Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: History

Obama Economic Recovery Still Underwater

President Barack Obama signs the Tax Relief, U...

For proof that the Obama “recovery” remains unimpressive compared to previous recoveries, Cato Institute scholar Dan Mitchell gathered evidence from a number of sources to make his point.

President Obama promised that at this point in the recovery unemployment would be down to six percent, but it remains stubbornly above eight percent if one believes the government numbers. At least five million people who lost their jobs in the recession are still unemployed or underemployed. The number of Americans living below the poverty level has set a new record. Government spending is virtually out of control with annual deficits now admitted to be above $1 trillion for the foreseeable future. Higher taxes are coming unless the Bush tax cuts are somehow permitted to remain in force. And the housing market is still looking for a bottom.

But according to President Obama everything is coming up roses: More than three million jobs have been created in the past two years and the Dow Jones Industrial Average just exceeded 13,000, nearly doubling from under 7,000 in March 2009.

Thanks to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve’s interactive website, the Obama recovery can easily be compared to (and contrasted with) 10 previous recessions all the way back to 1948. Whether looking at jobs or at economic output, the performance under Obama has lagged behind each of the previous recoveries very significantly. As noted by Mitchell, “Under Obama’s policies…we’ve just barely gotten back to where we were when the recession began…[and] the jobs chart is probably even more discouraging…. [It] is still below where it started.”

On February 2, 2012, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

Never before in postwar America has…employment still been lower four years after a recession began….

If in this recovery our economy had grown and generated jobs at the average rate achieved during the 10 previous postwar recessions…13.7 million more Americans would be working today….

President Ronald Reagan’s policies ignited a recovery so powerful that if it were being repeated today…some 16.9 million more Americans would have jobs.

The negative impact of the Obama administration’s policies is also evident when America’s economic performance is compared to that of

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Predicted Solar Storm Fizzles Out, More Storms Likely

Aurora during a geomagnetic storm that was mos...

Many were surprised when the prediction by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of potential major disruptions of power grids, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, and internet communications as a result of a solar storm failed to materialize. Most were likely totally unaware of the threat.

Sunspots moving across the surface of the Sun have an 11-year cycle similar to hurricane cycles, and toward the end of the cycle they tend to explode, resulting in a “coronal mass ejection” (CME)—a massive burst of solar particles. The current cycle is nearing its end in 2013 and NASA and others have been watching it carefully. NASA spokesman Alex Young explained that the CME that headed towards Earth earlier this week was pointed in the same direction as the Earth’s magnetic field and so its impact was “soft,” much like an automobile merging into highway traffic.

But it could have been worse. Much worse. Young explained: “If [the fields] are opposite each other…then there’s a much stronger interaction. It allows much more energy to be

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Liberty on the Rocks: Gutenberg Press of the 21st Century [VIDEO]

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The Beauty of Private Property—from China?

English: Deng xiaoping and his family in 1945....

A farmer in the communist collective of Xiaogang, a small village in eastern China, was starving, along with his family and his neighbors. At one of the political indoctrination classes he was forced to attend, Yan Junchang had a revolutionary idea: why not try privatizing the farms and letting the farmers keep what they grow?

He huddled together in his hut with a number of other farmers and, in 1978, signed a secret agreement to establish the beginnings of a private property society. It had to be kept secret because if they were found out, they would be considered “capitalist roaders,” a pejorative term first used by Mao to describe anyone who dared introduce any principles of private capitalism into his collectivist society.

Prior to the agreement, starvation was the rule. There was never enough food. Children went hungry, and wives were forced to make soup from tree leaves and bark. They went to other villages to beg only to discover that they were suffering as well. In 1958 the village population was 120. After Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” 67 of them had died of starvation.

Yan’s agreement divided the collectivist farm into individual pieces with the understanding that any excess food crop beyond what was required by the collective they could keep for themselves. As Yan explained: 

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Could Hungary Break the Back of the EU?

Pál Schmitt: "We should unite not fight i...

The European Commission on Tuesday threatened to take legal action against Hungary unless it revised its brand new constitution to allow the country’s central bank to operate without interference from the Hungarian government. The EC’s threat requires a response within 30 days.

Hungary’s new constitution was a long time coming. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Hungary’s constitution was amended numerous times, allowing more and more freedom for a free market economy to grow and making other provisions that limited government power. In 2010 the process of developing a new constitution began in earnest which included questionnaires mailed out to all Hungarians for their input and opinion. Nearly one million questionnaires were returned and provisions in the new constitution were either added or deleted based largely on that input. In April the Hungarian parliament approved it overwhelmingly and it was signed into law by President Pál Schmitt, to take effect on January 1, 2012.

