postal Service wants to be treated like a private business, but nearly every “business decision” has made its finances and service quality increasingly worse. Fortunately, the Administration’s Postal Task Force report provides a promising roadmap for reform with an emphasis on critical structural separation changes. In truth, there needs to be clear distinctions between USPS’ monopoly service and its underpriced competitive services, like subsidized parcel shipments.”
Landrith concluded: “Analyzing the viability of all USPS services based on proper cost and revenue analyses will be an essential step for Postal leaders. The understaffed oversight bodies must be outfitted with financially astute professionals who are commitment to transparency and accountable practices. Installing experienced regulators and leaders must be a priority to get the Postal Service on a sustainable path.”
The USPS Board of Governors is currently seven members short of its full complement. Nominees announced by the President last month have yet to be confirmed: Ron A. Bloom, Robert M. Duncan, Roman Martinez IV, and Calvin R. Tucker. The Postal Regulatory Commission, which recently added Michael Kubayanda, will soon be two members short as the terms for Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond are expiring this year.