Tag Archives: government agencies

Green Deals and Watermelons

WatermelonThere is a saying among “climate deniers” that “climate alarmists” are like watermelons – green on the outside and red in the inside. The watermelon people might not be entirely red, at least not yet. However, with all their talk of democratic socialism, social justice, income inequality, and 70% taxation, they are certainly getting there.

Whether the Earth is getting warmer or not is irrelevant for the purposes of discussing the watermelon people. They have been implementing their plans across the globe since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and have not decreased greenhouse gasses in any meaningful way. But their strategy is to keep ratcheting up what has not worked so far.

What has not worked so far is the reduction of greenhouse gasses in a meaningful way – the green part. What has worked quite beautifully is what critics call the real motives behind the actions of the watermelon people – the red part: raising revenue for social programs, redistributing wealth, and herding people into controllable zones.

The plans of the watermelon people are all handled pretty much in the same way; they are enabled by legislatures and implemented by regional planning agencies. For an example of a powerful regional planning agency, read about Priority Development Areas implemented by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area.  MTC administers transportation and housing through “Plan Bay Area.”

Whether you are convinced that climate action and wealth redistribution in the name of social justice are essential for our survival, or you are still a bit dubious, you might enjoy the transcript of a 2010 interview with Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the United Nations working group Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015. This passage is especially interesting:

Edenhofer: First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.  The Daily Signal, Nov. 19, 2010

European Union: No Way A Country

eu flagThe press is all atwitter over the U.S. State Department’s decision made late in 2017 (nobody knows when) to return the European Union to its pre-President Obama status of international organization – a downgrading from “state” (i.e., country). Nobody seems to know whether this downgrade is an error, deliberate, temporary, permanent, etc.
The press is emphasizing that the U.S. did not advise the E.U. powers that be that this downgrade had taken place. Maybe the emphasis should be on what constitutes a state, that is, a sovereign country. Maybe this is a good time to think about what is a legitimate jurisdiction and what is not.

In the view of the Just Vote No Blog, the E.U. is a bureaucracy, not a country, and therefore should be treated as a bureaucracy. Putting lipstick on this little ducky is not going to help make it a swan.

A country has a governing body that reflects choices – beneficial or not — of its residents. The residents’ choices might result in a republic such as the United States, a socialist democracy such as Venezuela, or a theocracy such as Iran. Conversely, a bureaucracy has a governing body that reflects the choices of those who appoint the bureaucracy’s leaders; a bureaucracy does not stand directly accountable to anyone.

The current U.S. Administration could ignore the question whether the E.U. is a country, and that would certainly be a good way to maintain amicable relations and not upset any apple carts. However, the results of ignoring the question of what constitutes a real jurisdiction would bring collateral damage, such as a proliferation of unaccountable bureaucracies at the international, national, and local levels (if you are not familiar with your regions’ Metropolitan Planning Organization, google it, and see how much power over your local land use it has).

One must not underestimate the tenacity of bureaucrats.

Challenge “Free Speech Zones!”

Kevin Shaw was not happy when he was told by a school administrator to stop distributing pocket Constitutions outside the campus free speech zone or risk being led out. So, he sued, and won.

On December 12, 2018, the Los Angeles Community College District Board agreed to open the main areas of Los Angeles Pierce College to student expression, revoke a district-wide policy that declared all property on its nine campuses to be “non-public forums,” and pay $225,000 in attorneys’ fees.

The LACCD’s actions did not come about as a result of their suddenly being “woke” to the fact that ensuring free exchange of ideas should be a principal function of an educational institution, judging by an announcement on the LACCD’s website,

In settling the lawsuit, the LACCD agreed to make the designated free speech zone at Pierce College much larger and to make sure all of the nine colleges have similar processes to allow student free speech activities.

No, the LACCD’s actions were the result of a lawsuit that Judge Otis Wright of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California refused to dismiss. The lawsuit moving forward, media picking up the story, and Jeff Sessions (in the days he was still U.S. Attorney General) filing a Statement of Interest in the case put the LACCD in a precarious condition worthy of a fast retreat.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit in question is Shaw v. Burke (the Burke party refers to Kathleen F. Burke, then president of Pierce College). In November 2016, Kevin Shaw, a member of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and student at Pierce College, was distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution outside of the college’s tiny free speech zone (the campus occupies 426 acres, and the free speech zone was 616 square feet). A college administrator warned him that he needed to file a “free-speech permit” and restrict his activities to the college’s free speech zone, or be asked to leave the campus.

In March 2017, Shaw filed the law suit with the sponsorship of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). In January 2018, Judge Wright rejected a motion by Pierce College for dismissal of the case. On December 12, 2018, the Los Angeles Community College District settled.

In light of the District’s attitude towards free speech, the $225,000 in taxpayer money the LACCD paid as attorneys’ fees as part of the settlement was probably the best use of taxes the college made in a while.

