Monthly Archives: September 2015

America’s Middle Eastern Policy Collapse

The collapse of the Obama Administration’s policy towards the Islamic world is in abundant evidence. The extent of the Administration’s mistakes is staggering, and the ramifications are global.

Whatever opinion one may have had of the war that deposed Saddam Hussein, President Obama’s decision to prematurely withdraw American troops from Iraq, a nation that was struggling but nevertheless slowly moving towards stability and democracy has proven disastrous. The vacuum that was created allowed ISIS to rise to great power.

In turn, the White House’s subsequent failure to bring sufficient strength to bear against ISIS, either through American airpower or through providing the heavy weaponry needed by the Kurds to do the job, allowed Iran and Russia to extend their influence throughout the Middle East. For the first time, Russian forces, in alliance with the terrible regimes in Iran, the key supporter of global terrorism, and Syria, a nation whose government commits massive atrocities against its own people and has caused the worst refugee crisis since World War II, hold the balance of power in the region.

The belief that Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces will at least counter ISIS may be mistaken as well. Iran’s key goal, which it has followed for decades, is to extend its influence. It is far more interested in establishing a dominating military influence in nearby nations than in combatting ISIS. Similarly, the major priority Syrian forces follow are is eliminating rebel forces opposing their regime.

And then, of course, there is Russia, which already has a naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, and seeks to greatly expand its influence in one of the planet’s most strategic areas.  Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, (commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander, Europe)  noted that Russia’s presence is being watched “with concern.”

This turn of events has been made even more complete by Obama’s alienation of Israel, his inexplicable support for the rise of Egyptian elements that are tied to the Moslem Brotherhood, (a turn of events later undone from within that nation) and his bizarre military adventure in Libya which replaced an anti-terrorist regime with a weak government that has allowed that country to become a growing stronghold for al Qaeda.

The refusal to take any action in response to Syria’s crossing “the red line” in its possession of unlawful weaponry, the lack of any military action in response to the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, and the terms of the Iran nuclear deal which allows that nation to eventually possess atomic arms has signaled the region that the United States is no longer a force to be feared.

In another part of the Islamic world, a similar scenario is taking place. The President, similar to his Iraq mistake, announced a departure date for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. As a consequence, the Taliban, which provided support for the 9/11/01 attack that devastated New York and the Pentagon, is returning to power. The most recent example: on September 28, Taliban forces overran the provincial capital of Kunduz in the northern part of the nation. This is the first loss of a provincial capital since American forces entered Afghanistan in 2001. Kunduz is a strategic transportation center for the entire region. (Airstrikes have been made in an attempt to retake the city.)

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement

“News reports that the Taliban has retaken Kunduz are discouraging, but not unexpected.  President Obama’s failure to fully resource his strategy for Afghanistan forces our troops and their leaders to focus on meeting next year’s withdrawal deadline, rather than America’s security needs.  The fall of Kunduz to the Taliban is not unlike the fall of Iraqi provinces to ISIL—it is a reaffirmation that precipitous withdrawal leaves key allies and territory vulnerable to the very terrorists we’ve fought so long to defeat.”

In an interview  with The Hill, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, noted that President Obama’s Middle East foreign policy is “failing on every single measurement…Russian aggression in the region may eventually force the Obama administration to take military action.”

Despite the extensively negative results of his policies, there is little indication that the President is ready for a change in course.

Boehner’s resignation: the real reason

The popularly accepted explanation for House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation is that hard-core Republicans pushed him out of office.  The actual explanation is far more complicated.

As the 61st Speaker of the House of Representatives, Boehner’s main challenge, in the mantra of the popular press, was the right wing of the GOP.  There is little doubt, of course, that conservatives were dissatisfied with his performance. But the rational for his lackluster performance rests less with the internal squabbles of his own political party than with the partisanship of the media, which finds a way to turn almost every discussion of a key issue into a vehicle to attack anyone who disagrees with left-wing orthodoxy.