Noteworthy are the limits on spending until the public debt drops below 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (it is now about 80 percent) as well as the president’s power to dissolve parliament if acceptable budgets aren’t approved. The life of a fetus is protected from the moment of conception while marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. It reduces mandatory retirement for judges from the current age of 70 to 62, and limits the powers of the head of the country’s central bank. In addition, its preamble contains references to

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Arrogant ATF Makes Up Rules As It Goes Along

ATF inspector at a federally licensed gun dealer

Robert E. Sanders, a former ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) official for 24 years and now a board member of the National Rifle Association, complained that the ATF’s practice of issuing “private letter rulings” on what constitutes a “weapon” are not only confusing but often arbitrary and even contradictory.

The main reason is that the regulations under which the ATF operates aren’t defined and therefore are subject to interpretation and modification:

It is hard to tell what ATF wants you do to without submitting your product and asking for a letter ruling. You can’t tell what the agency has said in the past to others, because those letter rulings are generally secret. How could somebody know how to comply with the law?

Len Savage, the owner of Historic Arms in Georgia, found out the hard way about the ATF’s capriciousness, and it cost him $500,000. Savage is a firearms designer and manufacturer and was told by the ATF in July 2005 that he could convert machine guns legally owned by collectors into belt-fed weapons. After investing in the tools and machinery to make the conversions, he received another letter from the ATF in April 2006 saying that “upon reconsideration” it was rescinding its previous approval. Savage said the ATF “follows no rhyme or reason” calling it “enforcement by ambush.”

The ATF said it was just following the rules in its National Firearms Act Handbook, to wit: “classifications are subject to change if later determined to be erroneous or impacted by subsequent changes in the law or regulations.” Since those regulations are written by the ATF, their explanation is

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Irony Alert: Keynesian Economists Rip Obama for Failed Keynesian Policies

English: Barack Obama speaking at a rally at t...

The results of a survey by the Associated Press of 36 Keynesian economists—economists who believe that government is the driving force behind a strong economy—are in: President Obama received just “mediocre marks” for his handling of the economy since his inauguration on January 20, 2009. Half of those surveyed rated his performance as “fair” while 13 rated it as “poor.” The remaining five gave the president a rating of “good.” None rated his performance as “excellent.” The survey included explanations for why his performance was so poor even though he has surrounded himself with Keynesians. Some said he didn’t do enough: The stimulus wasn’t big enough. William Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services, said Obama’s administration “generally tried to take the right kinds of measures but [has] often failed to lead with enough vigor to overcome political obstacles.” Some said he tried to do too much and got distracted by hammering Congress into voting for his healthcare takeover. Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics, said, “Health care wasn’t necessarily the most important thing to be dealing with when you’re in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Others said he picked the wrong types of projects to fund, relying too much on public works that took too long to get going. Still others said the President just did the very best he could under the circumstances, noting that the Great Recession was well under way when he took office, and offering the bromide that even if his Keynesian policies didn’t perform as expected, at least he

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“The Economist” Rewrites History

English: MARTIN LUTHER IN CHURCH OF MARTIN LUT...

In last Saturday’s print edition of The Economist magazine, staff writers attempted to compare today’s Internet with the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517. Claiming that by nailing his complaints onto a bulletin board, Luther started the Reformation. This was done, according to The Economist’s rewriting of history, “when Martin Luther and his allies took the new media of their day—pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts—and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of religious reform.” From there the article concentrates on the alleged “social network” that Luther had to promote his views, rather than on the message—the information—contained in those views: 

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Niall Ferguson Ignores God-Given Rights

Crop of Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: “I really don’t believe the United States…is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline…. …in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons…. History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff.”

As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.

He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of

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Obama Counting on Myths, Errors, and Ignorance for Reelection

Obama

Nate Silver’s article in the New York Times on President Obama’s reelection chances looked carefully at three major influences that could determine the outcome in November of 2012 and concluded that the President is a slight underdog: “It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for the Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.”

A skilled forecaster, Silver looked at three major factors that he thinks will influence the election: approval ratings, the economy, and the President’s opponent’s ideology. At the moment the President’s negative approval ratings across the spectrum of pollsters doesn’t concern him, and he thinks that even if the economy dips further as many are increasingly predicting, the electorate is suffering from bad news “fatigue,” and more bad news won’t really count for much. When it gets to ideology, however, it is clear that if

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No Treats, Just Tricks: National Debt Surpasses GDP on Halloween

Trick or Treat 2008 - Halloween - Yongsan Garr...

A little-noticed event occurred at approximately midnight on Monday, October 31, 2011: The national debt of the United States exceeded, for the first time since World War II, the country’s gross domestic product. The website USDebtClock.org showed the gross domestic product crossing the $15 trillion mark for the first time on Monday, while earlier in the day the numbers from TreasuryDirect showed the total public debt outstanding at $14.993 trillion and growing by more than

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The FDIC: Bailing Out Banks with Your Tax Dollars Since 1933

Logo of the United States Federal Deposit Insu...