The Victory in Shaw vs. Burke is Only a Beginning

Judge Otis Wright’s Order rejecting Pierce’s motion for dismissal of the case lists the strengths and weaknesses of Shaw’s complaint and of Pierce’s response based on prior cases. As a result, the Order denies Pierce’s motion to dismiss the case and grants an injunction in LACCD’s practice of approving (or denying) permits, but cites prior decisions that say exercising one’s First Amendment rights in areas where one is disrupting foot traffic or otherwise interfering with the activities of others is not permissible.

Therefore, the LACCD can say it has made the free speech zones on campuses “much larger,” as opposed to it has eliminated them. But who decides how large such zones need to be, and based on what criteria?

Maybe the next step is for liberty-leaning individuals and/or groups to file lawsuits in an attempt to overturn court decisions that allow for restraints by government agencies imposed prior to a free speech event.  Actually obstructing traffic, interfering with other people’s activities, disrupting the main purpose of education facilities – learning, or engaging in any kind of violence should be the reason for restrictive responses, not the prospect of someone stepping outside a designated zone!

The Bigger Picture

Shaw vs. Burke was filed in the state of California, where the populous coastal cities are epicenters of progressive politics, political correctness, safe spaces, and the “Resistance.” It would not be far-fetched, therefore, to surmise that folks living in these epicenters would prefer restrictive speech rater than open discussion that might disturb the accepted wisdom.

John Stuart Mill, in his epic tome On Freedom, goes beyond laws and formal bills of rights, and observes that government’s restriction of free exchange of ideas is unacceptable, even when done with the full consent and agreement of the populace.

Let us suppose, therefore, that the government is entirely at one with the people, and never thinks of exerting any power of coercion unless in agreement with what it conceives to be their voice. But I deny the right of the people to exercise such coercion, either by themselves or by their government. The power itself is illegitimate. The best government has no more title to it than the worst.

[T]he peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.  John Stuart Mill, On Freedom, Chapter II: Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion.

A New World Order: What Could it Mean?

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush died on November 30, 2018. May he rest in peace after a lifetime of public service. Among the kind eulogies, there have been unkind statements about Bush being an architect of the New World Order. Although mention of the New World Order adds intrigue, it does not seem to shed light on what the New World Order is supposed to be, and how President Bush Sr. is supposed to have built it.

Great Seal of the U.S.
Reverse Side of the Great Seal of the United States. Annuit Coeptis: “Providence has Favored Our Undertakings.” Novus Ordo Seclorum: “A New Order of the Ages.”

Positive views of a NWO include a venue where sovereign nations can discuss common challenges and find solutions instead of taking up arms. Unkind views range from claims of the existence of an international cabal intent on establishing global governance for the benefit of the 1%, to the belief that climate change and income inequality will kill us all unless the United Nations saves us. In between are skeptical views of institutions that call themselves facilitators of “free trade,” rather than supra-national associations mandating “managed trade.” Appointed, not elected power brokers and bureaucrats like those administering the European Union or the world’s central banks are often lumped into the NWO. The view of a NWO in which nations cooperate towards achieving peace and prosperity, some say, is the gateway drug towards full implementation of a Brave New World.

How Does President Bush Sr. Fit In?

News that mentions a New World Order in connection with President Bush Sr. often refers to one of three of his speeches.

* September 11, 1990, address before a joint session of Congress. In that long speech, the President spoke about many things, domestic and international.

On the domestic front, Bush encouraged Congress to stop its squabble and work on correcting the deficit, passing growth-oriented tax measures, increasing savings and investment, increasing productivity and competitiveness, enacting measures to boost domestic energy production (“without damage to wildlife”) and conservation to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

On the international front, Bush called for Congress to enact a long-term defense program that took into account both the end of the Cold War and challenges that emerged with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. He also mentioned the opportunity for countries of the world to establish a new world order, where cooperation could promote peace.

… Congress should, this month, enact a prudent multiyear defense program, one that reflects not only the improvement in East-West relations but our broader responsibilities to deal with the continuing risks of outlaw action and regional conflict.

The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective—a new world order—can emerge: a new era—freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace.

* January 16, 1991, television speech to the American people. Here, Bush announced the start on that day of the bombing of Iraq by coalition forces. Bush reiterated that Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was an example of rogue behavior that should not be tolerated. Again he mentioned the opportunity to establish a new world order based on rule of law. This time Bush also mentioned the United Nations as a venue for the NWO.

This is an historic moment. We have in this past year made great progress in ending the long era of conflict and cold war. We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order — a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful — and we will be — we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.’s founders.

* March 6, 1991, address before a joint session of Congress, announcing the successful ouster of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Here Bush once again emphasized that Desert Storm was a coalition of many nations, and once again he mentioned the opportunity to establish collective action through a new world order. But here he expands collective action to include solving the problems of nations, and fostering economic freedom and prosperity.