For slightly over two weeks during October of 2013, sharp disagreements between the Republican House of Representatives and the White House over passage of the next year’s budget led to an impasse, causing the government to “shut down.”  Many across the nation were dismayed that Mr. Obama had, through his 2009 “stimulus”  package, spent almost $800 billion dollars without producing an economic recovery. His 2011 “I can’t wait for Congress” actions committed further funds in a constitutionally questionable manner.  The Budget Control act of 2011 resulted eventually in what is known as the “Sequester,” in which virtually automatic funding cuts take place across the board, including in vital areas such as defense.  In 2013, angered over years of questionable White House actions, Congress responded in the manner the Constitution envisioned, and refused to adopt the White House’s budget. The White House, in turn, refused to accept Congressional changes.

In truth, of course, the key functions of government did not cease operations, but many activities ground to a halt.  Some of those functions were purely symbolic. For example, the President unnecessarily closed down popular monuments that were essentially street-side walk-throughs that required almost no ongoing funding.  In doing so, he was able to inconvenience many, and grabbed the opportunity to use the bully pulpit of the Oval Office to blame House Republicans, an unwarranted charge that the press nevertheless enthusiastically relayed to the public in a manner that indicated their agreement with the President’s position.

All things being equal, in an impasse, both sides are responsible for a lack of progress. Each side can claim extenuating circumstances, and certainly the Republicans, after several years of economic failure on the part of the Obama White House, had merit to the charge. Media outlets could have blamed both parties in the same measure. Instead, the issue turned into a debacle for the GOP.  The press relentlessly and wrongly placed sole responsibility on House Republicans.

It was an incident that John Boehner, who had just become Speaker in 2010, never forgot, one which clearly scarred his psyche to an exceptional degree. It formed his perception that unless an overwhelming victory could be obtained, any dispute with the White House would entail significant criticism from the media, and the Republican Party would again be damaged.

Although dismayed by his perceived timidity, attempts to oppose Boehner were not successful. However, in 2014, the GOP captured the Senate, and an expectation arose that a more muscular and assertive stance by the full Congress, now in full Republican hands for the first time since 2006,  would occur.

House Conservatives were not cowed by the left-biased media, and pointed to the 2014 Senate takeover as evidence that the public was ready for right-of-center solutions to the many crises that had arisen or been made worse by the Obama Administration. Increased threats to U.S. national security, an economy that continues to falter, descending race relations, and other worrisome indicators led to a sense of urgency on the part of Boehner’s opposition. Finally, horrifying film of Planned Parenthood’s murder of viable fetuses—or babies, depending on your perspective—for the purpose of harvesting their organs gave rise to demands that the GOP should be prepared once again to refuse to accept a White House budget that provided funding for that organization. Concern that Boehner would not stand tough on that and other issues rose to a crescendo, and his departure was the only solution to avoid a Republican civil war.

While the GOP internal battle may have eased, the problems imposed both on the party and on the public by a media that is openly biased continues.

Martland Incident illustrates White House contempt for U.S. military

A growing trend towards incredibly bad decision-making on the part of America’s leadership in foreign and military affairs has been well-illustrated in the strange case of Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland.

Sgt. Martland, a heroic Green Beret who has been awarded two Bronze Stars, faces both a reprimand and a dismissal from the Army because he defended a child from a rapist, and the child’s mother from a vicious beating from that rapist.

As described at military.com, Sgt. Martland, serving in Afghanistan with an elite Joint Base Lewis-McChord unit  “beat up an Afghan police commander he was supposed to be mentoring because he was fed up with the commander’s ‘brutal’ sexual abuse of a village boy… A one-star general reprimanded Martland after the September 2011 incident for a ‘flagrant departure from the integrity, professionalism and even-tempered leadership I expect from all soldiers of this command, but especially a Special Forces professional’….He likely will be discharged in November because the discipline handed to him for assaulting the Afghan made him a target for Army downsizing. Veteran soldiers with negative performance reviews in their service records are being culled from the ranks as part of the post-Iraq War drawdown.”