On Friday the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) closed and sold off four more banks, bringing the total shuttered this year to 84. The FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund paid out $358 million to enable the transactions to take place, with additional losses being borne by the failed banks’ new owners. Through 2010 the FDIC has paid out $76 billion and the total is likely to exceed

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The Internet: Gutenberg Press of the 21st Century

Gutenberg Press Replica

Image via Flickr

Introduction

In a remarkable coalescence of time and circumstance, Michael Hart typed the Declaration of Independence into his computer on July 4th, 1971, Independence Day, and launched Project Gutenberg, the world’s largest non-profit digital library available on the Internet.

On his way home from a fireworks display, Hart stopped in at a grocery store and was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment. He typed the text into his computer, intending to send it as an email to his friends on Arpanet. A colleague persuaded him that his message would cause the system to crash and so Hart merely posted a note that the full text could be downloaded instead. And thus, according to the obituary noting his passing on September 6th, 2011 in the New York Times, “Project Gutenberg was born.”

Project Gutenberg now has more than 36,000 free eBooks in 60 languages available to download to a computer, Kindle, Android, iOS or other handheld devices in a number of text formats, and the number is growing daily. Hart’s goal, formulated on that day in 1971, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” Even in its early stages, Hart saw the power of the Internet that would allow for the infinite reproduction of information with the potential, according to the Times, of “overturning all established power structures.” (emphasis added) In 1995, Hart wrote:

For the first time in the entire history of the Earth, we have the ability for EVERYONE to get copies of EVERYTHING…to all the people on the Earth, via computers. Think about what you have just read for a moment, please: EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE…

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Closing the Gold Window: Remembering the Nixon Lie 40 Years Ago

President Richard M. Nixon speaks on the telep...

Image via Wikipedia

Against the backdrop of price inflation reaching six percent, the unemployment rate touching five percent, the increasingly large holdings by foreign governments of dollars (that at the time were convertible into gold upon demand) and his desperate need to get reelected, in August, 1971 President Nixon conferred with his economic advisers about how to solve the inflation problem without taking any blame for it.

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Is the Debt Ceiling Unconstitutional?

Charles Evans Hughes (1862 - 1948), lawyer and...

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If the current debt ceiling negotiations fail in time to avoid the drop-dead default date of August 2, liberal law professor Garrett Epps has the answer for President Obama: Ignore the ceiling and keep on spending.

He even has a speech for the President ready to go:

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The Federal Reserve for Kids: Deceptive Q&A

Big Brother (David Graham) speaking to his aud...

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In 2006 the Federal Reserve decided it was time to begin to reach out and influence middle schoolers with the party line about the Fed, and launched the Federal Reserve Kids Page. Consisting of 10 harmless-appearing questions, either in English or Spanish, the Fed’s answers gloss over, and sometimes deliberately misstate, the correct answers:

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The Panic of 1893: Boosting Bankers’ Money and Power

Caption said: "MR. J. PIERPONT MORGAN, WH...

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Junius Morgan was, at best, a third-tier English banker in the 1850s, who was fortunate to have had a hand in a number of lucrative financings, mostly for industries seeking seasonal financing. His conservative nature was partly a cause of his lack of distinction. He’d inherited a substantial sum when his father died and was exceedingly careful when risking any part of it. One of the maxims Junius instilled into his son, John Pierpont Morgan, was, “Never under any circumstances do an action which could be called into question if known to the world.”

The two first-tier international banking families were the Baring Brothers and the Rothschilds. Barings financed the Louisiana Purchase and the French indemnity payment after Napoleon’s loss to the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. So influential was Barings that the Duke of Richelieu commented:

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President Grover Cleveland: the Democrat Who Vetoed 300 Bills

U.S. President Grover Cleveland.

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Prior to serving two non-consecutive terms as President of the United States (#22 from 1885-1889 and #24 from 1893-1897), Grover Cleveland’s reputation for “obstinate honesty” actually served him well in politics.

In the early 1880s the political machine in Buffalo, New York, was a finely-honed mechanism of organized looting by both Republicans and Democrats. In 1881, however, the Democrats sought to gain significant advantage over their Republican partners in crime by

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Reagan Centennial: Facts are Stubborn Things

President Ronald Reagan appointed 376 federal ...

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As political commentator for the Concerned Women for American’s Legislative Action Committee and former speechwriter for former President George H. W. Bush, Janice Shaw Crouse celebrated Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday with a paean of praise for the former President‘s skills as “The Great Communicator” which perfectly illustrates the perception of Reagan as a good conservative, at least when he spoke.

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The Passing of Aaron Zelman, Founder of JPFO

Ahuachapan 01 - No guns allowed in the park

Image by Ben Beiske via Flickr

When Aaron Zelman, the founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, died just before Christmas at his home in Wisconsin, eulogies poured in from people Zelman had impacted. One came from Eugene Volokh, who said that Zelman’s “most notable contribution was research pointing out the frequency with which genocide has been preceded by prohibiting arms possession by the targeted victims.”

Zelman’s updated book Death by Gun Control reviews the history of

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.