Tonight, I come to this House to speak about the world–the world after war. The recent challenge could not have been clearer. Saddam Hussein was the villain; Kuwait, the victim. To the aid of this small country came nations from North America and Europe, from Asia and South America, from Africa and the Arab world, all united against aggression … Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order …

The war with Iraq is over. The quest for solutions to the problems in Lebanon, in the Arab-Israeli dispute, and in the Gulf must go forward with new vigor and determination … We are already addressing the immediate economic consequences of Iraq’s aggression. Now, the challenge is to reach higher, to foster economic freedom and prosperity for all the people of the region.

Perspectives

For the sake of perspective, the U.S. was involved in conflicts in the Middle East since the 1940s, when Great Britain started to reduce its hold of the area. State Departments of the U.S. and Great Britain first tried to divvy up the oil of the Middle East by attempting to implement in 1944 and again in 1945 the Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement, but the agreement was soundly rejected by the U.S. Congress both times.

Next during the 1960s came the U.S. buildup of naval forces just off the Persian Gulf. Subsequently, the U.S. exercised its influence by providing strategic and arms support to Middle East countries threatened by the Soviet Union.

During the 1980s President Jimmy Carter implemented the Carter Doctrine in a Middle East “containing more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil.” He warned that “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” and “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” The warning came with a proliferation of military bases.

Flawed Beginnings

After the trauma of the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, the euphoric reunification of Germany, and the success of a coalition of nations in ousting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, the world was ready to embrace collective action to bring about a peaceful and prosperous world. And the United Nations stood at the ready on a New York City piece of land provided by the powerful Rockefeller family. One could call this clean slate, upon which nations could draw new directions, a new world order.

Unfortunately, peace has been elusive since President Bush Sr.’s hopes for order in the world – just as peace was elusive after “the war to end all wars” or the “war to make the world safe for democracy.”

Major wars raged in Bosnia (1992-1995), Kosovo (1998-1999), Afghanistan (2001-2014), Iraq (2003-2011). Numerous civil wars and rebellions abounded as always. The war on terror has been a fact of life for the last 15 years.

The NWO Tent Keeps Getting Bigger

Meanwhile the United Nations evolved beyond primarily being a venue where participating sovereign countries could search for ways to ensure peace and order in the world. The U.N. now emphasizes sustainable communities and the importance of regional governance in contributing to sustainability. Note in the description of sustainability below, “peace” is next to last.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

Nrg4SD [Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development] promotes understanding, collaboration and partnerships in sustainable development and seeks greater international recognition of the importance of the contribution which regions make to sustainable development. Nrg4SD aims to be a voice for, and to represent, regional governments at the global level, promoting sustainable development at regional level around the world.

We note that as a rule, “regions” are not jurisdictions governed by elected officials, but usually are an association of elected or unelected entities. Therefore, such entities may or may not represent the will of their residents.

Whether President George H.W. Bush was promoting this wider form of a new world order or the more focused collaboration of sovereign nations is not for us to know, only to surmise.

A Few Bad Apples or the Deep State?

On June 14, 2018, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General released a report on various actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice leading up to the 2016 Election. The 500-page document indicates that the report was a “response to requests from Congress, various organizations, and members of the public for a review of various actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice in connection with the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.”

The review details significant gaffes by high-level FBI employees, two of whom demonstrated astonishingly unprofessional political bias, lists a number of actions that could have been handled differently (for example, no effective follow up on the discovery of official emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner), and notes improper sharing of non-public information with the press.

Just Some Bad Apples?

In his response to the OIG report, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted his agency had corrective work to do, but emphasized the misdeeds were the work of a “small number” of employees,

The OIG report makes clear that we’ve got some work to do. But let’s also be clear on the scope of this report. It’s focused on a specific set of events back in 2016, and a small number of FBI employees connected with those events. Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.

Indeed, the OIG’s report is narrow in scope, and its findings of misconduct involve only five out of 35,000 FBI employees. However, the report does state in its conclusion,

The damage caused by these employees’ actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral factfinding and political independence.

In other words, a concerned layperson should ask: Nobody noticed this stuff was going on, or were the questionable activities either tacitly or openly accepted?

We would suggest two additional questions: What in the OIG’s report was “new?” The press had already reported politically charged exchanges between the two principal transgressors mentioned in the report. We know the FBI is staffed by people just like the rest of us, flawed. Remember, the agency did not bat an eyelash before wire-tapping Martin Luther King Jr., for example.

Or the Deep State?

KucinichWay back in February 2017, former Democrat Congressman from Ohio Dennis Kucinich stated on a segment of Fox News that U.S. intelligence agencies have their own agenda. Kucinich was referring to what he perceived as an effort to bring on a new Cold War, costing taxpayers billions but richly lining the pockets of armaments purveyors.

Dennis Kucinich repeated his perceptions on May 18, 2017, on the Fox Business Network. In this segment of the news, Mr. Kucinich spoke of actions by the U.S. intelligence agencies designed to undermine the U.S. presidency, thereby undermining the entire democratic process of elected officials carrying out the will of their constituents. The bureaucrats staffing agencies are not elected and not accountable either, indicated Mr. Kucinich.