In its determined attempt to reduce the size of the U.S. military, excuses are being manufactured by the Obama Administration to eliminate as many service members as possible. Recently, experienced U.S. Army majors, some serving in the field in Afghanistan, and key Navy personnel, including chiefs, have been let go.  If this year’s expected cuts go into effect, the United States Army will be smaller than its North Korean counterpart. China’s Navy will be larger than America’s within five years. Russia, for the first time since the dawn of the atomicage, now has a larger and more modern nuclear force than the U.S.  The U.S. Air Force is at a historically low level.

The punishment levied against Sgt. Martland has incurred the anger of many, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, (R-California) who has petitioned Defense Secretary Ashton Carter concerning the matter, and retired Lt. Gen. (US Army-Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, now serving as Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council. That organization is currently circulating a petition opposing the punishment being given to Martland.

According to the group, “While most of us would consider the act of trying to stop the sexual abuse of a child as a normal human response, Sgt. Martland was reprimanded for this action…Sgt. Martland’s case is unfortunately not unique. While the sexual abuse of children is widespread in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports, ‘Among American military personnel and civilians who served in Afghanistan, it was well known that many wealthy and prominent Afghans rape boys, often making them dress up as women and dance at gatherings during which they are assaulted — and that Western officials often turned a blind eye to the practice for fear of alienating allies.’ What does it mean to be an American soldier? If our brave men and women must turn away from such atrocities in the name of not alienating allies, do we stand for anything anymore?”

While punishing Martland for doing the right thing is, in itself, a cause for concern and protest, what does the move to censure this American hero say about the mindset of U.S. leadership?

Clearly, the mindset of the Obama Administration is that America is almost always wrong in its relations with the world. This has been evident in the President’s “Apology Tour” of Islamic nations early in his administration.  It has been evident in the Obama-Clinton “Reset” with Russia, in which the Kremlin was essentially green-lighted to become the leading military power on the planet.  And it is most clearly seen in its energetic attempts to slash the U.S. military budget and demoralize America’s soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen.

During the tenure of the Obama Administration, the U.S. has been reduced from being the world’s only superpower to being an impotent non-player on the world stage. Russian forces have invaded Ukraine, threaten Eastern Europe, and have become a major force in the Middle East. Moscow’s military has become a force in Latin America. China has invaded and stolen off-shore possessions belonging to the Philippines, and Beijing is constructing naval bases on disputed islets which will soon give it a stranglehold over an area through which 70% of the world’s commerce flows.

The lack of appreciation for the services of Americans serving abroad extends beyond the military. It could be seen in the White House’s failure to even attempt to rescue Ambassador Stevens and his staff when they were attacked in Benghazi, and the lack of any substantial follow-up in the aftermath of that assault.

The miscarriage of justice being administered to Sgt. Martland is a symbol of the utter contempt the Obama Administration has both for America’s service members and America’s role in the world.

Communism and starvation in early America

A guest article by  author Alex Bugaeff

On June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate, President Reagan demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev “tear down this wall!”  And, Reagan proceeded to disable the Soviet Union when he forced Soviet Communism to fall of its own weight.  Few realize, however, that Reagan was beaten to the punch by our first colonial settlements some 380 years earlier.

After landing on a Virginia beach in 1607, the first Jamestown settlers made plans for organizing themselves for self-preservation.  Among their plans was a communist system of production and distribution.

Each settler was to put his tools and whatever he produced (there were no women at first) into a central warehouse.  Then, each was free to take from the warehouse whatever he needed to live.  In went fruit, game, lumber, pelts, axes, saws, hammers, cloth, and out went…everything.  Even their Powhatan Indian neighbors walked in and took things, once they discovered that they wouldn’t be stopped.

The settlers had chosen Thomas Studley to run the warehouse.  He proved able to talk his way out of blame, but not prevent the outflow.  And, he could do nothing about the settlers who stopped working once they learned that they didn’t have to.  Then, the starving began.

It wasn’t until Studley died in 1608 (probably of malnutrition), that the settlement came to its senses.  Capt. John Smith (yes, that Capt. John Smith) was appointed to replace him and what he found when he entered the warehouse shocked him.  The supplies were gone, the tools had been traded by the indolent to the Powhatans for food and the warehouse was in total disarray.  What was left had become infested with rats.

Capt. Smith wasted no time in setting things right.  In the short run, he made rules for taking things from the warehouse and enforced them with armed guards, but he knew that that system alone would not last.  After his election as Jamestown’s Governor, he did away with the communist system altogether.

Smith issued a proclamation:  “…he that will not worke shall not eate (except by sicknesse he be disabled), for the labours of thirtie or fortie honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintaine an hundred and fiftie idle loyterers…There are now no more counsellors to protect you…”

It worked.  Those who had not worked either started voluntarily or responded to necessity.  In less than six months, twenty houses were built, a freshwater well was constructed and forty acres of fields were put under cultivation. The settlement no longer starved, as each settler fended for himself.  In addition, they created a simple free market in which each bought and sold or bartered what he couldn’t or hadn’t provided for himself.

The same thing happened in the Plymouth settlement, thirteen years later.  Shortly after landing at Plymouth in 1620, the Pilgrims set up a storehouse of supplies in which all were to share.  Although the supplies were meager in that first winter, each person was free to take from the storehouse at will.  The food ran out within weeks and nearly half of the settlement died of sickness and starvation.

The following spring, the survivors were shown by Squanto, their Indian interpreter, how to plant and grow corn and how to fish and hunt game.  In the words of their Governor, William Bradford, “All the summer there was no want;” as they “took good store, of which every family had their portion…Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England…”

But, as the year before, it was not to last.  By winter, the settlers had taken freely from the supplies until the storehouse was empty…and they starved for a second time.

In the spring of 1622, Governor Bradford returned to the village from a trip only to see a group of able-bodied young men playing a game in the square when they should have been working in the fields.  He had seen enough.  He chased them off and called for a meeting with the other leaders.

Their solution was to abandon communism and to make each family responsible for themselves.  Again, in the Governor’s words, “…and so assigned to every family a parcel of land, …that they should set corn every man for his own particular…This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted.”

He concluded, “The experience … may well evince the vanity… that taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing, as if they were wiser than God.  For this community was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”

It has been said that socialism or communism only works until the money runs out.  Our earliest settlers proved that even that isn’t true.  The productive people will resent the unproductive takers long before the money runs out.  That resentment will build until their incentive to produce is weakened and production goes down, while the unearned taking runs amok.  It happened in our earliest settlements, it happened to the Soviet Union and it happens every time such a scheme is resurrected.

Must every such scheme run until it falls of its own weight, or might we learn to reject it in the first place?  Governor Bradford thought it was part of the human condition: “Let none object this is men’s corruption, and…seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”  Let us take heed and follow the course fitter for us, before we, too, as a nation fall of our own weight.

Alex Bugaeff is the author of the award-winning books on early American history: Pilgrims To Patriots, A Grandfather Tells The Story and American Amazons: Colonial Women Who Changed History. Both are available through Amazon Books in print and ebook formats at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478266848 and http://www.amazon.com/dp/1502821222 .

The Pope’s Mistake

During World War II, Winston Churchill urged Stalin to consider the opinions of the Pope. Displaying classic arrogance, the dictator replied, “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

Over 70 years later, the Vatican remains a powerful influence in the world, while Russian Communism is dead.

Catholicism has survived across two millennia. It endured attempts at eradication by Roman emperors. It outlived a regrettable period when the Vatican functioned as secular state.

The Papacy has arguably emerged as the world’s most respected religious institution because modern Popes understand that the Vatican’s role is to lead in moral matters, not temporal ones.  In that respect, they are directly following the example of Jesus himself.

Christ was born into a particularly troubling time.  According to the New Testament, he was on occasion urged to take a stand on the political issues of the day, particularly the Roman occupation of the Jewish homeland. Jesus refused, and set an example of moral leadership that an extraordinary percentage of the world’s population considers to be the guiding light of all mankind.

It appears that Pope Francis has taken a different course than Jesus did. He has espoused views on matters of science, economics, and international affairs. In doing so, his opinions must be judged not as those of a religious figure, but as a political one.

While the Pontiff has been a breath of fresh air in his attempts to reform the administration of the Catholic Religion, his political views are tired, old, and frankly discredited. His immediate predecessors rejected the “Liberation Theology” which describes Pope Francis’s perspective.

Clearly this Pontiff, who has displayed brilliance in his analysis of the course the Vatican must take to restore a connection with estranged Catholics, has not demonstrated a similar mastery of the political issues he has chosen to discuss. There is little evidence that he consulted data, studies, or experts who have views contrary to his that are so much a product of his background.

In his address to Congress, he spoke of the need for compassion to immigrants. Has he not reflected on the reality that no nation is currently taking in more immigrants, nor treating them better, than the United States?  Shouldn’t he spend more time lecturing the governments that immigrants are freeing from, rather than the governments they are fleeing to?

The Pope has displayed great and justifiable concern for the poor. It appears that he singles out capitalism for criticism. But here his lack of adequate research is manifest. Capitalism has been the most successful system to reduce the number of people in poverty, while redistributionist regimes have failed to do so.  Need examples? Compare the former nations of East and West Germany. Compare North Korea with South Korea. It wasn’t the economy of capitalist America that collapsed, it was the Soviet Union’s.

The Pope is clearly worried about the health of the environment.  There are key areas, deforestation in his home continent of South America being a prime example, that are undeniably vital to the health of the planet.  Rather than concentrate on that, however, he places his trust on increasingly suspect studies about man-made global warming. He has failed to mention that the “solutions” to this unproven issue would devastate the poor that he properly displays so much care for.

Pope Francis is correctly concerned about the dignity of each human life.  What, then, compelled him to visit with the harsh totalitarian leadership of Cuba, but not with the heroic dissidents of that oppressed island nation?  Why did he consent to speak in the shadow of a memorial to Che Guevara, a vicious murderer?

Indeed, in an era when stunning acts of aggression, repression and atrocity are increasing with frightening intensity as a result of the acts of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and terrorist forces, the Pontiff seems to inexplicably concentrate far more on his preconceived notions of the shortcomings of largely peaceful and open democratic western nations.

There are numerous international figures that, with greater knowledge and expertise, provide intellectual guidance on issues such as immigration, economics, and the environment.  There is, however, only one Pope to remind all mankind of its obligation to treat each human with dignity, and in recognition of the divine spark that exists within each soul.

America’s crisis in space

America’s return to human space flight capability has been pushed yet again into the future.

The Orion spacecraft, already in the relatively distant future of 2021, has been pushed back again to 2023. That date would mean that NASA manned spacecraft would be absent from space for a stunning 12 years, since the Space Shuttle Atlantis mission of July 2011.

The gap was to be filled by the Constellation spaceflight system, which President Obama cancelled, leaving the United States with no domestic human spaceflight capability.  Constellation was to be used for both earth orbital missions and a return to the moon.

According to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)  “Once again, the Obama administration is choosing to delay deep space exploration priorities such as Orion and the Space Launch System that will take U.S. astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.  While this administration has consistently cut funding for these programs and delayed their development, Congress has consistently restored funding as part of our commitment to maintaining American leadership in space. We must chart a compelling course for our nation’s space program so that we can continue to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.  I urge this administration to follow the lead of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s NASA Authorization Act to fully fund NASA’s exploration programs.”

The administration’s FY16 budget request proposed cuts of more than $440 million for the programs while earth science accounts have increased by 63 percent during the past eight years. Thirteen agencies do climate research, but only one conducts space exploration.

According to NASA,  the “Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.”

Many have expressed deep concern that NASA has been politicized by the Obama Administration. It has been charged that the space agency has been mainly used to further the White House’s environmental agenda. They point to the diversion of funds from traditional efforts such as manned space flight and towards climate change.

In 2010, several former APOLLO program astronauts wrote to the White House to oppose the Administration’s controversial new direction for NASA, noting that “Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.  America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space.  If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.”

Critics of the White House also point to bizarre comments made by Charles Bolden, whom the President appointed to run the space agency. Shortly after his appointment, Bolden, speaking in Cairo, stated

“…before I became the NASA administrator [President Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”

In other comments, Bolden stated that his most important task as head of NASA was to reach out to Muslims.

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) has introduced legislation to de-politicize the space agency.

“I authored the Space Leadership Preservation Act which would make NASA more professional and less political by establishing a long-term NASA Administrator who overlaps presidential administrations, creating a board to drive the vision for NASA exploration, and allowing NASA to develop spacecraft using long term contracts. This legislation would provide NASA with stability and authority to pursue our universe’s most pressing questions.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo, (R-Mississippi) the House of Representatives Space subcommittee chair, applauded a budget bill earlier this year that rebalanced the space agency’s budget towards NASA’s traditional activities.

By putting off the lion’s share of funding to long after it has left office, the Obama Administration may have eluded the harsh criticism it may otherwise have faced if it had simply stated that it was defunding NASA’s human spaceflight program.

Census Bureau reports decline in prosperity

A U.S. Census Bureau study reveals shocking statistics about the decline in American prosperity—particularly for the middle class.

According to the report, “income declined for non-Hispanic White households, households maintained by a native-born householder, households in the West and those inside principal cities of metropolitan statistical areas. The 2014 poverty rate increased for two groups: people aged 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree and married-couple families.”

Median income declined in 2014, from $54,462 in 2013 to $53,657 in 2014. The 2014 figure is 6.5% lower than 2007. The overall 2014 poverty rate was 2.3 percentage points higher than in 2007.

Interestingly, the real median income of households maintained by a foreign born person increased by 4.3 percent between 2013 and 2014. In contrast, the median income of households maintained by a native-born person declined 2.3 percent. The income of households maintained by a foreign-born person increased 4.3 percent, from $47,561 to $49,592; while the median income of households maintained by a native-born person declined 2.3 percent, from $55,989 to $54,678. The last increase for nonfamily households was in 2009.

The Census Bureau report notes that neither the real median earnings of men ($50,383) and women ($39,621) who worked full time year round has experienced a significant annual increase in median earnings since 2009.

The real median income of nonHispanic White households declined by 1.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, from $61,317 to $60,256. For Black, Asian, and Hispanic-origin households, the 2013-2014 percentage changes in real median household income were not statistically significant Non-Hispanic White and Black households last experienced an annual increase in median income in 2007, and Asian household’s last annual increase was in 1999. Hispanic households experienced an annual increase in 2013.

Among the race groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2014 ($74,297). The median income of non-Hispanic White households was $60,256, and for Black households it was $35,398. For Hispanic households, the median income was $42,491. The real median income of Asian households in 2014 was not statistically different from the pre-2001- recession peak. Whereas, household income in 2014 was 4.0 percent lower for non-Hispanic Whites (from $62,762 in 1999), 13.2 percent lower for Blacks (from $40,783 in 2000),  The difference between the real median income of Asian households in 2014 and 2000 was not statistically significant. and 6.8 percent lower for Hispanics (from $45,596 in 2000)

Households with the highest median household incomes were in the Northeast ($59,210) and the West. The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The South region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, a state equivalent. The West region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. ($57,688), followed by the Midwest ($54,267) and the South ($49,655).

In 2014, households within metropolitan areas but outside principal cities had the highest median income ($61,600), while households outside metropolitan areas had the lowest ($45,482). Between 2013 and 2014, the real income of households inside principal cities declined 3.5 percent, while the changes in median incomes of households for the remaining three residential categories shown in Table 1 were not statistically significant.

For family households, married-couple households had the highest median income in 2014 ($81,025), followed by households maintained by men with no wife present ($53,684). Those maintained by women with no husband present had the lowest median ($36,151).

The Pew research organization noted earlier this year “the growing percentage of households paying 30 percent (the federal standard for housing affordability) or more of their income on housing illustrates that it is increasingly difficult for many American families to make ends meet.”

 

Research confirms massive illegal voting

Non-citizens are voting in U.S. elections, according to an Old Dominion University study.

The analysis examined participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally represented sample that included non-citizen immigrants. It found that “some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including electoral college votes and Congressional elections.  Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama priorities in the 111th Congress.”

Other research indicates how fraudulent voting, including voting by illegal immigrants, felons, and additional ineligibles, occurs. Reasons include the poor maintenance of voter registration rolls, the lack of viable verification procedures when individuals register to vote, and the Department of Justice’s militant stance against voter ID.

True the Vote  has found that 136 counties across 21 U.S. states have bloated voter rolls. The counties have failed to make reasonable efforts to address the problem.

According to True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht, “Bloated voter rolls hurt everyone. Deceased voters aren’t removed, duplicate registrations aren’t revoked and the records of voters who’ve relocated aren’t corrected. Low verification standards, like absence of voter ID, add to the confusion. Bloated rolls create the ideal environment for identity theft and voter fraud. With the U.S. Justice Department still refusing to set a national standard and enforce federal maintenance requirements, we’re now starting to see entire states come close to showing over 100 percent registration.”

“True the Vote has threatened legal action, and counties in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia received pre-litigation notices. True the Vote has requested that the counties outline efforts to remove dead, felon, moved or otherwise ineligible voters ahead of the 2016 election season to avoid litigation.  All told, the states represented in the findings account for 305 electoral votes—more than enough for a presidential election landslide.”

A study of voter fraud (also reported in Truth Revolt ) by Harvard’s Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) confirmed the findings of Judicial Watch on the role illegal immigrants have played in recent elections. The study found that enough non-citizens voted in 2008 to potentially “turn the tide” in favor of the Democrats.

The Harvard study was an academic project involving teams of researchers located throughout the United States. The CCES findings support the allegations that enough illegal votes were cast in 2008 to turn the tide in close races to favor Democratic candidates and provide them with victories…Though the Harvard study was originally designed to dispel claims of widespread voter fraud, the results proved otherwise. Not only did a ‘significant number’ of voters vote illegally, CCES found that they overwhelmingly voted Democrat, with Obama winning “more than 80 percent of the non-citizen vote.” The Washington Examiner reports:

“A significant number of voters who were not citizens cast illegal ballots in U.S. elections and the possibility exists that those unlawful ballots helped President Barack Obama to win the election in 2008, according to two public-interest organizations, one of which is located on the campus of the left-leaning Harvard University campus. While the study was originally aimed at dispelling claims of significant voter fraud, it surprisingly confirms that elections are in some cases being stolen. […]

Townhall  noted:

“It is an article of faith on the Left that voter fraud does not exist beyond the imaginations of racist right-wingers, hellbent on imposing ‘unconstitutional’ voter ID laws fashioned to ‘suppress’ minority turnout in elections. These objections are race-baiting nonsense; they’re unsupported by both empirical evidence and Supreme Court precedent. [A]fter Georgia implemented its own law in 2007 (which survived a legal challenge), minority voter participation increased in the …next two election cycles. ABC News has called voter fraud a ‘rare but real’ phenomenon, evidenced by a number of relatively high-profile convictions in recent years. Congress defunded the left-wing group ACORN (for whom Barack Obama once organized) over widespread voter registration fraud and other outrages. The watchdog group True the Vote — whose founder’s businesses and family have been harassed by the IRS and other federal agencies — documents voter fraud prosecutions in 46 states since 2000.

“[Florida’s]…WBBH-TV reporter Andy Pierrotti managed to track down dozens of local residents who were (a) both non-US citizens and (b) registered to vote in the swing state. Many of them had illegally voted in recent elections. …  This local reporter found 94 illegally registered voters in one small region using one narrow verification method. If you extrapolate his number over Florida’s 67 counties, that’s nearly 6,300 people. In 2000, the United States Presidency was determined by 537 Florida votes.”

The California Political Review reports:  “Since 80 percent of noncitizens vote Democratic, according to the study, noncitizen participation could have “been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes [in North Carolina in 2008], and Congressional elections” such as the 2008 race in Minnesota in which Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate…mounting evidence makes clear this is a real problem.”

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some facts about ovarian cancer that you may not be aware of:

  • There is no effective screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. It is often difficult to detect because its symptoms–such as bloating and appetite changes–are similar to those of other non-cancerous conditions. The pap smear test is for cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer.
  • An estimated 21,290 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and about 14,180 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Most patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, when the disease is harder to treat. About 60 percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with advanced or Stage III disease, when cancer cells have spread to tissue outside the pelvis or to regional lymph nodes. Only 20 percent of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women.

To learn more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, visit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s Web site at www.ocrf.org, which also discusses the methods used to diagnose and treat ovarian cancer. Show your support in the fight against ovarian cancer by making a donation to OCRF online or by contacting the organization 14 Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 1710, New York, NY 10122 or by calling 212-268-1002.

Ranking the states by their fiscal health

The massive federal debt, and the annual deficits that add to it, are frequently in the news. Far less covered are the overall financial challenges facing the fifty states.  A substantial portion of fiscal problems are attributed to underfunded pensions and medical expenses.

While each individual state possesses individual strengths and weaknesses, some generalizations can be made. Overall, citizens of high tax states are leaving to take up residence in lower taxed states.  IRS data reveals that:

  • Texas has the largest positive net migration1 of 152,477 people (number of exemptions) on 72,032 individual income tax returns, followed by Florida (73,789 people on 27,991 returns) and South Carolina (28,905 people on 13,475 returns).
  • New York had the largest negative net migration of 113,861 people on 51,825 returns.
  • Regionally, Texas accounted for more than half of the net migration into the South, while residents leaving New York made up more than half of the net loss from the Northeast.
  • Returns filed by primary taxpayers ages 34 or younger were at least twice as likely as those in any other age category to have migrated to another State between Calendar Years 2012 and 2013.
  • The single largest net migration was from New York to Florida (17,355 people on 7,861 returns).

The Americans for Tax Reform organizationnoted that in the latest year for which complete records are available (2013) Arizona gained the most in terms of “wealth migration,” predominately from high tax, high regulation states.

“In 2013 Arizona had the largest net population gains from:

  • California 5,366 ($317 million)
  • Illinois 3,701 ($238 million)
  • Washington 1,538 ($82 million)
  • New Mexico 1,304 ($50 million)
  • New York 1,251 ($96 million)

States like New York, Illinois, and California were 2013’s biggest losers.”

Overall fiscal health of each individual state has been ranked by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University .

“With new spending commitments for Medicaid and growing long-term obligations for pensions and health care benefits, states must be ever vigilant to consider both the short- and long-term consequences of policy decisions. Understanding how each state is performing in regard to a vari­ety of fiscal indicators can help state policymakers as they make these decisions. A closer analysis of the individual metrics behind the ranking shows how each state’s fiscal condi­tion should be assessed. Notably, nearly all states have unfunded pension liabilities that are large relative to state personal income, indicating that all states need to take a closer look at their unfunded pensions, which represent a significant portion of each state’s economy. Another finan­cial crisis could mean serious trouble for many states that are otherwise fiscally stable.”

According to the Mercatus research,  Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Florida are currently the most stable, while IllinoisNew JerseyMassachusettsConnecticut, and New York at the bottom.

The complete rankings, from best to worst: Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Florida, Wyoming, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Alabama, Missouri, Idaho, Indiana, South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Delaware, Minnesota, Arizona, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maine, West Virginia, California, Kentucky, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois.